Good Deal or Not? “2 bedroom, 2 full bath Penthouse condo” edition (Owner Request)

This condo is located at 1839 1st St, NW:

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The flier says:

“Top Floor. 1083 sqft per 3rd party. 2 bedroom, 2 full bath Penthouse condo just 6 blocks to METRO. Features include hardwood floors, gas fireplace & Gourmet open kitchen with skylight & stainless steel appliances. Large fire escape landing used as balcony. Enormous Master Suite. Spacious 2nd Bed w/ office nook. Dedicated laundry room with washer/dryer.”

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

Ed. Note: I know the owner who made this request.

So what do you think of the condo itself? Does $389,555 ($257 condo fee) sound reasonable?

31 Comment

  • condo looks beautiful, but maybe a bit overpriced, although once 1st street fills out the buyer will be happy to have paid asking.

  • Penthouse??? That’s one of the more ridiculous statements I’ve seen in a RE ad.

    Other than that I think it’s okay. Most people would probably prefer hardwoods to carpet in the bedrooms. It’s been on the market for a while so the price will probably have to come down a bit.

  • That seems like a reasonable condo fee for the square footage. I’d be curious to know what it includes, i.e. if it includes all utilities or if electric is separate.

    My condo fee includes gas and water (and other stuff) but not electric. I prefer it that way, I like to control my own electricity bill.

  • Nice. Very bright and airy looking.

  • It really has a great look/feel to it, but see that the arch. plan shows a small closet between the refrigerator and the living room, but photos reveal that you just stare at the bare side of the massive black refrigerator when sitting in the living room.

  • Too much in the current market. Townhouses just north of if RI Ave have sold recently for not much more. Sure they may need some updating (I’m not talking about shells, but perfectly liveable homes), but for 1 more bedroom, tons more storage, a yard and no condo fee I don’t see the advantage of this place. Unless you really have an aversion to basic maintenance I think many of the condos in BloMi are overpriced. The time they have been sitting on the market seems to support that. This 2 BR/2 BA condo literally around the corner is on for a whole $100K less:

    I didn’t take a very close look at how they exactly compare, but for the same square footage and similarly updated fixtures/kitchen I can’t see where the premium is. Unless of course you would like to be able to stumble home upstairs if and when Baraki opens. Actually, that might be a great selling point!

    Not trying to bash here, we own in Bloomingdale. I just don’t see the asking prices for condos lining up very well with what you can get for an actual TH.

    • “BloMi”

      HA – love it.

    • The 70 Rhode Island Ave. unit looks like it’s half in the basement. I wouldn’t want anything in a basement in a flood prone area.

      I’ve seen a handful of livable houses (meaning no serious renovation necessary) sell under $400k in the past 9 months in this area, but they were all 2 bd/1.5 bath.

      I think the main drawback with this unit is no parking. If it had parking, I’d be all over it. I love the full laundry room, the little nook off the second bedroom, and that there’s a window in the master bathroom.

      • Net $375 with subsidy:

        3BR/2BA and definitely not a dump from what I’ve seen (outdated, sure)

        A few on the Unit-200 blocks Adams and Bryant but I can’t vouch for them. Some of those twin condo TH conversions north of RI are going for more than I would expect, so maybe that blows my theory. Lots sitting on the market, though.

        I didn’t notice that the RI one was a basement. I wouldn’t worry about flooding (the NW side of 1st is where you get the low point and the old Tibor stream running underground), but I wouldn’t like a 1/2 basement place on general principle. But not sure if it’s a $100K headache. That’s a lot of dough.

  • “just 6 blocks to METRO” made me laugh. yeah it’s close enough to metrorail for most, but that sounds like a lot. using the term penthouse for the top condo in a chopped up rowhouse is pretty funny too.

  • I looked at this place when it was first rehabbed years ago and it has a very odd layout. The living room is very small and the bedroom is very big. Plus this is at a very unpleasant intersection and the ‘hood was and is still a wee bit sketchy.

  • I think the floorplan is great. what appeals to me is that it is perfect for a roommate situation (I rent out my second bed/bath) because the rooms are specious and there is decent storage. Not knowing what the neighborhood there is like, I can’t really comment on the price. On paper and google maps, the price looks right!

  • that place is great. either the GDON is a terrible deal, or this one is amazing.

    • the one in Anon’s post, that is.

      • Well, it might be a slightly better deal. BUT the condo fees are $200 more a month at the one in anon’s post. Assuming the fees cover the same things, that’s like adding almost $40,000 to the purchase price of the cheaper one (at 5% for 30 years).

        Also, I wouldn’t ever want to live in a place with a spiral staircase, so I’d have to factor in the cost/possibility of putting in a regular one, which I bet would be a very pricey renovation.

  • Considering there’s not really much room for a dining table, I find it kind of bizarre that they put a fireplace at what otherwise could have been a breakfast bar.

    Overall, the price seems on the high side to me, but that’s just a gut feeling not based on any facts.

  • Isnt this above where Baraki is supposed to eventually open?

    Pros: You’re conveniently located in Bloomingdale’s critically acclaimed dry cleaner district.

    Cons: If the dry cleaner wars ever go to live fire, you’ll be right in the midst of it.

    Personally, I think just under $400,000 is a bit high. This is $80k more than I paid for a townhouse that needed far less than 80k in work done to it(probably about $40,000 on the high side).

    That said, good deals are getting harder and harder to find in b’dale, ledroit, and western eckington. It is getting difficult to spend less than $400,000 to live in this area, though not impossible.

    I think this price is a bit ahead of its time.

    There are a few buildings selling 2br/2ba for a lot less, but I dont know how the quality stacks up.

  • I think 350k is more reasonable. If they waited until Boundry Stone they may get some more bites.

    BTW, what ever happened to Rustik?

  • Has anyone done a breakdown of what a bare bones condo fee should be in the city? I.e. one that only covers building insurance and property taxes? And maybe another one that has a responsible reserve fund priced in –maybe a new roof in 10 years? I’m really curious to know what the markup on fees is on some of these properties.

    I vomit a little in my throat when people talk about a “market rate” for condo fees.

    • Yea, people refuse to understand that in a 2 unit “condo” building with dirt-cheap fees there are only 2 sources of funds to pay the bills: You or the other owner. Basically, low condo fees means that you’re probably paying a special assessment every year to balance the books (and by “balance the books” I mean to try to get the other owner to reimburse you for half of what you spent on required common area stuff). Have fun in small claims court when there is a leaky roof or some other real problem that needs fixing.

      • I think this is a good point – there’s just very little sharing of risk with such a small complex. If the special assessments worked out to be anything more than $2400 a year it would erase the advantage of the lower fee compared to a bigger building like 70 Rhode Island.

  • A lot of references to similarly (or better) priced THs in the area. I recently bought a condo in “BloMi” and after months of looking didn’t see any THs with minimal work needed in the area. Was I not looking closely enough? Not that I care much now, but I’m interested to see some of the listings for THs in the low 300s.

  • Absolutely no way!!! They forgot to mention that there is a liquor store directly across the street (look at Google Street View and it is in obvious). Never, ever buy a property across from a liquor store since it is impossible to resell it. Liquor stores in D.C. are more protected than endangered species. They never go away unless they die out on their own. Not to mention crime is usually higher next to a liquor store.

    I lived across the street for one and got shot at several times (not this liquor store but one in Columbia Heights). The real estate agent can’t talk about crime but go ask the police and they will give you the whole story of the area.

    Buyer beware on this one. You may get stuck with it.

    • There’s one on 15th and C NE and they dump their trash in the backyard. They have rats allover the place. No one in the city does A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G.

    • Bloomingdale Wine and Spirits is a great store. I’m not aware of neighbors having problems with this place.

  • The ones in the low 300s were mostly last year and they went quickly.

  • is this the unit that would be above Baraki (god willing)? that would make a difference.

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