Maryland versus Virginia: Where's the better DC suburb?

Many people who work in the nation's capital don't necessary want to live among the hustle and bustle of city life. The suburbs are favorable areas to look for homes in for sale in Washington, DC. They offer quieter, family-friendly neighborhoods for those who want a short commute to work and all of the other conveniences of living near a city. However, a family hoping to move to one of these neighborhoods must decide if they want to become Maryland residents or Virginians based on which side of the District they live in.

Popular Maryland neighborhoods include Bethesda, Rockville and Chevy Chase. Virginia suburbs near Washington are areas such as Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax County. Consider which state won each of these neighborhood categories to find your perfect DC area home.

Short commute - Winner: Virginia. Possibly the most important thing you will be looking for in a Washington, DC suburb is how close it is to the city. In this aspect, consider looking at neighborhoods in Virginia. Arlington is a mere five miles from the center of Washington and Alexandria is less than seven miles. Bethesda is the closest Maryland neighborhood to D.C. that is popular for commuters but it's a little further away than the areas in the Old Dominion.

Prestigious - Winner: Maryland. Not to say that Virginia isn't filled with many elegant homes and neighborhoods, but among those considered to be part of the Washington, DC area, Maryland is home to the most prestigious - Bethesda. This city landed in the number one spot on Forbes' list of America's Most Educated Small Towns and number two on the publication's America's Most Livable Cities list. It was also on CNN Money Magazine's 2008 list of 25 Top-Earning Towns. The median family income was $167,043 in 2008 and Sperling's Best Places to Live reports the median home price is $742,300.

Schools - Winner: Virginia. Outside the Beltway, journalist James Joyner says Virginia has better and more consistent public schools than Maryland. The Commonwealth Foundation supports this notion reporting Virginia students on average scored higher on the SATs than Maryland students in 2010. Virginia also has some of the country's top state universities including The University of Virginia, The College William Mary, Virginia Tech and James Madison University.