How can I find an affordable apartment in DC?
April 18, 2005 8:38 PM   Subscribe

A friend is moving to DC and is trying to find a 2 bedroom apartment in a cool, trendy area (read: in DC/NW, metro-accessable) but she doesn't have a lot of money to spend. Any tips for finding a good place at a bargain? She's exhausted craigslist, the Post classifieds, the City Paper...any suggestions?
posted by chos to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I live in DC and nothing beats just walking around the neighborhoods you might be interested in, which is how I found my apartment. I live in Woodley Park, which isn't all that trendy, but is in walking distance of cooler neighborhoods.

There are only a limited number of trendy neighborhoods in DC and most of them are expensive (ex: Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, U St.). Your friend might want to consider Columbia Heights, which sort of bleeds into Adam Morgan. Some parts have become expensive, but the deeper you go into that neighborhood, the cheaper it gets (and the more run down it gets as well). That goes for Mt. Pleasant as well. Those two areas would probably be the best places to focus your search. There is a green line metro stop nearby.
posted by Falconetti at 9:37 PM on April 18, 2005

i second mt pleasant, a little farther from metro, and not that much parking so it's cheaper...

Also check out Brookland, by Catholic, it's not as "trendy" or pretty, but it's metro accessible, cheap, but still safe and
posted by stratastar at 11:03 PM on April 18, 2005

It's also the case that trying to find a good apartment on a tight timeframe, from afar, is more difficult than doing it at your leisure when you already live in the area. If she runs out of time, she could get a lesser apartment somewhere like Silver Spring and take up the search again once she gets there.
posted by redfoxtail at 6:27 AM on April 19, 2005

DC Craigslist's apartments section is full of price-gougers who think 12th and P St NW is still considered "Dupont Circle." I've found that a plain old classifieds and search works wonders, but exploring neighborhoods in person is still the best thing.
posted by brownpau at 6:32 AM on April 19, 2005

There are no cheap apartments in DC. Move to Baltimore and take the train.
posted by electroboy at 6:32 AM on April 19, 2005

I live in Columbia Heights, four blocks from a metro station and about 18 blocks from Dupont. It’s a central location and the cheapest area to live in. However, a nine year old boy got shot in the face on my block a few weeks ago, and there have been crimes in the area that make the neighborhood less than desirable. The really “trendy” area is Mount Pleasant, and it remains somewhat affordable because there is no close metro station.
posted by modavis at 6:58 AM on April 19, 2005

Petworth is also up-and-coming, which means it's still affordable, but slightly dicey. I have a friend, a single woman, who just bought a house there, and she hasn't had any trouble, though. MsMoonPie and I just bought a place in "Capitol Hill East," which is really the RFK Stadium area. It's affordable, by DC standards, at least. I'd also suggest "Capitol Hill North," which is the H-Street corridor/Gallaudet University area, and near the new Florida Avenue Metro station.

In any of these areas, including Mt. Pleasant and others listed above, you really need to visit the block to judge its desirablility. Things can change very quickly.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:27 AM on April 19, 2005

I just moved from Mt. Pleasant and i loved living there. She may want to consider living in a group home which are abundant in Mt. Pleasant. It will really be much cheaper than renting her own two bedroom apartment and being in that area, she can walk to the metro and to adams morgan bars and restaurants. i know this suggestion isn't addressing the apartment issue, but if she doesn't have a lot of money to spend, it may be worth a shot.
posted by battlecj at 7:27 AM on April 19, 2005

not DC, but parts of arlington around the metro are quite trendy & exciting and you can walk across the bridge into georgetown, unless you're lazy. i haven't paid rent in DC/environs in some time (we had a two bedroom house for 900/mo about five years ago), but from what my friends still in the area say, she's going to have a difficult time finding a cheap two-bedroom anywhere not depressing to live in either the district proper or the close-in parts of NoVa/MD.

i'd suggest grabbing a roommate needed from craiglist for a few months, while she pounds payment to find something she wants.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:49 AM on April 19, 2005

She could get a lesser apartment somewhere like Silver Spring and take up the search again once she gets there.

She'll have plenty of time for the search, like a year, due to the standard lease DC-area renters are forced to accept. In other areas I've lived (ie California) the lease isn't the given it is in DC. If palatable, the 'roomate needed' option would probably offer mre flexibility. (BTW, Silver Spring wouldn't be that bad an area to begin one's DC experience, it has a Metro station as well as the great new AFI cinemas.)
posted by Rash at 9:41 AM on April 19, 2005

Looking while here will be way easier. She may want to look into the local affordable hostels and plan on spending a few weeks in one while looking. Though if she's the type to rent a 2br for just herself perhaps that's not really her style...
posted by phearlez at 10:39 AM on April 19, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions. I should have been more clear, she is looking for a place and already has a roommate who she'd like to live with. Looking for a 2BR is making it more difficult than if she was looking on her own. I appreciate the advice!
posted by chos at 2:44 PM on April 19, 2005

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