Good Deal or Not? Eckington Reader Request Edition

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This home is located at 129 U Street, NE:

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The flier says:

“Wonderful 3 BR 1 FB classic townhome in Eckington. Beaut. dark wood trim with inlayed HWD floors. All new paint. Full BSMT waiting for buyers personal touches. Lvl fenced back yard with access to alley. Has many orig. classic features found in the early 1900 townhomes.”

You can find more info and photos here.

The reader writes:

“I’ve been looking to buy my first home and have noticed a lot of recent home sales in Bloomingdale and Eckington. My realtor tells me that this is due to an influx of new home buyers taking advantage of the tax credit and the fact that these neighborhoods have a bunch of historic homes at relatively low prices. I know that there are some disadvantages to living in this neighborhood but would appreciate feedback from your readers as to the deal of this particular home.”

This 3 bed/1 bath is going for $229,900. Sound reasonable?

24 Comment

  • get it closer to 200 and you will have a GD. I looked at a few houses in this area when i bought 6 months ago, one on this block. They are charming row houses some in need of more work than others. I ended up buying closer to H street for the same value and am very happy. There is more personality and IMO more potential for appreciation there.

  • I lived on the 100 block of U St NE about 4 years ago. I heard less gunshots there than I do in Petworth now, for whatever thats worth.

  • I like it a lot. The kitchen needs some updating, but it is a good value, close to metro and bus lines.

  • I would say good deal. Needs a little upgrading. And there using an old eletrical setup (look at sockets). Better check for any problems in the basement, since they didn’t show pictures of it.

  • wow, those in-laid wood floors are rather gorgeous. i’m not familiar w/ house prices in the NE part of eckington, but $229k seems like a good value.

  • It’s too close to the above ground Metro and freight rail lines…very loud. I also seem to recall an earlier post about this very block flooding all the time. Whether it’s true or not, someone stated that there’s an underground aquifer that was never dealt with properly.

  • I think that $229k is perhaps too good of a value. Per the listing, it is a foreclosure. Many of the foreclosure listings that I have seen lately have been initially underpriced, and then get bid up. I expect that this house will go for closer to $300K or perhaps more.

    That said, it is very close to the new St. Martin’s apartment project. Ick.

  • If you are looking for a house with original interiors, this is a great deal. While East of N. Cap is still a little sketchy…it is slowly improving. For this price, you wouldn’t even have to put much down for a down payment. 3% for FHA. And even if you only put 3% down, your mortgage would still be quite cheap. As a starter home, this is a great by and in an area that will appreciate. You won’t find a home this cheap with original interiors anywhere really…for this price. If I hadn’t bought recently, I would have actively pursued this home. In 5 years time, this home will have appreciated by at least 30%, my guess is more though. There is a lot of planned development in the area, and when the market picks up again (in which it already is)this area will be a little gem. I would recommend touring the home, see what sort of work needs to be done. Look at comps over the last 4 yeas. is a great site to do that. Do your math, and your true desire to own a home and all the expenses involved… You’ll be a bit of a pioneer here…but you will also see a large return on your investment….

  • Although the neighborhood is somewhat sketchy (as you’re aware) this is not a bad investment at all.

  • I suspect it’ll go under contract for around $60k above the listed price, maybe more. Buying with cash will increase your chances of getting it, and get you a slightly better deal, since it’s bank-owned. I just bought a house in Petworth, but was looking around this area too. Houses in the $300K and below range are selling fast and high. Plus, you’ll need some extra cash after the sale to fix whatever you didn’t realize was broken. The bank is unlikely to give too much $$$ in credits when the home inspector finds something…be sure you know what you’re getting into!

  • Well, it sold for 175 in 2007, if that helps. What’s changed in the last 2 years? I can’t tell you, but I think you’ll find a good answer there…

  • I don’t really know whether this particular home is a good deal or not, but I would agree with nonesuch that you will get more value and appreciation in the H St. neighborhood. I think H St. might even be a very little bit less sketchy depending on where exactly you end up.

  • As someone who’s lived in Eckington for seven years, I think this is a very good deal (although it doesn’t appearl to have central AC). It’s on a hill, so I doubt there’s a flooding issue. My home is closer to the railroad tracks and the only time you hear anything is weekday mornings, around 5:30-6pm when the trains have to use their horns because the Metro is open (a requirment). It’s a bit of a hike to the Metro (Rhode Island Avenue is probably closest and a 20 minute walk), and Lincoln Road can feel a little sketchy at times, but all in all I would recommend it.

  • i don’t know the neighborhood well enough to say. but what a pretty home! i love the dark wood.

  • If you can get the house for that price, DO IT! But I sssume there wil be a bidding war.

  • It’s always hard to tell from the photos, but I think it’s a decent deal (for once, haha)

    This is assuming you are willing to put up with typical ghetto feel – rap musing blasting from porches and random people hanging out at corners, etc. Yards are also very small in this area, and the house it self is quite small but if you toured it and you like it, it’s not bad.

    I wouldn’t say this is close to the metro. I live 3 blocks away and all 3 stations are a PIA to get to… probably 15 minute walk to each one. There is very little in the hood in terms of entertainment, restaurants, etc, but it’s getting better – particularly on N Capitol.

    Also, one more thing, the person that said:
    “It’s too close to the above ground Metro and freight rail lines…very loud. I also seem to recall an earlier post about this very block flooding all the time. Whether it’s true or not, someone stated that there’s an underground aquifer that was never dealt with properly.”

    …is wrong on all counts. Metro line is not that close and you will not know you are close to train tracks. The flooding comment has this area confused with 100 U NORTHWEST area.

    As far as value, keep in mind that houses in this condition have been going for this price in this area for a long time for good reasons. For this house, I am worried that it was a handyman coverup that is weak renovation as this hood has a couple of these. Additionally, a big low income housing is coming to this area which is never good for the hood and hood house values.

    So… if you like it, buy it. Think of it as a place to live instead of an investment.

  • All in all the renovation is not that bad, especially given that they preserved so much of the historic interior. Just make sure that hvac, plumbing, and lighting are functional and updated as well. The kitchen and bathroom are bland but new and in good shape, even if they completely lack any character that the original house once offered. There is not much excitement in Eckington, and though transitional there are many families and good neighbors there. While only 15 minutes,the walk to the Rhode Island Ave metro stop is far from reasonable given the ugliness that one has to endure to be urban – I would own a car if I were you.

    All that being said – any house that close in that is livable for under 250K is a good deal. Good luck!

  • I live in Eckington. I don’t walk to the metro, I either take a bus or drive to the station. It’s a hassle getting to and from that station. The neighborhood is getting better, especially this last year-it feels safer. I’ve had my car broken into but this happens everywhere in DC. St. Martin’s is building some ghetto near this house. That would be a big turn off for me. Also, McKinley Tech students are rude and treat the neighborhood like a trashbin-so keep that in mind. One more thing, NoMa is only one neighborhood away and they’re building a Harris Teeter there. Also, the RI Ave metro station’s parking lot is going to be redeveloped into a mixed use development. Lastly, the Metropolitan Bike Trail (MBT) is being built next to the CSX/Metro tracks. These projects should increase your property values over the next few years. It might be worth putting up with some of this ghettoness to reap these rewards. I think the price is a good deal but I’m sure it will sell higher.

  • My friend lives on that block. She’s a cool, hip girl and she’s extremely happy there– her already low mortage is made even lower by renting out one of her many bedrooms. It looks like a beautiful house and quite a good deal. I agree it will go for more. And EPF is wrong –you’re not going to be bothered by train noise — in fact, you’ll wish the Metro was closer. You will find yourself driving. On the plus side, you’re totally central, near all the highways, and parking will never be a problem, given that you’ll have a space in back.

    The St Martin’s complex is a very legitimate concern as are those listed by Ecking residents. But I’d snap this place up. The redevelopment of NoMa will make a huge difference in this neighborhood’s desirability. It’s a better investment that a studio in Dupont, which is all you could get for that money (not even counting a fat monthly condo fee).

  • To the people predicting it will go for a lot over the list price- it’s been on the market for almost 2 weeks- if there was going to be a bidding war, wouldn’t it be under contract already?

  • YES! Run, don’t walk — definitely a good deal!

  • This house is a good deal…it’s under contract.

  • @L – Banks take a couple weeks to look at offers they collected in the first couple days.

  • Those pics are deceiving. I went and saw that house less than 3 days after it hit the market & am not surprised at all that its still on the market. Ill just say the upstairs floors need to be completely replaced and may have termites. The bedrooms are tiny, so tiny that 2 of the closets are positioned in the hallway. That place will be on the market for a while.

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