The Big (Apartment) Hunt

Photo courtesy of
‘Misc DC – Presidential Flyover – 9-1-08′
courtesy of ‘mosley.brian’

So we’re looking at making THE BIG MOVE, and I need some advice from all you Realtors and leasing agents out there.

My lovely roommate and I are going to be striking out to find a new apartment along the Wilson/Clarendon (metro accessible) stretch and are wondering – how are the prices out there? We had a HORRENDOUS time snagging our current apartment during the summer a few years ago, but are hoping with the economic downturn, and the dead of winter, things might actually play out in our favor.

I’ve noticed so many more advertising yard signs (Parc Rosslyn and Vista, I’m looking at you!) and random people on the street corner doing tricks with big arrow signs than I did last year – so I ask…is it a renter’s market out there? Can we bargain? What is your advice (or experience, if you recently made a move) for apartment shopping during these winter months in a crap economy?

Katie moved to DC in 2007, and has since embarked upon a love affair with the city. She’s an education reform advocate and communications professional during the day; at night and on the weekends, she’s an owner here at We Love DC. Katie has high goals to eat herself through the entire city, with only her running shoes to save her from herself. For up-to-the-minute news and reviews (among other musings), follow her on Twitter!

2 thoughts on “The Big (Apartment) Hunt

  1. If you want to get the best deals, you need to set aside a day and refresh listings in Craigslist. The best apartments are snagged up immediately, so make sure your ad-replies convey a sense of urgency (without being annoying) and a readiness to commit. Make a specific request for viewing priority.

    A great craigslist tool is http://www.housingmaps.com

    This is a simple google maps mashup that crawls craigslist for real estate listings. It doesn’t bombard you with ads, just does what it’s suppose to.. finds shelter.

    Good Luck.

  2. Katie,

    Your best results will come from a combination of Craigslist, the Washington Post rentals tool, and old-fashioned footwork. The are a number of buildings in the area you mention that do not advertise and people often overlook. Also, don’t forget about Virginia Square – everyone seems to gravitate to Ballston and Clarendon and overlooks this great area. I have an easy 10 minute walk to either location, which I think is the best of both worlds. Rosslyn is still prohibatively expensive. I can provide some specifics if you want to contact me, but I would rather not post them here.