Good Deal or Not? “renovated 1913 row house” Edition


This home is located at 3331 11th Street, NW:

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The flier says:

“Sleek, modern finishes highlight the original architectural details of this completely renovated 1913 row house! Features includes gorgeous hardwood floors, exposed brick, a stunning gourmet kitchen with recycled glass counter tops, stylish cabinetry with frosted glass, high end stainless steel appl including a range hood, luxury baths, and a finished basement with rec room!”

You an find more info and photos here.

While I don’t see too many of the original architectural details the place does look nice. I’ve always been a fan of the exposed brick. And what surely won’t be a surprise to many – I think this is an amazing location. What do you guys think of the renovation? Does $499,990 sound reasonable for this 3 bed/2 bath?

26 Comment

  • Visited this house. Leaving aside the price for a minute, the house is ok. It’s very tiny. There are technically three bedrooms upstairs but one is too small to fit a bed — it’s either a walk in closet or a very small office.

    It does have a basement that could theoretically work as a third bedroom, though the washer/dryer for the whole house would then be in a bedroom.

    The finishes of the house are decent — very trendy looking but pretty low quality (kitchen cabinets are some of the thinnest I’ve seen). Would definitely get a good home inspection on this one. Oh and there’s no parking.

    Having said all that, the price is really outstanding. I don’t think there’s anything close to this price range in the neighborhood other than condos, unless you’re talking about a fixer upper. So it’ll sell quickly and make a nice starter home for someone.

  • I agree with Duke

  • You should get $25,000 off for having to look at the pepto bismal pink thing two houses down.

  • Yeah good deal. At first I was worried about my own home value given the great location and the relatively low price. Then I saw how small this space is. Definitely not my cup of tea (I hate that the kitchen looks like it was walking to where it was going, tripped, fell, and then never got up.) This is open space gone wrong. That said, it is pretty and a location to boot.

  • I don’t agree with those that say this is a good deal. We got our house for 70K less with the same amount of rooms, space for two cars out back, original architectural details (pocket doors, fireplace, wood trim), and a fabulous landscaped garden in the backyard. We don’t live very far away either. If this house had another full bedroom or more space in the backyard, I would say it is worth 500K. But this is a little too much for this size of house.

    • Was your place perhaps on Lamont? If it is the place I am thinking of that just sold recently, it was a very nice renovation, but a very small house. Smaller than this one.

  • This looks like another “quality” Menkiti flip. I would strongly caution folks against going with a Menkiti rehabbed home. We bought a Menkiti home a little more than a yer ago, based on what was visible to two inspectors and my wife and me, the home was in excellent shape, but such was not really the case.

    Within weeks of moving in, we discovered a slow but persistent leak in one of the copper joints in the basement bathroom. It was part of the rehab, but had been done incorrectly, ruining a bunch of drywall and a plumber’s bill, fortunately no mold.

    Next, when installing a dimmer switch in our dining room, I discovered that rather than running appropriate wiring for a two way switch, they simply co opted the ground wire (not a good idea) as a hot wire.

    After a month or two, our “brand new” central air conditioning system stopped working, so we called to see if it was still under warranty. They sent out their contractor, who refilled the system with freon, promising to come back the next day to actually find the leak… they never returned and never returned a single phone call. When I asked the HVAC guy for his license information he basically ran away and never came back.

    However, this was all small compared to what we found in our basement. We were moving a wall to accommodate a smaller washer and dryer when we found that the washer was not vented or trapped (this is important basically because it prevents dangerous sewer gasses from entering the home) fearing other work being done incorrectly, we starting opening other walls in our basement bathroom, only to discover that nothing had been done correctly or to code. Nothing was properly vented, they had used an illegal s-trap on our kitchen sink, the connected our kitchen and bathroom sinks to the sewer by just jambing a pvc pipe into a cast iron drain. As our plumber was working to repair things, he literally had pipes falling down on his head because they had not been properly glued together. However, the most disgusting was the nonsense we found under our tub. Rather than use the right parts for the drain/trap, the workmen had simply heated up PVC piping with a torch and bent it into the shapes they needed. Obviously this weakens the pipe and restricts its overall flow, and is, of course, not up to code.

    We briefly attempted to work things out with the Menkiti Group, but they simply stopped responding to our emails, so it’s not just that we got a dud of a home, I truly believe this to be their MO.

    That was a lot of information to say BUYER BEWARE… if it is too good to be true, then is probably is. Do not buy a Menkiti home thinking you are getting, as they say, a quality product at a great price. Definitely be prepared to shell out lots of money, or time, blood and sweat, just to make your home safe and habitable. What did Obama say, you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig? Do we regret our purchase? No, we love our new home, we love our neighbors and I now watch “Ask This Old House” every night to figure out what needs to be done next. We have spent a considerable amount of money and I have spent more than a considerable amount of time fixing this “renovated” place up. I would seriously suggest that you make this decision carefully.

  • @Tuesday Afternoon, could you be more specific? Are you talking about Bo Menkiti? Have there been other “issues” with his renos?

  • From the comments here, I guess picture are decieving. The disclosures state that city taxes are $40,000. I take it that there is a typo here? Or are there back taxes not paid?

  • EPF, sounds like the ol’ 10% vacant property tax rate. That should be pretty easy to get repealed once the new owner lives there, but it’s possible there could be unpaid back taxes.

  • MK – I believe “Tuesday Afternoon” is indeed referring to Bo Menkiti’s company.

    And from the looks of it, they are doing (possibly shoddy) flips all over the city:

  • Do you want more specifics about the problems we found? Like, for example the disclosure paperwork and the ad for my house indicated that they had an inspection certificate for the roof indicating how long it would last. Where did that come from? Who knows, they said it was a mistake, of course this is after we put an offer in.

    I am talking about the Menkiti Group. In my case at least, they 1) owned the house, 2) were the selling agents and 3) did the renovation.

    I can’t speak to issues with other Menkiti homes, although we’ve gone to their open houses, just to peak around and have seen the same very low quality of work. For example, they added an elevated deck onto to one of these homes and apparently cut one of the posts too short. Rather than getting a new 6×6 and doing it right, they just stuck one post on top of another. I really doubt that could/would pass a city inspection.

    In our case, and I will speak to that alone, the work they did was totally unacceptable and completely negligent. These were not issues related to the home being 75 years old, we anticipated them. These are not careless DIY mistakes. Rather this was a professional renovation overseen, and contracted and managed by licensed real estate agents with ethical and serious professional obligations that should prevent them from engaging in this behavior.

    The price on this house is excellent, as was ours, but they can only afford those prices by doing the absolute bare minimum of work. The few dollars they save on a 6×6 deck post threatens the physical safety of anyone using it. Melting and bending a PVC fitting might save a few dollars but threatned the functionality of our plumbing system. My wife and I did not expect a mansion or a brand new home in our transaction. We did however expected licensed agents to follow the law and their own professional rules and standards. In our case, at least, they did not.

  • I live in the area and checked out it on sunday. the pluses are the great location, fenced in backyard and the finished basement. the minuses are small bedrooms with vary narrow closets, no parking, and lack of storage.

    if you can live w/o parking (i can’t) and can get creative with space use, it’s priced ok. the location is what will make it sell.

  • I bet there’s a bidding war and it goes for more. The open floor plan and basement bar are huge draws.

  • Is there an easement to the backyard (for parking) (per the Redfin site diagram)?

  • Tuesday After – Did they pull permits and have the city approve of the work? I would think you’re electrical panel would have a notice of inspection/approval. If not, i don’t think you can transfer real property without recourse, unless they had indemnifications in the contract.

    Have you contacted your real estate agent? Are you sure you have no recourse?

    Terrible story.

  • This actually looks like Keller Williams rehab. Everything looks exactly the same in every house they do, and it’s all dated. I guess they must buy their materials in super bulk. And then just do the same designs too. That one-butt u-shaped kitchen is one of their classics.


  • Add NDC to that list

  • Pretty pricey for such a crime-infested neighborhood.

  • Just to toss this in the mix Menkiti Group doesn’t just sell the homes they renovate. I hired them earlier this year (after interviewing 3 other agents) to sell my house in Brookland and their sales team did a great job. They were able to get us a contract in less than 2 weeks and help us find a new house with more space that we have been very happy with. We had a great experience with their group.

    Tuesday Afternoon- sorry to hear you had such a different experience with them but it also sounds like your home inspectors and agent missed some details along the way as well. Buying an old house in DC certainly comes with its fair share of challenges, but in the end it sounds like you are happy with your house, so it must not be all bad!

    I have only seen the virtual tour of the house in this posting, but it’s great to see these homes being restored and bringing in new homeowners to the neighborhood. Columbia Heights is not for me, but I am always looking for ideas for our own home improvement projects.

  • We bought a Menkiti Group renovated property two years ago, and have been very happy with our home and had a good experience with the Menkiti Group team.

    I also went to this open house with a friend on Sunday and met the owner who was really friendly. This one wasn’t renovated by the Menkiti Group, they are just the sales team. I thought the house was really nice and liked the recycled glass counter top.

  • Looks like the Menkiti folks got tipped off to the negative, and extremely informative, review and had some of their people post “rebuttals.” Typical, and yes I have dealt with them, too. Very shoddy work, they cut corners everywhere humanly possible but hey! Stainless steel appliances and new windows! Guess I’ll be checking my bathtub next. Ugh.

  • Anon, I am glad someone else was thinking that. I bowed out because I said my piece and because every situation is different, but I certainly found the last two posts questionable.

  • @Tuesday Afternoon:

    Yes, they are extremely vigilant about monitoring local online forums and I have no doubt they posted either one or both of those “positive” reviews.

    Sad. And I bet they’re fine as real estate agents. But as house flippers? Damn are they super cheap and out to make a buck at the expense of quality, and maybe even safety. What a shame you got sucked in, they do put up a pretty package, it’s just too bad the inside is made of cheap crap.

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