Good Deal or Not? It Doesn’t Take a King’s Ransom Edition


This condo building is located at 1321 Fairmont Street, NW:

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The flier says:

“Cute, well maintained recently renovated building/unit 1BR/1BA. Granite, stainless, hardwood floors, Perfect for 1st time buyer. Low fee. Close to Columbia Heights Metro and all shopping.”

More info and photos found here.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a price that is isn’t jaw dropping. This condo is one the first floor and is asking $219,000. Also in a quick search there is also a basement unit going for $229,000. But let’s consider the featured one on the first floor for $219,000 – sound reasonable?

24 Comment

  • They seem like reasonable prices…however the basement apartment is tiny.

  • Do people really buy tiny condos with no thoughts of the future in mind? Or do people who buy these not plan on dating, having kids, getting animals, etc for the next 5 to 7 years?

    I guess if you’re desperate enough to live in the city… Personally I would rather rent an apartment that size and save up money for a bigger place. If you were to buy this condo the only way I think this would be a good deal is if you bought it just to rent it to other people.

  • This looks nice and is reasonable considering the size. Isn’t this condo building about 2 blocks from 90% of the shootings that are reported on this site though?

  • I think what Bobby really means to say is that this is a SKETCHY neighborhood!

  • Not a bad price, but it’s terrible space.

  • it’s a pretty good deal, I mean, compare the monthly payment to renting a 2 bed with roommates.

  • @Jackie

    What’s wrong with economizing on space? You need less stuff to make it feel lived in, you consume less. Sometimes it’s what you can afford. In condo buildings, it often means lower fees (based on % of overall sqft) and often lower price. Some people manage to live happily in less space, plus it provides some incentive to get out of the house and move. It would be sadder to see a single person who could benefit from home ownership put off a purchase becuase it’s not some ideal dream scenario. Not everyone fits this mold, but someone in a stable job with means and desire to stay longer term would be a good candidate.

  • Wow, I looked at an apt in this building in the Spring of 2006, with the exact same layout on a higher floor. $399,000. I’m happy I didn’t make that purchase.

    I felt it was too small for me. I was moving from a 350 sq ft apt, and I ended up getting a 500 sq ft one. And you know what Jackie? I love my small space that I share with a dog, and I have friends over and boyfriends too. That includes all the stuff they come with. I don’t have a ton of stuff, so it’s not overwhelming at all.

  • to respond to Jackie–I’m moving to DC this fall and originally thought just like you do. I was going to rent a place and save up to buy a place once I had wife/kids/etc.

    But then I realized that in my price range (under $1300/month including utilities, somewhere that allows a dog or cat) I was either going to get a studio in a nicer neighborhood or a 1-br somewhere further from the metro, with higher crime, or in a basement (or all three!) Most of the places I’ve seen have older kitchens, a floor plan that requires walking through the bedroom to get to the bathroom (not great when guests come over), window ACs, etc.

    In comparison, this place looks great (although it’s not my first choice of neighborhood–I’m primarily looking in Shaw, SW Waterfront, and Potomac Ave) and after the first-time homebuyer credit it’s cheaper than renting. The price is a little high but the condo fees are low enough to make up for it, and while someone might not want to live there forever, it’s a nice place to stay for a few years and then sell (or rent out and live somewhere else!).

  • Oops! Sorry, it was $299,00. Not 3.

  • A stone’s throw (no pun intended) from both 14th & Euclid and 14th & Girard? Hope those bars on the windows are heavy duty.

  • I live on this block in a condo across the street. the block itself is actually pretty quiet. The trouble we used to have with Faircliffs East on the corner is getting much much better and they have security out every single night which benefits the whole block. Most of the block consists of renovated row houses. The row house across the street from this place is on the market for 1.5 million. It really is truly a successful mixed income block. This is a steal for a newly renovated place. Your mortgage would probably be a lot less than rent in any of the new buildings in CH. Plus, you get the tax write off and tax credit. Even if you live in it just a couple of years, you would likely come out ahead over renting.

  • You’d have to pay ME to live in that neighborhood. I know lots of people live there and love it, but I tend to work late (past 9 PM at least once a week), and I’d be scared to walk home if I lived there. A few times I’ve lost track of distance during one of my runs and ended up around there… non-stop harassment as I tried to make my way back. No thanks.

    And as far as space… my place is “officially” 694 sq feet and I’ve always considered it to be fairly spacious. But now that my significant other has moved in, I am incredibly thankful that I didn’t get that 500 sq foot place with the awesome view… cause we’d have murdered each other by now.

  • I actually live in that building. I like it. Yes, it is small (there’s also basement storage), but buying instead of renting was a good decision for me. I don’t need tons of space and being 4 blocks from the CH metro and the surrounding retail, and walking distance from U Street, Adams Morgan, Mt. Pleasant, the Red Derby, etc., is awesome. No car needed. Police cars are always around. The neighbors in the building are quiet–mostly young professional, first time homebuyer types. Just a few renters.

    The whole “sketchy neighborhood” argument gets boring. Yes, bad things happen in CH, just like they happen in other parts of the city, there’s no denying that. In the 3 years that I’ve been in CH, I’ve had exactly nothing happen to me, aside from having rocks thrown at me by the neighborhood brats. This takes into account all the times I’ve walked home alone from the Derby at 3am. Fairmont really is a beautiful and quiet street, as are the surrounding blocks.

  • “…I’ve had exactly nothing happen to me, aside from having rocks thrown at me by the neighborhood brats. ”

    Lol, where you see “exactly nothing”, others see “felony assault”.

  • @Rachel: You would be a terrible lawyer, as your argument definitely makes me think this is a sketchy block to be avoided at all costs!

  • Anon 3:54

    You’d make a great lawyer, as you’ve convinced me you have no business living near CH. If you have the loot, enjoy Friendship Heights or Foggy Bottom. Others don’t and make the most of it. Just don’t go spreading your fear and panic to this site, it’s pathetic.

  • merely having rocks thrown at you is not a sign of a *good* neighborhood, that’s for sure!

    I think there are plenty of people in the market for 1 BRs. But a 1BR less than 500SF? These units are teeny tiny. That limits the appeal considerably.

    I suppose there will be a buyer, there always is. The basement unit will have to drop its price if it is going to compete with the first floor unit. why pay 10k more for no daylight?

  • Wowzers! People are testy when it comes to differencing opinions.

    @Solives having people over is a lot different then living with people. Also, a dog that is the size of a cat is not something I would personally consider a dog. But if a small space works for you, that’s great. All I’m saying is that personally, it would be a horrible deal for me. I like big dogs. I like having space from my boyfriend. I like a yard and I like the idea of having an extra room/space for an addition to the household if need be. It’s just how I am. Plan for the future.

    @Anonymous at 1:55pm I rent an apartment for less then $1300 that has all of your requirements. Thus the reason I see renting as more beneficial to me then buying. Plus it’s twice the size of the condo. I guess sometimes you just have to know where to look.

  • Looks like a nice renovation to me, and the cost is great. If CH is your bag, I’d say grab it now! (but be prepared to wait 6 weeks for your loan to be underwritten, as I just did…)

  • I’ve lived in CH for 5 years and had exactly nothing happen to me. I by that I mean nothing. And I’m a bit of a bar fly, so I’m usually out late. Granted, I don’t have to deal with cat calls (much). Also, compared to 5 years ago, CH is like Disneyland.

  • 14th&Col, let me follow your logic. You’ve lived in CH for 5 years and exactly nothing has happened to you so therefore CH is safe.

    I’ve driven without a seatbelt for 5 years and exactly nothing happened to me. Would you also conclude that driving without a seatbelt is safe?

    Do you see how weak your argument is?

  • comparing a neighborhood to the way it was 5 years ago doesn’t mean much either. it matters what other neighborhoods are like–today–not what each neighborhood was like compared to itself some time ago.

  • I looked at this condo a couple weeks ago and although I’m all in favor of small spaces, this felt cramped. The full-size bed took up almost the whole bedroom. I literally had to squeeze around the end of the bed to get to the closet, whose doors were halfway blocked by the bed. Very bright space, though, in what appeared to be a well-kept building.

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