Real NEastate: How much should I charge for rent? [a look back at 2011]

Stacey McCarthy is off this week, so we’re taking a look back at her column that ran one year ago today.

Q: I am the landlord of a duplex in the Far Northeast. I have a tenant moving out who only paid $500 a month in rent for the last nine years. I want to raise the rent for the next tenant but I am not sure how much to charge. What’s fair rent these days for two bedroom apartments?

A: How much you’ll be able to fetch for rent depends on size, condition and how many bedrooms and bathrooms. Location will also play a big role in how much tenants are willing to pay for a duplex. Rents vary throughout the Northeast and even across the Far Northeast.

According to the realtors’ Multiple Listing Service, TREND, rents for two-bedroom apartments/duplexes can range anywhere from $750 to $1,750 but currently the average is $1,000. At the very least, you’ll probably be reasonably able to charge $250 more per month. Which utilities are included in the rent will be a factor for you as well.

Don’t go too high or it could sit vacant for an extended period of time and you’ll be out more money than if you offered a lower rent. If you are planning to rent it for an extended period of time, you’d be smart to outline rent raises in the lease so you won’t get stuck with a low fixed rent for such a long period of time, unless you’re OK with that.

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on See others here. Read other NEast Philly columns here.

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