Should I move into a month-to-month before finding a long-term place?
October 20, 2010 2:21 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for a place to stay in or near Washington DC - I need to move in by November 1. I have found a place which I could stay for a few months (month-to-month rent) but until I could find something that more closely fits my preferences. Should I go with this place now before it is gone, or should I try to find a place I would be comfortable with long-term within the next week and a half?

My basic question: Should I get this month-to-month place as a temporary place to stay while searching for a better place? I will start a full time job in early November, but right now I am completely free. Also right now it takes 2 hours to get into the city from where I am based. So is it going to be easier to find a place hunting full-time during the next 1.5 weeks, or would it be better to get this month-to-month as a temporary place for a few months and search for better places part-time ?

Details if you want to go into them:

I am looking at places with roommates for under $1200 per month (not including utilities), but based on what I have looked at so far I think I could find a good place for around $1100 - I just haven't found the right one yet. The month-to-month place I found is $1250 (not including utilities). At that price it is a steal because of the size of the room and the house, the 2 low-key roommates, private bathroom, included parking space, 7-minute walk to my work, tick walls to block noise, etc. I think I would ultimately want a place with lower rent, not because I can't afford this rent but because I want to save for graduate school. ($1175 is 1/3 of my gross monthly income, but I am not a big spender and have been able to save a lot of money in the past.) I also want roommates who will provide a better social experience than the roommates in the $1250 place. But I would need a place with a room that is not small, and definitely one without a noise problem.
posted by catquas to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
If I were you, I'd grab that place and give yourself time to really search for the ideal place to live. If nothing else, it sounds like somewhere you could absolutely be content, if not thrilled, indefinitely, if you never find something better.
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:23 PM on October 20, 2010

The place you have lined up sounds like a pretty decent deal, especially considering the commute which will save you money and create extra social time.

With roommates I feel like you should be able to get a good place for under 1k, judging from

I was looking for my own place, so my strategy was to research property management companies on yelp and whatnot (taken with a grain of salt, because ratings bias goes both ways) and then I called to company that looked the best and they did the rest as far as setting up viewings.
posted by Skwirl at 2:38 PM on October 20, 2010

Consider the cost of commuting if you end up farther away from your work. Metro fares have gone up recently, and will likely go up more; the ~$50 a week that I spent on Metro could have gone to a walkable apartment closer in with no net loss.
posted by charmcityblues at 2:46 PM on October 20, 2010

Renting in DC is expensive and everyone has there own comfort/luxury level of what they look for in apartments, but I don't think that you should have any trouble finding an apartment in your price range. I pay less than that for a decent --although admittedly charmless studio--and it includes all of my utilities. I am living just outside DC in Silver Spring, which wouldn't be everyone's choice and I don't blame you for spending more to be in the city. My desire not to have roommates is stronger than my desire to live in the thick of things although I wish that I could do that to. My point is that I see apartments with rents in the range that you've listed without any roommates (and not just in the scary, skanky parts of D.C.).

So while I don't know what else you'll be able to find and without knowing what perks if any, the apartment you're considering includes, I would not consider a $1250 without utilities and with roommates that you don't seem to think you're going to gel with as an unmissable opportunity.
posted by kaybdc at 3:00 PM on October 20, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers so far!

kaybdc: I'm a government employee so I get my metro commute covered if I have one. Also, I think you are right that I can find a great place for less. I am more wondering whether I can find it within the next week or so.
posted by catquas at 3:08 PM on October 20, 2010

Response by poster: Oops sorry, the first part of the comment was for charmcityblues
posted by catquas at 3:17 PM on October 20, 2010

Take it. I wrote about my experiences looking for housing in DC here. It's a long, exhausting process, and you might as well do it from the comfort of a place in the District. This will also give you the chance to settle in and get comfortable before you start your job. And it'll give you time to explore neighborhoods and see what you like.
posted by wholebroad at 3:34 PM on October 20, 2010

You can find a great place for much less than $1200 a month. Don't restrict yourself to Northwest.
posted by schmod at 7:00 PM on October 20, 2010

Priceline, about $55 a day.
posted by orthogonality at 10:47 PM on October 20, 2010

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