Good Deal or Not? Reader Request – Why Has It Been on the Market So Long?


This home is located at 4847 Illinois Ave, NW:

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The flier says:

“large home five brs 3 full baths basement side porch off street park”

More info but sadly no photos found here.

The reader aks:

“The house at 4847 Illinois Ave., at corner with Emerson, that has been on the market for a long time (listed in August 2007 – pre-downturn!). Corner house, nice lot, appears to have basement apartment (which may have been one of those former house-dentistry offices). 5 bed/3 bath. A couple of very nice dogwoods blooming come spring time. No major crime issues in immediate area. What gives? Listed to high? Too big for most? And by the way, what are the “Property is on Farm” and “Soil Study Available” references on Redfin all about?”

The asking price for this home is $660,000. To answer the reader’s question I’d have to say the asking price is way too high. This location is a bit too far from the Petworth metro (in my opinion) to justify that price. Maybe if it was completely renovated (with historical touches intact) but the fact that there are no photos leads me to believe the home probably needs some updating. It’s also curious that the description is so brief. I think it’s a nice home with lots of potential but it is probably $150 – 200k overpriced. This price seems like serious bubble price. I think it’s no accident it has been on the market for 582 days. What do you guys think is a more realistic price?

I have no idea what the farm reference is about. Maybe they have an ant farm…

21 Comment

  • Thats an easy one, no one is lookin for a $600K+ house in Petworth. Also, I have noticed that when agents know their listing is too high they leave really vague descriptions with one (or no) pictures as if to tell other agents: Im waiting for my client to come back down to earth.

  • Look at the listing history … it was actually listed for $625 in Feb 08 and then in Dec 08 they *raised* the price to $660. I guess they figured no one was looking at it because the price was too low. Genius.

    The sad/funny part is that, while I don’t think it could have ever sold for over $600, if they had started with a realistic price in Aug 07 they could have sold it for much more than they’ll be able to get now.

  • Hard to say what a fair price is without pictures. But it doesn’t look huge so I’m guessing the 5 bedrooms is made up with at least one in the basement. Also, it’s pretty deep Petworth up there, you’re not really walking distance to the Metro. Unless you consider half an hour walking distance. Finally, does it have a backyard? Co

    Considering that there are 3BR houses in the 200’s much closer to the metro (which need work, sure, but that’s a pretty huge difference) this is kind of a pipe dream…

  • It seems a lot of people, especially during the bubble, put their houses out there for the “sucker born every minute” thing. Ie, they’re generally happy in DC, but if someone comes along and offers them $660K for their house, they’re happy to move! Aka “fishing”.

  • Is it possible that it is priced purposefully not to sell. Perhaps to avoid vacant property taxes or something

  • Considering others recently sold in the area, if they were serious, perhaps around $400K, or even less given the hard times.

  • It’s not selling because it’s priced at least $150k too high, and/or it’s haunted.

  • It’s still on the market because for $649,000, you could get this place:

  • the listing says it was originally listed at…$750,000?????? if the Basilica was plopped down in Petworth, it wouldn’t bring $750,000. frankly, if a real estate agent agreed to list that house for $750,000 in Aug 2007, they are as crazy as the owner; i’d have told them “if you want to ask that for your house, you need to find another agent. that’s crazy.”

  • wait till you all see what my house sold for

  • Maybe the seller isn’t in a rush? I respect people who have a price in mind and feel further that they have the right and luxury to wait. If they think the house is worth that amount, someone else may feel the same way. Or maybe they just want the right person to come along – someone they like – and they will lower the price for that person. A lot of sentiment can be invested in a family home. All I get from the comments on this posting is that there are a lot of half-assed realtors and pathetic realtor wannabes who like to play expert on what things are worth and completely miss the point. And Jim, if the basilica was plopped down in Petworth, it would most certainly bring $750,000. What’s crazy is your excessive use of question marks and the fact that you put quotes around what you would say as if someone else is saying it, yet you don’t capitalize the first words in your sentences or in other places where it is required. Do you have something against both the shift button AND people who love their homes and aren’t desperate for money when they sell them????????????????????

  • A house I tried to buy in another neighborhood is coming up on two years’ listing. It’s a guy living in his deceased mom’s house, and I’ve never seen a person less motivated to sell. I finally settled on the theory that he’s the executor of her will.

  • Pictures are really needed

  • mjbrox — you had that beautiful home on Rock Creek right? Did you sell it? How much did it go for?

  • @anon 1:30pm – I think you are exactly right, the owner has no intention to sell and is trying to avoid having to pay vacant property taxes. Here are the exemptions – and you get a one year exemption if your home is listed for sale with an agent,A,1342,Q,640818.asp

    @You all miss the point – I don’t buy this. If you overprice your home you are actually less likely to sell your home, and will likely have to accept a lower price for it in the long run. People will think you are greedy or unreasonable – and once your home has been on the market for a long time people will think there’s something wrong with it and wont’ even come to look at it. A much more savvy strategy would be to price your home below market value and get multiple offers. Of course this really only works if your home is renovated, shows well, priced right, and is in a good location. And yes, people are still getting multiple offers on houses that meet those criteria.

  • @You all miss the point:
    Actually, pricing a home that far above market makes it a waste of a realtor’s time and effort, and can ultimately hurt their reputation (“Well, I was going to hire you, but then I saw that you’ve got a listing that’s been active for 582 days…what’s up with that?”).

    If you’re not motivated to sell, and want to wait, then take the house off the market and wait for the market to go up. Or put it up as for sale by owner; just don’t waste your realtor’s time and professional good will.

    And for the record, I believe that Jim was using hyperbole to make a point, which is that this particular listing is priced well above the market…hence, the 582 days listed without a sale. Also, this being the internet, it is rather naive to expect people to stick to traditional rules of grammar and usage.

  • mjbrox, do tell! Or at least once it closes, have hipchickindc write it up – we are all curious. Congrats!!

  • You all miss the point– please get back on your lithium before you hurt yourself.

    i actually do have something against the shift key (and it’s a key, not a button…as a grammarian extraordinaire, you should know that using the proper terminology is essential in expressing oneself). it’s personal, and i’d rather not discuss it, but it goes back to the war….

    but i have nothing “against someone who loves their home.” if they loved their home so much, they wouldn’t have it for sale. if they loved it but were in a financial bind where they were forced to sell it, they’d price it somewhere within the realm of reality– something they haven’t done since it was listed in 2007.

  • to clarify: I’m not laughing at you, I’m laughing with you. “if they loved their home so much, they wouldn’t have it for sale.” exactly.

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