Tips to Finding a Rental in the DC Area

Are you planning to move to or in the process of finding a rental in the DMV? All national capitals are competitive rental markets, and this area is no different. Therefore, it pays to have a deliberate and comprehensive apartment hunting plan. This article shows you where to look for rentals, how to go about your search, and what criteria to prioritize in your hunt.

Where to Look

Where you look determines what you find, and there are several ways to go about finding  rental in the DC area.

Online platforms are immensely popular as a house hunting ground because listings go up immediately and allow you to filter homes to your criteria just by pushing a few buttons. However, online platforms (such as Zillow, Trulia, and Craigslist) are largely unregulated, meaning that almost any adult may put up an ad on them. There is a tendency by some homeowners to gloss over inconvenient facts about the property or to upload inaccurate photos of the premises. You can overcome this problem by choosing to deal with an agent or rental management company.

Finding a Rental in the DC Area

You can find real estate agencies advertising rental properties, where they police their ads closely. Almost invariably, they will have an agent visit a property to verify details before accepting a listing. Going through an agent may be the more logical option for residents who have never lived in the area before or for those who don’t have friends or family in the area to advise them.

Already There? Eyes Open!

Finding a new place to move into is a lot easier if you already live in the area. Spread the word to friends and colleagues about your hunt. Keep an eye out for rental properties when you are in your targeted area.

When to Look

If you have the luxury of not having to break a lease to move to your new home, opt for home searching in the cooler months (October through April). This period coincides with a slower area market before the summer influx of renters. Some landlords may even throw in a complimentary month at the peak of winter.

Begin your search two months in advance of your preferred move-in date. The process of finding a suitable property can easily take an entire month. The additional month is a nice buffer to settle your affairs before moving.

What to Look For

It’s overwhelming searching for a new place because there are so many options and usually not a single one that ticks all the boxes. Simplify your search with these three steps.

  • The right price range: This is the stumbling block for most people when finding a rental. Set a reasonable budget and religiously ignore anything that exceeds the range.
  • Must-haves: Now that you have a set budget, filter properties by must-haves. This can be daycare within the locality, proximity to public transport, free parking for your second vehicle, or even a pool.
  • Like-to-haves: Create a list of facilities you would like in the vicinity. Exclude properties that lack too many of the features on this list.

Look Out

The DC area is a popular rental location, and some prospective renters can get careless when they think they have found the right home. So before you sign anything, take these precautions.

  • Ensure that the landlord is legitimate. Ask to see relevant documents or go through an agent.
  • Inspect the premises. Ask about things that may need repair currently and in the future.
  • Read the contract. Don’t be blindsided by clauses; they are legally enforceable.

As one of the top Property Management Companies in Montgomery County, MD, we are here to help with all rental needs. Please contact us today to learn how we can assist you in simplifying your search for the perfect rental home in the DC area.