What’s a Fair Price for my Rental Property? 77 Seaton PL NW

Ed. Note: If you’re looking to rent a place out and are curious what is a realistic price send an email with ‘what’s a fair price’ in the title to princeofpetworth(at)gmail(dot)com. We can also do this for people selling their homes if interested.

“Dear PoP,

Our house isn’t perfect and probably will never qualify for your “house of the day” posts, but it’s well loved and has been painstakingly, and incrementally, rehabbed for the past three years w/ new electrical and plumbing systems as well as restoration of the original moldings/pkt doors and floors.

We are looking to rent it out and have posted to craigslist but we truly welcome some of the feedback from some of your many posters that we know won’t hold back w/ the criticisms that reflect dc houselovers. We’re asking 2800 for the upper level, which features 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. The craigslist pics are a bit grainy and we don’t feel like the flickr shots quite do the home justice, but it’s a start. Hopefully, you’ll put it up, so we can gather some much needed feedback.”

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You can see the Craigslist ad here and a flickr photo series here.

So what do you think they should charge – $2800 sound right for this 3 bed/2.5 bath?

58 Comment

  • I live on V St NW – unit block, a couple of blocks away from this house. 2800 is ridiculous. We pay 2200 and our house was completely rehabbed, has 5 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, skylights, 3 decks, private parking for 2 cars and overlooks the park. I’d say 1500-1700 is a better price for this house on Seaton.

    • Seriously? When did you sign your lease?

      • I originally moved to this house in 2005. I’ve lived in this neighborhood pretty much all my life, having grown up on Hanover.

        • err – also, i’ve signed a couple of leases while being here, but my last one was in Feb. of 2010.

          • The way rent control works in DC is that your landlord is only allowed to raise your rent a small amount each year, as long as you’re a contiuous resident. So for the last 6 years, the most your rent could’ve gone up is maybe about 25%. That means when you signed a lease in 2005, something like $1800 might have been a fair price. In the intervening years, gentrification has pushed rents up much more quickly than rent control allows for contiuous residents.

            Either you’re subject to rent control or have a special reltionship with your landlord — neither of which is applicable to a new renter of the Seaton house.

          • small landlords are not subject to rent control – under 5 units

    • Sounds like the landlord owns enough properties that he’s subject to rent control. I question this person’s conception of what “rehabbed” means, based on their COMPLETELY UNREALISTIC idea that anything with 3 bedrooms could rent for $1500 nowadays — except maybe in Anacostia. Let’s remember that there are 1 bedroom condo style rentals in Bloomingdale that go for $1500.

      $2200 for a 5 bedroom is the deal of the century, if it’s true.

      • Our house was a shell (from fire) before our landlord completely renovated it. He lived in it for two years, then got sold the suburban dream and moved out to PG.

    • That’s crazy. Did you sign your lease in 1995? My roommates and I pay $2600 for a 3br, 1.5 baths on V St NW between 1st and 2nd.

      • Dang! I signed my original lease in 05, but have since signed two other leases – most recently in Feb of 2010.

    • I think its safe to assume that once you read 1500-1700 for a 3 bed 2.5 bath HOUSE in a not terrible neighborhood, you can pretty much assume that A Guy on V has NO idea what he is talking about.

      • The original question was – what is a FAIR price for the Seaton house. I told them a FAIR price, not what people would be willing to pay. I personally don’t believe in furthering gentrification via crazy house prices. Affordable rentals are scarce in DC!

    • I rent my one BR English basement two blocks from here for $1500. It seems my V st neighbor is being unrealistic.

      • Or you rent out our english basement for some an astronomical price because you know you can get it. The English basement where I live rents out for 1000.

        All in all, living in a basement is not a good idea, especially considering most of them weren’t made for living. I’d personally never pay more than 8-900 to live in someone’s basement – just not worth it.

  • houseintherear

    $2800 sounds a bit high. I rent out a bedroom in my house two blocks away for $850… so, three times that would be reasonable for a whole house, in my opinion. $2400 or a so, maybe a little less.

  • me

    You could ask for $2800 if you were by a metro or something… absolutely not where you are, though. Somewhere closer to $2000.

  • Neighbors in Columbia Heights, less than a block from the metro, rent out a 3 BR, 2.5 BA that’s more updated than this for about that price. $2800 seems high to me – I’d say $2200 or so.

  • It seems a little expensive–it’s more than we pay for a four bedroom house in the same general area but closer to the Shaw metro. If it is a genuinely nice house and the rooms are pretty big, maybe, but that’s pretty inconveniently far from the bus station/most bus routes I know of that run frequently enough to be useful.

    • The 80 would meet your bus needs. g8, I assume, is the one that doesnt run frequently enough?

    • Not to mention all the 90s that take you from Woodley Park to Capitol Hill (through U Street/A-M). With those, the 80 and the G8, where else would you need to go?

      • Yeah, I live around the corner from this house and think that we have a lot of bus accessibility. The 6 or 7 blocks to the Shaw metro isn’t bad either.

        Having said that, I agree that $2800 seems a bit high. I’d suggest looking at the weekly rental prices that Suzanne sends out on the listserv and compare against them. Or just compare against Craigslist.

        I’m glad you posted pictures though because I walk by this house a lot and have always been curious what the inside looks like.

  • My husband and I own a house on the unit block of Randolph Place, but our neighbors rent the upper level of the house next door that appears to be extremely comparable to yours. They pay $2500 which, according to them, is a good deal for what is out there.

  • This is high. Punch in Bloomingdale on CL and see what comes up – this listing is $200/more than the next closest 3BR, and there’s a 3BR/1.5 BA that’s $400 less.

  • I have a house thats nearly identical to yours in layout and appearance (though you have CAC) right around the corner from you in Eckington.

    I think the person who said $1500-$1700 is completely out to lunch and clearly has no grasp of the market. Houses next to you have sold for in excess of $500,000 in recent months and there are some on T and Seaton both under contract for WELL above that.

    You are relatively close to a metro (probably one of the closest houses in Bloomingdale), because I walk past your house on the way to Shaw. From your house, its no more than 10-15 minutes, well within the range that people routinely walk from many other stations around the city (and its flat).

    However, I think 2800 is fairly optimistic. I’d say 2300-2400 is more reasonable.

    I’m sure there are folks from the neighborhood who will chime in (A frequent commenter called “Tres” I’m sure will have a very reasonable opinion). I’d listen to them a bit more than people who clearly have either no idea about the neighborhood (“its not close to metro”) or use anecdotal reasoning to come to a random price point.

  • I actually rent a house on this block and we pay $2400 for 3 bed 2.5 bath for the upper level, with no parking. If there’s parking included, $2800 is totally reasonable. Only drop it if you don’t get any bites.

    • Meh — the price, the price. There’s a good range on that.

      I think the most important aspect is learning about *the renter*.

      You want to find someone who will be caring and responsible with your place — even if it’s just someone who works for Catholic Charities and the ACLU.

    • You’d pay $400 a month for parking? There? BWhahahahahah…

      You can get a monthly parking rental in a garage on K street for $275 a month or less, and you’d pay $400/m for off street parking behind a townhouse in that neighbrohood?

      Back to the rental…sorry, but no. You are about $500 a month above what that area supports. There is no metro, you are right of North Cap in a relatively undesireable (to a yuppie willing to pay that much) area between Florida and RI avenues.

      • Apparently someone doesn’t know their left from their right because this is in NW, i.e. left of N. Cap. And the metro is just a 15 minute walk away, with good bus service within a 3 block radius.

        Ever even been to Bloomingdale “joker”?

        • I think the person meant “right off” North Capitol, not “right of.” But yeah, it was a dumb comment either way.

      • I agree 400/month for parking is high. but everything you say, and always say, about this neighborhood is completely inaccurate. Where do you live again? I remember you answering it once, and as I recall, you have no room to start throwing stones.

  • I think this sounds like a good deal, actually. $2800/3 = $933. I think that will fly. I do think that the pet deposit is too high and may deter renters who have to come up with a lot of cash to move in in the first place.

  • We are renting ours out in the same area but ours is a 4br/1.5 bath instead of 3/2.5. We rent ours for a good bit more than $2800. I wouldn’t go lower unless you have a hard time renting. This is rental season, I think you’ll be fine.

  • I do think you will get interest @ 2800, but I do not think it is a fair price — in that location, I’d be willing to pay 800/room, maybe a bit more if I had my own bathroom. So, imo, 2500 is fair.

    • “I do think you will get interest @ 2800, but I do not think it is a fair price”

      If they get interest at $2800 it’s what somebody out there in the market will pay. Ergo, it is a fair price.

  • I’m looking for a 3 BR in the area, but my roommates and I pay $2200 on Adams a few blocks north, so this seems a tad high. Also, as a cat owner, $400 seems pretty outrageous…knock it down to $150 and we’d consider the $2800 (maybe). We like Bloomingdale, though, and would like to stay, however there are places in CH, Petworth, etc. that are a bit more in the $2200-2500 price range. Plus this place looks a little older and more closed in than where we live. Also, the lack of attached basement certainly doesn’t help the case.

  • I think what you do is look at the bedrooms, because their size determines the “group house” rental value (as opposed to “family occupied” rental value). There’s a reason some rentals are higher; however, we don’t get to see what the renters who tour these CL places do — who determine what a fair price really is.

    If you have two decent sized non-master bedrooms, I don’t think you could do this rental for less than $2600. The “group house” rental value would put your place at $1000 + $800 + $800. If one of the bedrooms is at or under 100 sq ft, deduct maybe $200. If you rent to a family or couple, add $100 or $200 bucks. You have to add something for parking, maybe $100.

    Of course, a lot of it comes down to view or bathroom appeal and other things that people have a visceral reaction to. Seaton is a nice, scenic street. But like Bloom says, someone who will take care of your baby is better than someone who can pay the most.

    • Tres – I don’t always agree with you, but I gotta say, you put a lot of thought into this and I think it’s pretty on the nose.

  • I say list it at 2800 and if you get no interest then drop the price. It doesn’t hurt to try

  • Love love the restored woodwork, may I ask the OP what method worked best for stripping? We have a thick layer of white paint on our bannister & trim and want to take it back to the original 1920s yellow pine.

    • I tried everything and unless you’re willing to hire somebody or remove the piece and have it ‘dipped” then I suggest using a good ol’ heat gun. I know they warn against it because of the fire risk but you just have to be very careful.

  • we rent a fully-rehabbed 3BR, 2.5bath house in columbia heights with a fenced-in back yard and roof deck for less than that…

  • Thanks for all the wonderful feedback! I welcome anybody to drop by on sunday during the open house for a much closer view (even if you’re happy w/ your current rent situation).

    To the last poster re paint removal…very carefully. Peel away is a good chemical product, but it’s messy, may leave residue and require multiple applications. I found that the heat guns (i.e. wagner/black & decker, etc.) work best, but you have to be especially careful not to burn the wood — newel posts and the surrounding moldings are usually trickier w/ the gun b/c the various engravings can create difficulty in getting proper contact w/ the heat.

    Take your time, try not to get frustrated and call experts if you’re completely exasperated. Also, if you believe that the moldings can be removed carefully, the stripping workshop on ny ave does a great job w/ its chemical baths, but be forewarned that it can get pricey. Good luck! Feel free to email me w/ any specific questions.

  • Zillow says:

    Rent Zestimate:$2,500/mo


  • The price seems a little high to me, but it’s worth a shot, especially if the 2nd and 3rd bedrooms aren’t closets. I’d be happier if there was storage, parking or some utilities for more than $900/person, though. But then again, everything in DC seems a little expensive to me.

    I think your problem is going to be requiring rent by direct deposit. That gives the tenant no recourse if you don’t fulfill your end of the bargain. And it sets up an adversarial relationship from the start, which isn’t a good thing when you want someone to take good care of your home. I’d spend more time with background checks and getting to know people so you can trust them to pay rent on time, rather than renting to people you can’t trust and requiring that.

    I can see requiring electronic payment, paypal or bank transfer, but there is NO WAY I’m setting up a direct deposit.

    And $400 for cats or small dogs is a bit much when you’ve already got a full month of rent for security deposit.

  • i like the fold out ironing board.

    price seems reasonable. works out to a bit more than 900 per renter. that is fair. though i agree that this place is not that close to metro.

  • 2300 – 2500 seems like the market price.

  • Great rent! I’m getting way more than that for the closets in my house. $300 for a regular closet (crouching room only) $400 (6 x 2 – short people sleep flat!) $500 includes 2 bathroom visits a day!

  • I find it crazy that people think the metro is far Bloomingdale. When I lived at 17th & U St. in “the hub” I had to walk even further to either the Dupont or U St. stations.

    2,800 is prob. sellable, but 2,500 would prob get it off the market after a few showings.

    • $2500 I would say. I lived at 17th and t and those stations are not further, but equidistant as this one is to Shaw. With that said, I’d rather walk in “the hub” to the metro than BloomingDale to shaw, but that is just my opinion.

      • I get that, so people should rather express how they rather not walk through LeDroit to Shaw rather than say how far it is….just my two cents.

  • I think its about right, but maybee slightly on the high side by 100-200.

    I live just south of FL Ave in TC and several row homes (4-5 bedrooms) rent for around 2800-3000. Generally, I feel Bloomingdale is the nicer ‘hood and should fetch better rents.

    Hard to compare directly without seeing the insides.

    Bottom line: take all that you can get!

  • 2800 is not a problem at all. Depends on what the inside looks like but for the neighborhood I’d be happy with that.

  • I know plenty of people who rent group houses in Columbia Heights that are close to the metro and nightlife for $2800 or less.

    I’d say $2400.

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