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Rental Report: Why Rent in Arlington?

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Editor’s Note: This biweekly sponsored column is written by Rick Gersten, founder and CEO of Urban Igloo, a rental real estate firm that matches up renters with their ideal apartments, condos or houses. Please submit any questions in the comments section or via email.

“I only want to live in D.C.,” is a common statement we hear from our renters. But when we talk with them about their needs and wants in a place to live, we realize Arlington may be the perfect spot for them.

Often the statement comes from renters new to the area, and they just don’t know how much Arlington has to offer.

So, what are the advantages?

Location – Arlington is located close to D.C., giving renters easy access to the city for work and play. With easy access to I-395, I-66, Arlington Blvd and the GW Parkway, Arlington residents can easily connect to the Beltway and get in and out of the Metro D.C. area without the hassles of (at least some) of the D.C. traffic. Not to mention, residents have access to Metro (orange, blue and yellow lines,) Metrobus, and ART bus, making it easy to live in Arlington without a car.

Things to do – Arlington residents don’t always need to head to D.C. when looking for fun. There is plenty of nightlife, shopping and outdoor activities right in the neighborhood. Happy hour and good food are just steps from either Clarendon or Courthouse Metro stations. Need to stock up at Costco, or shop for new work clothes? Pentagon City has what you need. And in the winter you can even stop for some ice skating at Pentagon Row. Require easy access to Reagan National during the week, but want to get outdoors for some running or biking on the weekends? Crystal City just might be the perfect location.

And most important, more for the money – A lot of renters say, “Well, it isn’t cheaper to live in Arlington, so I might as well stay in D.C.” That’s only partially true. Say the renters must haves are parking and a dog friendly apartment with budget being the next most important. Let’s compare one bedroom apartment at two properties – one in Arlington and one in D.C.

Arlington (Rosslyn)

  • $2,380 per month
  • 856 square feet
  • Washer/dryer in unit
  • Five blocks to Metro (Orange/Blue)
  • Pet friendly
  • Parking
  • Amenities include a pool and fitness center
  • Location: Rosslyn is the last stop on the Orange line before you get to D.C., Clarendon/Courthouse are the next stops out on the Orange, and Georgetown is just a short cab ride away across the Key Bridge
  • Walk Score: 86

Bottom Line: At $2.78 per square foot this property meets the renters’ needs being dog friendly and including parking, and it includes nice features, upgrades and amenities in a location that is tough to beat.

D.C. (West End)

  • $2876 per month
  • 682 square feet,
  • Washer/dryer in unit
  • Six blocks to Metro (Orange/Blue)
  • Pet friendly
  • Parking
  • Amenities include a fitness center, grilling area and a business center.
  • Location: West End is close to Foggy Bottom, George Washington University, Dupont Circle, Georgetown and Downtown
  • Walk Score: 98

Bottom Line: At $4.12 per square feet, renters are paying a 48% premium for the D.C. zip code.

(All prices above are inclusive of parking and pet fees. Rosslyn is still the better value net these fees at $2.65 per square foot vs. $3.87 per square foot for D.C.)

In this instance, the renter is certainly going to get more for their money in Arlington, and it really does boil down to what they are really looking for in a place to live. Some people want to live in or near Dupont and price is not an issue. But those wanting the most bang for their buck while still getting a great location can get some great deals in Arlington (not to mention a lower income tax).

There are dozens of great neighborhoods to fit just about any personality. And there is equally diverse selection of properties to fit all tastes and budgets in Arlington. Depending on where the renters work, Arlington can be a more convenient option than several areas in D.C. Our recommendation is if the renter is new to the area, they should find an agent that can listen to all their needs, and help them find the right neighborhood that best meets their criteria. Sometimes we find that renters don’t really know what they want and they end up finding the perfect place in an area they had not considered in their initial search.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.

Community discussion guidelines: Our sponsored columns are written by members of the local business community. While we encourage a robust and open discussion, we ask that all reviews of the businesses — good or bad — be directed to another venue, like Yelp. The comments section is intended for a conversation about the topic of the article.

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