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Miracle On Any Street: Rent or Sell?

“Should we sell or rent our home?” We hear this question more than other real estate firms who only focus on one or the other. Those companies will usually tell you an answer that best fits into THEIR bottom line (instead of yours).

Here at Urban District Realty we are uniquely positioned in the DMV real estate market, because we assist clients to either sell or list their properties as rentals, whichever is best for THE CLIENTS’ bottom line (not ours). This is one of the main reasons we’ve structured Urban District Realty this way. We see too often that real estate firms and their agents could care less if their client has all the best information as long as the real estate firm receives their quick check in the end. You may ask, are there really that many greedy villains in the real estate game? Easy answer. YES.


"Unfortunately, we work with real estate agents everyday who haven’t had a 'holiday spirit' moment and continue to put themselves and their interest over their client’s needs."


I’m reminded of a movie I saw as a kid. It was during the holidays that I watched Miracle on 34th Street (don’t ask me which version, there are so many)! During the movie Kris Kringle, who later plays the role of Santa Clause for Macy’s, helped change the department store’s policy. Before Kris Kringle the policy was to redirect customers to merchandise available in their store, even if the customer was searching for something specific which they didn’t have available. After the magic of holiday spirit (because of the work of Kris Kringle) the policy changed to directing their customers to other stores in the area if they thought it would help the shopper achieve their desired end. Initially, when the new policy was started, the management thought it would cause their company to fall apart, but they quickly realized (approximately 5 minutes in movie time) this simple change increased their customers' trust in Macy’s, and their profits actually grew!!! Unfortunately, we work with real estate agents everyday who haven’t had a 'holiday spirit' moment and continue to put themselves and their interest over their client’s needs.

All of this to say, when deciding to rent or sell, I always suggest my potential clients examine and understand the following:

  • There are fees to each transaction: ongoing fees for rent, or a one-time fee for sales. Over time they will be approximately the same.

  • Insurance rates increase when renting real estate (rough estimate is about 2x current homeowners’ rates).

  • Renting markets (no matter the area) change from year to year, and the home value will change along with the market. Renting will keep the unknowns present at all times, while selling a home will provide a one-time sale and you’ll learn exactly how much you’ll earn at settlement.

  • Real estate is often a great investment because of appreciation! But that doesn’t mean it is the only or best investment. The stock market (as a whole) tends to outpace real estate appreciation over the long term.

Because every client has different circumstances at any given time, when seeking the answer to the question, “Should I sell or rent my home?”, it is best to get advice on your specific situation from a professional who has your best interest at heart. If you take away ONE thing from this article, let it be this: be sure to work with a real estate firm and/or agent who makes you and your needs the priority!


About the Author: Ryan Fiero is the Principal Real Estate Broker and CEO of Urban District Realty, LLC, operating in Washington DC and the Commonwealth of Virginia. His successful real estate background includes sales, property management, and development. Ryan currently lives in Truxton Circle (neighborhood in Washington, DC ) with his husband and exceptionally large Newfoundland pup.

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