Good Deal or Not?


Here’s an interesting house at 23 Rock Creek Church Road, NW. The flier says:

“LOOKING FOR A GOOD DEAL? TRY THIS ONE! (Pre-approved) home with a sep. car garage in the rear. full basement, 2.5 baths, MAKE YOUR BEST OFFER (SOME RECENT DAMAGE OCCURED DUE TO TANK OVERFLOW). check prices in area and then compare, good opportunity for the right buyer.”

More details can be found here.

Wow, “some recent damage due to tank overflow” is a bit terrifying, yeah? But the price reflects it – it’s yours for $325,000.

The original asking price was $399,900. Does the new price of $325,000 seem reasonable given the damage? (Here was a house on Rock Creek Church a few blocks away for $419,000.)

18 Comment

  • Hmm… the web site says it’s off the market. It last sold in 2004 for $245K – and the market was at it’s peak back then. Unless there were major improvements done in that time, doesn’t seem like much of a deal.

    There are a dozen houses in Petworth for sale for 200K-275K. Unless the place is fixed up or has some really special features I don’t really see a reason to pay that much in Foreclosure Land right about now.

  • yeah no deal. This is a great time for people on a budget to pick up a house in petworth though. With prices forecast to drop another 15 percent accross the board before we dig ourselves out of this crisis I would sit and wait another 9 months if I was looking to buy. Can you say “wardman rowhome in brightwood for 150,000?” I can

  • I’ve seen the place and it isn’t awful. I would guesstimate 100K of work and you have yourself a great house on a great block. I think 325K is reasonable.

    And I have to disagree with anonymous above — if you can manage to get through the current financing woes, NOW is a great time to buy. It is truly impossible (and anyone that tells you otherwise is lying) to ‘guess’ where the bottom of this will be, but, for all intents and purposes, if you can buy now in Petworth, go for it!

  • If it’s not falling into the ground due to the damage, it is absolutely a good deal. Jamie, where are these houses for 200-275k in Petworth? Are they livable? Are they under a mile to the metro? Those are two big criteria for a lot of buyers.

    I have a feeling this one is off the market because they got an offer.

  • Echoing Ross – it’s very unlikely housing prices in DC are going to fall substantially more. The foreclosures you are seeing are already well below market value. And these things are getting snapped up fast. For example:

    This link shows all houses under 300K in NW DC sorted by most recently listed. Of the 99 houses that meet this criteria, 39 are under contract. On the first page, 6 of 20 are under contract, and the oldest listing on the first page is September 30, 3 weeks ago. That’s pretty amazing. And it doesn’t even include all the houses that have been sold, such as the one I just bought which is now off the roll because I’ve closed.

    The bottom line is national housing statistics do not apply to DC — particularly so at the low end of the market. Average sale prices of single family homes in this city have actually gone up in the last year, the opposite of the national trend.

    At the end of the day there’s no reason to wait a year if you’re in the market for a home, particularly in Petworth which for whatever reason has a lot of foreclosures to choose from. If something comes up that you like for a good price why gamble that you’ll get it for a few bucks cheaper in 9 months while you continue to rent? A good deal is a good deal.

  • Anon: The house I just bought is at 4th and Upshur, closer to the metro than this one. It is quite livable. It’s definitely in need of some TLC, and has not been updated, but everything works and it’s pretty clean and in decent shape. I’ve certainly got some work ahead of me but that’s part of the deal when you buy at rock bottom prices.

    You’re not going to get a renovated house for this cheap, but I doubt this one is either. I saw about a dozen houses under $275 and bought the best one that was reasonably close to the metro and on a block I liked. I didn’t look at anything north of Allison Street.

  • Jamie, I see one house in Petworth on MLS south of Allison for less than $275k, 4404 Kansas, and it’s a short sale (you know how those go).

    Where are these dozens of houses you refer to?

  • I didn’t say they were all south of Allison today, that’s just where I was looking. That was almost two months ago. Probably many of the ones I looked at have sold or gone under contract. But these two count:

    4017 4TH ST NW – $289 OK, technically over 275 but nobody pays asking price anymore, why should you?
    3923 NEW HAMPSHIRE AVE NW – AWESOME location – $279

    You’re right, the ones closer to the metro are more like 300K. But wait a week and see what pops up.

    I dunno, maybe the prices are escalating already as the banks realize they can get a little more.

  • …and by the way, if anyone is looking 3923 NEW HAMPSHIRE AVE NW may be a good option. I seriously considered it before. Needs 50K in work and is a bit narrower than most of the wardmans around, but a really great price (and close to the metro!)

  • While I agree with Jamie that now could be a good time to buy if you found the right time to buy at the right price, I don’t think the window of opportunity is exactly short, so no one should feel like they *need* to buy now…. this mess is going to take a long time to sort itself out, and while every local market is different, no market can be immune from these major national and global trends. Even if prices in DC don’t fall much more, it’s not like they’re going to go skyrocketing back up…. more like stay flat or keep up with inflation for years, allowing buyers to take their time.

  • Er… that should be right *house* at the right price.

  • Anon – I agree. There will be deals to be had for a while. There’s no urgency to buy something if it’s not exactly what you want for fear of missing the opportunity. I’m just saying that I really can’t see prices at the bottom end getting much lower. If you’re in the market generally for this kind of property, there’s no point in waiting for the sake of waiting. Start looking now so you are ready to act when the right house comes up.

  • Jamie is right on. There are some terrific deals on fixer upper houses, if you are prepared to deal with some work and can find one with mainly cosmetic issues. I think there are many around…

  • Oh my goodness! That almost was my house…. I had a contract and everything for $325,000 …. than my agent went there a couple weeks before settlement (I think it was on 9/20/08) to let one of my contractors inside to look at the garage and give me an estimate on the price for fixing it. When my agent arrived he found that the upstairs toilet had exploded! That caused the kitchen ceiling to completely cave in!!! The water must have been sitting there for a couple days b/c the hardwood floors on the main level were all buckling.

    So no. That is not a good deal. That is the same “deal” I was going to get a month ago when the house appeared to be in great shape (before the toilet broke and caused the kitchen ceiling to cave in and ruined the hard wood floors)!

  • so 290 and 280 count as under 275. brilliant.

    the 280 one says special addendums required, so it may be a short sale as well, so not really a real price.

  • I wanna know who is looking into these exploding toilets?

  • Anon 315, seriously, you’re being awfully literal. And my original comment was that there were a dozen such houses in Petworth (all of it), which there definitely are. South of Alison street is just where I was looking a couple months ago.

    We can argue technicalities if you want but the bottom line is, there are awesome deals out there. If this house for $325 is not renovated, then there are probably better deals around (such as the one on NH which is on top of the metro).

    I saw a dozen houses not two months ago that were under 275K, reasonably close to the metro, all needed some degree of work, but most would be livable without extraordinary expense or effort. Only a couple were really gut jobs or needed tons of work. There are still houses like this out there, in that price range. The point is I don’t think you need to pay 325K to get a fixer upper that’s livable in Petworth.

  • I’m moving from Mt P and just started looking at Petworth houses. Got a few questions — I looked at a house north of Allison the other day and talked with one of the neighbors about crime, guns and drugs. she said it is a block by block issue. I talked w/one of my Mt P neighbors who said it is not just property crime (burglary/robbery), but that there are street shootings, too. So, how do i find out more about crime: the areas, the types of crime, who’s involved. If two people doing drugs want to pull guns on each other, that is between them. But I don’t much care to be the victim of an armed street mugging. I’ve looked at the MPDC site and did not really find it all that helpful. any tips? thanks

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