Good Deal or Not? “newly renovated kitchen” Coop (Owner Request)

This coop is located at 2707 Adams Mill Rd NW:

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The flier says:

“This wonderful one bedroom cooperative is located a stone’s throw from the heart of Adams Morgan on one of the quietest streets in the neighborhood. The well-run building sits in front of Pierce Park where you can use a fenced dog park, take a stroll, sit in the sun, or play sports. A quick walk through the park will also take you to Woodley Park metro. The home features a newly renovated kitchen and bathroom. The beautiful kitchen is equipped with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops for cooking and entertaining. The building itself offers an enormous roof deck with patio furniture, tons of plants and small trees, and a 360 degree view of the city perfect for enjoying evening meals or the company of friends. Extra storage comes with the unit and is located in the basement along with laundry facilities.”

You can find more info and photos here.

It’s not too often we look at coops so I’m interested to hear what folks of this owner request. Does $315,000 (monthly fee – $370 includes heat, water, and real estate taxes) sound reasonable for this 1 bedroom?

29 Comment

  • Coops are the inverse of a Sam Adams; Always a bad choice.

  • The unit # and drawn shades makes me think this is either a first level or basement unit but it seems well priced.

  • No, about ~30K overpriced considering it is a coop.

    And I am convinced…the only people who buy coops in DC anymore are the extremely naive, or the extremely wealthy who buy and sell in those few 3 or 4 bedroom, 3 million dollar coops in town that carry a $1,200 a month fee.

    I agree with Rayful, coops are always a bad choice.

  • Can a knowledgeable reader explain the difference between a coop and a condo? I’ve wondered for awhile and given the comments so far that coops are “always” a bad choice, I’m left to wonder why?

    • decent explanation at the link below. it’s about ownership structure and it really makes no difference. the coop haters don’t know what they are talking about. probably heard someone else say it over a sam adams and want to sound smart.

      day to day pro and con is that a coop has more owner occupied units and pays less taxes per year and a condo is easier to rent out because thier are generally no rules by the board.

      • Ding ding! “Easier to rent out” — that’s why. You can always rent your own house out, and usually your condo. With co-ops, not usually.

        Say you have to move for a job, or have a kid. Suddenly, you have to sell your one bedroom. If it were a condo, you can probably rent it to someone. In fact, you can rent out, have someone else pay the mortgage for 20 years, sell it, and use the profit/savings to buy your dream home. At the very least, you can rent it while you wait for the market to move upward so you at least don’t lose money (it costs about 10% of the value of a property to buy and then sell it — ouch). In short: co-ops are riskier investments.

        • That’s just a good argument for not buying a place when your life plans aren’t that stable. Of course you can’t always predict the future, but it’d be really dumb to buy a place knowing there was a good chance you might move within 5 years.

        • How many people here live on residential blocks consisting of mostly or all row houses?

          OK, good.

          How many of you own, how many rent?

          OK, good.

          How many of you believe having mostly homeowners on your block is better than having mostly renters on your block?


          If you answered the way I think you might have, then you understand why cooperatives limit the number of units that can be rented out at any given time. Quality of life is better when the building is filled with owners than when it is filled with renters. Same goes for row house neighborhoods (drug-dealing-grandkid houses notwithstanding).

          I owned a co-op unit from 1995-1999. It was a great value, allowed me to enter the real estate market on a modest salary, and offered enough appreciation to allow me to move up to a house in Columbia Heights after 3.5 years. And being filled with owners, the community was definitely much more tight-knit than most other buildings in the area.

      • Thanks!

      • Well, that and you don’t actually “own” anything at all.

        They are nearly impossible to get mortgages for because, as I said above banks have nothing to secure, no land, no property.

        You might as well rent, because coop prices on the downside are just as fickle as condos, but you don’t really get any upside appreciation. There is a reason they cost so much less than the equivalent condo.

        • I owned a unit in this building – at the time I bought it was the least expensive 1BR for sale in the neighborhood and when it sold it still was, but it had almost tripled in price (an amazing feat since you think I didn’t “own anything at all”). It’s ridiculous to say there is no upside appreciation. Also I sold my 1BR in 2005 at the peak of the market for $265K and 1BRs in that building are now selling for $315K or more – they continued to go up in price while homes in the rest of the city have gone down. So i have to disagree with you: co-ops give you a great price per square foot, you pay lower taxes, and you get the same appreciation in prices as the rest of the neighborhood. We also had no problem getting financing in the building – the “nearly impossible to get mortgages comment” is a joke.

          • So ok, you bought an 88K coop? What year was that?

            You also have to realize the average price of a 1br condo in that nabe in 2005 was about 100K more than your supposed coop sales price? So no…not the same.

            Listen, I am sorry you are so “offended” that most people realize coops are a poor investment choice in comparison to an actual condo (please show me a coop that was built in DC in the past 15 years). And its factual, you don’t own property. You own “shares” in a corporation, a distinction I would have thought you would have gotten supposedly having owned one.

            I also googled DC coop financing and got 2, yep…2 brokerages (regular banks won’t touch them) that will finance them. There rates are also a minimum of a solid point above the standard 30 year rate today. Considering you can get 45 differnet banks to chose from in terms of standard financing which is also nearly 25% lower in cost, the downside is pretty obvious.

        • I purchased my co-op in 2009 with a Bank of America mortgage, 10% down and 4.75% fixed rate for 30 yrs, and barely any closing costs (less $1,000). And this was for a small 14-unit building. BofA (the largest mortgage provider in the country)finances co-ops the same way it does condos. So I’m not sure where you’re getting your “regular banks won’t touch them”…
          Also as for the ownership – you own a share in a corporation that owns the real estate. Your stock in the corporation is collateral for your mortgage, fyi.

          • I’ve also lived in a coop – sold it last year in order to buy a rowhouse. My place appreciated $75K in the 7 years I lived there. That’s a pretty decent return on investment – especially since I apparently owned nothing. I loved living in my building. Everyone had pride of ownership, and was invested in the building. And I had no problem finding a mortgage or getting a re-fi. From my perspective, and at least 10 other people I know who have lived in co-ops, they are a perfectly acceptable alternative to condos.

  • I’ve been in this building and the roofdeck is unbelievable. I think the groundskeeper for the Chinese embassy (could have the wrong cuntry) lives there. There is plenty of space to eat dinner or entertain a group of friends. Plus, there are all types of fantastic trees, shrubs, flowers and fountains to match the fantastic views.

    Also, I believe a certain Guy Picciotto lives there as well, in case you need some harDCore cred.

    • Your second point alone makes it a good deal.

      Though I thought it was pretty reasonably priced and sized even before reading that.

  • I’d say well overpriced considering it’s a first floor unit and an older building. Yeah, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances are nice, but far more important to me at that price level would be the lack of central air or an in-unit w/d.

  • I actually live down the street from the building. Great building and there are no basement units. The first floor places are pretty high off the ground. Looks good and is cheap compared to lots of stuff in the area. Not bad.

  • I used to live in this building and agree that the roof deck is among the best in the city. Also I had awesome neighbors there. I used to live on the 5th floor and half of us used to keep our doors open and hang out in each other’s apartments – someone was always inviting you in for a drink or over for dinner. I knew almost everyone in the building by name. I left to buy a bigger home in Petworth but there are many things I loved about this building and miss.

    This particular unit is on the 1st floor and is a good size. The windows are about 8 feet above the street level so you don’t have people walking by at eye level, but I’m pretty sure there are bars on the windows. Check out the prices of recent sales – I think the price is comparable, but 1st floor units should sell for a little less.

    All the comments about co-ops vs. condos putting condos down are a little ridiculous. This is a well-managed building with fees very similar to area condos, but they INCLUDE your property taxes and heat. It’s an amazing deal. This building does allow renting out for up to 2 years, but there could be a waiting list if more than 10% of the units are rented (during the 4 years I lived there, there was never a waiting list and we never turned anyone down who wanted to rent). Co-ops can get you a much lower price per square foot and a lot of benefits. Plus, most of the historic buildings in this section of Adams Morgan are co-ops not condos.

  • Why do I get the feeling that all of the folks complaining about coops and its investment opportunity have never invested in anything? Place looks good to me.

  • Yeah, the Co-op haters really don’t know what they are talking about. yes, the financing is trickier but guess what? Because standards are stricter we don’t have vacant units due to foreclosure dragging down the prices in the building. Very high occupancy rate of owners which is good thing. If it’s more important for you to buy a place to rent out then don’t buy a co-op. but if you want a home for a lower price than a similarly sized condo that you want to actually live in and know your neighbors, then don’t be scared off by co-ops.

    Saying banks won’t touch co-ops is an incredibly dumb statement. I sit on a board of a near-by co-op and we have had 3 sales and at least two re-financings in the last year, all with different banks. Sorry to burst your 2 minute Google search bubble.

    • agreed – I lived in a co-op around the corner from this one for just under 5 years. i bought in bubbly 05, cashed out in 09 with a nice enough profit to put a down payment on a bigger place.

      yes, fewer banks finance them (generally only the large ones), but most banks who do have generally already vetted the existing co-ops. as a result, the lending process is no different from how it is for a condo….albeit with a few less choices of banks.

      with the exception of renting limits (meaning it won’t be your long term second home rental), the difference is generally transparent to most people. a co-op board operates pretty similarly to a condo board.

      this doc, Cooperatively Speaking, put together by a company that does a lot of the closings summarizes the difference (especially in DC) pretty well (with only a little favoritism):

      the one reason that co-ops used to be a bit of a better deal in DC for the cash strapped was that up until october 09, they were exempt from the recordation tax, saving you 1.1-1.45% at closing. they plugged that loophole last year.

  • My condo building which is in the same block as this one has an owner-occupancy limit so just like folks should stereotype about co-ops, people shouldn’t assume they know about all condos because they know about one condo…

    • nobody is saying condos do not have rental limits. however, generally speaking, co-op owner-occupancy limits are higher than condos (when condos have one).

      this is a result of the generally higher level of control the elected board can exercise on the shares you own in the coop, usually always designed to work in the benefit of the collective long term.

  • I have friends who live in this building and it really is worth a look. As everyone’s already said, the roof deck is unmatched in the city – it’s HUGE with nearly unobstructed views of most of the city. Plus – it’s on a quiet street across from the park, yet only two minutes from 18th and Columbia.

    The unit itself looks pretty good and the price seems in line with the neighborhood – the kitchen reno looks well done (the unrenovated units don’t have the open floor plan) and the bedroom and living room look to be a good size. I would like to see a picture of the renovated bathroom…

    On the condo/co-op thing, I guess it depends what you are looking for. If you are looking for a home, a co-op is probably a great idea since the building will be full of owners. If you are looking for something more flexible or a rental property, this might not be for you.

    If you’re looking for something in the city, I would recommend you check it out

  • I checked out this apartment this past weekend during the open house and loved it! The living room is super bright and roomy. The kitchen is begging for a party. Even though it was Halloween I didn’t hear any street noise from passers by. The roof deck is an incredible find for this city! Unfortunately my significant other just got into grad school and we won’t be staying in DC.

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