RENTING IN ALEXANDRIA
The key to a successful rental experience in or near OLD TOWN ALEXANDRIA is BEING PREPARED - and that means being prepared on several levels.
Prepared not only to make a decision fairly quickly, but also being prepared to submit an application immediately upon identifying a property you would like to rent. It also means being prepared to be flexible in your requirements.
Also be prepared for competition. No matter how long a property has been on the market, it seems inevitable that as soon as you decide you want to put an application in, someone else will also come along and make application on the same property. So, even if you see a listing that has been on the market for several weeks, don't assume you have the luxury of time.
Renting a property in Alexandria, particularly in popular neighborhoods, can be frustrating and stressful. The inventory can be limited and there is often competition, particularly in this market, where many homeowners have lost their homes to foreclosure or short sales, meaning they are not in a position to buy again for several years. Or where there is a large transient population, renting while they wait to sell a home in another state, which is often the case.
Particularly in perenially popular neighborhoods where rental properties are successfully rented year after year, there is little motivation for the homeowner to keep the property updated to the latest style or trend. The homeowner knows the house is going to rent without stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, so don't be surprised to see homes that would make the the Brady Bunch feel right at home.
Here are a few helpful and practical tips to help your OLD TOWN ALEXANDRIA RENTAL experience go as smoothly as possible:
- Being the first to submit an application does not mean your application will be processed first or that you have any automatic claim on the property. Until a lease is signed, the homeowner is free to select any tenant he wishes, provided he does not run afoul of any legal guidelines.
- Being prepared means having the information you will need in order to complete a rental application at your fingertips. Whenever possible, ask your real estate agent to provide a blank rental application in advance so you will know what information will be required.
- If you are active duty military, you can help speed up the approval process by having the latest copy of your LES and a copy of your orders available to submit with your application.
- If your employer uses an automated system or third party process to verify employment, please have that information available at the time you complete the application to avoid an unnecessary delay in processing.
The approval process can take from 1-5 days, so be prepared to wait for a decision. Once your application is approved, then a lease will be prepared for your signature.
Typically, a check for the non-refundable processing fee (usually $35-40 per adult applicant) as well as a check for the first full month's rent is required with the application. The security deposit, also one month's rent, is due at the time of lease signing. There may also be additional pet deposits due, if applicable.
REQUIREMENTS AND EXPECTATIONS
The more requirements you have for a property, the fewer choices you will have. If you ask the landlord for too many concessions, such as asking him to paint rooms or install new appliances, especially while offering a below market rent amount, it is possible you will end up losing the property to someone who is not asking for concessions. Or the homeowner may just turn you down, period, knowing someone else will come along who is happy with the property's present condition.
While there are circumstances when it perfectly appropriate to ask the landlord to make changes, listen to your agent for advice on this as we know what the market will most likely bear.
By knowing what to expect in the Alexandria rental market - and by being well prepared - you can turn what can be an overwhelming and stressful experience into a smooth and successful transaction. If you would like more information on renting your next home in Alexandria, just let me know. I'll be happy to help.