Home Buying in Stafford>Question Details

crmcquade, Home Buyer in Stafford, VA

We are buying a home in Stafford and are looking to rent it out once we leave in 3-4 years. What is most attractive for renters, house or townhome?

Asked by crmcquade, Stafford, VA Fri Mar 15, 2013

Help the community by answering this question:


first, good luck with your home purchase. I can try to help you with your decision with some stats in the rental market. There are of course variables to consider, condition, location, pricing etc. but it will give you a little better understanding fo the market in Stafford VA. In the past year, detached single family homes rented for an avg. price of $1825., with an avg. of 4 bedrooms and 3 baths. TH rented for an avg. of $1420. with an avg. of 3 bedrooms and 3 baths. As of today, the market has gone up a little, and the avg. detached home is renting for $1890. where the TH is renting for an avg. of $1550.
I really hope this helps, and if I can help in any other way, feel free to contact me.
Have a great day.

Eleni Malliaros
Realtor VA
SFR Certified
Keller Williams Realty
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 15, 2013
That is a great question. Knowing that your long term goal is to make rental income from this property, you need to consider not only what is most desirable to the prospective tenants but also what will net you the greatest return on your rental income. What will the cost of maintenance, taxes, HOA fees, etc?
In general, tenants consider renting a townhome over single family home for one of the two reasons, they can get a nicer and newer home for less money and/or they don't want the responsibility of maintaining a single family home exterior and lot.

There will always be demand for both townhomes and single family rental homes in our area due to the large population of military, government employees and contractors, as well as corporate new hires. Most coming to this area either have no knowledge of the community and want to become more familiar before committing to a home. There is also many renters that know they will only be in the area for 1-3 years and want the flexibility to move when they are ready without having to sell a home. So demand is high regardless. Even in the worst market conditions, rentals were very hard to come by due to high demand.

So now back to the cost of ownership. A single family home you have to worry about many expensive maintenance issues such as HVAC, Windows, Roof Replacement, etc. With a Townhouse your risk exposure is less because you have less exterior and lot to worry about. Take for example, the cost to replace windows in a townhome vs. a single family home (even with the same sq ft) is going to be significantly less because you have less windows. Your taxes will likely be less and HOA fees more reasonable. Your best option would be to purchase a townhome that is less than no more than 3-5 years old now. It will still be at the early stages of it's useful life when you go to rent it. Which means there will be little to no investment to prepare the home for rent. During the subsequent rental period, there will be less risk of the home needing major repairs which usually being around 10 years old. You should also pay for a Comprehensive Home Warranty such as AHS, which will assist you in paying for any unforeseen repairs including internal heating, air conditioning, plumbing, appliances, etc. Consider using a professional Property Manager. As you make your purchase decisions always consider these factors and you will do just fine! Good Luck with your purchase and future rental. If you should need any further assistance, please feel free to call Ted and I. We both have owned numerous investment properties over the years and can assist you with your purchase.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 23, 2013
I have both types of dwellings, 3 townhouses and 1 detached house in Stafford, so I understand your question. Mostly it depends on location, location, location. In general townhouses are shorter rental periods, normally 1 or 2 years. Yes I've had the same renters in my townhomes for up to 5 years but that is not the norm. Frequently, detached homes will rent for a longer period, 3 to 5 years. A lot of this is dependent upon your renter. Since there are so many military in the area and a house is normally larger than a townhome then you'll probably have more senior people interested in a detached house vs. a townhouse. Hope this helps. If I can be of further assistance please feel free to contact me at GLantier@ColdwellBankerElite.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 19, 2013
For a slightly different angle of an answer to your question, I have answered this question for clients before. In my experience it is not just about single family versus town home as one might expect.....other features like parking and storage space are quite important to renters as they often travel with extra items from their previous home (especially near Quantico where many are military service members). If square footage and rent price are similar, often they will seek out a newer townhome with a garage over an older detached home with no garage (for example). They usually have me tailor their search for both single family and town homes, and consider them equally as a starting point to compare parking and storage. I hope that helps!

Karen Hall
Principal Broker/REALTOR
@home real estate lounge & design center
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 16, 2013
I work with renters every week and the #1 item Stafford renters are looking for is LOCATION in regards to I95 and Quantico. Their #2 choice is schools and #3 would be nearby shopping and restaurants.
I am a full service REALTOR that works with sale and rental clients. I am also affiliated with a property manager if that is a service you would need when moving from the area. My approach is very straight forward and extremely service oriented.

Please contact me if you have any further questions.

Mollie Cramer, REALTOR
Military Plus Property Mgmt
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 15, 2013
This is a wonderful time to buy as you know. You approach gives you an opportunity to take advantage of the market both as purchasers and investors. In addition to providing sales assistance in the Stafford area, I also property manage many homes. I will be able to assist you with the market comps of rentals so that you can look at all the factors as you find homes to buy.

Contact at your convenience so that I may assist you in this process, as well as answer any questions that you may have.

Carolyn Liddell, Broker
Sun Realty / Sun Property Management
licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 15, 2013
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