One of the hardest things we have to do right now is find a new apartment. It’s a hard decision, as we weigh living in better neighborhoods with saving money, as we try to strike a balance that will be comfortable if Chad doesn’t find work for a while, but isn’t so dumpy that we’ll we regret the decision once Chad starts working.
We’ve narrowed our decision to three places:
#1 is a gorgeous apartment complex within walking distance to Old Town Alexandria. I’ve wanted to live in Old Town ever since I stayed here for business in 2007, and every time I ask for advice on where to live, people tell me Old Town is the best. Old Town is full of restaurants and shops, and is a popular place for people to go out on weekends. The apartment is pretty small – 711 sq. ft. – but has hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances. Our room would look out over the tops of some restaurants to a busy main road. In addition to rent, you have to pay to park in their garage, or pray that you find a spot on the small stretch of curb out front. If money were no object, we’d probably live here; on 2 salaries we could definitely afford it. Total cost: $1785 per month + $100 per month for parking.
#2 is about a 5 minute drive from Old Town Alexandria. It’s in a high rise off a busy highway, right near entrances to the freeway, and very close to a Metro stop. It’s larger than the one in Old Town by about 100 sq. ft. and has new appliances. It looks out over the busy road, and has giant grey radiators in every room. We probably would have scratched it off the list, except for the fact that it’s the cheapest place we looked at. It has some unique amenities (such as a shuttle to the grocery store on Saturdays, and some essential businesses – like a dry cleaner – on site). Parking is free. Total cost: $1300 per month.
#3 is considerably farther from Old Town, but is literally 2 miles from where I work, which would be nice as it means Chad could have the car during the day. The neighborhood is decent, although you probably couldn’t walk to anything. It’s less centrally-located than the other 2 paces, meaning if Chad got a job in downtown DC, he would have a pretty long commute. There is a Metro stop about a mile away. The one-bedrooms are TINY, but we could get a one bedroom with a loft for a decent price. They have free parking, and allow pets for an extra non-refundable deposit and additional rent. Total cost: $1500 per month.
If Chad was working, I would say we should live in Old Town. We’ll only be young once, and once we decide to settle down (you know, have kids and all that) we’ll have plenty of time to live in the suburbs. With just my salary, though, ANY of these is a stretch of the PF rule to not spend more than 30% of your income on housing.
Any recommendations? Leave your thoughts in the comments!