Good Deal or Not? “garden level condo” Edition (Reader Request)

This condo is located at 2103 S Street, NW:

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The flier says:

“Embrace chic city living in this 1,165 sf 2BR/1BA garden level condo steps from Dupont Metro. Warm hwd flrs; rec lighting; LR w/ cozy frpl; window filled turreted DR; eat-in kit w/ 42″ cabinets and a sizable pantry; PLENTY of closet space & spacious room sizes. Enjoy peace & quiet in the private courtyard garden- a rare find in the city.”

You can find more info and photos here.

The reader writes:

“I stumbled across this listing and it kind of surprised me.

A: It’s huge
B: It’s quite nice, but does need some updating in the kitchen/baths
C: It’s CHEAP for that location, it seems

Just surprising. My partner & I just purchased a 2 bedroom in Kalorama/Adams Morgan, but this listing gives me a bit of buyer’s remorse! With the lack of good, affordable 2-bedroom inventory in the area, I can’t imagine this will last long.”

What do you guys think – is this 2 bed/1bath a good deal at $499,000 ($398 condo fee)?

15 Comment

  • $500k for a basement apartment with 1 bathroom. no thanks.

  • Concur with above- I can’t imagine what kind of place the reader must of ended up with to look at this and feel like they missed out.

  • Rule of thumb when buying property: don’t buy a basement. .. unless it’s attached to your condo above ground.

  • A basement is a basement, even a bright one like that. It looks pretty nice to me, but I wouldn’t buy it because someday I’ll have to sell it. When it comes time to sell it you’ll find many buyers won’t even consider it.

    • I tend to think basement condos have high turnover, and for that reason we can assume the market for sub-grade condos is actually more liquid than penthouse suites. Basements are cheaper, and more buyers exist the lower the price goes.

      If location is more important than grade, or you can’t qualify in 20009 unless it’s a basement condo, these kind of units give people options. It’s a niche.

  • Lack of parking in that location would be another minus.

  • Wow, the real estate agents are getting really clever with their wording. So Garden Level now equals Basement. Those ceilings look pretty low, spending half a mil on a condo without even the option of off-street parking is a bad idea in Dupont Circle even if you don’t have a car, and it has an electric stove. If anything, it’s a little overpriced. But considering the type of person who would buy at this location mostly for the location alone, it’ll probably go for at least that much.

  • The kitchen is creepy.

  • My wife and I are looking to buy, we would never even consider a basement, preferring to rent than live below grade. A couple of unique problems to basements: 1) that’s where radon gas collects in areas where radioisotopes are present in the soil (like NoVa) 2) When there is a sewer problem in the area, you are first to know 3) Flooding!!! 4) Basements are the preferred enclave of various insects and vermin.

    There’s a reason there are a lot of basements on the market that seem like some sort of good deal for the amount of space, there isn’t a thriving market for them.

    • I have a properly sealed, ventillated, non-flooding, and radon and insect free basement. It has great utility and serves its function well. Of course, it’s attached to my home upstairs and provides storage and houses my washer and dryer. But I have lots of neighbors with similar spaces who rent them in the range of $1200-1600 a month, helping offset their mortgage payments and increase the value of their homes.

      Why is it again that no one should consider basement spaces?

      • Okay, how about you try living in your basement? I bet you wouldn’t even last 6 months. That’s how long I lasted in my basement rental when I first moved into DC. Worst 6 months of my renting life.

        Now imagine living in a basement and paying $3500/month for that 2BR (my guess for mortgage + insurance + PMI + tax + condo fee for this unit)?

        Yeah I wouldn’t do it. And my bet is that you wouldn’t either.

        • that depends. If it really mattered that I live in Dupont on the nicer Kalorama side but didn’t have the $800K+ a nearly 1200 sq ft place would cost… who knows. This has a lot of exposure and light for a basement, which is probably why it’s billed a garden apartment. I’ve seen lots of nice bright basement units. It sounds like you lived in a not so great one.

  • It’s a neat place, but yeah – basement + not great kitchen + only 1 bath = no thanks for 500.

  • It has nice light, especially that row of windows along the curved wall- wow! I can only imagine how nice those windows would be in the condo above it…

    I don’t think there’s any call for being “against” basement living. Basement apartments exist, and people live in them, and c’est la vie. You don’t have to live anywhere you don’t want to live. That being said, I lived in an “English basement” apartment for a year and half, and became a bit depressed during the last 6 months. It takes a special kind of person to be able to live semi-underground.

    If anyone is considering buying a garden-level apartment, I’d recommend renting one for a while first!

  • I don’t think that basement apartments as a whole deserve all this hate… I rented a very nice, renovated one bedroom apartment in the basement of a row house in Dupont for two years with very few problems (part of it flooded once during a bout of particularly bad storms but we cleaned and moved on – and no roach or mouse problem while we were there). While I’m not sure I would buy one as it was always nice knowing that we could move from underground whenever we wanted, as far as renting it was definitely nicer, cheaper and more of a pleasant experience than an apartment I rented before that in a building of condos.

    Every apartment has its pros and cons – basements included. No need to generalize.

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