Good Deal or Not? “On quiet street near newly-renovated Stoddert Elementary” edition

This home is located at 2431 39th Pl NW:

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The flier says:

“Warm and inviting traditional Glover Park row home. Well maintained hardwood floors and original trim. On quiet street near newly-renovated Stoddert Elementary, and blocks from the shops and restaurants in Glover Park. Garage +2 rear pkg. spaces + street pkg. Finished basement currently used for 4th bedroom.”

You can find more info here and a virtual tour of exterior photos here.

Well I wouldn’t have posted had I originally realized there were no interior photos. Bizarre – I’ve never seen a virtual tour of only exterior photos before – am I missing something? I wanted to post this house because the block did seem really nice, quiet and friendly. From the info we have do you think $729,900 sounds right? Or should we assume the inside needs a gut renovation?

43 Comment

  • As far as I know, around 750,000 is pretty standard for Glover Park. Probably not a gut job, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was a former Georgetown student rental home and is not pristine. This is my neighborhood, and I really couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

  • Looks like there is a tenant living in the house. At least you’d get to pick and choose your renovations. I lived in a house like this in GP for a few years, and it was a nice quiet neighborhood. But this seems pretty high to have to deal with getting the tenant out plus a likely initial rehab.

  • I have friends who live on that block. Based on what they paid for their place about 2 years ago, this one probably has original baths and a kitchen that hasn’t been renovated in the last 5-10 years, probably longer. It wouldn’t be my first choice of houses on which to spend $729k.

    • I can see wanting a new kitchen, even though I’d much rather spend $15,000 and put exactly what I want in instead of them doing it and adding $30,000 to the price, but bathrooms?

      Those original bathrooms are awesome, what with the old school tilework and toilets that use 4 gallons a flush so they actually work. It is a sin to rip that out and replace it with the same vinyl floor and fake marble tiles anybody can get at Home Depot.

      • I wasn’t really disparaging the bathrooms or the kitchen, just stating facts (although if one of the original baths was that god-awful Pepto pink, I would be disparaging it). Glover Park just isn’t someplace I want to live, even if I had that kind of money to spend on a house. My friends spent closer to $800k on their place and I guess I don’t see how that’s a good value, for a small rowhouse with no yard, far from the metro, that still needs some work (and their kitchen really does need it). But to each his own – they certainly wouldn’t live in Columbia Heights or Petworth.

        • Luckily, no pepto pink. the bathrooms in GP are mostly the black and white tile that seemed to be the universal standard in the 1920s-1930s.

          Nobody moves to GP to get closer to the action. The only reason to buy a house here is to have a nice place to raise kids, and unfortunately in DC, 800k for a safe neighborhood with good schools is standard.

  • I would live there…

  • I’m sure someone will come along and try to justify it, but $729,000 for an un-renovated 3BR rowhouse in Glover Park is just not a good deal. Especially if there’s a tenant, which you will be stuck with as long as they want to stay.

    • Why would you be stuck with the tenant? I looked at a lot of properties that had tenants in them, and while they are sometimes willing to stay (which can be helpful if you plan on renting anyway) they are supposed to be out before the settlement date. I will say it can make things difficult if you’re trying to schedule a viewing, particularly if there’s a lot of them or if they’re uncooperative.

      • “…they are supposed to be out before the settlement date.” This isn’t necessarily true.

        We went through this recently with a PoP discussion about tenants’ rights to purchase, but maybe it bears repeating: When you buy a house with a tenant, you usually get the tenant. In DC there is generally no such thing as a no-fault eviction, lease or no lease. The only exceptions involve major rehab or discontinuation of use as a dwelling, or — and this is the relevant part — when the current owner or purchaser intends to occupy the property him or herself. The problem is that the settlement date means nothing to the tenant and has no bearing on his or her rights.

        You have to give 90 days notice (and only AFTER the sales contract is signed), which in many cases is after your rate lock has expired. In other words, the property is likely to convey with the tenant, unless the tenant has agreed to leave earlier.

        • That’s ridiculous. So if you buy the house and the current occupant has 10 months left on a lease with the previous owner you can’t move into your own house for another 10 months? How are you supposed to pay the mortgage on the new house PLUS rent or mortgage to live somewhere else in the meantime?

          • The max is 90 days with notice. They’d be paying rent to you.

          • Yeah, but it’s unlikely the rent would totally cover the mortgage.

          • Yes, by a couple hundred bucks. So what? Anyone who can buy this isn’t sweatin’ that. The loss is a write off.

          • Hmm, I would think the opposite would be true. The initial costs of buying a home really eat into one’s savings, so every penny counts. The closing costs alone on this house would be around $30k.

          • Actually, I didn’t address the situation of a lease fully. What I was talking about was a month-to-month situation. Your scenario is worse — you’re well and truly stuck for 10 months (more for the eviction process). “Ridiculous” or not, it’s the law.

            Oh, and you’d be well served to fire any agent who encourages you to buy a house with 10 months left on a lease when you’re looking for a primary residence.

        • I went through this and it is a law, but generally the tenants are very coorperative. The tenants in my house were given right of first refusal long before I ever signed a contract. They signed a paper refusing the terms that was used as a selling tool by the seller. They were told the settlement date about 45 days out and were gone at closing.

          While the laws in DC favor tenants, most people are reasonable people who don’t try to exploit the laws.

    • Obviously nobody wants to reproduce with you or you’d be thinking about these things differently.

  • There’s a note that the current monthly rent is $3350. This tells me that the current owner has been renting the entire house, which would explain the lack of pictures.

  • Sorry, but 730k for a mediocre row house is not a good deal. Like pretty much everything else in DC, it’s overpriced.

    • Nothing is “overpriced” – it is priced at what the market will bear. This house, in this neighborhood with restaurants and a public school you can feel reasonably good about sending your kids to is probably priced about right. But again, only the market will bear that out.

      • It’s overpriced. Enough of this “market” crap. The housing market is a scam, and pretty much everything in NW DC is overpriced. Even those of us making darn near 6 figures, can’t afford a mediocre house like this. The market in general is just too much. Paying that much for a house is not the American dream, unless you’re the banker financing that house.

        • People who can’t afford a house in a safe neighborhood that has good schools have other options. They can buy a house in an area that isn’t as safe or doesn’t have good schools. Or they can perhaps find a good deal on a fixer-upper or a large condo. Or they can buy in the suburbs.

        • If you can’t afford NW, come over here to SE. We just bought a very nice house for under $800k, less than a block from Eastern Market.

          • In what world does “under $800K” mean affordable??

          • You were complaining about a mediocre rowhouse in this neighborhood being too much at $730k. You can get a mediocre rowhouse in SE Capitol Hill for about $100k less, which your six-figure salary should be able to handle.

          • My point, since you were complaining about NW being overpriced, was simply to point out that there are neighborhoods outside of NW that are just as nice, if not nicer, and a little cheaper.

          • You can actually get a nice house, around the same size, in near in MD suburbs for much less now. And I’d actually consider a place like Silver Spring more convenient for work commute purposes than Glover Park. There’s your market logic for you – lose the small amount of glamor and amenities of a Glover Park address and save money in a close in suburb. The market still has something for everyone making a decent salary in this area. Only newbies in this town think they have to live in NW.

          • “The market still has something for everyone making a decent salary in this area. Only newbies in this town think they have to live in NW.”

            Bingo. As I told my gf when we were searching, you can’t have it all. She originally wanted a SFH near a metro in a safe neighborhood in NW (CoHi or anything sketchier was out) that met our budget of $750k… luckily the realtor and I were able to get her to compromise on a lot of these things, and she couldn’t be happier with our new home now.

        • It will only be a problem if the dirty nukes get dropped and nobody will buy a house in the District

        • I think you are a bit jaded.

          Lets say you can put down 10% and secure a 4.75% 30yr fixed loan. That leaves you with an interest plus principal of around $3500. Property taxes and home owners insurance probably total everything out to around $4K.

          If you are in a dual income no kids situation this is definitely affordable. Most single folks living in DC/Northern VA in decent areas are paying around $1800-2K for a 1 bedroom apt and throwing their entire rent check away each month anyway. Why not invest in something?

          Rents will only get higher with inflation and with the recent talk to dissolve Fannie/Freddie, interest rates will jump soon too.

          If you can afford to get into the housing market, do it soon.

          • This. Homeownership is going to get more and more expensive, even if home prices stay the same or fall a little. Monthly payments are going to shoot up as rates rise when gov’t backed loans become scarcer. This may be as cheap as it gets in our lifetime.

          • Ugh. No. I don’t know in what universe $4k/month is affordable, but it is certainly not in mine. I’m so tired of this old “why throw your rent away when you can invest in a house” meme. Housing expenses shouldn’t be more than 28-30% of your income. By your measure, the couple would need to be making upwards of $400k/year to make this affordable. I know there are those who make that much in this city, but that’s certainly not me or anyone else that can’t shoulder that kind of financial burden.

          • Check your math.

            Lets assume this is pre-tax.

            If the couple makes 400K/yr, they clear nearly 33K/month. Using your metric of 28-30%, this couple could afford almost 10K/month in mortgage, not 4K.

            If the couple makes 200K/yr (16K/month) then 4K/month is 25% of their salary.


        • I feel the same way, “It’s overpriced” Anon! I’ve ranted for hours about how the DC housing market is a complete scam and the “american dream” is unaffordable unless you make a mint or live outside of Manassas.

          • J.Nash, I’m not assuming untaxed $$. I’m talking real $$. If we’re talking as if taxes don’t exist, yep, you’re right, a $4k/month mortgage for a couple couple making $200k or close to that is affordable. However, in the real world, depending on how much is taken out in pre-tax deductions, healthcare premiums, HSA, etc., $4k/month is easily close to 50% of the real income. And that’s not even counting money that you would need to budget monthly for the house to pay for utilities, maintenance and upkeep. Not affordable.

  • A tour of photos that someone can see if they drive by? The inside must not be so hot if they spent so much time photographing the outside and not one on the inside – what do they have to hide?

  • I lived in GP for a long time. It’s a charming neighborhood, and a real magnet for two-income families with young kids. They aren’t making any more rowhouses there. I would expect this one to get renovated and go back on the market at $850K+, and if I had the scratch I would do it myself.

  • Glover Park is a charming neighborhood, and great if you have kids and want something a little quieter and more suburban in character than other closer-in parts of NW, but it isn’t exactly teeming with good night life within walking distance, and unless you love Metrobus, you’ll probably end up driving everywhere. It’s not for everyone.

    • Honestly, Glover Park is less “remote” and “quiet” than it seems from the outside, at least in my opinion as a resident here. In the morning, I can make it to work at Metro Center from my house on 39th St NW in 35 minutes. On the weekends, it takes less than 10 min by bus to get to Dupont Circle metro stop, so in that sense, I don’t feel isolated at all. As a 23 yr old, I much prefer living here than any of the other neighborhoods I’ve visited (within a reasonable price-range of course). Additionally, the night life scene here is really young and a lot more intimate than some other places. The supposed lack of access to our neighborhood does keep things from getting too crowded, which is nice sometimes.

  • we’ve been watching real estate in this neighborhood and when this listing initially came on the market, they did post interior pics. It was an average GP townhouse but decorated a la undergrad (beer posters etc), which is probably why they took them down. It’s priced very well for the neighborhood.

    For those who say GP is overpriced are ridiculous. The only way that house will drop below 700k is if this recession turn into a depression and the housing market grinds to a halt, or if they build a nuclear waste plant nearby. So basically a house in that area is a good investment. Glover Park, Burleith and Georgetown will not lose value.

  • In 1981 I bought the original kitchen cabinets from one of these houses to put into my Columbia Heights kitchen.
    The kitchen in the Glover Park house had been remodeled and the old cabinets were in the garage and the new owners of the house just wanted them out.
    For $40 I bought (and still have) the most beautiful paneled door cabinets with the main wall cabinet having leaded glass in the doors. Also pewter knobs and drawer pulls with a beautiful art deco pattern.
    A little bit of GP in CH, 30 years on.

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