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Old 11-08-2009, 11:14 AM
3 posts, read 4,709 times
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As someone else mentioned, because each person's circumstances are a bit different, I wanted to add my own request concerning DC neighborhoods, as I will be moving there next year for work.

I'm looking for a rental with a budget around $1500/month (flexible, though not excessively so), including parking. My employer is located close to the Gallery Place/Chinatown metro stop. I would love to live within walking distance to work, but I imagine this is impossible with my budget. In the alternative, access by metro is a must.

I will be moving with my husband, one small dog, and one small car. Because of the dog, safety at night will be important. We'd also like to be within walking distance of a grocery, drug store, and restaurants, but at the same time would prefer to avoid areas with loud bars/clubs/mid-20s nightlife activity.

It appears that a two-bedroom within a safe neighborhood in DC proper is unavailable with this budget, so we are willing to downsize to a one-bedroom. However, the square footage will be an issue, as we need space to store several bicycles (currently stored in one of our existing two bedrooms). We are also open to living in Maryland or Virginia if the balance between rent costs and metro costs/time makes it worthwhile. We would prefer to avoid typical suburbia, and we don't care about school quality (no kids). Obviously, the dog further limits our search as many landlords do not accept pets.

So---with all of this in mind, does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!
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Old 11-08-2009, 12:38 PM
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I don't think you will be able to find an apartment that meets all of those requirements.

A 1BR in a good neighborhood would start at $1500--without parking or extra pet charges. Add those additional requirements and you are looking at at least $1800, probably well over $2000.

Assuming the dog and the car are not negotiable, and your budget won't stretch as far as stated above, then you'll have to sacrifice either the 'safe neighborhood' or 'near metro' requirements.

Glover Park, Crestwood and Bloomingdale are safe neighborhoods where the rent is cheaper, mostly because they lack good access to a metro. They are served by bus lines, though.

Edgier neighborhoods like Atlas District, Petworth, Eckington, Capitol Hill East (east of Eastern Market and south of Massachusetts Ave), SW Waterfront are neighborhoods that are a little more tattered at the edges but are experiencing bits of renaissance. There are differing opinions about their safety. But the rents are cheaper.

Unfortunately moving outside the district but still trying to remain near a metro doesn't really reduce rent costs. Arlington, Silver Spring, and Bethesda are usually just as expensive, unless you move far away from the metro and rely on a car for just about everything.
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Old 11-08-2009, 12:50 PM
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If we were able to afford $1800-$2000, what areas would that open up over a $1500 budget? How much do parking permits run over there?

Thanks for your help.
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Old 11-08-2009, 01:45 PM
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Adjusting the budget to $2000 will open up possibilities in U-Street neighborhood, Shaw, Capitol Hill & Eastern Market, possibly even Cleveland Park (Van Ness metro and north of there), as well as near-metro areas of Silver Spring and Bethesda and Arlington.

Parking permits, I'm not 100% sure of. I don't own a car myself. I believe most of the city is unrestricted and anyone can park on the street. For those streets that do have restrictions, the fee is only $15--but you can only get one after you've obtained DC license plates.
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Old 11-09-2009, 07:21 AM
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My advice would be to sell your car and live in Dupont/Logan. You can always use a ZipCar when you need to - $7/hr for a Prius! They are everywhere and easy and you don't pay for gas. Why own a car?
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Old 11-09-2009, 07:50 AM
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I did look at ZipCar, but it doesn't appear that it would work for our particular needs. My husband participates in weekend sporting activities that are often all-day events, and sometimes overnight, and there is also no way that the car would remain clean on account of the equipment. Also, my husband will likely not have a job before we move out there, so we need to make sure he has the option of driving wherever he needs to go for work. Having one car is already a bit of a compromise, as we currently have two---we plan to sell one of them before we move.
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Old 11-09-2009, 08:33 AM
Location: Springfield VA
4,037 posts, read 7,657,282 times
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Honestly I'd have to roll with suggestions for Glover Park in the further NW section of the city. More residental and quiet. If you have a car in the city you're going to pay for that luxury especially if you live near a metro. So I say look at neighborhoods like Glover Park that are away from the metro and look at bus lines that will get you to work.

Living near a metro is considered a luxury around here. Also neighborhoods away from the metro tend to have more apartments with free or cheap parking and also fewer parking restrictions on the street. Living in the hot spots like U street or Dupont will be cumbersome with a car and hardly worth the effort and money. People with cars in these neighborhoods are always complaining about all the parking tickets they get. At least that's my observation.
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Old 11-09-2009, 08:34 AM
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You might consider places out the Metro Red Line such as White Flint/Twinbrook or in the other direction Wheaton. On the Virginia side, to keep expenses down, you'll probably need to be farther from Metrorail. However, there are a lot of express buses from areas like Arlington (up Columbia Pike), Springfield and West-End Alexandria to the Pentagon Metro station, and it's a quick hop across the river on the Yellow line from there to Gallery Place. I think these places are generally safe enough to be out at night, although there may be some questionable parts of Wheaton. You can definitely get more bang for your buck if you are OK with taking the bus instead of the train, and frankly it can be just as fast. Of course if you're into biking you can always commute by bike too!
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