Good Deal or Not? “4 storey 1915 Classic” (Reader Request)


This home is located at 2359 Ashmead Place, NW:

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The flier says:

“Handsome 4 storey 1915 Classic awaiting thoughtful, period repair & renovation. 3 levels have large ourdoor areas plus a prvt. garden. 5-6 abdrms. Garage onsite +1 pking. Desirable location: Kalorama.”

More info and photos found here.

The reader writes:

“Long time reader, first time emailer here – thought this would be a good candidate for your Good Deal or Not section. Those porches are incredible. My guess is the property gets grabbed by condo developers, but my wish is that it gets rehabbed to its former glory. Would like to hear what others think.”

Wow there are some amazing bones in this house. But like previous houses that needed some work – I wonder how much (moderate) renovations would cost. Any guesses? Do you think the current asking price of $845,000 sounds reasonable?

31 Comment

  • OMG hell to the yeah. That is a great neighborhood.

  • This may be the best GDoN that I’ve seen.

  • I agree with Matt, this is the best GDoN by far, Matt lets pool our funds and buy this big 4 story:)

  • As with all properties like this, we’d have to know what structural/ systems issues it had to know if it’s a GDoN.

    But oooh… what fun I would have if someone turned me loose on that place. With an unlimited budget and a couple skilled restoration professionals, of course.

  • Agree, agree and agree. Oh how I hope the buyer will revive it, a diamond waiting to be polished.

  • There is a house up in Mt. P that is about as big and had a major reno (1st – 3rd floors) turning into into three units (basement still rough) and its listed at $1.4.
    This locale is a bit more valuable and the house is larger so as a comparision this is a huge bargain.
    @WDC I’d also love to go loose in that place. Big debate would be keep as a single family or create a rental unit (or two) to offset the mortage.

  • I lean to the GD and away from the N. What a pretty, old dump. If I only had a mil. rolling around. Assuming no big structural problems, what about $250,000K in renovations to do it right? In that hood I would think you would want to do it really well to get maximum value whenever you sell. Agree with Petworthian and Matt.

    • I’m thinking $250 is on the low side for renovation.

      Small flip houses (2 beds) run at least 150k before you know it.

      I know there was $250k put into my reno… and it was pretty lackluster, but lots spent on brickwork etc.

      With no photos of kitchens/baths you have to assume they need full redone, the porches likely all need to go, the windows need replaced (expensive one’s at that) and a new roof. There is water damage in the walls in some of the photos, plus you would need new heating/cooling and likely duct work, all other mechanicals including boiler and god knows what shape all the radiators are in… and you have blown close to $500k if you aren’t careful.

      • Oh yea. I would think you would want to put in a first class kitchen. Not sure it would have to go back to stud or not. Wonder how up todate the eletrical and pluming is. Would certainly need central AC, though I would keep the radient heat. I think you are right…upwards of $400K maybe?

  • Having just looked at comps, I’m revising my opinion… I would have wild-assed guessed that large, restored homes in that neighborhood would go for close to $2M. But there’s another 5-bedroom nearby, all renovated, listed at $1.2M. Closer to Dupont, there’s a real stunner for just $1.5M. Which means if you pay $850k, you’d actually be on a pretty tight renovation budget if you expect to keep it a SFH and turn even a modest profit.

    So my re-considered opinion is: this is a great deal for someone who enjoys high-end renovations/restorations, and intends to live in it. Is it not a good deal for an investor, unless he turns it into cookie-cutter condos, and no one wants to see that.

    • why wouldn’t we want to see 4 beautiful condos in a nice, huge building like this?

      • Knee-jerk, mostly. They aren’t building houses like that anymore, and they don’t convert well into condos. Once you convert a house like this, you can’t go back. There would always be issues with noise and such. It just seems to make more sense to build the condos new, with design and materials more suited to that kind of use.

      • Parking issues.

  • Worth it and more. I bet there wil be a mass bidding war on this baby. It will clock in just under a million.

  • Good deal. Love the house – we used to live very nearby and I always coveted the decks. And I love the neighborhood. There’s so much within walking distance, yet it’s still so quiet and peaceful.

  • I went to the open house last weekend. Sadly, “moderate” renovations are not an option. It’s a complete wreck – some rooms are missing ceilings and chunks of walls, the electrical and heating systems are a mess, there is no AC, there is sufficient damage to the mortar and/or bricks to have caused water damage in the attic walls…basically, it looks like the “after” scenario once a 90-year old hoarder has been moved out of a house they lived in for 60 years.

    And the house is so big that the scale of renovations is massive (versus, say, a standard Wardman or 3-level Victorian.

    My dad and I figured around $400,000 minimum (re-pointing, replacing ceilings and walls, full custom window replacement, insulation, full re-wiring, renovating all bathrooms and a large kitchen, full interior painting, restoring the beautiful floors and woodwork, complete multi-zone HVAC installation, and on and on), but two groups of folks who were walking through with us had more experience with this type of renovation, and both groups put the number at $800,000 to $1,000,000 (that includes finishing the basement, though, which isn’t really necessary given the size of the place).

    Basically, as WDC pointed out, it’s only worth it if you plan to live in it. It’s priced too high to attract a competent investor.

    Seriously, it’s a wreck.

  • We left this neighborhood so we could a afford a terrific old house (in Brookland), and no complaints until now. I walked my dog by this decaying wonder nearly every day for years and like the reader above, coveted the decks, the windows, the location, the space …Sigh.
    And most of your readers seem to have it just about right — this is an absolute steal for someone that has the money and the interest in doing a serious renovation. It’s absolutely true that this could be serious gut job — depending on the furnace, radiators, and, as just another example, one summer we could see the ivy doing a serious job on those bricks (yes, we coveted this house). But this is a good deal for someone.

  • just read EdTheRed’s comments – and sadly amend my comments as he actually toured the house and its condition. Sad. Still, I hope someone with the wherewithal takes it on and saves it.

  • The assessed value for taxes is over $1.3 million.

    The potential to restore this huge, old house with many of its original details still in tact is very appealing as well as the price of $845,000.

    While that’s quite a sum for most, perhaps it won’t turn away a potential buyer that could be a patient conscientious homeowner that if short after acquisition could look to restore one level at a time, and maybe over a five year period look back proudly at a great accomplishment.

    Great location, excellent opportunity.

    Good post.

  • I really think the view from deck will push this house above other comps once finished. It might be worth an extra 100k. Deck appears to face south, which means maximal sun exposure.

    This house would be an ideal for a diplomat’s residence, or a tiny embassy. Perfect for entertaining high society.

  • Good posts GHF, Edthered and Anon 3:04. I think you guys are generally correct that this will be a good purchase for someone who will use as a residence and not a flip. I hope it gets done right. Given the area, I bet it will.

  • Did I mention it’s within the Oyster school boundary?

  • Me likey.

    Good deal.

  • oh, are you kidding? that is a great deal. invest $300 grand let’s say, and it could definitely sell for 1.5million. That is an awesome neighborhood.

  • I got a chance to peek inside during a Tuesday Broker’s Open and snapped some neat hipstamatics ( )
    It definitely needs a ton of work, but such a fabulous old building!

  • When I hit the mega millions and/or the Powerball I promise to invite all of you over for a party a year from now when I’ve bought and renovated this house.

  • In that neighborhood, one could imagine buying that place and putting the twice the money into restoration and getting north of $2M on it. (Or just living in it.) I don’t think at that end of the market doing a really premium renovation would be unexpected. This is not your Petworth flipper’s Row House.

  • I think considering the price and the amount that it will take it is good. I would love for someone to buy it, fix it, and live in it. But as I am sure flippers got it because they seem to be the only people that are buying 9or that banks will lend to). They will turn it into multiple units it will make them a tidy profit when they charge roughly $600,000-800,000 per unit. Of course considering the lame work of some flippers people have to beware of the work they do.

  • If you have not see the house in person you might not know that it is much wider than it may appear in the photo. The house is both on the left and right of the front door. It is almost 40 feet wide. It does slant back on the side but is still a very large semi-detached home. AND it is already under contract, there were 6 offers.

  • when i look at these GDoN, i never really think about the price, because i cant afford any of them.

    but just looking at this house makes me drool. effing cool as hell. those balconies kick.

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