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Washington, DC suburbs in Maryland Calvert County, Charles County, Montgomery County, and Prince George's County
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Old 06-09-2006, 05:15 PM
5 posts, read 20,317 times
Reputation: 11


I would like info from locals who know the area well. I can google till my head falls off and it really doesn't give me much true info.

We are in Missoula, MT. I am looking for safe, affordable and good access to shopping i.e. Costco, IKEA, etc.

I have two boys, 4 and 2 - planning on homeschooling but I'm open to private school option.

We'll be there for 3 years it looks like.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Husbands' work is paying for us to come out and find housing for a week in the next month. But I'd like an idea as to where we should look.

Silver Spring is too pricey IMHO.

Thank you!!!!!
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Old 06-10-2006, 10:21 PM
Location: Maryland
2 posts, read 12,739 times
Reputation: 5
Try Rockville or Olney.
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Old 06-11-2006, 10:25 AM
240 posts, read 1,021,803 times
Reputation: 99
I love Olney. Check the Sandy Springs, MD area close to Olney also.
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Old 06-12-2006, 11:28 AM
Location: Anne Arundel County MD
262 posts, read 2,021,842 times
Reputation: 523
Post price

If Silver Spring is too pricey, then forget about Rockville, Olney, and Sandy Spring. Actually, forget about Montgomery County all together. If you are doing homeschool/private school, then try some of the neighboring areas in PG County (not very good public schools) such as Laurel or College Park.

How much do you want to spend on a home? This really helps me narrow down some choices. Obviously, what $300K buys you in Montana (new construction 4BR home on an acre) won't even get you a 10 year old 3BR townhome in most areas in Maryland. Sad but true

Good luck!
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Old 06-25-2006, 01:54 AM
Location: Baltimore, MD
22 posts, read 196,551 times
Reputation: 13
Default Beltsville

I used to live in Columbia and am familiar with the corridor south of there towards Laurel and DC. There are several affordable homes in Prince George's County. If IKEA is what you need, there is one in College Park. Costco is in Beltsville and Gaithersburg. My personal impression of Silver Spring and that general area is that it is clean, modern, has lovely residential areas, is trendy with a lot of shopping and business activity, is culturally diverse, and is close to even more activities in DC. If I did not live in Baltimore, I would consider the Rockville area. However, this is a more expensive area, and I would suggest you consider Prince Georges County. Let me know about your home schooling plans. I have a son and my wife and I are strongly considering home schooling. How will you handle that? I would be happy to provide you specific information about these areas as well as homes that might interest you.

Richard McCollim
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Old 06-26-2006, 10:51 PM
Location: DMV
26 posts, read 188,826 times
Reputation: 20
Yea but affordable in PG county doesnt mean safe
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Old 06-27-2006, 09:11 AM
Location: Anne Arundel County MD
262 posts, read 2,021,842 times
Reputation: 523
Post safety

Yep. That's why I would pretty much stay with Laurel or College Park - Bowie is mostly nice too. That said if you could swing the Howard County area of Laurel or even better, neighboring Columbia, you'd be a lot better off in terms of safety for your children.

Silver Spring is probably worse than Laurel these days, unfortunately, unless you're talking about a very small area of downtown or the farther out, Norbeck/Colesville areas...

Let me know what you plan on doing and I'll suggest some neighborhoods. Good luck!
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Old 06-27-2006, 10:01 AM
26,208 posts, read 49,017,880 times
Reputation: 31761
Thumbs up Here's How to Help Yourself Find a Place

Jawshewa (Joshua?): here's how to figure it all out....

The two most important things you need to know about the DC metro area are this:

1. You will have sticker shock on housing prices in the entire DC region. Prince George's County (aka PG) is lower priced but has more crime and so-so schools. Montgomery County is very expensive (about 2nd or 3rd nationally) but has great schools. Howard County schools are rated very good, but prices there are not too great either.

2. The most important criteria (to me) is the pitiful state of mobility, i.e., driving in the DC region is truly abominable

If we knew where your husband was going to be working (street address is most helpful) then we'd be able to figure out if that's near any of the rail or subway lines, which have become the preferred method of getting around the highway problems. About 3/4 of a million people per day use Metro Subway and many thousands use the MARC lines.

I'm avoiding giving you any info for the VA side of the DC area as it's worse for commuting and you specified MD in your post.

Once you know your husband's work address, you can see if its near the rails and plan accordingly. MARC lines share stations with a few Metro subway stations, including DC Union Station, allowing rail-to-rail transfer to most of DC and close-in areas on METRO. MARC lines run a good 75 miles from Union Station, both NE to Perryville, MD, N to Frederick, MD and NW to Martinsburg, WV.

Key websites are:
1. MARC: http://www.mtamaryland.com/index.cfm (broken link)
2. METRO: http://www.wmata.com/ (also on this site is a link to stationmasters, with local street maps of each stop
3. USPS: http://www.usps.gov/ncsc/lookups/lookup_zip+4.html (use this site to determine zip codes for street addresses, unless you can find a map that shows zip codes

Zip codes let you use the realtor website to check houses anywhere in the country. See my post on tips & techniques for finding a place to live in the Other Topics folder.

See my postings in the MD forum for people considering Elkridge, where I give more data on the rail lines, etc.

I'm not a realtor, nor connected to any related businesses. I'm retired now, spent first 26 years in Baltimore, next 31 in Fairfax County, VA and now live in Colorado, which I highly recommend.

Good luck and please let us know how you do. If you get stuck, post to the forum with specifics or email me privately.

s/Mike from back east, and I ain't going back
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Old 07-07-2006, 07:32 PM
Location: Mount Airy, MD
165 posts, read 926,043 times
Reputation: 63
Default Affordable versus safe

Originally Posted by adh0789
Yea but affordable in PG county doesnt mean safe
I couldn't agree more. I've found many times PG gets a lot of negative attention for the civil unrest in that county and I have never heard anyone really rave about the school systems.

There are some diamond in the rough locations in PG county but for my family I would rather pay the ungodly cost to live in Howard, Fredrick, Carroll or Calvert counties. These counties have really shown promise over the last 5 years, with Howard and Calvert showing Blue Ribbon Schools. It's more of a drive depending on where you're headed but I can't really put my children in some of the mess I see on the news about PG. <shudder>

You really do have to pay attention to the traffic scenarios, as others have mentioned. In fact it's why I left Northern Virginia. I would sit for hours trying to drive 20 miles sometimes where now I can drive 60+ miles in Maryland in less time.


Last edited by Marka; 07-08-2006 at 01:07 PM..
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Old 07-10-2006, 02:28 PM
3 posts, read 18,948 times
Reputation: 14
Smile Sad but true

Having lived in Montgomery County all of my life and had a great childhood, I can't afford to live here anymore, despite making a decent salary and being a college graduate. My sister found a great neighborhood in PG County with a great elementary school, however, the middle school and high school are poor - she is trying to figure out what to do - there aren't too many private schools in that area. She lives in Berwyn Heights, which is near College Park/Greenbelt. You have to be really careful with PG County - I went to University of Maryland (in College Park) and it is very hit or miss. Howard County is better, but getting as expensive as Montgomery County, Thre are still places to be had for a reasonable fee, very far away. And the commute will be killer.

Traffic is out of control here. It takes me at least 1/2 an hour to go six miles during rush hour and about 20 minutes when it's not rush hour. I live in Silver Spring now and work in Silver Spring - which is a huge area, encompassing everything northeast of Bethesda to Howard County. The congestion is unreal - I have been to Missoula, and it was beautiful and not nearly as crowded. I definitely never see that much open area around here. And there is a HIGH degree of pretension and self-importance in the whole area, but especially in Bethesda and Chevy Chase.

But it is a great place to live if you can afford it. DC is a wonderful city - Baltimore is only about 40 minutes away and that is a smaller city with a lot of character. The museums in DC are all free and there are a lot of very educated people and so many opportunities for any sort of activity you could want. The downtown DC area is beautiful and there are a lot of trails and parks to take advantage of all over the metro area. The beach is only 3 hours away and the mountains (well, big hills to Westerners, but still) are about 1-2 hours away. There are tons of colleges and universities; and there is a lot of diversity - many international folk and a lot of transplants.

Good luck!
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