D.C. Apartment Finders/Apartment Brokers?
July 21, 2010 8:38 AM   Subscribe

Know anything about Washington, D.C. Apartment Finders/Brokers?

My spouse and I are moving to D.C. in one month. We will be spending a long weekend there starting 7/30 in the hopes of finding a one or two bedroom apartment to rent. We know the neighborhoods we like: Eastern Market/Cap. Hill & some places in NW too, but have been pretty unimpressed by the listings on Craigslist. We've looked at listings from management companies too, but they're also not great. (Yarmouth has some very nice looking places, but they seem to hate pets, and we have a cat.)

We'll do the best we can from those resources, but I'm wondering whether anyone has experience using an apartment broker or apartment finder service? Such services may not be right for our budget - $1700 but hoping to pay less. The only one I've found online is called Urban Igloo. Thanks for your help, and feel free to tell me what I'm missing about finding an apartment in D.C.
posted by Xalf to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
There are some half decent ideas here.


I was very pleased with Roommates Preferred -- but that was years and years ago.
posted by Mr. Justice at 9:06 AM on July 21, 2010

Try Padmapper, although its just an aggregator really.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:56 AM on July 21, 2010

Best answer: If you're talking about a paid service, like from a real estate company or something like that - even if they exist, no one uses them for the sort of housing you're looking for. Craigslist is frustrating, but it's the definitive apartment-hunting resource in DC, along with the Post classified and perhaps one or two other sites.

The best thing you can do is just constantly refresh Craigslist until you find a listing you're interested in, and then immediately call or email the poster to arrange a visit. Bring your checkbook - small apartments go *fast* inside the Beltway.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 10:25 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Formant Realty is how I found both Eastern-Market-area apartments I've lived in. Pretty trustworthy, overall. It's a local company, and their office is in the neighborhood, with folks who know the area well.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:17 AM on July 21, 2010

Oh, and let me know if you want me to check out any of the Capitol Hill/Eastern Market properties. I've lived and worked in the area for a decade, and could walk or drive by many of the listed places to have a look.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:20 AM on July 21, 2010

I found my (now former) Silver Spring apartment by looking at ads in the City Paper. that was 6 years ago though, not sure if that's still a good resource. My experience was that a lot of apartments really truly sucked, but there were a few decent ones.
posted by contrarian at 11:40 AM on July 21, 2010

To second that, I found my last two places through City Paper as well. Just like Craig's, pretty high chaff-to-wheat ration, though. A lot of my shopping was aided having days to wait and pounce when something good finally showed. I would recommend the denser parts of Arlington, but it sounds like you're set on the district. Good luck to you.
posted by umberto at 7:57 AM on July 22, 2010

Real estate agents (like the one Mr. MoonPie listed above) will be able to help you find condos or rownhouses that people are renting out, that haven't been listed anywhere else. My understanding is that they don't charge, they get paid by the person who is trying to rent their place out.

Other than that, CL and the city paper are definitely the way to go - I've not heard of any apartment hunting services in DC in my 10ish years here. That seems to be how a lot of people in my area advertise, anyway...
posted by echo0720 at 4:00 PM on July 22, 2010

I saw an apartment-for-rent sign on my way to work today--the building is in the Eastern Market/Capitol Hill neighborhood, and the site says they're pet-friendly, though their on-line apartment search didn't turn up a vacancy. Might be worth a call.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:49 PM on July 27, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for the input! Based on your answers and our own whirlwind weekend in Our Nation's Capital, I'm inclined to agree that Craigslist is more or less the only game in town for apartments in our price range. (I say more or less because there's also the leasing offices of large buildings and a few realtors and management companies like Formant and Yarmouth.)

Our experience was seriously stressful: so few places, so expensive, so many other renters! But it was also seriously successful: we found a great place in Capitol Hill. Thanks again, and stay tuned for more questions about D.C.!
posted by Xalf at 9:05 AM on August 5, 2010

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