Good Deal or Not? “Enjoy tranquility from your rooftop deck” edition

This converted rowhouse is located at 1821 1st St NW:

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The flier says:

“FHA Approved. Be the first to see. .. Recently renovated from top to bottom. Two level living with gorgeous granite, solid —- cabinets, shiny hardwood floors, and high end bathroom finishes. First level has two bright bedrooms and two full baths. Enjoy tranquility from your rooftop deck and spacious owner’s suite, with full bath.”

You can find more info here and photos here.

What do you think of the reno? Unit 2 is a 3 bed/3 bath going for $525,000 ($180 condo fee). And Unit 1 is a 3 bed/2.5 bath going for $499,999 ($180 condo fee) you can see photos of that unit here. Good deals or not?

14 Comment

  • I’m intrigued by these types of condo conversions. Does anyone have experience with a 2-unit condo association? Is it more difficult to work things out that way?

    Seems like these prices might be stretching it a bit, since one could find a “real” house of similar size for around this same price…

    • I rented in one. The other person was defaulting on the their mortgage and not paying maintenance/garbage collection, etc. Guess who had to pay for that stuff?

      If you’re stuck with a deadbeat, you will be stuck with all the costs when the roof starts leaking or whatever.

      Also, in these sorts of setups, one of the people has 51% voting share. And the other person probably just has to go along with whatever the 51% person decides.

      Based on my landlord’s experience, I would rather stay away. It’s much better to have a house where you can make all decisions, or be in a big condo building where you are not at the mercy of one crazy person that can make your life miserable if they want to.

      • On the other hand, a condo like this means all your association’s expenses are half-off relative to owning a standalone house. So even if you carried the fees alone for a year or two or three, in the long run you’d still come out ahead compared to your neighbor who owns a full house. You could finance a roof replacement, so that the cost would be born by a future owner.

      • You can have the same problem in a large building, if you have a deadbeat condo association. I know someone who was stuck paying about a thousand dollars in legal fees, shortly after buying her condo, because the association had not paid the people they hired to do landscaping.

  • I am in a 2-unit condo association, just a block away from the house in the post.

    Meeting him was necessary before I signed the papers. As the other guy in the association is the guy who originally bought and renovated the entire building, it’s been great. He can fix just about anything himself; he’s familiar with every inch of the entire house; and he’s very communicative and upfront about everything we have to deal with. He rents out his lower basement unit, and I have the top floor and half the main floor.

    The condo association regs require that we have to agree on anything done – it’s not a 51-49 kind of deal; it’s 50-50. I guess it’s as much of a risk for him as it is for me; I think we’re lucky that we’re both so damn cool.

    I was wary at first, but it seems to be working out great for me. Of course, I’d rather eat hot chunky cat vomit than deal with any kind of yard/exterior matters, so maybe it’s just great for me.

    • Your situation sounds great, but long term, he may not be there forever. When he is ready to sell, he won’t care if he is selling to a deadbeat. Thankfully, because of the high prices, most of the deadbeats can’t afford to buy, but you never know who you will get next.

      50-50 sounds better, but maybe not? It just means that urgent matters can enter gridlock.

  • Sounds good to me.

  • I’d want the run of the house for 525 in Bloomingdale – and I wouldn’t want to live beneath someone for 500.

  • I guess I missed the picture of the “high end bathroom finishes.”

  • I should add that my unit is 3br/2.5ba, completely redone, with 1370 square feet for considerably less (like 200k less) than the 2 units from the original post. Condo fee is about the same.

  • 1722 1ST ST NW had two compared units: a 3/3 and a 3/2.5

    They just sold for $475k and $418k — so I think the top unit has a good chance of selling for $500k (having a sexy roof deck and all), and for the bottom unit, I think $450k is reasonable.

    Flippers: don’t stage yourself. It makes our eyes bleed. My eyes are literally gushing blood right now.

  • I live down the street and have been waiting for an open house to check the place out (missed it last weekend). It is a beautiful house on a great street, but I am in a bit of sticker shock.

    The top unit may sell for close to asking with the sweet views, but half million for a basement/1st floor. It may sit unocupied for a while.

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