Author Topic: Help Finding Affordable Housing in Northern Virginia  (Read 1434 times)

ZapRowsdower

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Help Finding Affordable Housing in Northern Virginia
« on: June 17, 2017, 02:18:00 PM »
Hi All,

I'm an aspiring Mustachian who recently moved to Northern Virginia (Ashburn area) and am attempting to implement the lifestyle here. My greatest obstacle has been finding affordable housing.

I had very short notice when starting my job in the area, so I settled for living in a one bedroom apartment. It's within walking distance of work so I don't have to commute, but the rent ($1,400+ per month) is preventing me from reaching my savings goals.

So I've tried looking into renting rooms/finding roommates via Craigslist and newspaper classified ads but have consistently come up short. The problem is I have a mid-size dog which narrows my options considerably: there are usually no options available in my Craigslist searches when I look for dog friendly options. Any results I might get often end up being expensive apartments again or they're far enough away from work that I'd have to car commute.

I recently discovered Roommates.com but it seems like there's a subscription or payment involved with that service that I'd rather not deal with (but will do so if its a good service).

So to summarize, I'm looking for leads or resources to get affordable housing which meets the following criteria:

 - Near the George Washington University Tech Campus in Ashburn, VA
 - $800-1000 per month
 - Dog friendly
 - Kitchen access

Thanks in advance!

DoubleDown

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Re: Help Finding Affordable Housing in Northern Virginia
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2017, 12:42:53 PM »
I think you're already going about the best methods to find housing that meets your criteria. You'll probably just have to be persistent until something suitable comes up, or stick with your current situation and suck it up as the cost of owning a dog. Whatever you do, I like your plan to stay close to work. I would not take a housing situation with less rent that would require a longer commute; not just for the commuting costs, but also the commuting headaches here in NoVa.

I'm guessing now that schools are getting out, you may find quite a bit more housing options opening up, so good luck!

Ms.BecomingFI

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Re: Help Finding Affordable Housing in Northern Virginia
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2017, 07:28:29 AM »
A little late on the response but you could also try renting a 3 bedroom house/townhouse and finding roommates yourself.  This is a good way to reduce costs, find a place that you like (and allows the pup) and choose your own roomies!  The only thing, is the possibility for not finding a roomie right away but that could be an acceptable risk, depending on your situation.  Also, you would have to make sure the landlord would be okay with it. 

On the other side, depending on what your long term goals are, you could consider buying a place and renting the rooms. 

Good luck!  NoVA is definitely a hard place for housing.

affordablehousing

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Re: Help Finding Affordable Housing in Northern Virginia
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2017, 11:52:06 AM »
Do you have a low income? Perhaps you could try to get Section 8? Or if you can't afford market rent perhaps you can apply to some tax credit properties? They usually allow dogs.

ZapRowsdower

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Re: Help Finding Affordable Housing in Northern Virginia
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2017, 08:05:03 PM »
Thanks for the thoughtful responses everyone!

It took nearly 7 months of searching but I finally found a better housing situation via Craigslist: $850 per month for my pup and I which includes internet and utilities! I can also bike to work (8 miles) or give in to the 10 minute, 4 mile car commute.

In retrospect there were several factors which made it tough for me to succeed at first.

My early search efforts were hampered by not having easy, immediate access to internet service at home. With the combination of high rent, a drive to reduce my spending in all categories, and a strong disdain for Comcast, I went without the internet at home for several months and used a local library for free internet.

This didn't work well - the library hours were difficult to integrate with my schedule - so I found a low cost internet hotspot service and used that at home to search Craigslist. This made a huge difference in my search process: I needed to spend some money up front to save more money later. With my housing costs cut in half, that service has more than paid for itself!

Another key was getting my housing filters and new posting alerts saved in Craigslist which took a fair amount of tweaking.

Finally, I sped up my application process by creating a document template to quickly respond to Craigslist housing ads. I spent an hour one evening responding to dozens of housing postings using my saved filters and the template, which ended up paying off and working out.

So with some luck, time, and persistence I'm now much closer to my savings goals.

If anyone else is out there struggling to find more reasonable housing in the area, I recommend lots of patience. It'll work out eventually but it may take longer than you'd like.

Hang in there!

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Help Finding Affordable Housing in Northern Virginia
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2017, 04:18:10 AM »
$600 a month post-tax is a huge win. Nice job.