The size of the city may make you think finding a home here is a lot like throwing darts; get within the vicinity of the bull's eye and you are fine. That's somewhat true, but it doesn't describe the whole housing game here. Before you look for a house or rental apartment, you have to do your homework. If you don't, you'll find that this is a town that won't wait for you to catch up. You'll get lost in the shuffle. You want to be in the shuffle, of course, but you have to know where you are and what you are doing in the shuffle if that makes any sense at all.
The Good News for Renters
Huntington's real estate market is built for renters. You won't be hard-pressed to find something here. Apartment complexes in Huntington are plentiful for its size, and locating a suitable apartment to rent won't be a difficult task. Well over half of the housing units are rented, so there's plenty to be had. When you combine that with the fact that openings for homes abound, you should not have too much trouble getting what you need. That's a relief, especially when you consider that Huntington is near one of the country's busiest cities. You would have a much harder time finding vacant city apartments in Washington, D.C. Here, you get D.C. without the hassle.
Apartments Are King
Nearly 55 percent of homes in Huntington are in housing structures with 20 or more units. That means if you want a high-rise apartment, you don't have to look for long. They are all over the place in this small city. If you want a house, you still have a good deal of choice. Duplexes have a long history in Huntington as roughly 24 percent of homes here are attached, one-unit houses. Huntington, in general, is quite crowded with housing of all types, even boats. There are no spaceships, but they are working on it. The point is this: even though apartments won't lose their seat of power, you still have other options. Huntington provides the selection you need.
Times to Search
How long it takes to find a place varies a lot depending on what time of the year you arrive. In general, two to three weeks is enough. The middle of the summer, as well as late autumn to early spring, see the most openings. Try not to carry out your search from August through September or from April through May as a lot of people are arriving during this time; if you come during those months, give yourself three weeks to one month. Some folks have reported finding a pad within days. While that is perfectly possible, give yourself more time if you can as this is a densely populated city that's near the capital of the United States of America.
Sorry for the exclamation point. This is not a buyer or renter beware admonishment. There's just some things to be aware of as the market operates a lot differently in Huntington than in nearby D.C., and it's not because the President mandated it. Huntington, like any storied city in Virginia, has a lot of older homes. You'll learn this as soon as you begin your apartment search. Most do still boast that classic Virginian architecture, but a few have withered with time. Look beyond the surface of each pad you tour to see if there are issues with the place. Moving in before doing this is the equivalent of a congressman saying yes to new legislation before reading it. Look between the lines in the floor and see how the house or apartment is holding up to the test of time. Chances are it is doing just fine, but if you don't make sure, you can only blame yourself for the consequences.
The Rental Contract
This part is a lot like D.C. Get all that financial and rental stuff ready. You should have the following prepared: first month's rent, a security deposit, and Realtor or application fees. Additionally, most management staff and landlords want evidence you can afford a pad, as well as a summary of your residence history. References from former landlords can help a lot here. The process isn't as strict as Washington, but you do have to be ready. Chances are you need most of the above, but some owners in Huntington are quite accommodating as long as you show proof you will pay rent on time each month.
Being so small in terms of square miles, you probably figure it doesn't matter where you live in this city. It makes a huge difference, though. After all, do you want to hear cars roaring past your home at night or have an apartment that overlooks the Potomac River? Finding the right neighborhood for you is crucial to enjoying your life in Huntington.
Huntington Park: The neighborhood surrounding this park features a lot of stores, businesses and homes. The Huntington Community Center and ample eateries are here.
Metro Station: In this neighborhood, you'll find the Metro rail station, restaurants and shops. Bus stops on Huntington Avenue are also nearby.
Mount Eagle Park: There's some industry in this neighborhood, but it's mostly just houses and apartments. Richmond Highway is easily accessible from anywhere in this section of town.
Being near such a major city, Huntington is quite congested. While some folks drive cars around the city, most rely on buses and subways to get from one spot to another. Parking can truly get annoying. Biking and walking are also common for short distances. In short, you don't need a vehicle here as the city offers efficient public transit options.
Huntington, upon first inspection, seems like nothing more than a sidebar to Alexandria and the greater Washington, D.C., area. That is true in some ways. The movement of buses and subways toward those cities indicates Huntington is a neighborhood within the greater metropolis. Yet, the number of residents gathered at locations such as Old Chicago Pizza, Huntington Park and the Huntington Community Center indicate otherwise. This is a place that realizes its position within the larger area, but also one that has asserted it won't be defined by that. Huntington is its own place, and nothing shows that more than the action at its local establishments. U.S. Route 1 runs along the town's border, and nothing exudes history and pride like U.S. Route 1. That's something worth holding on to.