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As this is a high-traffic board, I am posting my question here in the hopes that someone can provide some information or point me in the right direction.

DS is very interested in a position down in Bethesda, MD, and would need to find reasonable housing. He has started to do a quick web search, and the least expensive thing he says he has found is a room in a condo for $800 a month including utilities in Germantown, that he thinks is about 15 minutes from Bethesda.

Anyone familiar with MD? What towns should he be looking at to find a place to live if he gets this job that are within reasonable distance and relatively safe?

I told him I would ask around to see what information I could find.

Thanks for any help or direction anyone can provide.
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The Folly in Maryland board seems reasonably active. You might check there as well.

http://boards.fool.com/folly-in-maryland-110019.aspx

Nancy
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DS is very interested in a position down in Bethesda, MD, and would need to find reasonable housing. He has started to do a quick web search, and the least expensive thing he says he has found is a room in a condo for $800 a month including utilities in Germantown, that he thinks is about 15 minutes from Bethesda.

Anyone familiar with MD? What towns should he be looking at to find a place to live if he gets this job that are within reasonable distance and relatively safe?


I live in MD. Bethesda is not 15 minutes from Germantown, unless he's driving at 3 am when there is no traffic. He should be able to find something closer than Germantown, although housing is expensive in this area. In general, the housing gets cheaper the further out you go, but he shouldn't have to go all the way to Germantown unless he's willing to deal with a nightmare commute. During peak times that could easily take an hour or more.

Since he was looking at Germantown, I assume he's driving to work, not taking public transportation. I would suggest looking in Wheaton, Rockville, Silver Spring, possibly Gaithersburg although it's a little further. (Silver Spring can be misleading because if you look at mailing addresses, it covers half of Montgomery county. There's downtown Silver Spring, which tends to be pricey, and then all the other parts of Silver Spring, which are more reasonable.) I live in the White Oak area of Silver Spring, which is a little cheaper because it's not well served by public transportation. However, some parts of White Oak are less safe - although I think most of them are fine. He might also look at College Park - it's a college area, which may not be what he wants, but it may be easier to find cheaper housing there. Laurel also has some cheaper housing, but it might be a bit far, and it also has some questionable areas.

There's an interesting message board at http://www.city-data.com/forum/washington-dc-suburbs-marylan... although I think some of the posters there are paranoid about anyone who doesn't look like them. Take the discussion with a grain of salt.

Karen
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Bethesda is on the Red Line: http://www.wmata.com/rail/maps/map.cfm?
so anything near a Metro station, red line stop, between Cleveland Park (DC) and Shady Grove (Gaithersburg, MD) will be a lot quicker commute than driving from Germantown. Per Mapquest, Germantown to Bethesda is a 30-minute drive, and that's best case. If he's driving during rush hour, he'll be going with traffic, and the time will be double. Also, parking is notoriously tight in Bethesda, so even if he has a car, he might prefer to drive to a Metro station garage and park there, and then take Metro to his job.

Looking at Washington DC craigslist (which includes the suburbs) "apts/housing for rent" and putting "Bethesda" or "Red Line" in the keyword field turns up a ton of listings by some Realtor in Largo, which is annoying to wade through. But there are a lot of condos near the Grosvenor and White Flint stations, so it's easy enough to find those with a bit of patience. For example, here's a 2/2 for $2k: http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/apa/3721111605.html
Yes, he'd have to get a roommate if he's going to be that close to Bethesda.

Theoretically, a 1/1 would be half the price of a 2/2, but unfortunately to get something (without a roommate) under $1k he'll have to go out to Gaithersburg, for example:
http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/apa/3720121274.html
which is still near the Shady Grove Metro, so a lot better than Germantown.

If he checks DC craigslist for keyword "Bethesda" under "rooms & shares" there will be a lot of options under $1k.

I found, when searching for an apartment for my DS's junior year at college (in Memphis), that craigslist included only a small fraction of what was available. We ended up driving in ever-widening circles around the campus and stopping at all apt buildings on the way until we found one with an immediate vacancy in his price range. Similarly, when I walk around downtown Bethesda, I see a lot of apartment buildings with "rental office" signs, so presumably one could just walk in and ask. If your DS is willing to be on the lease, and find a roommate (as opposed to being the roommate), his best bet would be to look around next time he's in Bethesda visiting his prospective employer.

Good luck!
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I'm originally from the Wheaton, MD area - so I agree with what Karen/toberead posted. Price and commute-wise, Rockville would probably be his best bet. There's also "North Bethesda" - which is really the part of Rockville that's closer to Bethesda. I wouldn't go farther north than Gaithersburg if he didn't want a hour commute each way. Also if there's parking at his office, I wouldn't attempt to rely solely on the Metro - it's not as reliable (nor are the stops as convenient) as NYC subway - and it can be over $10/day to park and ride Metro. But he should ask if office parking is free or not (it's not unheard of for lots around employers to be paid-lots). If he's looking for a room to rent (and not deal with leasing an apartment and then finding roommates) he might want to also consider looking at townhomes and SFH around the area - lots of people rent out rooms or turn a basement into an income suite. But $800-1000 dollars/month isn't unheard of - since studios in Bethesda or into DC can run $1,500/month minimum, and one's usually outside of the Beltway before one can find a 1 bedroom apartment for that amount.
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I used to live up there, but I always lived on the VA side, not the MD side so I'm afraid I'm not much help. Bethesda is right up on the edge of DC, but you'll probably find cheaper housing in MD. Anything on the VA side would take too long.

Good Luck on your search!
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If you're looking at things like craigslist, you might want to check the city paper as well.

http://classifieds.washingtoncitypaper.com/washington/
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