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Side trips
Many DC residents head to the Eastern Shore of Maryland for seaside trips, or other spots along the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is less than an hour away by car or train. Charlottesville, Virginia, home to the state university and beautiful Federal-style buildings, is another popular getaway, as is Fredricksburg, George Washington’s birthplace. There are many wineries in Virginia that make for a lovely day of tastings. Travelling west you will reach mountains, including a few modest skiing options. Classic resorts like Greenbrier in West Virginia and the Inn at Little Washington in Virginia are evergreen retreats for weekends out of town.

Washington is served by three airports: Dulles International (IAD), Reagan National (DCA) and Baltimore-Washington International (BWI), connecting DC to the rest of the country and the world.

Practical info
The overall picture for the market in DC is positive compared to the rest of the country, particularly in the lower to mid-ranges. In high-income areas, there is low inventory and it is a seller’s market, but prices are still off their high point of five years ago. Renting, particularly along the red line in northwest DC, is expensive. A 700-sq-ft apartment in central, fashionable Dupont Circle can go for $2,500 a month without parking.

Property prices vary according to condition, size and location, and a renovated condo can start at $200,000. Many buyers are looking for an apartment that is already redone, since it is hard to borrow the cash needed to buy a place that also needs a new kitchen or bathroom. “But if you have cash on hand, the investment works as long as the buyer doesn’t go overboard on the remodeling,” said Knoll. Competition for good houses can be fierce. “Cash investors are very active right now, looking for properties to renovate and resell,” said Des Marais. Be sure to find a knowledgeable agent who is familiar with DC neighbourhoods and can point you in the right direction. “There are real differences in value, block to block and even building to building,” said Knoll. “Make sure they can advise you on them.”

Further information
DCist: city news and urban diary
Wonkette: DC political gossip
Washington City Paper: arts, news, blogs and columns
Eater DC: restaurant and nightlife blog
H Street Great Street: neighbourhood news and blog

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