Inundating D.C. apartment listings on Craigslist. Good idea?


Some Craigslist postings just won’t go away. Keeping the eye on the D.C. renters market in case something cheaper/better comes up as our lease renewal nears, the same culprits keep coming up.

$1420 Best Kept Secret. Aliases (get ready): Bright Cozy Large Studio, Fall in Love With Our Community, Comfort and Convenience, Why Commute? Great Space Large Studio, The Place To Live! You’ll Love This! Your New Home! You’ll Love This! Why Pay More?

To be affordable, this apartment needs a roommate. To be livable, you would need a different apartment. From Craigslist.

To be affordable, this apartment needs a roommate. To be livable, you would need a different apartment. From Craigslist.

Yup, these are all listings for 215 C Street SE’s 420 square foot apartments. No washer/dryer, no dishwasher. The location is pretty nice, but these places are tiny.

An agent is posting this same listing three to five times a day most days. And since I’ve been following the Capitol Hill renting market for quite a while, I can confidently say he/she has been doing it for well over a month.

The building has 63 units, so perhaps some of the units have been filled during this time. But 215 C Street Apartment Homes reeks of desperation by spamming the listings so often. If people are interested in paying $17,000 a year for a sweatbox, they will find you. Perhaps a better way to fill your building up would be to, I don’t know, LOWER PRICES. This isn’t Dupont Circle.

This next poster hasn’t been spamming at nearly the same capacity, but has been advertising the same apartment at the same price for months.

The location at 306 11th Street SE is nice, and the apartment doesn’t look too bad for a basement. But after weeks of failed postings at $1395 and the erroneous claim that this apartment gets “great natural light” point in only one direction: Lower the price.

Look at those BIG basement windows. From Craigslist.

Look at those BIG basement windows. From Craigslist.

Some quick math. If you want to rent out an apartment at $1,395 a month, but have been unsuccessful for six weeks, you have missed out on over $2,000 of income, and are losing almost $50 a day for every day this place sits on the market.

If you lowered the price to say, $1,325 a month and it got rented out right away, you would be missing out on almost $1,000 a year in income that the $1,395 a month rent would have got you. But that point is moot if you can’t rent out the apartment. In most cases, a small rent reduction in exchange for a quick deal is advantageous to sitting on a vacant property hoping someone desperate comes along.

Even in the hot D.C. rental market, Craigslist is not going to sell your place. There are dozens more examples in many neighborhoods of places that just simply aren’t renting, but keep getting listed. A price in line with what others are charging (depending on location/amenities) is a big driving factor in how prospective renters sort through listings and find your property. You may snare a sucker eventually, but just posting the same damn thing every day and expecting a different result is not good business; it’s being lazy and stubborn.

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