My Realistic Life: Trying to Avoid Homelessness

Since I’m no longer a bride (weep) and am now a wife (yipee!) I’m going to start posting some of my real, married life stories 🙂 But don’t worry, I’ll still be doing real weddings, inspiration boards and venue spotlights, but I’ll toss in a few real Mrs. V stories too. PLUS, this will be a BIG category on my new website! (Read about it here!)

As ya’ll know, and if you don’t you must live under a rock, we are moving at the end of May. Where? Well, we don’t know yet.  The DC metropolitan area is a fantastic place to live. There is always something to do, whether you are in DC, MD or VA, the restaurants and food are amazing and the job market is pretty impressive. However, what comes with such a fantastic location is a ridiculously high cost of living.  Like $2,400 a month for 700 square feet high. We currently reside in a 1080 square foot apartment WITH a loft and it still doesn’t house all of our goods. Now, I know that moving closer to the city is going to result in a place that is a.) more expensive and b.) smaller, but over 300 square feet less for $600 extra dollars? I just can’t justify.  So why is it so hard to find a decent place to live? Let me share you the top reasons, at least for us.

1. Location


We have our hearts set on living in the Old Town, Alexandria area. We currently live in Alexandria now, just not in this area. We live off a highway now in the middle of nowhere. Old Town has ABSOLUTELY everything we want in location. It’s safe, there is TONS to do, very pet friendly, walking distance to a metro and is still only a few stops from DC. It’s like a mini oasis from the hussle and bustle of DC. Not to mention, it has cobblestone streets, all brick town homes and historic buildings.  Oh and if you remember, that’s where we got our engagement photos taken!

[Via L. Hewitt Photography]

I know, it’s just the cutest little place you ever did see. However, everyone else seems to share that sentiment, leaving us with INSANELY high prices for smaller units. Le Sigh.

2. Pets

Enter the two loves of our lives, Oscar and Lilly. These little pups are our fur babies, our kids. Ya’ll with pets? You understand. Well, as “pet-friendly” as Old Town is, a lot of the town homes there refuse to allow pets. I understand, it’s because they are “historic.”  But you know what? I know some people who put our dogs to shame, mess wise. Although my little man (the shih-tzu) has a knack for urinating on things, he only does it on our clean clothes. (I know, awesome right?) Having pets is really proving to be a hindrance in our perfect new place search. But, we aren’t giving them up, so hopefully one of these snooty McSnotts will relax and let us bring our pets!

Yep, he is the cutest thing ever.

3. Metro

All you DC folks know VERY well about the Metro. It’s our sometimes (hardly ever) reliable public transportation system that runs through Northern Va-DC-MD. As much as I complain about it, it makes my life expentionally easier because I don’t have to drive.


We currently live off the Van Dorn exit, which is the second to last blue one on the bottom by the compass. It’s far, but that’s not the problem. The problem is where our apartment is situated from the metro. Our apartment is currently a 15 minute drive to the metro, which is like a one-hour walk. We have a free shuttle that takes us to the metro in the morning and at a night, but that can be SO incredibly incovienent. I have to plan when I leave to a T, just to make the shuttle. And if I’m early or late, I’m stuck waiting at the metro station for the next shuttle or for E to pick me up. I’m just tired of waiting to be driven home. I just want to be within walking distance so I can come and go as I please. And yup, you guessed it, living anywhere close to the metro is also going to up the cost.

4. Washer and Dryer 

This is my Orwellian hell. Yikes. [Via]

This is NON-negotiable. I need a washer and dryer in my apartment. To be honest? I’ve never NOT had one, besides living in the dorm. All of my apartments off-campus in college had a washer and dryer. I have always had the luxury of doing my laundry whenever I felt like without worrying somebody will bother/touch/steal my belongings. Shared laundry rooms literally freak me out. I’m willing to negotiate on a few things, but this, just isn’t one of them.

I know, compromising on location and the w/d thing would certainly open up a few more affordable options to us. But you know what? We don’t want to. I know, it’s childish. But we’ve lived in a crappy location for 2 hours, we deserve someplace fabulous. And I’d also rather not get stabby with someone because they touched my bras.



Filed under marriage tips, My Realistic Life

12 responses to “My Realistic Life: Trying to Avoid Homelessness

  1. I know we were talking about this on Twitter, but I really feel for you. I think Chicago rent prices are a bit lower (which is funny, because we’re a bigger city – maybe because it’s a bit more working class?) but we have very similar problems. We have a cat and a dog (*cough*actuallytwocatsandadogbutdon’ttell*cough*) and like you said, that eliminates a lot of the great options. We ended up settling for a place in a great location, with hardwood floors (a must) but the laundry is communal across the courtyard, and it’s a bit smaller than would be ideal (650 sq ft) plus there was the deposit price – $1275, plus $1000 pet security deposit.

    So, I empathize! So much. But Old Town is so cute, and I really hope you find something great. Another thing to consider if it’s an option for you guys is trying to find someone renting out a condo. We paid a little more last year than we planned, but our rent is going up way less because our landlord is freaking fantastic and it’s her only condo (she got married and has a stepson, so one bedroom condo=no go) which means that she doesn’t increase rent year to year nearly as much as a mangagement company, and she was willing to sign us on to a longer lease. Good luck!

  2. The fact that you didn’t mention the bank of Elliot once makes me happy.

  3. Alicia

    I am with you 100% on laundry in the apartment. You will not regret sacrificing for that!

  4. Apartment hunting has to be the most unnecessarily stressful thing ever. I completely know what you are going through. I really feel like property managers and leasing agents should be a bit more lenient; plus I don’t know why apartments are even available without washer/dryers. It should be a given.

  5. How did I not know you lived around here?! I love Alexandria, but we shifted from VA to MD when the condos were so ridiculously priced in Gaithersburg. I highly recommend our neighborhood, the Kentlands, but we’re again, way up here in Gburg. Good luck with everything!!

  6. I feel your pain lady! Living near the CTA here in Chicago is a nonnegotiable for me, but it seems like everything is so much more expensive if it is in walking distance of the train!

  7. Old Town looks adorable! I hope you two find the prefect place without having to sacrifice too much off of your wish list 🙂

  8. Ugh, searching for an apartment is ANNOYING! I feel your pain. Although the rent prices here in Fl aren’t as bad, I know how it feels to have a budget and feel the frustration of not being able to find a place that has the specifics you are looking for! I hope you manage to find a great place!

  9. Pingback: Eat Skinny Be Skinny: Parmesan Chicken | The Realistic Nutritionist

  10. Ohmigosh, old town looks SO cute… I can see why you want to live there!! Good luck with it all!

  11. Oh I feel your pain sweetie!!! The prices in California are just as high! And Old Town looks fabulous…like my Los Gatos (my fave spot). Los Gatos, or LG as I like to call it, is all those things too! I had an amazing cottage when I lived there back in 2004 but the rent was $1650 for a one bedroom and NO washer and dryer…thank god for Aunt Millie and girls night on Wednesday night as I did it then…but I feel you about other peoples stuff in washers ~ yucky. However, keep looking and think happy thoughts…something will work out ~ I have learned that it usually does ;-))) However, I will keep everything crossed for you and pray that you find a place you love!!!!


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