Reader Requested – Good Deal or Not?


A reader writes the following about the house for sale at 1208 Fairmont Street, NW:

“It’s at a great location and I think a good price, but it’s been on the market for so long there must be something wrong. It looks like a deal fell through and I’m wondering if that happened after the potential buyer had it inspected. The lack of photos also bothers me.”

The flier says:


You can find more info and some photos here.

The asking price is $550,000. Seems like a great deal for a 4 level rowhome in Columbia Heights. Any ideas why it hasn’t been snatched up yet? My guess is that it probably has something to do with “Third party approval”. Do you think $550,000 is a reasonable price?

13 Comment

  • “Subject to 3rd Party Approval” means it’s a short sale and the bank must approve the offer. These are complicated and can take a long time, often with little information about status (including whether there are other offers being considered). This won’t work for most people unless you really don’t care how long it takes or even if you get it.

    “Great Investment Opportunity” means it needs work. There is very little information in the listing about condition, etc… has anyone seen it?

    12th and Fairmont is better than it was, but it’s still a fairly troubled area with lots of drug and gang activity. “QUIET NEIGHBORHOOD” … LOL!! Excepting the gunfire, I suppose so..

  • On the topic of complications:

    We recently purchased a Short Sale in Brightwood. We love the house and I think we got a great deal.. financially. However, emotionally, it was a long, drawn out, roller coaster of doom. It took 3 weeks to just get a “yes we’ll enter into a contract with you” back from the bank (which is SHORT, another one we had an offer in on got back to us after 2 months). Then, the day of closing kept getting pushed back 1 day every day for over a week due to complications on one end or another.

    They almost didn’t sell us the house just because it went past some arbitrary deadline that one of the bank’s departments had set up –when another one of the bank’s departments was holding up the transaction!!

    Needless to say, it was very frustrating and stressful, although ultimately worth it. That being said, I would intentionally enter into a contract for a short sale EVER again.

  • Might it not also mean that the place has current renters? DC rental laws allow renters the right of first refusal, I think with 6 months to decide whether to match an offer. Can you imagine trying to sell your place with that hanging over your head? Landlords, be kind to your renters! A little goodwill might go a long way later. (BTW I’m not a real estate lawyer nor do I have renters, so if you are a renter or a landlord involved in a home sale go get some actual information and don’t rely on ignorant comments you read once on the interweb.)

  • I’m still stuck on the original asking price of $825k!!

  • Given the address, the renters may not also all together savory.. if there are troublesome tenants in it – that could indeed also be your explanation on why its not selling.

  • agreed on the short sale hell. No way. I entered into a short sale contract, and the bank said it would have an answer within 60 days. My ass. The thing went on for 4 months. Eventually the deal fell through. The house was vacated due to the pending sale and while I was waiting for the bank, people broke into the garage and started sleeping (and by the smell) using it as a toilet. I hate short sales and thats reason enough to walk away from this house.

  • no tenants. house is vacant. we looked at it back in April. I took plenty of pictures: it was a short sale. we were told the seller would take pretty much anything but the bank wouldn’t accept an offer below 420K… if my memory serves me correctly. needs an assload of work. if anyone goes to see it… please let me know if the dead cardinal is still around.

  • Great pics. Looks like the house has awesome bones but needs a LOT of work. Do you remember what the deal with the kitchens is? Is there no kitchen on the first floor -e.g. it was set up as 2 units, kitchens basement and 2nd floor?

    It will be hard to get a conventional loan in that sort of condition, it’s probably not considered habitable. But if you got it for 420 (or even 500) no question it would pay off in spades a few years down the road, especially if you did some of the work yourself.

  • The kitchens WERE in the back room on the 1st and 2nd floor. and were completely removed. The third (top) floor is a half floor that looks like it would have been a 3rd bedroom for the 2nd floor unit. The basement is a completely separate unit that should be a 1br, but it looks like they were in the process of adding a 2nd.

  • Looks like a amateur flipper got in over their head and couldn’t produce. They gutted the kitchen then just stopped.

    There was house on my block like this and no one wanted it because there was no working kitchen or bath – generally was a huge mess. That limits the buyer pool to those with a huge wad of cash and no need to actually live in the place. Pretty much the market for this.

    My guess is that a likely buyer will be one who turns it into a multi-unit condo and sells the units for $420,000 a piece.

  • The buyer pool is limited to investors and people who are willing to go through the rehab loan process. Getting a rehab loan isn’t easy, and it will be even more complicated with a short sale.

  • It’s an unequivocably good deal. I am sure you could put a kitchen and bathroom in for $150k. The question is, can you finance it? The price is good though.

  • Hahahaha ‘Prestigious Columbia Heights.’

    The only way CH is prestigious is in comparison to Trinidad or Anacostia.

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