Moving into DC proper. 2 kids, 8 and 3, modest income. do I look for schools 1st or neighborhood. Do not want long commute. where 2 live?

Asked by C. Smith, Detroit, MI Tue Jul 26, 2011

We are likely to work in DC proper...we do not want long commute with children left in before and aftercare. We have no family or friends there, so we the time frame shouldn't be more than 1/2 hour to city center. We r willing to forego house for apartment rental but the number one factor is elementary school. Here in Michigan,our kids go to elite private school but cost of living MUCH cheaper than DC. want to know where we can get nice 2-3 bedroom apt in the $3200 range with in a solid school district inside family neighborhood in DC area. Heard about Horace Mann, Murch, Hyde, etc... please guide us.

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Serwa Agyeman, Agent, Bowie, MD
Wed Jul 27, 2011
I would have to agree with Djana. I am also a Realtor and a mother of three, schools were our deciding factors when our children were younger. DC has many areas that will satisfy your price point as well as your school needs. Please visit my website to search for schools and communities.

Serwa Agyeman, CLHMS, SFR
Keller Williams Preferred Properties
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Djana Morris, , Washington, DC
Tue Jul 26, 2011
As a parent and as a realtor, I would definitely chose the school first and the neighborhood second. As another poster said, realtors cannot recommend schools or neighborhoods to you. Feel free to go to my website ( and check out the DC Neighborhoods and Resources tab for information on Public Schools in DC, MD & VA. Once you choose one or several schools that you like, finding a home in one of those neighborhoods should be fairly easy. You'll find something nice in your price range -- don't worry!

Djana Morris
Long & Foster Real Estate
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David Burnham, , Washington, DC
Tue Jul 26, 2011
I would probably look neighborhood first, then schools second if your concern is mainly the elementary schools. Although you will need to decide what schools are best for your situation, I would say that there are a lot of decent elementary schools and if you are looking at some of the nicer neighborhoods, the differences in elementary schools are not huge. DC also has a lottery program where you can apply to schools where you are not in bounds to.

When you get to middle and high school, it could be a different story. For example, you can live on Capitol Hill and go to one of three or four elementary schools, depending on where you are. The difference between these schools is probably not large. When you get to high school, some parts of the hill go to Wilson and other parts go to Eastern High. Chances are you will find a large difference in test scores between these two schools.

So for now, I would think about renting and getting a sense of the DC schools for the next couple of years and if you are committed to sticking it out through high school, you can then make a move when your kids get a little older.
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Melissa Bark…, Agent, Washington, DC
Tue Jul 26, 2011

As for DC schools, I would google up, look at sources such as the DC Public Schools website, the Washingtonian or other publications that rate DC schools. As agents we cannot steer people to a particular neighborhood or judge the schools. Have you considered Arlington or Alexandria as well? If you are on a metroline your commute could be 30 mins or less to downtown.

I would be happy to talk with you more about what you are looking for and locations. Feel free to drop me an email.


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