Good Deal or Not? Reader Request


Actually a number of people have written me about this house so I thought I’d give it a go.  One reader writes:

“I wanted to suggest a newly listed house in Petworth as a candidate for “Good Deal or Not?” I’m not the seller, nor do I have any affiliation with the people who renovated house. My interest is that it’s near my house, and it’s an unprecedented price point for this area of Petworth (i.e., North Country). The address is 5101 Illinois Ave., NW (20011). It’s a 5 bedroom / 4.5 bath house on a corner lot. The house went on the market Aug. 10, and they’re asking $795,000. That’s an unheard of amount for just about anywhere in Petworth, but particularly for a house not near the metro. I’m curious what others who read the blog think. Here’s a link with information and photos of the house.”

It is a pretty huge house but that seems really high for that neck of the woods. I’m guessing nobody is going to say it is a good deal (but maybe I’m wrong). If you don’t think it’s a good deal what do you think would be a reasonable asking price for this property?

21 Comment

  • AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA. its a joke right?

  • This house is closer to the fort totten metro than petworth. And am I the only one who hates it when flippers take a classic dc row house and give it a mcmansion interior?

  • This is at the corner of Gallatin and Illinois – very near my house – they are toally off-base. A stand-alone, 3-story Victorian at 13th and Gallatin (other side of GA) just went for $539,000. It is not renovated, but liveable and really beautiful bones. You could do $125,000 in renovations – kitchen, baths, etc. – and it would be perfect. And you would have spent $660,000.

  • saf

    Anon – no, you’re not. I think row houses are beautiful beautiful things, and I do hate to see them turned generic on the inside.

  • I had a crush on the girl who lived in that house. We both went to Truesdell Elementary
    back in 1845.


  • According to Redfin, the current owners paid $425,000 for it a year ago tomorrow (8/28/2007). I seriously, seriously doubt they put anywhere close to $370,000 into it, and the market sure as heck hasn’t gone up measurably (if anything, it’s gone down) since last summer…so, yeah…someone watched too much “Flip This House”. Srsly.

  • For that asking price seems like they could have done something to the yard to make it have more curb appeal.

  • I can’t help but wonder if they over-improved the house. I agree with Anon poster, the interiors do remind me of McMansion. Is that a second kitchen (for renters) or just a second kitchen just to have a second kitchen.

    Flippers really have not necessarily done any favors for potential buyers. When they buy something a lot of people could afford and turn around and offer it at prices many people can’t.

  • Cupcake,
    What you say may be true. But many people just want a nice house without all the headaches of a renovation. Paying a premium is worth it to them…

  • Wow, who wrecked that house? I bet the original floorplan was beautiful…Oh well. And if the buyers overpaid their contractor, I could see $300,000 having been put into it…But for $300,000 the buyer could also hire an overpriced contractor. And then get exactly what they want.

  • nate, of course. this is why the whole house flipping biz is around in the first place. but there is a difference between a premium and highway robbery. Nobody will pay within a hundred grand of this asking price. either the flippers bit off more than they could chew and have major losses to recover or they are just naive.

  • this one is a little more but arguably in a better location and unarguably a much much much better renovation.

  • [email protected]:11: Yep…with a comparable like that out there, there’s no way these guys get $795K.

  • as far as over improving for the area is concerned I think that sums it up. Someone with that kind of money to spend is likely older and with family. They could get this house in cleveland park for LESS and have good public schools. and be closer to the metro.

  • cupcake: Also, maybe a lot of people don’t have the money to do renovations. Let me explain: By putting 20% down, you would need $159,000 to buy this $795k house. To buy and renovate a house, (using your numbers) you would need $107,800 for the 20% downpayment on the $539k house and then $125,000 for the renovations, for a grand total of $232,800—so you would need to spend $73,800 MORE to do the LESS expensive option.

    Of course, this example falls apart if someone is an all-cash buyer, or has enough money saved up. AND, of course, if you do the renovations yourself, you get a house that you actually like rather than an ugly ugly ugly flip job like the house above (I’m just guessing on the ugly b/c I can’t get the link to load). And, also, of course, you could theortically get a loan to do the renovations, but that is very very difficult in today’s credit environment.

  • 4:30pm here. And I forgot to write that this house is terribly terribly overpriced.

  • Too much. The house is too overdone. I also live close to that house and imagined it would have an absolutely beautiful interior. I remember when they started work on it.

  • Okay, I walked by that house just the other day and it looks like, to my untrained eye, that they put windows with relatively cheap frames in – one wonders what other shortcuts may have been taken.

    IIRC, about 3 – 4 years ago, the house just across Gallatin from this one was on the market for about $450 – even for an end unit with a large number of bedrooms, that seemed very high to me. To go 40% over that in a soft market in that short amount of time seems crazy to me.

  • That price will probably increase my “Zestimate” (since I think it takes into account nearby listing prices.) But no one should even pay that much for it.

  • I live a block from this house. So, what’s a fair offer? I’d guess $550 to $600. Too high? Low?

Comments are closed.