Continuing our “Best of” Series, we have posted below links to some of our most useful relocation resources for clients. Even the most seasoned mover usually has the same same concerns and surprises when arriving in the DC metro area:
Commuting – DC is forever making “Worst Traffic” lists. You can NOT assume that 1 mile = 1 minute for commute times around here. Triple that ratio is a more accurate assessment. We do, however, have an extensive, if crowded public transit system including metro (subway), bus lines, MARC and VRE trains, and soon, lightrails. Before choosing a neighborhood, log on to a mapping site like this one that will show you the traffic cameras along your route (be sure to check it during what you expect would be your normal commuting hours). And of course, a dry run of your commute will teach you quickly what to expect.
Schools – Agents are somewhat limited in the questions we can answer about schools; We can’t for example, answer qualitative questions like “Is this a “good” school?” A great resource, however, is GreatSchools.org. Our area in general is fortunate to have many Newsweek-ranked “Best High Schools in America.”
Renting vs Buying – The toughest decision is whether to rent or buy. A good rule of thumb is that if you plan to be in the area less than 3 years, the closing costs on the purchase and sale will make it difficult to break even on a purchase (depending on your tax bracket, since a large chunk of home ownership costs are tax deductible, while rent is not). So a better way to think about this question is actually “How long do I need to stay in this property to break even?” One of the best rental calculators out there is this one from the New York Times, which answers that “How long?” question nicely.
Prices – One thing you can count on is sticker shock. Start your search early by looking online to see what places go for in different neighborhoods (keeping in mind the commute time discussed above.) If you’re searching for rentals, check out our page here. Or, if you’re ready to start looking for a place to buy, you can use our search tool here (our search tool has all brokers’ listings, not just our own).
More Resources: Learn more about the Wethman Group.
More Resources: My Move to DC Relocation Resources including a free relocation guide