Author Topic: A mustache moving into DC  (Read 5855 times)

Migrator Soul

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A mustache moving into DC
« on: June 27, 2016, 04:28:29 PM »
Evening everyone!

So, here is the deal, I was offered a position in the WH, so, barring anything crazy/medically disqualifying, I will be moving to DC within the next 6 months or so. Now, I realize DC is a very HCOL area, and I will be needing to arrange housing, preferably close to the WH, due to no parking/need to arrive fairly early in the morning, and the Metro does not start to work before 5. I don't have an issue renting a room/basement, and I have been looking at padmapper/zillow for a place. What areas do I need to stay away from? Also, if there are any Mustachians in the area that would like to offer a room/basement for rent, I'd be happy to work something out.

The numbers: Income I am projecting to be roughly $65K-70K (No debts/car payments) depending on a few variables. The issue is I don't wish to spend a whole ton on housing, but I also need to be able to have a short enough commute to arrive on time. Bicycling is not out of the question, but I need a good fallback to public transport if necessary. I will be there for a minimum of 4 years, so I have been considering purchasing a house, but those prices are abhorrently high, for the exception East DC. However, from what I have been told, East DC is not a place one wishes to buy a house. I do have access to a VA loan, so I could feasibly get a home, and rent out the rooms in order to offset/break even on the mortgage.

I also would not mind a general overview of the area from people with first hand experience, what to expect, what to do, and just general advice from those inside/outside the beltway. I'd like to keep growing the ol' stache, not have the crazy cost of living set it ablaze.

Thanks everyone!


mozar

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2016, 05:03:28 PM »
If you are talking about the White House (WH?) I would look at Chinatown, Capital Hill, and Shaw. You would probably like Shaw a lot actually. It's very gentrified. I biked from Shaw to Foggy Bottom every day for two years so its doable. I also biked from Petworth to Foggy Bottom for a year and a half, but that's downhill one way, uphill on the way back, which was pretty tiring.

Don't look at Foggy Bottom, Logan Circle or Dupont Circle. If you are willing to bike you can get a lot of out of the way cheap places. The closer you are to to the metro, the more expensive it gets. Examples of "cheap" places:

https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/apa/5651403718.html
https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/apa/5648701797.html

I wouldn't buy a house with only a 4 year time frame.

Quote
East DC is not a place one wishes to buy a house

South East used to be a high crime area in the 80's and 90's, as was a lot of DC, but as crime throughout DC has fallen, so has crime in SE.
http://dcist.com/2015/08/violent_crime_in_dc_has_decreased.php
« Last Edit: June 27, 2016, 05:05:48 PM by mozar »

Migrator Soul

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2016, 06:21:43 PM »
If you are talking about the White House (WH?) I would look at Chinatown, Capital Hill, and Shaw. You would probably like Shaw a lot actually. It's very gentrified. I biked from Shaw to Foggy Bottom every day for two years so its doable. I also biked from Petworth to Foggy Bottom for a year and a half, but that's downhill one way, uphill on the way back, which was pretty tiring.

Don't look at Foggy Bottom, Logan Circle or Dupont Circle. If you are willing to bike you can get a lot of out of the way cheap places. The closer you are to to the metro, the more expensive it gets. Examples of "cheap" places:

https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/apa/5651403718.html
https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/apa/5648701797.html

I wouldn't buy a house with only a 4 year time frame.

Quote
East DC is not a place one wishes to buy a house

South East used to be a high crime area in the 80's and 90's, as was a lot of DC, but as crime throughout DC has fallen, so has crime in SE.
http://dcist.com/2015/08/violent_crime_in_dc_has_decreased.php

I would likely only buy a house *if* the numbers worked for house hacking. I eventually wish to get into the rental game, and catch up to arebelspy.. lol

I am totally willing to bike though, or walk really. Is it possible to bring you bicycle onto the metro, or are there bicycle racks at the metro stations themselves?

From my own research, as well as your supplied posts, I gather I will be hard pressed to find anything under 1k a month. (This is absurd to me, as I rent a room out for 400 flat with all utilities and internet, granted, this is Texas.)

I appreciate the advice, I will definitely start looking more in those areas. Now, what do you typically do with your vehicle? From what I have seen, you either pay out the nose for parking at an apartment complex, or find someplace else. Just plain ol' street parking?

aspiringnomad

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2016, 07:54:09 PM »
If you are talking about the White House (WH?) I would look at Chinatown, Capital Hill, and Shaw. You would probably like Shaw a lot actually. It's very gentrified. I biked from Shaw to Foggy Bottom every day for two years so its doable. I also biked from Petworth to Foggy Bottom for a year and a half, but that's downhill one way, uphill on the way back, which was pretty tiring.

Don't look at Foggy Bottom, Logan Circle or Dupont Circle. If you are willing to bike you can get a lot of out of the way cheap places. The closer you are to to the metro, the more expensive it gets. Examples of "cheap" places:

https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/apa/5651403718.html
https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/apa/5648701797.html

I wouldn't buy a house with only a 4 year time frame.

Quote
East DC is not a place one wishes to buy a house

South East used to be a high crime area in the 80's and 90's, as was a lot of DC, but as crime throughout DC has fallen, so has crime in SE.
http://dcist.com/2015/08/violent_crime_in_dc_has_decreased.php

Chinatown, Capitol Hill, and Shaw are all quite expensive now although they are very easily bikeable to the White House. My suggestion is to look into group houses in Park View, Edgewood, Brookland, or Petworth. With the right timing and persistence, you should find a room for around 1k/month although you may have to interview with the current roommates against several other candidates for the spot (this was par for the course during my group house days and I'm fairly certain it still is). These neighborhoods are also very bikeable to the White House and in addition to being a bit cheaper, they tend to have more group houses as the rowhomes further west (or away from Capitol Hill which is actually east of them) have more frequently been converted into expensive condos. If bike commuting the 3 miles between say Brookland and the White House is not something you relish doing daily, look into an e-bike or scooter to help with the commute, but definitely do it on two wheels and avoid complete reliance on Metrorail at all costs. Good luck!

mozar

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2016, 08:11:10 PM »
Quote
Is it possible to bring you bicycle onto the metro, or are there bicycle racks at the metro stations themselves?

Both.

Quote
Now, what do you typically do with your vehicle?

Sell it.

katesilvergirl

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2016, 08:21:02 PM »
You can't bring your bike on the Metro during peak hours (which is like 6am-10am or something ridiculous and the same in the evening), and I would not recommending locking a bike up at a Metro as a daily thing (too much theft/vandalism). A couple Metro stops have dedicated bike storage, but I don't think the ones near the White House do. Also, through the end of 2016, Metro is a mess due to a lot of safety upgrades, so I would recommend focusing on bikeable areas. It would both be cheaper not to live near the Metro - and the Metro is increasingly frustrating. Capital Bikeshare is a great resource. The bikes themselves aren't awesome, but they are really convenient.

If you live in a slightly out of the way neighborhood in a basement in a row house (it's called an English basement here) you can likely just pay for zoned street parking (not very expensive for a permit for the whole year). If you live in an apartment building you may have to pay more for parking.

It seems really unlikely that you'd get a whole apartment (even a studio) to  yourself for less than $1,000 basically anywhere in the metro area. You may be able to find a single room for under $1,000.

Having just watched my former housemates buy a house in DC, I would strongly recommend not to try to buy without living here for awhile. It's important to understand the neighborhoods and which ones are on the upswing, etc (most of them really). Also, the real estate market is EXTREMELY fast here. Like, you probably have to put an offer down as soon as something comes on the market and before you even get to look at it because there will be so many other offers, but it doesn't matter much anyway as someone will likely offer to pay full price in cash and undercut you.

The neighborhoods recommended by previous posters would all be great choices. Good luck!

Migrator Soul

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2016, 09:09:22 PM »
Quote
Is it possible to bring you bicycle onto the metro, or are there bicycle racks at the metro stations themselves?

Both.

Quote
Now, what do you typically do with your vehicle?

Sell it.

Ugh.. But I love to go on monthly trips out into the woods and camp. I may have to see if I can store it on JBSA Anacostia-Bolling or something.

You can't bring your bike on the Metro during peak hours (which is like 6am-10am or something ridiculous and the same in the evening), and I would not recommending locking a bike up at a Metro as a daily thing (too much theft/vandalism). A couple Metro stops have dedicated bike storage, but I don't think the ones near the White House do. Also, through the end of 2016, Metro is a mess due to a lot of safety upgrades, so I would recommend focusing on bikeable areas. It would both be cheaper not to live near the Metro - and the Metro is increasingly frustrating. Capital Bikeshare is a great resource. The bikes themselves aren't awesome, but they are really convenient.

If you live in a slightly out of the way neighborhood in a basement in a row house (it's called an English basement here) you can likely just pay for zoned street parking (not very expensive for a permit for the whole year). If you live in an apartment building you may have to pay more for parking.

It seems really unlikely that you'd get a whole apartment (even a studio) to  yourself for less than $1,000 basically anywhere in the metro area. You may be able to find a single room for under $1,000.

Having just watched my former housemates buy a house in DC, I would strongly recommend not to try to buy without living here for awhile. It's important to understand the neighborhoods and which ones are on the upswing, etc (most of them really). Also, the real estate market is EXTREMELY fast here. Like, you probably have to put an offer down as soon as something comes on the market and before you even get to look at it because there will be so many other offers, but it doesn't matter much anyway as someone will likely offer to pay full price in cash and undercut you.

The neighborhoods recommended by previous posters would all be great choices. Good luck!


If the metro is as unreliable as your post suggests, it sounds like I will be best just getting a small studio within biking distance then. This is definitely one of those jobs I cannot afford to be late to. Although, 1K for a single room seems absolutely insane.. Though I know many of my future peers who I have spoken to regularly throw down 2-3K a month on average for their housing.. Cost of doing business I suppose.

Completely unrelated note, but how is the area for younger, single professionals? (Always on the lookout for a potential missus)

I take it this is likely one of those places that renting is smarter than buying then. Leh sigh.

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2016, 11:36:24 PM »
Completely unrelated note, but how is the area for younger, single professionals? (Always on the lookout for a potential missus)


You are a man looking to date women? You will have a great time in DC. Enjoy.

katesilvergirl

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2016, 07:39:43 AM »
Completely unrelated note, but how is the area for younger, single professionals? (Always on the lookout for a potential missus)


You are a man looking to date women? You will have a great time in DC. Enjoy.


Haha, yeah. This city is about 80% young, single professionals. There are a TON of opportunities to meet people if you put in a little effort. After work social sports are REALLY popular, and there are lots of meetups for whatever, and the neighborhoods you will be looking at are really active.

I also second the point about bike infrastructure. You should be relatively comfortable with city biking and being around cars, but the bike lanes and trails are excellent (and getting better). Washington Area Bicycle Association (WABA) is also a great way to get into social biking too.

Also - sorry about the rental price culture shock. I moved here from Indiana and it is a sad, sad realization. But there are a lot of ways to save as others have mentioned - primarily biking and public transit, shop at Aldi, take advantage of the endless free activities.

Depending on where you choose to live, it might be perfectly possible to have a car. We lived in Capitol Hill with a car and it was easy to park on the street and we paid maybe $75 for a zone parking pass for the year. We didn't use our car much, but like you I REALLY appreciate being able to get out of the city whenever I want/go to IKEA/go to Aldi/whatever. But again, really depends on what neighborhood.

Last note - no one mentioned Columbia Heights so far I think, but it is cheaper (i.e. slightly more crime) and starting to gentrify, and would be a relatively easy biking distance to the White House.

aspiringnomad

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2016, 07:49:05 AM »
Completely unrelated note, but how is the area for younger, single professionals? (Always on the lookout for a potential missus)


You are a man looking to date women? You will have a great time in DC. Enjoy.

Yep, you'll be in the best city in the country for that IMO. Regarding your car, don't sell it until you know where you're gonna live. I lived here for 12 years before owning a car, so you don't need one, but if you already have one that's paid off, street parking is absurdly cheap ($35/year for zoned parking). Just don't pay to park off street as that can cost 300/month in close in areas.

aspiringnomad

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2016, 07:55:26 AM »
Completely unrelated note, but how is the area for younger, single professionals? (Always on the lookout for a potential missus)


You are a man looking to date women? You will have a great time in DC. Enjoy.

Last note - no one mentioned Columbia Heights so far I think, but it is cheaper (i.e. slightly more crime) and starting to gentrify, and would be a relatively easy biking distance to the White House.

The affordability ship has sailed on Columbia Heights. My old group house there plus nearly every other rowhouse on the block have been chopped up into condos that sell for a total of ~$3M. Park View is the next neighborhood over and is a fair bit cheaper for now.

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2016, 09:40:09 AM »
I would look at the bus lines that run directly to the White House neighborhood. The ones I am most familiar with are the ones that run on 16th street between Silver Spring and the White House neighborhood (within 2 blocks of the White House). This includes some of the neighborhoods mentioned here, like Columbia Heights, but also Mount Pleasant, Park View, Petworth, Brightwood Park, Brightwood, and Shepherd Park. The neighborhoods further north, once you are in the Columbia Heights neighborhood, are both less expensive and have less crime. Since the commute is direct a few additional fractions of a mile doesn't change the time it takes as much as adding a transfer will, in my experience.

Migrator Soul

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2016, 10:03:22 AM »
Completely unrelated note, but how is the area for younger, single professionals? (Always on the lookout for a potential missus)


You are a man looking to date women? You will have a great time in DC. Enjoy.

Yep, you'll be in the best city in the country for that IMO. Regarding your car, don't sell it until you know where you're gonna live. I lived here for 12 years before owning a car, so you don't need one, but if you already have one that's paid off, street parking is absurdly cheap ($35/year for zoned parking). Just don't pay to park off street as that can cost 300/month in close in areas.

Good to hear on the single women front. But yeah, I have a paid off car, and I would rather not sell it. I'll try to find some street parking, because if I need to go grab something or want to take off during the weekend, I would rather not rely on others.

Completely unrelated note, but how is the area for younger, single professionals? (Always on the lookout for a potential missus)


You are a man looking to date women? You will have a great time in DC. Enjoy.


Haha, yeah. This city is about 80% young, single professionals. There are a TON of opportunities to meet people if you put in a little effort. After work social sports are REALLY popular, and there are lots of meetups for whatever, and the neighborhoods you will be looking at are really active.

I also second the point about bike infrastructure. You should be relatively comfortable with city biking and being around cars, but the bike lanes and trails are excellent (and getting better). Washington Area Bicycle Association (WABA) is also a great way to get into social biking too.

Also - sorry about the rental price culture shock. I moved here from Indiana and it is a sad, sad realization. But there are a lot of ways to save as others have mentioned - primarily biking and public transit, shop at Aldi, take advantage of the endless free activities.

Depending on where you choose to live, it might be perfectly possible to have a car. We lived in Capitol Hill with a car and it was easy to park on the street and we paid maybe $75 for a zone parking pass for the year. We didn't use our car much, but like you I REALLY appreciate being able to get out of the city whenever I want/go to IKEA/go to Aldi/whatever. But again, really depends on what neighborhood.

Last note - no one mentioned Columbia Heights so far I think, but it is cheaper (i.e. slightly more crime) and starting to gentrify, and would be a relatively easy biking distance to the White House.

I am always down for free activities. I will have to get in touch with Team RWB down there, that seems like a good start to the social aspect.

Once my orders come through, I'll start pricing out some options. I assume group houses are most easily found on craigslist then.

Are all of you more or less in DC? If so, I wouldn't mind meeting up for a brew once I am there, I'll buy the first round for the help. lol

Gondolin

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2016, 10:13:31 AM »
The metro is now a national embarrassment so definitely focus on biking or the much more reliable buses.

Rental prices are insane.... I'm paying $700... In sterling VA... And it's the cheapest thing around.


Migrator Soul

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2016, 10:24:54 AM »
I would look at the bus lines that run directly to the White House neighborhood. The ones I am most familiar with are the ones that run on 16th street between Silver Spring and the White House neighborhood (within 2 blocks of the White House). This includes some of the neighborhoods mentioned here, like Columbia Heights, but also Mount Pleasant, Park View, Petworth, Brightwood Park, Brightwood, and Shepherd Park. The neighborhoods further north, once you are in the Columbia Heights neighborhood, are both less expensive and have less crime. Since the commute is direct a few additional fractions of a mile doesn't change the time it takes as much as adding a transfer will, in my experience.

Will do for sure, I don't think I'll be able to make it on time with a transfer. I like to give myself about 15 minutes of leeway when I arrive to work in case something screwy happens. Which it always does at the most inconvenient times..

Migrator Soul

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2016, 03:41:26 PM »
Reasons not to have a car:

1. Parking is very hard

2. Tickets / Towing happen at the drop of a hat

3. The parking signs are confusing and contradictory

4. Driving is horrible and confusing (city isn't a grid, it's a spiderweb)

5. Metro delays have confounded the traffic problem

I will look into selling the vehicle for sure, but first I need to drive there, and also ensure I am comfortable with the public transport situation, as well as making sure they won't need me to drive up to Ft Meade or anything crazy too often.

How typically pet friendly are places there? I have a small black cat that is my life.. I'm a crazy cat dude.

mozar

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2016, 03:57:11 PM »
A cat is going to be hard in a group house. They may require you to do a cat interview with them/ other pets. Don't laugh, I'm serious.

Migrator Soul

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2016, 04:02:24 PM »
A cat is going to be hard in a group house. They may require you to do a cat interview with them/ other pets. Don't laugh, I'm serious.

A what? lol.. It seems like finding housing is going to be quite the chore.

aspiringnomad

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2016, 06:48:53 PM »
A cat is going to be hard in a group house. They may require you to do a cat interview with them/ other pets. Don't laugh, I'm serious.

A what? lol.. It seems like finding housing is going to be quite the chore.

Yep, but it gets much easier the longer you're here as you meet people and get to really know the neighborhoods, but it's like job hunting. We used to "interview" at least 30 people each time we had an opening in our house, though it was a great deal so that probably had something to do with it.

mm1970

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2016, 06:28:08 PM »
Found this thread very late.  I don't live in DC, but I did at one point.  I was in the Navy living in the DC area (NoVA) for 5 years in the early 90s.

At that time (I assume it hasn't changed much?) it was a GREAT place to meet other singles.  Seriously awesome.  I was in the military so first, it was easy to meet other young military folks (I lived there aged 22-27).  I met my husband there (also military, duh).  I met many other fun great single people at the gym, or playing in volleyball leagues (my sport of choice).

It seemed to be that wherever you went "what do you do?" was the first question and "where are you from?" was the second.  I was shocked when I found a volleyball friend who was FROM the area!  Most people I met were from "somewhere else", which made it very very easy to meet people.

After that I moved to So Cal, and it was very lonely and isolating in my particular town.  A LOT of the people I worked with grew up here, and still hung out with their HS friends.  They were not open to new friends.  We met lots of new people at university (my husband was in school), but dammit they graduated and moved away, for the most part.  (Many were from out of the country, and moved back home - Korea, Brazil, Germany, Norway, you name it).

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2016, 06:37:44 PM »
Found this thread very late.  I don't live in DC, but I did at one point.  I was in the Navy living in the DC area (NoVA) for 5 years in the early 90s.

At that time (I assume it hasn't changed much?) it was a GREAT place to meet other singles.  Seriously awesome.  I was in the military so first, it was easy to meet other young military folks (I lived there aged 22-27).  I met my husband there (also military, duh).  I met many other fun great single people at the gym, or playing in volleyball leagues (my sport of choice).

It seemed to be that wherever you went "what do you do?" was the first question and "where are you from?" was the second.  I was shocked when I found a volleyball friend who was FROM the area!  Most people I met were from "somewhere else", which made it very very easy to meet people.

After that I moved to So Cal, and it was very lonely and isolating in my particular town.  A LOT of the people I worked with grew up here, and still hung out with their HS friends.  They were not open to new friends.  We met lots of new people at university (my husband was in school), but dammit they graduated and moved away, for the most part.  (Many were from out of the country, and moved back home - Korea, Brazil, Germany, Norway, you name it).

I am actually quite excited to meet new people. I have heard from multiple sources now that DC is sort of a Mecca for single, young professionals. I am a bit hesitant at first to really disclose my military affiliation when meeting new people, as I find that many people have such a negative reaction to military right off the bat. I think it will be good for me, as I am rather introverted, and from the sound of it, the small living accommodations will ensure I get out more often.

mm1970

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #21 on: July 19, 2016, 10:21:54 AM »
Found this thread very late.  I don't live in DC, but I did at one point.  I was in the Navy living in the DC area (NoVA) for 5 years in the early 90s.

At that time (I assume it hasn't changed much?) it was a GREAT place to meet other singles.  Seriously awesome.  I was in the military so first, it was easy to meet other young military folks (I lived there aged 22-27).  I met my husband there (also military, duh).  I met many other fun great single people at the gym, or playing in volleyball leagues (my sport of choice).

It seemed to be that wherever you went "what do you do?" was the first question and "where are you from?" was the second.  I was shocked when I found a volleyball friend who was FROM the area!  Most people I met were from "somewhere else", which made it very very easy to meet people.

After that I moved to So Cal, and it was very lonely and isolating in my particular town.  A LOT of the people I worked with grew up here, and still hung out with their HS friends.  They were not open to new friends.  We met lots of new people at university (my husband was in school), but dammit they graduated and moved away, for the most part.  (Many were from out of the country, and moved back home - Korea, Brazil, Germany, Norway, you name it).

I am actually quite excited to meet new people. I have heard from multiple sources now that DC is sort of a Mecca for single, young professionals. I am a bit hesitant at first to really disclose my military affiliation when meeting new people, as I find that many people have such a negative reaction to military right off the bat. I think it will be good for me, as I am rather introverted, and from the sound of it, the small living accommodations will ensure I get out more often.
Unless it has changed a lot (or maybe I was in a bubble and didn't notice), I don't think you will get a negative reaction to the military in the DC area.  I never did.  There are a LOT of military people there.

dodojojo

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2016, 09:00:23 AM »
If you're going to be living in or near DC--I would forego car ownership.  The math of occasional car rental and taxi/car service is better than owning/maintaining a car in DC.  I'm in an area with a walk score of 94 and honestly, there's a handful of times each year where a car is truly needed.  Other times, I pay for a taxi to National airport because I'm a lazy ass and waited too long to get out the door and take the metro.

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #23 on: July 27, 2016, 10:07:42 AM »
If you're going to be living in or near DC--I would forego car ownership.  The math of occasional car rental and taxi/car service is better than owning/maintaining a car in DC.  I'm in an area with a walk score of 94 and honestly, there's a handful of times each year where a car is truly needed.  Other times, I pay for a taxi to National airport because I'm a lazy ass and waited too long to get out the door and take the metro.

I will definitely keep the car for the PCS/initial settle in time, then look at selling. Especially since I have narrowed down where I plan on living.

Found this thread very late.  I don't live in DC, but I did at one point.  I was in the Navy living in the DC area (NoVA) for 5 years in the early 90s.

At that time (I assume it hasn't changed much?) it was a GREAT place to meet other singles.  Seriously awesome.  I was in the military so first, it was easy to meet other young military folks (I lived there aged 22-27).  I met my husband there (also military, duh).  I met many other fun great single people at the gym, or playing in volleyball leagues (my sport of choice).

It seemed to be that wherever you went "what do you do?" was the first question and "where are you from?" was the second.  I was shocked when I found a volleyball friend who was FROM the area!  Most people I met were from "somewhere else", which made it very very easy to meet people.

After that I moved to So Cal, and it was very lonely and isolating in my particular town.  A LOT of the people I worked with grew up here, and still hung out with their HS friends.  They were not open to new friends.  We met lots of new people at university (my husband was in school), but dammit they graduated and moved away, for the most part.  (Many were from out of the country, and moved back home - Korea, Brazil, Germany, Norway, you name it).

I am actually quite excited to meet new people. I have heard from multiple sources now that DC is sort of a Mecca for single, young professionals. I am a bit hesitant at first to really disclose my military affiliation when meeting new people, as I find that many people have such a negative reaction to military right off the bat. I think it will be good for me, as I am rather introverted, and from the sound of it, the small living accommodations will ensure I get out more often.
Unless it has changed a lot (or maybe I was in a bubble and didn't notice), I don't think you will get a negative reaction to the military in the DC area.  I never did.  There are a LOT of military people there.

The military is worshipped in DC.  You shouldn't worry about that at all.

Well, that is good news. I am not so sure if I like the worship part, I have always felt uncomfortable in public in uniform. Has not changed in 5 years. Good thing is I will rarely be in uniform during that time. Which brings me to another question; I will need to buy suits. Where do you all recommend I buy a few suits, shirts, and shoes for a good price?

mozar

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #24 on: July 27, 2016, 06:24:19 PM »
I think the best thrift store in DC proper is the Georgia Avenue thrift store.

Migrator Soul

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #25 on: July 27, 2016, 11:23:36 PM »
I think the best thrift store in DC proper is the Georgia Avenue thrift store.

Definitely a great place to look for shoes, but will it have suits that will be of a calibre required for work inside the white house? I'm thinking I may have to buy new. I'll be receiving an allowance, but as I know very little about suits, where should I go that is reasonable, bit still quality?

aspiringnomad

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #26 on: July 28, 2016, 12:19:00 AM »
If you're going to be living in or near DC--I would forego car ownership.  The math of occasional car rental and taxi/car service is better than owning/maintaining a car in DC.  I'm in an area with a walk score of 94 and honestly, there's a handful of times each year where a car is truly needed.  Other times, I pay for a taxi to National airport because I'm a lazy ass and waited too long to get out the door and take the metro.

I will definitely keep the car for the PCS/initial settle in time, then look at selling. Especially since I have narrowed down where I plan on living.

Found this thread very late.  I don't live in DC, but I did at one point.  I was in the Navy living in the DC area (NoVA) for 5 years in the early 90s.

At that time (I assume it hasn't changed much?) it was a GREAT place to meet other singles.  Seriously awesome.  I was in the military so first, it was easy to meet other young military folks (I lived there aged 22-27).  I met my husband there (also military, duh).  I met many other fun great single people at the gym, or playing in volleyball leagues (my sport of choice).

It seemed to be that wherever you went "what do you do?" was the first question and "where are you from?" was the second.  I was shocked when I found a volleyball friend who was FROM the area!  Most people I met were from "somewhere else", which made it very very easy to meet people.

After that I moved to So Cal, and it was very lonely and isolating in my particular town.  A LOT of the people I worked with grew up here, and still hung out with their HS friends.  They were not open to new friends.  We met lots of new people at university (my husband was in school), but dammit they graduated and moved away, for the most part.  (Many were from out of the country, and moved back home - Korea, Brazil, Germany, Norway, you name it).

I am actually quite excited to meet new people. I have heard from multiple sources now that DC is sort of a Mecca for single, young professionals. I am a bit hesitant at first to really disclose my military affiliation when meeting new people, as I find that many people have such a negative reaction to military right off the bat. I think it will be good for me, as I am rather introverted, and from the sound of it, the small living accommodations will ensure I get out more often.
Unless it has changed a lot (or maybe I was in a bubble and didn't notice), I don't think you will get a negative reaction to the military in the DC area.  I never did.  There are a LOT of military people there.

The military is worshipped in DC.  You shouldn't worry about that at all.

Well, that is good news. I am not so sure if I like the worship part, I have always felt uncomfortable in public in uniform. Has not changed in 5 years. Good thing is I will rarely be in uniform during that time. Which brings me to another question; I will need to buy suits. Where do you all recommend I buy a few suits, shirts, and shoes for a good price?

Also love goodwill but if they don't have what you're looking for, then a combo of H&M, Nordstrom Rack, and email discounts in the 40% range to brand name stores seems to be the best value for me. I have an H&M suit (with a colorful liner that no one can see) that is starting to fall apart from the inside but holding its own otherwise. Paid $100 for it at least 4 years ago. Fits better off the rack than my professionally tailored Burberry wedding suit.

Imustacheyouaquestion

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #27 on: July 28, 2016, 08:30:34 AM »
Local email group for meetups: dc-mustachians@googlegroups.com

Bike commuting is very easy near the downtown core, especially if you can carry your work clothing and shower/change at work. Look into a Capital Bikeshare membership for additional flexibility leaving your bike or making one way trips. Consider bus routes in addition to Metro(rail) for public transit backups. You can always put your bike on the front of buses or take it on Metro during off-peak hours. Uber pool is also a good backup option.

Group house "interviews" are a real thing and very competitive. You may want to fly to DC for a weekend and devote time to looking for a place, or else move into an AirBnB/temporary situation when you first arrive and then look for longer-term housing.

I would absolutely sell your car if you will need off-street parking. If you live in a neighborhood where you can park on-street (for $35/year), it's more of a toss-up. But Car2Go/ZipCar/rentals are a viable option for many trips. I have rented a car before from DCA for less than $30/day. If you would use a car for a couple trips per month, do the math because it may favor selling your car over paying insurance, maintenance, etc.

It's not advisable to buy a house if you're not planning to stay long term - this is an insane real estate market that requires a complex understanding of neighborhoods, etc. VA loans place many restrictions on sellers and I think you'd have trouble getting continuously outbid by all-cash buyers.

Attire: Thrifting is a good option if you are knowledgeable about clothing. Otherwise, I'd stick to buying high quality pieces that will last. Suit Supply has a Georgetown location and can talk you through where to start: http://us.suitsupply.com/en_US/home. Spend more money on a couple pairs of brown/black shoes, polish them regularly (assuming you got this one down since you're military!), and get them resoled as needed. Buying "wrinkle-free" shirts that iron themselves in the drying machine has saved me lots of time ironing. You will cut down on dry cleaning and wear-and-tear if you commute in gym clothes and change at work.

Other: I find the culture in DC to be very full of spendthrifts. There are tons of people in their mid-20s making $100k but who blow it on happy hours, lunches out every day, convenience services, etc. This does not have to be an expensive city (public transit, free museums, etc) but it can be hard to find friends or people to date who don't feel the need to spend tons of money, especially so given the number of high earners around.

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #28 on: July 28, 2016, 09:02:20 AM »
I think the best thrift store in DC proper is the Georgia Avenue thrift store.

Definitely a great place to look for shoes, but will it have suits that will be of a calibre required for work inside the white house? I'm thinking I may have to buy new. I'll be receiving an allowance, but as I know very little about suits, where should I go that is reasonable, bit still quality?


DH is military as well, we are in the NoVa area (not in downtown DC as he's working at Belvoir now).  You can store your car on the military posts for stupid cheap so don't worry if you want to keep it. 

In regards to suits, I think I know what kind of assignment you are heading to as DH did something similar.  They will give you an etiquette class as part of in process training (I shit you not) and explain what will and won't fly, they will also hook you up with a pretty cool tailor if you need custom suits (price wasn't bad, good discounts).  We found Macys one day sales to actually be pretty good for nice suits, DH got a CK one for like 100 bucks after all the discounts and it fits extremely well.  The TJMaxx in Georgetown is also really good.  We did drop close to a grand getting him setup since he owned nothing but uniforms and jeans (15 years of military will do that to a wardrobe) but he didn't get the clothing stiped as he's an O, the one time clothing stiped that was given to E's was significant enough to cover most of their initial purchases. 

TONS of military in the entire area, as it stands since we moved here 4 years ago, I"m pretty sure half his former command teams have rotated in and out and in again.  There was an apartment complex in Crystal City a friend of ours lived in that allowed her cats, but yea, finding a place that allows pets is going to be difficult, especially in a group home.

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #29 on: July 28, 2016, 04:37:53 PM »
Local email group for meetups: dc-mustachians@googlegroups.com

Bike commuting is very easy near the downtown core, especially if you can carry your work clothing and shower/change at work. Look into a Capital Bikeshare membership for additional flexibility leaving your bike or making one way trips. Consider bus routes in addition to Metro(rail) for public transit backups. You can always put your bike on the front of buses or take it on Metro during off-peak hours. Uber pool is also a good backup option.

Group house "interviews" are a real thing and very competitive. You may want to fly to DC for a weekend and devote time to looking for a place, or else move into an AirBnB/temporary situation when you first arrive and then look for longer-term housing.

I would absolutely sell your car if you will need off-street parking. If you live in a neighborhood where you can park on-street (for $35/year), it's more of a toss-up. But Car2Go/ZipCar/rentals are a viable option for many trips. I have rented a car before from DCA for less than $30/day. If you would use a car for a couple trips per month, do the math because it may favor selling your car over paying insurance, maintenance, etc.

It's not advisable to buy a house if you're not planning to stay long term - this is an insane real estate market that requires a complex understanding of neighborhoods, etc. VA loans place many restrictions on sellers and I think you'd have trouble getting continuously outbid by all-cash buyers.

Attire: Thrifting is a good option if you are knowledgeable about clothing. Otherwise, I'd stick to buying high quality pieces that will last. Suit Supply has a Georgetown location and can talk you through where to start: http://us.suitsupply.com/en_US/home. Spend more money on a couple pairs of brown/black shoes, polish them regularly (assuming you got this one down since you're military!), and get them resoled as needed. Buying "wrinkle-free" shirts that iron themselves in the drying machine has saved me lots of time ironing. You will cut down on dry cleaning and wear-and-tear if you commute in gym clothes and change at work.

Other: I find the culture in DC to be very full of spendthrifts. There are tons of people in their mid-20s making $100k but who blow it on happy hours, lunches out every day, convenience services, etc. This does not have to be an expensive city (public transit, free museums, etc) but it can be hard to find friends or people to date who don't feel the need to spend tons of money, especially so given the number of high earners around.

I am not surprised the least to hear that DC is full of spendthrifts. I won't be making as much as the average bear there by any means, but I hear there are plenty of people who make a thing of outdoor sports leagues in the parks, which is definitely something I plan on taking advantage of.

Believe it or not, we no longer have boots we polish, but we occasionally have to buff the shoes/brass on our dress uniforms :)

I definitely appreciate the pointers in clothing. I'll take a look at the thrift shops, I think I will take a month of leave to get settled in before my report date so I can get a good idea of what to do with housing/transport. I have a few fellow service members I know in the area that I will crash with for a week or so. I am looking forward to a more bicycle/walker friendly city, that is for sure.

I think the best thrift store in DC proper is the Georgia Avenue thrift store.

Definitely a great place to look for shoes, but will it have suits that will be of a calibre required for work inside the white house? I'm thinking I may have to buy new. I'll be receiving an allowance, but as I know very little about suits, where should I go that is reasonable, bit still quality?


DH is military as well, we are in the NoVa area (not in downtown DC as he's working at Belvoir now).  You can store your car on the military posts for stupid cheap so don't worry if you want to keep it. 

In regards to suits, I think I know what kind of assignment you are heading to as DH did something similar.  They will give you an etiquette class as part of in process training (I shit you not) and explain what will and won't fly, they will also hook you up with a pretty cool tailor if you need custom suits (price wasn't bad, good discounts).  We found Macys one day sales to actually be pretty good for nice suits, DH got a CK one for like 100 bucks after all the discounts and it fits extremely well.  The TJMaxx in Georgetown is also really good.  We did drop close to a grand getting him setup since he owned nothing but uniforms and jeans (15 years of military will do that to a wardrobe) but he didn't get the clothing stiped as he's an O, the one time clothing stiped that was given to E's was significant enough to cover most of their initial purchases. 

TONS of military in the entire area, as it stands since we moved here 4 years ago, I"m pretty sure half his former command teams have rotated in and out and in again.  There was an apartment complex in Crystal City a friend of ours lived in that allowed her cats, but yea, finding a place that allows pets is going to be difficult, especially in a group home.

Yeah, my wardrobe is essentially two pairs of jeans, one oilstained and one not, a few t-shirts, a hoodie, and the rest is uniforms.. I never really saw the point since I wear a uniform 5 days out of the week. Is it bad that I am slightly excited to go get new clothes? I haven't had a new set of clothes in almost 5 years, barring a pair of jeans I bought from plato's closet a few years back.

Awesome point about storage on military posts. If they would let me keep it on Bolling, that would be perfect, thank you so much for that info.

I too have heard about the etiquette class I will have, so it is fairly likely I'll be going where he went.

MishMash

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #30 on: July 29, 2016, 07:49:02 AM »
Another thing we did to save money was buy gift cards off of Raise for like 20% off for TJMaxx/HomeGoods/Marshalls (all the same store adn you can use them across stores so buy who has the most discount)...that stretched the budget for buying dress shirts, socks, etc significantly.

markus

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Re: A mustache moving into DC
« Reply #31 on: July 31, 2016, 07:20:54 PM »
Hi, Migrator Soul, and welcome to DC!

I've lived here about fifteen years now, having also come from a place of flat, wide open spaces and a car-centric lifestyle (Phoenix suburbs), so I wanted to quickly send you my thoughts. First and foremost, DC is awesome and you're going to have a great time here, particularly as younger worker. The city does indeed feel very young and that's a great thing for someone in your position. Second, check out this page if you haven't already as I think it's a pretty good summary for newcomers:

https://www.reddit.com/r/washingtondc/wiki/moving

Now then, off the top of my head here are some tidbits of advice:

- don't look to buy a place if you don't think you're going to be here for more than 5-8 years or whatever. Check out the rent vs. buy calculator at NYTimes.com as well as Michael Bluejay's calculator. I've been here fifteen years and my wife and I still rent (small condo in Adams Morgan). The upside is living right in the heart of the city in a neighborhood we love, and we like our neighbors really well, so it's a good situation. You learn to live in a smaller place and smaller quarters, and that will become a good thing. Think of it as mustachian training.

- don't get ahead of yourself and sell your car just yet. Try it out first to see if you'll really need it, and to get a feel for what it's like having a car in the city, street parking and all that. My guess is that you'll probably want to part with it after a year or two, but you can make that decision when it comes. That said, if you have a large car then maybe make this decision sooner as it's going to be a hassle. You'll quickly become an expert in quickly reading parking signs and regulations, knowing when and where you can park on what days and for how long, and of course in parallel parking. Things are tight.

- along those lines, I strongly recommend getting an annual (currently $85) Capital Bikeshare membership. You'll get a small key fob, and with that you've got easy and convenient one-way bike access damn near everywhere in the city. Download an app like 'Spotcycle' to see constantly updated bike docks. Get a bike helmet and get comfortable riding amongst the cars during the day. Bikers and walkers in this city are kings while those in traffic often are just poking along. Embrace it! Lots of locals, including me and my wife, use the Bikeshare bikes all the time. I much prefer to just ride or walk than ever go near my car unless the distance really calls for it or the weather is bad.

- don't be afraid of the metro. Yes, it's got a lot of problems no thanks to deferred maintenance going back decades, but to have a subway system in your city is still awesome. I'm lucky enough to ride a reverse commute out to the suburbs where I work, so I do avoid the rush in and out of the city each day. Yes, delays and sometimes breakdowns (trains getting offloaded, then you wait for the next one or whatever) happen, but in the big scheme of things it's still way better than the stories I hear from my colleagues with their car commutes from even farther suburbs. I read, play games on my phone, listen to podcasts, snooze, whatever. I love it and wouldn't trade it back.

- do try and live right in the heart of the city. I strongly urge you to avoid living anywhere outside the beltway because of a little bit cheaper rent. That's fine for some people and I'm not putting it down, but you should live in the city while you're a young, up and coming professional. You just can't put a price on the difference in the quality of life when you walk or ride everywhere you need to go. Find a group house or roommate(s) (which is what I did for the first several years) to help control rent costs. Yes, in the end it's still going to be more expensive than the same situation in your previous city, but that's just the way it is. Being in the city is great, and over the last ten years or so it's gotten better and better in my opinion ... way more good beer places, more laid back restaurants, incredibly good coffee places, clubs, theaters, and on and on.

- control your costs by avoiding driving (very easy to do here) and cooking at home. If you don't cook, learn! It's an essential mustachian skill anyway, right? Check out the many great farmers markets in the city, a few of which are even year round. Eat out with folks enough to be social and network as much as it necessary, but watch out for things like Sunday brunches and stuff like that. Yeah, it's fun but that stuff adds up really fast. Do you really need a bottomless champagne brunch every week? Enjoy yourself, but don't feel compelled to eat out all the time. You'll have a lot of colleagues who are enjoying their first big professional paychecks, and this is the moment where you make the smart decisions and really start building that 'stache.

- enjoy having four seasons! I'm from AZ, you're from TX, so I assume we're coming from kind of the same thing. Having a true autumn and spring season is something I don't want to ever give up, even once I one day move from DC to somewhere smaller. I've really come to love this part of living here.

- don't sweat it if people here seem colder or rushed and all that stuff. The area I was from felt friendlier by comparison, and I took the change hard when I first came here. There's a kind of rhythm or city speed to things, and you'll soon get into it and enjoy being part of it. It's not as hectic as New York, but you'll notice the difference.

- you mentioned being introverted, and I am, too. Believe it or not this is a good place for that, too, since there are lots of places to park yourself like great coffee places, parks and all that, or you can just go for an aimless walk. With the architecture and older buildings, there's always some new detail you didn't notice before. My place is pretty small, and I often forget that that alone is a good excuse to just go outside and start walking when I'm feeling bored or getting that consumer itch to start looking at bigger places. It's a good reminder that I live where I live for the location. I walk out my door and I'm right along a main street, with bars, shops, a park just two blocks away, coffee, a bookstore, a library, whatever. I think it'll work for you.

I might think of some more, but enjoy this short list for now. Most of all, enjoy it and have fun. Even after all this time I've been really glad I moved here. The first year was a tough transition because I was kind of resisting the new culture, always comparing it to where I came from, but I eventually just had to get over it. Now I can't remember what my problem even was.