From the Forum – Are there Real Estate Agents For Rental?

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Are there Real Estate Agents For Rental?

“I am currently living abroad and will be back in DC early December. I am looking for a rental real estate agent to do the hard work of finding a few apartments for me to look at. Does anyone have recommendations of someone they know or used in the past or what this normally costs?”

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  • There’s a few real estate agents in DC that specifically specialize in managing the housing needs for State Dept and USAID foreign service officers and other foreign diplomats. They will rent out & manage your place while overseas and help you find temporary housing when you’re in DC (both furnished and unfurnished). Usually the government picks up the tab for the fees, so I’m sure they are not cheap. I need to ask my friend who she and her husband use; they seem very satisfied!

  • When I moved from Richmond up to DC over three years ago I only had sporadic days here and there to come up. It was hard to make heads or tails of the market here and truly get my bearings. I ended up going through an agent to get my first foothold here. I would highly recommend Patrick Reardon of EJF Real Estate Services:

    Sales & Leasing Agent
    [email protected]
    (202) 674-8002
    Direct Line:
    (202) 709-7006

  • Any real estate agent should be able to help you. I used one to find an apartment a few years ago. Ended up having better selection than Craigslist. There also isnt any fee (the person who you rent from pays the real estate agent the equivalent of one months rent).

    • I’m curious though, does that limit your options to apartments/buildings whose owners are willing to pay a real estate agent? Do lots of building owners go that route vs. posting on Craigslist or other websites? I think it’s highly dependent on what your budget is, what your apartment/neighborhood “must-haves” are, and what you need out of an agent. If someone can’t be in town to look at places, and they need an agent that they can trust to “get” their tastes/preferences and facilitate their rental process sight-unseen while they’re abroad, then that’s definitely a big task. But if you are already familiar with the DC area and have a decent budget, it doesn’t seem all that hard to find an apartment, at least from my experience. I did some idle browsing on Craigslist for a couple of months to get a sense of the market, then I walked around Adams Morgan/Mt Pleasant/Columbia Heights for an afternoon, popped in at big buildings and asked the leasing office about vacancies, saw and applied for three vacant apartments, settled on one and canceled the other two applications, and was officially approved two days later after my background and credit checks cleared. It was actually surprisingly easy, although maybe that’s relative because my prior apartment-hunting experience was all in New York. That being said, I personally have a nerdy fascination with browsing apartments online; maybe to others that’s a dreary chore they’d just as soon avoid. (And this is with the caveat that, from hearing others’ experiences, it’s more challenging if you’re trying to find a group house rental or if your budget is really constrained. FWIW, I was looking in the $1450-1550 range for a studio or 1-bedroom.)

      • You are correct. I am a landlord and would never pay someone a month’s rent for a finder’s fee. That’s also because I also get more than ten replies within an hour of posting on Craig’s List. So you will miss out on a lot of places from independent landlords like me, but you have to be really quick on the draw and available just to be considered for an in-demand place with a reasonable price (my mantra as a landlord is that it pays not to get too greedy and it has worked well for me, with better tenants who stay longer and complain less).

  • City Chics specialize in this and have a pretty great straight forward process.

  • I actually did most of my own work to find houses to rent, but ultimately I got a house with the help of Tony Talyor. He is a realtor who does primarily rentals. He doesn’t cost the renter anything as his commission is paid by to owner of the property. I also got in touch with a few other relators who were willing to help in my search, but I am anal and wanted to do most of it myself.

    My general understanding in DC is that there are no brokerage fees, and relators will be able to help you for no cost to you because they are paid by the seller/landlord.

    The DC rental market is fierce, so good luck! If you want something don’t delay. Many people will apply sight-unseen if a property looks good.

    • not sure what owners / landlords are willing to pay that fee. Must only be the bigger apartment buildings. As a landlord for a smaller property I would never pay a fee to an agent.

      • We live in a privately owned house, so I can’t speak generally, but at least in our case that is how it worked.

  • Agree – I’m a landlord who would NEVER pay a fee to an agency. Absolutely no need to. Any time I post on CL I get 30+ responses – with at least 10 exceptional and desirable. That said, CL is a f**king morass of scams and fakers these days, so it is extra difficult. There are some better sites – I think I remembered “Padmappers” from the last go-round.

    Also there are plenty of short-term options these days for a month or two while you look for a place. is again a clusterf**k – but if you know the city you can sort it more easily. And if you’re looking in Dec. – Feb. you may also find a good temp place on or

    • Seriously. I am currently looking for a new tenant to replace mine when she moves out in December. I’ve gotten a ton of responses, but of those roughly 1/3 are likely scammers. You can tell pretty easily though by the language they use and if they tell you to “reply directly to xxx email.”
      That said, I wouldn’t use a real estate agent to find a tenant either. Since I only have one rental unit (my english basement) it’s not financially viable for me and also very not necessary. I can perform my own credit and background checks without the help of a realtor, and like others have said, there are always a lot of people looking on CL.

  • Investors Management, Inc. will find it a pleasure to help you.

    Mary Kay Welch
    Investors Management, Inc.
    1804 T. ST NW
    Washington, DC 20009

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