[geeks] Living in Washington D.C.
rawallis at panix.com
Sat Feb 17 10:54:13 CST 2007
On Feb 17, 2007, at 10:09 AM, Aaron Finley wrote:
> take a liking to me. One division of IBM said "you're hired" within 15
> minutes of beginning the interview and when I was received the offer
> yesterday, I was nearly knocked off my feet.
Congratulations. Which division of IBM is it?
> In any case, the job's duties will be located in the D.C. Metro area.
> I am under the impression that D.C. is an extremely expensive place to
> live. I am not a big city person and have no real desire to actually
> live inside the city. I was looking at apartments in the surrounding
> area, including Rockville and Montogomery County.
I was also a transplant from another area of the country to the DC
area. I live in Gaithersburg and work in Rockville.
The following are the really important questions:
Which town is the IBM plant that you will be working? This will
dictate commute times and affordability. If it is actual DC, taking
Metro(rail)(bus) will be the only viable solution, If this is the
case, prepare to get up early to get a Park and Ride or actual Metro
station parking. Most companies and federal agencies in DC can get
you a discount on Metro passes. Most Metro parking lots fill up quick
in the morning and rest of the day the buzzards will be searching for
spots. If your commutes requires that you hit the Beltway for a long
distance, it might be better to use Metro.
In general, the closer to DC that you are, the more expensive housing
will be. The DC area is still going through the housing speculation
bubble, so prices for homes or rent will be ugly. Montgomery County
is one of the richest counties in the area, along with Fairfax and
Arlington. I would suggest hitting the Post, Times, and Craigslist to
look for roommates or rooms for rent. Rents for single bedrooms in
the Rockville area will start around $1000. While using Metro in the
suburbs sounds like a good idea, it often quicker to drive in from
one suburb to another. Metro is best used going into DC, around it,
or from one edge of metroplex to the other.
If you really want the rural setting, you would have to go out to
Charles, Frederick, Anne Arundel, St. Mary's, northern Prince
George's. or Washington counties in MD.
> It appears that to somewhat duplicate the living style I have now
> (1400 sq. ft townhome), I will be increasing my cost of rent, from
> $450 to around $650-700 (split 1/2 with another person). That's really
> no big deal, but I was curious if any of you have recommendations for
> where to live to commute into D.C. and if any of you live in these
> areas, if you could help me out by giving me an idea of how much
> utilities are going to cost.
Utilities will depend on your lifestyle and living space. Pepco,
Washington Gas, and BG&E have recently raised rates. For a 1 BR with
a SS10 running all the time, A/C and the list comes to about $60-$130
depending on the time or year. Gas goes anywhere between $20-$50 per
month. Water is a non-starter in this area. The cable is usually
Comcast with Verizon pushing our their FTTP in some areas. I don't
know the prices for Dominion Power or the other VA utilities.
> I'm looking for something in a suburbia/rural setting, but which is a
> 15-20 minute drive from a metro line station. I found this while
> searching last night and I was impressed:
Poolesville, Damascus would be up your alley, but the sprawl is
already there. I would suggest going no further than the radius of
Mt. Airy to DC. Once you are beyond that radius, the commutes will
much longer and painful. If you can swing full-time telecommuting,
Darnestown is at the edge of the sprawl. MD-28 is usually bad during
rush hour. If you aren't from around the DC area, listen to WTOP or
WMAL for traffic reports to get a feel for the overall flow. Right
now is a bit unusual given the recent ice storm, but the usual
bottlenecks get mentioned in every traffic report.
> My girlfriend has three more years of university left, so I'm planning
> to continue to apartment live for those three years and be as
> aggressive as possible in my job in order to hopefully buy a house
> immediately upon her graduation.
IBM may still have their Cost of Living increases, but don't pin
anything on getting promoted to get more money for a home. While the
DC area has a stable job market, layoff still happen a lot because of
Federal cutbacks and downturns. Any additional monies that you get
from promotions will often be taken out due to rent increases or
general inflation. The only way to get a lot of money quickly is to
job hop. You can get promotions out of it, but I find it a bit sleazy.
If you are gung-ho for a home, only look at a places with the
following conditions: No House Nazis and where you can make the
payments without needing the tax breaks. If your girlfriend will not
be making the same as you upon graduation, only look at places that
you afford yourself. With that mindset, you can still keep a home and
she will be able to pay for unexpected bills and the like.
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