Moving to DC - How/When/Where?
May 8, 2012 12:58 PM Subscribe
How to find housing in the Washington, DC area? Specific concerns about neighborhoods and timing with school/employment inside.
posted by TurkishGolds to Work & Money (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
We are an early-30s couple moving to the Washington, DC area this summer.
About us and our finances:
- She is planning on starting a full-time Master's program at the University of Maryland-College Park. She has a part-time assistantship and is taking out some student loans. Her program starts mid-August.
- I am looking for work in the education field, ideally something entry-level in higher education administration. Realistically, I'll probably find a job that pays between 30-50k. I’ve just completed a Master’s degree of my own and don’t have a job lined up now, either in our current location short-term or in the DC area long-term.
- Between the 2 of us, we have a little bit saved up to cover moving expenses, but not much. We both have good credit and no credit card debt.
- I’m concerned that it's going to be difficult for me to find work without living in the city and difficult to find a place to live without having already secured employment. How to get an apartment in DC-area without a job? / How to get a job without an apartment? Certainly people must figure out this chicken-and-egg situation all the time, but how?
- Around $1000/month seems ideal for rent - not sure how realistic that is.
- We are tentatively planning on moving August 1st. The absolutely deadline is August 17, when she starts her research assistantship.
- Our living expenses are currently low, so for cash flow, it might make more sense to wait until August.
- She currently earns a good amount and is planning on leaving her current job in August. It could be hard for her to leave before then - her employers are expecting her to be available on-site through the end of July.
- However, I’m wondering if we should move much sooner so I can more effectively start my job hunting process.
- Given these factors - How should we time our move?
Location / Living preferences:
- Ideally we'd like to be close to the metro or public transportation with easy access to the University of Maryland and DC. We are planning on bringing 1 car (mine).
- We are coming from the Amherst/Northampton area of western Massachusetts, are used to a small-town/college-town vibe, and neither of us has ever lived in an urban area.
- Huge pros for us would be walkability to restaurants and other nice things, close to public transport and parking, sense of community, safety, affordability, etc.
- From what we've read, Takoma Park has sparked our interest because of the small-town-earthy-crunchy thing and the proximity to College Park. What neighborhoods should we consider? We like the "Berkeley of the East" reputation of Takoma Park - what else should we be looking at?
- If we were to broaden our search beyond Takoma Park, we are not sure where to look. Silver Spring seems too strip-malled and College Park seems too overrun with 20-somethings-playing-beer-pong, both things we'd very much like to avoid. What about living closer to the center of DC and making the commute out to CP?
- We don’t want housemates, and are open to studio/1 bedroom / 2 bedrooms as realistic, given our other preferences.
We are planning to visit for a few days in two weeks to get a better idea of what the area looks like. We are emailing as many people as we can from craigslist, but have yet to set up any appointments.
- How can we make best use of this time? What should we expect to accomplish?
- What towns/neighborhoods should we visit?
- Should we be working with a realtor? If so, specific recommendations?
- Should we be making appointments with some of the big apartment buildings? If so, specific recommendations?
Thank you, hive mind! We have never done this before and it is very scary!