How to find an apartment in metro DC area?
September 14, 2018 7:52 AM   Subscribe

It has been 16 years since I last had to find an apartment. I used the newspaper and printed guides to find one! I need to find one now, and I have no idea where to start. I am in the metropolitan DC area, and do not want to live in the city. I'd like to live in Montgomery County MD or Fairfax County VA. How do I find an apartment? What websites do I look at? What information do I need to have for applications?
posted by OrangeDisk to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I used Zillow.com and Apartment.com to search for apartments with the features I wanted within my price range. I preferred those sites since there's a standard format for information about the apartment (like if there's in-unit laundry, what type of AC/heating, etc). You can view available apartments on a movable map, so it's easy to check if it's walking distance of a metro station or whatever you're looking for. The downside of these websites is that smaller apartments / landlord-owners might not be listed. I checked Craigslist for apartments, but I found that most of the apartments available were also on Zillow or Apartment.com.

If you're looking to share an apartment, people advertise on roomster.com & roommates.com. I had a decent experience with roomster on the looking for an apartment side, although I ended up deciding to get a studio instead.

Generally apartment complexes will ask for forms of ID, a credit check, your most recent tax records (to check if you satisfy the income requirement, which is that your rent isn't greater than 40%(?) of your total income). And then various fees (application fees and security deposits).
posted by devrim at 8:43 AM on September 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


Craigslist. It's a pain in the ass, but I would check Craigslist every single day. You can filter by price and features you want. If you have a specific area in mind, you can use the map view. Beware of scams (flags will be no phone number to speak with a human, price too low, they want you to fill out an application with personal info before offering to show it to you, etc.) But I think Craigslist remains the most popular way to find apartments. I have also successfully found a place on apartments.com though so try that too.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:40 AM on September 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


Padmapper is another option.
posted by hydra77 at 12:58 PM on September 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


A few different routes:
1) Craigslist - both big apartment companies and individual landlords post here
2) Apartments.com for mostly big apartment companies
3) Lovely aggregates basically everything
4) Going directly to the big companies' websites. I don't know MoCo as well, but Avalon is all over Northern VA and has some nice places.
5) Searching Google Maps for "apartment buildings" in an area you're interested in (no, really!)
6) Apartment Guide (the paper flyer) is still reliable especially for apartments not in downtown DC, i.e. what you want

What information do I need to have for applications?
They'll tell you. Usually the process is that you view a unit and then submit an application online or via email, unless you are looking at a really old building or individual landlord. But standard is ID, last two pay stubs, bank statement if your income is less than 5x the rent, voided check, and your SSN for a credit check (this hasn't really changed in the last 20 years!)
posted by capricorn at 1:36 PM on September 14, 2018


I have rented several times in MoCo, Maryland, and I’ve had the best luck with Trulia Rental. I have found that landlords always want proof of employment (paystubs, specifically), a credit check, and your ID. Some will also want recommendations from previous landlords, but mostly the requirements will be listed in the ad.
posted by suri at 5:27 PM on September 14, 2018


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