Good Deal or Not? Reader Request


This home is located at 139 Varnum St, NW.

View Larger Map

The flier says:

“What a deal!! Almost everything in this fully renovated home is BRAND NEW! HUGE corner unit w/ parking in rear! Renovations include new central HVAC, 1/2 BA & hrdwd floors added to main lvl, carpet on upper lvl, ceramic in all bthrms, nw cabinets, c-tops, appliances, all nw electrical wiring, plumbing, windows, roof, int & ext paint, lights (recessed in ktchen), vanities, ext doors & more.”

More info and photos found here.

The reader writes, “I hate the fact that it looks like they may have gutted all the original features that make Petworth rowhouses so great, but $330k for a renovated end unit rowhouse within a mile of the metro has to be a good deal, right?”.

I think there are some people in the community that may have a little more insight on this house than I do. Hopefully they’ll write in. But from what we know does $329,900 seem reasonable?

22 Comment

  • I have seen this place on the market a few times over the past several years. Not sure what the story is. I drive through down that street frequently, have found it quite hazardous since the city changed it from one-way to a two-way road. I’ve also noticed quite a few people hanging out on the street there, talking with people in double-parked cars, all hours of the day and night. Drugs, cruising, or just being social? Not sure, but don’t know if I’d want to buy there.

  • An awful renovation and they ruined what I imagine was a beautiful tradition floor plan. Much of what they did will or should be taken down and there is an expense with that.

    That said, $330 is not a bad price. It’s a bit far from the metro for my liking but with $50,000 in hand, this could be a really nice property. Just a shame they had to do some of the things they did — in the end they spent money on things you will have to spend money on to remove.

  • That’s a block from the Old Soldier’s Home on a pretty corner. Varnum is a fairly busy street, but that price seems disturbingly low for those of us who have bought around there. There is a house one or two houses down from that one where people throw trash out the front door and across their “lawn”, but otherwise seems like a nice spot.

    Oh, that’s also the block that had the econoline van catch on fire (as seen in PoP!) a few months back.

  • May not be perfect, but to me this is a fine example of why it’s unwise to spend 400K+ for a 1 bedroom condo on U Street.

  • A company from Centerville (sp?) VA is selling this house. They had no idea that they priced the house too low until our realtor called and asked about the price. We live around the corner and I was not really that happy to see that asking price on a renovated house. They based the price on other houses for sale nearby and didn’t even bother to see if those were renovated houses (they were not). The company just wants a quick sale….If you are interested, I would definitely get a thorough house inspection done, b/c the police were at that house ALL the time. They had a lot of stop work orders.

    For what it’s worth – 2nd/Varnum has been pretty quiet lately. There are not a lot of guys hanging out during the day and night. It used to be much, much worse.

  • First of all, Live on this block and it is very quite. I was the one who took the pic of the Van on fire (that was an accident)

    No this is not a good deal, In fact it is a horrible deal. Let me tell my story…

    Lets say I that I live very close to this house (not right next to it, but very close)

    Before this house was “renovated” it was owned by a group of 5 siblings (I think 5 is right). No one was living in it for years and it was grossly neglected. For years they would not sell it so my neighbors and I contacted DCRA to have it condemned, which ended up raising their taxes forcing them to sell.

    During this neglect period, the roof leaked, a basement pipe burst and roof beams continued to rot.

    In addition the rot, there is a severe amount of settling in the front corner that you see on the left. I have attached pictures of the brick separating. I REPEAT! THE HOUSE IS SEVERLY SETTLING! The Developer did not fix this issue, they just filled in the cracks with mortar. My pictures show a guy filling it in.

    The house was then bought by a developer for $146,000. When they bought it, I was excited. I thought, this is will be great! The house will finally get fixed up. Well they just slopped this renovation together and did not take care of the structure issues. The back sun room was filled with old rotten wood that they installed the windows in.

    We called DCRA on numerous occasions and even managed to get them to issue a stop work order until a building inspector looked at the house. Then all of a sudden the stop work order was lifted. I wrote lots of emails to DCRA to see if they ever had a building inspector look at the house and I never got a reply.

    http:[email protected]/sets/72157609931463269/

  • HAHA!

    You do not even have to take my word for it. Google Maps Street view shows the house before the front steps where fixed.

    I did not even mention the steps, but as you can see they where sinking with the rest of the house.

    Oh, I just remembered, this is not funny at all because eventually this is going to be my neighbor, and I hate to see my neighbors have to deal with crap like this “renovation”

  • Hrm, before I read about the foundation problems I was about to say this didn’t look like a bad deal.

    A couple of things:

    The home is quite a long walk from the Petworth metro, but if you take a look at a crime map you’ll see that it is actually in one of the safer parts of Petworth.

    To me the floorplan doesn’t look too bad, but if they got rid of original transom windows, it’s a shame.

  • I’d like to make just few observations.

    1. If the current owner/builder did not fix the structural damage (which I can tell you he didn’t as I live on the 100 block of Varnum) then when whomever buys the house does fix the structure it will create a snowball effect of damage to work to be done on the inside. The walls and floors will crack and the roof will shift as well.
    2. Cutting corners on fixing the foundation is not the only place they cut corners. One board was replaced on the porch the others were simply sanded and painted over. Dispite the rotting of wood and termite damage. The windows were replaced but not the inside rotten framing.
    3. The “lovely” pine trees up close to the house and porch is a horrible idea. If you own a home you understand large trees have no business being so close to your house and will be an issue in the future.

    This house will hold for a while but for how long before this house of cards starts to fall one beam/wall/porch at a time. By then the builder will be gone and some innocent person will be stuck holding the bag. I hope anyone considering buying this has a great inspector.

  • Anon5: You are literally a block away from three bus stops for the 60 (and the H8) if you wanna go to Georgia Ave. or Ft. Totten. You can walk to the Petworth Metro if you want, but I’ll be passing you on a warm bus.

  • I live two blocks from there (two blocks closer to the metro, I might add) in a very similar house. This price seems excessive to me in the current market. I would be happy to get $330K right now, if we were selling.

  • mjbrox – that is why it is called “Anonymous”

  • Hideous on the outside….hideous on the inside.
    no thanks.

  • When I clicked PoP’s link it says the house is now off the market (??)

  • Christina,

    I guess it sold?

  • mjbrox: do you have a fireplace in your house?

    that’s not normal on my street. i think we got gyped.

  • Yeesh, mjbrox, I hope not. Not after what you were saying about it. It sounds like a nightmare.

  • Odentex, i do but it is fake.

    My house was gutted from brick wall to brick wall.

  • The house is under contract…closing date is 12/5.

  • wow, well I hope the buyer has an inspection clause in the contract, or they’re gonna be pissed when they see this blog!

  • Wow! It looks like there are a lot of you out there that don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground so let me take a minute to clear up a few misconceptions about this house.
    1- The house started out as a condemned rat hole that needed a ton of work – Translation – It wasn’t helping your property values out much before it was fixed up so how can you complain about someone coming in making the renovations that was needed?
    2 – You can’t drive by a home and get any idea what kind of work is being done on the inside so don’t act like you know what you are talking about, because you obviously don’t have a clue.
    3 – Two structural engineers and a home inspector cleared this house after the work was done (BTW – The SE’s saw the house before the work was started and there repair recommendation were followed which is why it passed their final inspection), which should tell you all that the home is perfectly safe just in case any of you were losing sleep over it!
    4 – The reason the bricks were pointed up was because the inside structural work was already completed and you don’t remove all the bricks off of a house and replace them. No, for you junior PM’s out there, you point them up! As far as keeping some of the original features that make Petworth unique, those features were to far gone due to the water leaks and previous changes made to the house so none of that was able to be saved.
    5 – Do you obviously think an investment company wouldn’t do there research on the market before determining what to list the property for? You say “they didn’t even look to see that the other properties were not renovated”, well boy genius, if it were such a great deal at that price, then why did it take almost a month to sell? Curious! Maybe it was because the market was saying it wasn’t worth more than that. Not because of the renovations, but because the market has deteriorated so badly.
    6 – In the end this house only helped the neighborhood because it is no longer the biggest eyesore on the block, as far as the sales price bringing down the value of the neighbors, welcome to reality, the market sucks and you should have sold 3 years ago.
    7 – For the jack leg that felt it necessary to call the building code office 3 times a day to complain, the reason that they didn’t call you back is because they did come out to the house several times and they realized that work was being done to code. The other reason they didn’t call you back is because they are just as sick of hearing from you as everyone else is so why don’t you just pipe down a little bit, take a walk, smell some flowers and try to enjoy life a little bit before your constant worrying causes you to have a heart attack.

Comments are closed.