Rent or buy? Running the numbers on an Arlington townhouse


(Courtesy of the Parker Team at Keller Williams Realty) 4633 28th Rd. S., Arlington

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 to see which is the better deal. In the case of this Arlington townhouse, the difference between owning and renting appears negligible.

The two-bedroom, one-bathroom home is listed for sale at $314,500, or you can rent it for $1,800 a month. Built in 1950, the 875-square-foot townhome is near Shirlington. The two-level end unit, which has been remodeled and updated recently, has new hardwood floors on the main level and carpeting on the upper level. The large living room includes a fireplace. The kitchen has black granite countertops and white cabinetry. An in-unit washer and dryer makes doing laundry a breeze. The rear balcony overlooks a grove of trees. The listing agent is Peggy Parker of The Parker Team at Keller Williams Realty.


(Courtesy of the Parker Team at Keller Williams Realty) The living room has a fireplace.

The Zillow data assumes that a buyer would have a credit score between 700 and 719, make a 20 percent down payment of $62,900 and take out a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at the rate of 4.03 percent. Taxes, home owners association fees 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).


(Courtesy of the Parker Team at Keller Williams Realty) The balcony overlooks trees in the back yard.

This rudimentary calculation is meant to give potential buyers or renters a snapshot of the costs involved with buying or renting 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. Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of buying and renting here.

Address: 4633 28th Rd. S., Unit C, Arlington

Sale price: $314,500

Monthly principal and interest: $1,207

Monthly taxes: $207

Monthly home owners insurance: $67

Monthly condo fee: $304

Estimated total monthly costs when buying: $1,785

Monthly rent: $1,800

 

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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