Good Deal or Not? Emergency Reader Request – Thinking of Putting in a Bid Soon, Help!

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This home is located at 55 Quincy Place NE:

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The flier says:

“Gorgeous 3bd, 1fba, 2hba 3-lvl rowhouse w/ walk-out bsmt, parking space & many updates. Steps to NY Ave METRO. Features hdwds on main & upper lvls, 3 FPs. Bank-Owned. Sold As-Is. Shows well, but needs a little work. Seller responds quickly to offers. Request seller’s choice of closing co. & to hold EMD. Seller=”Owner of Record”.”

More info and photos found here.

I’ve only walked down this block a few times but thought the area was quite nice. There aren’t too many dining areas but you’re not too far from Big Bear Cafe across North Capitol in Bloomingdale. The house itself also seems quite nice, I dig the style on the outside, but I’d be sure to have a inspector with you as the house is “as-is”. Asking price is $308,900. Sound like a good deal?

34 Comment

  • Here is an article from this weekend about buying As-IS properies:

  • That looks like potentially serious water damage in that one photo – any chance you can get an inspector in to check out the cause of it so you can get a quote for repairs before you make an offer?

  • Looks like it’s in pretty good shape (maybe some water damage in that one room?). If you are willing to put in $40K for painting, a new kitchen and bathroom updates, you could have a nice place. I’d say it’s a pretty good deal, since most places around there would sell for about $350-$400K if fixed up.

    Just make sure that the immediate neighbors are ok. Nothing can ruin living in a rowhouse quite like lousy neighbors. Also, note that there has been a long-standing feud going on between crews at Lincoln and R NE. There will undoubtedly be more violence there in the future. But then again, unless you are planning to get into the drug dealing business, their issues probably won’t affect you directly.

  • Area is relatively rough, in DC-scale probably a 6 where 1 is AU Park and 10 is maybe Benning Road Metro or Anacostia area. The price and as-is plus the style and old age of the place makes me cringe, but if you have at least $150K for renovations and a good contractor friend you could maybe make a go, depending on what’s wrong with it. Over a 5 – 10 year time horizon definitely a low risk move, but a rough stretch ahead for the next few years at least.

  • The pic of the back bedroom shows what could be a current or past water issue near the corner-rear portion of the house. The mature tree outside in the front also gives me pause b/c trees can sometimes cause sewer line issues. Overall, I don’t think the price is bad but I would budget for 20K in renovations / repairs for the first year. Wouldn’t call the neighborhood sketchy, but I’d grade it a C+.

  • Beautiful house on a pretty street. So long as they have money left over to finish the kitchen, they’re getting a large and nice rowhouse for a 1 BR condo price.

  • ANY part of DC looks “nice” on a sunny weekend morning. Walk that are later at night, and you’ll see a big difference.

    It’s not a bad area, aside from the beefs between the two warring “crews” a few blocks north, but that price is a bit too high.

    I’d suggest making sure you’re comfortable living there, then bidding much lower than the asking price.

  • As a note, you can certainly put an inspection clause in your contract which gives you a free and clear out if the inspector finds anything (even if it is minimal.)

    I’m not familiar with area and there is certainly some water damage (though could be quite old) but potentially a good deal.
    I don’t think you would need 150K to make it nice — 50-75K gets you nice, livable condition.

  • Anon 1:19- $150k? That much would get you a mid-range renovation of a shell. This place isn’t a shell. If there are serious structural issues, you might be right, but assuming you get a thorough inspection I don’t think there’s any reason to think you’d need to sink even half that much into this house. That said, they definitely need a good inspector to take a look under the hood.

  • check out redfin at to see the prices of nearby homes.

    Judging by the pictures of the interior looks like it was newly done the only question is with what quality. I think I noticed some water damage in some rooms. I’d do a very thorough inspection, who knows what that new drywall is hiding behind it. My guess is it was renovated in 2006-2007 to flip it by the investor got burnt and during those years quality was not a priority for some investors.

    If you can take a contractor with you to give you an estimate for the worst case scenario. Normally it could cost as much as $150 per sq ft. for a gut job although I hope it won’t be needed for this house.

  • Also, I see a couple house nearby at about the same price, so I don’t think you should feel like you have to act now to get a good deal. With the summer end approaching the time is on your side.

  • I agree with some of the sentiments here. The asking price is about right if you’re going to assume putting about $30-$40K into the house. If the basement was property finished and rentable, then the asking price may even be a little low. The area has its issues just let a lot of DC but as long as you’re aware of your surroundings it shouldn’t be a deal breaker. Definitely make sure that you have an inspection contingency in any contract that you sign and just perform your due diligence.

    You have checked out both the house and neighborhood already, right? What was your take on that water damage?

  • yep you’re right SG, I of course didn’t notice the photos until after I blathered. Based on my experience, I interpreted ‘as-is’ to mean holy frigging hellish shell of some sort.

    So, I reduce my $150K down to $50K or less, or more, depending on pipes, heating, roof, etc. Note the water damage in the photo I’d guess to be from that window being left open during heavy rain long ago. Otherwise water seeping through the wall, which would suck.

  • I would like at this site…..

    You can search sold listings in that zip code by price. I would see what houses are selling for in that general area and in what condition (although that is sometimes hard to tell by just online pics if they even have pics at all). That should give you a better idea on if this is a good deal or not.

    As for the “as is” condition depending on if there are any other bids it isn’t necessarily true that the bank won’t pay for some repairs. I would not automatically assume that they won’t pay for repairs.

    As others have pointed out, make sure your agent puts in an inspection contingency and get a very good inspector.

    Lastly, if you have determined that this is a good deal then I wouldn’t sit on it too long. We are searching in Petworth and have found that is the house is in decent condition at a decent price it will go fast.

  • Not an amazing deal by any stretch, but not bad either. There are some problems:

    -warring gangs in the immediate area, big projects at NY AVE/NCAP intersection, and more ‘affortable’ housing being build a few blocks North. Not good for the future. This general area will get better, but because of the housing projects it will never be that good.

    -Possible issues with the house… Water damage is not cheap to fix. Banks will not look at your offer seriously if you have an inspection contingency.

    -Bank owned – if it’s really a good deal, there will be multiple bids and you may end up wasting weeks to know the answer.

    Proceed with caution.

  • In response to ‘dc_publius’, saying that banks will not seriously consider an offer with an inspection contingency is simply not true. I recently bid on a foreclosed house, ‘as-is’ condition, with an inspection contingency of 10 days from receiving the ratified contract. My bid was accepted. In response to some other posts, what I’d suggest is more plausible is that a bank won’t seriously consider an offer that’s below the listed price.

    I agree about not necessarily hearing for a while. And in my case, the bank would only accept each bidder’s ‘best’ offer, which means you’re vulnerable to over-bidding on the house.

  • Yes, dc_publius is very wrong about banks not accepting an offer with an inspection contingency. Our offer was accepted on a foreclosure and it had an inspection contigency similar to Mat’s.

  • I’ve lived a block away for almost seven years. Quincy is one of the nicest streets in Eckington and it is a short distance from the New York Avenue Metro. Yes, Lincoln Road has some problems, but it really hasn’t affected me or anyone I know in the area. In addition to Big Bear, there is Bloomindale’s Sunday farmers market which is also only a block and a half away. A lot of development is coming this way, so I’d say it’s a good deal.

  • Anon @1:19pm may have struck on a pretty interesting idea. If you ranked DC communities from 1-10 (1 being low and 10 being high) on a variety of dimensions, what would your scale of communities look like?
    Dimensions could include a) violence and crime b) entertainment options c) best place for a 2 bedroom house, etc.
    From these scales (subjective though they would be) you could construe all sorts of statements, such as “On my scale, the level of entertainment options on U street is roughly a 9, while Adams Morgan is about a 7”.

    Just a thought…

  • i live a few blocks from there. i havent looked at house prices in a while so i dont know the comps, but its definitely a nice street. personally i like the neighborhood.

  • I made an offer of $475,000 on a bank owned home listed for $425,000. We have great credit, promised 30 day close. The only contingency was a home inspection. The banks sold the home to a buyer for $445,000. This was 30,000 LESS than we offered. The “winning” bid had no inspection contingency and that is why they won according to my agent.

  • Thank you all for your responses, I am going to offer full price and will include an inspection clause. Wish me luck. Concerned about the reported gang activity, hopefully the gangs are on their way out.

  • Good luck, One Foot. As for the gangs, I’m afraid yours is wishful thinking. Some of us have been here decades and while dynamics and amount of gang violence varies, it never goes away.

  • I was considering to put an offer on that house today. Three days on the market and the agent says he already has 5 offers, which he is going to present to the bank at 11:00 am tomorrow. If you want a shot at it call early tomorrow. I have been playing this dance for months of banks droppping one or two properties on the market in small amounts to start bidding wars. Same situation in the spring a few doors down from this property. It was listed at $320 and they had a bunch of offers. This particular house is good because it is bank owned unstead of a short sale. I’ve had an offer on a short sale house a block away that has been sitting with the bank since May 8. I recently heard it was going to be assigned to a ‘negotiator’.

    Good luck One foot.

  • Hello–
    We just bought a rowhouse and wish we’d would have not only an inspector (who was rated as “excellent”) but also a general building contractor (ie Loft Construction, Referred by Renovators etc) come in to identify potential problem areas. I’ve found that the contractors I’ve had were much better than inspectors at identifying potential problems–probably because they are the ones that build/fix homes, while inspectors generally identify building code and safety issues. We had four separate inspectors come through our home and they all overlooked glaring issues that contractors immediately caught. Good luck!!!

  • Hate to break it to you but One Foot in DC but if they already have 5 offers than most likely several are over the asking price and probably don’t have an inspection clause.

    Do you have a buyer’s agent?

  • As far as the crime issue goes, you can get some real facts – not just people’s feelings – using the crime mapping tools on the DC police web site ( For comparison, the number of violent crimes within 1500 feet of this address over the past year is 69, versus 77 for the same distance around uber-hot 14th and P Street NW (Logan). The difference in property crimes is even more stark – 172 here versus 627 at the Logan Circle address.

    Also, the DC government web site has property sales on line. This property was last sold in 1999 so I don’t think it was a recent investor who ran out of money.

  • hey, I offered fp, lets see what happens, Anonymous Says: July 27th, 2009 at 10:48 pm can you or anyone recommend a building contractor who is willing to do an inspection. I am using a buyers agent. Wish me luck:) seems like the realestate games are back… and the banks are playing the games this time.

  • I used to live near there. while it’s a nice neighborhood, I can say pretty definitively that it can be a dangerous place to live. For example, my friend who lived at 7 Quincy had her 19 year old next door neighbor gunned down in front of her house by a drug dealer last fall. Hence, the reason I decided to move to a safer neighborhood.

  • As a long time neighborhood resident, I am consistently shocked by the amount of money people are willing to spend on properties that are unsafe, uninhabitable, and toxic to the people who are buying it. This house is a neglected group house that requires substantial renovaion of a major roof leak and foundation problem that have contributed to rot down all three floors and black mold in the basement. I visited the property this weekend and was appalled. Good luck!

  • jenya,
    thats what it takes to make a neighborhood nicer,invested people doing things that seem like a huge challenge. some are invested with time, some are invested with money. both can cause deep commitment.

  • @Anonymous, unfortunately, statistics are not the same as facts. If you think it’s safer there than P street you’re nuts.

    “Numbers of crimes” and “crime rate” are very different things. Also, people in weathier areas report crimes much more often than people in less-wealthy areas.

    There is a vastly higher population density within 1500 feet of 14th and P than this house. There are big empty lots near there as well as the recreation area. There are almost no residences to the east and south of 55 Quincy Street NE. Compare that to 14th and P which is fully developed in all directions and has high-rise apartment buildings.

    That makes the crime seem actually pretty atrocious down there if you actually try to understand the statistics instead of comparing apples and oranges.

  • Hi Big Youth Says: July 28th, 2009 at 9:57 am “anyone recommend a building contractor who is willing to do an inspection”. We advise people like you on building inspections for mold and water damage thorughout the United States.

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