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4 Tips for Anyone Looking for a Rental in DC

By Jamie Richardson | June 12, 2019

Other than being the capital of the United States, Washington DC is one of the most diverse cities in America. With over 177 foreign embassies, it's one of the few places in America you can truly say has something for everyone. With close to 6.2 million residents, it’s easy to see why finding an apartment isn’t the easiest feat.

Property rental is the goal for 56% of real estate investors

From commute time to lifestyle, finding the perfect apartment takes a little work and a lot of research. Property rental DC can be a vicious market, so in this article, we're going to give you 4 tips for finding the perfect rental in DC.

1. Try to Find a Rental During Winter

The apartment market is traditionally competitive from early May to late September. With schools like Georgetown in the city, students account for a large majority of the competition. To increase your chances of finding an apartment in your ideal location, look in the winter months. Though moving during winter may not be your idea of a good time, your wallet (and shiny new apartment) will thank you. In many cases, you can find great move-in deals during the winter when the rental market is cool in terms of competition.

2. Look for a Good Rental Company

No matter how perfect your pad is, it’s terrible if you have a bad landlord. A good landlord does more than make sure your rent is paid- they care for the property and the safety of their tenants. Before signing on the dotted line, take the time to research the rental company you intend on renting with. Look for…

  1. Google reviews on the company
  2. Better Business Beaurue reviews (and complaints)
  3. Their rental policies

The vast majority of this information can be found on the internet or by calling your local BBB chapter. Previous tenants will teach you a lot about what it’s like to rent from a company. After all, many landlords are great until it comes time to move out. Nearly everyone has been in a situation where they’ve left the apartment in better condition than they received it and not seen a dime of their security deposit.

3. Ask for a Deal on a Longterm Lease

You’d be surprised how far the power of asking can go. Though trendy apartments may not consider your offer, certain landlords will gladly cut you a deal in exchange for a longer leasing period. That being said, make sure you’re going in with a realistic offer. For example, ask for $100 dollars off the monthly rent in exchange for signing a two or three-year lease.

Likewise, you can sometimes save money by shaving off a few amenities. Offer to tend to the lawn, repaint the walls, or improve the property for reimbursement- in the form of a discount.

4. Visit the Neighborhood at Least 3 Times Before Committing

Whether you choose to stay in Washington DC or move elsewhere, take this tip to any city or state you are looking to move to. Visit the neighborhood 3 times-- at 3 different times of the day.

  1. Morning.
  2. Afternoon.
  3. Night.

Why? It’s simple really. If you visit the neighborhood at different times in the day, you’ll get a real sense for what it’s like to live there.

We all have a few blocks in our hometown that are best avoided after nightfall. Likewise, there’s always a part of town that gets slammed in the morning with traffic and commuters. You never truly know what a neighborhood is like until you’ve seen it at all times of the day.


Washington DC is a beautiful place to call home. Like any city, it has its own neighborhoods that are defined by their own unique quirks and lifestyles. Make sure you take the time to check them out and compare their attributes against your lifestyle and paycheck.

Jamie is a 5-year freelance writer who enjoys real estate. He is currently a Realty Biz News Contributor.
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