Good Deal or Not? “Renovated Jewelbox Rowhouse” edition (Owner Request)


This home is located at 540 Hobart Place, NW:

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The flier says:

“Renovated Jewelbox Rowhouse :: Condo Alternative! 2 bedrooms and 1 full bathroom located 6 blocks to the Columbia Heights METRO. Gorgeous kitchen with Stainless Steel Appliances, Porcelanosa tile and breakfast bar. Open floor plan includes warm hardwood floors. Two true bedrooms up plus a spacious full bathroom with skylight.”

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

Wow, I’m digging the kitchen. What do you think of the renovation? Does $310,555 sound reasonable for this 2 bed/1 bath row house?

35 Comment

  • $425 / Square Foot

    What does everyone think about that?

    • I think the square footage price is fine because people have to get away from thinking about price per sq/ft, which helped lead to the McMansion problem. See the NYT’s article this weekend on the elusive small house utopia:

      You have to judge a small house on its layout, its charm, accessibility, etc etc. And I think this little one has all of those. Just look at the comps and the renovations that went into this house and I think it’s a good deal. Disclaimer: I bought a boutique condo for about this price a block or so away and I wish small houses like these go on the market more often. Had I been able to stretch my home search out longer, I would have gotten a (little) yard and no condo fees!

  • not sure about the ‘good deal’ part but if i were in the market for a home this would definitely be on my radar. some day…

  • Seems pretty pricey per square foot, 6 blocks to the metro seems to be an exaggeration, it is small (really small) and only has 2br/1ba… then again, it is tough to find a rowhome in the low 300s these days..

    I think you’d have to really love the neighborhood. Not my idea of a good deal, but since there’s not much this far south going for this much, I think someone will buy it somewhere higher than $290000. But geez it is small.

  • I really like the house itself. I think for a single person, a couple possibly with a small child, this would be a cool house to live in. It would be easy to get to a lot of places from that location, but I don’t know what it would be like to live in that part of the neighborhood.

  • Yes, this is a good deal.

  • If you are in the market for a 1-2 bedroom condo, you would be better off just buying this…imo…

  • Wow, that is waaaaay small– 813 square feet… and I don’t think there’s a basement. I’m trying to imagine my old one bedroom apartment as a rowhouse. The lack of storage would drive me bananas.

    That said, if it was between this and a condo for the same price in the same neighborhood, I would go for this hands down.

    • the LOT size is 813 square feet. keep in mind that this includes the rear yard (but likely not the front). even though it has two floors, if you add up all the numbers, it’s still coming in around 500 sq ft. but i don’t think anyone looking for a “jewel box” is looking for cavernous space – and not at that price either.

      i’m a fan of the place itself – this beats the pants off a lot of condos. not super psyched about the area – as frequently discussed here, lower GA ave isn’t so hot in terms of retail/restaurants/stuff to do.

      also, PoP, that kitchen is straight up ikea (though they seemingly used it well). wouldn’t cost you all that much to get your own 🙂 the cabinets are in the neighborhood of a grand.

      • Wow, the living area is only 500 square feet?!

        I changed my mind. A friend purchased a 450 sq ft condo on U street for far less than this a couple of years ago, and it included a big enough outdoor area to sit and bbq. If you’re going to live in a refrigerator box, it might as well be in an area where you want to go for walks and visit neighborhood haunts.

      • public records says it’s 728 sq ft

  • i love it, so cute. i think its a good deal for a single person. u just have to live there long enough for Georgia ave to start gentrifying.

  • I just can’t remember the last time anyone though anything was a bad deal on here…

  • Seems like a good deal. People say this all the time, but I truely think the neighborhood is the next area to really gentrify. Evidence:

    1) borders the “fancy” part of Columbia Heights (the area bordered by 11th street, Euclid, 14th, and Park Rd.)

    2) Little new construction going on in the City, but new Condos going up at Georgia Ave & 700 Blk of Hobart

    3) Great new Park at Columbia Rd & Georgia Ave.

    4) 10 minute walk to Columbia Heights Metro Station (I’ve timed it)

    5) Redevelopment of Sherman Ave. from Freeway to tree-lined parkway starting as we speak…

    6) long-term plans for 2 steetcar lines criss crossing Georgia Ave. and Columbia Rd. as well as streetscape improvement.

    7) Overall, this area is still cheap enough for developers and young proffessionals to buy-in and for business start ups to locate on Georgia Ave…

    Compared to a condo (whose supply seems to always increase), you’ve got a nice litte patio and a front-seat show to the continued gentrification of the Heart of DC!

    • When is the trolley coming? The streetcar coming will change everything. Potential for huge upside for a buy ad holder.

  • That’s a good find. Decent price, great design, no condo fees, and I agree that the area is nice. I’d save some money for nicer doors, though, because that makes a big improvement on a row house like this.

  • Good price. Great Reno. Hello Ikea.

  • People still get shot on these blocks, and its not far from other crime ridden areas…..FYI
    Good luck with the gentrifying though!

    • People still get shot in just about all parts of Ward One.

      • While that’s a fair statement, comparing numbers for the last year:

        1500 foot radius:

        540 Hobart Pl NW:
        2 homicides in last year, 19 robbery with gun, 3 assault with gun

        1700 P St NW (heart of fancy Dupont)
        0 homicides, 5 robbery with gun, 1 assault with gun

        Things were stable for the previous year in dupont, but Hobart showed reductions across the board – 50% less ADW with gun, and 27% less robberies with a gun.

        • What about 51 robberies without guns in the vicinity of 540 Hobart? Interesting that you left that out of your little statistical overview…

          Look, there’s always going to be places safer and places more dangerous from a crime statistics point of view. Park View is certainly not all roses – it may have some of the higher incidences of crime of neighborhoods discussed here – but its difficult to really say definitively.

          However, where else can you get a completely renovated 2br townhouse for 310000? Things in my area go for about the same or more and while its about the same distance to the G/Y lines as this place, definitely not as many amenities within 8/10s of a mile. I do wonder if it might go for slightly under asking price though…

  • I definitely want to see this one revisited.

    I think it has some interesting positives and negatives.

  • yep, that’s a good deal.

  • That place is adorable. Definitely a good deal — I admit it would be much better if it were a couple blocks north or west, but then it’d also be $100k more expensive.

  • Not a good deal.

    I closed on my place a 1/2 block away in early August. I have 1800 square feet and purchased it for 310K. Granted, it is not newly renovated like this property, but it has its charms like a clawfoot tub, original fireplace mantle and central AC.

    Kitchens and baths can be changed easily. Adding space is a bit more of challenge.

    Having said that, I hope some sucker buys it. It is a comparable and will increase my equity…

    • Tip: suckers read this blog. If some rube is thinking of offering on this, I’ll bet he’s reading your words now, thus spoiling your plans.

      Remember, you have to account for the fact you’ll have to replace roof, furnace, etc — all the systems in your house sooner than someone who buys this. Hence the slight premium on new renos. New stuff = greater value.

      In any case, I think you’re wrong. For one, this beats the hell out of a 2 bedroom condo near here as an alternative. If there’s a possibility of adding off street parking, this could be a decent get.

      • You insult the readership of PoP!

        All systems in my house are in good working order, including roof, furnace and hot water heater. My house needs cosmetics. I feel better about my investment after seeing a tiny two bedroom listed for $310K half a block away.

        Having said that, I’m sure it will go for around asking, especially since the Art Linde condos across the street will probably be around $300K for a one bedroom.

  • Who ever did the renovations was an optimist. Overbuilt for the size and locale. I doubt this will go for asking price.

  • I like the look of this place – really cute! Way better than a condo.

  • I think it should sell. Having looked at a place a block away, this is just over 10 minutes to metro and much newer condition than what we were considering (this has central AC, and a comparatively ‘spacious’ kitchen). I’d want to say hello to see what the neighbors on the block are like, but one block over had nice neighbors (and was close to the new park on Sherman). Obviously someone might outgrow the place, but for someone who knows how to economize space, it would be fine.

  • I don’t like the fact that the kitchen is 1st when you walk in.

  • I’m friends with the owners and have spent countless hours in this house and its back yard.

    It’s a great little house, and more thoughtfully laid out than some larger homes. The front door opens into the living room, like most houses.

    The first floor is roughly half living room and half kitchen, with great flow and no waisted space.

    The back yard is nice, they grow tomatoes and other veggies around the edges and host bbqs with 10 – 20 guests.

    As far as a good deal, if you’re trying to buy a two-bedroom in Ward 1 for around $300k, your probably pretty excited to look at something with a yard that is a complete renovation.

  • Great-looking renovation and design – can’t see any flaws. Looks like there’s a big front garden, too. Looks very efficient. Was an architect involved — if so, who was it?

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