Good Deal or Not? Mt. Rainier Edition (Reader Request)


This home is located at 3814 33rd Street, Mt. Rainier, MD:

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The flier says:

“Charmingly renovated 3BR,2BA home on a quiet street in irresistible & convenient Mount Rainier. EZ access to Metrobus & Metro. High ceilings, great light, hardwoods throughout, large kitchen w/stainless & granite and breakfast room/den, formal DR w/gas fp, bright living room, 3 nicely sized bedrooms, 2 renovated full baths, CAC, W/D, offstreet pkng, large & flat yard.”

More info and photos found here.

A reader writes:

“Hey, I was out in Mt. Rainier the other day and never considered the area when looking for housing, but it’s really quite nice. Anyway, I stumbled across this property when reading through Urban Turf and thought it might make for a good GDON considering Mt. Ranier never comes up.”

I don’t know much about Mt. Rainier but I hear that it is welcoming to artists. Since it’s just over the DC border I’d be interested to hear what folks think about this one. Does $279,000 sound reasonable? Any fans of Mt. Rainier in general?

25 Comment

  • Blank canvas. Nice. Unless it means “cheap flip”. Then not so nice.

    I’m unclear what metro that location has EZ access to. I don’t know the area, but I’ve recently read good things about their schools and community associations.

    So with central AC and no glaring defects, and no idea of comps, I’m going to say yeah, good deal.

  • It already went under contract…The current going rate for renovated homes in Mt Rainier is mid 200s so it was a decent deal, but I’ve seen them go for as low as 250k. Whoever did this flip does a lot of them in the area. I went to the open house, the floors looked better online than in person. There was no basement or washer/dryer (there were hookups though). I’ve considered moving to Mt Rainier, but the crime is a concern. It’s a lovely area with a lot of potential, so I hope it improves. The closest metro is West Hyattsville.

  • In regards to crime its got much lower crime than Col. Heights or Petworth, but isn’t as accessible – West Hyattsville metro is nearby. Many buses run to RI metro, which is close too.

  • Mt. Rainier reminds me of what Takoma Park used to be before high rents ran all of the family owned businesses into the ground but I second @Monster Trucks observation. I wanted to move there but the crime gave me pause. Hopefully things have improved.

  • the north side of mount rainier is close to the metro, but this side isnt.

    the street car will ( someday) be within a block from this house, and if maryland ( unlikely for a loooong time) gets on board, it will be even closer.

    crime isn’t as bad as its reputation gives it. since bass liquors closed lots of things have changed there. its safe than most of the hoods talked about on this blog.

    as for being artists friendly, it is because of cost, but also because of a sales tax free zone for artists.

    DC has stated in its master plan that rhode island ave, between north cap and eastern should be an arts district and the great streets iniatiative is working on this. all of rhode island between eastern and hyattsville is part of the gateway arts district.

    there are definitely a lot of artists out there. check out the gateway districts open studio in december

  • It is true that Mt. Rainier has less crime than Colombia Heights and Petworth- especially in terms of violent crime. We moved to Mt. Rainier a tear ago. We considered Petworth as well as Brookland, and we were moving from Takoma Park because we could not afford a house there. Some of the renovations in Mt. Rainier are better than others. It is probably best to find one that has been done by an owner while living in it, rather than a professional flip. Mt. Rainier has been designated a gateway arts community and gets grant money accordingly. There are subsidized artists lofts available in a renovated building in the middle of downtown Mt.R.

    We bought here hoping that it will continue to improve, much like folks buying into Petworth/Colo Heights. We will see what happens when/if the economy turns around. Now would seem to be a good time to buy in Mt.R, as prices are down about 20% from 1.5 years ago and way off 06 highs.

    My personal view is that the biggest drawback to the house listed above is its proximity to Rhode Island Ave. There is a liquor store nearby that sells singles and between that and the bus stop, there can be a lot of vagrants hanging out, drunk, and relieving themselves nearby. That said, if Mt. R downtown really turns around, this house will be in a prime location.

    Mt. R as a whole is almost equidistant to 3 metro stops (W.Hyattsville, Brookland, and RI), but it depends exactly where you are.

    There are a lot of great bungalows in Mt. R, Brookland, and everywhere in between. With a little love, the area could look like TKPK.

  • coincidentally my wife and I spent yesterday afternoon strolling around mt. rainier! We found it to be exceptionally architecturally interesting place, lots of beautiful mature trees and well preserved houses and cats on porches and friendly people walking by. We felt quite safe on the street, much safer quite frankly than we do in any part of DC. I am shocked that houses are as cheap as they are there given proximity to downtown. Very charming part of the area.

  • also, we counted at least a dozen front doors left wide open (with residents not evidently watching them) and almost no bars on windows, which is an extremely strong indicator of the area being relatively safe. I would be shocked to ever find a front door left open in my neck of the woods – it would be most likely an indicator of a burglary in progress…

  • eric,
    the schools help to keep the prices low.

    an area isn’t going to jump up in prices until the middle class see it as a desirable option.
    thankfully, this keeps mount rainier a bit funky and cool.

  • I’m not sure if the crime rate is really lower than an area like Petworth on a per capita basis. There’s a fair amount of activity for such a small town – burglaries, strong arm robberies, carjackings, etc. Just a couple weeks ago the clerk of a grocery store was shot in the back in a botched robbery attempt.

  • surprising if the area has a crime rate anything like petworth or columbia heights but residents haven’t installed bars on windows or taken to not leaving their doors wide open during the day.

    and yeah that makes sense on the schools.

  • I hope the area stays funky and cool. They have lots of untouched Sears & Roebuck bungalows and victorians that haven’t had the character reno’d out of them. The place has a definite vibe and is completely underrated.

  • Having lived for some time in Cottage City, I’d say it’s an OK deal. I dig the classic old homes, has that artsy/hippy takoma thing but just with more of that motowny bail bond thing. Neat bike repair shop. Lots of latinos moving into that area so an interesting mix of punk juveniles, hipsters, old time white workers, and old black folk. If you work downtown, you will learn to hate commuting on Rhode Island Ave, though a decent set of bus services to the RI metro.

    If they put in a MARC train stop, wow, then it’d be awesome.

  • that is cheap as crap for a SFH

  • POP, I can abide you venturing outside of Petworth, but outside of the city? I dunno. This makes me uncomfortable. Is an Arlington restaurant review next?

  • rd,

    not right now it isn’t.
    at least not for the areas along rhode island avenue from about brentwood ave to hyattsville.
    not a bad time to buy.

  • This is zoned Mount Rainier elementry, right? Anyone know the middle/high school?

    Where do these people go to the grocery store?

  • This is not a good deal. We have a contract in on a place in Moutn Rainier and viewed almost every house there over the last 6 months.

    As someone above noted, this is a flip…it is identical to the listing on Shepherd St in Mt. Rainier….tons of white paint and lacquered floors. The people behind this are flipping a lot of houses in the area.

    The crime here is much lower than in Petworth or Columbia Heights…the stats and details are published on the Chief of Police’s site. Car break-ins and car thefts are the bulk. But keep in mind Mt. Rainier also encompasses some rougher areas and this is in the “Poor Mans Takoma Park” section. The people here are mucher nicer than in Takoma – not as obnoxious and self absorbed (like the South Park episode with the Prius cars).

    Like any neighborhood the key is to do your homework. Mt. Rainier is building a bio-fuels cooperative, part of the Hyattsville Arts District, etc.

  • @ ex rowhouse, I could see your point if this house were way outside the city, but this house is *2 blocks* from the DC border. It’s about 5 miles from the White House – same distance as Brightwood.

  • the glut food co-op is pretty freaking sweet.

  • as a Mount Raineir resident for 6 years I have to say that when I first moved the from the city it was a little hard since I consider myself a city girl but I now absolutely love it, love my neighbors, love my block, etc. My neighbors are a mixe of artists, a have state delegate, a professional dancer, waitress, vet, and I think that is it. I have worked on my house since I moved in and continue to work on it, and it will probably never end. the major drawback of Mount Rainier is the lack of a metro station within a 10-15 minute walk (from dowtown which I consider the awesome Glut co-op) and crime is not as bad a CH or Petworth.

    Having said that, I and many other have seen the neighborhood evolve and what I love about this place is that it actually is a mix of dif. people not only backgrounds but incomes, lifestyles and more.

    Whether the house is a good deal or not, can’t say, hard to tell on photos, and no telling whether they are covering major problems, but for that price and that close to DC I would think it’s good.

  • Listing says: Taxes: 6129.57

    Are the taxes in PG county really that much higher than in DC?

  • yes, you should expect Maryland taxes to be much higher than in DC. I looked at a house in Bethesda that was selling for the high $700s and because of its land- and oh my god, the land– the taxes were $12,500 per year or more than $1000 per month just to own that land.

    It had its own natural waterfall.

    for $799k

  • “In regards to crime its got much lower crime than Col. Heights or Petworth”

    Crime RATE is all that is important. The population of Mt. Ranier is about 8,000. The population of Columbia Heights is probably harder to estimate but 20010 zip code is 30,000 people.

  • mt. rainier’s crime rate is higher than the STATE of maryland’s, but it’s also low-income compared with DC. but people don’t just move there and piss and moan about things: i happen to know a wonderful person who has lived there for 20 years, and she is one of the people responsible for 1) increasing the number of cops from 2 to 18, 2) dedicating a park as a skate park for kids, and 3) setting up the silo near the fire house for the people who want to heat their homes by burning something other than oil or gas. she also remembers when they decided to position the area as an arts district. also, she told me about people who used to take turns standing on a street corner on the weekend till 4 a.m. and writing down license plate numbers of drug dealers. improving a community takes brains, dedication, and guts.

    glut coop is incredible, and less costly than anything in DC.

    if you’re thinking of buying a house there, know that MR is rather famous for having springs running underground. many houses either have NO basements or have problems with water in the basement. way back when, the area used to be orchards, which makes sense.

    but it’s a great little town and a great community.

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