Tues. Afternoon Rental Option – “How Much Should I Charge?”


“Dear PoP,

I purchased a 2 bedroom condo last week at Holmead Place and Newton Street in Columbia Heights with the plan of renting it out. It is in a 4 unit building that was completely renovated in 2006 and I just repainted and fixed up everything in my unit. It has 2 full bathrooms, 10 foot ceilings, W/D, tandem parking space (2 cars can fit), private deck, W/D, tiled shower/tub, requisite stainless steel appliances, and a huge granite counter. The location is perfect in CH — 3-4 blocks to everything.

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here is the slide show.

Any ideas on what it should rent for? I have seen 1 bedrooms listed as high as $2100 and my wife rents out her 1 bedroom for $1800 at 15th and Fuller. Based on the rents that I am seeing, it seems like an attractive price is $2200. It is completely vacant and ready to go so I don’t want it to sit on the market too long. I am surprised that there isn’t more of a premium on two bedrooms as they can be used by roommates, couples, and wealthier singles. Do you think that high flying singles just look at 1 bedrooms and skip over the two bedroom options? From the prices that I am seeing, it seems like you could get much more for your money by renting a two bedroom.”

Hmm, I’m thinking you could probably ask $2400 for a 2 bedroom and parking at this location. What do you guys think? Are 2 bedrooms harder to rent out than 1 bedrooms?

32 Comment

  • Or you could fight rent inflation and put it somewhere around $1500.


  • Weird, it looks like it’s already posted on CL for $2200. The key to getting a good price for a 2br, I think, is for each of the BRs to be spacious and to have closets. If that’s the case with this unit, then I’m with PoP, you should be able to get $2400 esp considering there’s parking. If it’s more like a 1br + den, then you probably need to lower the price to $2000 or so.

  • They purchased it last week and are already listing it? That’s some quick turnaround time, especially to get the proper licenses from DCRA for a rental unit.

    That is, unless they are operating as an unlicensed landlord.

    PoP, can you make a post about that? About how many homes are rented out without the proper licenses from DCRA? A lot of people move to DC and rent these units without knowing what to look out for and knowing their tenant rights.

    Many landlords are hesitant to register because they want to get homeowner tax benefits… but this also results in a rental unit that has not been properly inspected.

  • As a longtime local landlord, I’d say $2200.00 is perfect for this place. Your location is just that little bit farther from metro and the street just a little bit dodgier. (I didn’t buy a house on this block a few years ago because of neighbor’s constantly barking pit bulls) But parking spaces are a big plus.

    Much better to have happy tenants feeling they are getting a good deal. This price definitely appeals to 2 roomates. Couples have a lot more options for 1 bedroom apt. in the $1,500 – 1,700.00 range. I rent out a huge, new 1 bdrm. with parking & patio 1/2 block from metro for $1,500.00, and a small 1 bdrm for $1,000.

    Also – definitely install window bars. Both for plain necessity and liability. Good luck

    • I don’t agree with the window bars. Especially if the property is fenced and have security system. If you must have window bars have someting that opens for fire safety, otherwise you won’t be able to insure the property.

  • And you can get much more for your money renting an entire house than a 2 bedroom apartment. I rented a renovated 3 bedroom/3 floor house with all the amenities and parking just around the corner on 13th and Meridian for $2500. You might get what you are asking for from someone who doesn’t do their homework but just because it seems comparable doesn’t mean it is.

    • Wow, you have the deal of the century if you ask me. Unless the place has not been touched since the 1920’s.

  • I think $2200-$2400 is about what I’ve been seeing for similar places in that area. I know this because myself and two roommates (a couple) are looking at 2 bedroom places in that area.

    In fact, if you are the landlord and you read this, email me at [email protected]! I’ll tell you more about us in the email, but you should know that I do have one fixed/declawed indoor cat…


  • I think there are rules about bars on windows in bedrooms – you have to ensure that there is egress in case of fire.

    • Egress (escape-able from the inside without a key) bars are very simple to do. No one in their right mind would ever live in a 1st floor apt. most anywhere in the city without bars.

      • Sad thing, most bars only add a few seconds to the entry time. Look how they are attached. They are good when you want to open the window and not worry about someone climbing in.

        • Exactly – at least 50% of the year you can make your home comfortable with no heat or ac, just open windows – which, on any first floor – require bars. Not a judgment on our fair city – let’s ignore real villains and estimate that perhaps 1% of any population might tend toward opportunistic malfeasance. For a first floor apt. with open windows on the street, that equals about one break-in a year. No one in their right mind should sign up for that.

      • Funny, I live in a house with first floor windows just a few blocks away from this condo and don’t have bars on my windows. Nor do many of my neighbors.

      • It’s about 50-50 in this neighborhood, bars versus no bars. I live a block from this place, and I have them. But many of my neighbors (who I believe to be in their right minds) do not.

        • I live near this space and I have no bars. I do have security system and fenced back yard. I also have the cutest, friendliest cat to distract any intruder.

  • it looks like this is indeed posted on craigslist for $2200 and I’m guessing the reader sent this to PoP last week b/c they bought it two weeks ago now. The CL ad says it is 900 sq feet, which seems on the small side for a 2BR. I think $2200 is about right in terms of price, because altho I wouldn’t pay quite that much, I imagine that the parking spaces will make it worth it to some people.

  • Why get bars when you can install shatter-proof glass?

  • i’ll rent it from you for 1900 in may… think about it

  • lol at calling this street “dodgy”

  • Ummm, you can rent brand-new in Highland Park or Kenyon Square for not too much more than that…and be right on top of the metro.

  • Too much! Too much! Too much!

    I used to pay $2200 in the Mt. Vernon Square/Shaw neighborhood. Two blocks (seriously. just two.) from the metro. This place isn’t THAT close to the metro! It’s definitely more than 3 blocks. I’d say it’s a solid 10 minute walk.

    $1100 each for a row house in CH? You can pay that much to live in a brand new, never before lived in apartment at Allegro!

    People move to Columbia Heights to pay less. This is not paying less.

    • Put it this way: I can’t finish a cigarette between this location and the metro. This is very close to metro. And Giant and all that other stuff.

      I disagree that people move to CH to pay less. People move there for convenience and high-density retail.

      I paid $1900 five years ago for a two-bedroom in Mt. Pleasant which was MUCH less convenient than Holmead and Newton. I think $2200 is fair, and $2400 possible.

    • Do you know if they’re willing to negotiate prices at Allegro? The studios for $1650/mo with two months free still work out to be $1375 a month. Also what do you guys think of that area?

    • It takes you 10 minutes to walk .3 miles? do you have to use a walker to get around?

  • This apartment looks lovely, and yes it is close to Metro – since when has 5 blocks become a long way? CH is becoming the IT place to live – when all your friends are moving to a particular neighborhood (because they can’t afford AM or Mt. P, and don’t work near Cap Hill) then it becomes a desirable place to move. I notice you didn’t mention families in your post…a lot of people shopping for two bedrooms in CH are new or about to be new parents. Some of us don’t like big fancy elevator buildings (where do you put muddy wading boots and the kayak?)

  • It’s a really nice place. Considering that you have parking, I think $2200 is a good price.

    I personally wouldn’t pay that much for a place in Columbia Heights for a 2BR. But I know people with 1 bedroom condos that are nowhere near as nice as yours but in Adams Morgan with parking that rent them out for $1800.

  • You can still rent out a place with permits and inspections pending. The inspectors are so far behind and burdened it will be months before they can schedule visit and more indeterminable time before a license is issued. No sense in wasting that revenue.

    And no sense in making changes (installing bars, gates, new locks, etc.) that an inspector may tell you to change later. Smoke detectors (in every bedroom), fire extinguishers on each level and single-cylinger locks on egress doors are the major points.

  • Too much! I have friends that live on the same block on Holmead, and pay 1400 for a 1BR/den. Granted, their place is a ground level apartment, but it gets great light and has all of the granite and hardwood amenities. Is your place a true 2BR? It is hard to tell from the pictures, but one of the rooms looks quite small. With parking, I would price it at $2000 tops. Best of luck!

  • Way too much. They have to be kidding with those photos– the bedrooms are _tiny_. This and other landlords should get with the program and make their rents affordable.

    (And yes, I _am_ bitter because I moved from NYC, where rental prices are astronomical, hoping for more reasonable prices here. At least in NYC, you have interesting and worthwhile shops, delis, and people nearby, to “justify” such prices. Here, you do not).

    • You’re right, DC is completely devoid of any and all worthwhile shops, delis and people. I guess our real estate market will just have to fall back on its safety amenity… being the the seat of government for the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world. DC really could be devoid of good restaurants, interesting shops and the like and real estate prices, including rentals, would still be high. Regardless of our individual motivations, real estate prices in DC are kept high because people have no choice but to be here. All of the lobbyists, lawyers, government employees, etc. have no choice but to be here and “here” is a relatively small area with a finite amount of homes and apartment buildings. Sure, good restaurants and cool shops might make one area of the city more expensive than another, but it isn’t shopping that’s driving real estate here.

  • don’t let the door hit you in the ass.

  • You’re right Tafkey, another entitled NYC snob so close by does warrant a lower rent.

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