I was reading a “Mom” blog yesterday and came across someone who was depressed because she faced a trade-off between getting a much-needed larger house or lengthening her husband’s already lengthy commute to DC from Gaithersburg. She was outraged by the “average median house price in Montgomery County of over $900,000.”
Okay. I get the problem – in general. I am not sure about that median price. But mainly, I don’t get why people don’t do a bit of research on neighborhoods in their own city. Or, even better, just get in the car one day and drive around for fun so that you know what’s on the other side of the fence. Who knows? You might like it. OR, maybe our idea of what constitutes a large house these days has become totally out of whack with what is sustainable and then we can never be happy. I choose the former.
So, I emailed this virtual acquaintance and told her about Silver Spring and Takoma Park (assuming she did not want to make the cross-country move to Virginia). At the moment, there are about 60 single family homes for sale in Takoma Park (MD) for under $500,000, all with at least 3 bedrooms. Some of them are well under $500,000. If you don’t know where it is, look at the red-outlined area above. You can’t get closer to DC than that and still take advantage of the Montgomery County school system!
This is a sweet neighborhood in many ways, from historic homes, to Metro access, to the farmers’ market and more. It has a reputation as a place for hippies – but you could do worse than having neighbors who love peace, knitting, and the environment. And in reality, you don’t have to wear hemp to fit in and have a good life there. But you may have to give up ideas of 3+ bathrooms and gourmet kitchens (unless you want to spend a little more). THAT is the real trade-off: giving up stuff that we don’t really need, to in fact have a much better life without the stress and cost (time and money) of a huge commute.
Here are some houses that I think stand out as interesting, but it’s a buyer’s market and there’s lots of choice, so get out there and look!
7500 Flower Ave - $499,000 – 3 bed/2.5 bath truly pretty Victorian with porch, large yard and close to park
225 Manor Circle - $479,000 – beautifully updated 3 bed/2 bath bungalow built in 1925.
7313 Trescott Ave – $465,000 – light-filled 3 bed/3 bath cottage with brand new basment. Close to park.
7201 14th Ave - $439,000 – renovated 3 bed/3bath colonial. Close to park.
504 Ethan Allen Ave – $379,000 – 3 bed/3bath colonial w/porch – go to picture #15 in the MLS to see the front of the house – clearly the realtor doesn’t care much about selling based on these photos, but the house could be quite good once cleaned up.
7306 Trescott Ave - $470,000 – 3 bed/2bath Cape Cod.
1007 Heather Ave - $499,00 – 6 bed/3.5 bath Rancher. Three of the bedrooms are on the lower level but if that’s what you need, then here they are. Large yard.