Good Deal or Not? “100% renovated” edition

This home is located at 23 Randolph Place, NW:

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The flier says:

“STUNNING RENOVATION w/ offstreet Parking for 2! 100% renovated! Beautiful custom kitchen w/ Marble Ctps, designer cabinets, & millwork. Exposed brick, Oak hdwd flrs throughout, large windows. 13′ Master ceilings w/ exposed brick. Custom Bthrm w/ glass shelves & marble tile. New Roof, New Windows, New HVAC, New Plumbing, New Electric. CITY JUST INSTALLED BRAND NEW BRICK PAVER SIDEWALK & PLANTERS”

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

So what do you think of the renovation itself? Does $474,985 sound reasonable for this 3 bed/1.5 bath house?

44 Comment

  • Seems like a very good deal to me, but then this has been on the market for a while, makes me wonder if there is some sort of flaw that’s not immediately apparent from the photos.

  • I’m curious as to why this is so cheap. If I had to price it, I would have guessed $515-525k

    • I’ll admit I haven’t seen the comps, but I don’t think it’s cheap for this neighborhood. And it’s priced well above the tax assessed value.

      • I don’t think the assessed tax value is worth a damn in terms of deciding fair market price. That’s been demonstrated repeatedly.

  • Totally worth it IF the renovations were done properly. And by IF I mean just not looking good but also being durable. Example no tile-work done by “handymen” but by an actually experienced tile work professional. High standard I know as I have never seen any house flipper use professional workmen so maybe this one house is an exception to the dozens of examples I have seen.

    • believe it or not, many of the LESS experienced flippers actually do a much better job with finishes and quality of construction. they start out all guns blazing, “we’re going to change the way people do business in this town.” they put very good fixtures in, use highly skilled labor, pay attention to details. then the real estate agent comes in and summarizes the listing in 140 characters or less, skipping over most of what the builder thinks is most important. after a few buyers walk through and criticize the builder’s choices, or bid based on generic comps and not on the the “above and beyond” quality of this renovation, they tend to shift in the direction of commodity construction (same sh*t, different address, higher profit). unfortunately, they often find that they get the same price for building something generic as they do for building something “different and better.”

      just an unscientific observation from someone who’s worked with both young and more experienced developers, and observed the slippery slope several times.

  • I was looking through the pictures until I saw the 2 car parking — so that’s why they’re trying to get so much.

    A similar place a couple blocks south of here got $460,000 a while back. That was semi detached with southern exposure. No parking.

    This feels closer to $450,000 to me. But then again it’s not as if home prices have been dropping in Bloomingdale over the last year.

  • To get back to Devoe’s comment, this place was on the market a while back, went off, and I guess was just put back on. So I think it’s more than just the 5 days or whatever redfin shows it as.

    Can’t remember the price before, but I don’t think it was much more than this. If it didn’t sell at that point, maybe it’s still a little too high. I’d imagine it sells somewhere between $430K-$450K.

    • Most of your listings are for 4 bedrooms with 3 finished levels. This is a 3 bedroom with 2 finished levels. Not the same thing.

      You’ll want to type “bloomingdale 3bdr” in your franklymls search field to get some comps. And check the box for sold data.

      • Sure, but they all sold for A LOT more than $475. One was 3/1.5 and sold for $552,000 and only 2 blocks away. I said I thought more than $475 was reasonable based on those comps, I think that I’m right. 2 dont have any parking and I doubt all of the rest have 2 parking spots.

        Many of the places that list 4+ bedrooms are listing closet sized rooms as the last 1 or 2 rooms. Most of the houses in Bloomingdale/Eckington have very similar square footage – some just have walls in different spots. That said, extra bedrooms and bathrooms are more valuable.

        I’m thinking between $460000 and $505000… its tough to sell a place now, but I think this one has more potential to be higher than asking rather than lower… if it sells at all…

        • This GDoN has 2 finished levels. All of the so-called “comps” you pulled have 3 finished levels. It’s apples and oranges, cats and dogs, tea partiers and Code Pinkers.

          The $552,000 house on Seaton ( has a 3rd finished level with a den. It’s not a comp.

          If you want to list comps, list properties that have the -most- in common with the GDoN. They’re out there, you’re just not looking for them for whatever reason.

          • Below grade finished living space doesnt appraise for very much. In fact, some appraisers will only add a few thousand for this feature.

            There arent any comparable places within a few blocks of this place. The only ones I found are in far worse condition or not nearby.

            The fact remains, all of those are significantly more expensive. If an appraiser came in, they certainly could use any of those, make some line-item deductions, and come to a price higher than $475.

          • Those appraisers are very wrong on that point. All you have to do is look at the prices of homes on the market to know that a finished basement is worth a hell of a lot more than a couple thousand. Why would a buyer pay $100,000 more for a finished basement? I can think of several reasons, but the fact remains that buyers DO pay a lot more, and they set the market — not the appraisers.

            Here’s some homework for you: watch the video Frank (of FranklyMLS fame) did on his blog about how he hates appraisers. I mean, they tend to be right — within a couple hundred thousand.

            Within a couple blocks:



          • Hold on… you contradict me and give me some “homework” and then when you post your comps, one has 1 less bedroom, 1 more bathroom, and the other has 2 more bathrooms? You criticized mine for a difference in bedroom count… Besides that, they’re both in completely different neighborhoods? Not to mention, both are significant smaller and one lacks any parking…

            The row houses on the unit block of randolph are on big lots and have a lot of square footage. I’ve been in nearly every one of the comps I posted, plus both of yours. I havent been in teh subject property but I was in an exactly similar one a few doors down.

            I’m telling you the ones I posted are more closely comparable than the two hobbit holes you posted.

            Under your logic, a subterranean finished level of a small house with 2 other floors is better than a bigger house with no finished basement… hmmm? thats wrong.

          • The 2 bedroom has a the same lot size as the GDoN. It’s really a converted 3 bedroom, with 2 masters in place of an extra tiny room. This is an emerging trend in real estate. I’m not here to clue you in to every exception to every rule here. You’re going to have to learn them on your own.

            Of the 2 properties I listed, one is the same lot size as the GDoN, the second is larger! All the stats are listed on the MLS — refer to them before you make claims regarding their size.

            The 1st Street house is a 2 minute walk from the GDoN. While it is technically a different neighborhood, it’s going to priced the same. The other house is 4.5 city blocks away — not as close as the first comp, but worth looking at for clues as to how pricing works near the GDoN.

            Honestly, as a real estate enthusiast, I don’t see how you can be so wedded to your original conceit that a comparable property is one that costs $100,000 more than the GDoN. By definition, this makes it NOT a comparable property.

          • I assume you know that one house on a small lot can be bigger than another on a larger lot, correct? I dont think I need to clue you in, but since current zoning laws require no more than 60% to be occupied by a structure, a larger lot, when referring to a townhouse plat, means very little in terms of livable space.

          • Listen, I’d love it if this home sold for above asking. I’d open some champagne.

            This is not a big house. It’s okay — not big. Maybe you did the open house with a nice lady who told you it was big because she liked you. Whatever.

          • Geez you sound like a total choad. just admit you’re not always right and move on instead of resorting to quasi ad hominem attacks.

          • eckington resident,

            i’m not really sure what you and tres are arguing, but i would add that this property is of the smallest house type in the bloomingdale housing stock.
            bloomingdale doesn’t have a large variety of house types, where the rest of the city, especially nearby shaw, or even eckington, does.

          • as an observer outside of this mini flamewar (which ended in a personal attack – well played), the comps provided by eckingtonneighbor seemed completely irrelevant to me as well. different lot sizes, different house sizes, finished basements, different numbers of baths/beds, etc. last i checked, comp meant comparable.

          • The lot sizes are all either .03 or .04 of an acre, the interior square feet (as listed) are all comparable sizes except 12 Randolph and I dont believe its 2800 square feet, even if theyre counting the basement, that sounds like agent math.

            This is not the smallest type of house in Bloomingdale, these houses are fairly normal from Randolph south to Florida. Particularly some on R are much smaller.

            Its completely stupid to even fight about this. Find me a single family house that is turn-key, west of North Capitol, North of Florida and east of 3rd St that has sold for less than $460,000 during 2010. You know what, you’ll find one – its on Elm Street in Ledroit Park. Besides this one, you’ll find that the median price of a finished turn key in this neighborhood is in excess of $500,000.

            Personally, I think thats too much for the area – but it is very clearly what the market will bear. Look it over yourself:


  • I’d put money down on this house having a big roof, basement, or plumbing issue. No pics of basement so that’s a little sketch.

    That’s a beautiful block and looks like a great house overall.

    (And please god let that house be worth more than $475k because my 2br/2ba a few blocks away needs to get at least $380k in a few years!!)

    • *or* a mold issue… My father is a home inspector and does a lot of business in the area, and he has been finding mold EVERYWHERE. Scary stuff.

    • i’m a neighbor on the same block as this place.

      the roof is a few years old and the plumbing and electric are brand new.
      i do not believe there is a mold issue based on talking with the contractors and talking to other neighbors that have walked through the place. i never noticed that they dug out the basement, so i’m pretty sure this is just an unfinished half basement.

      the house is smaller than most houses in bloomingdale, but otherwise, i’m actually surprised that it hasn’t sold.

  • Is it just me or does it seem like there is a new housing bubble in DC proper? Certainly seems we are way up from the lows (glad I pulled the trigger when I did) and house flippers are churning out their tacky houses by the dozen. To that point. Can we keep the “good deal or nots” to 1 Flip a week. We have Wednesday House Porn so how bout a thursday Flip Job. The rest could be normal houses. Half the fun of looking at realestate listings to me is to see how other peoples houses look. Flips all look the same and are staged with the same crap furniture. seen one seen them all.

    • I think this is a really good suggestion. How about “the seller actually lives in this house” GDON?

  • Is that considered bloomindale? I thought that was always north of FL. That seems to be more in the sursum corda range which should bring the house down. and to anan regarding a housing bubble…I don’t know if its a bubble or not but prices are crazy and I am seeing more houses getting multiple offers during the first open house if they 1) renovated and 2) are in a “safe” neighborhood. Its depressing. I was one of the folks in the lottery for a house in Cap Quarters this past weekend (one of about 60 for 10 houses)…I had a real odd moment when the whole absurdity of it hit me that I was in a lottery so I could actually spend $540,000 on a house in a safe neigbhorhood close to metro. thats what it comes down to in DC. And to qualify for the “workforce” units, you had to make AT LEAST 88,000-108,000. No I am not looking for anyone to feel sorry for me but damn, this market is crazy and DC is a rare beast in the housing market nationally.

    • this place is a few blocks north of florida.
      and yes, its all crazy in this town.

    • No, thats not in the “sursum corda” range. You’re clearly not familiar with the area, so just say that instead of making assumptions.

  • when did you move away?

  • I just walked down this steet on my way to the new Bloomingdale pizza place (Rustik). It is charming with new brick sidewalks. Talking with one of the neighbors I learned that they are very committed to beautifying the street and adding plantings to the tree boxes once the city completes installing new trees and road.

    I saw the house when it was last offered and it is fabulous. Who ever gets it at this price will be lucky.

  • if it hasn’t sold by now something is wrong with it.

    • thats not true, theres a ton of houses DOM 100+ that are actually fine, priced well, nice, etc. its a tough market

  • Maybe I missed it in the comments, but it surprises me that no one discovered that this house had recently been in a fire.

    We saw this house on the market as shell at the beginning of the year. It was a shell with all new framing, including roof.

    The sale-as-new-shell seemed odd to us. After a quick google search, we found the property had been in a fire within recent years (can’t remember ’08 or ’09, if even that far back).

    We walked the shell with an excellent builder-friend and found it to be sound, with the exception of pocketing kiln-dried 2x directly in to the party wall without any moisture protectives (rubber end-shoes or gaskets, hanging off a ledger, etc), but that’s not a very big corner cut.

    Their is an air cavity between grade and the ground floor framing. However, it seemed it WAS dug out by the main septic and water connection in the back, which was key if you were planning to do the reno yourself. At this point, it’s nicely serviceable.

    If they didn’t change the location of the stairs, though, the second bedroom is most likely very compromised for a very grande master bedroom.

    Still, cool area, 2x off-street parking??, not too bad. I thought it would go for $520k, current price seems a steal.

    • the main fire was actually next door. it spread a little but not all that much.probably more water damage from the firefighters than smoke or fire. it has been empty for about 30 years. there was a family ownership battle and it sounded complex. somehow that all broke a couple of years ago and the property finally went on the market. at one point the roof caved in and a tree was growing out of it. the city came and replaced the roof. possible the 2nd floor. the backyard was a haven for many many weird things up until just a few years ago.

  • what kind of weird things? sounds interesting

    • drugs, but thats a given.
      prostitution, thats kind of a given in bloomingdale too.
      illegal dumping.
      there was a gigantic crazily painted dump truck abandoned in the back parking spot for a long time.
      a colony of people living out of an abandoned station wagon another time.
      the house itself was used as a drug drop off location after someone broke into the basement area.
      crack pipes, needles, rubber gloves, condoms, blunt rappers, human feces were all very common.
      as a dumping ground it became a huge rat colony, but after a few months of crazy rat insanity, the city came and cleaned that out.

      if you’ve lived on a block in dc with an abandoned house, i guess none of that is actually “weird” but sadly a bit normal.

      • dude that sounds awesome. I hope the people that buy this house stay true to the history of the area and put human feces and used condoms all over the place. That’s called keeping it real.

        Gentrifying jerks, always coming around and cleaning up my creack pipes and needles, making this neighborhood suck.

      • There’s an abandoned house (if not more than one) on my block – fortunately none of this has happened yet. It might fall down before long anyway…

  • 23 Randolph Pl NW will be open this Sunday 10/10 1-4pm. I have been through the house and it is amazing. I suggest you all walk through it 🙂

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