Good Deal or Not? “Wide open spaces!” Edition (Reader Request)


This home is located at 516 Buchanan Street, NW:

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The flier says:

“Completely renovated! Wide open spaces! HWFs, granite & stainless kitchen, custom finishes. Deck off the family room overlooks a landscaped lawn with flowering trees and convenient off-street parking for 2. Light pours through 3 skylights and transom windows throughout the upper level. Finished LL w/ enormous 4th BR, den, full bath & extra storage.”

You can find more info here and a virtual tour here.

The reader writes:

“516 Buchanan St NW just went on the market after month-long rehab, and I must say that the results really impressed me. I live a few doors down, and I’ve watched this house for the last couple of years as it went from rental property to vacant to rebirth. Prior to being rehabbed it had been on the market in as-is condition, and on at least one occasion it looked like it was going to sell as such. Eventually it went into foreclosure and was purchased for under $200k. The rear addition is new, and having watched the construction work I can tell you that the developer did much more than a facelift on the interior. I’ve been inside and the place really looks fantastic, and if I didn’t already own my house I would have been hugely tempted to buy the house before it was rehabbed and done the same job myself. I’m wondering what PoPville thinks of the job and whether it’s a good deal.”

What do you guys think – does $525,000 sound reasonable?

23 Comment

  • I told you I’d come back.
    Remember Buchanan? But you’re not Buchanan.
    I don’t look like him, but I am him.

  • I was totally prepared for another crappy flip job. I was pleasantly surprise. This looks good and they didn’t just use the cheapest fixtures they could find, and the thought about the layout. Bravo. I don’t love the siding on the edition, but otherwise, looks good.

  • Good deal. It will sell at that price or maybe even more.

  • To me, that’s an amazing deal. That’s my dream house.

  • Nice job on the rennovation, I like the layout. Seeing work like this always gives me ideas about my own place. It appears that the contractor/flipper did not cut corners on the materials which is nice to see. I would not be surprised if this sells above asking price.

  • Looks really nice. 1700 sq ft though? It’s got to be more than that.

  • I love it. Did they dig out basement under the addition?

  • This house actually sold in December for $192K cash. It took them about three months for the renovation, which is still impressive. It had been previously renovated so it probably had new electric, plumbing and HVAC, which no doubt sped up the process.

    On a side note, everything they used is Home Depot, except for the cabinets, which are from Castle Wholesale on Bladensburg Road. It just goes to show you don’t have to spend tons of money to get a nice renovation if you have good taste.

    • (I’m the reader that made the request to PoP)

      I don’t believe it had a modern HVAC system, as I recall that it had a few window units for A/C and radiators for heat. I did not see the inside of the house before its most recent renovation, but my understanding is that it was neither a dump nor particularly nice.

      On a side note: anyone familiar with this block should know that the formerly vacant and boarded up home (#527) is also nearing completion of an extensive renovation. I haven’t been inside yet, but it was a shell that had been unoccupied for many years and had lost its rear addition (which I assume was torn down by the city). From what I can tell the developer did a good job bringing it back to life.

      At any rate, it’s definitely a nice street with some great neighbors.

  • Does anyone know who did the work?

  • Gorgeous! Love the skylights.

  • So we are planning on checking the place out this weekend – and potentially put an offer. Am a Petworth novice – so apologize for any stupid questions! How is the “hood, whats within walking distance, do you walk alone at night? How’s the street, neighbors? Would love to hear any thoughts folks might have. Thanks in advance.

    • My wife and I moved into Petworth last fall. So far, it has been fine….extremely (and I mean extremely) quiet at night, and no hassles. I have walked from Adams Morgan, U Street, and Columbia Heights during the wee hours (like 2:00 a.m.) a few times and I didn’t encounter a soul during the last 15-20 minutes of the walk, as I got into Petworth. Maybe that will change with the warm weather, but there certainly aren’t roving bands of punks and crazies like in other parts of the city; at least, not in my part of Petworth, which is only a few blocks west of the house in question. My wife and I normally take the metro to and from work, and during the winter, of course, we always came home after dark.

      On my block, there is only one house where the residents are a little shady (young guys on the back porch smoking grass); it is a mix of old-timers, immigrants, and a few young families (new arrivals like ourselves). A lot of first-time homebuyers from my company have moved into Petworth during the past few years, and all of them like it.

      It is mostly residential, so don’t expect much nightlife. That said, we do visit local restaurants(e.g., Moroni Brothers and Taqueria Distrito Federal on Kennedy St….will try Fusion soon) and coffee shops (Qualia), bars (Domku and Looking Glass), dry cleaners (Kilroy), and Yes! Market. There is enough within walking distance to meet your basic needs, and by metro, Columbia Heights is only two minutes away (U St is four minutes and Chinatown is 10 minutes). The green line is a great metro line…..reliable and has good stops.

      The neighborhood is showing strong signs of improvement (along Georgia Ave around the metro, for example, there is a lot of development planned or underway), and we are excited about living here for the next 10 years, at least.

      Come live in our neighborhood!

    • I just looked at the photos again. The house is staged nicely, and the photographer did a good job, which normally means that the photos actually do the house justice. Based on that, and not knowing the particulars of that block, I do think this house is a good deal. Maybe even a great deal. Be prepared for competition.

    • Yeah, great neighborhood. Residential but totally walkable to ‘stuff’. People are, by and large, friendly. Plus, Upshur Park Pool in the summer is pretty awesome.

    • Opal,

      Feel free to stop by 510 Buchanan on Sunday if you’d like to talk about the neighborhood.

    • I live just around the corner. I love our little neighborhood. This street in particular I’ve always found slightly out of place. Some of the houses seem run down. But, this house looks beautiful. House just across the street has been renovated, and I’ve seen signs of more work. This little street has seen a lot of improvement in the last year. That’s the trend of the neighborhood. Price seems like a lot, but there are so few first rate renovations in the Petworth, it’s hard to compare. This house will be a good barometer of how in-demand renovations are in Petworth. Petworth is also getting a new retail and restaurants near the Metro. That should help lift the Georgia Ave. area from Quincy to Emerson.

  • We are actually going to check it out tomorrow with our realtor and might do drive/walk by tonight. But if we like – will defn stop by again Sunday to get more scoop on the neighborhood. Thanks for everyone’s responses!

  • Personally, I found the staging and house very bland. Most of the original character is gone, the grey and white paint everywhere, the brown bathroom tiles, etc… The floors and backdoor were nice, and it looks like a solid job. just boring. I guess a blank slate, but I like my house with its old wooden doors and push-button light switches.

  • PoP — The “flipper” for this is worth an interview. He is (re)working “North Country” house by house (and making good money). I think this is his 4th house in Petworth in the last 6 months, and the prices keep going up (a good think for our RE values). You or Hip-Chic should track him down.

  • the developer is Urbiz Development… he also did 912 and 914 Emerson St. in Petworth

  • I lived next door at 514 from 1950 to 1971.

    516 belonged to the Barnes, from your photo the porch entry has been removed, a retaining wall added with crepe myrtle tree, the brick work painted (it was plain in my day).

    Overheads from Google Maps show the apple tree, and possibly the pear tree in the back yard present at the time the pic was taken. There was a Montmorency cherry tree near the house when I lived next door.

    It was a nice house, the only one on the street with glass-enclosed under and back porches. Mr. Barnes used it as a greenhouse/conservatory, he had plants there even in the dead of winter. Heat was steam radiator with an oil-fired furnace that had been converted from coal. AC was opening the windows and turning on a fan.

    The rather sad set of junk-filled, rat-infested garages in the alleyway appear to have been re-habilitated.

    I don’t know what Mr. Barnes paid for the house, I recall my dad saying he’d paid $12k for ours in 1950.

    Also from the overhead view — some jackass has cut down the peach and fig trees from 512 and torn down the grape arbour, new garage looks ok though. The maple trees which lined the street have been felled.

    Regards from Roanoke VA.

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