How Important Should Parking Be in Your Apartment Search?

Parking can be key to your apartment search, especially if you’re expecting a commute. A good parking situation can be a huge bonus when you finally nab the right apartment. The last thing you want is to circle your block hunting for a spot every day. And even if you do get designated parking, it can sometimes be pricey.

At the same time, your lifestyle, location and budget might make parking less relevant. If you’re moving to a new place, how will you figure out if you even need to worry about it? To determine the importance of parking in your search, answer the following questions.

1. Do you own a car?

This is easy. If you own a car, parking should absolutely factor into your apartment search.

Want some less obvious advice? If you don’t have one yet, consider if you might ever own a car. Your set of circumstances is liable to change from year to year. If you stay in the same place long enough, you may just have to purchase your own vehicle.

At the very least, parking is something to consider, even if you currently depend on public transportation. You might end up taking a new job in the middle of your lease at an office located an hour outside the city, for instance. Take stock of your present plans and goals and be considerate of your future needs.

2. Will you pay extra?

Some apartments charge a rent premium for parking garages, an additional cost to consider when weighing your options. You’ll pay more for these residential properties than those without the same amenities, so if you don’t need a space, you should look elsewhere.

The U.S. is a car-friendly nation, and that puts parking costs at a bit of a premium. That means apartments without solid options are likely to charge less. If you’re willing to sacrifice convenience, you might add more flexibility to your monthly budget.

If parking is a premium amenity for you, you can still make sure you know what you’ll pay. Meet with the landlord and have a discussion over what they charge for a space, what kind of security is available and any other concerns you have before you sign a lease.

3. Are there other options?

You have choices in how you get from place to place, and while car ownership is attractive, there are alternatives you can turn to. Dockless bike-sharing programs have seen increasing popularity in many cities, with bicycle commuting up more than 60 percent since the turn of the century.

Many of these cyclists don’t want the additional responsibilities associated with vehicle maintenance, and city traffic is often challenging to navigate. Bike sharing, scooter sharing and ride sharing options provide freedom from these anxieties, and these are friendly on both the environment and the wallet.

These alternatives are usually located in bustling cities, so they might not be available in your area. If they do catch your interest, research different properties and browse around. If living without a car seems freeing, it may even change up where you decide to focus your apartment search.

Parking is always going to be a major concern for most renters, but your situation might be unique. Things are always changing, too, and the next time you’re looking for a place to live, there might be even more transportation options out there. Rethinking your priorities can help you find the apartment that meets all your needs.

Photo by John Matychuk on Unsplash



Wants vs. Needs: Which Apartment Amenities are Essential

When you begin apartment hunting, a wish list starts to form in your head. Comprised of all the things you think you want and what you really need, this list can get long, but what do you actually have to have versus what you can do without?

Think about it like this, you want a big kitchen, but you need two bedrooms. You want in-apartment laundry hookups, but you need easy access to public transportation for work. Getting all the wants and needs on your wish list while staying within your budget sometimes presents a challenge.

In fact, 74 percent of renters typically make a sacrifice in amenities in order to rent what they can actually afford. Deciding what to knock off your wish list can be tough. Everything can feel like a “need” when most items are simply “wants.” Here’s a little help deciphering between the two.

Let’s start with the wants

Think of these wishlist items as things it would be great to have, but aren’t a must for you to function.


These are items that help to create the look you want in your new place. Things like hardwood floors, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances all fit into this category. They’d be great to have, but you could always upgrade later.


As something we all use every day, having an updated apartment with features like USB charging outlets or app-controlled door locks or thermostats may have made it to your wish list. These are great wants and something you can ask a landlord to consider adding after you’ve signed a lease if they’re not there from the start.

However, access to technology – like internet and cable – is a need.

Outdoor space

Often a popular “want” on the wish list, finding an apartment with either a balcony, shared green space, garden area or rooftop access adds space and luxury to your home, but how often will you really use it?


Of course, you’ll need a refrigerator, stove and oven. But other appliances might be more of a want.

If there’s not a washer/dryer in your unit, or hookups to add you own, is there a laundry room in the building? It’s a little less convenient, but not necessarily a deal breaker. Same can be said for central air. A window unit will work just fine.


Looking at these as bonus items for your wish list can help you cross them off if your perfect place is lacking in amenities like a fitness center, pool, concierge or even a shuttle to public transportation.

Now onto the needs

Needs vary from person to person, but there are standard items most people require in their home.


Sure, you may want to live in a specific area of town because you like the vibe and what’s close by. However, you need to live in a certain neighborhood in order to get to work easily or be in the right school district.


You’ve got to put that car somewhere. While you need a spot, try being flexible on whether it’s a covered spot, one in a garage or out in the open.


There’s no way you’re getting rid of Fido. So, if you have a pet, you’ll need to find pet-friendly apartments to bring your animals with you.

We all make compromises when on the hunt for our next home, but knowing what you really need in your new place versus what you’d like to have can make the search easier and less stressful.



Ask The Apartment Experts: What Is Rent Control?

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Ask The Apartment Experts: What Is Rent Control?

Rent control is a term that technically applies to all rental housing in DC, but apartments built before 1975 are subject to controls, while those built after that year are exempt. The ‘controls’ that apply to the rental housing built before 1975 limit the amount a landlord can increase your rent year-over-year.

How do I qualify for a rent control apartment?

Rent controlled apartments are available to anyone regardless of income. There are no extra steps for you to take during the application process to qualify. At the time of lease signing, there may be a couple of extra documents/disclosures required.

How does DC rent control work?

The defining characteristic of rent control is that annual increases in your rent may not exceed an allowable increase set by the city government. Considering market rents in the District can increase between 10%-20% depending on demand, having a cap on your rent increase is ideal.

The actual increase is often MUCH less than you would receive at a market rate apartment building. The annual adjustment follows the Consumer Price Index CPI plus somewhere between 2%-10% of your rent. The combination of CPI + the % increase can never exceed 10% total.

EXAMPLE: if in 2016 your rent was $1000 upon your anniversary/lease renewal, your rent could have a maximum increase of $25 (because the CPI was .5% and the city allowed an additional 2% increase).

Most people tend to stay in rent control apartments for a looooong time. see: Monica and Rachel’s apartment on Friends

The compromise to living in these apartment units is that they are old. That usually means these apartment buildings are not going to have a ton of the amenities you might see in newer, luxury buildings. Expect that your apartment will probably be pretty basic think: window air conditioner units and no garbage disposals or dishwashers.

If budget is a concern and you can find a rent control apartment with a long-term prior tenant, you could potentially find a one bedroom for less than $1000. Significantly under market rents like this come available further and fewer between, but deals are still available if you are patient, persistent and willing to spend some time searching.

Where do I find rent control apartments?

What’s the best place to find a rent control deal? We definitely like to highlight our favorites. Check out this article to find a few.

Otherwise, the next best method is good old-fashioned shoe leather. Get out and walk the streets of neighborhoods that interest you. Adams Morgan, Cleveland Park, Van Ness and Glover Park all have a substantial inventory of rent control units.

For more information about affordable apartments read our Guide To Washington, DC Affordable Housing Options.

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Ask The Apartment Experts: What’s The Difference Between Property Manager and Landlord?

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Landlord and Property Manager

While in theory the terms could be used interchangeably, most often a property manager works for a professional management company and a landlord is more likely a private individual who owns and manages buildings on their own. This definition is by no means set in stone. Read more…

Washington DC apartment hunters have so many options when it comes to where to live. As you are sorting through what situation will work best for you, something you should consider is what type of landlord you are comfortable dealing with.

The question we’re tackling today is: What’s the difference between a private landlord and a property management company?

Property management companies can be larger corporations with a corporate office and then an on-site team or property management companies can be a division of a real estate firm. Sometimes they build and manage the buildings. They may own the buildings they operate, or they can manage on behalf of a third party.

If you live in a building run by a property management company, all your transactions are with the property management employees; rent payment, maintenance requests, neighbor disputes, etc. are all handled with a property management representative.

A private landlord owns the space you are renting. Sometimes, if they hold more than a few units, they have employees. However, if they only own one or two apartments, it’s likely that they also have a regular ‘day job.’

Policies and procedures

Typically, property management companies use a standard lease across their properties and for the most part, enforce blanket policies and procedures. These consistent standards allow for more consistent training of their staff and often protect them from fair housing violations.

Typically, private landlords are writing their leases and policies and procedures. Where this can come in handy with the private landlord, is the potential for shifting policy. For instance, often, a property management corporation will restrict certain dog breeds at all of their buildings. A private landlord likely has a bit more flexibility in what breeds they will allow, especially if you are willing to pay a higher pet deposit.

Flexible policies also come in handy for those who are credit challenged. The application criteria for property management companies are strict and most will not waiver. Again, this unwillingness to bend policy is grounded in their desire to treat everyone equally. However, a private landlord can have more lenient criteria regarding credit scores, especially if you have excellent rental history.


Most property management companies have on-staff maintenance technicians. If you are living in a larger building, there is most likely on-call emergency maintenance available at all times. For more routine maintenance, your requests are submitted to the management office and handled reasonably quickly.

With a private landlord, they may handle smaller maintenance issues themselves but have to contract out for the intricate work. Also, because the contractors are not on the landlord’s staff, someone will have to be at your apartment when they come to do the job…not exactly convenient.

Technology and Convenience

Speaking of convenience, property management companies offer an impersonal but streamlined process. You can transact your rental payments, submit maintenance requests, and often even sign your lease online.   Due to the cost involved in offering this service on a one-off basis, private landlords are not likely to offer any of these conveniences.

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DC Studio Apartments Offering One or Two Months Free

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If you are in the market for a new apartment, this is the absolute best time to secure a new place. Apartments and neighborhoods where you never were able to get concessions are now giving away up to two months free. This is of course due to the fact that while many people were able to work from home, they took that opportunity to leave their Washington, D.C. apartments and move out to the suburbs or home with mom and dad or become digital nomads. That left many apartment buildings with vacancies to fill and that’s where your luck begins!

Last month we highlighted apartments with move-in specials. This week, we are highlighting DC Studio Apartments offering two months free. You’ll see there is a wide range of offerings from rent control apartments in Northwest DC to brand new luxury apartments in SE neighborhoods like Capitol Riverfront.

Act quickly, as soon as the summer heats up and there are more signs of movement in the District, you will see prices start to rise and rent specials dry up.


Hilltop House

1475 Euclid Street NW Washington, DC.


Studios starting at $1350


Hilltop House is in the Adams Morgan neighborhood in NW Washington, D.C. The building has mostly studios, but on occasion, a one or two-bedroom apartment comes available. The building is within walking distance of Safeway and Harris Teeter and many restaurants. All utilities are included in your rent price.

The Shawmut

2200 19th Street NW, Washington DC


Studios starting at $1350

Get TWO MONTHS FREE on Studios

The Shawmut is a pet-friendly community in the Adams-Morgan | Kalorama Neighborhod. The building is in walking distance of many restaurants, grocery stores, and shops.


2800 Woodley

2800 Woodley NW, Washington DC


Get One and a Half Months Free

Studios starting at $1495

2800 Woodley is a gorgeous building set back in a tree-lined residential neighborhood just four blocks from the Woodley Park Metro. The apartments have shining parquet floors, energy efficient appliances, and all utilities are included with your rent.


Brunswick House

1414 17th Street NW, Washington DC


Get Two Months Free on Studios

Studios starting at $1395

Brunswick House is conveniently located near the Dupont Circle Metro. It is also within a few blocks of Whole Foods Market and a number of restaurants. Brunswick House Apartments have hardwood floors and all utilities are included with the rent.

apartments-with one-month-free-DC-Meridian-Park-Apartments

Meridian Park

2445 15th Street NW, Washington DC


Get Two Months Free on Studios

Studios starting at $1390

Meridian Park Apartments have a fantastic location between Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights. The apartment community is located right next to Meridian Park, walking distance to multiple metro stops and just blocks from two grocery stores.


Avec on H

901 H Street NE, Washington DC


Get Two Months Free on Studios

Studios starting at $1541

Avec on H is a brand new apartment community on H Street. The building has a two-block long rooftop with a pool, grilling areas, community garden, dog park and outdoor living rooms. The community also has a fitness center and clubroom. Right now they are offering two months free on studio apartments.

That’s our round-up of studio apartments in DC offering up to two months free. Want to see more options? Do a free search at and sign up for the mailing list to get notified as more specials come available!

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Signs Your Apartment is Slowly Dying Inside

© 2021 RentPath Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved. All photos, videos, text and other content are the property of RentPath Holdings, Inc. APARTMENT GUIDE and the APARTMENT GUIDE Trade Dress are registered trademarks of RentPath Holdings, Inc or its affiliates.


5 Ways to Narrow Your Apartment Search

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Searching for an apartment can feel overwhelming. There are so many factors to consider, details to discuss, and decisions to be made. To make things a little easier for you, we broke down what we consider to be the five most important criteria when it comes to apartment searching.  Focus on these factors and your apartment search will be more fun than fearful.


5 Ways to Narrow Your Apartment Search

5 Ways to Narrow Your Apartment SearchFor most people, this is going to be the most important factor to consider. To start, use the basic figure of 30% of your gross income to figure out what your price range is and determine what you can and can’t afford. When making your budget, look at the price as a whole, not just the month-by-month breakdown. Determine how long you will be living there and calculate the total cost.  Be sure to take the different utilities that you will have to pay for into consideration: water, gas, Internet, etc.  Anticipating these costs will help you properly budget for each month.  When you begin searching for an apartment, stick to that budget. Be aware of the trade-offs that come with pricing. For example, if you commit to something that is on the upper end of your budget, you leave yourself with less cash for other lifestyle items such as cable, dining out and shopping.  If you find something suitable on the lower end of your budget, you may be compromising on your wish list, but you’ll also be freeing up a little cash flow.


5 Ways to Narrow Your Apartment Search

5 Ways to Narrow Your Apartment Search

Finding an apartment in your dream location is possible if you know exactly what you are looking for.  Before beginning your search, spend a little time exploring the areas you consider desirable.  Walk the streets and visit a few shops, grab a coffee or tea, take in some people watching and enjoy a night out in the neighborhoods you’re considering.  Use this time to get a feel for the personality and lifestyle of the community and its residents.  Once you’ve narrowed your options, determine the maximum distance you are willing to travel for work, groceries, the gym, socializing, etc.  Next, decide which items take priority in the event that you have to compromise for your dream apartment or neighborhood.  If you travel by car, consider which neighborhoods have abundant parking- your dream apartment may not have this amenity.  If you use public transportation, explore the neighborhoods that are convenient to bus, train, or bike share options.


5 Ways to Narrow Your Apartment Search

5 Ways to Narrow Your Apartment SearchMany apartment communities offer a variety of amenities for residents to enjoy.  Some popular amenities include pools, fitness centers, on-site parking, furnished units, and laundry facilities.  Before you begin your search, make a list of your must-have items as well as a secondary wish list.  Falling in love with an apartment only to realize it doesn’t come with a washer and dryer could be a major bummer, so save yourself from the disappointment by sticking to the appropriate search terms. Your perceived need for certain amenities may shift as you narrow your search, so try to keep an open mind and remain a little flexible.


5 Ways to Narrow Your Apartment Search

5 Ways to Narrow Your Apartment SearchThis may not seem like an important factor for everyone, but for most the layout and design of an apartment is a crucial part of creating a happy home.  If you have a roommate, a pet, or limitations of any kind, the layout of your apartment and the greater community can be very important. You want to make sure that the design of your new apartment is conducive to your lifestyle. For example: if you enjoy cooking and entertaining, you might want to make a large kitchen and open floorplan a priority.  If you are a fan of adventure and recreation or have many hobbies, ample storage space may be high on your list. Take some time to reflect and use your current living situation as a guide: what do you love and loathe about your space now?  As you begin to tour apartments, take note of what stands out to you, both good and bad.


5 Ways to Narrow Your Apartment Search

5 Ways to Narrow Your Apartment SearchThis is another factor that may vary in importance for different people.  It can be beneficial to inquire about how many units are in your complex and how closely you will be living with other people.  Ask about shared walls and common areas and if you get the chance, chat with current residents about the building.  If you are looking for a social building, the presence of common space and the level of friendliness among residents will give you some insights into the personality of that community.

Taking these 5 ways to narrow your apartment search into account will not only eliminate some of the stress of apartment hunting, but it will also help you avoid unpleasant surprises down the line.

Ready to find your next apartment?

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How to Make Apartment Hunting Suck Less

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Searching for the perfect apartment can feel like a daunting task.  Nailing down your ideal neighborhood, price range, square footage, layout, utilities and amenities might sound straightforward on paper, but hitting the streets can prove to be a different experience entirely.  Fear not, friends; we’re here to help simplify the process and get you back to enjoying this exciting time in your life.  We’re going to show you how to make apartment hunting suck less.  Start your search with this guide in mind and you’ll be well on your way to a happy home.

how to make apartment hunting suck less

how to make apartment hunting suck less

Step One: Set a budget.

When it comes to your home budget, there are two major expenses to take into consideration: rent and utilities. To determine what you can realistically afford, begin by calculating your net income or take-home pay.  As a general rule, you will aim to spend no more than one third of your net income on rent.  Depending on where you plan to live, this can range from being a requirement of the landlord to feeling like a near impossible feat, but is a good place to start.  Use your current utility costs to factor in an estimate for these expenses, then consider additional monthly costs such as cable and internet.  Now is also a good time to consider the impact of varying locations, such as the cost of your commute and the expenses associated with living in different communities.

Step Two: Consider Convenience.

Determine the maximum distance you are willing to travel for work, groceries, the gym, socializing, etc.  Next, decide which items take priority in the event that you have to compromise for your dream apartment or neighborhood.  If you travel by car, consider which neighborhoods have abundant parking- your dream apartment may not have this amenity.  If you use public transportation, explore the neighborhoods that are convenient to bus, train, or bike share options.

Step Three: Get online.

In the digital age, it is no surprise that the majority of apartment searches today begin online.  Take the time to research different neighborhoods, then perhaps peruse some listings.  Websites like WC Smith’s offer neighborhood guides to help orient renters, and even show you properties within each neighborhood.  This will help you set realistic expectations about what you will be getting for your money in different markets, and may even help you add some must-haves and must-nots to your list.  Once you’ve built out your criteria, submit your request with Apartminty to begin your search.

Step Four: Follow Up.

Once you’ve submitted your request with Apartminty, you can expect to start hearing from landlords and property managers. Be prepared with a list of any unanswered questions and begin gathering any items that you anticipate may be required of you, such as references and pay stubs. Be sure to respond promptly to any calls or emails you receive from landlords; a sluggish response not only sets a bad tone but also increases your changes of missing out on prime real estate.

Step Five: Hit the pavement.

Carve out some time in your upcoming schedule to begin touring properties.  When the calls begin coming in, you’ll want to jump on the opportunity as soon as possible, so don’t over-commit yourself during your hunt.  Each property you visit has been chosen based on your specific criteria, so take the time to weigh your options and try to see multiple apartments before making your decision.

Step Six: Move In.

Settle in to your happy home and enjoy this exciting, new chapter in your life!

Ready to find your next apartment?

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How to Spot a Good Landlord

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Finding an honest and considerate landlord is key to being happy in your new home.  A good landlord will ensure that everything is in order, will not nickel and dime you for typical landlord responsibilities, and will be there to help when any issues arise.  Before signing that lease, make sure you know a bit about your landlord and how he/she operates…once you’ve signed on the dotted line, the chances of backing out are slim. A great property with a difficult landlord may not be worth the hassle, while a less than ideal fit may be improved by the presence of a great landlord.  Make sure to keep this in mind throughout the whole process, and remain on the lookout for any red flags.  These tips for how to spot a good landlord will help you identify the characteristics you’d be wise to seek (and avoid) in future moves.

1. Honesty and transparency

How to Spot a Good Landlord

How to Spot a Good Landlord

Having a landlord who is upfront and open with you from the outset is ideal.  While some of us are natural judges of character, others need a little help with decoding body language and social cues.  Learn to spot the signs of a liar and ask questions thoughtfully.  Asking the same question a couple of different ways can reveal inconsistencies while listening for an abundance of details can reveal a speaker who may be overcompensating.  While you hope to hear nothing but good news from a potential landlord, full disclosure of small issues are a sign of a trustworthy and transparent speaker.

2. Availability

How to Spot a Good Landlord

How to Spot a Good Landlord

Pick a landlord who is easy to contact. You aren’t going to want to play phone tag for days when you have a problem with your apartment, so test your landlord’s responsiveness early on.  Inquire about the best way to reach them, then find a few reasons to reach out, taking note of response time, friendliness and helpfulness.

3. Flexibility

How to Spot a Good Landlord

How to Spot a Good Landlord

A flexible landlord will be more understanding and more willing to work with you in the event that any issues arise.  It goes without saying that any landlord will expect you to follow any rules outlined in your lease, but it will be beneficial to have one that is willing to be lenient about minor issues or in the event of an emergency.  While flexibility can be beneficial for landlord and tenant alike, be aware that there is a difference between being flexible and being irresponsible.  A landlord should be comfortable being held to the same standards as the tenants.  As a tenant, don’t be shy about negotiating certain terms and adding landlord responsibilities to the lease.

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4. Skillfulness

How to Spot a Good Landlord

How to Spot a Good Landlord

Whether your landlord is handy in his own right or has a trusty handyman on call, you deserve prompt and skillful solutions to household issues, as outlined in your lease.  Along with the actual repairs, make sure the landlord keeps you informed of any issues, renovations or improvements in your unit and common areas, planned or otherwise.

5. Trustworthiness 

How to Spot a Good Landlord

How to Spot a Good Landlord

When renting a home, you and your landlord should have a trusting relationship with open communication.  He/She should be given reason to trust that you will pay rent on time and respect his property, but you must be able to trust them as well.  Be sure to outline ground rules with one another, and make sure both parties are clear about their expectations.  Because they own and manage the property, most rules are set by the landlord but that does not mean you shouldn’t make your thoughts and desires known.

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