New Investor in DC: Buy First or Rent

4 Replies

Hello All,

I am currently a graduate student who is moving to DC (from Central Virginia) in June/July. I would like to buy a row home to house hack. I've been doing extensive research on up and coming areas in DC: Trinidad, Deanwood, and Anacostia in particular. This research includes speaking with realtors and locals, reading reports, and identifying commercial development in these areas. 

I've had conflicting advice as to buy a house right away or rent an apartment for 6 months-1 year before buying. I personally favor buying first because I can't see myself paying someone's mortgage when I can pay little to nothing to live in a home I own. I would use this home as a start at building my portfolio in this area. 

I would love to hear other people's take on buying a house first in DC or waiting until I'm more acclimated with the area. 

Thank You,


Well rent in DC can be really expensive. But it might be hard to gage where you feel comfortable living until you are here.

House hacking in Deanwood or Anacostia might be hard as renting rooms in those areas will have weak demand. Trinidad you can absolutely do it, but the price point is higher. You might also consider Ft Totten, Riggs Park and Brighwood as options with cheaper price points than Trinidad with similar upsides.

2 things come up when I read this, finding multi-units and lease-to-own options.

1. Multi-units

     - Purchasing the property to live in one unit, rent out the others.

2. Lease-To-Own options where you put a down payment to rent the property for a desired time to eventually qualify and take over the loan.

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