Good Deal or Not? Stones Throw From Moroni’s Pizza Edition


This home is located at 927 Delafield Place, NW:

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The flier says:

“Semidetached totally renovated quality renovation by Banana DC Enterprises. Sunfilled from over 20 windows, finished basement with 3rd full bath, 2 master suites w 10 ft. ceilings, beautiful wood floors, carpeted bedrooms & basement, skylite , ceiling fans, gorgeous kitchen, sun deck, patio/parking pad and all 1 mi. to Petworth metro.”

You can see more info and photos here.

Given all the potential coming to Georgia Ave and the fact that this home is a stone’s throw from two great restaurants – Fusion and Moroni’s, I’m super curious to know what you think about this price. Well, first after you check the photos you can see this is a complete renovation. Do you thing they did a good job? I was surprised to see that it was a 2 bed/3 bath. Does $399,500 sound reasonable?

29 Comment

  • I would want to see it in person. The renovation looks good, but I would prefer hard wood upstair instead of that odd carpet.

  • I don’t understand why this house hasn’t sold. I noticed this place a few months ago, after the house I purchased was already under contract, and it struck me as a good buy then. Since then, the price has only dropped. It looks like a sweet deal to me.

  • Seriously? Two bedrooms (with carpet) for 400K? Their biggest mistake with renovating is they reduced the number of bedrooms or chose not to add a bedroom. Someone would be crazy to pay this amount for a 2 bedroom house in this neighborhood.

  • Not knowing much about the neighborhood or the house, I’m also puzzled. Google pedometer map says it’s about .9 of a mile from the Metro (so only about a 10-minute walk, depending on your walking pace), and you’re even closer to a ridiculous number of key bus lines (70s, which will take you to Gallery Place/Chinatown/downtown Silver Spring; S line, to go downtown/Adams Morgan; and 50s, to go to Columbia Heights/14th Street/downtown).

    Search of shows there wasn’t all that much in the way of crime recently.

    Renovation seems pretty nice from the photos, and there’s parking and a finished basement. This seems like a steal at that price.

  • saf

    I’m sure nobody’s surprised that I hate it. Carpet? What did they do to the nice hardwood floors? Total gut job – why? There are no cool original detail left.

    Poor house.

  • At this price it may be a good deal, but here is why it hasn’t sold:

    1) They took any resemblance this house had to its former glorious days and gutted it. Now you have a home depot renovation. Why do people hate walls???

    2) No effin way you can walk to the metro in 10 minutes from there. 15 minutes minimum

    3) That stretch of GA ave is a little rough. I wouldn’t want to live right on it.

    • Yeah, most people don’t walk six miles an hour, so the metro is 15 minutes. I don’t think it’s that rough – I walk past to Maroni all the time, but it is a hang out corner with the minimart right there.

    • Lots of fairly nice streets around there, but Delafield is sketchy. Ever hang out there on a summer night? Not pleasant. A very charming looking block, but too much hanging out on corners and stoops by guys doing business there or on Georgia.

  • I live two blocks down from this house. It is a wonderful section of the neighborhood and very quite. Therefore, I am also puzzled as to why it hasn’t sold. Maybe it needs to come down another $25k or so due to its proximity to GA Ave and lack of a third BR??

  • I love it! I enjoy carpeting in my bedroom – hardwood floors are coooold in the winter. I’m not one for keeping the “character” alive in a home. If it’s done well, sure, but if it’s a gut job, why not modernize it?

  • Good deal. There’s something I like about this place, maybe it’s the tree out front but it looks cute. It is pissing me off to see a renovated house like this selling for only a little more than I paid for my house which needs all kinds of updates. Granted our house is detached and our block is nicer and slightly closer to Metro but it’s true there’s a bunch of buses that can wisk you downtown from there. Argh! Somebody buy this place after a bidding war and drive up the price. Grrr.

  • Gotta agree with commenters above, it looks huge for only having 2 bedrooms.

  • The more I read this blog, the more I see people point out when historical details are removed from a house during renovation. I live in Petworth, and have some idea of what these details are, but not enough to totally understand why people get so upset. I’m not leaning towards keeping them all in or taking them all out during a renovation, I really just want to know what these details are they everyone talks about.
    Maybe PoP can have a post where we can talk about what these details are, how people feel about each detail, and possibly some links to people’s photos of these details.
    I just figure if I’m really curious, that some others would be as well…

  • When I said original details above I was referring to:

    – Original hardwood floors. We can assume they weren’t salvageable here. But I wouldn’t even consider a house in Petworth that didn’t have them from a pure value reason. They don’t make them like they used to.

    – Original crown molding.

    – Original layout

    – Original woodwork (particularly important is the great staircases, transoms, banister, window woodwork)

    • This is an awesome start.

      I agree on the hardwood floors. When our house was renovated, they could salvage the original heart of pine in only one room. And its really gorgeous.

      We also have the original woodpost from the bottom of the banister (I’m sure there’s a name for this). I love the look of it and would never think of replacing it. From the houses on my block that I’ve been inside, they all have the same banister post design. I love that!

      All of the transoms were removed from above the doors. I’ve been in homes where all of these are still present, but, (and maybe this is just because its missing from my house), I’m not a big fan.

      Thanks for the info Ross!

    • saf

      Our house never had crown molding.

      Our upstairs floors are softwood (the hardwood is downstairs).

      Original layout, original woodwork – yes, that’s what I meant, and how I read others when we talk about character.

  • That house is really nice, but it is staged horribly. The gray throughout is a total mistake; they even used gray carpet! They should have mixed up the colors and make it look less mono-chromatic. And yes, 400k for 2 bedrooms in that area of town is a waste.

  • While certain people may not feel strongly about “character” or original details, at the end of the day, houses that have been RESTORED (versus renovated) fetch a higher price. That means that these thing are desirable.

    Everyone doesn’t agree on styles, but the following are facts:

    1) Original hardwood floors are made of old-growth wood that is basically not available. All old-growth wood is more harder and more durable than the equivalent you would get today. Old heart-of-pine floors are much harder than any pine floor you could have today. I doubt anyone would actually make a new, interior floor out of pine these days, it’s too soft.

    2) The original casings and baseboards are almost always made of oak or chestnut. Today, 4 1/4″ hardwood casings will cost you on the order of $2.50-$3.50 per linear foot. This would cost thousands and thousands of dollars in a modern house. As a result, you will rarely or never find hardwood casings in a renovation. As a consequence, the casings in a renovation will be pine, and painted. Most people think stained hardwood is much nicer than painted pine casings.

    3) Plaster walls and ceilings (assuming they are in good condition) offer far superior sound and heat insulation properties than drywall.

    4) Original doors are solid oak, or pine with oak veneer. These are extremely expensive to buy new, probably $500 or more for a single interior door. As a result most renovations use cheap hollow-core doors which offer poor durability and sound insulation.

    5) Many of these old houses feature elaborate details that you simply could not reproduce except at great expense. These include crown moldings, built-in cabinets, leaded glass, parquet floors, unique stairway railings and features, and so on.

    At the end of the day it’s very simple. When these houses were built, they used materials that are either not available or extremely expensive. By ripping all that out and replacing it with new, cheap building materials, you end up with a house that may not have any cracks in the walls (for a few years) but is less solid, less soundproof, less durable, and bland.

    Whatever you may prefer as far as styles does not account for the quality of materials.

    This house will need to be renovated again in 15 years. A restoration of a home that retains much of the original construction will last 50 or more.

  • Also – re: transoms.

    Transoms actually serve a function. They let air move between rooms. This is actually extremely useful in a renovation. When you install central air conditioning, or forced air heat (if you are so unfortunate) you need air supply and return ducts. Transoms allow the air to move between the rooms. They keep the pressure balanced. Without transoms, you would need a return in every room for a properly balanced system. Since nobody actually does this when they retrofit an old house with central A/C, the result is an inefficient system and uneven cooling.

    Look carefully and most modern renovations will only have a single return that’s in the hallway upstairs. If there’s no way for the air to get there from the other rooms, there will be problems.

  • Oh and one more thing — WINDOWS!

    While you can buy good quality windows, it’s extremely unlikely that you will have them in a flip job. New inexpensive windows will insulate pretty well, for a few years. But once the seal between the panes breaks, and it will, most likely within a few years, they are hardly better than any single-paned window. In addition, vinyl windows are not especially durable. The reality is the life expectancy of cheap modern windows is probably only 10-15 years.

    Compare that to the original windows, which have been working for 100 years. While modern windows alone definitely offer much better energy efficiency, single-paned double-hung windows combined with storm windows actually offer nearly as good efficiency as a modern window without storms.

    Beyond that, I can’t think of anyone who actually prefers the way vinyl windows look. Restoring a double-hung window that’s not in good shape costs no more than buying a new, decent-quality window — probably much less.

    Original windows are actually a tremendous asset to a house, though most people seem to think they mean a big window replacement expense.

    What’s more expensive – repairing original windows once every hundred years or replacing them entirely every 10 or 15? Never mind that vinyl windows are ugly as sin.

  • Our house has a lot of original detail but the one thing I am really sad about is the doorknobs…..

    We have the original doors but all the doorknobs have been replaced with these awful brushed nickel home depot specials.

    One day I will spend the money to get either restored knobs or at the very least new ones that fit in with the original details better.

    Another thing to add is original skylights. I have seen a lot of new skylights in bathrooms or they have been covered over completely. We still have the original leaded glass skylight and it is really beautiful. It can stand to be restored but is fully functional.

    • @JW, go to the Community Forklift in Hyattsville. They have dozens and dozens of original doorknobs (as well as all other door hardware) and they are not very expensive, like on the order of 5 bucks each.

      Same thing you’ll find at The Brass Knob. Maybe not quite as sparkly but 1/10 the price and nothing a little polishing can’t take care of.

      • Yeah, I make almost a weekly trip to Community Forklift- love that place. The nicer knobs while I am sure are inexpensive compared to other places still run about $20 a pop for porcelain or more for glass. I think I have something like 14 doors so it definitely adds up. Plus I need the back plates, too. I suppose I could mix and match… nicer knobs for more prominent doors but I have lots of things on the house to-do list so it isn’t high priority.

        I still can’t believe they ripped all the knobs out. The people who owned the house before us were really into brushed nickel.

  • I live right near this house and I see it nearly every day. I’ll tell you right away why it hasn’t sold:


    4BR renos in this area, with both modern and classic styles, are selling for $400-$425. A house up the block from this one sold for $399. Two nearby sold for about $425.

    I’m sorry, but you’re just not going to get $400k for any 2BR in my neighborhood, I don’t care how well it’s done. They made a big mistake opting to gut this place and create two huge bedrooms instead of going for at least three.

  • Our house was stripped of most of its historic integrity before we bought it. We managed to restore the heart of pine floors (they had been covered with peel ‘n’ stick vinyl) but any crown moldings, pocket doors, windows, transoms and original solid interior doors are long gone.

    It really is so frustrating as we try to move forward in the spirit of the original house but all those great features that appeal to so many people (including us!) are missing. Perhaps they found a nice home with someone through the Brass Knob?

  • saf, Jamie–

    Nice posts. I am working on a house that was gutted by a former owner. He was foreclosed on and that’s where my team picked it up.

    But I’m so tempted to put the old-style right back into it. Why can’t we match up the nice older dilapidated houses in need of restoration with the people who want to polish metal and scrape paint? Some gut specilist should be working on my already-gutted house and no harm would be done. Alas…

  • I used to visit at this house . I forgot the woman who died in a fire there about several years ago . She had let the electric get cut off and she used candles to have light . She also had a hord of cats that lived in the basement and when you walked down the alley pass the house it would stink so bad . Sorry that she died in the fire but life goes on .

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