STAUNTON — The effects of inflation can be felt by everyone, but tenants in Virginia are facing record rent increases. The average rent in Virginia rose 11.3% in the first quarter of 2022, according to CoStar.
All one has to do to feel the effects of the increased rental market is to open a social media platform like Facebook. On the Staunton VA Facebook page, 11 people have posted about finding rental properties in Staunton since July 1. A quick Facebook Marketplace search showed five rentals ranging from $750 one-bedroom to $1,700 four-bedroom. One was a private room for rent, three were houses, and one was an apartment.
When people post questions online about available rentals in Staunton, the typical price range they list is $800 to $1,000. The median rent in Staunton is $1,250, with a variation of $300 from month to month, according to Zillow. In addition to price increases, tenants are having to fight harder for potential rentals with increased competition.
According to Virginia Realtors, the number of renters in the United States who are considering owning a home has “fallen to an all-time low”. The Federal Reserve recently found that 43.3% of renters in 2022 expect to eventually become homeowners, down significantly from 51.6% in 2021.
Are you looking for a rental ? Experts say to contact local owners.
According to Realtor.com, contacting a local real estate agent or broker might be your best bet for finding something in your price range, as many own rental properties or know people who do.
Staunton and Waynesboro are small enough communities that potential tenants can find landlords who own several properties with good reputations among tenants. Once you find that person, the path to the right apartment or house can be much easier.
Speaking from personal experience, I had no luck finding accommodation in Staunton until I started contacting real estate agents and brokers in the area. On the call, I simply asked if the agent had any rental properties or if they knew of any that were about to become available. It was a lifesaver in the crazy rental market. I found my apartment because my current landlord was about to have a vacant unit and she hadn’t advertised it yet.
One of the best ways to start is to research rentals that are currently on the market or just released and contact the owner or rental company to see if they have any units that will be on the market soon.
Shannon Harrington, a local broker and rental property investor, said she receives Facebook messages and phone calls from potential tenants several times a week.
“There’s a real shortage,” Harrington said of the number of rental properties in Staunton. Harrington aims to help applicants, but when making contact, she stressed the importance of providing plenty of information to the agent.
For example, if someone sends a message like “Hey! I need a place to rent”. is much less likely to get a response than someone who says, “Hello. I’m looking for a place to rent between August and September in downtown Staunton. I’m open to one or two bedrooms and have a cat.”
Harrington had an apartment available a few weeks ago and on the first day of listing, 30 people applied. In a case like this, she likes to go through the candidates who weren’t selected for the property and put them on a waiting list, as long as all of the candidate’s information has been filled in correctly.
“I don’t think you can meet the demand,” Harrington said. “I think you can do your best with the amount of space you have to work with.”
Time is the most important factor, Harrington said, while acknowledging that not everyone has that luxury when looking for a new place to live. There have been instances in the past where someone who is on a tight deadline has contacted Harrington and she was able to refer them to another agent who has something available sooner, and vice versa.
If you’re looking for properties to rent and you’re having no luck, here’s a list of real estate agents and businesses in Staunton.
— Katelyn Waltemyer (her) is the government watchdog reporter for The News Leader. Do you have any local government news? Or a good feature? You can reach Katelyn at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @Kate_Waltemyer.