GDoN Revisited – Half of a Dueling Edition by Hipchickindc

DSCN6768, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

In real life, hipchickindc is licensed as a real estate broker in the District of Columbia and Virginia, and as a real estate salesperson in Maryland.  Unless specifically noted, neither she nor the company that she is affiliated with represented any of the parties or were directly involved in the transaction reported below.  Unless otherwise noted, the source of information is Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS), which is the local multiple listing system.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Featured Property: 1421 Varnum St NW

Original List Price: $485,000.

List Price at Contract: $465,000.

List Date: 02/06/2009

Days on Market: 42

Settled Sales Price: $455,000.

Settlement Date:  04/27/2009

Seller Subsidy:  $9,930.

Bank Owned?: No.  This was a family estate.

Type Of Financing: Conventional

Listing History: This property had been owned by the same family for many years.

Original GDoN Post is:  <a href=>Here</a>.

Recent Listing is: <a href=>Here</a>.

The last time I sold a house on this block, it was to an architect, a few years ago.  Shortly after this home came on the market, I had clients, a couple who were both architects, make an offer.  The house was listed with one of my very favorite listing agents, real estate veteran and 16th Street Heights Maven, Denise Champion-Jones with Long and Foster.  (If you see any house with a sign that says, “Champion Collection”, it’s one of Denise’s listings).  We went back and forth for a while, but ultimately, based on what they figured they would have wanted to invest in renovations, we never came to an agreement.  The Sellers held out and, according to Denise, ended up selling to someone who had previously been looking at condos and thus saw the value of all that space and yard.  (My clients ended up getting a really cool and even bigger house off of 16th Street NW).

The general consensus of the “Good Deal or Not” (GDoN) commenters was that this unrenovated home would sell around $400,000.  Less the closing cost subsidy, it sold for $445,070 and was on the market for less than two months.

The other house from the GDoN post, that is on the same block, with some updates and priced much higher, is still on the market.


11 Comment

  • I just noticed that the house in the pic is the still-on-the-market dueling house on the same block. 1421 is very similar, however.

  • We just bought around the corner on 15th for similar price, but for a house that was much more ready to be lived in. We’re actually moving in this weekend.

    This house at 1421 NEEDS the renovations that someone would have to put in. The basement is some kind of blast from the past and the kitchen would make anyone insane, and you’d need to renovate major living areas of your house up front just to want to live in it.

    The dude selling down the block on Varnum must be some kind of crazy though. It’s nicely fixed up, as far as I can tell, though there is a serious argument that all the renovations done there have taken away some of the original charm of the house. But it looks like no one is living there and that the place is just staged for sale day-in, day-out. So he’s clearly got it on the market, getting no value out of it, and isn’t backing down on price – probably despite some offers. I don’t get it.

  • So in looking at places that stay on the market a while, is there a rule of thumb number of days before it’s OK to offer significantly less than the asking price?

    I’m looking at a place in Petworth, the list price is loony. Bought at the height of the market and had it listed for $115 more. Reduced some, but it’s still outta line. Been on the market five months now. Go in and offer what I think it’s worth? Wait some more and hope they reduce it again?

  • Ugly-ass basement circa 1965, ditto for the kitchen and no central a/c? Overpriced, greedy seller who wants to get paid and is waiting.

  • Anon 9:22, I would say that every negotiation is a case-by-case and has a lot of moving parts, so I can’t advise a particular rule of thumb.

    In making any offer, whether it be the first day something is listed, or 2 years on the market, here’s what you need:

    -Comparable sales info for the immediate area, size, condition, and also possibly after-improved condition comps if looking at something that is intended to be rehabbed (do not rely on Zillow for this…they are electronically generated and often not specific enough)
    -Get as much information regarding the Seller’s position as you can, probably through their agent. You need the tax record and the prior listing (which may or may not show how much financing is into the property). Are they just testing the market to see what they could get or do they actually want or need to sell? Is there a possibility of a short sale (owing more to the bank than the market value currently is). Bottom line, what is their motivation for selling?
    -What would motivate them besides price? A Seller (with a good agent) will want to work with an offer that has solid financing behind it. Do NOT make low ball offers without a fabulous pre-approval in your hand. Would it help to take the property AS IS (depending on the property condition, this will not fly with some loans, so know that beforehand).
    -Know what your bottom line is. What exactly is the value of the property to you? Have you seen anything like it in terms of location and condition? Are you going to kick yourself if you lose it over $5000.? Is it a must-have or a maybe?

  • I’m curious as to why houses in the 14th/16th St Heights area seem to sell for more than equivalent houses in Petworth. I think for $450k you can get a house in better condition than this one and within .5 mile of the Metro and new development. I think I’d prefer that to the more tranquil feel of this area that’s over a mile to the Metro. Do a lot of others prefer this area because they perceive it to be safer, or because it’s close to Rock Creek Park?

  • @anon 11:26am

    You make an excellent point. I think there’s a perception — by those who live west of the park — that they need to stay as close to the park as possible, that west is best. This idea comes from the experience of neighborhoods like Dupont/Logan Circle/Shaw, where the houses get cheaper and the neighborhoods somewhat dicier as you go east.

    As someone who lives in SE Petworth, I know that model does not hold true here. The part of Petworth east of New Hampshire and tucked between the Soldiers Home and Rock Creek Cemetery is, in my opinion, the best part of the neighborhood. (Or at least it’s the bloggiest — both POP and Petworth News’s jefe call this part home).

  • AJS – I think you’re right on. There’s a perception that the further west you are the better, while I think on many streets as soon as you cross Georgia and head east, the neighborhood improves, there are more trees, there’s less traffic, etc. I think that’s pretty true for Taylor and Shepherd Streets. I actually originally wanted to buy along 14th St NW in north Columbia Heights but was priced out. In the end, I think I”m happier where I ended up in SE Petworth east of Georgia Ave., a lot closer to the metro than I would have been where I started looking.

  • As for me, I really like being within steps of the S Bus (which I am used to commuting on) and near an entrance to Piney Branch/Rock Creek Park.

  • In general, the rowhouses on Upshur through Decatur between 14th and 16th are larger than the average Petworth rowhouse by about 300 to 500 square feet. That’s one reason they are priced higher.

  • This was a big house with an attic and a good sized yard.

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