It’s Time To Play Good Deal or Not?

DSCN1392, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

This is a very interesting house located at 3648 13th Street. The flier says:

“Total renovation of semi-detached row house to Mediterranean-style contemporary building with two fully seperate units and over 2,300 square feet. Ultra high-end finishes adorn this multi unit property with hard to find European tile with steel accents, steel fencing and steps, 2 granite kitchens with top of the line features. The self contained luxury apartment has front and back entrances 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, washer dryer, CAC. The upper unit is spacious with 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, gas fireplace, Jacuzzi, walk in closet…1 car parking available under rear deck.”

I couldn’t find any pictures from inside but it sounds pretty nice. What interests me the most about this house is the two units. So I guess you buy the whole house and can rent out one of the units. How much do you think you could rent the 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom for? Anyway, it makes figuring out the price a bit more interesting. The price is $699,000. So good deal or not considering it is broken into two units?

33 Comment

  • Is this the house you pictured a month or so ago putting fake stucco panels over the brick? And readers generally disapproved.

  • Prince Of Petworth

    I think you’re right Parakeet. I looked briefly in the archives but couldn’t find the photo. But I do think you’re right.

  • Well, I live very close to this house, closer to Park View and I rent out my basement, which is 1 bedroom 1 bath for 1250.00. Its a great unit and given that I see dumpy units getting rented out near my house for nearly as much I would say you could get at least that much for this house.

  • what’s going on in the alley there

  • Bad deal…scary alley. I live close to this place. All kinds of crazy stuff happens in that alley

  • This one’s at 13th St., very near the intersection with Spring Road.

    I’ve been by this house a time or two and saw the work going on. Yes, they stuccoed over the brick. And, from what I can tell, none of the windows open. Whatever added energy efficiency that might bring I’d ditch in a heartbeat for windows that open.

  • The stucco does not look that bad at all.

    AFAIK, its not completed yet, hence no pics anywhere.

    The price is ok if the sq ft are high enough and the reno is well done.

  • I think it’s a fair deal if the work is well done. I can’t believe that the windows wouldn’t open… that sounds insane- maybe they have hinges and open to the side? Or they’re temporary?? Wouldn’t they have to open to be considered a “bedroom.”? I’m claustrophobic just thinking about it… I kind of like the stucco.

    For that location, I’d think the 2 br 1 bath apartment could rent to at least 1400 if the two rooms are big enough to be functional bedrooms. I would guess though, that a house that size with 2 br’s downstairs and 3 upstairs hints that at least one bedroom in each unit is pretty small. Unless there is a big pop-out in the back that can’t be seen in the photo?

    As for the alley activity- scary as it might be, that’s a temporary thing that wouldn’t prevent me from being interested in the property as a long term investment, if I were in the market.

  • I live across the street. Given that this house – prior to renovations – was listed around $250,000, and the value on the permit for the renovations was $35,000, I think the list price is insane. Completely nuts. However, they have done a HUGE amount of work on it and it’s been totally gutted. The windows do open – they’re the crank-out kind, rather than the slide-up kind. You can see the crank in at least one of the upstairs windows. I also kind of love the contractor because he apparently went off on the neighbors about their constant trashing of the front yard and alley.

    And speaking of the neighbors, whoever pays $699k or whatever it goes for is going to be wondering what the hell they’ve done the first time the neighbors throw a party. From across the street, their music shakes my windows and goes on until 3 or 4am. Living next door would be a nightmare.

    Anyone care to elaborate on the scary alley stuff? And has it gotten any better in the last 6-8 months or so? Becuase I managed to get MPD to pay fairly close attention to that area and from my view, things have improved significantly.

  • It looks like there was a drug deal going down in the alley when you took this picture PoP!

  • Wow. Maybe it is a drug deal, but… God forbid it be a neighbor saying hello to another neighbor… (and I’m sure drug dealers love to do business in front of the camera of a white sock and running shoe clad blogger…)

    Regardless of what’s going on in the photo, if someone buys this house expecting it to come with none of the “perks” of urban living, well, then, that’s their problem and lesson learned. My guess is that if the buyer wants to do something about the block or neighborhood, they’ll work with any like minded neighbors toward improvements. Isn’t that kind of a basic tenant of home ownership?

  • that used to be some sort of crack house. drove by once as the previous owners were having the door beat down by about 15 cops.

  • My house also backs up to this alley and as far as alleys go it is not all that scary.

  • I’m glad to hear the windows open. It did seem kinda crazy that they might not, but I could never see any evidence to the contrary. Thanks for setting the facts straight, dreas.

  • Take5, just curious to know more about your rental unit. What is the square footage and does the apartment have its own bathroom, kitchen and laundry room? Does that include all utilities? I ask because I rent my own basement for $800 including all utilities and separate alarm system, no parking but access to back yard and plenty of street parking. It has its own kitchen and bathroom but we share the laundry room, which I access by going outside and into the basement, not by going through the apartment. Oh and I’m only a 10 min walk to Ft. Totten and 2 bus lines pick up right around the corner from my house. Just amazed anyone can get $1250 for a basement rental in Petworth.

  • Good deal or not? Really depends, but I’d lean to not. Sounds like the immediate area is a little sketchy, and given the # of bed and bathrooms (5/3.5 in a 2300 sq ft home?), the room scale must be “cozy” (i.e., tiny). That said, you probably could get ~ 1700 rent for the lower unit, which would leave you paying ~2400 for the upper unit, assuming a monthly payment around $4000 on a 700k purchase after 20% down. The thing the flippers forget (ignore?) is that the same people who are willing to pay a premium for granite and stainless in the kitchen are also kind of picky about their surroundings. You can’t plop a beautiful apartment on a sketchy alley and expect to pull the kind of top dollar rents they’re charging at the Park Triangle. If you planned to live in the upper unit, and assuming you had the down payment, I’d say it’s at best an OK deal in this market, since you probably couldn’t get many other renovated 3/2.5 houses (no condo fees!) w/ parking for less than 2500/mo out of pocket, and you’d have a pretty reasonable tax deduction coming off the place.

  • yeah really. my neighbor rents his basement unit in woodley park for 1250. I need to tell him to up the rent.

  • Dreas, what it cost before it was renevated is almost irrelevant. It should be sold at whatever the comps are. Sure, the comps may be a LOT lower, in case what you say about the price being nuts would make sense.

    Btw, I recall reading someone in one of the comments on this blog saying that completely gutting and then renovating a floor of a house could easily run $100k/floor. _IF_ that is true, they would have spent $300k on renovating this one. That would still leave a $100k profit which would be a good one.. This obviously nothing but wild speculation.

  • Just wondering. Is it the mini-van that makes the scene sketchy? The fact that people are using the alley? What leads people to believe that this could be a drug deal? Don’t you think drug dealers tend to be a bit more circumspect than this?

    In my experience, and I live very nearby, the area is not any more sketchy than Adams Morgan, Mt. Pleasant, or Columbia Heights. Saw a drunk guy pass out on the corner of 13th and Spring once waiting to cross the street. But I’ve never felt concerned for my safety in the area.

    Late night parties are an annoyance, but not uncommon in all neighborhoods where young people live.

  • drug dealers more circumspect than that?!?! ha ha ha ha ha.

  • GforGood – permit for the renovation states that they’re doing $35,000 worth of work. Not $100k per floor, $35k total. 250 + 35 = 285. That’s more than $400k in profit, which why I think the price is crazy. And the comps are not that high. I’d love them to be, living so close, but they’re not.

    I also agree that it’s not really a sketchy area (and it still is CH, for what it’s worth- Petworth technically begins 2 blocks north). We’ve lived there for 2 years and haven’t seen much that’s worrisome at all. A guy down the block has had his front door pounded down twice by the feds at 7am, but it turns out he’s just growing pot in the house and didn’t learn the first time.

    Re parties – yeah, a fact of life. But these guys are not college kids/young people. It’s an extended family, maybe 8-12 people living there from infants to their 30s-40s, and the parties are accompanied by booming bass from inside the house, the front door wide open, and everyone hanging out by their cars on the street and in the alley with the car stereos also as loud as possible. It is astonishingly loud. And they throw all their cups, bottles, and trash in the street, the alley, and the yard of the house pictured above. So I guess it’s not really the parties/noise I have an issue with. It’s the total lack of respect for the neighbors on just about every count.

  • Ohh.. hmm.. I do not see how the whole house could redone with $35k – unless they are not redoing any of the plumbing and electrical. Perhaps $35k is what they officially spend (i.e. in the books) and rest of is of the books?

  • I am also curious about Take5. I rent my basement for $1000. It is one bedroom, one bath. Nice new construction, nothing amazing amazing, but nice and new. Small kitchenette and a shared laundry room at the top of the stairs (so neither of us has to go through each others space to use. I include all utilities, gas, electric, water, high speed wireless internet, cable tv, hbo, showtime, and access to nice backyard should they want it. Only one entrance for them through the backyard, but I thought I might have been pushing the limit a bit. $1250 sounds amazing…

  • On the permit application, people often drastically underestimate the amount they are putting into the renovation as the permit fee is based on a percentage of the total project cost. Also, the permit only asks you to estimate the amount in labor so the $35K doesn’t take any materials into account. My guess is that they have put about $100K into this renovation. Maybe more considering there were two kitchens to renovate and that they have been working pretty much round the clock for several months now.

  • If even half of the stuff listed in the ad (gas fireplace, CAC, Jacuzzi, high end finishes) was put in with the renovation, in just one unit, there’s no way it’s even close to 35k. A gut job including full exterior stucco, I would imagine, is closer to 200k.

    Which begs the question: if contractors routinely and drastically understate the costs of projects to avoid paying higher permitting fees, shouldn’t the District’s permitting agency be in the business of auditing these projects and making the developers pay up?

  • Lol. The price listed on the permit means zippy. Take it from someone who gut rehabbed a house 2 years ago, there is no way you can do a whole house for 35K, period. Mine was 140 and is around the same size as that house.

  • They lowered the foundation, too. That’s a big job. I was surprised at how quickly they did this.

  • Anon 3.51pm: I would not think increasing permit fees would benefit anyone much… I mean I’d rather see as many house renovated as possible – even though many of them are shitty jobs I don’t think increasing fees would increase the quality – if anything, shady flippers would have even less to put into the flip itself.

  • The “crank open” type window is called a casement window. They are nice. But if the upper bedrooms get really hot, you don’t have the option of a window AC (which I use even though my house has central air – it would cost a fortune to puff it all the way up to the top floor all the time)

  • Technology has advanced enough that window units are not longer needed. My I suggest one of the new energy star AC units that doesn’t need to go in a window? It will lower your electric bills and make the neighborhood look oh so much better.

  • For others interested in renting a basement, we rent ours in Columbia Heights for 1,250 a month, it’s a one bedroom, one bath, totally separate apartment (front and rear entrances), has it’s own laundry, new appliances and renovations in 2003. That rent includes all utilities except electric (cable, alarm, water/sewer/garbage and internet) but does not include any off street parking, we’re about 6 blocks from the metro.

    Based on the huge number of applicants we had when it was last vacant, we probably could have charged about 1300-1350 and still have found tenants quickly.

    As someone who remembers renting fairly recently, I would think that having shared laundry facilities would sharply reduce the amount of rent people would be willing to pay.

    Our tenants have full sized, side by side washer and dryer. Upstairs, we have a stackable unit in what used to be a linen closet. You can find stackable units with essentially full capacity these days- if anyone renting their basement wants to enhance its rentability and can live with slightly less storage space, I’d recommend doing this. It makes the basement more of an apartment and less of a house share/in-law suite.

  • Jessica – it’s the opposite, the permit estimate includes materials but does not need to include labor.

  • As a basment renter, on 14th and Randolph, here’s my 2 cents

    I pay a $1000/mo for my basement. It is brand new, I am the first tenant to live in it since its been redone, nice floors, nice bathroom, kitchen with dishwasher, I also have a parking space in the back. My utilities are included, and I feel I should mention we do not have gas heat, nor do I have a gas stove. However, I dont see myself paying anymore for the following reasons: Its a good 10 min hustle to the metro, I dont have access to a washer/dryer, and my entrance is in the back, meaning, I have to walk through the alley.

    maayyybbeee i’d pay another $50 more… but for landlords out there, when there isnt a washer and dryer, you’re going to be hard pressed to get $1200/month for a basement.

Comments are closed.