What to Know if You’re Moving to D.C.

Table of Contents

Washington, D.C. is at the heart of the nation’s political scene. It’s also a diverse, urban area that manages to combine the feel of a small town with the arts, culture, and activity of a major metropolitan area. 

Whether you’re moving there for a job, school, family, or simply because you’re a fan of world-class museums, restaurants, and beautiful public parks, there are things you should know first. Here’s a primer on what to consider if you’re thinking about moving to D.C.

5 Things to Know Before Moving

If you are considering moving to D.C. or already have a definite move-in date, there are some aspects to living in the city you should know about. Here are five important ones.

1. Cost of Living

Living in D.C. is more expensive than residing in less-densely populated areas. Be prepared for higher rents and housing prices if you’re moving from a smaller locale. You can also expect to pay a bit more for purchases such as groceries (they are tax-exempt, though), meals at restaurants, transportation, and leisure activities. You may be pleased by the D.C. cost of living and find it more affordable than what you’re used to, however, if you’re relocating from an expensive city like NYC or San Francisco.

2. Neighborhoods

Washington, D.C. is a metropolitan area, but strict limits on building height mean it feels less congested than other large cities such as New York or Chicago. Each neighborhood in D.C. has its own personality and vibe, as with most large cities. Some neighborhoods are very professional whereas others have a relaxed, bohemian feel. Living in one neighborhood over another is likely to make a big impact on your experience, so it’s worthwhile to do some research on various parts of town. Some of the most popular neighborhoods in D.C. are Dupont Circle, Navy Yard, Adam’s Morgan, and Kalorama.

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3. Lifestyle

D.C. is diverse and tailors to a variety of lifestyles. Jobs in politics are the main draw here, but this city is also known for: 

  • Its museums (the Smithsonian), cultural institutions (the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), sports arenas, and public parks
  • A strong music scene with historical roots in jazz and punk
  • Neighborhoods such as Navy Yard and U Street Corridor, which are filled with great restaurants, cafes, museums, shops, and more.
  • Suburbs like Arlington in Virginia and Bethesda in Maryland, which are great if you’d prefer to live farther away from the action and want a more suburban feel

D.C. also has a very high concentration of green space. Rock Creek Park in the Northwest quadrant is more than twice the size of New York City’s Central Park. The district has the best park system in the United States, according to The Trust for Public Land’s 8th annual ParkScore index, and 98% of residents live within a ten-minute walk of a public park. D.C. may be an ideal city to call home if you enjoy walking and exploring beautiful nature within a city. 

4. Seasons

You will want to be prepared for windy autumns and cold winters if you’re moving to D.C. from the South or West. D.C. weather changes with each new season and summers can be particularly hot and humid. The city has been known to shut down for significant snowfall in winter. The district truly shines in the spring, however, when you’ll get to enjoy the city’s storied Japanese cherry blossoms. 

5. Taxes

It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the tax system in this town to avoid any surprises. Groceries, medicine, and utilities are not subject to sales tax in the district. Here are the tax rates you can expect to pay for other essentials:

  • Sales tax: 6%
  • Liquor: 10%
  • Restaurant meals: 10%
  • Parking: 18%
  • Hotels: 14.95%

Washington D.C. is an urban district with a smaller town feel. It is more expensive to live in than the average city but there are many inexpensive perks for the public, such as the modes of transportation it offers.  

Person packing a box Moving to D.C.

4 Ways to Get Around D.C. 

There’s more than one way to get around this town, and each method has its pros and cons. It may take some time to adjust to other types of transportation if you’re moving from a place where driving is the only option, but they can be cheaper and more convenient once you get the hang of them. 

The Metro

The metro is a quick and convenient way to travel around the city, particularly to and from work. Taking the metro can save you time over driving if you work close to downtown since traffic tends to get congested in the central parts of D.C. Parking can also be an issue. You’ll likely pay to park in a garage if you attempt to park downtown or close to it, as most places do not have their own parking lots, and street parking is extremely limited.

Uber & Lyft

Rideshares are widely available throughout the district, and these can be useful for getting to places where there’s no metro stop. D.C. has a wide-reaching metro service that extends into surrounding areas like Arlington and southern Maryland, but there are still some areas that are not accessible by train. There’s always the chance for public transit to incur delays also, like with any urban area. 

Bike & Scooter Shares

Bikes and scooters are newer modes of transport that have popped up recently and they seem to be popular with residents and visitors alike. Bikes and scooters abound in D.C. neighborhoods and are a great way to travel a short distance. They’re also an easy last-minute alternative if you’re in a hurry while stuck in traffic. 

Personal Vehicles

Driving your own car is always an option, and if you’re moving from a town where you drive everywhere, it might be the first option you think of when considering transportation. Driving may not be the quickest or most convenient method of travel, though, given DC’s notorious traffic and alternative modes of getting around. Be sure to consider the parking situation at your destination when you think of driving. 

Take some time to familiarize yourself with the public transit routes and how to get around by car. Traveling around town is fairly easy once you get your bearings. 

Day Trips and Weekend Getaways

There’s so much to do in and around D.C. Take full advantage of what the area has to offer, with outings like these: 

Outdoor Adventures

Hiking in Great Falls and Shenandoah National Park and rafting in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia are just some of the active day trips you can take from D.C. Ocean City, Maryland and Virginia Beach are within driving distance if the beach is more your speed.

Wine Tasting

D.C. is very close to Maryland and several vineyards are within a short driving distance, including Port of Leonardtown Winery and Romano Vineyard and Winery. It is also close to historic Leesburg, VA, which has several high-rated wineries to check out, such as Casanel Vineyards and Winery

Doing things outdoors is especially nice during the spring. There are many parks, wineries, and other outdoor activities to take advantage of when you live in D.C.

Looking for Property in Washington D.C.

Washington, D.C is a vibrant city with a plethora of historic and cultural institutions as well as plenty of green space for exploring nature and taking leisurely walks. It has something for everyone, including theaters, music venues, five-star restaurants, and more.

The experienced team at Nomadic Real Estate is here to meet your needs if you’re looking for DC Rentals. or you’re hoping to invest in the local real estate market. We can help you find the right home or investment property as well as provide property management and advisory services. Contact us today to speak with one of our real estate professionals.

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Enhanced Reporting

Your portal includes a selection of extremely useful reports. Reports are available in the “Reports” section, and are distinct from the financial statements. Unlike financial statements which are static records, Reports are dynamic real-time records that will update with current data every time you view them. 

Scroll down to learn more about Reports:

Navigate to the "Reports" module in your portal:

Owner Portal Reports
  • Keep in mind, these reports are dynamic records. They will refresh to display current information every time you view them. 

Enhanced Rent Roll Report:

Enhanced Rent Roll Report
  • The Enhanced Rent Roll Report will show the rent amount, last payment date, move-in date, lease expiration date, and security deposit amount for each of your tenants. 
  • It will also show a portfolio summary with occupancy percentage, vacancy loss, and more!

Unit Comparison Report:

Unit Comparison Report
  • If you own multiple units (or buildings) with Nomadic, you’ll get access to the Unit Comparison Report. 
  • This report enables you to quickly compare financial performance between your units at a glance without toggling between individual reports. 

Income Statement Month-Over-Month:

Income Statement by Month Report
  • The Income Statement Detail – Monthly Report serves as a month-over-month record of portfolio performance. You’ll see itemized income and expense categories and can track monthly. This report will update with fresh data every time you view it. 

Financial Statements

Financial statements will be published to your portal on a monthly basis. The statements are found in your Documents library, and provide a historical record of all financial performance. The statements serve as a snapshot of financial performance over a given period, and are static documents (unlike Reports, the statements do not update/change in real-time). 

Scroll down for more info about the Financial Statements in your Documents library:

The Documents area contains monthly financial statements:

Owner Portal Documents
  • The statements in the Documents are are static documents. They are posted to the portal once a month to serve as a historical record of financial performance. 

Download a statement to see month and YTD financials:

Owner Portal Property Statement

You'll also find a month-over-month operating statement:

Month over Month Statement

Portal Communication Tool

You can use your owner portal to communicate with our team. Any messages you send through the portal will go straight to your Account Manager. When we reply, you’ll get an email notification and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

Here’s an overview of using the communication platform:

Click "Communications" and navigate to "Conversations":

Commincation Dashboard Screenshot
  • The communications module will contain a record of all messages that you create through the portal. 

Click the "New Message" button and send your message:

Owner Portal New Message Screenshot

Responses will show up in the conversation ticket:

Portal Conversation Response Screenshot
  • You’ll get an email notification whenever you get a response, and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

You can reply in-line using the comment box:

Owner Portal Comment

Each conversation will be logged in its entirety:

Portal Conversation Snapshot

Understanding the Ledger

Your portal includes a ledger with all transactions. The ledger is populated with data in real-time as transactions flow through our accounting software. Much of this information is also available in the Reports area, as well as the Statements in your Documents library, but the ledger is the most comprehensive resource for diving into the details. 

Please scroll through the sections below to get a better understanding of how to interpret the ledger. 

By default, transactions are sorted chronologically:

Owner Ledger Dates
  • The date reflected in the lefthand column is the actual transaction date, not the “bill date”. This is the date the transaction was actually processed. 

If you have multiple properties with Nomadic, you'll see the address for each transaction in the "Location" column:

Ledger Property Column
  • You can filter the ledger to look at just one property, all properties, or specific sets of properties. 
  • If you only have one property with us, you’ll just see the ledger for that property. 

The Description column displays the transaction type:

Owner Ledger Description Column
  • BILL: this is an expense transaction, such as for repair costs or management fees.
  • CHARGE: this is a transaction  billed to the tenant, most typically a rent payment. 
  • NACHA EXPORT: this is a credit we processed to your distribution account. This type of transaction is how you get paid! 

The Amount column shows the dollar value of each transaction:

Owner Ledger Amount Column
  • Positive Amounts: if an amount is positive, it reflects a transaction that is payable to you. Typically, this will be a rent payment that we collected from your tenants. On occasion, a positive number could also signify a journal entry or credit adjustment. 
  • Negative Amounts:  if an amount is negative, this is a transaction that is either payable to Nomadic or is an amount that has already been paid to you. Typically this will be for repair costs or management/leasing fees. Owner draws (net distributions into your checking/savings account) also reflect as negative amounts, since they have already been paid to you. 

The Account Balance column shows a sum of positive/negative transactions at a given point in time:

Owner Ledger Account Balance Column
  • Account Balance should always equal zero after a net distribution has been processed. When the balance is zero, this means that all expenses have been paid and you’ve received the remainder as net operating income, leaving a balance of zero (meaning: no one is due any money, as all funds have been distributed appropriately). 

Navigating the Propertyware Owner Portal

Your portal includes some extremely useful features that help you understand your property’s financial performance at a new level, with real-time transparency into every transaction.

Scroll through the snapshots below for an overview of portal navigation! If you need more help or have specific questions about using the portal, you can reach out to your Account Manager any time for a screen share. 

You can filter all info by date range or property:

PW Portal Filters

View a snapshot of income and expenses on your dashboard:

PW Owner Dashboard View

See every transaction in real-time on your ledger:

Owner Portal Ledger View

Statements and forms will be posted to your documents library:

Owner Portal Document Library

View a suite of real-time financial reports:

Portal Reports View

See a running list of all bills, and drill down for more detail:

Owner Portal Bills View

Under Bill Details, you'll find dates/descriptions/amounts and more:

Portal Bill Details

You can also communicate with your Account Manager through the portal:

Owner Portal Communication Tools

How do net distributions work?

Net distributions keep your accounting clean and simple. Each month we’ll collect rent from the tenants, deduct any repair expenses for the previous month and any management/leasing fees for the current month, and credit the remaining net operating income to your account. 

Net Distribution

You’ll receive a statement via email each time a net distribution is processed, and can view all transaction details in your Propertyware owner portal.