Good Deal or Not? “4 rooms deep, each a jewel” edition

This home is located at 23 5th St, SE:

View Larger Map

The flier says:

“ENCHANTING Victorian bay-front in a picture-perfect location. Richly-detailed facade sets the tone for the interior–4 rooms deep, each a jewel. Formal LR & DR, Chef’s Kitchen opens to inviting Famkily Rm. 2 fpls! Master BR w/ adjacent luxury Ba, walk-in closet, tranquil rear BR, 2nd full Ba, Office Nook, Improved storage bsmt. Private patio too!”

You can find more info here and photos here.

Well the location is seriously tough to beat but what do you think of the house itself? This 2 bed/2bath is going for $679,500 – sound right?

31 Comment

  • This house is so cute! I’d love to live there if I could afford that price tag. Unfortunately though, I’d say yes it is priced about right for that neighborhood….maybe a tad bit high but it will sell. If it had a third bedroom I’d say it’s a great deal.

  • This is a lot nicer and better priced than most of the houses in the area– I really like the architectural details on the facade. Yes, it’s tiny, but that’s the price one pays to live in this neighborhood. All the houses I saw around here were smaller, more expensive, and in worse condition. In general do think you’re better off buying further south or east, but this is a good deal for the location.

  • A very boring house in a very good location. It should go quickly at that price.

    For the money, I’d go a few blocks north and east and get something with real outdoor space, more charm, and a better renovation. The place has some very oddly shaped rooms, and that “patio” is laughable.

  • I think the price is purposely low to attract multiple bidders. I say it goes for ~700K

    • Agreed. A lot of the Coldwell realtors like to do that.

    • I third this. A really pretty crummy 2br on 7th that did not have the basement just went under contract with a list price of 750. This one looks nicer to me.

    • That was my first thought as well. That size for that location should command a higher price.

  • Beautiful house in an incredible location. However, that “family” room is kinda awkward. It’s so narrow. It’s hard to tell from the photo tour what the layout of the house is really like.

    If it would be possible to some how open up the family room to the living room and/or dining room, it would probably be a lot nicer, imo. Not necessarily completely taking down the wall….but opening it up with like a half wall or whatever they’re called.

    • It’s actually a “Famkily” room … even the name is awkward

    • Re: the fam(k)ily room, that flat-screen is too big for such a narrow space! You’ll ruin your eyesight! And unless you’re 7′ tall, you’re going to get neck strain from looking up at the TV from the couch.

  • It will probably be gone by the end of the week.

  • Funny . . . During the boom, my friends and I would remark at how people could afford to pay the prices being asked for homes in the hot areas of DC. When the bubble burst, we all found out that the answer in many cases was no money down, interest only loans; subprime loans; reverse amortization; “liar” loans”, etc.
    Given that – at least from what I hear – lenders are now requiring 20% down in many cases and great credit scores, and have done away with most of shenanigans that fueled the last boom, I have to wonder how people can afford these places.
    Note – that’s not a commentary on the price of this place, just a general question.

    • It has indeed gotten tougher to buy. We were required to put 20% down (had to borrow some from family) and take an ARM when we bought earlier this year. We were told that a few years ago we could have easily gotten a traditional loan and not had to have put so much down. Unfortunately, I was just getting out of college back then and wasn’t in a position to buy.

      • That’s a good question. A partial answer — high rents are keeping the gap between cost of rent vs. ownership in line. Many buyers fail to factor the full cost of ownership over renting, but when you do the math on a per month out of pocket cost basis ownership seems attractive. Also the regional high median home values, even at the nadir of the market, means that buyers moving up can often use the proceeds of a sold home to contribute towards the %20 lenders are seeking. They’re probably saving (or overborrowing) too, but many buyers are not liquid enough to just write six figure checks.

    • The bubble didn’t actually burst in DC – prices didn’t decline in desirable neighborhoods like this, just stayed steady for awhile. And the answer to your question is: a high concentration of seriously overpaid attorneys.

    • Don’t believe the hype. Lenders are still falling all over themselves to approve loans with 3.5% down and pre-approving at levels that blow all conceivable debt ratios out of the water.

      Yeah, there’s more hoops to jump through, but if you don’t have a major stain on your credit score you don’t need to get anywhere near 20% to buy a house.

      I feel like the housing naysayer on this blog sometimes, but unfortunately a lot of the problems with mortgages that led to the housing crisis have not been remotely fixed. If the USG does truly restrict rules on lending and FHA backing (specifically % down required), look for housing prices in DC to nosedive.

      • “Yeah, there’s more hoops to jump through, but if you don’t have a major stain on your credit score you don’t need to get anywhere near 20% to buy a house.”

        This is not true.

        • I bought last year and they were offering a conventional loan with only 5% down. Really good credit scores (790+), steady jobs, etc probably helped… Also, we went way below what we were approved to buy (which was a crazy number, imo)

          • What?? That’s crazy. We had the same qualifications as you (though maybe we didn’t buy WAY below what we were approved for) and were required to put 20% down and take an ARM loan. Things apparently have changed a lot in the past year– you’re lucky you bought when you did!

        • We bought last summer. Have things really changed that much in 8 months?

          I’m just reporting my own experience here– we heard about all the tightening up, blah blah blah, but then when we shopped for loans we found plenty of lenders more than willing to leverage us to the hilt. We had steady jobs, credit upwards of 750, and considerable (>100K) student loans.

          I couldn’t understand how they were arriving at their figures so I called out one loan officer. When pressed, she indicated that there still wasn’t much risk to the lender given government backing. There were a lot of rules in place that might snag things (can’t have had more than 2 late payments in the last 12 months, no missed payments, etc) but as long as a credit check doesn’t hit something specific like that and kick it out, I got the impression that 3.5% down with FHA financing was a breeze.

          We ended up putting 5% down and buying a place that was almost half of our pre-approved ceiling, because we would have been stretched to the absolute limit if we had bought as much house as the lenders said we could afford.

          I hope that my experience is outdated and things really have tightened up in a year, and that real estate is still popping despite this. I haven’t been sleeping very well thinking that loose lending is still fueling a DC bubble.

          I feel for you guys that are looking and struggling with the financing. It sounds like it sucks out there right now.

          • Maybe it’s because you were able to find a place that was half of your approved limit– ours was more like 85%. We also didn’t have any outstanding debts when we bought (I had stupidly paid off my loans the year before), which actually hurt us because some lenders thought we didn’t have enough credit history.

  • Will sell fast, and I imagine for above asking. It’s a quirky house in parts, but most houses on the Hill have some quirks. The SE side of the Hill is terrific and just keeps getting better and better.

  • I also don’t buy all the hype. I just closed (Feb) on a new place with 10% down, 30 year conventional at just over 5% and no PMI. There is plenty of money out there.

    At the same time, there are doomsday stories coming from many retail bankers that 20-30% down is going to be the new standard within 5 years. Time will tell.

  • It depends on the sale amount. I’m guessing those of you buying properties and putting 5-10% down were taking out loans of $300k or less. For a property of this price you are absolutely required to put at least 20% down. I know this because I just did it last February.

Comments are closed.