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Help me find a place to live!

So we’re moving to DC and we need a place to live. Can you help? This is what we are looking for:

  • We’re more inclined to live in DC than surrounding areas (Columbia Heights, U Street, Mount Vernon and Dupont Circle are areas we’re looking at initially), but we would not discard Bethesda, Silver Spring, etc.
  • Virginia is a no. As long as they hate the gays more than the average state we’re not living there.
  • We want to rent not buy. Annual lease sounds good.
  • 1 bedroom with a den would be perfect. 1 bedroom also ok. Studio not so much, we like doors. 2+ bedrooms only if not in the city (as the prices are ridonc)
  • Must accept pets (we have 2 cats)
  • Parking garage highly desirable (Amelia works odd hours so it would make us feel safer)
  • I don’t drive. Walking distance to the metro is important. Red Line is preferable.
  • Amelia works at GW and Prince George’s County so easy access to the roads that lead there is important.
  • Proximity to supermarkets and entertainment is a big plus.

If you have suggestions for neighborhoods or particular places, please leave a note or email me. Thanks!

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David Panarelli said,

June 14, 2011 @ 7:41 am

First off, I’m really happy you’re moving to the area.

Now, a few thoughts on your search. This might be tricky because the rental real estate market is pretty hot, and a lot of folks are looking for the same things you’re looking for.

Are you familiar with this site? http://www.housingmaps.com/
It’s a mash-up of craigslist real estate listings (including rentals) and google maps. It’s pretty handy for the kind of search you’re doing. Bear in mind that locations depicted on the map are dependent on the input from the craigslist post, so if the listing just says “location: washington dc” then the listing will appear to be in the center of the city… on the lawn of the White House.

Having been in the DC real estate rental market before, I can say that it’s challenging to read without understanding your price range. Price can vary wildly across the city.

I’d also recommend prioritizing the proximity to metro and the pet requirements in your search. Being close to metro will generally put you closer to shops, restaurants, etc. and it is crucial if you do not drive. Metro access comes at a premium in this town, but I wouldn’t compromise on this. Additionally, pet requirements are the kind of thing that can be a dealbreaker and you’re not likely to get an apartment building or landlord to make an exception. Also, expect to pay a “pet deposit” up front of a few hundred bucks.

Anyway, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for you. Good luck!

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Livia said,

June 14, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

Thank you! I appreciate the advice. We’ve looked at a few listings with the characteristics I listed here and they seem to be in the $2300-2800 range in the district and about $500-1k cheaper in surrounding areas. The pet rental amounts are highly variable with some crazy ones having things like $800 non-refundable deposit plus $100/month. Nuts.

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Lorelei said,

June 14, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

Congratulations! For red line goodness, I’d try Takoma Park,which might have more of what you want. I know VA sucks for any sane human being, but you might try Arlington, which is a little oasis of lefty happiness w/a ton of rainbow flags.

Personally. I think DC is a hassle to live in, and right outside is better (many will disagree with me). I live in South Arlington, which has an excellent busline to subway, and I can walk to several bars, restaurants, movie theaters, grocery stores, parks and other stuff.

Email me if you want more skinny. I’ll ask my daughter’s gay uncle on some suggestions, as well.

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Livia said,

June 15, 2011 @ 9:56 am

Thanks Lorelei! I’ll definitely take a look at Tacoma Park. The issue with Virginia is not harassment or not feeling welcome on the day-to-day (that’s a problem anywhere). It’s the laws. I’ll ping you as we go on with this search.

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