Good Deal or Not? “Closets Galore” Edition


This home is located at 1017 Fairmont Street, NW:

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The flier says:

“Totally Renov 3-Lvl Brick TH * 3-Bdrms 3-Full Baths Master Bdrm Suite w/ Jacuzzi & Closet Sp Galore Gourmet/Chef’s Kit 42″Cabs SS Appl Granite Counter Tops Open Sp Flr Plan w/ Surround Sounds HW Flrs Hi-Ceilings w/ Recessed Lighting CAC & Heating & Washer/Dryer Rr Priv Fenced Garden Designer Stair Railing Skylites Galore”

You can find more info and photos here.

I was surprised to learn that this was a 3 bedroom. From the outside I thought it would only have 2 bedrooms. What do you think of the renovation itself? Does $449,995 sound reasonable for this 3 bed/3bath?

34 Comment

  • The 3rd bedroom is in the basement — very nice. I toured this house a few weeks ago.

    There’s a really luxurious bathroom upstairs on the 2nd floor — lots of marble.

  • Now that is one skinny house. On paper it looks like a decent deal… But the real question is does someone want to live in this neighborhood? The house has no character on the outside, has no parking and is at least a 15 minute walk from the metro. You also have the issue of Howard University close by — being that they have bought up most of the property on Sherman Ave and turned it into parking lots or vacant row houses. This is like a dead zone for development/improvement over the next 10-15 years. I would seriously consider H Street NE (close to the new streetcar line) or very close to Petworth metro station if I was going to invest/live in a transitioning area.

  • Call me crazy but 450K for one of these tiny houses a block from georgia with no parking. I guess the market really is making a comeback? I paid a smidge more for something bigger in MTP not long ago. The finishes are nicer but I think it would have to include parking to get this price. I assume it will go closer to 400. I will say though that I’m glad people are still flipping houses. This was on the market not long ago in very bad shape.

  • I won’t comment on the closets but the front facade could use some work here.

    That top window is so boring and the front porch looks uninviting.

    Did the previous owner suffer from bad taste?

  • That property has been on up available for some time now. I looked into the property and after some research I learned that the developer paid $135k in Feb 09. I suppose if you take a look and feel like paying over $300k for the renovations they completed then have at it. IMO that is too much money as I don’t think that they actually put that much $$$ into the property.

  • I live on the other side, girard st and i think this is a bit overpriced. maybe it could go for high 300s. as far as the neighborhood and lack of investment potential i think that those people are not familiar. this location is great its an 8 min walk form col heights metro and all of the development there…about 5 min walk from wonderland and room 11 and the night life developing around that area as well as about a 12 min walk form u st corridor and the 11th st entrance to u st metro. as far as the proximity to georgia you will see if you came to the neighborhood that its actually very friendly part of col heights.

  • The neighborhood isn’t so bad, but the house has always struck me as over-renovated for the street.

  • I’d say 410k if the buyers use a realtor, 400k if it’s a good realtor, and 388k if its bought without using a realtor.

  • i visited this house before buying in Petworth, and it is TINY and quite overpriced for what you get. kitchen is super small, and as someone else noted, one of the bedrooms is in the basement. the “closets galore” statement is total BS.

  • Anybody know about the neighborhood crime? My sense is the walk along Fairmont to to the Metro on 14th would be slightly dangerous. Isn’t there a crew on Fairmont?

  • Is it just my imagination, or was that fridge designed to NOT be exposed on the sides?

  • I’m a single petite gal, btw and these are just my personal experiences from living here… I was worried about crime too — until I realized that this location (I’m a block away) has 3 police departments looking out for it, including the Howard U police. Been here 3 years and no crime has happened to me. I lived on 14th and R from 2004-2006, and I was assaulted and our apartment got broken into (separate incidents).

  • The renovations are nothing special. Very small. Even if this was gutted, roof replaced and all new systems, appliances and fixtures, there is nothing remotely close to $300K in improvements here.

    Bad deal

  • Not sure on that price since I don’t know the neighborhood well, but I bought a house in North Country from the guy who flipped this property. He does great work himself and has pretty decent subcontractors.

  • @Andrew

    If I lived there I wouldn’t walk to the CH metro on 14th. I’d walk up to Irving on 11th and then take Irving over.

    Also, the walk to U St. is only a little bit further than CH metro.

  • I live a block away and like the neighborhood. Short walk to main CH development and Red Rocks Pizza/Columbia Heights Coffee/that new wine bar/etc. but quieter than 14th.

    A 4-bedroom house on 11th near Fairmont (including English basement unit) just sold for 605k in five days. Was recently renovated and had parking. If you bought that place and rent the basement for 1200 a month, you’re essentially carrying a mortgage of 450k or so. So I’d say this place, which is much smaller, is overpriced.

    I do love the self-righteous talk on this threads about real estate prices. Apparently developers are just supposed to hand over the keys without making any kind of profit at all. Some of us would prefer to sacrifice a little character if it means we aren’t dealing with a leaky roof and inefficient old systems, or the task of replacing them. But that’s a digression.

    To the guy who thinks someone without a realtor could score the property for 20k less: what makes you say that?

  • Oh I do know the neighborhood. I live at 9th and T and have been here since 2003. I thought my disclosure of the multiple plots of land that Howard owns would indicate that. They mostly own everything from the Floridian Condos up to where this place is. Then on the west side of Sherman you have that huge retaining wall which makes the stretch down to U street very intimating to walk and as I stated shows that the area will not be developed. You throw that in with the mess the Floridian is in and the now defunct Atlantic Towers (next to the 930 club) and you get a clearer picture of development occurring North of U Street. I said a 15 minute walk to metro; you say 8 minute; google says it’s 12 for .6 miles.

    On a positive spin it looks like whoever did the renovation got all the appropriate permits and supplemental permits. My guess is it sells for $429k out the door.

  • Previous post,

    I hope I’m not being self righteous here: Nice interiors and seemingly good work, but I wouldn’t sink $450k into a house with such a narrow (9 foot maybe) frontage on Fairmont and Sherman with a single door and window width.

    In the long run I just don’t see any appreciation in value above a $450k purchase and a possible decline really considering the assessed value is $361K. Pass.

  • Davester:

    I think you’re painting a slightly misleading picture. No one would walk down Sherman to get to U Street. You’d walk down 11th. The Floridian and that mess are well east of here. You have condo alley on 11th north of U Street up to Florida, then some dead space along Cardozo HS and that housing development, and then a nice neighborhood feel. North of there you’ve got an influx of stores, etc. And the walk to the Columbia Heights metro is half a mile. I’m a fast walker, so that’s eight minutes for me.

    As for assessed values, they are meaningless to the discussion. I’m not saying this is the case here–I agree this place is overpriced–but look at it this way. You want to live in the city close to a metro. You want three bedrooms. You have a 400k budget. A house on 11th Street, with its reasonable proximity to CH, U Street, Adams Morgan, and as an alternative to an overpriced condo, is a pretty good deal. Are you on the fringe? Yes. (Which is not to mention that the city has plans for a Sherman Ave beautification project, and Howard has plans for development of a grocery store–small things in the grand scheme of things, granted, but anything to make Sherman look better is great.)

    But you’re not heading east from 11th Street. You’re heading north/south/west. CH isnt going anywhere. U Street isn’t going anywhere. 11th falls within the sphere of those zones.

  • I’m not trying to mislead anyone — this neighborhood is more Sherman Ave/Georgia Ave than Columbia Heights or U Street. The facts behind that are most houses in the surrounding area have not been taken care of and the area is quite gritty. The grocery that you are referring to is going to theoretically be in the Howard Town Center at Georgia & V — so that is closer to U Street then Fairmont.

    My point is yes this neighborhood is ‘iffy’ and right on the fringe. I’m sure there are nice people in the neighborhood but for the most part as you drive up Sherman Ave most owners show they could really give a crap about their houses. This compounded by the fact that the house has zero curb appeal and borders on fugly; has no parking; is small in size, has an awkward layout and development/revitalization of the surrounding neighborhood is going to take 10 – 15 years in the best case scenario. For these reasons this may not be the best location to invest your money. That’s why I said in this price range closer to the Petworth Metro or the H St NE corridor would be better.

    If you think that is going to change just look at the 7th & 9th street commercial corridors between New York Ave and U Street. Those corridors were primed for development with the new Convention Center being completed in 2003 and have made very few inroads in the proceeding 7 years — mostly due to slum-bank developers like Douglas Corp, Shiloh Baptist Church and a impotent DC Government with regards to the supposed 3 hotels going up at 9th & Mass. So if an area like that, so primed for development, is being held back in a much more desirable area how the heck do you think this neighborhood is going to prosper. This neighborhoods best hope is that Shaw gets completely revitalized North of New York Ave; West of 7th and up to V Street pushing the development trend towards this neighborhood from the South. Then the development that is growing at Petworth will work it’s way south. Only at that point will you have someone willing to pay $500k for a small oddball shaped house like this.

    I’m not trying to offend but the rose pedal glasses do need to come off — at least until the next real estate binge/bubble.

    • Rose-pedal glasses? (I think you mean rose-colored.) Dude, have you even walked down 11th? Or understand that you’re one long block away from 13th and Fairmont? It’s Columbia Heights. You’ve got million dollar row houses a hundred meters away. No one is going to go hang out on Sherman looking to a buy a latte or a pinot. Because they can do that on 11th or 14th or walk down to U Street.

      As for your claim that the Convention Center area is more desirable, I’d beg to differ. 11th is a nice tree-lined street with a suburban feel and a growing collection of bars and restaurants. I’ve seen the neighborhood improve myself over the last six months, and it’s not because of development miles away in Petworth or on 7th Street, but because the neighborhood is so close to the epicenter of Columbia Heights and U Street. Look at a map for goodness sakes.

  • Dear Davester: Sherman Ave/Georgia Ave is NOT a neighborhood, so the house really is in Columbia Heights. And whatever you call it, the neighborhood is great and Sherman Ave will be a beauty in a couple of years. I think it’s a pretty good deal and if what Megan said is true ($300k in improvements) then it’s a really good deal.

  • You can market it anyway you want… but you ask anyone to describe the boundaries of U Street or Columbia Heights and for the most part I would bet no one — maybe a few who live there — is going to say Sherman Ave are those neighborhoods. That’s like me claiming I’m Logan Circle — even though it is only a 7 minute walk to the circle from my house down Vermont Ave.

    really I hope I’m wrong here — but Sherman Ave/Georgia Ave is more in line with what 14th/U Street looked like back in the 90’s… You better just hope for another real estate boom for this area to take off.

  • Davestar/Shaw troll: a rising tide lifts all ships. Feel the PoP love. Chill, man.

  • 11th & Fairmont is the bomb.

  • I actually just looked up the neighborhood borders and yes this house is ‘Columbia Heights’ The dividing line is Sherman Ave — The area which I’m referring to that needs a lot of work is called ‘Pleasant Plains’ That is the first I’ve seen of that name in any official means.

    I’ve always thought it was quite sad that the area around Howard wasn’t a better neighborhood. But it is changing and Howard isn’t the only University to deal with such issues — one who comes to mind is USC. However, I just wish they were a better neighbor with regards to their overall land management plan and their vacant properties.


  • Seems pricey. I don’t like the metal staircase. And who needs windows when you have closets galore!

  • As someone who hates the uninformed haters who are always: “that neighborhood that isn’t Dupont Circle is so ghetto!” –let me speak in defense of Davester. I don’t think he’s trolling. He’s making some thoughtful, informed statements. And I’m learning a lot from this wrestling over granular points.

  • @beulah

    davester is not making thoughtful statements. there is one direction from the property in question which he has decided defines everything with half a mile.

  • Well in my defense I find when people don’t want to accept facts all they have are personal attacks.

  • All,

    I am a newcomer to this board, but want to say that I live at 1030 Fairmont Street, NW, right across the street from this house. I have been in the neighborhood since June 2007 and I can honestly say it’s great. I have never been felt like I was in danger and even walk the streets every night after midnight with my dog. And yes, it is considered Columbia Heights/U Street. What is nice is that it takes about 8-10 minutes to get to either Columbia Heights or U Street…so it’s a perfect intermediary. Not to mention that 11th street corridor with the likes of Wonderland, Red Rocks, Room 11 and soon to come Meridian Pint.

    Trust me, this are is up and coming…and fast.

  • Davester: I don’t see any personal attacks. People have attacked your ideas, yes, but not you personally.

    As for the facts, you claimed the house was 15 minutes from the metro, which was shown to be false. You claimed it wasn’t Columbia Heights, which was also shown to be false. As for your opinion that the neighborhood is defined by what lies to the east, you’ve drawn an inspired response from people who actually live there who know that it’s defined by what lies to the north, west, and south. I’ve seen organic changes take place over the past year that you have no interest in believing for whatever reason, which is fine. We can agree to disagree. You think I wear rose-colored glasses. I think your assessment flies against the face of reality. So be it.

  • Go ahead and buy the place then at $449,000 then try and sell it in 5 years for a minimum of $496,145 — with elementary calculations that will be the absolute break-even point for not losing money on this venture. If someone does sell it at that price I will be surprised for all the reasons listed above. And we can agree to disagree and this was only my opinion but I try to back that up with reliable information. It seems there are a lot of defenders of this area and that is a very good thing because to further improve it that is exactly what it needs.

    Also, when some calls me a troll… I would constitute that as a attack.

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