Cheap living in Arlington?
July 29, 2010 2:12 PM   Subscribe

Is it possible to find a place to live in downtown Arlington, VA for $750 or under?

23, with a hellish commute way out toward Reston. I dread the prospect of living in uber-suburban Fairfax (no offense, Fairfax folks) and really want to move to Arlington. I am willing to live with as many roommates (I'll draw the line at having to share a bedroom) as it takes - as long as I'm within walking distance (no more than half a mile) to the Ballston, Clarendon or Virginia Sq. metro stops. I don't want going into DC for nightlife to be some big journey/30 minute hike - I want to be a hop, skip and a jump.

The craigslist "rooms/shared" listings have been sucking big time lately as they are all either out of my price range or too far from the metro. The affordable places are out by Lee highway or a mile or two south toward the Pentagon - shocking, I know.

Should I keep on plugging? Anyone ever heard of an under 800 rent there? Know any buildings? Have a story about how you or a friend found your cheap-ass deal in Arlington? Or should I give up and just go live near East Falls Church where it's cheaper, but not nearly as walkable/DC accessible.

Sorry if this post comes off more like I'm venting my frustration, but I figured I may as well do it here where people can give me some tips/input.
posted by windbox to Work & Money (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
$750? Easy.

I lived in a converted den of a brand new apartment for $480 in 2005. Right by Quincy Park/Library. The name of the building is library.

If you go west of Glebe Rd you can still get to the metro in 10-12 minutes. The houses there are a little older but most shared rents are in the $600-700 range.
posted by sandmanwv at 2:14 PM on July 29, 2010

Sorry, I meant Library Courts.

Other tips: don't search on craigslist with price ranges or locations. Many people misclassify their rent or their location.

2nd: If you find a place that looks good, be prepared for Frat/Soriority Rushing Part II. You will be competing for a spot, so make sure when you e-mail, show up etc you are on your game.
posted by sandmanwv at 2:18 PM on July 29, 2010

Thanks for the Craigslist tip, sandmanwv, I didn't know that. But I should also note for future answerers, I'm also not down with doing the whole converted den business as I really need my privacy. All I require is for my own room near the metro, preferably with people my age as opposed to a lonely old lady renting out her basement or something.

I'll check out Library Courts, thanks for that.
posted by windbox at 2:26 PM on July 29, 2010

In 2004-2005, I lived walking distance to the Crystal City metro (which was fine for commuting into DC, but isn't near downtown arlington and paid sub-$500 per month (don't now recall the exact amount.)

But really, the point of my posting is to say that I found my place by calling a classified ad in the Washington Post (after someone told me that was a ridiculous way to try to find a place.) So perhaps you shouldn't completely count out the newspapers?
posted by Jahaza at 2:51 PM on July 29, 2010

And here you go...

"$770.00 -- ARL/BALLSTON/2 blocks to Metro, Shr N/S apt, bright lrg room, $770 incl util, W/D, avail now. XXX-XXX-XXXX"

Bottom of the page, I've x'd out the phone number so it won't live forever on Metafilter.
posted by Jahaza at 2:58 PM on July 29, 2010

Lee highway. The closest metro is the orange stop at courthouse. The building is right behind a lebanese restaurant. I lived in a very nice apt a few years ago with a roomy (had my own bedroom) for a little bit over $600. I cant remember the address. I do remember it was about a block away from this awesome german deli.

Hope these clues help
posted by hal_c_on at 2:59 PM on July 29, 2010

I live in DC, but if I were to live in NoVA again I would probably live in Crystal City or the yellow line portion of Alexandria due to easier access to the city and being less expensive than Arlington.

(I grew up in Arlington, and I am severely biased against what it has become, Clarendon used to be nothing but weird record stores and Vietnamese pawn shops and restaurants.)
posted by BobbyDigital at 6:41 AM on July 30, 2010

Also if you are willing to consider it Silver Spring is really similar to how Arlington used to be, but it is trying really hard to be like Arlington is now, still it is cheaper.
posted by BobbyDigital at 6:42 AM on July 30, 2010

BobbyDigital: Much as I love Silver Spring, the goal of this move is to be at least a tad closer to work (Reston) as I'm currently doing it from Maryland already and it sucks big time.

I know Arlington used to be weird and cool and now it's just a bunch of frat kids from Tech, but I'd rather be able to walk to a few bars and restaurants (and be around people my age) than live in the eerily quiet tall-buildings-wasteland that is Crystal City.
posted by windbox at 1:25 PM on July 30, 2010

Have you considered south arlington? I think there are MANY places on Columbia Pike that would be affordable to you, although they might not quite meet the requirement to be walkable to the orange line corridor. I have lived in at least 4 different places in arlington and you will definitely pay much more to be walkable to the orange line.

Generally the best way to get the cheapest deal is by having more roommates. I paid around $800 for a huge master bed/bath in a nice Rosslyn building since I had 3 roommates. I looked at a few shared places in Ballston (less than .3 mile to metro) that met your requirements, but they each had 2+ roommates. It will definitely be easier to find a place if you relax the proximity to the orange line requirement.
posted by seesom at 8:54 PM on July 30, 2010

Have you tried posting in the CL Housing Wanted section?
posted by FlyingMonkey at 6:37 AM on July 31, 2010

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