Washington DC/Maryland Market

36 Replies

@Olivia Umoren okay so yeah, those areas are expensive.

Since DC is expensive, I decided to try my hand at Baltimore and I have an investment in Florida where my parents (world's worst PMs) live. I'm going sell the Florida property because my parents are getting in their 70s now and declining in health. Besides, I bought in 2009 when FL property was a steal. I might try something in between DC and B'more when I do off-load the FL property, or wait for another crash. I will miss writing off Florida trips, but oh well.

I read that you have no interest in having roommates. That's understandable but you're closing off an option. Consider this, a former neighbor of mine had a basement with a bathroom in it but it wasn't on a separate utility and he had closed off the interior stairs to the basement (put a w/d on top of that space). He put a roommate in that basement space. The roommate had a separate entrance and a dorm kitchen (microwave and mini-fridge). This neighbor later married and had a kid and sold the property..... with the roommate in place. Now these new neighbors have the old roommate still living in the basement. Another example, a professional married couple have a 2,000 sq ft house that was a two unit that was turned into a single unit house. They airbnb their back bedroom space, which has a separate bathroom, a sitting room and a bedroom. The kitchen and laundry facilities are shared but the sitting room also has a coffee maker, microwave and mini-fridge, so that the roommate doesn't have to use the kitchen.  You can be picker with a roommate than a regular tenant and you can pick roommates who don't know how to boil water (non-cooks who'll stay out of the kitchen).  When I bought my home I just had a roommate for ten years, but I wanted temporary roommates (3 mos - 1 year) so if I found them annoying I'd just have to wait them out and I picked based on several factors including having somewhere else they wanted to go (getting married, summer or seasonal internship, etc). I also know a handful of people who bought townhomes with legal basements or carved out a legal basement or second unit from their main unit. 

The gentrifying is still going on and so I'd recommend that you look at neighborhoods adjacent or in walking distance to the ones you like, but in your price range, that's going to be hard still. @Larry Allen had some really good suggestions.

@M Marie M. I would definitely want to house hack but I'm just not trying to share the same space with roommates (bedrooms on same floor, sharing kitchen, bathroom, living room). A property with a basement would be ideal for me, I don't mind sharing a property with someones, just as long as they have a separate unit for themselves. My sentiments come from having 11 different roommates in college (from undergrad to law school students) and dealing w/ the lack of respect for the living area/other roommates was enough for me to be opposed to having roommates again.

Having said that, I think the type of people chosen would be very important and I think I could be a lot more particular about what I'm looking for in a roommate if I decided to go down that route. The temporary roommate situation sounds like a good idea to me though and it would probably be easier for me to deal with. 

As far as carving out legal basements, have people found this to be difficult? That would be something I'd be interested in if I was unable to find a property that already had a basement. Thanks!

Hi all. Great discussions. I'm also interested in house hacking and investing in up and coming areas. Anyone care to list some of the up and coming areas or areas that haven't come up but are predicted to? What are the average price per sq ft? Any luck with off market or wholesale deals? 

Originally posted by @Leo Watts :

Hi all. Great discussions. I'm also interested in house hacking and investing in up and coming areas. Anyone care to list some of the up and coming areas or areas that haven't come up but are predicted to? What are the average price per sq ft? Any luck with off market or wholesale deals? 

 Houses in the DC area do not trade on a price per sq foot basis.

That's interesting @Russell Brazil ! Can I ask what the pricing is based off? Bedrooms? Neighborhood comps? Cap rates? Thanks in advance.

Originally posted by @Leo Watts :

That's interesting @Russell Brazil! Can I ask what the pricing is based off? Bedrooms? Neighborhood comps? Cap rates? Thanks in advance.

 Location, asset type, neighborhood sales.

@M Marie M. @Olivia Umoren I want to house hack so badly, but my husband is so opposed. I see all these ppl winning with house hacks and I can't help but feel stuck!In Florida basements are no existent so its either a multiplex of some sort or a shared living space...I'm ok with either.

@Olivia Umoren well then maybe you might have to partner with someone, because your max price is just too low for parts of DC north and east of the river. That or you're going to have to get creative.

I just remembered another house hack idea that I encountered in Charlottesville, VA. A couple lived in the basement and airbnb and rented out rooms on the main floor of their split level. The basement was off limits, they left the kitchen and the one bathroom for the guests (3 rooms) and that's all I remember. They may have had their own set up downstairs, I have no idea.

@Lydia Ford yeah, Florida has a low water table, but look on the bright side, you have no state income tax or snow, makes up for the lack of basements. It helps to have your SO on board. Lucky me my wonderful spouse was a tenant of friends from his church for many years, and many of the men from his church, whom he admires, have rented out portions of their homes to other church members (including students from the near by university). So if we do move to PG county, sharing our home would be an option.

I started with my first property in Bowie MD and still live there. You can find good properties under 300k where you can rent out the basement for close to 100% of your mortgage. I have seen people actually live in their basement and rent the top floors for up to 200% of mortgage (talk about house hacking 🙂).

I think one of the determining factors should be where you work cos DC area commute can be a nightmare. At least for someone like me who hates traffic.

@Olivia Umoren Hey Olivia, I've read some of the responses already, so I won't repeat what others I've said. 

Though Baltimore is about 1.5 hours to DC, I think this is also a good market to house hack. Take a look at some of the class A/B neighbourhoods and you might be pleasantly surprised. 

Hope this helps. Goodluck on your move. Thanks! - Ola 

I will add that Alexandria, VA (Rosemont, Del Ray, Old Town) are awesome places to live for all ages. If you can find an investment property there, you will love it. "The Wharf" is for the wealthy - small apartments for ridiculously high prices.

I know I am late to the party here, but let me add my two cents as far as where to look for inexpensive, but cash flowing rentals

Petworth: wildcard, prices are all over the place but investors like it because if you are diligent you WILL find something)

Anacostia: even 1 year ago I would not have mentioned this area, but now it is growing, and the fact that Amazon is coming to Crystal City, this is probably the best bet.

North East: Lots of small little pockets, but I am seeing Trinidad, Deanwood, and Eckington grow more than usual (more so with flips) but the condo conversions and rentals are an option, and the entry point is why we are talking.

And of course Baltimore.  Baltimore is HOT right now.  Thanks

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