THE NUTSHELL: I am looking for personal recommendations of managed apartment buildings in Washington DC, Arlington (especially Shirlington), or Alexandria (especially Del Ray). By “personal” I mean that you must have either recently lived in the building or be living there now (to be extra clear, no “my cousin/friend/sister lives in X building and seems to like it” anecdotes).
What I’m looking for:[ul]
[li]2BR, or 1BR w/den[/li][li]~$2000/mo (not including utilites)[/li][li]Takes dogs (under 50 lbs)[/li][li]Has reserved parking (not just “I can usually find a spot”)[/li][li]Located either walking distance from a Metro station or reasonably close to a station with parking[/li][li]W/D in units[/ul] If you’d like to recommend the place where you’re living now but don’t want to announce your location on the message board, please PM me (I may want to ask some questions, but I promise I won’t try to become your new best friend or anything ;)).[/li]
THE DETAILS: I currently live in Sterling, Va., but am hoping to move closer to DC in mid-May – maybe even to the city itself. About seven years ago I got fed up with apartment living and started renting townhouses, which is easy to do in the 'burbs but gets harder the closer you get to downtown.
What drove me out of apartments before was a combination of unreasonably loud, rude neighbors (you’ll have to take my word for it; prior to that I lived in apartments for almost a decade with no problems) and a completely ineffective management office. Having a relatively quiet home is important to me: I came to dread going/being there, and after a year of misery I wound up breaking my lease (first and only time) in order to get out of that situation. I am paranoid about signing a 1-year lease and quickly realizing that I’m in another bad building. So good walls are important to me for that reason, but also because I have a dog: she doesn’t bark much while inside but she does bark some, and I’d want to minimize any impact on my neighbors.
There are several apartment buildings in Shirlington Village and Del Ray that seem great from their websites, but of course it’s impossible to tell what living there would actually be like. And, IMO, sites like ApartmentRatings.com are useless: not many people bother to leave ratings, sometimes the positive reviews are written by leasing agents, and also I think that those sites tend to skew towards tenants who had bad experiences (i.e., people with no problems don’t usually feel the need to seek out/comment on rating sites). So, I’m turning to the largest group of random people I know – Dopers – to ask for personal recommendations. Or warnings.
To be clear, I have definitely not ruled out either renting a townhouse in Arlington/Alexandria or renting an “English basement” type of apartment downtown: I’m looking into those options separately. I just don’t want to rule out managed apartments if there’s a great building out there.
I’ve tried to be careful with my wording of this post, but please let me know if I’ve left out any key details/information…oh, and thanks!