UT Reader Asks: A Roommate or a Tenant?

by UrbanTurf Staff

image

In this installment of UrbanTurf Reader Asks, a potential homeowner weighs two options: a tenant in a basement unit or a roommate in a second bedroom?

“I am considering making my first real estate purchase, and I am looking for a property that will allow me to lessen the financial burden by having a tenant. My question is: Which is better, a row house with a separate basement rental unit, or a two-bedroom condo in which I could rent out the second bedroom? The first option is better for some obvious reasons, but also more expensive, harder to maintain, and legally onerous (certificate of occupancy, etc.). The second option is more doable financially, but I would have to live with a stranger.”

Readers, what do you think? Post your thoughts in the comments section. If you would like to submit a question for UrbanTurf Reader Asks, send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

See other articles related to: urbanturf reader asks

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/ut_reader_asks_a_roommate_or_a_tenant/5802

10 Comments

  1. anon said at 1:06 pm on Monday July 23, 2012:

    think long term…go for rowhouse

  1. anon2 said at 2:02 pm on Monday July 23, 2012:

    If you can swing the rowhouse purchase I think it’ll be a better investment in the long run.  I say this because you’ll have a higher tax deduction (condo fees aren’t deductable but your greater mortgage interest and real estate taxes will be), you’ll have better separation from the tenant, and better resale value.  You could even consider a rowhouse that doesn’t have a separate unit but has a bedroom you could rent.  The income wouldn’t be as high but it would still offset expenses. Good luck!

  1. Lowet said at 2:05 pm on Monday July 23, 2012:

    While it would be easier from a legality aspect to just rent out your second bedroom, I think you would get tired pretty quickly of seeing a stranger roaming around your place all the time. A basement unit would mean needing to get a certificate of occupancy, but at least your life wouldn’t be interrupted.

  1. Tim Touchette said at 3:57 pm on Monday July 23, 2012:

    I would consider ‘both’ if you opt for the rowhouse.  If you buy a rowhouse, it will likely have more than 1 bedroom, so you can offset the higher cost by renting both the basement and renting the 2nd bedroom to a roommate.  The nice part about that is if you get tired of sharing your living space with a roommate, you can eventually reclaim that space and still have the income from the basement rental. Plus, you won’t have the condo fee with a rowhouse, as other commenters have mentioned.

  1. StringsAttached said at 4:00 pm on Monday July 23, 2012:

    So the UT reader states “I am considering making my first real estate purchase”. So my answer is think about it a bit more. Either you can afford a home by yourself or you should wait a bit longer, save up a bit more, then purchase the larger property you desire to share with a room mate or rent out. That aside, we are given the option of a two bedroom condo or a row home with a separate unit to rent out. Sounds like two different price points because I don’t think there are many row homes with just one bedroom (a two bed condo would leave you the other room) and a rentable basement with separate entrance. It would be nice to know why these two types of properties were chosen to compare/contrast otherwise any advice given would be the commenter’s personal bias and not based on what the buyer is really looking for in the property.

  1. StringsAttached said at 4:03 pm on Monday July 23, 2012:

    Good comment Tim, your post appeared while I was typing but it hits the nail on the head for me. These are apple vs. orange properties.

  1. mona said at 4:03 pm on Monday July 23, 2012:

    Easy would be rent condo with roommate. Harder but not impossible would be rent basement unit. If you buy a row house make sure it can be a legal basement rental so you can get a C of O. Biggest reason for this is so that if you get a tenant and they decide not to pay rent you can have the support of the city to get rid of them. If not the city will just say “what rental unit” and your on your own to get them out. They are trying to make it easier to get C of O for units and can lay the steps out to you on their website. You have egress issues and ceiling ht issues are the biggest things that prevent a basement from becoming an apt. Go to http://www.dc.gov and search for certificate of occupation and you should find the info you need. This will help you purchase the right property

  1. jeffrey gordon said at 6:12 pm on Monday July 23, 2012:

    As the infamous James Strichous sp? always said, “Friends don’t let Friends buy Condos!”  buy a rowhouse first and you will enjoy the separation from tenant etc.

  1. christine brooks said at 4:33 pm on Tuesday July 24, 2012:

    So you have rented your basement?  And reported that portion of the rental of your house for income tax purposes.  What happens when it is time to sell?  I have heard that you take a big tax hit for having rented that part of your home.  Is it really worth in the long run???  would greatly appreciate responses from people who have been through it.

  1. Janel said at 9:37 am on Sunday July 29, 2012:

    If you’re considering buying a 2br condo for the purpose of renting out the 2nd bedroom, you should seriously review the bylaws of any condo you’re considering. Some forbid renting out only a portion of the unit, so you may be SOL if you try to do so.

Join the discussion

UrbanTurf now requires registration in order to post comments. Register here, or login below if you are already registered.

Click here if you forgot your password.




 

Ed McAllister

W.C.&A.N. Miller Realtors

703.282.1197

Serving:

Spring Valley

Woodley Park

Friendship Heights

Play to hear Ed in his own words

NEW!

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We’ve collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Ballston
Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Clarendon
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Rosslyn
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
Shirlington
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
Huntington
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
Parkfairfax
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »

Maryland

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Annapolis
Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bethesda
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
Potomac
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
Wheaton
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Hyattsville
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Bloomingdale
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
Brightwood
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
Burleith
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
Crestwood
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
Georgetown
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
Kalorama
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
Palisades
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Petworth
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
Shaw
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Takoma
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Tenleytown
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

Brookland
New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
Deanwood
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Eckington
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
Langdon
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
NoMa
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Rosedale
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
Trinidad
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Woodridge
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 'hoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Hillcrest
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »

Upcoming Seminars ▾