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Washington, DC and Maryland suburbs

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8 minutes ago, Eshtah said:

I am an international student and will be attending Georgetown as well. I was wondering on what websites people usually search for an apartment and if there are any offline resources. Anything would be helpful! And how early will you start looking? 

Hi Eshtah, congrats on your acceptance to Georgetown! That makes the three of us on this thread accepted to Georgetown. I don't know of any offline tools unless it's a personal network of friends or contacts. One of the main online tools to use for apartment hunting that I used when I lived in DC and that people recommend is Cragislist, which has a dedicated DC page: https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/ (its barebones design can throw people off, but it's a legit website and it works! Though beware of scammers.)

Most apartments or sublets become available a month or a few weeks before the tenant is expected to move in.

I plan to start the search process in earnest a couple of weeks or a few days ahead of my arrival. That gives me time to schedule a visit to the unit and see it firsthand as soon as I arrive.

Some apartment complexes have leasing offices, so you might have better luck dealing with them. They have greater flexibility about start dates, apartment visits, etc.

If you want to share the space, DC is full of grad students and young professionals (20- and 30-somethings) who live in shared spaces. The rent, naturally, is lower in these arrangements and you usually get good roommates, though tales of inconsiderate or messy roommates are not unknown.

Best of luck!

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I will be a graduate student at GWU this coming fall, and am looking to rent in NW Washington. For those of you with experience renting in DC, do you think $1000/month is a reasonable budget for a shared apt with 2-3 roommates in this area? Like within a 30-minute walking radius of GW? I've heard it can be done but honestly I am having trouble finding anything online that looks like it would be in this price range. 

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Hello, everyone

I will also be attending Georgetown in the Fall! I have been looking for apartments/studios/rooms on Craigslist, Padmapper and Georgetown's housing website for some time now, just to have a good idea of the possibilities. They posted on the Facebook group for incoming students that Georgetown is finalizing an agreement for graduate housing at two locations in Northern Virginia, so we'll see about that...

Ideally, I wish I could find an affordable room (below $1000, utilities not included) not so far from the main campus (30/40 min walk max), but my boyfriend will be moving in with me and most people seem not to be fond of the idea of having two people share a room (although we would obviously pay double for the utilities). In addition, we'll be moving from overseas, so we can't really schedule apartment visits and naturally most landlords (and current tenants) want to meet their prospective tenants/housemates before making any decisions. So it is very likely we will have to get a studio, which is at least $1300/1400 :( I really hope we can find something cheaper, we are on a very tight budget.

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1 hour ago, hlsny said:

I will be a graduate student at GWU this coming fall, and am looking to rent in NW Washington. For those of you with experience renting in DC, do you think $1000/month is a reasonable budget for a shared apt with 2-3 roommates in this area? Like within a 30-minute walking radius of GW? I've heard it can be done but honestly I am having trouble finding anything online that looks like it would be in this price range. 

It's been about 5 years since I lived in DC, but even back then finding rent under 1K a month was challenging. It can be done if you happen to get lucky - I'd join and keep an eye out on student housing listservs and DC housing facebook groups. If you're willing to expand your geographical radius, apartments in VA - especially past Clarendon, tend to be cheaper - check around Virginia Sq/Ballston and Crystal City.

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13 hours ago, pandalove said:

In addition, we'll be moving from overseas, so we can't really schedule apartment visits and naturally most landlords (and current tenants) want to meet their prospective tenants/housemates before making any decisions. 

Congrats on getting into Georgetown! Exciting times.

I'm in much the same boat as you in that I'll be moving from overseas. The rent for studio apartments are also quite unreasonable as you mentioned. But in case you missed it, there's a thread on these forums about managing remote renting with some excellent pointers from current and former students. Best of luck and hope to maybe see you on campus!

 

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@Moccalatte Yes, there is public transportation from Columbia MD to University of Maryland, College Park. 

Depending on where you reside in Columbia MD, you would need to take at least 3 buses and it will take a little over 2 hours each way.

You can take a combination of buses and metro rail and that should take you about 1 hour and 45 minutes each way.

If you are attending UMD and planning on living in Columbia MD and taking public transportation, you may want to consider moving a bit closer to College Park. 

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What are cheap yet nice neighborhoods that are one bus or metro away from UMD? Is there any neighborhood that is similar to Columbia but closer to UMD?

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Hello all,

I am also going to attend Georgetown and I am looking for apartments fairly nearby. But, I just found out many landlords require that potential tenants earn somewhere between 2-3 times their monthly rent in monthly salary. That means that if I earned $28,000 per year (the amount of my stipend is $28,000), I couldn't expect to rent any place that costs more than $1,160. But from what I can tell, I need to pay at least $1500 for a studio or 1 bedroom in areas closer to Georgetown. Is there any way I can get a rental without meeting the income requirement? (Since I am an international student and my family is in Korea, I cannot get a guarantor in the US.)

Thanks in advance!

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On 3/28/2017 at 0:42 AM, pandalove said:

Hello, everyone

I will also be attending Georgetown in the Fall! I have been looking for apartments/studios/rooms on Craigslist, Padmapper and Georgetown's housing website for some time now, just to have a good idea of the possibilities. They posted on the Facebook group for incoming students that Georgetown is finalizing an agreement for graduate housing at two locations in Northern Virginia, so we'll see about that...

Ideally, I wish I could find an affordable room (below $1000, utilities not included) not so far from the main campus (30/40 min walk max), but my boyfriend will be moving in with me and most people seem not to be fond of the idea of having two people share a room (although we would obviously pay double for the utilities). In addition, we'll be moving from overseas, so we can't really schedule apartment visits and naturally most landlords (and current tenants) want to meet their prospective tenants/housemates before making any decisions. So it is very likely we will have to get a studio, which is at least $1300/1400 :( I really hope we can find something cheaper, we are on a very tight budget.

Congrats on your acceptance!! I will also be attending Georgetown this fall (my subfield is sociolinguistics!) So glad to see someone who is going to attend GU linguistics department! It is so hard for me to find the right place at the right price :(

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On 3/29/2017 at 3:54 PM, Moccalatte said:

What are cheap yet nice neighborhoods that are one bus or metro away from UMD? Is there any neighborhood that is similar to Columbia but closer to UMD?

I'm not familiar with Columbia, but my friend lives in the Greenbelt area and loves it. 

Also yes, finding studios in D.C. under $1400ish will be very hard, if they're around $1100 or below, they will usually have income limits, which might not be an issue on a grad stipend. A group house room around $1000 is much more do-able, but location dependent. I always plug biking in D.C. to get around the city and immediate suburbs! The infrastructure is always getting better, and the biking community is super awesome and active. 

Lastly, I know this is potentially creepy, but my group house has rooms opening up late spring! And my room will be open starting August! We're in Petworth (residential, a little far out from downtown, but great community), a 10 minute walk from the Green/Yellow line, rents around $800, 6 people in total but spread across three floors and three bathrooms. One roommate has done grad school and UMD and Georgetown, another did undergrad at GW. Feel free to PM me if you're interested or have D.C. questions in general. 

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Does anyone who is currently attending UMCP (or used to attend) mind sharing what he or she thinks about staying in the following residential areas (in terms of safety etc.)? Thanks!

1. Pontiac St/48th Avenue (next to Baltimore Ave and near Best Western Plus)

2. Nantucket Rd/Rhode Island Ave area (near Hollywood Elementary School/Hollywood Plaza) 

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19 hours ago, pureint16 said:

Does anyone who is currently attending UMCP (or used to attend) mind sharing what he or she thinks about staying in the following residential areas (in terms of safety etc.)? Thanks!

1. Pontiac St/48th Avenue (next to Baltimore Ave and near Best Western Plus)

2. Nantucket Rd/Rhode Island Ave area (near Hollywood Elementary School/Hollywood Plaza) 

These two areas aren't terribly far apart. The deeper (further off Baltimore Ave) into the neighborhoods you go, the better. This is a hotspot for activity, both in terms of student traffic and crime.

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I am using an iPhone 7plus in Japan and I am going to keep using my phone after I move to DC this August. I am planning to use a pre-paid plan with my current cell phone to save money.  I am thinking of using AT&T, so I would like to know how the coverage is in Washington, D.C. I'm going to look at a coverage map anyway, but I would like to hear from people who travel to D.C. often or that live there. 

Thank you!

Edited by ChemiDude

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My husband and I took a jaunt up to College Park and were highly disappointed. We live in Alexandria, VA (so we may have high standards--Old Town is amazing) so if he gets into UMD, he'd frankly rather commute the hour and a half by metro rather than live there.

The campus itself is beautiful, though!

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I'm planning a trip from Florida to UMD for the HESP open house at UMD - College Park along with my girlfriend.  I'm only planning on being at/around campus for one day and will be driving directly there from my grandparents' house in Richmond.  That said, I really want to have some idea of what the town would be like if I were to attend school there.  Anyone have recommendations for some typical college-y stuff to check out since we'll be there anyways?  I'd love to hear about any good study spots as I will have some studying to do while I'm there anyways, as well as inexpensive restaurants.  Yes, there's TripAdvisor, but it only takes you so far and I want to know what it's like from a students perspective.

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Silly question maybe, but is college park the same area that the medical school campus is at?  Thanks

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On 1/11/2018 at 2:37 PM, GCBrittany said:

Silly question maybe, but is college park the same area that the medical school campus is at?  Thanks

nope, UMD med school (also law, dental, pharm, and nursing) is up in Baltimore. College Park is right outside of DC. 

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On 1/10/2018 at 5:48 PM, LuftMensch said:

I'm planning a trip from Florida to UMD for the HESP open house at UMD - College Park along with my girlfriend.  I'm only planning on being at/around campus for one day and will be driving directly there from my grandparents' house in Richmond.  That said, I really want to have some idea of what the town would be like if I were to attend school there.  Anyone have recommendations for some typical college-y stuff to check out since we'll be there anyways?  I'd love to hear about any good study spots as I will have some studying to do while I'm there anyways, as well as inexpensive restaurants.  Yes, there's TripAdvisor, but it only takes you so far and I want to know what it's like from a students perspective.

I did my undergrad at UMD! I mostly studied on campus in academic buildings, so I'm afraid I'm not super helpful in that aspect. However, I know that Vigilante Coffee is a solid study spot. Not technically in College Park, but Hyattsville is right up the road. The Starbucks in College Park is also a popular study spot. As far as food, if you like pho, Pho Thom is bomb and tbh I still make the schlep from DC to CP for their pho. Board and Brew is a fun board game cafe, that's always a good time if you're into that. Milkboy Arthouse is a great happy hour/low key evening spot, there are fewer freshmen there than some of the other bars and they also have some shows and stuff. Blaze Pizza, Bagel Place, Bobby's Burger Palace, Jason's Deli, and Aroy Thai are all popular places to eat and they're all pretty cheap and decent. Hope this helps! 

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Frankly, when I visited College Park, I didn't find it to be the most appealing place in the world. It seems that many, if not most, students commute from other areas, such as Hyattsville, Silver Spring, D.C., etc. My husband has an interview there and if he were to end up going to College Park, we would 100% not live there. We'd stay here in adorable Old Town Alexandria, VA.

Personally, I would check out the campus, which is truly beautiful, and maybe visit other areas rather than sticking around College Park. Just my two cents!

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 Looking for neighborhood recommendations in or around Washington, DC. It would involve moving there with my partner for 5 or 6 years, so I'd like to invest some time in getting to know the different neighborhoods. I'm lucky to have a partner that has her CPA and works in the financial industry, so we are looking to buy some real estate to live in as a short-term investment.

Any insight on the different neighborhoods surrounding Washington, DC would be greatly appreciated!

Edited by diter91

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25 minutes ago, diter91 said:

 Looking for neighborhood recommendations in or around Washington, DC. It would involve moving there with my partner for 5 or 6 years, so I'd like to invest some time in getting to know the different neighborhoods. I'm lucky to have a partner that has her CPA and works in the financial industry, so we are looking to buy some real estate to live in as a short-term investment.

Any insight on the different neighborhoods surrounding Washington, DC would be greatly appreciated!

Alexandria is really wonderful -- it has a little bit of everything: Old Town, Carlyle, Del Ray, parks, water, and city life. Depending on how active you are, everything is pretty much within walking distance (which is rare considering the standard DMV sprawl!). If you know where to look, cost of living is also decent, and your neighbors will probably be pretty respectful/quiet, seeing as there are a lot of military and government workers who reside there (in addition to several academics). Certain parts of Arlington are also pretty rad. 

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A decent nearby town is Alexandria, VA, very close to the mall (15 minute drive no traffic), as others have pointed out. It is more reasonably priced than in D.C. itself. I pay around $1700/mo. for my two bedroom townhouse. I live in the West End area (aka NOT Old Town, which is very pricey), and I have liked it. It is helpful to have a car in this area, but public transportation is a viable option--lots of buses and then metro. Real estate is INCREDIBLY expensive. I'm not sure I would ever consider buying. You don't get much for your money. I mean, renting isn't better either. The housing market is very ridiculous around the entire metro area.

As for our town, Old Town is great to enjoy a night out or a weekend afternoon. There is the waterfront and plenty of parks. The Del Rey neighborhood has GREAT food and is small and cozy. Try Holy Cow there if you'd like the best burger ever. We are short drives to a great mall, Pentagon City; the actual mall and monuments in downtown D.C.; and only an hour or so from Baltimore.

If you can afford it, I would look on the VA side mostly. Things are more conveniently located, as far as grocery stores and gas stations go. I looked in Maryland prior to moving, and it was largely food deserts with no groceries for miles. It was hard to find basic things, like a post office. I feel like it is easy to learn Alexandria and the surrounding area, and all the things you need are close by.

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Maybe someone has answered this -- is it rational to not have a car? I will be staying in Howard's student apartments for the first semester for convenience sake and I don't know if bringing a car is in the cards.

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On 3/7/2018 at 3:13 PM, LexHex said:

Maybe someone has answered this -- is it rational to not have a car? I will be staying in Howard's student apartments for the first semester for convenience sake and I don't know if bringing a car is in the cards.

You should be completely fine. I assume you'll be attending Howard, so you won't have to worry about a commute, and Howard is close to the Shaw/Howard metro stop. I've lived my entire life in DC without a car, so it is definitely doable.

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