One of the most common questions we get from people relocating to the DC metropolitan area is, “Which state do I buy in?” It’s a great question and there are many factors to consider when making this decision.
Here are a few different things to consider before deciding whether to buy in Virginia, DC, or Maryland:
You should start any home search with getting very clear on your finances and what you’re willing to spend. Starting with mortgage calculators online will give you a head start, and then discussing your options with a true mortgage professional will give you a much clearer picture of where you stand. Depending on which areas you choose, housing prices are typically highest in DC, then VA, and less expensive in MD. Of course you find more or less expensive areas within each of these jurisdictions, so getting to know specific areas and neighborhoods is the best way to get clearer on prices in each location.
Another very important factor to consider is where you’ll be regularly commuting to for work, school, or other life activities. Our buyers often want to be in a location convenient to where they work and play. Luckily, there are lots of amenities in all three states to enjoy. With one in three employees working from home these days, there is a trend away from the city and towards the suburbs. And yet, DC is still a very attractive place to put down roots and enjoy all the things city-living has to offer. If access to public transportation is important to you, consider basing a search around metro stops, bus routes, VRE stops, which extend into all three areas.
The quality of the school system varies in the tri-state area based on various criteria as judged by www.greatschools.com. We recommend visiting their website to help you narrow down areas to focus on if schooling is a major factor in your housing decision.
In general, Maryland levies the most taxes on its residents, with DC levying slightly less, and Virginia levying the fewest (unless you happen to own an excessive amount of cars, boats, and other personal property). Real estate taxes and income taxes are highest in Maryland, slightly less in DC, and lowest in Virginia. State and local taxes are highest in MD, less in VA, and typically lowest in DC. Vehicle registration fees are highest in DC, slightly less in MD, and lowest in VA. Sales taxes are generally lower in VA than MD or DC with some exceptions. Gasoline tax rates are lowest in VA. But, Virginia levies a personal property tax that MD and DC do not. All things equal, most consider VA to be lowest in taxes of the three jurisdictions.
Many buyers consider safety to be a primary concern in their decision making when purchasing a home. To get a sense of the types and levels of crime in the DC metro area, visit the local police department websites in each jurisdiction.
And finally, make sure you choose a real estate team that is licensed in all three jurisdictions to help you navigate the DC metro real estate waters. Contact Team Thiel today for a warm, caring and helpful consultation. In the meantime, doing your research will get you started!