Where to move to, outside D.C area?

Old May 1st, 2006, 01:40 PM
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Where to move to, outside D.C area?

Hi Fodorites,

My husband and I are looking to relocate from Colorado to the D.C area or surrounding areas. He will be working in downtown D.C and I am a high school teacher. Any helpful suggestions as to where would be a good place to live? I have been told that D.C itself is not where I would want to be teaching (too dangerous), and too expensive, but maybe this is not correct. I would be most thankful for any advice!

Regards, Jade
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Old May 1st, 2006, 02:03 PM
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Most important question: How much do you want to spending on housing.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 02:19 PM
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Hi Mike,

Well considering that I am a school teacher (in other words, poor ), as little as we can get away with to live some place beautiful and safe! My husband will be making early 50's. We will be looking to rent, and have a little beagle.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 02:20 PM
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I should clarify...we HAVE a little beagle, we aren't looking to produce one!
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Old May 1st, 2006, 02:23 PM
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Housing cost is a major issue here. If you don't want to live in the District, choose VA or MD and live as close to the city as you can afford. I live in Arlington, VA and I really like it, but proximity to public transporation is important to me.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 02:56 PM
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In some ways, a lot matters on where YOU work. It will be easy for your husband to get to work, but you don't want to have to commute very far. Have you started a job search at all???

I agree that inside the Beltway is always better than outside the Beltway. That means Arlington, Alexandria, or Falls Church in the Virginia, Bethesda, Silver Spring, inner PG County in Maryland, or you can live in the city (DC). For a one-bedroom apartment, be prepared to pay $1200. A two-bedroom will be closer to $1500.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 02:57 PM
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BTW, as a teacher, you can expect your salary will be in the low $40,000s throughout most of the DC area, if not higher.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 05:13 PM
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Here are two groups of articles from Washingtonian magazine. These are on Virginia vs. Maryland: http://washingtonian.com/schools/vavsmd.html
And these look at specific neighborhoods: http://washingtonian.com/schools/gre...ly.html#family
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Old May 1st, 2006, 11:56 PM
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I am biased bc I live and work in, and my kids go to school in, Fairfax County, VA. (8 miles south of DC; we are in West Springfield High area, my son attends there as will my daughter) and we specifically picked this area over any other around the Beltway and also within Fairfax Co. for the quality and size of the schools relative to housing costs. We went to 6 areas in Fairfax Co. to visit all of the elementary, middle, and high schools beofre settling on this area. Fairfax County Public Schools are generally excellent:

http://www.fcps.k12.va.us/index.shtml

We also love living in the Springfield area. There is a metro stop at Franconia/Springfield w/good parking if one has to commute downtown. And lots of good community aspects (and excellent rec centers w/indoor pools and workout facilities, and parks) here.

www.fairfaxcounty.gov/living/parks



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Old May 1st, 2006, 11:58 PM
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And while housing costs are high, there are many rentals in the area. Many of my kid's friends are military, and find affordable housing (townhouses and single family) here.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 07:51 AM
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If you're buying, your best bet is buying a town house in Crofton, Anne Arundel County, Maryland. I think you can still buy one for $ 250,000. In Crofton, you are in striking distance of Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis. Route 50 will be your husband's gateway to DC. Living in Crofton, you could get a teaching job in Anne Arundel County, Calvert County or Queen Anne's County. Other jurisdictions will be much more expensive- Montgomery County, MD, Arlington, VA, Alexandira, VA and Fairfax County, VA. Prince George's County, MD has deplorable schools and has some of the worst suburban crime rates in the country so you should not consider buying there. I know, I grew up there and am one of the hundreds of thousands who have abandoned Prince George's County in the past two decades. You will not want to teach there, either.

If you decide to rent, you might want to consider Arlington. You're near subway lines and close to Washington without very many of Washington's problems. One warning for an out-of-towner- developers rule northern Virginia and have overdeveloped it to a great extent. Northern Virginia's traffic problems are nightmarish and probably unsolvable.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 07:58 AM
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But the commute into DC from Crofton is horrendous.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 08:09 AM
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As you can tell, Jade, you've asked a very complicated question. A lot depends on what kind of community you want, how much you want to pay, how much time you want to spend commuting, the kind of lifestyle you want, race, socie-economics. Your best bet is to get more firm on your plans, and then spend time here looking at different parts of town.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 08:11 AM
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I pass by the Crofton/Bowie exit at seven in the morning and there is almost never a back-up. It is usually clear sailing. As a native Washingtonian, I know not to take Route 50 all the way into DC where it becomes the traffic jammed New York Avenue. I cut over to Rhode Island Avenue before I reach the city limits. Rhode Island Avenue is a very fast way to get into DC and most non-natives do not use it to good advantage. However, Jade's husband may prefer to take the subway at New Carrollton, just off Route 50, which will enable him to bypass the city traffic. The subway ride from New Carrollton to Farragut West is a about thirty-five minutes.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 08:17 AM
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But you have to get the Metro early enough to get a parking space, plus you have to drive to the Metro from Crofton. So now the trip is easily and hour. Add to that, Crofton is great if you have children (except for the potentially lackluster schools), but if you are a young couple who wants to take advantage of what DC has to offer, it's a heck of the way out.

This is why it is complicated.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 08:25 AM
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MikeT has it right, you have a lot of considerations. And BTW, Fairfax Co has extremely high property taxes, on cars as well as homes (and everything nusiness-related). I assume you'll do extensive visit to the areas and check schools in person before deciding....
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 08:46 AM
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This is actually a very simple question. Simply get a place within WALKING distance of a Metro station ANYWHERE in VA, ANYWHERE in Montgomery County, or any place walking distance to the Cheverly, West Hyattsville, PG Plaza, College Park or Greenbelt stations in Prince George's County.

I would add anyplace within walking distance to ANY Metro station in DC EXCEPT: Potomac Ave, Stadium/Armory, Anacostia, Congress Heights, Benning Rd, Deanwood, or Minnisota Ave.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 08:47 AM
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That's like asking whether its better to live in Cherry Creek, Golden, or Longmont, if you work near Denver's 16th Street Mall!

I came here from Wisconsin to work for the Keddedy Administration and live in Maryland 17 miles from the Capital and almost always worked downtown.

First -- to purchase a "home" (downtown condo or suburban home, it'll cost from 1/2 to one million.

Second: whether to live in VA or MD it does not make a difference. Each have their problems and advantages. [Yes most of DC has a crime problem, and is"old."] While it would be advisable to locate near a subway line (the "Metro") to get downtown (gas, traffic and parking are big problems -- as in any big city) even the "end of the line" parking lots with 2000+ spaces now fill up by 7 am. VA is now the 'hotter" and slightly more expensive real estate market (defense related).

MD has just improved their teacher retirement system (up from 48 to 56%). MD's Montgomery and Howard county's have good school systems. VA's Fairfax Co. is their equal.

For a starter home in an older middle-class neighborhood try Bowie, MD or Springfield,VA. Surely not the ritz, but you'd find people similarly situated to you.

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Old May 2nd, 2006, 09:09 AM
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You should look to rent in a Metro (or other public transportation, like VRE)accessible area. For a combined income of under-$100k annually, you can only afford a condo or small townhouse in the DC region. And the housing slowdown is hitting condos and townhomes the hardest (http://www.thehousingbubbleblog.com). One analyst has predicted up to a 20% price decrease for DC area condos. Better to rent (more economical now anyways) than to buy towards the top of a declining condo market. Also, it will give you both time to figure out what area is best for you. It's a great place to live, but housing can be astronomically expensive and the commutes downtown can be worse. Luckily, I can come in late (11 am) and leave late (9 pm +). My husband, on the other hand, leaves the house before 6 am.
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Old May 2nd, 2006, 09:10 AM
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I agree with Bardo. I'd add that even Potomac Ave. would be a fine hood these days. Also, there are some places which may not be within walking distance, but a quick bus ride where buses come quickly (like South Arlington)
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