“What’s a fair price for my rental unit?”

“Dear PoPville,

I’m preparing to rent out the condo unit I used to live in (see photos). What’s a fair price for it?

Basic facts: Adams Morgan (1700 block of Columbia Road), 1BD/1BA, 580 square feet, washer and dryer in unit, dishwasher, garbage disposal, elevator-equipped building.

The cabinetry, etc. in the kitchen and bathroom is older (as the PoPville commentariat will no doubt remark), though the fridge, dishwasher, and washing machine have all been replaced in the past few years. I’m not interested in further updating the kitchen at this time, so obviously the price will need to account for that.”

Draft version of my listing:

For rent, 580-square-foot one-bedroom apartment in condo building in Adams Morgan.

In-unit washer and dryer. Kitchen has a dishwasher, garbage disposal, lots of cabinet space, and enough room for a table.

Extremely convenient location — the building is directly on Columbia Road, four doors down from the Safeway and three doors down from the CVS. There are nearby bus stops for the Circulator (Woodley Park-McPherson Square route), the 42/43, the L2, the X3, the 90, the 92, the 96, and the H1. The building is 0.7 miles from both the Woodley Park Metro station (Red Line) and the Columbia Heights Metro station (Green/Yellow Lines).

Excellent layout with no wasted space. Eastern exposure, with four tall windows and views of distant Adams Morgan and Mount Pleasant rooftops.

Living room and bedroom are carpeted (with luxuriously thick padding). Floor in hallway is hardwood, and floors in kitchen and bathroom are tile.

Building has an elevator and two layers of security — a locked exterior gate (equipped with a callbox) and a set of locked doors within (also equipped with a callbox).

Rent includes water and trash; tenant pays all other utilities (electricity and any desired phone/Internet/cable service). Unit has central heating and air, both provided by the unit’s own HVAC system and controlled by in-unit programmable thermostat.
















38 Comment

    • Have to strongly disagree with $2100. I’d say closer to $1800.

      • I agree with C. If this unit were slightly more modern or slightly more roomy, then $2000 might be right. If it were both of the above, then somewhere between $2100 and $2300 seems appropriate.

    • Why not ask for $2100 and if there is no interest then you can lower the price. It doesn’t matter what someone else is paying somewhere else. What matters is what you want to charge for rent in May of 2014.

  • I am a landlord though my places are in Dupont area not Admo. In a decent Dupont location this would rent for at least $2000, even without utilities. It’s a little dumpy but it’s a good-sized 1 BR. I rent smaller 1 BRs and studio for almost that much. A nice 1 BR can go for $2500 easy. For Admo/Lanier, I would guess this should be something like 1800-1900.

  • If you come down somewhere in the neighborhood of $1600, I want to live here! 🙂

  • $1800. Also need to consider the fact that this place is next to a massive construction site and you’ll have plenty of noise and vibrations for the next year or so.

  • $1800, discounting for the fact that this place is right next to a massive construction site and the hassles that entails (noise, vibrations, etc.)

    • The Google map shows 1700 Columbia Road NW, but the unit is actually in the middle of the 1700 block — it’s between the Radio Shack and the Game Shop. So it’s not right next to the construction where the Ontario Theater used to be.

  • 1800-2000. I’m assuming you’re the owner of the unit? Preferably you should be charging enough rent to cover your mortgage, fees, taxes and other expenses.

  • Thanks for not updating the bathroom and kitchen! I think most renters would rather forgo the stainless and granite than pay an extra $200-300 a month, bit unfortunately the market is saturated with pricey luxury units.

    • +1. My only requirement is a gas range, which sadly this doesn’t have, but so many “luxury” units have electric too.

      Can we have some more “just nice” apartments instead of more “luxury” apartments, please?

  • $1600 would be fair.

  • Studios in my building only a block away (on Euclid) go for $1450 and one-bedrooms for at least $1700. They are a bit bigger and have a few more building amenities, but the kitchens are tiny and no w/d. I think you can definitely get $2000.

  • $1800. Fwiw, I rent a dumpier but larger and better situated 1 bedroom in Dupont for $1650.

  • in the ad i suggest you address parking (both car – street parking, and bike – does the building have secure bike parking?). otherwise I think you can get ~1800

  • I’m two blocks away (but closer to Metro) in a 1 bedroom, w/d in unit, stainless steel and granite, in a row house, for $1,650 without utils included.

  • I think you could get at least 1800. You should try to at least cover your mortgage and all your expenses.

  • I’d say 1750, but to echo an earlier poster, make sure this covers your mortgage and expenses (and yes, your time is an expense).

    • Her mortgage and expenses are irrelevant. She’s decided to rent the place, she should get the most she can given the market.

      And FWIW, 99% of landlords in DC cannot accurately calculate what their expenses/costs/mortgage is. It’s not just the payment you make every month to the bank. Some of that money you are paying to yourself.

  • Outdated kitchen, bathroom and carpet in the unit. PASS.

  • You obviously haven’t been in the market to rent recently. Outdated kitchen and bath doesn’t even matter to landlords, jack up the price, baby, it’s in NW, we’ll be rich!!!!!

    You should see the slum kitchens in 1BRs just a little ways away in CP. Horrendous street noise, old building, no amenities, 5-600 sqft, kitchen doesn’t even have cabinets on the walls, no full size fridge, no W/D, no DW, and a layout which makes it impossible to put even 3 pieces of furniture (incl TV) in the living room — 1650/mo!

  • lovefifteen

    You will probably find someone willing to pay $2,000/month, to be honest.

  • It’s a pain in the butt, but get a business license so you can write off any losses and expenses aside from depreciation.

  • $2100 – $2300. Don’t let anyone talk you to under $2000.

  • This market is crazy. I wouldn’t pay more than $1800 for it. I am a 5 minute walk away and pay $1540. My place is also a bit bigger and overlooks a park (but no dishwasher or W/D). I guess I should thank the heavens for rent control…

  • This is tough. Business wise, you should get the most money you can, and no one should judge you for it. All things being equal, $1800 sounds fair. No one is taking into account that the renter has to pay electricity, which could be an extra $150 a month (that’s just a guess of mine, I own a condo that includes that and water in the condo fee so I don’t know what the average electrical bill is). So even if you charge $2100, the renter has to come up with another $100 plus cable, so he or she will probably pay about $2350-2400 a month. That is a lot for a 1 bedroom that is less than 600 square feet, and a mile away from a metro station.

    So $1800, or like others have said charge enough that it covers the mortgage and electric which is the most important thing in all this.

  • As others have said, you could probably get $2000+. But what you should charge depends on your priorities.

    If you charge a true market price and maximize your monthly income off of this, you’ll have a little less leeway in who you rent to, because obviously there are fewer people willing to pay, say, $2300 for this unit than there are people who would pay $1500.

    If you give a really good deal (something that just covers all your expenses, including your time and effort), you’ll have a few hundred people knocking on your door. You can have your choice of the lot and pick who you think is going to be most responsible and stay the longest. You’ll also have less turnover if you charge something below market price, which will save you lots of hassle and slightly make up for the lower rent you’re charging.

    But if you’re asking what PoPville thinks you could “get away with” charging, I’d say $2100 maybe. I would express my shock that someone is paying that much for this unit, but that happens all the time.

  • Max 1750. Apartments right on Columbia Rd. have historically not been expensive. A 2BR above O’Tasty with hardwood floors rented for 1700, a 2BR above El Rincon with hardwood went for 1550.

    • This is in a self-contained building, not above a store/restaurant. Obviously I’m biased, but I think that makes a difference in the feel of the place.
      The unit also faces to the side, not directly onto Columbia Road.

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