singftw wrote:Does anyone who attended the Housing panel during Preview Day remember the main points/tips they talked about? I went on the Aston tour, but of course I'd like to find someplace cheaper and of decent quality, with a reasonable commute.
Sure, I can help. Basically they said (I can back this up and add to it, living in NOVA) a few things.
1) Foggy Bottom is obviously the most convenient, being within walking distance of the school, but pretty expensive. A roommate or two can be easy to find and a good way to lessen the price. Basement apartments are also a good option, but you have to be on Craigslist like a hawk to snatch one, because they tend to go pretty quickly. They typically include utilities too, which can save $100 or $200 a month. For a complex, you can expect to pay $1500-$2000 for a 1 br here, a basement slightly less.
2) Arlington or Alexandria. The closest urban/suburbs to Foggy Bottom and an easy commute on the Orange or Blue lines respectively. If you choose this, try to find a place within walking distance because the closer stations don't have parking and it's a pain to have to ride the bus to a station and then get on the train, or find a bus to take you back home after you get off the metro, especially if it's at an odd hour (2:00 AM after a bar hop, for example.) If you live in Crystal City or the Ballston/Clarendon/Courthouse/Rosslyn area, it'll be a 25-10 minute commute, plus walking time to and from the metro. It'll cost about $3-$5 a day for a round trip depending on travel time. Again, basement apartments I these areas can be good finds. Complexes here run from $1300-$1800, with basements a bit less again.
3) Quality of life: Foggy Bottom got mixed reviews from the students. One said it was nice and one said it sucked. It's a pretty quiet DC neighborhood, not too many exciting places to go, but close enough for a quick metro ride to Penn Quarter, Adams Morgan, or Georgetown. Arlington is a neat place; a lot of college/grad school students. It has an urban suburban feel. A mall in Ballston and in Crystal City, and each has their share of bars, restaurants, and a few shops. Not cray nightlife, but definitely enough to keep you busy on the weekends or to give you a place to unwind after a long day. They're also both only 10 minutes further from Foggy Bottom, so anyplace you wanted to go to in or around FB is only 10 minutes more away in Arlington/Alexandria. Personally, I like Arlington the best. It has enough to do, but there's room to breath. More parks and open space than DC (and not as many restrictive laws...) The only benefit FB offers is that it's within walking distance of school, but to me the tradeoffs aren't worth it.
I've been looking for apartments for the past few months, so if you have any more specific questions, feel free to PM me!