Numbers help for Duplex in DC

5 Replies

Hey everyone, 

I'm a longtime reader first time poster but I have been looking at my first duplex and wanted to some help with the numbers. I currently have a condo that I used to live in and rent now but this duplex would be my first jump into a purely investment property.

2 Unit rowhome in Washington DC (Top bottom). Unit 1 is 4 bed, 3 bath, and access to rear parking area. Unit 2 is 3 bed 2 bath. Unit 1 is currently vacant and Unit 2 has a tenant that is month-to-month. 

I am touring the place soon but from pictures it looks like there is good flooring and cosmetics but the kitchen and bathrooms are old and could be updated with new appliances. 

From talking with one of my mentors and doing some research on and other listing sites, the belief is that I could get $4,300-$4,600 for Unit 1 and $3,300-$3,600 for Unit 2 which would give me a total rental income of $7,600-$8,200.

The list price is $1.3m. If I make some of the improvements I talked about in the kitchen and/or bathrooms, I may be able to raise rents more.

What do people think? Am I way off base with this?

    If it is the property I think it is, those rents are in the realisitic range if rehabbed. Not in its current dated condition.  Maybe $500 lower on each of your low end estimates in its current condition.

    The important thing to consider with a duplex in DC is TOPA. Make sure you are using agent and title company well versed in TOPA. There are very specific title companies to consider using with TOPA and very specific ones to consider avoiding in this instance.

    @Russell Brazil ,

    Thank you for the information. I just rewatched your Podcast show and that was the last push I needed to FINALLY post in the forums. So a big THANK YOU!

    It probably is the one you are thinking of and I appreciate your input to help me adjust my expected rent numbers. In terms of TOPA, this would be new territory for me and would be open to any recommendations for title companies you know in the area that have experience with TOPA that I could call to get more information. 

    I have been using to look for properties but have not signed anything with any of their agents.

    Thanks for the information and I will start looking around for agents and title companies with TOPA experience.


    I would encourage you to work with an Agent who can review the property, numbers, leases, compliance with TOPA and rental/sales comps with you.  As commission is usually paid by Seller, there should be no reason to go it alone!  Best of luck-

    Zillow has fairly reliable comparable rent metrics; your projection for Unit 1 is about 10% higher than the average, but you should be able to get it given the location and planned upgrades.

    One of the magical things about apartment zoning in DC (this is RA-2) is that it doesn't really regulate the number of units, just bulk (=building size & shape). So if you can figure out a way to divide either of the units into, say, 2 x 2BRs, there's a whole lot of upside -- rents per square foot are way higher for 0-1-2 BR units than 3+ BRs.

    Your spending 1.3 million + reno costs to get 7,600/month.  

    Look into other markets were that 1.3 million will get you 14,000+/month