Good Deal or Not? New Construction Edition


This home/condo is located at 3350 17th Street, NW:

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The flier says:

“Level 2 BR, 2 bath unit. Has access directly to parking and garages. Parking is available for purchase. Fabulous newly created condo with granite counters and flooded with light. Quiet street and affordable pricing.”

More info and photos found here.

I always enjoy finding new construction/buildings that we’ve previously judged from the outside. What do you think of the look from the inside? This particularly unit is a 2 bed/2 bath going for $448,000. Sound reasonable?

It might be worth noting that many of the other units in this building are already under contract.

23 Comment

  • I went to an open house there and they were some of the worst laid out condos I have ever seen. Besides standard things like small rooms and cheap materials there were some really bizarre things as well. My favorite was a bedroom closet that literally only had an opening of about 3 feet high that you had to duck into and go forward a little bit before you could stand up in the normal height closet.

    For new construction, it was absolutely awful.

  • Went to visit opening weekend. These places have odd layouts, however, that isn’t to say they are a bad deal. I think they priced them almost accordingly. I don’t remember which particular unit this one was, but I think somewhere between $420-440k would be a good deal.

  • nah. thats one of those new two bedrooms that is the same sq footage as a one bedroom in an old post war building. If I was in the market for a small 2 bedroom with no parking I would go with one of the units in the argyle building. Better location. roof deck. 50k cheaper

  • I won’t comment on the lay-out (other than saying it’s sad that it wasn’t redone as a single family home), but I love the location of this place — it’s about as central as can be to Rock Creek Park, DCUSA/14th Street, and Mt. Pleasant, yet it still has a quiet(-ish), tree-lined street feel to it.

  • Why build condos to look outwardly like a single-family home (albeit a large one)? Is this a thing?

  • Not new building. It’s a rehab. See 2004 photo at

  • meh….

    I wish they would leave these house as single family homes so middle class families with children could find places to live in the city. As it stands Col. Hts., mt pleasent, petworth are going to end up being nothing but condos for 20 somethings and public housing/section 8.

  • My question is who is buying these condos? Changes in FHA have made it nearly impossible to get FHA financing for a condo which means that people have to come up with 15%-20% downpayments for a conventional loan. I always thought condos were more of a “first-time homebuyer” kind of purchase, but I can’t imagine many first time buyers with that kind of cash!

  • I’ve seen this place and the quality of construction is incredibly cheap, even by DC condo conversion standards. The poor saps who buy the units will need to do some major repairs very soon.

  • I live across the street from this house, and watched the transformation from lovely, large single-family home to what it is now. It is a historic structure – one of the few houses left from the pre-trolly days, when it was mostly farm land. I’m actually surprised that the cut-up was permitted under zoning – but maybe they got a variance. From what I saw, I can concur that the least-expensive materials and designs were generally used. They also didn’t honor the structure at all. It could have been gorgeous, and instead it’s boring and lacking in harmony.

  • They also didn’t honor the structure at all. It could have been gorgeous, and instead it’s boring and lacking in harmony.

    Yep – they maimed a beautiful old house.

  • Wasn’t this a rehab of a rundown house that went to foreclosure under the first developer, and then was finished by this developer? There were foreclosure signs out front a few years ago.

  • What’s up with the bumped up granite counter around the stove’s mini backsplash\clock thing (Yes, that’s the official term for it)? Wouldn’t it have just been easier and nicer to buy one of the many models of stoves out there that have a flat top?

    This has to be one of the cheapest, tackiest, and dumbest looking things i’ve ever seen. Now, instead of an open and equally level counter, they have a stupid looking counter with two levels and zero usefulness.

  • I was always under the impression that the reason they chopped up these large houses into condos was that the high $/sq. ft costs that DC commands. This makes large houses too expensive and if they were sold as such they would cost more than the neighborhood could support (you see houses chopped up like this much less west of the Park, right?)

    Is this not the case?

  • “I wish they would leave these house as single family homes so middle class families with children could find places to live in the city.”
    Given this location, no middle class family with or without children could have afforded this home if it had been renovated as a single family home.

  • Anon @ 1:58 … hate to break it to you, but even if this had been left a SFH, I doubt it would have sold at a price any middle class family could afford.

    There definitely was some financing issue with this place mid-renovation. Maybe 18-24 mos. ago, the foreclosure signs were out front, after the reno had begun.

  • That is no one would have bought this as a single family house for what it cost to renovate it.
    On that subject, the house on the corner of 13th St. NW and Otis has dropped its asking price by about 200K, but is still over a mill.
    Now there’s a nice house that’s going to have a helluva time getting sold.

  • “Zoning” is applied to large swaths of area, multiple properties, and define the most *permissive* use of the land.

    Most of DC is zoned R-4 or R-5, meaning the land can be used for low or high density apartments, row houses, or single family homes. Without the need for variance approval from DCOZ.

    In the NW quadrant, only some parts of Crestwood Woodley Park and Palisades are zoned R-1, meaning single-family homes only. All of MtP, CH, and Petworth are zoned R-4 or higher, meaning single family homes, row houses, apartments, condos, and sometimes commercial and mixed use.

    Under this zoning, all the contractor would need is a certificate of occupancy, meaning an inspection and verification that all applicable building codes were followed–proper number of exits and smoke detectors, fire retardant material usage where necessary, and effective exterior envelope construction.

    Armchair quarterbacks seem to be so common on these GDoNs. Too many assumptions that because something is different, it must be illegal or shady. Zoning maps and regulations, building and municipal codes, and council hearing records are all available online for free, and usually in multiple languages.

    Before laying out such reckless accusations, I think people should stop and think how they would feel if such things were said about YOU. How would you feel if someone ruined your reputation or went so far as to lodge an official complaint, forcing you to take time and money to defend yourself, when you had done nothing wrong, and such complaints were born out of nothing but laziness and ignorance?

    Educate yourselves people! All this information is readily available.

  • @ogden

    yes, education is valuable. in this case, an educated commenter would know that this is a historic district, so splitting the house into 6 condos required MUCH more effort, time, and variances than you suggest. the developer who went bankrupt had to appear at countless hearings to get his design approved.

  • as someone not very familiar with renovations, what makes this a cheap renovation?

  • You can see the cheapness before you even walk inside. The stone tiles they applied to the front steps and walkway will crack pop off after a few freeze-thaw cycles. The metal railings are poorly bolted into the concrete and will quickly rust and loosen. They didn’t even bother to repoint the concrete between the stones of the front wall or remove the line of spray paint.

  • strappedforcash: I had no trouble getting an FHA loan for my new place this year. I don’t think it’s impossible at all, though you probably need to have a good credit score.

    And yeah, that house was being renovated (or just sitting there) from the time I moved into my apartment in Mt. Pleasant (October 2005) until a couple of months ago. I don’t think there’s much left of the original house other than some of the exterior walls, and it’s gone through at least two builders. I would be pretty worried about quality…

    Finally, there seem to be plenty of middle class families with kids in Mt. Pleasant. Of course, it’s the DC version of middle class, but they don’t seem to be Rockefellers or anything.

  • While construction may not be the best, location and size definitely makes these worth the money.

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