UrbanTurf Reader Asks: What and Where to Buy With $550K?

by UrbanTurf Staff

Home for sale in Old Town
In this installment of UrbanTurf Reader Asks, a home buyer moving back to DC from the west coast with a budget of around $550,000 asks the UrbanTurf audience the eternal question: Where should I buy? I will be moving back to the DC area to work for the government, and am looking to buy a two-plus bedroom property in the $550,000 price range. Being from the east coast, I am not against an urban high-rise, but after living in California, a row home with a bit of green space would be nice. I will be working around Arlington as well as Foggy Bottom, and would like a location that is easily accessible to the Metro, and like most people, I would prefer an area where I could walk to restaurants, bars and shopping. My job requires working overseas for years at a time, so I am also looking for properties that I could rent out to ideally cover mortgage payments while I am away. Areas that are currently on my short list are Rosslyn, Clarendon, Ballston, Old Town and Carlyle, but I am not against living in DC, it is just that those neighborhoods stood out to me as better options. I appreciate any advice UrbanTurf readers can provide on additional neighborhoods where I should focus my search based on my circumstances and if you feel a condo vs rowhouse is a better option for the long run. Thanks in advance for your recommendations! Post your thoughts in the comments section. If you would like to submit a question for UrbanTurf Reader Asks, send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

See other articles related to: urbanturf reader asks

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/urbanturf_reader_asks_what_and_where_to_buy_with_550k/3362


  1. CR said at 7:56 am on Thursday April 21, 2011:

    I think you could find something nice on the eastern outskirts of Capitol Hill for that price or a two-bedroom in Old Town. Good luck!

  1. diane said at 8:19 am on Thursday April 21, 2011:

    The neighborhoods on your short list are a good start and aside from old town you will get more for your money in VA. You should also look at properties in del ray.

  1. Mike said at 8:39 am on Thursday April 21, 2011:

    For VA, I think Ballston is one of the better values along the urban corridors and has a lot of restaurant options, and more development keeps coming.  I considered Ballston and Clarendon, and equivalent places in Ballston were $150k cheaper. 

    Don’t discount DC though.  The Hill is a good option; you can get a small town feel with lots at your finger tips (Penn, Eastern Mkt, H Street) and excellent rental capability.

  1. MW said at 9:19 am on Thursday April 21, 2011:

    For 550K, you could get a house 1.5 mile south of clarendon off columbia pike.  The area has a lot of character and is very walkable - its the big green spot on this walk score map.  http://www.walkscore.com/VA/Arlington.

    While they are building a streetcar, buses run every 6 minutes to the metro so it is well connected to public transit.

  1. SL said at 10:18 am on Thursday April 21, 2011:

    I live in DC and used to live in Arlington years ago - I’m pretty astounded by Arlington’s transformation and how expensive it has become. I love the neighborhoods around Clarendon and Ballston, but my guess is with a $550K budget you would mainly be limited to condos in those neighborhoods. VA used to be less expensive than DC, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true anymore, at least if you want to be able to walk to Metro. In any case, it makes sense to look both in VA and along the orange line in DC and see what your options are. I’d second the suggestion above to check out Capitol Hill. With a budget of $550K you may be priced out of single family homes in walking distance of the metro in VA, but if you want outside space, a smaller rowhouse in DC should be doable. The rental market is great on the Hill, so you shouldn’t have any problem renting out your house later if you move overseas.

  1. Mary said at 11:59 am on Thursday April 21, 2011:

    As one who mostly works in DC but frequently does so in Arlington, too, I have to say I like SW a lot. It has both good metro and highway access and a couple little restaurant options, with more coming. Like the Hill, has a nice, leafy green feel but is, charmingly, mostly a reverse commute to anywhere in MD or VA you’d have to drive.

  1. Widness said at 1:13 pm on Thursday April 21, 2011:

    I like Arlington’s Barcroft for your price range, even though it is not right on top of the Metro.

  1. Susan Isaacs said at 12:08 am on Friday April 22, 2011:

    Not to be cliche, but why not work with a buyer’s agent and see a few properties in each area to get a feel for prices and value? There are some great properties in NOVA and DC in your price range right now. I’m showing clients a lot of Old Town, Capitol Hill and H Street properies. There are some really cool properties in the H St. area!  Read the local blogs about development and quality of life for each area.

Comments are closed.

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »

Upcoming Seminars ▾