Finding housing in Washington DC

<p>S2 will be graduating from college in Dec (YAY!) and has a job in DC. He's been going to school there, so he's somewhat familiar with the city. His job is near Dupont Circle and he prefers to live in NW DC. He doesn't have a car, so finding someplace to live with accessible public transportation and walkable amenities (supermarket, drug store, dry cleaners,etc) is important. His budget is probably a max of $1300/month including all utilities, but he'd really like to spend less than that.</p>

<p>He's been looking on craigslist, but so far noone has responded to any of his emails. His school and one of the other DC schools have very limited info and resources for finding housing/roommates.</p>

<p>So far, he's limited his search to NW areas along Conn Ave, Wisconsin Ave,Dupont, Adams Morgan, Glover Park, Columbia Heights, Mt. Pleasant. He's not as familiar with the area around Capitol Hill, Eastern Market, Stadium/Armory, which I realize is not NW.</p>

<p>For those of you familiar with DC, are there other areas in DC he should consider that would be safe & accessible?</p>

<p>Also, what other resources are there other than craigslist for finding affordable housing (either by himself or in shared situations)?</p>

<p>My sons and daughter had a pickle of a time getting anyone to reply to Craigslist emails when they were hunting hard for apartments in 3 different cities, post-graduation. They became more selective in their reading of the ads to surmise who was desperate to find a roommate very soon, mention of roommates who'd just left others in the lurch or were subletting, that kind of thing. They read ads looking for opportunities to view an apartment (open house) as their chance to lunge for something, bringing checks to the open-house in case they reached agreement and could put down a deposit immediately. They became aware of which part of the month it was, relative to the search. For example, many leases begin the first of the month, which means roommates and landlords become aware they'll need a new roommate or tenant when the last month's rent comes in with notification. Soon after that, they run an ad (so early in the month). If the apartment is good/great, it'll get snapped up then. If there's a problem, they'll still be looking by month's end, say, the week before next month's rent is due in. </p>

<p>Often my kids took the worst room among all the roommates, to get a foothold, and then move up into a better bedroom after the next person moved on. It's more important to like the other roommates than to get the very <em>best</em> room imaginable, they felt.</p>

<p>Since your son has already gone to school and lived in D.C., he should certainly use his Facebook or Twitter to alert his friendship circle that he's looking.</p>

<p>One of my sons who knew the neighborhood he wanted (downtown Los Angeles) had better luck walking the neighborhood, looking for big box apartment buildings and finding the building managers who had office hours. Those apartments never get onto Craigslist. But he was interested in a tiny single, not roommates. It did work out well for him, and six months later he's excited to move to a higher floor in the same building, with a better view.</p>

<p>On Craigslist, instead of writing an email about what a great roomie he'd be, he might focus on getting into the driver's seat to try to let him come over sooner. He could write a bit about his wonderfulness as a roomie but then add, "I'll be right in your neighborhood this week; may I come to view the apartment or meet some of you?" And give his contact information or ask for theirs. Teach him to always leave correspondence with the ball in his own court, so he makes the next call, if possible, rather than awaiting callbacks from others. Sometimes it doesn't work or is impossible, but that should be his goal in the email.</p>

<p>Is he in a dorm now?
It may be too soon for Craigslist if his housing needs are for late Dec./Jan, unless he is willing to pay rent from now to secure his spot.</p>

<p>Foggy Bottom, near GWU, is safe and accessible to the metro. It's just south of Dupont Circle (walking distance really). There are both apartments and condos for rent, including studios which are a little less expensive than bigger apartments. It's not cheap though. </p>

<p>Craigslist seems to be one of the better ways to find a place. Search under housing with the keywords 'Foggy Bottom'.</p>

<p>Check out the VanNess area --it's close to DuPont but a little less expensive. He can also check out the McLean Gardens area near AU. Which leads to another idea--a lot of students in off campus apartments will be leaving for study abroad and seeking someone to sublet their share of their apartments...has he looked in student newspapers?</p>

<p>S lived in Capitol Hill his first year out of school. He liked it. It was within walking distance to Union Station and the red (??) line. It was quite affordable and safe. Now he lives right near Eastern Market. This, too, is very affordable and there are lots of amenities close by.</p>

<p>I wonder whether he might have better luck answering Craigslist ads for roommates in Metro-accessible parts of Arlington, such as Pentagon City. It's not, technically, DC, but the commute is reasonable. It would be important to check, though, about the availability of amenities in particular neighborhoods. Crystal City, for example, has no supermarket.</p>

<p>Also, is there any chance that he could increase his budget for housing a little by cutting back on other things? For less than $200 more than your son is willing to pay, it's quite possible to get a studio apartment in the Connecticut Avenue corridor, which is a very nice area with three Metro stations and all the amenities.</p>

<p>Check out It consolidates listings from various sites, including Craigslist, while letting you adjust search parameters (rent, bdrms, baths), it shows you all of the results on a map. It's available for DC. We used it to find my son's apt in Chicago last May.</p>

<p>How about Montgomery County MD just inside the Beltway? Silver Springs, Bethesda & Chevy Chase have Metro Stations and plenty of shopping options in their downtowns. Takoma Park is another suggestion, but I don't think there's a grocery store near the Metro. The Ride-on system is good and feeds into the Metro Stations from areas that aren't walking distance. (I'm from Kensington - another place to look for a house share, although it may be a bit older than what he wants, but there is a MARC station downtown)</p>

<p>Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll pass them along to him.</p>

<p>paying3tuitions, I appreciate the advice on replying to craigslist ads. I'm not sure how he's responded to the ads, but obviously he could use some suggestions for getting noticed. I've also suggested he walk around desired neighborhoods, but I don't think he's done that.</p>

<p>He needs to be out of the dorm at the end of this semester, but he's willing to sign a lease starting Dec 1 so he doesn't have to deal with storing his stuff until Jan1.</p>

<p>Right now, he's not willing to consider VA or MD, but he knows he may have to eventually.</p>

<p>Since he'll have a full-time job, he's hoping not to room with undergrads whose schedules will conflict with his, but this may also be a preference he has to abandon.</p>

<p>Please keep the suggestions coming. It's been frustrating for me to have to assist him from long distance, but this is part of growing up for him.</p>

<p>My d2 rented a condo with 3 colleagues in the SW waterfront area until this past August. It was convenient to the L'Enfant metro station (about a 6-block walk), and was a more affordable option than those they found in NW. It wouldn't be ideal for your son because the metro to Dupont requires a transfer; still, he could find something comfortably within $1300 in the area where my d lived.</p>

<p>My d's living arrangement was a 4-BR, 3.5 bath condo, smallish but very nicely maintained, in a decent neighborhood. She opted for the 3rd-smallest room and sharing a bath, so she paid only $800/month plus utilities for a very nice living arrangement. The person who took the master BR-bath paid maybe $1100? All worked long hours and had lots of work to do at home, but the common areas provided work space for everyone.</p>

Right now, he's not willing to consider VA or MD, but he knows he may have to eventually.


<p>It's not the jurisdiction that matters, it's how close you are to the Metro and how far you have to ride on the Metro to get to work. </p>

<p>On the Maryland side, Bethesda and Chevy Chase are expensive. Silver Spring, not so much. College Park might also be an option. </p>

<p>My daughter works in DC. I was kind of hoping she would end up living in Virginia because she plans to go to graduate school later on, and there are attractive grad school options in Virginia that would be cheaper if she was a Virginia resident. But she ended up living in the District. Oh, well.</p>

<p>Quite a few of the young people she works with live in Virginia. The others live in the District. Nobody lives in Maryland -- apparently, it's too long a commute to the affordable areas.</p>

<p>My D did find her DC apartment via Craigslist, as did my S. For both, the key seemed to be looking 2-3 weeks before they wanted to move, no sooner. Since your S is in DC he can jump on open houses etc., which was much more difficult from a distance. Both of my kids had to go camp out in DC for almost a week, going nightly to see apartments, meet potential roommates etc. As others have said, he will have more luck closer to his projected move-in date. My S lived in Columbia Heights and paid about $900 plus utilities (3 years ago) for a room in a shared house. My D lives in Eastern Market and pays a bit more than that for a room in a 3 bedroom duplex in a row house. Eastern Market is tough for a Dupont office because there is no easy Red line nearby. Good luck!</p>

<p>S found an apt share via Craigslist for his internship last winter. He got a large room in a very convenient place in Crystal City with a congenial room mate for about $1000/month, no utilities. He didn't have any problem getting replies. </p>

<p>It was necessary to look somewhat closer to the time of moving in than made ME comfortable.</p>

<p>Runnersmom & Consolation: I'm assuming there will be more activity on craigslist the closer he gets to his move in date, but, yes, as an obsessive planner, waiting that late is very uncomfortable for me.</p>

<p>I appreciate everyone's help and advice.</p>

<p>D had a good-size bedroom in a 2BR apt. in Rosslyn, a couple of blocks from the Metro (Blue and Orange lines), for $900/mo. when she had an internship last year. Yes it was VA, but in a pleasant area with shops, and very conveniently located for her - only one stop and a few minutes' walk away from her office near Foggy Bottom.</p>

<p>D had a room in a house near the Tenleytown metro station. Don't recall the $$$ but it was a nice deal, a couple blocks to the station and lots of needs nearby (Whole Foods, CVS, drycleaner, etc.). She also lived in Maryland (agree with the ones saying don't go there) and Glover Park. </p>

<p>He has to go to the open houses and act friendly but not too friendly.</p>

<p>The City Paper (free rag) website lists apt shares: </p>

<p>Shared</a> Housing | Housing | Classifieds | Post an Ad | Washington City Paper</p>

<p>I lived in DC after graduation, and when I first moved down, I was in a townhouse way out in Falls Church (but close to a metro stop). I must have had a month to month lease, because within 3 months I had hooked up with friends and had a house in Glover Park.</p>

<p>zoeygoggie: Acting too friendly won't be his problem. He's kind of shy & I'm more concerned that he'll heardly stand out at all at an open house.</p>

<p>Lennon: Thanks for the info on the City Paper. I'll pass that along to my son.</p>

<p>IllinoisMom: Forgot to thank you for the suggestion of Even though alot of what they have is also on craigslist, it's nice to see it all mapped out.</p>

<p>I knew I'd get some good suggestions from the people on CC.</p>

<p>There is a company in DC that specializes in renovating very old apartment buildings and renting them out. Their rents tend to be lower than those of other buildings in the same neighborhoods.</p>

<p>Some of their buildings are located in places where I wouldn't even go in the daytime. But in other cases, they are simply the shabbiest buildings in a nice area. </p>

<p>I do not know whether these people are good landlords. I don't know anyone who has rented from them. But maybe someone else here is familiar with the company.</p>

<p>Apartment</a> Rentals | Washington DC </p>

<p>I'm suggesting this option because renting directly from a landlord, unlike going to open houses, does not require an outgoing personality. It requires a deposit and a decent credit rating (and the latter can be that of a parent who signs as guarantor).</p>