Renter FAQs

When should I start looking for a new place to rent?

The Northern Virginia rental real estate market is pretty fast moving compared to most parts of the country.  Property managers and owners typically put the homes on the market for rent 6-8 weeks prior to the existing tenant or owner vacating the property.  This is usually a good starting point for most renters.  Another important factor is your timeline – when does your existing lease end (or you need to be out of your current home you are selling)?

What is the process for renting?

The process varies somewhat depending on who is renting the property.  The process goes generally like this:

– the tenant submits an application with proof of employment/income, authorization to pull credit, proof of rental history, photo ID, along with an application fee and application deposit.

– The property manager/owner then takes between 1-5 days to process your application and provide a written recommendation to the owner.

Once the owner accepts the application, you will be asked to sign a lease and provide the first month’s rent.  If you have pets, there is almost always and additional pet deposit required.  Some applicants may also be required to sign disclosure forms on representation, lead based paint, pet addendum, etc., if applicable.

Do I need an agent to rent a property?  

No, an agent is not required but it is highly recommended.  The Property Manager is representing the landlord and therefore is working on behalf of their best interests, not yours. When renting directly from an owner, there’s a lot more risk of things going wrong especially if you are not aware of the current real estate laws and trends in this area, and sometimes they are not either.

By working directly with a local real estate agent, they can help you narrow down your options much faster and in greater detail.  You can view all properties with them instead of calling multiple listings agents and scheduling multiple appointments to view properties.  They will assist you with understanding and completing the forms properly which will help expedite processing and allow you to feel more confident and educated about the documents you are signing.  If there are questions or problems they can help on your behalf to resolve them.