Good Deal or Not? “Corner apt. w/ lots of windows” edition

This coop is located at 1731 20th St, NW:

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The flier says:

“Totally stylish 1 BR in boutique coop. Corner apt. w/ lots of windows & great light. Renovated kitchen w/ granite counters & breakfast bar. Updated bath. Wood burning fireplace. High ceilings & beautiful hardwood floors. Fee includes taxes & all utilities except electric. No underlying mortgage. Great Dupont location just 2 blocks to Metro.”

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

I keep trying to find a catch here, but this looks really nice. Well the monthly coop fee is fairly high – $508. What do you think of the condo itself? It was originally going for $349,000 but is now listed at $285,000.

21 Comment

  • I’ve been looking for a 1br in the city for a little while now and I’ve seen this listing before. My two big deal breakers with this place are the window A/C units and the lack of any in unit laundry. I think this is a great price for the amount of space and location, even with the coop fee (though it includes taxes and some utilities so I wouldn’t say $508 is outrageous), but I think the window units + common laundry is the reason that this place isn’t selling. Am I off base on this, is that not a big deal to other people?

    • I agree with you that those are dealbreakers for me and lots of other people, but I do think that there are many willing to overlook them. I think one of the big problems with this one is that it is a coop. I’ve heard horror stories about coops. I am sure there are some good ones. NYC has tons, but they never really took off in DC the way they did in NY and lots of real estate agents steer their clients away from them. One of the big reasons I tried to stay away from them is that many had restrictions on renting out your place, which I plan to do in a few years when I outgrow it.

      • Alot of Condo associations have the same restrictions on renting. In fact, sometimes your financing won’t go through in a condo deal unless the association has a limit on % of units non-owner occupied.

  • For that price I wouldn’t think the only deal breakers are the window units and no in-unit W/D.

  • If I wanted to be picky, I’d say that while the side of the block that the condo is on is nice, the other side is the backside of the restaurants that face Connecticut. There are generally a lot of dumpsters and trash about. But if it’s good enough for the Real World, I guess I can’t complain.

  • I think $508 is pretty high, especially considering that it doesn’t include shared amenities like outdoor space, a gym … and the management company is off-site.

    You could probably get your realtor to request financial records of the co-op board, though.

  • there’s got to be another catch we can’t see in the pictures or property description. it’s been on the market for 136 days…

  • there must be an underlying mortgage or some other catch. it should be $200 more per sq ft.

  • From the photos, it appears that there may not be a full size fridge. If that’s the case, that might be enough of a deal-breaker for me.

  • To me it doesnt look like a “true” one bedroom…maybe a Jr. 1br/nice sized studio.

  • From what I understand (based on what my mortage person told me when I was shopping), it’s harder to get financing for co-ops- not all banks will do them. And FHA doesn’t do co-ops so you generally have to have a large downpayment

  • I know the owner of this place. it is well kept and the appliances are actually custom under counter sub zero appliances. The neighborhood is great and she has been there at least 9 1/2 years. I would recommend the place…not just because it is my friend’s place, but because of the location, condition, and upgrades.

    • So basically the fridge is the fanciest hotel mini-fridge you can buy? I would be majorly turned off by that if I couldn’t put in a real fridge somewhere.

      • No, there is a separate freezer and refrigerator. You could buy and put a regular refrigerator in there, but at the loss of space. Both are equivalent to full size fridge/freezer, without knowing or seeing them out in front of everyone. I actually would do it in our house like that if we were remodeling our kitchen. I like how clean everything looks.

      • I’ve seen the place, it’s a small fridge but workable. The place is renovated as a junior but could be a 1 bedroom again. The place is up a flight of stairs, strike one; the buildings common areas are gross, smells like kitty litter, strike two; no laundry in unit, strike three…plus it’s a coop.

        Too bad cause the unit is very cute and the location is great (minus the dumpsters across the street).

  • I’m familiar with that building, and it’s a great location and pretty cool old building.


    I think opening the wall between the bedroom and kitchen was a HUGE mistake in that unit. No one wants their bedroom smelling like bacon, garlic, curry, etc. (as much as I love the smell of all those things). Indeed, taking out the wall between what was a hallway and the bedroom was also a mistake. In reality, this is no longer a one bedroom apartment, but a very large studio apartment with a bad floorplan.

    • That’s a good point. But then the question is, is this a good price for a large studio? for this area and location, I think it just might be.

  • The catch is that it’s a co-op. Not only do few lenders provide financing for co-ops, but you must use one of a small group that has a pre-existing agreement with the cooperative board. From there, you must be able to put up a down payment of 20% to 50% of the sales price. After you have met those qualifications, you will be evaluated by the co-op board, which an reject your application for any number of reasons (mostly financial). If you have passed all of those hurdles, and you move in, it will be just as difficult to sell your tiny home when you’ve decided you cannot stand living in a junior one bedroom anymore.

    Also, re: renting. Many condo board do restrict renting, to a certain percentage of the total number of units (it is impossible to get financing if more than 51% of units are rented). However, most co-ops even more severely restrict renting to one or fewer units per building. Thus, you will be stuck in this tiny (if quite otherwise lovely) apartment.

    • Yes, I’ve noticed that coops are a lot less expensive than condos. That’s why the price on this seems so good.

  • I went to see this place during their open house last weekend. I was really taken aback by the fact that the place was basically a large studio and there was no real fridge. Also, there was little closet space, and storage space in the kitchen.

  • Two undercabinet units do NOT add up to a full size. Undercabinet units are about 5 cu. ft each, so two units would be about 10. Most full-size units are 20-25 cu. ft. Double what this unit offers.

    Plus there’s no storage in the bedroom, just a small wardrobe. Plus the lack of separation for the bedroom.

    It may not be a terrible deal but I wouldn’t call it a great one either.

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