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Renting In Arlington

Finding a home to rent in Arlington can be an arduous process, but it is BY NO MEANS impossible to find a place to live! And once you do, I’ll think you’ll find that Arlington is a pretty great place to live in!

First things first, when it comes to your home search, don’t spend a lot of time getting caught up in sticker shock. Depending on where you are moving from, the prices may be drastically different than what you are used to.  Instead of focusing on that, spend your valuable time doing research and determining what the typical prices are for the type of properties you are looking for – that way when you come across an appropriately priced opportunity, you’ll know to jump on it!

The second step is determining your home search parameters. Price is obviously a primary  determinant, but there are many other factors.  How many bedrooms do you need? Do you have a basic square footage requirement? Have a car – do you need covered or assigned parking? Don’t have a car- do you need to be walking distance to a metro or bus line?  Do you need a pet-friendly unit? Or do you require a pet-free building? Are there certain community amenities, like a gym or pool, that you prefer? Once you answer these basic questions, you then want to decide what search features are negotiable and which ones are “deal-breakers”.  If you have a dog, a building or home that doesn’t allow pets is a deal-breaker. If you prefer a gas stove but could live without it, then that may be something you are willing to compromise on. And compromise can often be the name of the game – unless you have an unlimited budget it’s very very hard to find a property that has everything you’re looking for!

Now you’re ready to start your search! But where do you look?

  1. The majority of privately managed apartment complexes in Arlington are searchable online at hubs like or Not all of these properties work with area realtors or list their apartments in the MLS, so searching and contacting them on your own is something you may want to consider. The upside is that, when the market is slower, these large properties sometimes offer terrific incentives, like 1 month free! The downside is, when the rental market has very low vacancy rates, they typically increase rent by a great deal because they have an accurate awareness of demand.
  2. Craigslist! The Washington DC area was an early adopter of Craigslist, and its particularly useful for rentals. Because Arlington is a relatively desirable location, some homeowners decide to list their home themselves, and Craigslist is their primary method of advertising.  Particularly if you are looking for a single family home or townhome for rent, utilizing Craigslist as part of your search can be very useful.
  3. Don’t forget to hit the home search websites as well (,, etc..)! Many landlords do utilize realtors to assist them in renting their homes out, and these properties will be listed in the MLS. You can also contact a realtor directly to determine if they do work with rental prospects, and they can help you in your search (from showing you homes to explaining lease terms to attending a “walk-thru” with you)

Found a couple possibilities? ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS. If you have pets, make sure the owner or property manager is aware of the size and types of your pets – most buildings that allow pets do so within specific parameters. Inquire about estimated utilities, and make sure you have a clear of understanding of what is and isn’t included in the rent. Where is the closest grocery store? Gym? Park? Ask about the lease terms – will the landlord consider leases for more or less than 12 months? What is required to apply, what is the security deposit, and if you have pets is there an extra pet deposit? Are there additional move-in fees (some buildings charge several hundred dollars for elevator use).  If you are a person who may be affected by a military transfer, find out if there is a clause regarding that in the lease.

Keep in mind that there are some questions that realtors legally are not permitted to answer, out of deference to fair housing laws. This can range from the very obvious (the race/religion/ethnicity of the neighborhood) to the not so obvious (is so-and-so a “GOOD” school, or is this a “Safe Area”?). That’s not to say you can’t seek answers to questions regarding safety, school systems, etc… You should absolutely do that, and the internet is a terrific resource. There are school ranking websites, published crime statistics, and searchable sex offender websites. Online forums are also a terrific source of local info – is one and there are likely plenty of others. Be an informed consumer and you will drastically reduce the probability of unwelcome surprises.

Finally, if you found a property you like, MOVE QUICKLY. A home in a great location or at a terrific price will go FAST. If you see something of interest on a Monday afternoon, contact the agent or owner that day. Don’t make an appointment for “sometime next weekend”, try to get in to see the unit as soon as possible. Come prepared for the showing, with a list of questions. Do research on the building or neighborhood ahead of time. Measure your large furniture in advance so you can confirm immediately if your stuff will fit. And bring your checkbook, in case you decide to apply on the spot!



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