I'm currently looking for an apartment in NoVA and was hoping for some assistance. I'm relocating from the Midwest, but its really hard to decide where to live (so many options!) and I won't be able to fly out there before I start working next month to take tours and drive around neighborhoods. I've done as much research as I could on Google and various boards and websites. My list includes Rosslyn/Courthouse/Clarendon, Crystal City/Pentagon City, and Carlyle/Old Town. I've decided not to go with living in DC city at first for tax/cost and commute time reasons (maybe I will change my mind after a year). I know Courthouse/Clarendon are more happening places for the younger crowd, but a longer commute to the PTO (have to change Metro lines, can be a pain during rush hour) and more expensive. Even the places I've called so far in Rosslyn are out of my range (single, late 20's, looking for a 1 bedroom, not a studio, don't want roommates), although I really like that central location and multiple Metro access. I think I would prefer Crystal City to Pentagon City, its seems to have more of a neighborhood feel, with parks, trails, restaurants, and a few bars, and is more affordable than the Orange Line area. Carlyle would be great for the convenience of walking to work, but there is not much to do around there after hours, Alexandria seems to be more in tune with an older crowd than I would like, and I would have a long hike to go hang out in Arlington or DC with friends that already live in the area.
I'd rather not do a short-term lease, sublet, corporate, or furnished housing for the first couple of months because I'd have to fly back and forth too many times to get all moved and settled ($300-400 roundtrip). I'd rather find a good area I can commit to for 1 year, relatively close to work, walking distance to a Metro, with a pool, fitness center, etc. I have a 15 lb. dog, so that is a concern as well (need grass and a place to go for walks). I have a car but will not use it to get to work, only to go to places that aren't Metro accessible, get groceries, play golf, run errands, etc. My budget is about $1600-1850 per month for rent, and I need about 600-800 square feet (can't go any higher, and don't want to compromise space and location). I'm looking for a bigger complex with lots of amenities, not a small condo, garden style, midrise, etc. Any input? (ie. best neighborhoods for my situation, good complexes in these areas that are "relatively" affordable). I know I am in for "rent shock" already, even though where I'm from I could get a nice 4-5 bedroom house for the 1 bedroom apartment price in the areas I'm looking, but I have accepted that is the way things are out there. Thanks!