Good Deal or Not? Private Entrance Condo Edition


This condo is located at 1901 Calvert Street, NW:

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The flier says:

“Best Deal Around! Bright spacious 1BR terrace level unit with private entrance. Freshly painted and shows beautifully. Hardwood floors and carpeting in BR. Steps to the exciting Adams Morgan nightlife, and a short walk across the bridge to the Metro! Location Location Location!”

More info found here and a mouse on house tour found here.

I’m interested to hear what you guys think about this one because I almost bought one of these terrace units in 2002. Interesting to note is that at that time the unit also sold for around $300k (I got way out bid). Obviously, this one is under contract so somebody think’s it a good deal but I’m wondering what you guys think. Do you like the private terrace? I never actually see folks on those terraces.   It was listing for $309,000. Sound reasonable?

19 Comment

  • I’ve always loved this place! Great outdoor space for entertaining & people watching.

  • Interesting layout. Shouldn’t there be a rear exit? It’s a little small but the outdoor space is super nice. No pets though, so boo.

  • I was thinking the same thing about those terraces. I walk past there all the time and they’re so close to the sidewalk that you’d have no privacy sitting out there, and you could never have anything of value out there, like a grill or furniture. I think it’s a fairly good deal, but only because of the excellent location. It’s both close enough and far enough away from the Metro and the heart of Adams Morgan.

    On the other hand, the place is lacking all the high-end finishes that 99% of condos in DC seem to have these days, and it’s extremely dark in there. And what’s up with the parking? The listing says “Parking Included in List Price,” but I don’t see where it would be located, since I’m pretty sure that building doesn’t have a garage. And if you happen to get home at like 10 PM on a Saturday night, the nearest available parking space is probably going to be at least a half mile from here.

  • I was wondering about the rear exit, too. Looks illegal. And even if it is up to code, that bedroom looks like a deathtrap in the event of a fire in the middle of the unit.

  • The bedroom has two window that qualify for rear egress, and the bedroom is at one end of the unit, the front door is at the other. In the event of a fire in the middle, you pick one or the other.

    If it has a dedicated parking spot, $300k is about right, if not $265K for the basement.

  • I actually checked out one of the units in this building a few months back. It was a different one on the east side, where the living rooms taper into a long triangle.

    Bathroom and kitchen looked like they haven’t been touched since the ’80s. Living room was great, though.

  • Hope the buyer likes lots of noise and dried vomit patches on their patio.

  • The amateur architect comments on this board crack me up. Do us all a favor and keep the amateur hour away from community meetings.

    If apartments had to have a second exit, 99.9% of all apartments and condos in the world would be in violation of the codes. Obviously they are not. Even single family homes do not have to have a second exit (under International Residential Code). Under IRC, they do have to have an operable window in any bedroom that does not have a door, but obviously this and millions of other apartments in the city and the world are grandfathered in because they were built before this requirement existed.

    Even if this unit was used for commercial purposes, it still wouldn’t require a second exit. A second exit would only be required if the occupancy was greater than 50 (and if retail, the code requires 30SF/person, so the space would have to be 1,500 SF total; if office, 100SF/person, thus 5,000 SF total). Other factors that would trigger a second required exit would be a path of travel of greater than 200 ft or a dead-end corridor of greater than 50 ft. 200 ft is far far longer than the whole apartment, and the 50 feet wouldn’t be measured from the washer/dryer location. From here to the furthest corner of the bedroom is obviously no where near 50 feet.

    So about the apartment, I think it looks like a good deal. $486/SF is a pretty good rate for this area. The apartment is much bigger than most 1 bedrooms are. The terrace looks nice, even if the owner couldn’t leave stuff outside all the time, and the apartment looks sunny. If I could, I’d probably buy it!

  • Stop playing amateur real estate evaluator. I’ve been inside, and it’s definitely not sunny.

  • @anon 2:02 nice info, thanks. but just because it’s legal, doesnt mean it’s safe.

    on the other hand, it’s a nice neighborhood, and it’s a good price!

  • BTW, we are still waiting on Nichole’s corpse story.

  • Superdude–In writing building codes, the authors use reams of data to define what is safe, and then they implement stricter standards.

    This unit is safer than most of the units in that building and especially all across the city. It is on the ground floor. As others point out, even though it isn’t required, it has operable windows in the bedroom. Any other occupant in the building is going to have the same exit options–only they will have to jump if they choose the window. And most of the modern apartment buildings in this city don’t even have ‘operable windows’–they have hopper-style windows or casement (swinging) windows that don’t open fully.

    And yet, they all pass their inspections. If you don’t believe the code authors, why can’t you at least believe the firefighters who conduct the inspections?

  • You’re only partly right. If the bars on those windows in the bedroom don’t have interior quick-release mechanisms on them, then it’s definitely against code.

  • Article XVIII, Section 6 of the DC Municipal Code states:

    Every sleeping room located in the basement of all residential buildings shall have at least one operable window (including windows with releasable security bars) or exterior door approved for emergency egress or rescue, or shall have access to notless than two approved independent exits.

    –OR EXTERIOR DOOR. Since this unit has an exterior entry, the operation of security bars is irrelevant
    –BASEMENT. Since the entry is at street level, and not sunken, this doesn’t qualify as a basement unit.

    This isn’t an illegal unit. There are a lot of things which a person might think should be illegal but aren’t. This is one of them.

  • Interesting…I have been wondering about this place as I live around the corner. I am a little confused about what parking they could possibly be talking about because as far as I know there is no garage. Also as for no pets…there are definately people that live there with pets. In fact I know someone in another terrace a couple units down has two large dogs.

    The price seems good, but I have to say the inside is a little dated…and dark.

  • .. at least now we know what DC Housing inspectors do with their time. Glad to know google is working out for them.

  • RG–you don’t have to be a housing inspector to know the code. Any architect, contractor, facility manager, property manager, and interior designer will know them. And many of these are professions hit very very hard by the current economy so I would imagine there are a lot of them with plenty of time on their hands.

    And then there is just anyone who would rather take the time to access the municipal code, available free online to anyone who is interested, who would rather find out the facts that believe other anonymous posters spouting garbage.

  • exactly. choose not to believe what you read.

  • RG, just because someone quotes building code with an anonymous handle doesn’t mean their information is inaccurate. All you have to do is paste some of the excerpt from above into a search engine to find that clearly it is taken directly from the District code.

    If you don’t want to live there or buy this place, then fine, don’t. But making accusations against the owner and their agents is reckless and defamatory.

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