Rent or buy? Running the numbers on a Brookland house

November 5, 2013

(Photo by Xact Photography) 1404 Otis Street NE

In this market, it’s not always easy to tell whether it makes more sense to rent or buy. With the help of Zillow, a real estate information Web site, we decided to compare a property that is listed both to rent and to buy and see which is the better deal. In the case of this Brookland house, the difference between owning and renting is substantial.


(Photo by Xact Photography) Living room

The five-bedroom, four-bathroom house is listed at $599,900, or you can rent it for $3,800 a month. Built in 1936, the 1,736-square-foot single-family home retains many period details. There’s a fireplace in the living room, an updated kitchen and roomy dining area. The spacious lot includes mature gardens and patio. The property is located between the Franciscan monastery and the Brookland-CUA Metro. The listing agent is Kymber Lovett-Menkiti of Menkiti Group, Keller Williams Capital Properties.


(Photo by Xact Photography) Kitchen

The Zillow data assumes that a buyer would have credit score between 700 and 719, make a 20 percent down payment and take out a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at Monday’s rate of 4.03 percent. Taxes and home owners insurance (an estimate based on insurance premium data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners) are included in the calculation, but not the tax benefits of buying (e.g., mortgage interest deductions).

This rudimentary calculation is meant to give potential buyers a snapshot of the costs involved with buying a home. It is not meant to be a comprehensive accounting. Anyone considering a home purchase should also take into account the tax benefits available as well as other factors such as how long they intend to live in the home.

Address: 1404 Otis Pl. NE

Sale price: $599,900

Monthly principal and interest: $2,299

Monthly taxes: $205

Monthly homeowner’s insurance: $92

Estimated total monthly costs when buying: $2,596

Monthly rent: $3,800

Kathy Orton is a reporter and Web editor for the Real Estate section. She covers the Washington metropolitan area housing market.
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