Good Deal or Not? Major Fixer Upper Upper Edition – Reader Request

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This home is located at 3229 Hiatt Place, NW:

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The flier says:


Quite succinct. You can see photos here.

The reader writes:

“I just came across this property and was wondering about it. Obviously its a major fixer-upper.”

Yes, this is an interesting one as it’s the first time I’ve ever seen photos of a major fixer upper. I’m interested to hear what everyone thinks but especially those who have done renovations before. Does $319,900 sound reasonable for the amount of work that is needed here?

32 Comment

  • Overpriced considering that you’ll have to put at least $185,000 into it but forget that house. What about the two big beauties three and four houses away from this one.

  • It might look like a good location on a map, but with DCUSA and the permanent traffic mess around that corner, you’re going to have cars idling right in front of your house during many hours of the day.

  • That is almost move-in ready pricing and the place is a dump. Not a good deal.

  • saf

    Shoot. That’s in way better shape than mine was when I bought it.

    I wouldn’t want it. Not because of the work but because of the location. I bet it will sell for that price, but not to me.

  • Good deal at ~$300k for sure. Even if it is a dump it doesn’t cost much to fix up and houses around there go for more. You’re two blocks from metro and DCUSA, and on the “right” side of 14th. Put $150k into it and you have a $450k house and are laughing all the way to the bank in 3 years…

  • You might be two blocks from DCUSA, but there is a garage entrance/exit on Hiatt Place, and a lot of people exit the garage on that end. They’ll be sitting in front of your house while waiting to turn left onto Park Road. Just don’t expect to have your windows open in the springtime unless you’re a big fan of exhaust fumes and traffic noise.

  • I am somewhere in between all of the above posts. $318k isn’t ‘move-in ready pricing’ in this hood, for a single-family house. But neither could you buy it, put in $200k of work and walk away with any profit at all.

    If it sells for $250k, I think the buyer will have gotten a good deal.

  • How the hell is that the “right” side of 14th? You’re right around the corner from the Thuggington Arms and across the street from The Loiterville. But at least you get to stare at Neil Armstrong’s popup condo every day as you walk out your front door.

  • I’ve toured the property multiple times and contemplated putting an offer on it. It needs brick work on the left side of the house (right side if you are inside it) and there is some water damage around a few of the windows…. The floors on one floor are decent enough, It needs a completely new kitchen and the “finished basement” needs to be re-finished. I think it could be made livable for around 100k…. at which point it would be much nicer than houses that are listed in the 400 range (not that they should be listed at that price) a few blocks north. Decent deal for the current market although it should be priced about 20k less.

  • but the link to ‘neil Armstrong’s condo’ doesn’t work! I want to see it! Please repost!

  • Coming from someone who walks by this house on the way to the metro every day, I don’t care how much it’s worth, I just hope someone buys it and fixes it up a little. The houses on this side of the street are a bit of an eye sore.

    I think it would be a great and convenient location, but agree the traffic/noise could get annoying. Agree with RM above on the price.

  • Also… there is a really bad smell in both the basement and kitchen. In the basement there is a strong stench of urine and the kitchen is just rank. I’m sure there are serious bug problems/maybe rodents. However, if the joists and footing are both ok I think this is a solid deal given the current state of the market.

  • There is a for-sale by owner in the 1300 block of Meridian, that probably needs as much work, is on a much better street/location, but doesn’t have a potential basement rental unit like this one. Not sure on the price.

    The water issue would scare me away on this one and I certainly wouldn’t pay $320k to deal w/ that potential nightmare

  • I go with RM on the pricing. Over $300,000 seems a bit high when it needs that much fixing up for that size.

  • Is that a BUD on the roof?
    Also, is the garage legal? Could u do a deck on it?

  • Even if the garage was not legal initially by now it’s past the statute of limitation.

  • Nobody mentioned a rank kitchen and overpowering urine odor. That’s worth at least another $50k.

    Also, Neil Armstrong is known to have a severe bladder disfunction, so mystery solved.

  • Why Neil Armstrong decided to buy a condo next to Target is beyond me.

  • He couldn’t afford Mount Pleasant. Dude’s on a fixed income.

  • I visited this house last week. It’s basically a gut job. The dish on the roof is wild.

  • “Put $150k into it and you have a $450k house and are laughing all the way to the bank in 3 years…”

    Famous last words of 2006.

  • OK, so props to the seller/realtor here for actually putting up pictures of the dump they’re trying to sell. At least I don’t feel like they’re trying to hide the ball. That said … what a dump! Personally, I wouldn’t be wild about this location, but it is pretty central. Still, it’s hard to see a cost for renovation such that 318K + transaction costs of purchase and sale + cost of reno

  • Crap. Where’d the last part of my post go??

    What I meant to say was:

    Still, it’s hard to see a cost for renovation such that (318k + transaction costs of purchase and sale + cost of reno)

  • Screw it. PoP user note: Apparently, the “less than” symbol will cut off your post! Last time I try to get mathematical.

  • But anon 3:51, those were the famous last words of the fools still buying at what was widely considered the top of the market even in 2006. Back then, most people knew, and that’s why prices declined precipitously since then (even well before unemployment skyrocketed). While this might not the bottom (and probably isn’t), I think valuing this at $300k isn’t a stretch even when keeping that in mind. I know some people above hate the location, but a lot of people would love the location. Why? Convenience. You’re two blocks from metro. That’s huge. Also, while many people hate it, having DCUSA two blocks away is considered great by many people, too. It’s also, as I mentioned above, well away from the public housing hotspots further south. Those will be trouble spots, possibly for decades to come, but there’s nothing inherent in this location that won’t allow it to improve. If you do a high-end renovation here, let’s say it costs $225k… plus the $300k you pay. $525k for a high-end house in Columbia Heights is not on the upper end of the market by any means. I still say you make out fine on this one if you like the house, value the amenities and convenience, and are willing to create your own interior. So, good deal around $300k. This isn’t a TOTAL shell, either.

  • It’s a pretty big space, so I agree with SG. With a coat of paint, you could live in one of the upper rooms while working on the rest. Kudos to the sellers for posting clear photos (and for cleaning up the piles of debris that were likely removed prior to taking the pix).

    Cleaning up used condoms and bottles of mystery liquids after squatters have been living in your place is not fun.

  • P.S.

    Nice radiators

    Nice garage

    Nice laundry room/porch

  • Good location but price is too high, perhaps a sales price of 290k, plus 250k to fix up.

  • You people are on crack. $300k is move in pricing? when was the last time that a house south of park rd in livable condition sold for 300,00?. houses that you would live in are more than double that in CH proper. some flipper will pay asking, put in $150k and make 200 large.

  • rd, i agree. for 300k all you can get these days in that area in move-in ready good condition is a 2 bedroom basement apt, or a 1-bedroom. so this place.

  • I doubt anyone will pay asking. I also doubt it would pass appraisal, which means someone with cash (an investor) will probably get a sweet deal (maybe $250k).

    One problem, for anyone that has ever walked down this street on a hot summer day, is that DC USA seems to have the loudest air conditioning unit in the history of man kind. Good luck enjoying your garage roof deck when it sounds like a 747 is about to land on your house.

  • That basement is scary, and it looks like someone might have died on the floor in one of the bedrooms upstairs.

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