How far in advance should I start looking for apartments in Northern Virginia/D.C for a January move?

Asked by Jason, 78666 Thu Oct 21, 2010

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Monir Mamoun, Agent, Denville, NJ
Thu Oct 21, 2010
Hi Jason, it pays to start around a month ahead of time. Just be prepared to put money down and/or sign a contract immediately upon finding a place. After all, rentals are quick transactions and apartments do not wait. So you don't need to start too far ahead of time. But give yourself a couple weeks to look, compare and handle paperwork. Things are a bit slow in December so if you need a definite date like January 1st, it would not be unwise to start December 1st.
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Jason & Bonn…, Agent, Alexandria, VA
Thu Oct 21, 2010
There are some great answers here. I would start my online research now, which it appears you are doing. I would start physically looking mid November, keeping in mind that once mid December is here, things will start slowing down because of the holidays.
Do you prefer a short commute to work or extra space and amenities?
If you are familiar with the are at all you will know that you can spend a good portion of your day traveling to and from work. I would suggest selecting a location you would like to live and then start working that area for rentals to go and see. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the area.
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Delaine Camp…, Agent, Alexandria, VA
Mon Dec 6, 2010
Hi Jason,
You should start 30 to 45 days before you are ready to start paying rent/sign a lease. Allow an overlap in your current situation with the new one. Sometimes in order to get a good place you have to bite the bullet and go ahead and take it sooner, than later. There is a shortage of affordable rentals and rent prices have gone up due to supply and demand. Depending on where you want to be. Get a Real Estate agent to start helping you find something so that you have someone "looking" for you for things that might not be on the market yet. Some of the best rentals are ones that agents find via networking and through their clients, not already in the MLS.
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Betty Best, Agent, Springfield, VA
Mon Nov 22, 2010
For anyone else also looking to rent in Northern Virginia - inventory for rentals is really low right now. What that means is that you really need to be ready to act fast - be ready to put in an application, have your money ready, and be ready to compromise a little. For example, if you want a January 1st lease, you may need to offer to start the lease mid-December. Landlords will generally take the earliest start date they can get, if the place is vacant. I've been showing rental clients around for the past few weekends, and am finding that there's very little out there right now, and the good ones are going right away.

- Betty Best, Long & Foster
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Jay Hurst, Agent, Washington, DC
Thu Oct 21, 2010
Rentals of any type move fast.
30 days depending on the time of month. Use the first of the month as a starter.
On average, Landlords know 30 days in advance the Lease will expire.
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Lyn Villanue…, Agent, Fairfax, VA
Thu Oct 21, 2010
You start looking now. Some places if you are rending requires a 60 day notice prior to moving. If there is anything I can do for you, please contact me at (703) 340-5036.
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John Welch, Agent, Alexandria, VA
Thu Oct 21, 2010
If you want to rent from listings that are NOT a part of an apt community; 45-60 days in advance. Dependent upon what you want; check out The large condo community has a pedestrian bridge over to Shirlington's restaurants, bars, theatres (live and movie), bank, grocery.
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Joe Gillis, Agent, Warrenton, VA
Thu Oct 21, 2010

All great advice. Iagree with Gerald's advice to start with looking neighborhoods that will satisfy your tastes for atmosphere, environment, schools, shopping, parking, etc., Information is universally available from on-line sources, magazines that cater to renters, and the Post still prints a large rental supplement on Sat or Sun.

If you haven't considered it, you might want to talk with a mortgage lender to see is buying is a good option for you. With interest rates as low as they are right not, buying could be a very good alternative to renting.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

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Cindy Jones, Agent, Alexandira, VA
Thu Oct 21, 2010
Jason-a lot will depend on your price range and criteria. If you are flexible on location and amenities you can wait until the beginning of December. However if you have some very specific needs you should start looking earlier. You also need to come prepared with application fees, security deposits and first months rent (for private rentals this is standard). Prices in the Northern Virginia areas for rentals has gone up in some locations due to high demand so be prepared for sticker shock if you are coming from an area where rentals are inexpensive.
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Jack Shoptaw, Agent, Washington, DC
Thu Oct 21, 2010
I would start looking at the different areas within Alexandria and determine your preference of one to two. By mid-November I would begin finalizing my search in the preferred locations. ENjoy your touring!
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Jim McCowan, Agent, Arlington, VA
Thu Oct 21, 2010
Physically looking around mid-November would be a good time to start.
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Gerard Dunn, Agent, Chevy Chase, MD
Thu Oct 21, 2010
Jason -

Probably should be looking at neighborhoods NOW to determine where you want to live. Once you have a neighborhood in mind - you should be looking 30-45 days out.

Good Luck!

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Gerard Dunn
Associate Broker
Licensed in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Assisting Homebuyer's and Seller's for 28 years
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