Good Deal or Not? Reader Request – Twin House and Another Crazy Price Reduction Edition


This home is located at 753 Gresham Place, NW:

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The flier says:

“RENOVATED home in the heart of Columbia Heights. 3-levels (nearly 2,500) of finished living space. Features include wrap around porch, high ceilings, BEAUTIFUL HW floors, (newer) windows, large living room, dining area, upgraded eat-in kitchen, Jacuzzi bath tub, bathroom on every level, fully-finished basement with 1BR, 1BA, recreation area, washer/dryer, walk-out to back yard. Hurry, won’t last!!”

More info and a virtual tour found here.

The reader writes:

Interested in your and your readers’ thoughts on the area between Columbia Heights & Park View, south of Petworth–and I’m not sure what the hard boundaries of either neighborhood are considered. If I had to draw a rough outline, I’d say Sherman as the western border, Park Pl. as the eastern, Newton Place northern border, Euclid as its southern.

I guess that’s Park View and its southern end–I just don’t really know much about what the neighborhood is like. I saw a listing for a renovated 3 BR with finished basement on the 700 block of Gresham Place for $249k:

Which (unless it’s a terrible renovation that’ll end up costing $$$ in fixes down the road), seems like a pretty good deal. But to be honest, that area has always seemed like a bit of a wasteland. Is there anything going on on Sherman? Any development plans? Safety issues? I don’t expect any area in a big city to be 100% safe, of course, just more concerned with outright gang activity the way there is around Girard/Fairmont closer to Columbia Heights.

I guess this is a twofer–GDON and any info you or readers have on Park View/Eastern Columbia Heights.

Well, for $249,900 this seems like a great deal. It was originally asking $499,900. I happen to think this is a pretty good location not because of development on Sherman Avenue but because of it’s vicinity to 11th Street. On Sherman you have a nice coffee shop called Coco Libre but I’m not sure of any other projects coming up. However on 11th Street you of course have Wonderland, Red Rocks, Columbia Heights Coffee, and the upcoming Meridian Pint (bar/restaurant) and Room 11 (wine bar). So I’m going to go with good deal. What do you guys think?

40 Comment

  • I think the area is called Pleasant Plains.

  • If this place is still on the market in a month, I may go look at it as a serious buyer. I like it allot.

  • I’ve got to say that I used to live on this street and it is certainly not “in the heart of Columbia Heights.” While I never had an issue and liked living on that street the surrounding area was a bit sketchy. One of my roomates, a big, bearded guy was robbed at knifepoint just after I moved out in 2006.

    I shopped for a house in the district last year and didn’t even bother to look in this area. I don’t know, it’s not the worst neighborhood, to be sure, and the houses are adorable, but I don’t think I’d buy this one.

  • Here’s what I find encouraging. The neighborhood or the house can be quibbled with, but for a couple or a family, this is absolutely within the range of affordable and I think it’s great that younhger people and families can now think about DC as an option (granted schools and crime are still big issues, but the price is right).

  • I think it’s still kind of a tough area over there. Gresham Place also is not heavily traveled because it’s not a through street. Which is good for noise, but probably bad for safety. But even so, and even though it does look like a cheap renovation, it’s easily worth $249.

    It’s only been on the market for two months. The seller must be really desperate to have dropped the price so much in such a short period of time.

    On the other hand, it is a short sale. So again, this could be more of a ploy to generate traffic.

  • So I went to visit this property with a friend about 3 weeks ago, we thought that the price seemed a bit too good to be true. The biggest issue I had was that the owner rented it out to a sort of group home run by a non-profit, and they have a lease until 2011, the realtor said that she had a verbal agreement with the nonprofit that if she found them another place that was comparable they would move, but I found that all to be a bit complicated and messy. Also, there’a mold problem in the laundry room that could be an issue too. The realtor also said that it was a short sale and she needed an offer by that Saturday b/c the bank was foreclosing at the end of January….so I’m not really sure what the deal is.

  • Like others have pointed out, this is a short sale so the listing price has little to do with reality.

  • This price is in line with the recent comps in that area. I’d worry about the mold, though — would want to get inspected by a toxicologist first.

  • Its gotta be a trap, an ambush of some sort…

  • This is about right. It’s not a bad deal, but I for one would not live there. First, its deceptively far from the metro and that walk to Columbia Heights is sketchy/dangerous (if you have a car, this is easily avoided.)

    I recommend checking out — always a helpful resource.

  • I am curious, if the bank forecloses on the house, and the nonprofit has a lease until 2011 can the bank kick out the non-profit? Basically, does the bank have more leeway to do this than a potential buyer?

  • the “heart of columbia heights”? seriously? i mean, i know real estate agents take liberties but you’ve got to be kidding me. that’s not even NEAR columbia heights. This is like calling my house at 2nd and U NW “directly on Logan Circle”

  • I live in the same 700 block, but about 3-4 blocks north of Gresham.

    We consider the area Columbia Heights, although on the eastern border of it, using Georgia Avenue as the dividing street.

    Gresham is a tough street, not very pretty as it is lacking in trees, and a risk to by living by some gang member teens.

    However, the area itself is very block by block. Our block is pretty, quiet and safe, while one block south has gang problems.

    I walk the 8 minute, four block walk to the Metro every day/night and have never felt unsafe. Our neighbors are nice and responsible and law abiding. We’re close to 11th Street and walk to Red Rock for pizza quite often. We also walk to the Giant all the time.

    I like the area because it’s close enough to the heart of Columbia Heights but much more affordable. If and when Georgia Avenue develops, the neighborhood will continue to change.

  • This area is indeed Pleasant Plains! Cute house, but in a sketchy area. The kitchen is not very attractive, but clean and functional.

  • Pleasant Plains, indeed!

  • Tivoli South?


  • Would anyone who doesn’t live in a sketchy area please shout out? And name your neighborhood so others can point out its sketchiness?

  • totally agree. SKETCHY!

  • the HEART of sketchy

  • The blocks b/w GA and Sherman used to be big weed spots. I used to buy weed on Harvard a while back. GOOD WEED I TELL YOU. Anyway, the guys got busted one morning (there was actually a shootout with the police). Afterwards, young boys posted up acting like dealers and would rob people as they approached the basement door of the house. A friend of a friend was robbed that way.

  • “I am curious, if the bank forecloses on the house, and the nonprofit has a lease until 2011 can the bank kick out the non-profit? Basically, does the bank have more leeway to do this than a potential buyer?”

    I looked this up awhile back. D.C. tenant laws are actually some of the best in the country. If a house goes into foreclosure and the bank takes over, you actually have the right to continue paying rent to the bank until your lease is up. The Post did a story about this awhile back:

  • Again, as someone who has called many neighborhoods sketchy, I have realized that most of DC neighborhoods are sketchy. Its funny to see the name “eric in ledriot” call another area sketchy. LEDROIT PARK CALLING OTHERS SKETCHY? You best check yo’self fo’ you wreck yo’self, in the sage words of the Cube.

    Lets face it, most of neighborhoods would never make House and Garden. Ledroit calling this place sketchy, nor anyone calling other areas sketchy, seems neither helpful or accurate…

  • Yes Pennywise it is funny. I also noticed from the same poster “that’s not even NEAR columbia heights”.

    By even the most conservative definition of Columbia Heights this house is 1/2 block from the border.

  • hee hee, i was joking, sorry that didn’t translate. although i do think that area is a bit sketchier than the LDP.

  • the “heart” of columbia heights? come on guys.

  • Def. not the heart, but I had a friend who lived over there and it is a surprisingly short walk. I once called this part of Sherman sketchy on here and got lambasted, but apparently around the corner is ok to call sketchy? Def. still sketchy, but over the years I saw yuppies moving in around my friend (who is a blue collar ethiopian guy), so take that as you will.

    I think it’s a good price if the hood is the only thing wrong with it. There are bad blocks in DuPont.

  • Sketchy is all relative. Sorry but LeDroit Park is way less sketchy than Gresham Street. On the other hand, it’s way more sketchy than Chevy Chase.

  • well said Jamie! the Gresham st. area is waaayyy sketchier than several parts of Petworth, if not most, as well.

  • The heart of Columbia Heights is located at Harriet Tubman. Sherman & Gresham is the spleen.

  • So, what is the deal with short sales? I don’t really know what they are – why is the list price inaccurate for that type of sale?

  • more like the appendix of Columbia Heights…far from the heart, and not really necessary.

  • The heart of Columbia Heights is located at Harriet Tubman. Sherman & Gresham is the spleen.

    Where’s the ass?

  • Sherman will get trees and a flowerful median strip through DC’s Streetscape Project. Gresham will be in the middle of Howard Town Center to the south and the Petworth metro developments. It’s in Pleasant Plains, or as I like to call it PleaPla. But it’s also within Columbia Heights. I think the house is pretty good (but must see it in person). A see a kitchen remodel of $5k (new cabinets and lighting) and if all is well with its bones, a move-in ready house. I hope its price isn’t a heartbreaking tease!

  • As I understand it, a “short sale” is when the owner tries to hold off foreclosure by selling the house himself, for a price that is less than (“short”) the amount he actually owes the bank or mortgage company.

    The owner’s mortgage co. has to approve short sales, because it is the one who will be getting less than what it is owed. It adds a level of complexity to the transaction.

  • Folks, I live on the 700 block of Gresham. I’ve never felt unsafe in the two years that we’ve been there. I have some minor complaints, but I like it there.
    My biggest complaint is, no matter how many times I sweep the sidewalk, it’s covered in trash again before I can put the broom away. Also, all over the street are those tiny little zip-loc bags that I’m guessing weren’t used to transport geranium seeds.
    Having said that, the only time I’ve been concerned about my personal safety was on the 4th of July, when the thing to worry about is getting (accidentally) sprayed with sparks.

  • more like Tivoli East

  • I’ve lived in the 700 block of Girard St for 6 years and this part of the neighborhood has improved a lot. We have not seen the violence in the 1400 block that has given Girard St a bad name. I also agree that we are not the heart of Columbia Heights. The big plus is that it is a 5 minute walk to 930 club, Town and Nellies and about a 12 minute walk to the CH Metro. I do it all the time and never have had a problem, knock on wood. >

    The down side to these houses are that they are only publicly accessible from the front. They have no alley nor off street parking, thus their “affordable” price. If the Sherman and Georgia Ave street projects ever come to fruition, along with the nearly mythological Howard Town, this area will be very popular. Unfortunately that is rather unlikely in the current economic downturn.

  • I lived in this house for 2 years, so I know the house and the neighborhood well. I never felt unsafe there and the only crime incident I can recall was when a bike that wasn’t locked up was taken off of the front porch. While not in the heart of Columbia Heights it is a 9 min walk to the metro (one roommate timed it rather exactly) and other than avoiding Harvard St at night I never was bothered by the walk. I totally agree about the trash thing, chicken bones seem to be the litter of choice on Gresham, so at least it’s biodegradable.

  • I own this block. Stamped.

    White folks stop trying to take over my block.

    You’ve officially been BLACK listed.


  • AND LMAO!!!!!!!!!! to whomever wrote uptop of me. Chicken bones are the trash of choice though. lmao lmao.

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