Risk and BenefitsI was looking at mutual funds for an education fund I'm supposed to set up for the niece before the year is out when I answered a question on someone else's site about crime in Shaw. So this explains the state of mind I was in when answering.
Life is filled with risk. And not just one kind of risk, all sorts of horrid things could happen to your health, heart, and soul. Add to it, it doesn't get evenly spread. You could move to Shaw, live here for 7 years and experience nothing but good. Just as well you could move here, buy a money pit, have your car stolen, get hassled by various people on the street, and move out after 2 years, bitter and angry.
Your experience here could depend on a slew of factors ranging from your personality, your immediate environment, that big wild card, fate, and how all those things mix together on any given day. Say you did buy that money pit, and by chance you mention it to some neighbors/friends/ co-workers who experienced the same problem and could advise you before you threw too much money at it. Or maybe there are a thousand little things that go wrong that need fixing, whether you're the kind of person who could install drywall in your sleep or if you can barely change a light bulb may color how you see the place(the availability of loved ones who like coming over to help with that sort of thing count too).
Only you, know 'you' well enough and what's going on in your life to determine if you can tolerate the various risks of buying a fixer upper or moving into a group house on this or that street in Shaw.
With that said, there are benefits to living here, and this too depends on you and what's going on in your life. I like being able to walk home on a mild day after work. It helps that the job is tiny bit over a mile from the house. If you work in Dulles, this is not a option for you. It helps that there are several other easy transportation options to work and there are several places to walk t, which makes it possible to live without a car. I don't know if the car-dependent people get much out of this. I've been in the house for 7 years, fixed it up and have little intention of moving anywhere anytime soon. But should the University of Florida call me out of the blue wanting me to work at one of the non-med libraries..... see ya. I believe, and know for myself that homeowners who have been in their houses for a decent length of time, say around and over 10 years, should see a decent return on their investment. The reinvestment of commercial ventures (restaurants, coffee shops, stores), improved metro (a straight Green line was not always there), improvements to decaying residential properties, and a more attractive Downtown (remember when it was dead after 6 and on weekends?) have made Shaw a more attractive place to be. There is still room for improvement.
More good neighbors than bad. More good experiences than bad. Interesting stories to tell. Yeah, so far it's been like a slow growing stock that pays decent dividends.