Good Deal or Not? White Picket Fence Edition


This home is located at 1417 Swann Street, NW:

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The flier says:

“Price REDUCED! Built in 1989 but looks like 1889! Vacant. Open floor plan but separate living and dining rooms. Large kitchen with french doors to deck and rear yard. Two bedrooms. Master is very large with lots of closets and whirlpool bath. Second bedroom is very nice size. Great block in the heart of Logan/Dupont/U Street!”

You can find more info and a virtual tour here.

In my humble opinion I’d say this is really one of the best blocks this close to the U Street Metro. Now it is a small house thought the photos look pretty nice (although I’m not digging the kitchen). So what do you think – does $775,500 seem reasonable to be on this sweet block?

17 Comment

  • I find it interesting that there are no photos of the bathrooms.

  • This one is a terrible deal–the house is tiny, the living room space is almost impossible to use effectively (it appears you can’t even fit a couch opposite the fireplace), and there is no way a buyer could improve on the space and expect to get their money’s worth. The kitchen fixtures are also old and cheap–vinyl cupboards and old appliances? Also, the doors to the backyard are not french doors–it’s a door and a window. Given that there are no pictures of the bathrooms, I am assuming they are both small and the lister did not want to show them.

    For this kind of money, you should get top-quality finishes in the kitchen and bathroom (the two parts of a house that add value). But, then again, I guess a house is worth what someone is willing to pay.

  • 775k for that? no thanks.

  • I don’t think anyone is likely to bite on this until it drops below $700,000. It’s just too small, and the kitchen needs between $15 and $20K in upgrades (counters, cabinets, and appliances). Nice block, though.

  • its only 20 years old? but its fifty years ugly

  • It might be a little high, but I bet it isnt too far off. It is almost 1500 sqft in a good neighborhood with a deck and a good sized backyard with private parking. The surface level of the kitchen is a little old, but looks like it is in good condition. It looks like a good kitchen for someone who actually likes to cook (compared to most places on the market with about 10 sqft of kitchen floor space and/or counterspace).

    While I personally prefer older houses, the perks of buying one that young cant be overlooked; You know that at the very least the bones will be pretty good, no rotting subfloors yet, etc.

  • Is $6K a year normal for DC property taxes?
    I qualified for the 5-year abatement when I bought my place in Mt P, so I don’t really have any idea, but $6000 seems very high.

  • Is that a kitchen or an in-home operating room?

    Thumbs down at this price.

    I too find it very telling that there are multiple pictures of the front and no pictures of the bathrooms.


  • @Jimmy D: My house was built in 1870, and I’m willing to bet its bones are a lot more solid than anything built in 1989. For example, when I took up the 2nd-floor wall-to-wall carpet, I found random-width heart pine flooring that was easily sanded down and refinished. Underneath the wall-to-wall in this place? Probably plywood subflooring – sure, it’s probably not rotting yet, but it’s just subflooring.

    That said, there were far, far worse rowhouses built in the 1980s around these parts than the one in this listing.

  • @JimmyD heh… I like older houses for exactly those perks! Newer houses, especially if they were built on the cheap, are going to use low-quality materials and have lots of cut corners. Never so with the original housing stock in this city. I’d bet that any 1910 house in DC will outlast any 1989 house in DC. There is no reason an old house should suffer from rotting subfloors or anything else like that just because they are old. In fact the old growth wood used in turn of the century construction is far more naturally resistant to rot and so on than the young wood as is available today.

  • 1. Why does the official MLS listing say it was built in 1890?

    2. I think the living room reno. job looks good.

    3. I personally love a white kitchen. With that said, the appliances are dated and the finishes are really el cheapo. Higher quality cabinets and perhaps a concrete or a stainless steel counter top and it would be a lot better.

    4. Agreed on the bathrooms issues.

    5. For those of you still obsessed with the issue, the 1400 block of Swan is one of the worst in the city for the Gingko tree problem. This past summer, the block really smelled like a vomitorium. But that is fixable if the city does its job properly.

  • I never said that the older houses weren’t sound, just that a perk with the new ones is that you wont likely have to worry about those things yet. I agree most older stock will outlast the newer stuff. It is ticky-tacky vs bricks and stone. The difference in buying an old house and a new one is that you have to look under the surface in the old ones. Sometimes you find a gem under the carpet, other times you find a lemon. Like I said, I prefer the older ones. You just have to know what you are looking at before buying one. With something like this listing, you know what you are getting: it might be plywood sub floors, but it is also new(ish) plumbing and electrical.

  • Not sure about the house/deal, but that is a beautiful little block of Swann St.

  • I wonder if they meant to have some pictures of the 2.5 bathrooms but instead they added 4 pictures of the front of the house. Also whats up with the little sunroom off the kitchen and the double doors in the master bedroom? That block of Swann is super nice, close to tons of stuff and quiet.
    I think the gingkos are a problem everywhere. Here in shaw they are still dropping their foul stank balls… can we do something about them? harvest them and sell them and use the money to plant other types of trees?

  • I don’t think it will go for 775k, but the old realtor’s cry of “location, location, location” comes to mind here. It’s a small house that will appeal primarily to some couple that doesn’t plan on having kids and wants to stay in an urban setting indefinitely. The off-street parking is huge there, I would imagine. It’s not at all a good deal at that price (the things you can get for 775k in this real estate market … a friend just bought an essentially new construction 5 bed/4.5 bath house in Ballston for less than that after a 250k+ price drop), but it’s the right place for somebody, and theren’t aren’t many places with that location that come available, so I can see it fetching close to 700k. I’ll be interested to see the follow-up post on this one.

  • I went to an open house and the master bath was not only ugly and dated with maroon tile but it was in poor shape. The tub had a bead of chalking around it that looked like it was done by a 10 year old. Not a good deal

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