Good Deal or Not? Huge Backyard Edition


This home is located at 1426 S Street, NW:

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The flier says:

“Delightful 1880’s TH. Gorgeous garden, patio + 2 car parking in huge 20’X72′ fenced back yard. Many period details intact – high ceilings, old wood floors, curved walls. Updated w/ hi-eff. heating, hi-eff. HWH, heavy-up electric capacity, some replcmnt windows. Basic update in kit. & baths.”

More info and photos found here.

I really like this section of S Street. What do you think of the house itself? How important is a big back yard to you? Does $821,500 sound reasonable for this 3 bed/2 bath?

50 Comment

  • dark, dark, dark

  • Is that seriously the only picture we get of the kitchen?!?

  • Seems reasonable considering the location. A big yard is a HUGE deal to me, that’s why I live in Brightwood… because I get a huge yard, detached house, and own at a reasonable price point.

  • I don’t know if its a good deal, but one of the bedrooms had laminate wood flooring in it (yuck), and the brick walls looked like they needed some work (there were some minor holes–see for example around those silver metal things sticking out of the brick–that looked not-right to a layman, like myself, but maybe wouldn’t be a big deal). The floors were definitely old and creaky/sloping (so, other than the laminate one, they looked great, but not sure what it would take to fix them). Also, I think all the bedrooms upstairs shared the same bathroom, so from a layout perspective, didn’t like that too much. But location is great and I’m sure someone with dogs would love that large backyard.

  • No basement.
    High taxes.

    Good deal at 650-675K.

  • I like this block as well; on the north side of the street, closer to 14th, is the coolest Southern Magnolia I’ve ever seen: it must be close to 60 feet tall, and is limbed-up like an oak tree.
    Anyway, this house is attractive, although the dining room wall color and partial brick are distracting…

  • Good deal, not really. Appropriately priced, yes.

  • I wish it wasn’t so expensive, but it looks reasonably priced for the area and the size. The lack of central air and heat is a drag, and neither the kitchen or the baths seem recently redone, but looking at the comps it seems they’ve dropped the price in consideration of this.

    The yard isn’t huge but for a row house it pretty big. If I’m understanding the listing, there is parking in addition to the grassy yard, plus there’s all of the front yard, all adding up to a lot of outdoor space, it seems to me.

  • You are an absolute asshole if you pay this much for a house in DC.

  • So you’re saying it’s a good deal, right?

  • 650-675K?!!! good luck finding that. Records show it went for $683 in ’04. LOL

    Agree with it being dark and the comments about the brick walls. Kitchen is not great but more than functioning. For a small investment you could punch out the back wall and create a ton of light in the downstairs/kitchen etc…

    Central heat? Who wants forced air when you can have radiator with a brand new system? No central air-some hate it; most love it.

    One odd thing: it looked like the owner had a thing for Arts & Crafts: hence the exposed brick and dining room wall color but the house is early Victorian era. But that’s why they have drywall and paint at Home Depot…

    Great house if you don’t want all the pricey upgrades. The floors are original Heart of Pine which are probably worth about 10K if sold as remnants. If you want cozy and original this is the house. If you are looking for modern amenities keep looking. Several similar houses WITH upgrades went for hundreds of thousand more in the past year. If you want a (relatively) reasonable entry into the neighborhood, I’d snap it up.

  • LMAO-guess there are a lot of asshole homeowners out there

  • Yeah, I wouldn’t say good deal, but not totally unreasonable given the location and the yard. I don’t think it’s as dark as it seems – from the outdoor pictures, it looks like they were (foolishly) photographing on a cloudy day.

  • Beautiful block, I think the house lives bigger than it looks, location, location, location. I’d offer $755,000 and see what happens (other than them laughing).

  • Sorry, but when your toilet seat and cover are made out of that fake wood stuff..your bathrooms have not been redone since the 70s (do not understand why seller wouldn’t make a small investment in new seat/lid)….Also, who makes the beds in this place?! Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy….

  • Lovely

    Anon 1:51, what else can you tell me about the value of salvaged heart pine floors? I am quite mad at my contractor for convincing me to pull some of them out, on the other hand there was mold on them and I was told some could not be saved. But I wonder if I should have gotten a 2nd/3rd opinion

  • my daughter used the toilet. It’s real wood. That doesn’t make it any better in my book, but it is real.

  • bogfrog: mold is not so good. Not much you can do about that UNLESS it’s not too deep. The nice thing about them is that you can sand the sh*t out of them (not like newer floors which have about 3 sandings in them). You could probably have sold them off in pieces-they’re used for entry ways, accent pieces and replacement parts. The ones in that house were original and so about 140 years old. Hard to find that anymore so the price goes up. I think you may have gotten shafted by your contractor. I’m betting your contractor sold them…sorry to say. In fairness, mold is dangerous and difficult to get rid of but I bet there were areas that were still good.

  • Great location! Pictures do not do this place justice! The backyard is quaint and cozy, perfect for entertaining! It’s a must see!

  • I think there’s a house on T, maybe a block or two to the east, that is similarly priced but in better condition, so I’d say not a good deal, but maybe a fair deal (so I’d disagree with anon @1:51p on this point).

  • I live in this neighborhood and have been to a number of homes in the area. This one is a FANTASTIC

  • I saw the one on T: it’s much smaller and I think only 2 bedroom or the third is embarrasingly small. And no yard.

  • This house is in move-in condition.

    Sure it needs updating. What house doesn’t??

    Its an 1800s gem in a PRIME PRIME PRIME location. Plus 2-car parking and a big front garden and HUGE back garden.

    Buy this house and redo as you go along.

  • it’s not a good deal in the most objective sense. However, it is in line with prices in that area of the city for that quality of home.

    If location is your number one priority, that is an OK price.

  • …location and has great yard space that is actually useable. I disagree–I think the interior has a good feel and dig the amount of windows and brick walls. Personally, I’ve seen places go for the same price or more that offer much less space (including outdoor space).

  • No idea whether it’s a good deal or not at this point. If it’s still on the market a month from now, maybe not.
    One pet peeve – I don’t understand why realtors waste photos on non-house items – i.e., neighborhood restaurants and stores, the nearest Metro stop, etc. A stimple statelment that a place is within X blocks of [such and such] metro stop, [such and such] bus lines, [who’s its face’s] restaurant is enough. Anyone who is interested in this house will do their own investigation of the neighborhood and see exactly how the distances play out. No offense to Cork, but I doubt that seeing a photograph of that restaurant is going to peak the interest of any buyers who are not otherwise interested in the property.

  • Who gives a sh*t how the beds are made or whether their dining room sideboard is arts and crafts or not? It isn’t being sold furnished.

  • You don’t buy a house based on the furniture, the paint on the walls or a toilet seat. I mean, really.

    This is a steal for this location. Plus 2-car parking!!!! In the middle of Dupont/Logan–2 car parking!

    This is priced right on target.

  • I went to the open house this weekend! I also saw the house on 12th and T. I liked the one at 12th and T better, because it was in better condition and had more usable inside space. It didn’t have the backyard that this one does, though it had a front porch, so maybe that is a distinction for someone that really cares about a backyard (maybe for someone with a dog), but for me, the inside of 12th and T was nicer (and that’s where I’d be spending most of my time) and I could see myself sitting on a porch more so than the grass of a yard. I do think the 2 main bedrooms on this house were bigger than the T street one, but the T street one had nicer bathrooms and there would be less that would need renovating right away (I also agree that the floors didn’t seem that great in this S street house and there was stuff that was just falling apart). The T street one is $25k more, so maybe they are about the same on the GDON scale, but I’d bet the T street one sells first b/c of the difference in condition between the two.

  • I bet hey sell equally fast. 2 different properties.

  • Robert 2:44

    So I take it this is your listing? LOL

  • It’s a beautiful section of S street. We’ve fantasy shopped that street on many a weekend. It’s a great location relative to all the hip neighborhoods in NW DC, but still pretty quiet. Let’s face it, location is everything in real estate — just ask the comps down the street asking $200K more for essentially the same space.

    Some of the above comments point out cosmetic changes or conflicts in taste rather than assessing the bones of the house. It has a brand new heating system, so you shouldn’t have to replace it for a couple of decades. Plus, I’d take radiator heat over forced air any cold day of the week. Central air is a personal choice, but it looks as if the house is well shaded and it has that lush garden in the back, so it should stay pretty comfortable in the summer — even in DC.

    As for the bathrooms/kitchen…kitchens and bathrooms are really personal, and everyone I know who has bought a house (including me) immediately redid the kitchen. I think I’d take this price over something that reflects a showy new kitchen that’s either not really my taste or will look dated in 5 years. This kitchen looks as if it’s got newish stainless appliances, a fair amout of cabinet/counter space, and something that looks like maybe Italian tile floors. …in short, totally functional and very neutral. It’s a blank slate for the buyer. Ditto the bathrooms, which seem a little small, but functional. The wooden seat can be resolved with a quick trip to Home Depot.

    Anon 1:51, are you saying you’d pull up those heart pine floors? I’d rather check what’s under the laminate section. I’d bet it’s also heart pine, which you can restore for ~$1000, if you’re willing to do the work.

    The back yard looks as if the owner has put in a bunch of work — will save the buyer a lot of expense and work. I’d kill for that much of a back yard in the city. Plus parking — which is no easy feat these days in that neighborhood.

    As for the comments on the darkness, I agree it seems a little dark. Then again, most town houses are dark. As someone said, you could knock out a back wall to get a little light in, but short of some major architectual changes, there’s only so much light you can get into a house when two sides are joined to your neighbors’ homes. It’s just the nature of the beast. For a town home, I think it’s a pretty reasonable amount of light.

    In short, it seems to me as if it’s priced to sell. There are some things that could be done, but most of them are cosmetic and subject to the next owner’s taste. For that neighborhood, it’s a really reasonable price for a place that doesn’t appear to require any major renovations before you move in. If I were in the market, I’d definitely give it a hard look.

  • This is a gorgeous home with a beautiful garden in a great neighborhood. You should consider it in your home search.

  • OK, so the owner and agent for the house have chimed in now so we should be covered.

  • I think the listing agent or owners have invaded this thread!!! hahaha.

    Also: “Central air is a personal choice,”—really? Have you lived in the city in August? I haven’t known anyone to turn down central air given the choice. I’ve known plenty of people to turn it off to save money on electricity, but no one that PREFERS living with the racket and limited radius of an in-window air-conditioning unit. Sorry.

  • Seriously, what is with the circle jerk over this property?

  • I went by there this weekend. The backyard is stunning. I can only imagine what it looks like in the summer — and perfect for entertaining or a quiet barbeque.

    The house it self is in really good shape. The floors could eventually use a little work in spots, but as Anon says above, they’re heart o pine so you can sand the sh*t out of them and they’d be beautiful. At the same time, they don’t need it immediately and add to the character of the house. Unlike a lot of rehabs these days, the owner retained a lot of the features that give an old house its character. It’s really a great buy for the location.

  • “I went by there this weekend. The backyard is stunning. I can only imagine what it looks like in the summer — and perfect for entertaining or a quiet barbeque.”

    I have a strange feeling you don’t have to imagine that, only remember.

  • I know the current owner of this house and have been there several times. Looking at the pictures, I don’t think they actually do the backyard justice. The yard is beautiful – perfect for garden barbeques and summer entertaining. And it’s on one of my favorite blocks in DC – in the middle of everything and yet perfectly peaceful.

    I didn’t know it had two parking spots until I read this post, but those should become increasingly valuable in a neighborhood that has become a more popular nightlife destination than Adams Morgan. (Friends of mine recently bought a loft nearby on V street and were offered a parking spot for an additional $35,000.)

  • Darrell-so what’s wrong if the owner/agent do chime in here. Perfect free advertising. As for people who’ve actually been there-I only wish I had friends with a backyard/bbq-and aren’t they the ones who would know how this really looks/feels? I do think it’s funny that there is so much posting on this about this property. Either it’s really really good or somebody’s getting a kickback. OR…is the bubble re-inflating in the downtown DC housing market? LOL.

  • Well, if they are the owner and/or listing agent, they should say so. I think people are commenting on it, because these aren’t the types of comments that typically come up in GDoN posts, so they stick out like a sore thumb and, really, if someone is trying that hard and obviously covering up who they are, what else are they covering up?

  • Wow. Conspiracy theorists are active today.

    I think the house has a lot to offer, and isn’t out of line price-wise for a downtown house with a yard and parking. Not necessarily a “good deal” – I’m with the other commenter who “fantasy shops” on that block ’cause there will never be anything in my price range there!

    They may not get their asking but I bet they will do just fine.

  • haven’t read any of the comments, but based on the photos and location…i would buy it in a second

  • That’s a big piece of land it’s on. You’re really spending more for that huge lot than the house. Personally, it’s not intriguing to me, but it does seem to be worth it. I’m a land freak though – it’s twice as big as my lot.

  • I have a hard time understanding all of the people who say they went to the open house and declare this house to be perfect and a great deal. My wife and I went by, and while the house has many appealing things to offer–notably, the great back yard and the location–it also clearly needs a decent amount of work. First, several of the doors have about 15 layers of paint on them, not terribly uncommon in a house of this vintage but still a pain. Second, the kitchen and the bathrooms leave a fair bit to be desired, even for those who are not after a completely updted look. The third bedroom upstairs, not pictured, is quite small and is currently set up as a large walk in closet.

    More importantly, it looks like the stairway railing needs to be replaced. Several spindles are missing at the top and the railing looks like it is generally not in good shape. There are a number of spots in the upstairs where the flooring needs some real work. In one or two spots on the second floor landing it looks like the problems could be structural. Finally, there were some cracks in the walls which, again, while probably not completely uncommon in an older house like this, still need to be checked out.

    These problems aside, the house does seem like it has a lot to offer and I could easily see someone expanding the house in the back and doing a great renovation project. There is in fact tons of room in the back that you could put on an addition and still have a huge backyard. As it stands, I question whether it isn’t priced somewhat on the high side.

  • This house is priced to sell. It’s one of the best blocks in the area. I live here. Lots of long-term homeownership. Well cared for block. The house needs some upgrades and some TLC, but is definitely livable. The yard is huge for a city property. And radiators heat much more efficiently and evenly than hot air. Look at the comps. This house is priced for people to make the upgrades and still be within the market prices. If you are looking for a great 1880’s house to put your mark on, this one is a great choice. Hurry before you miss out!

  • I have visited the house a couple of times and it is just quaint and lovely. The large back yard is landscaped beautifully – a huge plus in the city with plenty of room for a nice outdoor BBQ and/or dogs! Gorgeous in the spring & summer with everything in bloom. The location is clearly awesome! LOVE the brick in the house. Though it may need some work, a good find and for the price compared to many other houses I have seen out there.

  • This is an excelllent block to live on. I love walking down this andSwann Street. It is so tranquil. If I had the money I’d buy it.

  • 10 days on the market, under contract (contingent, no kick-out). No idea what it went for, but if it went that fast, probably not less than asking.

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