Good Deal or Not? “Amazing Potential” Edition


This home is located at 1424 Florida Ave, NW:

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The flier says:

“Prop. Sold “AS IS. Amazing Potential!Very livable but needs work. Original Period Floor Plan! Many period details largely intact, wood flrs, high ceilings, marble fpl. , mantels & original molding, Double Lr. Potential Eng. basement unit. Steps from Metro, U St Corridor. Beautiful Floor plan for the Purist At Heart!”

More info and photos found here.

Well from the photos this house looks pretty sweet already. I’m curious what work is needed. What do you think of the home itself. I think this location is stellar. Does $529,900 sound reasonable for this 3 bed/2 bath?

38 Comment

  • I would buy it if I had the money. I would keep ALL the details. Picutres look great. Little conderned about the 698 sq feet. That can’t be right.

    • That could be accurate- it’s the lot size. So, triple that number to come up with a very approximate figure for living space sq footage.

  • Other than the incredibly busy street, I must say I am curious why the price seems so low? Obviously, the pictures are of the best spots of the house, but still.. looks like a steal to me.

  • I don’t know much about prices in this area, but wanted to point out that the kitchen seems to be in the basement. I noticed this in a couple of houses on the 100 block of Florida, so maybe that extends down to this part too? Other than that, it’s tough to tell the condition of the house given all the doctored photos, but probably a good deal assuming there aren’t any major problems.

  • Seems like it’s a pretty good deal unless there was a triple murder or something there recently.

  • Took a client into the house on Sunday. Very cool, has all the original trim and floors. Pretty rough house, but beautiful-

  • I’m pretty sure this is the house in which a very old man died and no one knew for about a year. He had been a door to door salesman and completely private in his personal life. I wish I could link to it, it was in the Post last year. Notice how many of the great features (pocket doors, mantle) are only stripped to show their potential, not really finished at this point.

  • I see a few loose spots on the plaster ceilings upstairs. Not too hard to fix. With a lot size of 688 sq ft, I assume there is no backyard and/or parking option.

  • Run away, Run away now.
    I’ve been in this place. Any buyer will put a minimum of 300k – 400k back into it. Looking at it as an architect, it will need to be gutted and rebuilt. There is a lot of ceiling damage which hints of stuctural damage and water infiltration. The kitchen is in the basment, there’s a room in there that looks like Superfund site, and it doesn’t even have a parking space.

    This poor house is in rough shape. It has potential, but needs a sugar daddy of an investor.

  • Probably more viable if the investor split it up into apartments.

  • It’s too small and the lot is too small to split it into apartments.

    Nice location, but the property is as lousy as it gets. Tiny lot, small house, crappy layout, and everything in bad condition.

    I would expect this to be priced around 300K-350K.

  • Thanks anonymous – I was wrong, but enjoyed reading that story again and the houses do look alike.

  • Yeah, if you don’t mind the kitchen in the basement and being on a busy street it might be a steal. Unless the roof needs replacing as indicated by the water damage in ALL the upstairs rooms.

    But the woodwork is gorgeous, and I love that little arch in the master bedroom.

  • dc_Publius,

    “I would expect this to be priced around 300K-350K.”…shells and gutted homes in this neighbor are going for 350K-400K…That is a pipe dream price for this house. I think what their asking for is low actually. Mind what gsHoeflinger says…do your research..but if you spend 200K on this you’ll have a house close to a million in 5 years.

  • They definitely took the six best photographs this house has to offer. If you buy the notion that a good remodel takes $100,000 a floor, this needs $300,000 of work. The original details – and the heart of pine floors – are the only thing in this house worth saving. Everything else, kitchen, dry-wall, bathrooms, needs to go. Also, there is a large crack from foundation to roof. That seems to be the least of the worries though.

    The shell across the street sold at foreclosure for around $250,000. That would be a good price for this too. You can’t beat the location, but the house is not livable and $520 is too much for the land – – which is basically what you are paying for.

  • Kalorini

    Seems like updating the heating/cooling and fixing the structural damage make this a fixer-upper. They’ve tried to hide all that with pretty details inside. Cute 1st floor layout, but there definitely needs to be a $200K reduction in price!

  • I would never, never ever buy this house, I probably would not even take it if they gave it to me wrapped in Xmas paper!!!! I could not stand living on Florida Avenue with all the noise! God al mighty, you would never be able to open your front door or windows, you would have to live in a bubble environment all of your life.

    No thanks, I’ll pass

  • I’d do it for $50k less….I think it would be hard to pass up your own 1800 sq ft home in DC for $550 and I bet you could do all the necessary repairs for $80k. It hardly looks like a total gut from the pictures. $10k for a roof, $20-30k for repointing and masonry work. Maybe you have to rip out the ceiling and sister some joists for another $10-15k. If you put $100k into the kitchen you could sell it for $650k. That part of FL Ave is not the worst and you’re damn close to the metro.

  • Give me a break, guys–100K a floor?? Clearly the people commenting here have never renovated anything before. If you know your way around some basic construction then this place would be pretty easy to turn around.

    Most of the issues appear to be purely cosmetic.

    Of course, you should always have your house professionally inspected to make sure there are no major structural issues.

    But, I have seen dozens of houses with plaster problems that are sound. Just because the plaster on the ceiling is in bad shape it does not mean there is rot. Plaster is very susceptible to water damage, so a small, brief leak can make things look a lot worse than they are.

    I think that this place is perfect for the kind of person who knows how to build a wall, gut a bathroom, lay tile, and hang Ikea kitchen cabinets. Not easy but not that hard if you aren’t an idiot. Will it look as nice as something you hire a contractor to gut and spend $100 a square foot to rebuild from a shell? Probably not. But will it look really nice and be a much nicer place to live than some condo? Probably.

    I think this is priced about right for the block, give or take $25K. There is no parking, which is holding the price down. Also, while that block is perfectly decent, it’s not the nicest block in the world. But, if you want to be in the U Street area west of 14th and you want to own a house, there are few…literally no, other options.

  • From the street harassment conversation in a previous post: (do these sorts of things affect property values in DC?)

    “News flash: this city is full of ignorant fools who are just trying to get attention. If you’re not a female, you’re harassed for other reasons, such as skin color, age, walking with a limp, or roughly anything else. Hell, I’ve had young boys indicate they’d rape me (I’m male) in prison, as they “banter” about which among them would be ass raped and by who. Its all part of the local “culture”. Carry a weapon and be prepared to defend yourself (three inch knives are still legal), or learn to ignore it and think of better days when you might live among better people. By making such a big deal of it, you are just fueling the fire as you are giving these idiots attention, which is what they are after.

    I would say advocate to DC government to enforce its various harassment and intimidation laws, but I think that’s moot.”

  • Umm . . .that section of Florida isn’t all that busy. Y’all must be thinking of Florida west of 18th.

    The house looks like it has great potential, but I’d be worried about what kind of hidden damage there is. Houses sold “as is” are a bit sketchy.

  • 2nd Victim Dies; Driver Is Charged In 2-Vehicle Crash

    By Debbi Wilgoren and Petula Dvorak
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Tuesday, November 14, 2006

    A second man died yesterday of injuries stemming from a dramatic car crash that ended with a sport-utility vehicle slamming into a Northwest Washington rowhouse, D.C. police said.

    The victims were passengers in a Honda Civic that was struck by a speeding Honda Pilot at 10:30 p.m. Sunday, police said. The driver of the Pilot then plowed into the rowhouse at 605 Florida Ave., triggering a cascade of bricks on top of and around the SUV and leaving the living room, fireplace and chandelier of the house exposed. Two people in the house escaped unharmed, police said.

  • disturbed by the use of HDR photographs – makes you wonder what other manipulation might’ve happened on the way through Photoshop. (Not to mention that I just generally appreciate it when people take the time to light a photograph well so that its not necessary, which in the case of a static scene like a room isn’t that hard to do)

    not sure what Lisa is trying to say with the comment about a house getting crashed into 8-odd blocks away.

  • 8 blocks isn’t far if you’re in a car.

    So the comment that FL Ave. “isn’t busy” in that area is erroneous. I know from years of experience that FL Ave is traffic hell, and the SUV crashing into the *second floor* of a rowhouse on FL Ave. *only* 8 blocks away demonstrates that fact.

    • In DC, 8 blocks away makes a huge difference. Florida Ave in the part North of U Street (after the split at 18th, where U St begins and until 9th st where U Street ends) is not as busy as Florda Ave before and after U Street.

  • True; 8-odd blocks isn’t that far in a car, but i do think that there’s a substantial difference in the traffic in the area around 605 Florida (i.e. just south of Howard where traffic easily backs up for 7 or 8 blocks) and where this house is; most of the traffic sticks to U St in the area where this house is before continuing on Florida on the other side of 18th.

  • You’re right. Not much traffic around there at all. I saw a tumbleweed rolling down that stretch of FL Ave last Tuesday. My mistake.

    • **sighs**

      C’mon now, guys. Have a look at the map.

      Lisa, you’re right that there’s a great deal of traffic on the 600 block of Florida. Heading west, Florida is a major thoroughfare until you cross 9th St, where Florida takes a sharp turn (but as far as traffic is concerned, it basically turns into U Street).

      West of 9th – where this house is situated – is an entirely different story. While there’s more traffic on the 1400 block of Florida than your average residential street, it’s not by much. I lived in a first floor apartment on that block for two years, and aside from the occasional siren (EMTs use that route to get to Howard U hospital) it’s a very quiet and pleasant street. As others have noted, if you continue heading west past 18th, traffic picks up again. But this block is great, with lots of foot traffic and friendly neighbors.

  • Please run away from this home, Ray Charles and Sammy Davis can see this home is a money pit. Living on FL ave. will be a disaster.

  • I rented just around the corner from that block for 2.5 years, and have walked it all hours of the day and night.

    Echoing Gordon above, this block is one of my favorites in all of DC. There’s traffic in the morning, to be sure, but not *that* much. I love how close the rowhouses are to the street especially on the South side, and those vista-filled condos that overlook Florida from Belmont are just majestic. If I had the money this is where I’d buy, and if I had the money for this house, I’d definitely buy (though not for the price asked) and refurbish.

    Reading some the comments above, I wonder how many people casting their animadversions on this location have actually *been* in this part of town. Or others, for that matter.

  • Meh,

    ““I would expect this to be priced around 300K-350K.”…shells and gutted homes in this neighbor are going for 350K-400K…”

    Take a look at recent sale listings. Shell across the street which is bigger, wider, deeper, and has a decent yard and parking went for 250-ish a few months ago.

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