DC Buyer: California Couple Relocating to DC Area

by Martin Smith

DC Buyer is a series on UrbanTurf where we look at buyers from various demographics and provide available housing options for them in the current DC market. If you are a prospective buyer and would like to be featured in DC Buyer, send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). See all of our past DC Buyer articles here. This week, we are working with Emmy and Jack, a couple that is living on the west coast, but moving to the DC area soon. Jack is a captain in the U.S. Army and will be reporting in Ballston, while Emmy is an attorney who will be practicing at a local firm. In total, they expect an annual income of around $210,000, and they have about $100,000 to put as a down payment. Jack has the stronger credit score at 750, though Emmy still has a good score of 710. They will be shopping in the $450,000 to $600,000 range.
1051 North Stafford Street
Emmy and Jack have a young daughter, so they are looking for a property with a minimum of 1,250 square feet with at least two bedrooms, preferably with a den or finished basement to convert into a playroom. If possible, they would like to find something that also offers off-street parking. Lastly, a relatively short commute to Ballston is important. Their daughter will be in daycare during the day, so they would like to live somewhere that they can have as much time together as a family as possible, rather than giving those hours up to long drives or subway rides. The first option for Emmy and Jack is 1051 North Stafford Street, just around the corner from the Ballston Metro station. This two-bedroom plus den townhouse hits almost every single one of Emmy and Jack's criteria. Jack could walk to work, and Emmy has a quick ride into the city. It measures out at 1,356 square feet, a parking space is included in the list price and it has a den that could be converted into a playroom. All these things come at a price, though: 1051 North Stafford Street is listed for $589,900, the top of Emmy and Jack's price bracket.
Rhodes Hill Square
Our second choice for Emmy and Jack is a two-bedroom, two-bath unit in the Rhodes Hill Square development a few blocks from the Courthouse Metro. Emmy and Jack did not specify new construction, but this development seems to meet their location requirement, however at 1,105 square feet it is about 150 square feet shy of what they were hoping for in terms of space. The key thing here is that everything is new, so no renovations would be needed, the building is very secure and the listing price includes a parking space. The condo is priced at $599,900.
1321 Potomac Avenue
Lastly, we wanted to offer Emmy and Jack an in-town alternative to suburban living. 1321 Potomac Avenue SE is a renovated townhome just a block from the Blue and Orange Line Metro stop at Potomac Avenue. It is across the street from a Harris Teeter grocery store, and only a few short blocks from Barracks Row, where the family could take in the Friday evening parade at the oldest Marine barracks in the country. Intricate woodwork, a large landing at the top of the stairs, a beautiful private garden, and garage parking are just some of the highlights of this 1,300 square-foot home. Best of all, there is a finished loft area over the garage, that can easily transform itself into a play space for their daughter. 1321 Potomac Avenue SE is the lowest-priced option we featured, listed for $535,000. Given these three choices, where should Emmy and Jack put in their offer?

See other articles related to: dclofts, dc buyer, courthouse, capitol hill, ballston

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc_buyer_california_couple_relocating_to_dc_area/2287


  1. DCNative said at 12:31 pm on Thursday July 22, 2010:

    My vote would be for the Potomac Ave property or the north Stafford townhouse. While it would be nice to walk to work, there is something to be said for living and bringing your kids up in DC.

  1. Jeanne said at 5:31 am on Friday July 23, 2010:

    Capitol Hill all the way!

  1. Kim said at 10:03 am on Friday July 23, 2010:

    I agree; I would go with the third option. I also think this would be a good investment/will see the largest price increase over the years, as that area of the Hill is still somewhat in transition.

  1. Mary said at 10:08 am on Friday July 23, 2010:

    I’ll bet, if you have a kid, either rowhouse would be the most likely to land you in a neighborhood with other kids/young families. I don’t know Ballston as well, but that’s definitely the case for teh Hill which, for them, might make it the most fun option. Depending on whether their daughter’s likely to hit school age during the time period they’re living here, I think they might want to look for a place that’s within bounds of the Capitol Hill school cluster. (I don’t know if Potomac ave is or is not).

  1. Citi said at 10:25 am on Friday July 23, 2010:

    Definitely Capitol Hill.  What a little gem, and so much more fun than Ballston for a young family.  Ballston gets a little desolate in the evenings and weekends.

  1. iEatDC said at 10:36 am on Friday July 23, 2010:

    Always key to budget in private school if you’re anti-DCPS.  So that can be $20K a year.  With the quality of the suburban schools around here, I’d stick to Ballston.  It’s also awesome for at least one person to be able to walk to work.

  1. Jennifer Hebert said at 11:05 am on Friday July 23, 2010:

    I love the amenities of northern Virginia.  Very family friendly and excellent county services.  Plus, lower state income taxes.  And if I may say, new construction is always preferably in my opinion.

  1. Capitol Hill said at 11:22 am on Friday July 23, 2010:

    I love Capitol Hill and live close to the third house - but get a thorough inspection, that place has been on and off the market and may need some work despite the renovated look.

  1. jeff said at 8:17 am on Sunday July 25, 2010:

    State/Dc taxes probably don’t matter for them since the husband is in the Army.  That counts towards Dc imo.

  1. Colin said at 8:19 pm on Sunday July 25, 2010:

    There is a missing detail regarding the townhouse and the row home, which is whether or not there is a garden in the back. Anyhow, I would vote for the Ballston townhouse for public schools (including access to Arlington magnet schools) and ready access to parks and families in a similar life position.

Comments are closed.

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