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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello

We're starting to look for a house or apartment to rent. My husband is working at the University of Maryland in College Park, so we'd like to be close to there. We are thinking Silver Spring or Takoma Park but are open to other areas. We need a 2 or 3 bedroom for less than $1200 a month. We are looking on Craigslist and plan to drive around some of the areas we like to check out apartment buildings, but if you have other suggestions for good ways to find rental units, we would appreciate it!

Also, in Chicago we used an apartment finding service -- we went to them, told them what we wanted and our price range, and they drove us to different apartments. Is there anything like that around here?

Thanks!
Sara
 

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There are lots of young crunchy families in old town Hyattsville (zip colde 20781), Mount Rainier (20712), and Cheverly (20785 - I think). These areas are really cheap and close to College Park. Some houses in these areas have been on the market for over a year and are really cheap right now - you might be able to even buy a 2-bedroom house for $1200/month. Probably not that cheap in Takoma Park. Don't know about Silver Spring; it is a huge area and I know some neighborhoods are nicer and some are not so nice (but probably cheaper). I think overall, Prince George's County (where Hyattsville, Mount Rainier, and Cheverly are) is going to be less expensive than Montgomery County (Silver Spring and Takoma Park).

Edited to add: we live in Mt. Rainier and even though it isn't fancy, we are really happy here - and a commute to College Park would be totally dreamy because it is SO close and easy to get to.
 

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I teach at UMD and I agree with everything the above poster said! I live farther away, myself, but if I were househunting now I would definitely look in those places. [Two years ago, when I was buying, it was outrageously expensive even in those areas.] I would say, you'll probably want to rule out Silver Spring for price reasons: the only places in SS you will be able to rent on that budget are places you wouldn't want to live.

But Takoma Park, Hyattsville, etc., are very nice. Hyattsville is undergoing an "arts revitalization," whatever that is, exactly, and has a very nice yarn shop if you're into that sort of thing. Takoma Park is the crunchiest place in the DC area, I think.
 

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What are the crime rates like in Hyattsville, Mt. Ranier and Cheverly? I'm going to be taking a job in downtown DC, and we'd like to buy a house within a reasonable commuting distance, and close to Metro. But, I want us all to be and feel safe in the 'hood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you all so much for your insights. I am getting the sense as I look for places that Silver Spring and Takoma Park might be out of our price range. When I mentioned Mt. Rainier and Hyattsville to my husband's parents after reading Academama's post (which was very helpful, thank you!), they all made funny faces and implied that these areas are not "safe". I am pretty sure their definitions of "safe" are different than ours -- they live in very white upper income neighborhoods and I think that perhaps they think anything other than that is "not safe". We are used to living in the middle of Chicago in a neighborhood that probably others would have thought was "not safe", but we loved it and felt fine there. At the same time I of course want to make sure we are living in an area where we do feel safe. So any additional insights about these areas and their safety, livability, etc. would be great. And I think this weekend we'll drive around and see them for ourselves. Thanks again, this has all been really helpful for me.
 

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Well, like I mentioned earlier, we live in Mt. Rainier and have for the past five years. Sure, safety is relative but honestly these areas are fine if you are used to racially and socio-economically mixed neighborhoods. Many people have an attitude about PG county in general, and in years past (10 years ago, maybe) these neighborhoods were definitely much rougher than now (ie, crack houses, etc.). These days there are tons of families, small kids, stay-at-home moms, alternative, liberal, crunchy, strong community, etc. etc. Some really nice streets and nice houses. I don't feel great about walking alone at night in my neighborhood, but I think you could say that for many neighborhoods. Since we've lived here we've never personally had any problems with any type of crime at all, we've made friends with our neighbors, we've gotten involved in our community and it has been a fine place to be. No, it's not upper-class and fancy the way other areas are, but I actually think that is one of the things which is appealing about this area. DC Metro in general is such a rat-race, with people who make huge salaries and still live beyond their means. I like that there are average people here.

If I could, I would move into old town Hyattsville right now. I find it a bit larger and prettier, maybe even a bit safer. And there is a lot of new construction underway, so more restaurants, cafes, shopping, etc. are on the way. I'm always amazed that people are SO prejudiced that they pass up an opportunity to live in a decent neighborhood, minutes to downtown, and very affordable. Sure, there are some tradeoffs but it is not a bad place to live. When you are driving around, make sure to get off of Route 1 and into the neighborhoods a little bit.
 

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I agree 100% with Contented73. PG county has a bad rap because it used to be scary in a lot of places; now the majority of it is quite nice. I prefer it to the neighboring, "nicer" counties, personally, because it is older and less chain-business-oriented.

Hyattsville in particular has a reputation for being unsafe that is not at all deserved. Old Hyattsville is quite nice. I would feel safe moving my family there.

Takoma Park/SS are nice too, but pricey. I think you would get a lot more bang for your buck in Hyattsville or a like area. And you would be surrounded by interesting, independent businesses; older, more appealing homes; and a diverse community in all senses [racial, economic, etc.].
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Contended73 and academama, thank you SO much. this really helps us a lot. it sounds like hyattsville and mount rainier might be a great fit for us. we are going to go this weekend and drive around (we will be sure to get off Route 1 as you suggested). thank you again!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by twilight girl View Post
What are the crime rates like in Hyattsville, Mt. Ranier and Cheverly? I'm going to be taking a job in downtown DC, and we'd like to buy a house within a reasonable commuting distance, and close to Metro. But, I want us all to be and feel safe in the 'hood.
I'm in Cheverly, and I give it a big
. It's like a crunchy-lite Mayberry here. Crime is not bad at all here (imo). I've never felt unsafe, even taking my dc walking around town in the dark, on occasion. That said, we have had our car stolen and broken into. That's the biggest crime risk here, I believe.

I'd live in Hyattsville or Mt Ranier-- love Old Greenbelt, too!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by darien View Post
I'm in Cheverly, and I give it a big
. It's like a crunchy-lite Mayberry here. Crime is not bad at all here (imo). I've never felt unsafe, even taking my dc walking around town in the dark, on occasion. That said, we have had our car stolen and broken into. That's the biggest crime risk here, I believe.

I'd live in Hyattsville or Mt Ranier-- love Old Greenbelt, too!
You've had your car stolen and broken into, and crime is not bad at all?!?!?! One of the reasons that we decided to move back to the U.S. is that crime was on the rise where we were, and we were feeling increasingly unsafe. I want to be somewhere where my car isn't going to be stolen! And my car or my house won't be broken into. Not to mention personal safety out walking around the neighborhood, or back from the metro.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by twilight girl View Post
You've had your car stolen and broken into, and crime is not bad at all?!?!?! One of the reasons that we decided to move back to the U.S. is that crime was on the rise where we were, and we were feeling increasingly unsafe. I want to be somewhere where my car isn't going to be stolen! And my car or my house won't be broken into. Not to mention personal safety out walking around the neighborhood, or back from the metro.
In my area, there is a fairly average--maybe slightly above-average for the nation--rate of car theft. [That is because I'm near DC, not because of my specific neighborhood.] But the rate of violent crime is quite low, and that's what's most important to me. I feel safe.

If you want to live somewhere that has a low overall crime rate with almost no crime of any kind, you're not going to be living in or near a major city. That's just the way it is.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by academama View Post
In my area, there is a fairly average--maybe slightly above-average for the nation--rate of car theft. [That is because I'm near DC, not because of my specific neighborhood.] But the rate of violent crime is quite low, and that's what's most important to me. I feel safe.

If you want to live somewhere that has a low overall crime rate with almost no crime of any kind, you're not going to be living in or near a major city. That's just the way it is.
Yeah, that.

Ironically, there was a murder (shooting) in Cheverly on Independence Day.
The community is reeling, because it is a huge shock, that "just doesn't happen here," as they say.

The town has it's own police force, and they're very good. There's also a Neighborhood Watch group, and a very active community listserv that will broadcast "breaking news" such as door to door solicitors who aren't supposed to be here.

The State's Attorney and 2 Maryland State Delegates live here too-- not that they can prevent crime, of course,
but when crime happens, the community is very active working against it.

It's not Utopia, but I think it's one of the nicest, safest places to live in the DC area.
 

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I live in Windsor Green, in New Greenbelt. I haven't priced rentals lately, but my guess is you could find one for that price. The entire subdiv is townhomes, either 3 or 4 bedrooms and 2 or 3 levels. Pool, playgrounds and tennis courts are great amenities. It's a 10-15 min drive to UM, straight down 193. Lots of families with children here, too. Like a PP said, you might be able to buy a place for $1200 a month!

Crime in Greenbelt is not bad, mostly some random vandalism, car breakins and such. I've been here 5 years and feel safe. There are some apt areas in Greenbelt I'd never live in due to safety - notably the Empirian Village complex (used to be called Springhill Lake) - but most of Greenbelt crime seems to take place in those specific locations.

Old Greenbelt is quainter, crunchier on average, and more walkable than new/east greenbelt.

Good luck in your search!
 
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