Good Deal or Not? One of my Favorite Buildings Edition


This condo is located at 1413 T Street, NW:

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The flier says:

“Ultra-cool Jr. 1BR in DC’s most dynamic location with every little convenience, entertainment, and culture DC has to offer. Great use of space, up-to-date kitchen and bath, tall ceilings, and an open floor plan make this a terrific place. Located in an architecturally historic boutique building, here is the perfect pad for the ultimate experience in city living.”

More info found here and a virtual tour found here.

I think this is a super cool looking building (we’ve judged it in the past). The condo itself seems a bit small and the views don’t seem to be great but man is that a fantastic location. Obviously someone else agrees since it’s under contract. I know some folks don’t like GDoN posts under contract but I’ve always been curious about this place.  I was surprised at how reasonable the price seemed – $249,000. Is that a great deal or have I lost perspective?

23 Comment

  • I looked at that very same apt a little over 3 yrs ago when it was way over my price range for 295,000. I was blown away by the crappy view and the small space and the high price. I got my place in CH for a fraction of that. So the person either sat on it and is now selling it at a more reasonable price or someone took a huge hit.

  • cute, perfect location. TINY. i would think the price is about right for someone looking to make that tradeoff – size for location. but man. i couldn’t do it. i get a little claustrophobic just looking at the pictures.

  • It’s a really nice renovation (even though it looks like they threw a wall in to make a studio into a one bedroom) and a great location. If I was a student I probably wouldn’t mind the size. But I’m not and I would. I got my place which looks to be about twice the size for less than that price two years ago.

  • I say it’s a Good Deal. Sure, it’s small, but it’s a good location with an ample kitchen, and mortgage + fees + taxes correspond with what one could conceivably rent it for. They’d be better off simply knocking down the wall separating the living room from the sleeping alcove, though.

    That said, it never ceases to stun me what kinds of places people in DC are willing to live in, much less pay money to buy. It’s not that it’s a bad deal for the money given similar units, it’s that I wouldn’t be willing to live there at any price.

  • I lived in this building in 1993 when you had to step over junkies on 14th street to get home. The bldg. has always been pretty cool. I had a loft apt. that featured a ladder to the bedroom area. Almost broke my neck many a drunken night after coming home from Adams Morgan. It was always clean and fairly quiet. Glad to see the amazing renovation. Makes me miss it.

  • One question that may be worth asking b/c it’s a studio you are buying: does the building allow rental of all units?

    Odds are the buyer will grow out of this place eventually (marriage and the like). If in a few years you need to get out and the market says your place is worth less than when you bought it, you don’t want to be stuck with having to sell at a loss as your only option for moving.

    A good friend is dealing with this now. He is leaving DC bc of work. He is asking the condo board for an exception to its no rent policy because renting it out is his only real option. Selling would mean a loss of 10k plus.

    Just something you should ask about before buying a place that you know you will outgrow in a short-ish period of time.

  • Jimmy D, I agree with you. I don’t understand why condo buildings would be opposed to allowing renters. Can they really be worse for the building than foreclosures?

    I’d also look at whether the the rent would really cover the mortgage + taxes + condo fees. Taking a small loss every month isn’t much better than a big loss all at once. Depending on your downpayment, it looks like this place would be $1550-1775 a month. Does a studio really rent for that, even in this location?

  • Is that actually a condo unit, or is it a co-op? ‘Cuz co-ops are a pain in the ass…

  • Anonymous: Condo buildings prevent owners from renting because lenders don’t like issuing mortgages in buildings with a large % of renters which would affect their prices.

  • Yea, exactly. The main concern is not that renters are worse than owners, but that you blow FHA financing and other types of loan approvals. If more than a certain percentage is rented out, then most potential buyers can’t get financing to buy anything in the building. Then you’re stuck selling to a smaller pool of buyers and investors. You’ve essentially changed a temporary problem (can’t find anyone *right* *now* to buy a place) to a permanent problem.

  • Fair enough. I can see how the damage done by cutting yourself off by FHA and other loans would be worse than a couple of foreclosed units. The article Big Worm linked too, though, illustrated the bind that the banks’ policies have put people in.

  • I think the price is about in line for junior one bedrooms in the area, and it is probably settling for $5k or so below the listed price. But that place is TINY (344 sq ft according to DC); I’m not even sure that’s a double bed in the bedroom. You could get a bigger junior one bedroom for the same price in that general area (I used to live in the General Scott on scott circle (16th and N, basically) and the average size there is 500 square feet for 10-15k less, but the condo fees are a little more, so it’s probably about the same cost per month).

    Also, to the first Anon poster, you must be thinking of a different unit, b/c DC says this one sold in 2006 for $227k.

  • Absolutely love the exterior of this building. The bathroom in the kitchen might put some people off, but I think it’s manageable for an apartment of this size. (Reminds me of the flat I had in London. After long nights at the pub, I would always wake up in the middle of the night and have to trek through the living room and then the kitchen on my way to the bathroom. Sometimes it was an adventure) Did I miss how many sq feet this unit is? Overall, probably a safe investment.

  • I think it’s very charming, but are there any closets? It looks like zero storage, and not even room to build in/place temporary storage in it.

  • Wow, is it really on 344 sq ft? it’s a nice place and probably a good deal, but i couldn’t confine myself to such a small space on a full time basis. i would be clawing at the walls.

  • Beware tenant issues.

  • Of course, when you buy a place in this location you aren’t really planning to spend much time in your apartment. That would sort of defeat the purpose of living near it all!

  • I can’t even be nice and call this one an ok deal. Too small of a living space with no closets. Upside is that it could turn into a great rental property after the owner out grows it.

  • I agree it’s small but also think people don’t need as much space as they think. I downsized from 2400 feet to 1000 (for 2 people and 2 pets) and we still don’t use one room and one bathroom, ever. Compact spaces can be very cool. That location rocks, too.

  • How could it be a “great rental property” but not a good deal b/c of its size (implying that it wouldn’t be nice to live there)? Slumlord much?

    Personally, I’m with the people that say you can live in a small space and its not that big of deal. ESPECIALLY when the location is great.

  • I’m all for living within reasonably sized spaces, but I’m not into passing through my kitchen to reach the bathroom. This should be a studio with a sleeping alcove, which would also bring in more light and remove that very strange doorway. However, even the studio fix will not correct the bathroom placement, which is a fatal flaw for me.

    Sometimes real estate is priced lower for a reason.

  • The person who is purchasing this should go to Ikea and go into one of their ‘living in 300 sq ft’ room displays to figure out how to furnish the place. Seems really small and not for me but a great location.

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