A good rule of thumb is to begin your apartment hunt about two months before the anticipated move-in date. Or at the very least, give yourself one full month because it can take considerable time to find your perfect home.
Where to start?
When you start looking for D.C. housing, there are a few things to take note of.
Establish a price range
The average rent for an apartment in D.C. is around $2,150/month. As a budgeting tip, try to keep your rent payment under one-third of your monthly gross income
Write down your non-negotiables, plus your flexible items
Do you need a balcony and laundry unit? Maybe you are flexible when it comes to the size of the kitchen, and the type of flooring?
Perhaps you prefer a mid-rise building, rather than a high-rise. It’s good to list everything on paper, so you can keep them in mind during your search.
If you’ve never been to Washington, D.C. before, spend some time visiting neighborhoods or talking to locals. Hearing first-hand what it’s like to live and work in certain areas will be extremely valuable.
After all, where you choose to live can make or break your experience.
Let’s take a look at some of the top online portals for finding housing in D.C.
Rent.com supplies users with great rental tools and has a user-friendly website making it easier to find an apartment. You can search by specific categories, such as property types, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, amenities, and pet-friendly.
You can also save searches and property’s you like, plus the search function allows you to get a moving quote.
So, whether you’re new to D.C., have a pet, are a student, or have a certain budget, there is a tool for you to use on rent.com.
Zillow is a popular portal for finding a house or an apartment. They claim to have the biggest network of rentals on the internet.
You can choose a location using a zip code, or city name and then narrow in on a neighborhood using their interactive map.
Besides showing available sublets for rent in the D.C. area, Sublet.com also lists apartments, townhomes, and houses. Using their search function, you can find furnished apartments, short-term rentals, or a long-term sublet.
Sublet.com has a strict screening process, which helps to provide a positive renting experience for both the landlord and tenant.
HomeAway provides a platform for vacation rentals around the world.
In fact, they have over two million listings of rentals spread across 190 countries. Their website is easily searchable, so finding a house, condo, or apartment in D.C. isn’t difficult or time-consuming.
Currently, HomeAway has close to 2,000 listings near D.C.
Before making a long-term rental decision, you can book a vacation home for a few weeks. That way you’ll have time to view some longer-term housing options in person before committing.
Although Craigslist is a more simplistic platform than other apartment portals, it’s a great resource for locating housing in D.C.
If you find a place you like, contact the person who listed it. Ask specific questions about the apartment if all the details are not included in the description. Also, the listing might only include a few photos.
In this case, reach out and ask to see more photos. Make sure to visit and walk through the rental property in person before sending any money.
And if possible, talk to a live person to verify the listing is credible before arranging a time to see the apartment.
Not only is Zumper visited by millions of renters, but they’re also the first rental portal to offer an end-to-end platform. So, you can look for, locate and rent a condo, apartment, or home in D.C. all on Zumper’s site.
Some of the listings featured on Zumper have the marking, “Instant Apply.” If you submit an application for one of these listings, it will get reviewed by the landlord
Choose your ideal apartment by selecting the filters that apply to you. Then, you can set an alert to receive notifications of listings that match your search criteria
The inventory of listings get updated in real-time, so the newest rentals appear at the top of the page
There is a service on their website called ‘Zumper Select’. By selecting this option, you access the services of a local rental expert. So, instead of spending your time looking for an apartment and scheduling visits, a local expert can take care of that. He or she can give you advice on neighborhoods, send you listings, schedule tours for you, and accompany you on an apartment tour if you want
This apartment portal has more than 6,800 listings of furnished apartments and homes in major U.S. cities. 2nd Address has positioned itself as an alternative to corporate housing.
You can book one of their properties weekly, monthly, or for the long term.
All Hosts who list with 2ndAddress undergo an in-depth vetting process. They have to meet and adhere to strict hospitality standards, so each guest can have an enjoyable experience
The apartments listed with 2ndAddress feature luxurious amenities and more space than hotels generally provide
Business-Stay Approved properties offer even more amenities that meet the highest possible standards
UrbanDoor is another apartment portal where you can find housing in D.C. They offer only furnished apartments, and no host is involved. Rather than having a host, a corporate housing employer operates and manages the apartment rental. You can find and book an apartment of your liking through their website.
Some of their apartment listings only appear on UrbanDoor, so you won’t find them anywhere else.
Fully-furnished living space and bedroom(s)
Wifi and cable ready
Each apartment has a kitchen with cookware and other kitchen essentials
Bed linens, plus cleaning supplies
Another great resource to find a fully equipped and furnished apartment in D.C. is to browse listings on Blueground. You have the option to rent for as little as one month, or as long as you need.
The rental term is negotiable, so if you only need to stay in D.C. for five months, then that’s fine too. It’s all about accommodating and working with your specific needs.