Good Deal or Not? Reader Request


This awesome house is located at 1016 T Street, NW.

View Larger Map

The flier says:

“MAJESTIC OPPORTUNITY! One of the few corner wonders left in U Street neighborhood. Fantastic Lot w fully detached architectural gem with very unique feat. incl spacious front. driveway/garage, cornice/tin, custom wood/strcase, plaster detail, soaring ceilings and much more! Need the right party to make this a showcase home. Estate Sale AS IS. Available for easy acquire/build financing. SPECIAL!”

More details and photos found here.

Looks like it might need a little work done but it is nice that it has a lot of the original details. So do you think $720,000 sounds reasonable?

17 Comment

  • definitely needs an update, but looks like a great house!

  • Tucked in the amenities list, “has pool” That’s the picture I’d like included in tour.

  • It doesn’t look trashed, but they conveniently avoided taking any pictures of anything that might really look bad… like a kitchen or a bathroom… or anything at all upstairs for that matter.

    The lot is pretty small (0.02 acres) meaning probably not much of a back yard. And it’s a corner lot.

    I bet it doesn’t need gutting but still needs a bunch of work. 720K at 10th and T AS IS might be a little optimistic in today’s market.

  • I don’t claim to know what anything is worth, but that is an amazing house, and a curb cut and garage is a huge asset in that neighborhood.

  • Estate sale properties are always a mixed bag, because almost by definition, nothing has been done to the house in many many years. Great if you have the time, inclination, and money to do a renovation Not so great if you are cautious about your finances, don’t like the idea of living through an in-depth renovation, or get depressed when you realize you’ve spent $$$ on what is essentially work. Otherwise, I’d say its reasonable. There is a similiar house (needs renovation, not a corner) on Westminster for sale for $720k less than a block away, a very nicely kept corner house went for $799k less than a block away, and I could see the winds of gentrification bringing nicely renovated houses in this location to over $1m in a few years (I’m fully aware that a few blocks to the west that has already happened, but a few blocks really does make a difference). Downside is that this is close to Garnet-Patterson middle school which is largely believed to school the bands of middle school thugs that roam around and rough residents up after school gets out (I’m just glad they are out of their brick throwing phase).

  • It’s a steal. Some people on here will never think that a house is a good deal. Blocks from U Street metro and Logan Circle, walkable to dowtown. In 5 years, this house will be worth over a million.

  • @SG – I agree it will probably be worth that in 5 years, but does that make it a good deal? If you put 5% down, you’re looking at $650K in mortage- that’s $3900 a month plus taxes and insurance and PMI – easily $4500 a month to own that thing.

    Over the next 5 years, you will have paid $270,000 to own that house, with very little of that going towards principal.

    The question isn’t only what it will be worth in 5 years. It’s what does it cost TODAY versus other similar properties. I would be very surprised if you can’t find a fixer-upper in the neighborhood of 10th and T (which is still borderline) for less than $720,000. This does look like a very cool property, sure, but it’s not exactly a runaway bargain, IMHO. A bargain is something that you can put $50K into and have be worth 30% more in ONE year.

    I think that 10th and T just isn’t a million-dollar neighborhood. It doesn’t matter that it will be one day, if it isn’t now, then $720K for a house that needs $200K+ in work is not a good deal.

  • Convenient location, nice architecture and a garage and driveway! What’s not to like. I’ve walked past this house several times and the exterior appears to be in decent condition. I too am a bit wary of the fact that they don’t have more detailed pictures of the interior. Definitely a project but I think $720K is a good starting point for negotiations. walk through it, have an inspector and engineer go through this house with a fine tooth comb and then try to negotiate down.

  • Actually I kinda take that back – there are houses on 10th around there listed for a mil. I didn’t realize people were still asking that much even near U street. But are they selling…

    On the other hand there are recent sales even lower:

    2108 10TH ST NW 7/2/08 $600K
    2128 10TH ST NW 3/7/07 $500K
    1806 10TH ST NW 8/2/07 $389K

    In fact there is only one house on 10th in the U street area thas sold for over a mil, #2114. 720K is at the high-end of sales around there in the last few years.

  • I also disagree with the premise that every house needs to be completely gutted. Many many people live happily in houses (even in Gtown) that are old as hell and don’t have the yuppy bells and whistles that many think should come standard… This house is likely liveable as is, and many people buy a house to live in it, not to flip it. Thus, if you’re return is 300k in 5 years and you’re living in a house you like, then yes, it is a bargain. Not a bargain for the flipper, in this case, but a bargain for the person who wants to grow with the house… yes.

    Also, with that many bedrooms, you could rent it as a group house (@ 650 per person) and recoup your mortgage.

  • @SG, Your model is a great one for owning property that’s worth a lot more than you can afford (and I do it myself 🙂 but it’s not for everyone. But it is still not really relevant to the question of whether the property is a bargain. Is it priced less than other, similar properties in that area? That’s the question.

    Personally – I would never gut a house. I wouldn’t buy one that was in such bad shape I thought that the floors and walls couldn’t be saved. I love the original woodwork and craftsmanship.

    But the reality is, if you aren’t going to live there while work is being done, gutting it is WAY cheaper than restoring, running new wires and pipes through existing walls, etc… That’s why most flippers do that even if it didn’t need to be gutted.

  • The place doesn’t even have central air, and who knows how the kitchen and bathrooms look. Chances are that they look antique, and I mean that in a negative way. Those are the most expensive parts of a renovation. Add 20K for a kitchen, 10K for every bathroom, 20K for central air, and things start to get expensive.

    But my biggest concern with this house is that the lot (Land = Value) is tiny and it has NO back yard. Sure, the front yard is big, but BBQing in the front yard is just not the same.

  • what is this comment, the house “doesn’t even have central air?” None of my friends have central air. It’s a DC townhouse, central air for DC houses only became common after the bubble burst around 2004 and sellers needed an extra hook. I have a neighbor who’s definitely making deep into 6 figures based on her vacation choices and Lexus and she doesn’t have central air.

    My house has 5 air conditioners at $100-250 each and that cools the entire house all summer. When I looked at central air the installation cost was going to be about $15,000. OR I could update one of my air conditioners with a newer, more efficient model for $250. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to do central air, but at $15k it’s not cost effective.

  • Yeah, but for $700,000+ in a transitional hood, people expect something. Air conditioners are nice, but they are ghetto. They block the windows, tend to be loud, and the house ends up with hot spots unless you really crank them. (in which case you end up with huge energy bills)

  • I live on this small triangular block. The house is one of three beautiful corner row houses. The largest of the three has been fully renovated and was listed for a million (don’t know what it sold for). The other sold a year ago for $570K ish and has been under renovation for a year – they are completely restoring it beautifully. This price is a little high in my opinion due to the work that needs to be done. My neighbor who lived in the area for 20 years knew the lady who used to live there. As I understand it (and have noticed for the last five years), the house has not had a lick of work done to it for a very very long time.

  • We went into the property and it looks worse than expected. The floors are all uneven (radiator is sinking into the floor), there are holes in the ceilings and walls, and there is evidence of water damage. There is no shower in the property, only tubs. The half bath was an addition to the property and really closes off the first floor. I am no contractor but from the look of the place substantial work is required to get the house up to modern day standards of living.

  • Whenever I hear, ‘It can’t be done,’ I know I’m close to success.

Comments are closed.