GDoN: Reader request

Reader Kate wrote in, noting that with all this talk about bikes, poop in trash cans, bird nests, and outed neighbors–that we are neglecting a primary function of PoPville–talking about other peoples’ houses!

She offered up her boyfriend’s place. She says:

“Dear LoP,

My finace’s 3 BR/2 BA, two-level condo in Bloomingdale–a renovated corner Victorian on North Capitol and Seaton–just hit the market. We are both faithful PoP/LoP readers and would be tickled to death to see the place on the site. It’s been a while since the last GDoN!”

Asking price is $464,900. Info is here. Pics here. I know you folks love the Redfin listings, so here it is there.


86 Comment

  • Gorgeous place. Being on North Cap would be a deal breaker for me.

  • Is this supposed to be a forum for selling your house?

    • MsNesbitt

      This doesn’t seem any more egregious to me than any other reader request submitted to PoP..

  • Nice work, but living on teh unofficial freeway of DC is a total dealbreaker.

    • It’s not as bad as you think. But then again I grew up in an urban environment and dead quiet nights in the country are what actually keep me up. Sirens and trucks are lullabies.

      • I have lived in a city all my life, I too relish city noise. But North Capitol is not a street, it is a freeway. So, nope, it is as bad as I think. At least a freeway puts up those noise dampening walls.

        • there are noise dampening walls

          • Not along the entire streetway, and not between FL and RI Ave’s – only on the upper ‘freeway like’ portion.

          • greent,
            the traffic is in a pit, next to walls that dampen sound. not sure how you missed that as you drive by.

          • Thats rich…try to make the place sound better by describing its front yard as a “pit”.

            I am sure the listing realtor thanks you

        • Well, I live on North Capitol, so of course I’m biased, but please trust me when I say from experience and not what I “think”: it’s not that bad. Diff’rent strokes and all that. Some people have a lower tolerance for noise, I am not one of them.

          • I haven’t missed anything folks. I worked off N. Cap for 5 years. I am not a noob to N Cap traffic.

            I know the downgrade that begins just after FL, but the walls are retaining walls, not sound dampening walls.

            And my point is, Sound travels does it not?

            I live off 16th street at MXMHPark. I can hear traffic from 16th almost all day. And 16th St is not N. Cap.

          • greent,
            clearly you know better than those of us that live and sleep here.

          • No Anon, I do not. Clearly I stated my opinion, and you have stated yours. Amazing how they differ, being from different people.

  • I was prepared to post one of the standard responses, e.g.:

    “$450K+ for a BloMi condo? Our full 3/2 townhouse in the neighborhood didn’t cost that much!”

    But this looks to be nicely done and fairly spacious, so I won’t. HOA isn’t outrageous. It will probably go for around asking. Although that little corner of N Cap is one of the less quiet ones, but not as bad as a couple blocks south. Our little corner of the city continues to be a pretty strong performer in the market, I’m glad we’re not shopping now as opposed to a couple years ago when bargains were really around to be had.

  • Sorry, bad deal.

    1. Someone might as well buy a house next to the beltway. North Cap Street is a 24/7 traffic issue. For that reason alone, I wouldn’t even go to the open house.

    2. Metro no mans land.

    3. Price – In looking through the comps, you are a good $15-20K over priced (without considering you have a freeway in your front yard) which is a strategy I am assuming your realtor recommended to have room to “negotiate”. My guess is the place ultimately sells for ~450K

    4. No direct offense as it has nothing to do with the current listing, but to have paid $520K for that place in 2005? Whewwww…awful deal.

    • Was it already split into condos in 2005? Might not be so bad in actuality…

      • Yes, the sales record is right there to see. He paid 520K for what I will admit is a nicer than average condo, but on a freeway and in Bloomindale in 2005.

        Well…I guess everyone was doing it…

    • You are wrong on all accounts Joker.

      1. Traffic on N. Captital is an issue from roughly 7am – 7/8pm, not 24/7.

      2. It is not Metro no man’s land. There are several bus lines as well as a couple of different train stops within walking distance. No, it’s not on top of a station but the Sahara need not be crossed.

      3. A 3 bed / 3 bath condo on 1st between S & Seaton Place so within a block sold on the 16th for 485,000. I would say this is not so out of line from the comps as you suggest.

      4. It is directly offensive the way you comment on previous purchase price.

  • -the traffic issue is mitigated by the trench.
    -metro is a 12 minute walk, door to turnstile. bus right outside.
    -seaton is not a great block- the streetside mechanics, thugs, and seaton market make for a less than jovial location.

    it will probably get this price, pretty hard to get much comparable in this area anymore.

  • I, too, live on North Capitol. Its a slight annoyance, but the noise where I live is certainly bearable. I live up where North Capitol is below grade, so that helps some. At this location, the bus stops right outside your window, which could get annoying.

    Considering a few similar houses have been sold just 4-5 houses down Seaton for almost 100k more, I think this is a pretty fair price, if not slightly low.

    I think most people will find that the noise won’t be a huge concern. Many places in Bloomingdale/Eckington are either close to Florida, Rhode Island, or North Capitol and hear all of the loudest sounds. The only way to know if it bothers you is to spend a considerable amount of time in the house.

    I did before I bought mine and the noise was never a problem for me. Every place has its pros and cons and making 1 thing a deal breaker will keep you out of a lot of places

    The biggest issue for me is that hte further you get down North Cap, the closer you are to the most chaotic intersection for miles around. Plus the transients, loiterers, liquor stores, and general issues that exist down that way. Though, I think Seaton is far enough up that these issues are fairly minimal.

    • 4-5 houses have sold down the street for 100K more because they are HOUSES.

      This is a CONDO.


      • Sure, but 100,000 is a lot of money. Thats why I said it seemed like a good deal.

        Also, I’d like to know what the condo fees cover. If it is outside maintenance plus property taxes, that just seems too good to be true.

        • you are obviously new to re so let me clue you in before you out yourself again.

          No Condominium pays individual property taxes, ever.

          • I dont know whether you’re right or wrong, but you’re a huge jackass.

          • Some cheese with that “whine”?

            And really now…someone who posts should know the bare basics about what he speaks. Its called, “not being a Republican”.

            You’ll thank me the next time condos and property taxes comes up. You won’t look so dumb.

          • Do you get all excited to get on the internet and act like a huge asshole? I hope you dont talk to real people this way. Were you abused as a child or bullied in middle school?

            I dont think getting coop fees and condo fees confused is really “looking dumb”. I never said I was a real estate expert, nor do I want to be one.

            As for your jab at Republicans, I’d rather interact with a republican who doesnt think than a democrat who acts like you do.

          • Um… I live in a condo… I pay individual property taxes. Based on the assessed value of my condo unit.

          • I just reread what you were saying. No condominium – as in the association – ever pays an individuals taxes. I retract my anonymous statement at 6:37 PM upon new understanding of your still kinda rude posting.

        • If this guy’s condo is 3BR/2BA, it’s probably a 2-unit building, which means it’s self-managed, which means one of the two owners, or both of them, are cutting the grass and weeding the front yard and caulking the windows and repainting the trim. No bargain there …either.

          • If you can save $100k by paying a condo fee of $200/month, that’s a giant bargain. Keep in mind the fee covers all exterior repairs. It’s more like a forced savings plan in this case anyway — one that’s tax deductible.

          • 4 units (so small HOA, yes), but not self-managed–the management company handles all exterior maintenance, including snow removal in the winter.

  • Isn’t “the traffic issue is mitigated by the trench” kind of like “the mosquito issue is mitigated by the lack of malaria.”

  • not a good deal.

  • I love that building; nice to see how it looks inside.

    I’m across N Cap on Seaton Place (in Possumington) in a 3br/2ba – halfway up the block and the noise doesn’t bother me – then again, half a block makes a lot of difference.

    Metro is a hoof, but not a bad one; the 80 zips me to union station really quickly. Parking is not bad, and as 3:36 anon stated, the trench (actually, the Possum Gulch, as it is known by me and mainly no one else) does cut down on traffic. There’s also a large camera up on the pole that covers that entire Seaton/N Cap intersection, on both sides of Possum Gulch. Never noticed anything weird on my side, but then again, we don’t have mechanics, thugs, or the Market on my side. Just possums.

    • Oh – I also paid about $130k less for my 1700sf 3br/2ba; all remodeled when I got it (June 2010)…but not sure what the prices are now.

      • I do think that place looks awesome, and will get picked up quickly, given the changes in the market and Bloomingdale in general. Please let us know how it goes.

        How do I keep submitting new posts without finishing a thought? Possum scratch fever.

    • Hey, I’m gonna ride the 80 for the first time next week! What’s it like? I need to go from Bdale to Foggy Bottom.

    • I will never drive through there again without thinking “possum gulch!” Thanks!

  • This is Kate, who made the reader request. Just piping in to say that before the CityQuiet windows were put into the master bedroom, you could hear some street noise, even with the trench. But those windows are amazing–the place is quieter than my place on a Cleveland Park side street.

    • And what’s it like to be outside on the patio or front stoop?

      • The front stoop is my favorite hang-out spot in nice weather. The little street thingie that runs above the trench (don’t know the proper terminology) doesn’t get much traffic, so it feels like sitting on the stoop on any other urban neigborhood street–the N Cap traffic is below the grade.

        I’ve found the folks in the neighborhood notably more outgoing and friendly than in (CP), and it is really nice to just enjoy a drink and chat with the neighbors on the stoop after work. The bus doesn’t seem to run that frequently at nights and on weekends, so that hasn’t really been a bother.

        • Oh and the rear deck overlooks Seaton, so it doesn’t have the N Cap issue. It has a nice view of the Victorian rooftops all down the street.

        • Thanks Kate.

        • The truth is most people don’t realize that a good window reduces noise drastically.

          On the other hand, you’re not able to throw open the windows for the 8 weeks DC is “just right” warm — not unbearable. Unless you are indeed cool with noise.

          • I have zero affiliation with the soundproof window vendor– and in fact was taken aback by how much my betrothed was shelling out for them–but I am absolutely convinced (as someone who has put in MANY nights before and after CityQuiet windows) that it was worth every penny.

            But it is true that I wouldn’t throw open the front windows in nice weather an count on being completely undisturbed all night.

  • I think you should get better pictures. The vertical alignment is really awkward in some of those pictures and doesn’t show off the rooms.

  • How is the safety of Bloomingdale? I might be moving there in a few weeks.

  • To Joker:
    what do you mean individual condos don’t pay property taxes “ever”–that might apply to a COOP but let me assure you as a condo owner in Columbia Heights, I get a huge property tax bill every year that i am personally on the hook for. Our condo association pays something minimal to stay registered as a condo. All condos are assessed individually and you would be surprised at the variation in one building. I fought my assessment three times the first time I got it and managed to win that battle so for the first few years I paid about 500 less than my neighbors. Condo fees typically cover insurance, maintenace of the common areas, utility bills for the common areas and the yard. anyhow, every condo owner I know pays their own property tax bill.

    • thats what she is saying. that the condo doesn’t pay it, the individual does.

    • You two agree. He means the condo association doesn’t pay property taxes, but the individual does. Therefore it wouldn’t be included in the condo fee. (Unlike a coop.)

    • Thats what I said. “Eckington” thought the condo dues also paid for the individuals property tax, which is not the case.

    • austindc

      Yeah! And then Joker was a real jerk about things and we all thought he was rude! And then a I saw a duck! What a day!

  • I really don’t know whether this is over-priced. Nice place, mediocre location in B-dale, which is a somewhat hot market.

    However, I think the development of a North Cap is a wildcard in our determination. Although most people think of North Cap as a nasty, thugville, dead-possums (for Eckingtonian) highway, it’s starting to have some interesting development, including Engine-16 and (supposedly) a winebar. If it becomes a destination, rather than just a highway, people will probably want to be amid the noise as they do in A-M, 14th and U Street.

    For the 1000th time, Bdale is closer to metro than A-M and has less crime than Columbia Heights.

    So… it may not be a bad deal.

    • I really dislike these wide brush descriptors.

      Columbia Heights population density of 18500 people per sq/mile

      Bloomindale has 9300 per sq/mile. So yes, on a gross scale there is “more” crime in Columbia Heights, but it is far safer on a per capita basis.

      • Oh Joker, you’re so self righteous. So if there are 18500 people/sq mile in CH and 9300 in Bloomingdale, there are plenty of places in CH that have well more than double the crime than a lot of places in Bloomingdale.

        • Joker is right. Crime per capita is the key number, not total crime. It’s baffling that so many people — head-in-the-clouds cheerleaders for crime-addled neighborhoods, mostly — either don’t understand this or purposely trot it out in a laughable attempt at making a point about the safety of their neighborhoods.

          • “there are plenty of places in CH that have well more than double the crime than a lot of places in Bloomingdale.”

    • But is there even close to the walkable amenities of either AM or CH?

      • Several restaurants, farmers market, organic market, yoga studio, dry cleaner, pet supply store. . . and plenty of places to pick up booze.

      • no, not even close.

      • I dont get a lot of these criticisms. This place is priced considerably less than a comparable place in CH or AM, so why would you expect it to be as close to the metro or have as many amenities as close?

      • Right! The price reflects the current neighborhood amenities. The point is that you save a couple hundred thousand or maybe even half a mill, with the expectation you’ll be able to reap the benefit of the location in a couple years — in 10, 15 years when this is a $900k dollar condo.

        • This will be a 900K condo in 10 years? Keep dreaming.

          • that’s what they said about Logan Circle. Gentrification marches on.

          • Somewhere between 10 and 15, yes. In 10 years, it will likely appreciate 35% due to inflation alone. In 15 years, 55%. So the question is whether you think it won’t add at least 45% on it’s own over 15 years.

            I think about 45% over 15 years (3% per year in today’s dollars) is a fair guess. On the bullish side, maybe, but not unreasonable. If you look at Logan, Dupont, or Adams Morgan over 15 years, you can find appreciation in the triple digits.

            Keep in mind the population in DC was decreasing over this period of incredible appreciation. What’s going to happen as the population actually grows?

  • Sell whatever inventory you want, to whomever you want, for whatever price you want… but if you then keep spending, you’re still phucked.

    Too many people NEVER figure that out.

  • Columbia Heights. I remember being nervous when I first moved there, but once I got to know the neighborhood, I felt completely safe. So, I wonder if it more has to do with the unfamiliarity of the neighborhood and being a bit further from the metro.

  • too much money for a condo in corner boy blighted bloomingdale

  • I think the price is on the money. I actually don’t see it going for below $465k — but for the fact the sellers priced it as they did, signalling that they may just want a quick transaction.

  • what’s a finace?

    maybe it’s a pet name for her fiance?

    • I probably wouldn’t be so embarrassed by that transposition were I not an editor by trade, ugh. I hate that word because it looks too much like “finance.”

      Anyhow, I can assure you that we are not leaving Bloomingdale so that I can become a housewife in the ‘burbs thanks to a “finance.” I pull my own weight with the mortgage 🙂

  • I never see people hanging out at this market/corner, and I do live close. This section of N Cap is quiet and pleasant. Neighbors seem to be friendly and socialize on the porches. Honestly, I would not buy a condo here for that price point. Would save a little more/buy a little less and get a rowhouse in Eckington a little further up the hill for $100K less. Or else buy a nicer place closer to the metro (Quincy Pl NE is beautiful and 5 blocks closer) for $100K more.

  • Oh what the heck.

    Listing agent here. No, I did not prompt the seller to submit to PoP. What I haven’t seen mentioned yet is that this home, which happens to be condo ownership, is fully renovated AND larger than a lot of rowhomes in the area. You really can’t buy a house in this condition of this size for this price in the neighborhood right now, let alone in a property that has such nice architectural presence. It’s also an end unit, so lots of windows and amazing light. The round turret in both the living room and the master bedroom is a pretty cool and unusual feature.

    Easy to show and worth checking out.

  • >You really can’t buy a house in this condition of this size for this price in the neighborhood right now.

    if I had a nickel for every realtor who had told me that one…

    (and if it were true, then the realtor would not be serving their client’s interest very well by letting it list so low)

    that said, the place is beautiful and seems fairly priced to me… I think it will sell for a little less, but not much. sorry the seller had to take a beating on the resale.

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