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Old 07-23-2012, 10:23 PM
 
Location: Seattle
13 posts, read 31,193 times
Reputation: 15

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Yes, another one. Sorry.

Hello,

I will be moving from Seattle to DC for a job with my fiancee in around a month, and I'm feeling rather overwhelmed by the idea of finding a place to live, so I'm hoping to throw this out there for some educated input. I will have a job right off the bat (about $3,400 per month after taxes) but my fiancee will not. So we will be on the one income for however long it takes him to find a general admin job. Here are my details:

1. Do I need to be by a metro rail? Would I be okay if I were on a bus line?

Transit of some kind is a MUST. I don't have a car. Which is not to say I never will...I just don't right now, so that's the reality of the moment. I'm not picky about bus vs rail, but I just don't want it to be an ordeal. Walkable is fabulous, but I understand this costs more.

2. How long of a commute to work am I willing to have? Would I be okay driving? Taking the commuter rail? (where will I be working?)

I'd like to commute no more than 45 minutes a day, if possible, but this can be flexible if this is a requirement that must flex. I will be working in the area just off the gallery place/chinatown stop.

3. Would I be willing to live with a roommate or multiple roommates?

No roommates please. Just my significant other. And our cat.

4. What amenities do I absolutely need in an apartment -- pets? gym? a/c? washer/dryer?

My cat is coming with me. Other amenities are not necessary.

5. What is the absolute maximum, with utilities and any fees, I can afford?

Is $1600 a reasonable target? This is a steep number while I'm the only income, but I hope this won't be forever.

6. What is my definition of safe?

Physical safety is my biggest concern. I don't want to live in a place that feels hostile. Of course I don't want to be mugged. It would be silly to say "yeah, I'm fine with being mugged. whatever" and I understand the nature of the city is that this is a risk anywhere. It's a risk here in Seattle, too, albeit small.

7. How important is nightlife? family community? schools?

Nightlife? Don't care for it, really. Schools aren't an issue right now, either, and it'd be a long time before it would be for us. A family community sounds nice, but seeing as we don't really have a family yet, either, not totally necessary. But I imagine it's sorta the feel I like.

Am I better off, as a newcomer, going for big complexes, or is there a way I can snag a good, independent place?

Thanks for any help!
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Old 07-24-2012, 06:57 AM
 
2,060 posts, read 3,241,488 times
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You forgot a big piece of information. Where will your job be exactly? You will want to have as easy of a commute as possible.
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:01 AM
 
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Also of course you can get an "independent" place. This is done all the time on Craigslist.
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:54 AM
 
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Alright, my bad, I missed the Gallery Place/Chinatown part.
A 1 bedroom for $1600 is possible near somewhere on the red line like Van Ness/UDC, Friendship Heights, Tenleytown, etc.

You also could live off the green line for an easy commute. Columbia Heights for example.
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Old 07-24-2012, 07:58 AM
 
2,149 posts, read 3,854,949 times
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You should be able to do fine on a 1 bedroom for that price. Columbia Heights would be a good choice. Heck you might even find something in the Chinatown area.
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Old 07-24-2012, 11:12 AM
 
Location: Seattle
13 posts, read 31,193 times
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Sweet. Good to know there's hope. About how long should it take to nail down an apartment once I'm here, do you think? Should I give myself more time since I'll be working full time from the get-go?
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Old 07-24-2012, 11:19 AM
 
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If you work hard at it you can sign a lease in a matter of days.

One thing I forgot to mention is that many, perhaps most, landlords will only approve you if your annual income is about 40 times the monthly rent. I mention this now because it sounded like you were basing your budget on an expectation that you'll have dual incomes once your significant other gets a job. But if he doesn't have a job when you apply, your income alone will have to be about 40 times the rent to be able to live in most apartments.

So for example you would need to make $48,000 a year to rent a $1,200 a month apartment, in most places.

Last edited by stateofnature; 07-24-2012 at 11:32 AM..
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Old 07-24-2012, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Springfield VA
4,036 posts, read 8,601,626 times
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I'm sorry but I wouldn't recommend Columbia Heights for a newcomer. Columbia Heights is a weird neighborhood with million dollar rowhouses next to housing projects. So yeah it looks nice and improving by leaps and bounds but too many people get shot at the metro. An alternative to Columbia Heights is Mt. Pleasant which is quieter and safer. However you still have to use the Columbia Heights metro.

I'd second the recommendations for Tenleytown, Van Ness, and Friendship Heights those are the safest (but not the most interesting). Capitol Hill is a great neighborhood that would give you a short commute. Recommend something close to the Eastern Market metro.
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Old 07-24-2012, 02:28 PM
 
Location: Seattle
13 posts, read 31,193 times
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[quote=stateofnature;25315819
One thing I forgot to mention is that many, perhaps most, landlords will only approve you if your annual income is about 40 times the monthly rent. [/QUOTE]

Hmm. Well that might knock me down to $1500. I'm pretty frugal, so I know I can live on less day-to-day, but good luck convincing someone else of that, I suppose.


Quote:
Originally Posted by terrence81 View Post
I'd second the recommendations for Tenleytown, Van Ness, and Friendship Heights those are the safest (but not the most interesting). Capitol Hill is a great neighborhood that would give you a short commute. Recommend something close to the Eastern Market metro.
How are these neighborhoods for being able to walk to places like groceries?
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Old 07-24-2012, 03:00 PM
 
2,060 posts, read 3,241,488 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaireD View Post
Hmm. Well that might knock me down to $1500. I'm pretty frugal, so I know I can live on less day-to-day, but good luck convincing someone else of that, I suppose.




How are these neighborhoods for being able to walk to places like groceries?
I thought you said your monthly income would be $3,400 after taxes? So $40,800 for the year? $1500 times 40 is $60,000, which seems a lot higher than whatever is $40,800 plus taxes. I doubt you'd be paying $20,000 in taxes at that income bracket.

But to answer your other question, you don't need to own a car to live in any of the neighborhoods mentioned. There's a Giant right by the Van Ness metro stop, a Whole Foods by the Tenleytown stop, an independent grocery store by Cleveland Park.
I know people who have lived in all these areas without a car. It's very common for people who live in the city to not have a car. The metro might not the best subway system in the world but it makes for a much more dependable public transportation system than most US cities, Seattle included.
You can always get a Zipcar account for the trips when you do need a car.
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