Moving to Washington D.C. can be exciting, especially if your move is because you've been hired by a government agency. The D.C. area is so full of history and culture, making it an excellent place to advance your career and also your social life. But, before you take the plunge and hire movers, there are a few things you should know about moving to D.C.
1. It may be more affordable to buy a home.
Rent in D.C. can be really steep, especially in some of the busier neighborhoods. Because of programs like D.C. Open Doors, it is often more affordable to buy a home than to rent in D.C. These programs are intended to make homeownership more affordable and to draw more young professionals into the city.
D.C. Open Doors, specifically, is a program that offers down payment assistance to new homeowners. The program is only available for first-time homebuyers, and any bank that offers home mortgage services in the D.C. area should be able to help you apply.
2. You may not need your car.
If you need to find ways to keep costs down -- which you very well might since D.C. has a high cost of living -- you should consider selling your car. The D.C. area has a really well-connected public transport service, and even professionals regularly ride the Metro to work. The only time you're likely to miss having a car is if you want to leave the city for a weekend or vacation, in which case you could always rent a car.
3. The sales tax system is complicated.
Many states and counties have a flat sales tax rate, but taxes in D.C. are a bit different. Sales tax on most items is 5.75%, but you'll pay a 10% tax on restaurant meals and a whole 19% tax on parking. (This is another reason to think of selling that car!) There is no tax on groceries, however.
4. People dress professionally.
This is not a town where you'll see people out in their sweat pants or athletic attire when grocery shopping. The city, as a whole, dresses very professionally, so make sure your wardrobe is ready before you move. You may need to invest in a few more "business casual" pieces so that you have enough clothing to cycle through.
Moving to D.C. can be a big change, but programs like D.C. Open Doors make it more affordable, as do practices like giving up your car.