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JasonsMom08's avatar

I'm looking to buy a home in Montgomery County, MD - need advice please!

Asked by JasonsMom08 (436 points ) March 22nd, 2011

Hello, a job offer in the D.C. area will require our family to relocate to the D.C. area. We have heard good things about the Montgomery County area in Maryland. Does anyone live or know about this area, specifically on the western side of the Red Line? What are some neighborhoods to check out, and those to avoid? Thank you in advance for any information or advice!

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11 Answers

Judi's avatar

I know that you can get crime statistics from the local police department. There is also the sex offender registry online. That might help you determine if a neighborhood is right for you.

marinelife's avatar

Montgomery County has very good schools and county taxes to pay for them.

The “Red Line” goes in a U shape so I am not sure which arm you mean West of.

There is the quirky neighborhood of Takoma Park, which has farmer’s markets and a lot of cool people.

There is Silver Spring and Rockville. On the other side of the U that is the red line, there is Bethesda, which is lovely.

JasonsMom08's avatar

@marinelife – I misspoke, I meant on the western arm of the Red Line (thanks!)

augustlan's avatar

I grew up in Montgomery County, in the cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg, specifically. It’s quite expensive to live there, but the salaries are higher, too, so it’s all relative. As for what cities to recommend, it depends on what you’re looking for. Schools? Arts? Shopping? Commute?

Haleth's avatar

How are you planning to commute, and how much space do you want? Almost everywhere in Montgomery County is really, really nice.

If you want to live closer in and have a large budget, you could live in Potomac or Bethesda. Potomac is pretty close to DC, but it’s wooded and full of huge houses with big yards. It’s very affluent and has great schools. You have to drive everywhere- there’s hardly any public transit, but nice bike trails and walking trails.

Bethesda has more of a “city” feel to it, but also very affluent. The houses are a bit closer together, but everything is a bit older so you’ve still got the shady, tree-lined streets. Most of Bethesda is close to the Beltway and/or public transit for an easy commute and it’s full of great restaurants and shopping. Many listings will say that they are in “Bethesda” when they are far north of all these amenities, getting more into Rockville.

Rockville is a little farther out but still very nice. Prices are a bit more reasonable here. Rockville has a very safe, suburban feel to it. You’ll find nice single family homes and townhouses, many shopping centers and Starbuckses, great schools and plenty of parks. The metro is centrally located but bus service out here kind of sucks. If you want to take public transit in you’ll have to drive to the metro and that gets expensive fast.

If you want to be in the western part of Montgomery County near the red line you could also go for Gaithersburg, which is a lot like Rockville but more spread out and a little less expensive. But rush hour in the DC area is terrible and you’re starting to look at a really bad commute. Any further out and the commute becomes prohibitive.

Fairfax County and parts of Arlington County are also very nice. The Vienna/ Tyson’s Corner area in Fairfax is full of great schools, shopping, and plenty of nice houses. It’s probably pretty similar to living in Rockville, but Tyson’s is a bit of a city in its own right.

Arlington has some very nice neighborhoods, especially in North Arlington, and it’s right next to the city. You can walk or take public transit everywhere if you want, there’s great shopping and restaurants, and very good schools. Many of the houses are older and have a lot of character.

Good luck on your move!

JasonsMom08's avatar

@Haleth – My husband will be taking the Red line to D.C. daily. Looking for a 3–4 bdr home, with a nice yard, in a residential neighborhood. We have two young children, 2 years old and 2 months old; so school quality is essential.

bkcunningham's avatar

@JasonsMom08 I don’t know where you are moving from, but it may be a culture shock if you aren’t use to the prices in the DC Metro area. I hope your husband is making a handsome salary.

augustlan's avatar

@JasonsMom08 Gaithersburg would probably be good for you. Suburban, lots of convenience, good schools, and fairly close to the Shady Grove Metro station. Derwood is a little town that’s even closer. It’s an older neighborhood, so the lots are big and have mature trees.

JasonsMom08's avatar

@bkcunningham – moving from “Tax-achusetts”, but from what I hear prices in the Montgomery County may be comparable. :)

bkcunningham's avatar

@JasonsMom08 my husband worked in downtown DC and we lived in Woodbridge, Va., which is in Prince William County, Va. We had a house in an area that was fantastic. It is called Belmont Bay on the Occoquan River and Potomac River. The elementary school is inside the golf course community. The VRE Station is at the entrance to the development. We loved it there. You didn’t realize you were 20 minutes from downtown DC.

Don’t forget, a 20 mile commute may sometimes take 3 hours with the traffic in the area.

My husband also worked at the Pentagon for a while before that and we lived in Alexandria, Va., which took about five minutes to drive. I suppose my point is to look in neighboring Northern Virginia as well as Montgomery County, MD.

burwyck's avatar

I own a house I’m selling in zip code 20816, in the Walt Whitman High school district. Single family, yard. If interested let me know and we’ll figure out how to exchange information and protect our privacy at the same time.

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