Monday, February 12, 2007

Apartment Hunting Continued

So in my attempts to find a new place to live, I've been reminded that housing is all about trade-offs. The closer you are to Metro, the more expensive it is. Having a private bath adds at least $100. Being close to amenities adds another $100 or so. One of the less talked about price differentials are local taxes:

Families earning between $45,000 and $65,000 now begin paying more in Virginia than they do in Maryland.

In Virginia the average tax burden is $2,287, while in Maryland it is $2,194.

As expected, D.C. has the highest personal income tax burden in the country with an average tax of $3,886.

However, all three jurisdictions are above the national average of $1,771.

Right now I'm looking at three main options:

1) Large one bedroom, in a residential neighborhood of Takoma Park, 15 minute walk to Metro, $875 plus utilities.

2) Smallish and sorta run-down three bedroom 2 bath, moderately close to stuff, in Silver Spring, 8 minute walk to Metro, $640 including utilities for my room.

3) Tiny 2 bedroom 1 bath, one top of everything I could need just north of Chinatown, 2 minute walk to metro, $700 plus utilities for my room.

But the tiny apartment is in DC, so the cost of living there jumps by $141 a month, putting it on par with the expense of the one bedroom in Takoma Park. Plus I might have to rent a parking space, which would be a giant hassle.

So the real question is, do I want privacy and space, or do I want convenience and a roommate? Or do I want to give up both of those things and just save money?

Right now I'm leaning towards the one bedroom, simply because it frees me from ever having to go through this horrific experience again until I'm ready to buy a house. But I'm a social person from a big family, so I know I'm going to get lonely. And as a New Yorker, the city life beckons me.

Damn you fickle apartment gods! Why must you torment me!
<-Back to the Main Page