Special to the Washington Post

Continuing my hunt for a nice, cheap, convenient place to live in Washington has not been the easiest endeavor. It doesn’t help being a college grad looking for an entry-level job.

(David Hood)

Its online features looked good, although there weren’t many pictures or detailed descriptions of the place. But at $1,300 a month for a two-bedroom and no more than $1,045 for a one-bedroom, it did seem intriguing.

I trekked out there from Eastern Market Metro Station to Pentagon City and then took the 16G bus up George Mason Drive. The entire journey took less than an hour, including a 15-minute bus ride. To me, being without a car (for now) seemed not terribly bad, although I can only imagine what it would be like in pouring rain or snow.

(David Hood)

When I arrived, I was given a key in exchange for my photo ID to look at a showcased unit myself. It was a one-bedroom, one bath unit with basket-weave patterned wood flooring throughout with the exception of the kitchen and the bathroom (vinyl).

I typically don’t like wood floors, but the pattern and the aged look and feel I imagined would be fine once I got used to it. The single bedroom was big enough for a king-sized bed, two dressers and two night stands. However, the hinge closet was very small for two people and the paint looked chipped.

The bathroom wasn’t impressive either. Barely large enough for one person, let alone two people, it felt cramped. Although, I may add, the tiles and the sink were new.

(David Hood)

The dining area was a simple setup with enough space for a family table of four. Having said that, the kitchen mirrored the bathroom: small, updated sink but outdated appliances. The entire stove top was about a third the size of my parents’ stove back home. In addition, there was no dishwasher and a single laminated wood countertop.

At first glance, it was probably one of the lower complexes on my list, but after a sales representative told me that the price variance hinged on how new the appliances were per independent unit, it turned my skepticism into optimism.

(David Hood)

The commute, I will have to admit, was a bit far, but with a car (which I will have when I move back to Washington), it didn’t look as if it would be too terrible.

On the surface, Barcroft Apartments appeared old. But given the financial incentive, I saw my wife-to-be and I being happy in the homey place in Arlington. I’m going to keep it in consideration as my permanent move to D.C. approaches.

From intern to full-fledged Washingtonian

Balancing distance and price