Good Deal or Not? Condo Edition


Here’s another example of a beautiful rowhouse that has been divided into condos. (I’m not judging, I’m just saying.) It is located in a prime location at 1360 Kenyon Street, NW.

The flier says:

“Stately rowhome converted into 5 luxury condominiums w/ hardwood floors, top-of-the-line stainless steel & granite kitchens, washer/dryer in units & more! Just steps from the Metro & all of the fabulous shopping, dining and entertainment in Columbia Heights! * * Off-street parking avail for purchase at $35,000 **”

You can check out an interior photo here.

I walked into it and I have to say the layout was a little funny kind of like what they used to call rail road. Anyone else check these out. The location is great and all the condos are 2 bedrooms/2 bathrooms. Prices range from $399,995 – $474,995. The $474,995 unit also comes with a rooftop deck. So given this great location – good deal or not?

19 Comment

  • I can’t tell for sure without knowing the square footage/floorplan, but assuming that it’s decent (i.e. the 2nd “bedroom” isn’t the size of an office cubicle with no closet), then I’d say it sounds like a good deal.

  • Seems a bit high for a weird layout, but I would kill for a roofdeck. Or pay $75k.

  • not sure, but likely not a ‘deal’, at least in this market

  • seems like a good deal for the developer

  • Judging by the pictures, it does seem a little weird inside (the windows are on the lower veritcal half of the wall…see picture of the facade above and realize that those top floor windows start at your ankles and go up to your hip probably…PoP’s link was to unit #3, but scroll down and their is a link to unit #4), but that isn’t entirely uncommon with top floors of rowhouses. Given the roofdeck and the proximity to the “center” of the Columbia Heights area, I would say it is priced about right (maybe you could bargain with the rehabber / developer to get it for a little less, but it’s about right). The listing said the place is a little under 1000 square feet, so its not huge at all. Re: the parking space for $35k, is that high for a parking space in Columbia Heights? I don’t know, but seems like it is.

    Just as an aside, if they are going to convert rowhouses, I wish they would make them two units, rather than 4. The rehabber / developer wouldn’t make as much, but they would be so much cooler.

  • I’m going to give it a “Not.” The location is great, and I’m sure the renovation is nice, but what is that, an 800 sq ft. space?? That’s over $500/sq ft. — for the basement unit (@ 399k) — which was what we saw in 2004-05. Throw condo fees on top of that. When they do this to rowhouses, it’s all about squeezing in 2 beds/2 baths on one floor of a home … while still leaving space for a common stairwell, etc.. All the ones I’ve seen have weird layouts and small common spaces. For $400-475k, you can get a lot more these days.

    I was going to hazard a guess that the developer bought that building in the market run-up in 2004 for too much, but I don’t have to — property records show it sold for just north of $1 million in November 2004. These guys are still trying to find buyers to compensate for their bad business decisions 3-4 years ago. The bubble has burst.

  • You can get a house that price just a block further away and you won’t have to pay condo fees. Especially in this market. so that’s a no deal.

  • Jackie, where is this mythical house for $400k a block away? Just wondering, b/c my real estate agent doesn’t know about it, and I’m looking.

  • There’s been an orange house – an END UNIT rowhouse – for sale on Irving near Warder for about 2 years. I hear that it was being renovated, but got stopped, so the buyer would have to finish things….though I don’t know how much that would be. It’s a cute house….and I’m guessing it’d be under $400K….and the neighborhood is definitely getting nicer by the month. I’d be interested to know what all needs doing to it to make it “right”….

  • Anon 2:28- I also would like to know where these single family homes (that don’t need three years and 150K of work before they’re comfortable) in the area are.

    I wouldn’t call this a rip off or a good deal. The prices do seem reminiscent of 2 years ago, but the area has also appreciated, so it’s a tough call. And realtor worth his/her salt is going to try to get as much as possible on the sale, and adjust the price down, so I’d call this “fair.”

  • There’s a fully renovated full house in NOPE (That’s North Petworth to you rookies) on my block that’s been on the market since March I believe. They priced it at about $500 but they are probably significantly down from there. 4900 block of 9th St NW. The renovation is gorgeous. A couple of other beauties around the corner on the 800 block of Farragut and Emerson. I realize it’s not quite the location but it’s a quick bike ride to Columbia Heights and the neighborhood is getting better. Actually the renovated house on my block was closed down by the US attorney for drug issues – that had been the problem house but it’s gorgeous now.

  • Anon 2:28, there are dozens of houses for sale around Sherman Ave — from Harvard up to Kenyon — for sale in the low price range. Great deals! Have a look on redfin.

  • Wordwitch is talking about 511 Irving St NW.

    Anon 2:28, the following houses are all under $400 K. I think Sherman really is the dividing line for prices in 2008:
    -3213 Sherman Ave NW
    -767 Kenyon St NW
    -609 Harvard St NW
    -542 Hobart Pl NW
    -432 Luray St NW
    -3300 Warder St NW (corner house)
    -1007 Lamont St NW (on the “good” side of Sherman)

  • Not. The condo market blows and the fact that this is a cut up row house doesn’t make it any better.

    Anon 2:28 you might want to find yourself a new realtor and start looking on the other side of GA ave. There is a super nice guy on my street (NH Ave) that has lived here for about 4 yrs. I am sure he knows the area pretty well. I can give you his info if you like

  • Yeah, what bogfrog said. There are a couple houses on the 700 block of Kenyon that have been on the market for awhile. Two are renovated and right around 400 or less, a few more need work but are great prices. And not 150K, more like 30-40K.

  • The “$79” Home Depot entry door that is out of character with the exterior makes me question the entire renovation.

  • re: 2:28. I think what she was trying to say was that, in real estate, location is everything. There very well could be nice houses on the other side of Sherman, but, like David points out, those house are quite close to places being shut down by the US Attorneys for drug issues. Rightly or wrongly that is going to affect property values. Brand spanking new retail from national chains is, rightly or wrongly, going to affect property values in the other direction. In a few years, you could have the last laugh (I’m assuming the ones that responded to 2:28 live where you are suggesting that she buy), but, I don’t consider the price difference to be irrational. Quite simply there are more people willing to live near the Columbia Heights metro than a quick-bike-ride’s distance away, and the prices reflect that.

  • Location is everything. Two blocks from the metro will always command more $ than a “short bikeride.” So will proximity to the grocery store, Target, Gym, restaurants, etc. Sorry, but that’s just how it is. These prices are a little high BUT that is the way it always used to be before the market craziness of 2001-2006. You start higher than the price you are willing to accept and negotiate down.

  • DCDave05 – I have to agree with you on that. Add to that the fact that they turned this into a 5 condo unit says everything.

    I have to say when to do this house to multi-condo things the layout usually sucks and the unites are usually small. Wasn’t there one a few weeks ago here on PoP where the entry was on the “main” level but you had to go down to get to the bedrooms (or something like that)?

    I know that the smaller condo are more affordable (by which I mean they are the only that many buyers could afford and they are still expensive as hell). But I don’t know that they would necessarily be good for resale – this ain’t Manhattan. Of course that could change. Hopefully the buyers of these types of units won’t find that they have to rent them out because they can’t sell them and upgrade. If so it would suck that what was a condo building with owner occupied unites ended up being a building of condo’s rented out.

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