Many people moving to the DC area have the same first question...which is the better place to live? Maryland, Virginia or DC? Let's look at three categories to compare and contrast the states and hopefully help you come to a better informed decision for your particular situation.
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Property taxes and affordability - Taxes in Virginia are less than Maryland. Maryland taxes can be quite steep as they have a county tax added to the state income tax. DC is also higher in taxes such as income tax than Virginia, until you consider property taxes ( for instance, the tax you have to pay on your car. However, consider that the taxes you pay in Virginia get pumped into the excellent public school system. In considering almost all scenarios, i.e. car or no car, family or not, etc., DC has the lightest tax burden. Over all affordability of a certain location all depends on your particular situation ( car/no car, family/no family etc.) For instance, taxes may be lower in one area, but housing may be more expensive. Basically, the farther away from downtown you get, the more affordable rent and housing is.
Commute time and accessibility - Commuting in Virginia is worse than Maryland. Virginia only has a couple of bridges into DC and fewer metro lines. Maryland can keep you off the congested bridge to get into the district with more metro lines available. DC has the best commute with the most public transit to keep you from driving yourself but if and when you do want to drive, they also have zipcar service.
Over all - If living in Maryland, Silver Spring and Bethesda have the best affordability and commute and Montgomery County is just as nice as Fairfax County in VA if you can afford it. Silver Spring is even more affordable than Bethesda. If you should choose Virginia, Alexandria, Arlington and Ballston are nice areas for commuting. If you have a car, Fairfax County has some more affordable places. Virginia also has excellent school systems and less crime. DC is the obvious choice if commute is your number one concern. The simple truth, no place is "better" than another when you get right down to it. It all depends on your needs and which area can best meet them.
I love living, working and playing in the Washington DC area and will be a true advocate for you before, during, and after your home purchase. Whether you are looking at a home, rowhouse or luxury condo anywhere in the Bethesda MD real estate area, you can be sure your needs will be met and your requirements for a home taken as my top priority. It really pays to have someone who knows the area.
Not only do I represent buyers and sellers of DC Property, but I also represent MD Real Estate and Virginia Real Estate as well. I am your exclusive Long and Foster Real Estate Professional. Click here to learn more about me.
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