Help a Portland Oregonian expatriate to Washington, DC
December 11, 2009 4:33 AM Subscribe
I'm moving to Washington, DC for a new job that is a huge step up for me. I'd like to have a studio apartment lined up for January 1st and I will have a week to intensively look for a place before my job starts on Dec. 21st. What are some neighborhoods, tips and resources what would be helpful for me to find my perfect place in such a short turn around? My main goal is super convenient car-free living and commuting.
My sensible ceiling for rent is about $1200. I could comfortably go decently higher, but I'm also used to spartan living and could go lower. I prefer small living spaces. Heck, I miss dorm life. My highest priority, after safety, is a sensible commute. I don't drive and in the past I've happily mixed and matched bus, light rail and bicycle commutes at my daily whimsy. My dream situation would be to be able to walk to as many day-to-day necessities as possible. My office is a stone's throw from the Teasury (Nearest Metro lines: Blue, Orange and Red) so I dunno how realistic walking to work would be but my other dreamy dream would be to have many of the daily essentials within walking-biking distance. (Can I have a Trader Joes and a neighborhood hippy co-op as my neighbors? And a Target? Kthnxbye...)
* There will probably be times where I'm biking or walking home at 2 am and I want to be reasonably safe from intimidation and violence. I don't particularly care about other urban issues or inconveniences.
* I significantly prefer greenspaces and multi-use paths over nightlife, but I would utilize both.
* I've been browsing rent.com, housingmaps.com and apartments.com. I've only rented from craigslist-y individuals in the past and I've had only good experiences but I have found those situations wanting in professionalism sometimes and I would prefer a good property management company.
* I will be buying all new (or new to me) furniture. Pre-furnished apartment? Even better. (Think: Dorm but with a kitchen.)
* I understand the cost-of-living sticker shock. I've crunched the numbers and I'm still sooooper psyched. But, if there's a significant tax difference between MD, DC and VA, I'd want to know more.
* Obviously proximity to Metro stops is pretty coveted, but I think all I care about is minutes spent commuting so if I could beat the market with a good bus route and bicycling, I'm all ears.
* Where should I avoid?
My plan is to stay at the HI hostel and/or Priceline hotels and/or couch surf while I'm looking for a place if I don't meet my January 1st goal. Most of my stuff will be shipped at a later date at my leisure.