Good Deal or Not? Hampshire Gardens – Reader Request

This co-op is located at 222 Farragut St, NW:

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The flier says:

“Wow!Big & Renovated. Kitchen has top of the line appliances, big refrig with ice maker, gas stove, built in microwave, under counter lighting. Beautiful hardwood floors through out, long entry hall with cool track lighting for gallery. Large walk-in hall closet plus extra storage in building. Separate dining room with arched entry, large living room, BR w/ walk-in closet, windows in every room!!”

You can find more info here and photos here.

The reader writes:

“The condos all seem to have a lot of character and are pretty cheap. Do you or any readers know much about this area? Or about the co-op?”

What do you guys think – $164,900 for a 1 bedroom – too good to be true?

32 Comment

  • I live two blocks from here, it is really nice, but kinda loud because of the NH Ave traffic. I think the co-op fees are really high and it’s far from the metro.

  • Bear

    Seems that this might be a below-market co-op. From what I know about this type of co-op (which is admittedly not a whole lot), there can be restrictions on making a profit from selling the unit. So if you’re looking for a place to live that has more long-term security than renting, it could be a good deal. If you’re looking for something as an investment, this may not be the way to go. Depends on the type of co-op, though.

  • Its pretty far north – but thats a reallylow price. It looks like a nice unit too. However, there’s gotta be a catch somewhere b/c nothing in that price range thats inhabitable stays on the market for that long…

  • Seems about right to me. It’s nicely rennovated, but it’s got a lot of negatives. Relatively high co-op fee (includes R/E taxes though), window unit AC, common laundry, older development, far from metro, not in a highly desirable area. Looks like other units in that development for sale and sold are right in line with this one. @Anonymous: doesn’t seem to be income restricted from the listing or other listings in the development.

    • Bear

      I didn’t mean that there were income restrictions on potential buyers. Below-market co-ops place limitations on how much the owners can sell the unit for–thus limiting any profit on the sale. I think the technical term is “limited equity” co-op.

      Again, not sure if that is the case here. I did a quick google search on the co-op and couldn’t figure out either way, so it would be a good question for the seller’s agent.

  • Fort Totten metro station is a 10 minute walk from there – so it’s really not that bad…

  • I’ve been to this place due to my job. It had a serene, quiet feel to it. Downside: all the rooms were miniature – the way the kitchen, dining and living room are separately walled. Kind of grandma-esque. I liked their common laundry because the condos are so small it’s not worth giving up the space. It’s a good location if you are a dedicated bicyclist and don’t use metro.

    • I completely disagree. The average 1 bedroom in this coop is 750 square feet. I would agree that the kitchens and bathrooms are on the small side, but the bedrooms, and living rooms are fairly large.

  • @ ML – wow – that’s closer than half the properties that tout Metro proximity. Pretty good.

  • How high would the mortgage plus condo fee be each month? The price seems reasonable given the non-swanky location — google maps says it is .8 of a mile to Fort Totten, walkable but certainly not in 10 minutes like a previous poster said. If had a car and a cat I would be interested 🙂

  • I used to live in a co-op in Adams Morgan. You can buy and sell like any other property, so no limits on your profit. However, there are usually rules that limit investors (such as units usually have to be owner-occupied or renting is limited). Since investors can’t buy co-op units these units tend to be lower-priced. If you’re interested in living in the unit and have no plans on renting it out, then buying a co-op can be a great deal. My experience in buying and later selling a co-op was great. It was the least expensive 1BR in the neighborhood when I bought it, and also when I sold it 4 years later, but the relative increase in value was the same as condo units in the area (it more than doubled in value along with all the other kinds of properties).

    I think the price ($164K) is also low because of the higher-than-usual fees of $476. In older buildings this fee may also include your heat and maybe other utilities and also property taxes (which are VERY low in co-ops – mine were $125 a YEAR vs. $200/month for a comparable condo). Since you wouldn’t have these expenses separately that helps lessen the blow of this high amount. My guess is that the fees are high because of repairs needed to the building, etc. My co-op in Adams Morgan also was an older building and similarly had high fees for the neighborhood.

    • I think Anonymous’ point was that this might be a specific type of co-op, not that all co-ops limit the amount of profit that can be made.

      • Co-ops don’t limit your profit.

        • From the National Association of Housing Cooperatives (

          Market-Rate Cooperatives

          In market-rate cooperatives, shareholders may buy and sell their shares at full market value.

          Limited-Equity Cooperatives

          Limited equity co-ops limit the resale value of shares. The maximum resale value is predetermined by a formula established in the cooperative’s bylaws. Generally targeted at low- and moderate-income people, the purpose of limited-equity cooperatives is to prevent speculation, encourage long-term residency, and preserve the “affordable” character of the co-op for a wide variety of future residents. Many limited-equity cooperatives were developed by nonprofit organizations with government assistance.

          Again, I have no idea what type of co-op Hampshire gardens is, but it is worth finding out.

  • I think this place is adorable. I also like all the chalet-looking homes up in that area. It seems like a good price to me.

  • I live on the next block over from this complex. A few things I can add:

    * It is a 10-15 min walk to both Ft Totten and Ga Ave/Petworth from here. The 64 bus is less than a block away in both directions, cutting down the time to metro to a few minutes. The 62/63 line is less than two blocks away as well.
    * The buildings are quite old and need some work. However, there has been a lot of momentum in getting that work underway. The grounds are beautiful (including a huge private garden/courtyard) and well kept.
    * This is a very quiet area of Petworth. The complex is surrounded by single-family row houses. Relatively non-dramatic neighborhood.

    I think these units are a steal (several have sold in this price range). There is a lot of generational transitioning going on in this complex, so you can expect to see more and more change coming in the future.

  • I feel like this has been listed for a while…perhaps on and off again. I also feel like this is a significant reduction over previous pricing…very significant. Bank owned?

  • This place is pretty historical and is listed in James Goode’s book “Best Addresses”. It was one of the first garden style apartment complexes with individual co-op boards for each building (like Tilden Gardens) and went co-op back in 1930. It may even be on the historic registry but I’m not sure about that. So just like @Eric said, there probably is lots of generational transitioning going on right now.

  • As an owner in the complex and the President of the coop here are my two cents:

    First of all I have been in this unit several times and it is definitely as nice as the pictures show. In fact, I saw it the same day I visited the unit I ended up buying and was upset that it was already under contract. It should sell for a lot more than it is, but based on the recent comps there is no way it will appraise for more than $170k. So if you are planning on staying in your place for the long haul and expect the market to come back, you will probably be very happy with your investment in a couple of years.

    Second, if you are at all curious about the complex you should go see for yourself. When I was looking for places several years ago I purposely avoided units in this complex because they were selling for significantly less than similar units (even in the go-go real estate days) so I figured something must be wrong with it. I am not going to pretend that the complex is without flaws but I was shocked at what you get for the money.

    If you like old-school architecture, brick buildings, and hard wood floors you will really appreciate this place.

    • Thanks for the info and for answering the question of what type of co-op it is. I recently bought and briefly considered a below-market co-op, which is why I brought it up–it’s an important piece of information. Based on what you’ve said I think it sounds like a great deal, though I’m not too familiar with the neighborhood.

  • Unit looks beautiful.

  • Looks like the owner is going to try to rent it for $1350/month. I think that’s a little high, personally, although something in the $1250-1350 range would be about right:

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