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Washington, DC and Maryland suburbs

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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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On 3/9/2018 at 5:29 AM, xyz234 said:

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.

Thank you. 

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18 minutes ago, serret1993 said:

Hi folks!

Do you think a monthly budget of 1860 dollars (including rent, groceries, transportation, personal expenses etc.) is enough to live in DC? 

Broadly speaking yes, but it depends where you want to live, what kind of situation (housemates?), etc. You should be able to get a decent room in a shared house for ~$1,000 p/month. It may be a couple hundred higher during peak housing season or in an especially in-demand area, but I would think that still leaves you enough room for other expenses technically speaking.

This doesn't mean it will be easy. I would think your budget is basically going to be entirely taken up by expenses every month and that is a tough life. But it is doable if you're ok with that for however many years.

Edited by xyz234

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Hi all, 

I'll be attending GWU in the fall, but live overseas and won't be able to arrive to DC until early August. I'm wondering what the housing market is like in DC - there is a large student/intern population, but also a huge population of people who simply live and work in DC, and are moving all the time. If I found temporary housing when I first arrived, do you all think it's realistic to be able to find something once I'm on the ground, or will everything good for graduate students be snatched up by then? If I need to look earlier, when should I start? Seems like most things available now are renting for summer sublets. 

I am eager to find something but wary of sending a deposit or making a decision from far away, when I don't know DC or its neighborhoods at all. That being said, if it's the kind of city where everything gets snatched up well in advance, I should probably get a move on and see if I can get some help from people on the ground. 

Thanks in advance to those who know! 

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@kaban2018 - I've lived in the GWU neighborhood for the last three years because my office is nearby. The DC rental market turns over pretty fast. They only require 30 days notice to vacate, and your landlord is required to allow you to go month-to-month after your initial lease is up. Craigslist is the best way to search for housing (that I've found), but beware of scams. Don't trust anyone who says they can't show you the place but can send you pictures, and be aware that anything that seems too good to be true probably is.

When I moved to DC I sublet for 2 or 3 months to give me some time to get settled. That being said, most rentals come available in May and August as students and interns are moving in and out, so you should be right on time! There are a lot of studios in Foggy Bottom, but they tend to be a bit pricey. You can also rent a room in a shared house, which tends to be cheaper. You also may find better deals in Glover Park or Burleith-Hillandale, which are just north of Georgetown. There is reliable bus service between these neighborhoods and GWU/Foggy Bottom.

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I've just been accepted to an MA program at American University and have started looking around for housing and was hoping to hear the experiences of previous AU grad students. I have spent summers in DC as an intern but always lived right in the Capitol Hill area. I'd like to find somewhere a bit out of the city, both to be closer to campus and to try to reduce living costs a bit. I was wondering what neighborhoods AU students have found to be good for commuting to campus without breaking the bank.

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dear htudoas713,

I'm a current MPAP student at AU, living in Bethesda. While my program is online, I've been down to campus a few times. I have lived in MD for 10 years and have a car. (Which I drive. A lot. Much driving.)

AU has a terrific shuttle service going to/from the Tenleytown Metro Station.  As you can see, only WMATA's red line serves that Metro Station.  If I were you, I'd search on Craigslist and use the term "red" or "red line" to find a shared housing situation or whatever type of housing you seek. That being said, I live in Bethesda, which is Montgomery County and is terrifically expensive. I live in a single family house, with 3 other unrelated adults, one of whom is a recent graduate of AU.  Here's a red line map. In my opinion, most of the out-of-DC stops would be just fine. In fact, the only DC stops that I would hesitate or tell you to explore a lot are Brookland and Rhode Island Avenue. But that's simple because I don't know, not because they're considered bad areas.

 

I thought @iwearflowers

post above from May 3, 2018, was insightful. Beware of scams on craigslist, but I have rented an apartment from a private landlord, sight unseen in Maryland. I drove across the country with  my two dogs, had to detour to Philadelphia to pick up the keys, and LOVED the apartment and lived there for two years without much trouble.

Best of luck!

Lori Hopkins

 

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Hi, I am thinking to accept an offer from UMD, College Park. I just wanted to know some features of College Park. Housing, cost of living, transportation etc. Thanks!

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@LoriHopkins

Thank you for the detailed answer. The shuttle between campus and the Tenleytown station is good to know about. That will definitely make my decision to live somewhere along the red line much easier as opposed to looking for something closer to campus. I've localized a lot of my searching to the Cleveland Park area so far. It seems there are a great number of apartment complexes all grouped together there, all within a very quick walking distance to the metro. Thanks again!

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