Was it a Good Deal or Not? “Picture Perfect” edition

This home is located at 409 R St, NW:

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The flier says:

“Picture Perfect! Gorgeous rowhouse blocks from Metro, restaurants and shops- location, location, location! This 3 BR, 1 1/2 BA home has much to offer, incl: fully updated kitchen w/ granite counters & new SSL appl; two fireplaces; generous room sizes; gleaming hdwood flrs; custom built-ins & expanded closets; fab back patio w/ parking potential; updated systems & repl windows.”

You can find more info here and photos here.

Curious to hear what you guys think about this one since it went under contract so fast. Are you surprised this 3 bed/1.5 bath went under contract so fast (asking was $499,000)?

29 Comment

  • I know two people that put separate offers on this house… both above asking. Neither offered enough to even get a counter. This house was priced insanely low for the area to encourage a bidding war (which is exactly what happened). $499k would have been a GREAT deal for this house. Realistically, someone probably got a GOOD deal at $565k. The location and quality of this house likely could have attracted a buyer around $595k if the sellers would have been willing to let the house sit for 30-60 days. Instead it was clear they wanted a quick sale. Rumor is 150 people showed up for the open house and no less than 10 offers were received that day. I’m less interested in analyzing the arbitrary $499k price, and more interested in seeing what the house actually sold for. My guess is someone got a good deal in the mid-$500ks.

  • bfinpetworth

    Intersting – If it had another full bath I might say good deal but this is a SMALL house. I’m not that familiar with the specific neighborhood, however it better be quite nice for that pricing. The nice kitchen and other touches do not offset the small size of this house. One full bath and one tiny powder room just doesn’t cut it for most people these days.

    • “small” is relative in real estate. At the $/sq foot, this seems like a great deal for that neighborhood. and I wouldn’t call 1600 sq ft small by any means. I agree that a second full bath would have been nice, but still a great deal.

      • bfinpetworth

        Thus my comment regarding the neighborhood….

        But seriously, what makes this neighborhood so great? Based on general location, it seems like it would be just so-so to me.

        • Speaking as one who lives in the neighborhood. Being able to bike to work or walk from work to my house is priceless. Not having to have a car, worth money right there. If you don’t work in Dupont or Penn Quarter or Gallery Place, or any other near by neighborhood, this probably doesn’t do anything for you. The neighborhood is quite walkable. The Giant, though crappy, walkable. The Safeway, great/good/crappy depending on who you’re talking to, also walking distance. Bloomingdale Farmers Market come Spring, just 2 blocks away. The Shaw metro is a 10 minute walk, the NY Ave metro 15-20 minutes walk. Then there are a bunch of bus routes.
          If you want a place to park your 2 SUVs and you drive to work and everywhere else, yes, then there is no appeal. Or you just want to brag about where you live (ie Georgetown, Dupont) ditto. There are people who want to live in walkable areas, and I guess those are the ones who snapped up the house.
          Regarding small, I live in a 1000 sq ft house. Most houses around here float below 1000 and around 1,500. So for the immediate area, if someone is looking for a 2-3 bedroom in a walkable neighborhood (see Walkscore), you’re not going to find too many 2,000 sq ft houses. Besides, smaller houses are cheaper to heat.

          • bfinpetworth

            I live in a 1600 sqft townhouse, includeing a finished basement. Trust me, it ain’t big but its plenty for two adults. However, this place does not look like a true 1600 sqft house – otherwise, why in the heck did the renovators, who obviously put a lot of money into this, not include an additional full bath?? Heck, a master bath is entirely doable in a master bedroom that is 16X20, as the redfin listing indicates.

            I think this place looks great but I still don’t think it is worth $499k or more based on what I’ve read here about the neighborhood. Closer to U or H or Eastern Market, absolutely, but not in that location. Hell, I can say all the same things about Petworth where I live regarding walkability and my house is just as nice and has 3 1/2 baths, real parking, a sweet kitchen and backyard with deck, and one of those great Petworth front porches.

            I suspect some folks on this response thread are trying to hype up a neighborhood.

          • It doesnt LOOK like a 1600sq ft house? You can tell how big a house is by looking at several pictures? You should join a carnival.

            Also, only people in Petworth think that Petworth is just as “walkable” as Shaw. Its completely ridiculous to everyone who can read a map. Shaw is nearly in the geographic center of DC. Sure, maybe there’s a grocery store, a bar, a couple restaurants within walking distance of Petworth… but from this location in Shaw, if you want to walk a mile you can walk as far south as F Street, as far West as 17th Street, as far north as Euclid, and as far east as the Met Branch Trail in Eckington.

            In comparison, a mile south from the Petworth Metro (the southern most point in Petworth) gets you to Howard University, Rock Creek Park to the West, Old Soldiers Home to the West, and to the North… well… just more of Petworth. The only place you could walk to within a mile of Petworth is Columbia Heights and 11th Street. Which are great amenities, but lets not claim its extremely versatile.

            Lets also talk about how close Shaw is to everything by taxi, bus, and metro.

            In terms of proximity to the rest of the city Shaw beats Petworth every single time.

            I like Petworth a lot, but its handicapped by its geography… something a lot of residents like.

  • I knwo someone who put in an offer as well. I don’t get it, really, it’s OK but a bidding war (I heard it had 5 offers)? THe location is not very good and the hosue was nice-ish. HOwever, my friend, in the market for a SFH in the low 500s, noted that non-fixers are going to multiple offers. Low inventory, etc and that hood a lot on the market needs work.

    • That location may not be great, but its pretty well priced into the asking price. I agree with Shaw Guy, this place will go for $550k at least. If it were 5 blocks to the west it would be $700,000 easily.

      I love people who comment on here. If a place is $900,000 in an ideal location its a great deal, if its $600,000 less than a mile away its over priced because its in such a bad location.

      Do you know how much security system, guns, dogs, fences, cameras, cars, and taxi rides you can buy with 300,000 bucks? Let alone the interest over 30 years on $300,000.

      Get a grip folks.

      It is becoming a rarity to find ANYTHING south of W Street East of the Park and still in NW with 3 bedrooms for less than $500,000-$550,000.

      You may not like it, but if someone is willing to pay for it – that seems like its pretty well priced.

      • All the money in the world can’t buy you a cab ride if the driver refuses to come out to your neighborhood. And speaking from experience, a single woman is no safer in the hands of a cab driver than she is out on the street. Also speaking from experience, heavy bars and a security system are no match for an experienced burglarer.

        I don’t disagree that this seems like a good deal, but you logic is ridiculous. Many of us prefer to live in a neighborhood where we don’t have to live in constant fear.

        • Has a cab driver actually refused to drive you to this area? I live 4 blocks east of this place and have not once had a cab driver turn me down.

          • +1, I (single woman) live one block from this place and have never had any trouble getting a cabbie to take me home (once or twice a week, both during the day and late at night). On the contrary, they usually use it as an opportunity to fill up at one of the gas stations on RI Ave. I think this concern is exaggerated.

            Also, where is the “constant fear” coming from? Aside from the Lincoln-Westmoreland buildings (which are on the other side of the metro from this place, anyway), the crime rate in this part of Shaw is actually pretty low. I work weird hours and frequently come home in the middle of the night. Day or night, as a young female I have NEVER had any issues with my neighbors – for the most part, they go out of their way to be nice to me. Compared to life in Columbia Heights and Park View, I have been surprised by how pleasant (and quiet!) living in Shaw really is.

            love, a proud Shaw resident

          • I’m not terribly familiar with this neighborhood so I wasn’t speaking to the crime or the ability to get a cab. Rather, I was responding to Eckington Resident’s claim that it’s better to save some money and live in a house that’s armed to the teeth and take cabs everywhere. That doesn’t sound like an appealing lifestyle to me.

          • I wasnt suggesting that it was a good trade off. The fact is, you wouldnt need to take a cab everywhere or live in a fortress if you lived in this house. However, you could easily AFFORD to do so given the difference in price.

            You talk about your personal experiences – I’ve never had a cab refuse to take me anywhere or pick me up anywhere. So basically I call bullshit.

            If you dont like cabs – for the tens of thousands (maybe as much as 300-400k) of difference in cost between this house and one 8-12 blocks over in Logan, you could hire a car with some pretty decent frequency.

            I’m not actually suggesting that you do this – I’m just trying to put into perspective the premium that one pays in this city for a better location. Obviously enough people find it worthwhile enough to support these prices, but I do think that when one is asking “good deal or not” these types of price comparisons are useful.

            Likewise, there are plenty of places in Shaw and East that are just ridiculously over priced. If you could, for the same money, live further west, why would you live there?

        • +2 I cab to and from these approximate cross streets several times a week.

      • I agree with you on the absurd reactions of people on this blog to all GDoN’s. In cases where a home is 100k underpriced (rare) people will say “Yes, this is a good deal”. When something is maybe $5k underpriced (in reality), people will be sure to let you know how terrible the location is and how cheap of a flip it was and their cousin got something for $70k less than that two blocks away, yadda yadda.

    • that’s really interesting. I think it speaks to the incredible demand for this kind of townhouse at the under 500K price point. Seems like it’s the sweet spot for the typical DC yuppie couple these days.

  • that seems like a lot for that neighborhood. Look in parkview for those prices and more house and safer I think.

  • I found the tricycle in the fireplace alarming…

  • Speaking for the safety of the area, considering that my gf lives a few blocks away in the condos at 5th and RI and I’ll be moving in soon enough, we’ve had very few concerns about safety in the area. I bike home/walk to the metro in the evening all the time. Sometimes you see drunks or kids hanging out late at night, but I don’t think that’s any different from Upper CH or Petworth/Parkview. Groceries aren’t super convenient, but close enough with a bike and the farmer’s market is great. If you’re the type of person who’s going to be looking at housing in Petworth/Parkview, I don’t think the safety concerns are going to be considerably different between there and Shaw.

  • My wife and I live on this block and we’ve had no problems with crime, though there are occasionally shady folks hanging around. I really wish folks would stop berating each other over what is obviously a personal tolerance level for risk when it comes to these things. The neighborhood certainly isn’t Dupont, but the trend line is good, which makes it a great time to invest. Expectations of what the neighborhood will be in 3-5 years are built into this price. In the past year 3-4 restaurants have opened within 5 blocks. Moreover, this is a 5-10 minute walk from UNCF/Howard Theater development and the O Street Market extravaganza.

    When my wife and I were looking early last year, we originally planned not to buy East of 6th, but we found the right place a few blocks further east and decided to gamble a bit. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the neighborhood. It may not be for everyone, but if folks buy that place for $550,000, they’ll make a nice profit if they sell in 5 years. And that’s as good a definition of a ‘good deal’ as we’re going to find.

    • bfinpetworth

      Best answer I’ve heard yet. But I’m still hung up on the 1 1/2 baths…

      • What about it? 1.5 baths is pretty standard for a home of this size and age. It’s not like they were built into the house originally.

        • bfinpetworth

          True, but most houses in this price range in this neighborhood have 2 – 3.5 baths – check the comps in the redfin listing.

          What about it???? Well, one full bath means that you’ll have people waiting for use of the only bathroom with a shower or bathtub. Having weekend company becomes a problem. And forget about kids. Look, the fact is that modern households have more than one full bath. Not having that is a negative on the price. It is really a simple fact. Now, perhaps those posting on here as though that doesn’t matter are single, but just wait until you have a partner and mom and dad come to visit for the weekend. One full bath is not up to standard. When I was looking for a house last year, we would not even walk into a house that had less than 2 full baths, and we are a couple with no kids. I can assure you there are many others like us, thus fewer people in which such a house can be marketed to.

          The folks who renovated this house did a really nice job, it appears. WHY didn’t they install a bathroom in the master bedroom?? Silly.

          • My girlfriend was determined to have two full baths. Once we started looking at houses, she relaxed her requirements since getting an extra full bath usually meant giving up some bedroom space. We were looking on Capitol Hill, but I think you’d have the same problem with any old rowhouse; bathrooms just weren’t part of the original floorplan. We haven’t had any issues with the arrangement, even with visitors, although I could see it being inconvenient if the only shower were to be temporarily out of serivce.

          • The comps probably show 2 to 3 baths because that includes a full bath in the basement. If you have a full bath in the basement, odds are you are simply renting it out and will be in the same predicament as 1.5 baths. Going the route you want, you’d be one of those houses that has more bathrooms than bedrooms, or at least just as many. I’m not sure about your preference, but I’ve never understood why someone would do that…

  • 0I’d just add, as a woman who lives 2 blocks east of this house, that not only can I walk to and from work downtown everyday, but because Shaw is flat, I can bike downtown, H St, Logan or Dupont in less than 10 minutes. Capitol Hill is a 15 minute bike ride.

    The ease and speed of bicycling — that’s why I chose this neighborhood over Petworth. Haven’t had problems getting cabs on the occasional cases when I need one, don’t live in fear, and the only people I know who’ve been mugged had it happen in Columbia Heights, Mt Pleasant and Logan.

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