Good Deal or Not? Around the Corner from CH Coffee Edition


This home is located at 1112 Monroe Street, NW:

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The flier says:

“Beautifully restored home mixes wonderful original details w/ modern conveniences. Wide-open floorplan boasts orig hrdwd flrs, mantel, moldings, with new kitchens and baths. Granite, stainless steel, maple cabinets, travertine. The basement has great ceiling height and includes an in-law suite complete with a large bedroom, kitchenette, living room, windows, walk-out. Parking, deck!”

More info and a virtual tour found here.

The house itself is pretty sweet. What I’m curious is what you think about being across the street from the little park at the corner of 11th and Monroe? It is sometimes filled with men drinking and loitering. Though sometimes it’s filled with children and I know certain residents coordinate bringing their kids to the playground. And who knows what this park will look like in 5 years? Do you think the park should be a factor in the price? Anyway, what do you think of the house itself? Does $574,900 sound reasonable?

29 Comment

  • Wow, I think that’s a pretty good deal. It’s funny, for the “Nearby Similar Listings” on Redfin, it is mostly condos a lot of which are priced just as high as this place:

    3538 13TH St NORTHWEST #4 0.09 miles
    2 bd / 2.5 ba
    1,700 Sq. Ft

    1208 LAMONT St NORTHWEST 0.13 miles
    3 bd / 2.5 ba
    2,000 Sq. Ft.

    1211 HARVARD St NORTHWEST #1 0.37 miles
    3 bd / 3 ba
    1,800 Sq. Ft.

    Hmm, yeah, good luck with that but I think they’re gonna have a hard time competing with places like this.

  • The catch must be that it’s across the street from the trolley turnaround park, where groups of men hang out at all hours, drinking and whatnot. That would get pretty annoying after awhile.

  • Great deal. I’d be interested to know what it looked like when it was bought for $450k in 2007. If it wasn’t substantially improved, not sure how they are making any money at this price.

    Remember the 2bd/2bath condo at 13th & Kenyon just sold for $529k, not much more money considering another bedroom, half-bath, and a rental unit.

    I could see mulitple offers, closing around $600k.

  • A basement is not a good place for carpeting.

  • Every time I walk down the alley, I’m left to wonder why the bump in the back was clad in a strange material w/ very few windows. Based on that feature, I expected the rest of the renovation to be a disaster. I’m pleasantly surprised by the pictures — it looks like a typical, charmless but competent rehab on the inside. I expected much worse. But the weird addition would make me nervous about the attention to detail in this place.

  • I actually live pretty close to this rowhouse on Monroe. The location is perfect in that it’s close to the Metro, the 11th Street bus lines, and the good restaurants and shops in the Columbia Heights area. Monroe is pretty quiet, except for the park across the street. which honestly, at times is noisy with kids screaming and playing or the usual crowd of guys getting a little rowdy, but the park really isn’t a deterrent in my opinion. Only having lived there a few months, I already recognize several of the faces and they are always friendly to me. They sort of keep a watch over the neighborhood, and one man was quick to politely tap on our door to let us know one of my friends was about to get a parking ticket. These regular ‘neighbors’ kind of add to the street.

    As far as the rowhouse itself goes, it looks decent on the inside, but it was renovated too quickly and from the back, looks like they cut corners in several areas (cheap windows, poor paint job, unfinished deck). I think they could ask even more for it if they had taken the time and paid attention to details.

  • I think the area’s fine but the interior of that house really turns me off. I bet it sells though.

  • Looks like a good deal / fair price to me.

  • Nick, the bump in the back appears to contain the downstairs powder room and the upstairs master bathroom. It’s an odd arrangment: one teeny little window for your master bedroom. For that kind of arrangment I would want the buildout to be of very high quality — indistinguishable from the original structure, not prone to sagging, etc. Hard to tell about this one.

  • Current owner bought foreclosed in April. For what they got it for, not really a good deal.

  • It’s not that far off — if at all — price-wise. I like the open downstairs floorplan quite a bit and having 3 beds and 2 full baths on the same level upstairs is great for a young family, but there’s no backyard here and, again, you’re right across the street from a daily 16 hrs. worth of riff-raff in the park.

  • There doesn’t seem to be much of a back yard, which for me is a bit of a deal breaker, otherwise looks like a good deal.

  • That house is a toss up. Some charming features, but the other commentors are rights. They turned a pig sty around in less than 2 months. It was a wreck before and with that quick of a turnaround, I’m not sure what they managed to do that would warrant an additional $200k. I would say good deal at $450k. But, in the current market with some stuff sitting and other stuff going, going, gone, who knows?

  • Seems like a good deal to me, although I personally probably wouldn’t live across from that park. And there was really no attention to detail. In addition to what others have said, i noticed that there was no back splash behind the oven, and the bathrooms had pedestal sinks and flat mirrors- where the f are you supposed to put all your bathroom stuff?

  • Anon 2:20, Redfin says they paid $467,282 in April ’09, which I’m guessing was pre-renovation, so they’re actually only asking for a $100k markup.

    Still, you might be right, if it’s a really sloppy renovation, it might not be a good deal at (almost) any price, since you’d just be buying headaches and a money pit.

  • Master bedroom window is small, add on doesn’t look all that great. I too like the layout of the mainfloor and it looks like a fairly large home. At the price it still seems like a good deal to me but I am not sure what park people are referencing, and the 2 month turn around does sound odd but maybe it was just a pig sty with great bones. I currently don’t have a back splash behind my oven either but I am thinking about putting one in myself. Seems easy enough.

  • I also live near this house, and have to agree with Neighbor that the park is not a deterrent. If you live nearby you quickly come to recognize the regulars, and for the most part they are harmless. It’s a quiet street, although I’ve noticed increased traffic and parking issues in the last year or so, which I imagine is due to DC USA. It’s centrally located between Petworth and Columbia Heights, and within walking distance to Mt. Pleasant, U Street and even Adams Morgan.

    The house itself is ok. I also watched the super fast rehab job, and wonder how the house will hold up. I HATE that they painted the front porch and walk yellow and even trimmed the small retaining wall along the sidewalk. Just too much paint.

  • I think it is a good deal.

    To me, the shoddy bumpout (it looks like nothing more than painted plywood) and the old hardwood floors (which are very damaged in the kitchen) detract from the value.

    But that fireplace mantle makes up for it. That is absolutely gorgeous.

  • Does that basement unit have a separate entrance? If not it was an awful waste of money to put in the kitchen down there and renovate the bathroom.

    A basement tenant who has to enter their home through your living room is a roommate…not something most homeowners are particularly interested in.

    Otherwise, I think it’s a pretty fair deal.

  • Separate back entrance, but not a separate front entrance.

    That mantle is killer.

    I bet this one is gone by this weekend. But, I don’t think it is a good deal.

  • That bumpout in the back was already there but it looks like not much else was done to improve it. The back entrance to the basement is pretty common for some of these homes. If anyone had seen this before, it was a COMPLETE mess and the previous owners seemed to have an illegal boarding house going on along with their many children. After they left, it was used by vagrants and such so ANYTHING that was done is a vast improvement and the owner probably did not have much to work with.

    The park is not that bad and your view (with the top of the blinds down) is 11 oak trees….

  • kinda sketchy area

  • Do I think the park should be a factor in the price? Abso-effin’-lutely. After all, it’s location, location, location. (And I think that, aside from the park, there’s a whole lot to be said for this location in terms of proximity to a lot of the great stuff in CH.) You take the good with the bad. If you’re buying this place to call home, you have to live there NOW, so you better be ready to be right across the street from the not-infrequent drunk-fest there.

    Sorry, but I think the “just imagine what could happen in 5 years” mindset gets a lot of folks in trouble. If you bought 5 years ago, and to a lesser extent today, you could play that game a little bit in terms of commercial development, because you knew SOMETHING was coming, but this is not a question of commercial development, and what’s happening in CH is not your parents’ gentrification. Nothing’s guaranteed, and whoever buys this place should prepare to deal with that park being a neighbor — both next week and next decade — and factor it into the price.

  • so you better be ready to be right across the street from the not-infrequent drunk-fest there

    It wasn’t that long ago that people would have said the exact same thing about living on Lincoln Park in Cap Hill. If a buyer is in the for the long term and the neighborhood improves there will generally be less tolerance for public drunkedness and prostitution

  • I’m not sure this park should be a deal-breaker for anyone or even really affect the price that much but I think Anon 6:07 makes a good point that the “just imagine what could happen in 5 years” mentality when buying a house not being too smart. Again I don’t think this park is really a good example but in cases where you really find there to be an unacceptable level of crime in a neighborhood, would you really buy there in hopes that it would get better? That just seems to be setting yourself up for a frustrating experience. Hopefully that’s not what most people do; hopefully most would only buy if they found the crime level or other aspects of the neighborhood not ideal but tolerable.

  • I lived three doors away from 2001 to 2004. The park is a big problem. It got improved annually, but its problems didn’t go away. Loud people, drunk people, unruly people. I worked from home, so I was right there day and night, and it wore me down. I sold after 3.5 years. I had improved my home from top to bottom, including finished basement with full bath. My sale price? $575K!

    This house has things going for it and against. For it: the proportions on the main level are great. It’s a wide house, with a wonderful curved wall inside the bayfront window. And the fireplace mantle is, indeed, just awesome. It’s quarter-sawn oak, and the tiles are those long, thin ones used in DC row houses for a very short time around the turn of the century. I think the master bedroom has nice proportions too, and having a master bath is really great. This one seems to be laid out nicely, with enough room to move around.

    Against: The bump-out was a cop-out by the builder. It was pre-existing, and blocked light from entering the entire rear (south-facing side) of the house. As other posters noted, the result is one small window in the MBR, and that strange horizontal window in the MBA. Same for the dining room: one small window at the side, with all solid walls throughout the rest of the rear of the house. It could have been much brighter throughout the interior of the house if they had taken a different approach.

    Also on windows, there are several things I really hate about this job and a lot others like it. One, the replacement windows are noticeably smaller than the rough openings. They must have framed and trimmed in the difference. It looks bad from the outside, and restricts light and visibility from the inside. And, the trim usually start to look shabby before long. Two, so many builders stick fixed-pane windows into the large openings in the victorian bayfronts, eliminating the opportunity to open the windows and let air flow from front to back of the house. This is cost-saving, but it looks bad and makes the house stuffy. And, also cheaper, the side-sliding window rather than a one-over-one light, appropriate for a house of this vintage.

    I think whoever moves into this house is going to be getting a reasonable deal, but is going to be living in a house where corners were cut in lots of ways.

    The park is awful. But the neighbors in that row are just wonderful. If you don’t work from home, it’s probably going to be pretty easy to live with. There are some really, really nice regulars in the park. It’s the loud, disruptive few that make it difficult.

  • Mike W’s comments were very helpful — PoP, you should ask him to comment on more renovations.

    I think a future buyer has the option of changing the windows or moving the MBR to the front of the house at any time in the future, if they are so inclined. I too would like the south-facing windows on my home to be bigger, but there seems to have been a movement to reduce the amount of light entering homes during the middle of the 20th century. (Hence the aluminum awnings that even appear on the north side.)

  • The old beat up wood floors that one poster mentioned, look to be heart of pine. This is a beautiful wood and very rare to find. Heart of pine was used frequently in the early 1900’s, but is now a protected wood. I am happy to see that the developer decided to keep these despite some damage.

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