From the Forum – Price My Rental!

by Prince Of Petworth August 17, 2015 at 2:10 pm 38 Comments

price rental
Photo by PoPville flickr user Ted Eytan

Price My Rental!

“My partner and I are looking to rent our home’s basement apartment in Columbia Heights and we want to know what a fair asking price would be. We’re in the process of obtaining a legal CofO, but do not anticipate any difficulties (everything is to code). More about it:

newly redone (fresh paint, tiles, windows, new appliances)
has washer/dryer
has basic kitchen (no super-fancy appliances to account for)
decent natural light on both the front and rear
spans the full length and width of the house, so it’s pretty enormous
about one block to the metro
not much outdoor space

How much would you be willing to pay for this setup?”

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  • Raquel

    Hmmm for this area I would say 850-1100. Also- I would definitely be interested! I think it could be a little bit more if there was a private bathroom also!

    • ***

      $850!? Does that even exist in DC?

      • textdoc

        I think Raquel misread and thought this was for a basement bedroom in a group house.

  • Anonymouse

    Shot in the dark — something like 1700/month.

  • domrep

    Very difficult to say without seeing how it looks. Just going by the description, $1800? Would it include full conversion.

  • dat

    I was going to say 1600, but I’ve been out of the rental market for a little while.

  • lollyanne908

    Probably 1700 since its only 1 bed. Friends of mine pay 1800-1900 for a two bed that sounds similarly renovated in the area. Please let us know when you post it, I’m in the market.

  • ParkViewRes

    WOW, I am really surprised at the numbers thrown out so far! Really? I was going to say $1500 max, maybe $1600.

  • The OP Anon

    I’d say $1600-1700, without utilities.

  • spartygirl

    I feel like a lot more information is needed to accurately price this rental:
    -Are any utilities included? If so, which ones?
    -Is it wired for cable/internet?
    -What is the square footage of the apartment?
    -Is it one bed/one bath? Or is it an open floorplan (more studio type setup)?
    -Parking included? Street parking available?
    -Any storage space?
    -Is there central air and/or heat?

    Based off the one picture and the bit of information you provided, I would say probably $1400-1600. However, that price could vary (up or down!) based on the answers to the above questions.

    • dmzzz

      Also, is the laundry shared? I would say $1400 if the laundry, or anything else, is shared. If not, then you can go higher, maybe even closer to $1800. One block from metro can make a huge difference.

  • TX2DC

    Square footage and pictures would be helpful, as would an approximate location within CH. Just randomly guessing, I would say $1400-1600.

  • textdoc

    Actual square footage would be helpful, or at least the length/width measurements of the house. (E.g., does the house have its original rowhouse footprint, or has it been “bumped out” in the back?)
    The washer/dryer is just for the basement unit and isn’t shared with the upstairs, correct?

    • Anon

      They wouldn’t get a CoO if the basement W/D was shared.

      • textdoc

        Yes, but they might choose to rent it out even if for some reason they don’t get the C of O.

  • LMatt_in_NE

    Without seeing any photos, I’d say $1400, max.

  • jd

    You’ll be a bargain if you’re anywhere under $1800. I live in a comparably finished (but non-basement so I’m sure much smaller) 1br also a block from the Metro and pay $1900…I try to keep an eye on Craiglist to ensure I’m still in line with the market, and I feel like I’M getting away with a decent deal.

    • jd

      Columbia Heights Metro, that is.

  • Spencer’s Dad

    Impossible to determine without more info…. but I’ll say closer to the 1400/1500 range. Sadly a block from the col heights metro is a turn off to me…. and Sqfoot (assuming it’s likely in the 750/900 range) in a basement is meaningless. It’s all about how the space is appropriated.

  • rob

    Personally, wouldn’t pay more than $1,250, but I’m sure market rate is over $2,000.

  • KT

    Also definitely depends on whether it is 1 or 2 bedrooms.

  • 20th street

    I live above ground, 1 bedroom, multiple windows in each room, including kitchen, 950 sqft, right next to Kalorama park and I pay $1675 all included. I’ve lived in DC for about 13 years and moved probably as many times, CoHghts as well, but fail to see how Columbia Heights is still grabbing high rent when it is just a cluster f&^$ and no matter what development moves in, crime doesn’t appear to be subsiding that much, and also, while metro is convenient, not sure living a block from this particular metro is an actual draw. Tough without pics, but $1450ish would seem fair, but I’m sure you could get at least 3 or 400 more.

    • Anonymous

      We just rented 1100sq feet in Adams Morgan for $1900 – tons of windows, 7 closets, outdoor space, really nice renovation, 3rd floor. I also fail to understand how such pathetic CoHi basement apartments rent for so much. And I agree that being that close to the Metro is a turn-off for me….way too much street harassment and shenanigans.

      • textdoc

        Yeah, but you don’t use Metro to get to work. For people who do, proximity to Metro is an asset.

        • dmzzz

          Yep, metro access is great. What people seem to fail to understand is that walking 5 blocks home in an area with street harassment is worse than walking 1 block home in street harassment. Unless you are literally living on 14th st across from Target (which I don’t think has much in the way of residential housing), you won’t be getting the noise of the area.

  • M

    $1700 if the floor is carpet
    $1750-$1800 if the living space is wood, laminate, or tile and the bedrooms are carpet
    Not including utilities, pet rent if applicable, etc.

    • CP


    • Kenyon Street

      +1 but only if there’s a dishwasher

  • neighbor

    1500. Maybe as much as 1600 depending on the amount of light.
    Having been a landlord before I would say it’s worth charing 100-200 less than market and finding someone you like who knows they’re getting a deal and will be nice. Having a good tenant is worth a ton of money.

    • Anon Spock

      Truer words were never spoken.
      I’ve also had success doing a lower amount in exchange for a longer lease.

  • Parkview

    As a landlord in the area, here are a few suggestions/things to consider:

    When it comes time to list it, do so with lots of flattering photos (get friend’s opinions) and as much detail as possible to avoid the litany of one line responses you will get like “Is it still available?” “Is there off street parking included?” “What are typical monthly utilities?” “What are dimensions of the bedroom?” Personally, if the answer is clearly in your post and a person asks it, I tend to think that their inability to take the time to read is reason enough to disregard and you’ve filtered out one more goofball. Included in the post, you should ask them to provide you specific info so that you can keep track of and gather a small amount of information about the interested parties (Name(s), Phone, Email, Pets, etc.)

    Other landlords I know like to start the price on CL on the higher end. You will know if its too high if you only get a few inquiries the first 12 hours. I typically price it a little lower than market so as to increase the pool of people to chose from. A chill, but responsible tenant who takes care of your place and doesn’t hassle you every time a light bulb needs changing is well worth the $50 – $75 a month you might think you are losing out on.

    I also suggest forgoing the “open house” and just set up individual 15-20 min appointments on specific nights. Open houses bring out the worst in people and often the most desirable tenants are those who can’t get a word in edgewise.

    Additionally, I know very experienced landlords who swear by the strict rule of not renting to attorneys. I have done so twice without incident, but I believe their thinking is that attorneys tend to be more type-A and more litigious than the average person. Also, given DC’s tenant friendly laws, those in the know are awe they can game the system and not pay rent for a considerable length of time without repercussion… Ultimately you should your own judgement, use your instincts, obey the law, do your due diligence with credit checks and checking references and insist that your renter have their own rental insurance (you can even subsidize it – its very cheap.)

    Lastly, unless your place is a small little ^&*#hole, which I’m sure its not, you should NOT list it below $1300 month or you will give yourself a headache sorting through all the applicants.

    • AG

      I think if I saw a one bedroom for less than $1300 that close to the metro, I’d assume it was a scam.

    • Anon Spock

      Attorneys for all our faults have organizations that take not handling your financial obligations seriously. I’d report them to their bar association if you had any problems. Lots of tenants here have no idea what they can do even attorneys.
      Credit checks….I see the use, but my awesome tenants had bad credit which they disclosed on the app. They had student loan issues but had great references & income. I prefer the whole picture approach.

    • dmzzz

      Agreed. I think SOME kind of financial statement, credit report, offer letter, pay stub, etc, is good. You want to make sure you are getting someone who is going to be able to afford what they are signing up for. I also second the having a good tenant is worth a small loss in income. I’m actually looking to find a tenant for the master bedroom of my condo right now, and I just offered a small rent reduction to someone I really like, hoping to persuade her a little bit. The way I see it, a $50 a month loss is worth living with a really good person.

  • ExWalbridgeGuy

    It really depends how basement-y it feels, I think. Some basements have normal-sized windows on the front and back while others only have light gutters. Impossible to price without more information. I’d think $1400 on the low end if it’s a dank cave but as much as $1900 if it lives more like a ground-floor unit and if it’s truly one block from metro. (Reality is people pay a premium to live that close to metro — yes, you can basically always save money going further from the Metro, if you prefer.)

    • Betsy Transatlantically

      +1 to this – it would all depend on the light for me. Under $1250 and I’d think it’s a scam or something not mentioned is wrong with the unit or the landlords or the neighbors. Crappy light and I wouldn’t pay more than $1400. Good light that make it feel like a first-floor apartment and I’d go as high as $1750.

  • Emilie504

    I had an apartment like this that cost $300…. in 2002-03….in South Dakota.
    location location location!

  • Hma

    We get $1,900 for ours.

    700 sqft, 1 bd/1 ba, w/d, hw floors, ss appl, granite, cac, security system, recessed lights.

    Ceilings are tall for a row house basement apt and it shows well.


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