Good Deal or Not? “4 finished levels & 2900+ sq ft” edition

This home is located at 1921 2nd St, NW:

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The flier says:

“Just Reduced 20K! Classic historic LeDroit Park Victorian semi detached townhouse. 4 finished levels & 2900+ sq ft. . Grand rooms. 4 bedrooms w/ 5th bedroom being used as den but easily usable for bedroom. 2.5 baths. Deep rear yard w/ room to put in off street pkg. Finished lower lvl. Property being sold “as-is.”

You can find more info here and a virtual tour here.

$660,000 sound right for this 5 bed/2.5 bath?

47 Comment

  • No central air and budget finishes, will go for 539. Max.

  • Still good value for size and relatively modern look. Area will only increase value overtime.

  • The kitchen looks like it got the cheapest renovation possible – the strange/pointless ledge thing, minimal cabinets which do not take advantage of vertical storage, etc.

    Agree with cahbf – withhout central air, this renovation was an epic fail. Wondering if the flipper ran into budget problems, hence the property being sold “as-is”?

  • novadancer

    needs a LOT of work. Floors feel very unstable on upper levels and the only way to get to bedroom 3 is to pass thru bedroom 2.

  • I think it’s a really cool house in need of updates. I’d pay 600 if I had it. But I would also need another 100 to make it really nice

  • me

    Anytime a real estate listing says “as-is”, I’d be scared off.

    • With an “as-is” sale you can still do a home inspection it’s just a take it or leave it situation so don’t let this scare you off. This is very common with estate sales or when the sellers have moved out of town and does not necessarily indicate problems with the house.

  • why are people saying it was a flip or renovation? are you insane? its a monster size beautiful house that HAS NOT been renovated or flipped hence the price; minimal ‘updates’ yes; renovation/ flip: NO. Seek information before making broad statements; even if this is only a blog-comment forum. Weird.

    • Umm…take a look at ths sale history on Redfin. It was purchased in Feb. 2011 in the neighborhood of $321K and they’re listing it for $660K. If that’s not a flip, I don’t know what is.

      Slow your role.

      • refi: maybe; sale = no. fact. redfin info is WRONG it was NOT sold this year. period.

    • Because Redfin has it listed as selling in February for half the price.

    • I live nearby and know the folks who own the place. It’s not a flip. The couple who owned it together broke up, explaining the recent, low priced sale.

    • the redfin history on my place is misleading because it shows a strange amount for a partial refinancing I used to buy out another part-owner. So this explanation for the recent transaction is plausible. Certainly $300 in that location would be ridiculously low.

    • Either someone has the facts wrong, or something weird is going on here. If the place sold for $321K in February and hasn’t been renovated, then how are they asking $660K now? There’s no way that the place more than doubled in value in four months without any renovation. Are the people who say it hasn’t been renovated wrong? Was it a non-arms-length sale in February? Or is the asking price ridiculous now?

      • I’m saying it was a non arms-length sale

      • Two people owned the house. One person bought out the other person’s share for half the value in February, which is the $321K number. 321+321 = 642

      • That makes sense — thanks.

        It’s really too bad that they set the February transaction up that way. Having a $321K sale in February is going to make for all kinds of hassles for any buyer trying to get financing. The appraiser and the underwriters are going to ask the same questions people here are asking, and it’s going to take a lot of paperwork to satisfy them that there’s nothing shady going on.

  • I live around the corner, and I’ve been inside. It’s not a case of a cheap renovation, or flip job. It’s never been renovated, just a well maintained house with older finishes.

  • I live in the area, too, and have been inside also. It’s not a flip. I agree that it will take some bucks to renovate it, mainly becaue of the lack of air conditioning and the old floors. It has a nice backyard, but that’s because they gave up their parking space. Most places in Bloomingdale sacrifice yards for parking. Overall, the location is very good. I’d pay about $625 for it and am sure it will go up in value, like everything else in this somewhat-undiscovered neighborhood.

  • Good deal and investment for someone who wnats to stay here for more than 5 (or 10) years.

  • Anyone know what street parking is like when everyone comes home in the evening?

  • not a problem now, but probably will be an issue in a few years.

    Wonder what this place will settle for:

    Those are some pretty convincing comps that this place is in the right ball park.

    I was reading the comments above and expecting some dump. Ok, it doesnt have central air, but thats a 25-35k price dock (if it isnt already priced in). The place may not be updated, but it looks sharp and its well maintained. Personally, I think there are better deals for 660k in this city, but the place is huge and Bloomingdale is pretty nice.

    However, I think I’d buy this place instead:

  • I echo what others have said — could be a great investment if someone is willing to put 50-100k into the place.

  • I’ve already commented a ridiculous number of times on this thread already so I should probably get back to work.

    But I can’t help but remark how many people on these GDON threads don’t like it when larger rowhouses are divided up into condos, or renovated with new finishes, but when a large house that hasn’t been subdivided and has original features intact is featured, its perceived value is seen as relatively low.

    A house was sold a few doors up from this one just a few months ago. It is much smaller. and was purchased by a developer who renovated it with new finishes. It was purchased by the developer for approximately $300K, and then resold for approximately $629K.

    It seems there’s a disconnect between what people say that they want on this blog, and what is actually valuable on the market.

    • There is a huge disconnect, yes. A small but vocal minority of people who value period details over comfort and not spending tens of thousands of dollars on maintenance do not represent the majority of people who want a comfortable reliable place to live.

      Old houses are a lot like classic cars – unless you can really afford to renovate and maintain a classic car, what you really have is a rusted out old hunk with endless maintenance issues.

    • I can’t speak for everyone, but I can tell you that what I want is a renovated house that still keeps the original features intact. It seems like that’s really hard to find. With most places on the market, either you get a house that hasn’t been touched at all (which means it needs a lot of work to be comfortable to live in), or you get one where the renovator gutted the whole interior and didn’t preserve anything (so it looks like an old house on the outside and like a suburban McMansion on the inside). Neither of those is what I want.

      • This is because it is a giant pain in the ass to do any significant renovation without gutting – and thus is much more expensive (because of the additional time involved) to do. People might prefer a renovated house with original features intact, but they generally aren’t willing to pay a large premium for it.

        • But it’s not actually that much harder to do the renovation without gutting. It’s a little bit more work, but not a lot. The problem is that you need someone with a little bit of taste in charge of the project. Most of the flip jobs are done by guys who live out in Prince William County and think that McMansions are gorgeous.

          • I’m sorry but you are simply wrong. It’s not a “bit more work” to truly fix the problems that an unrenovated 100 year old house that has been spottily maintained will always have. It’s a huge amount of work. Take the example of installing central air into a house with original radiators and plaster walls. It’s way, way, way more expensive to do in a thoughtful way that preserves the original features. Old houses don’t have modern electrical systems, which means 1-2 outlets per room, often without being grounded.

            Again, it’s actually very easy to find nicely done renovations that preserve lots of original detail. They’re just very expensive, because they cost a lot to do. It has very little to do with taste and everything to do with economics.

      • I think you ARE speaking for everyone. But most people come to terms with the fact that what you are seeking is hard to find, and can be quite expensive. Most of us choose old fixer uppers or new flip jobs. It’s hard to find something in between. Like all things in life, there are trade-offs……

      • I return to my classic car analogy. It’s not hard to get this if you can pay top dollar. But it’s very expensive to correctly renovate and preserve an old house.

    • As a big fan of most of the modern glass and cable homes around U, I wonder how much longer it’s going to be until that trend usurps everything else. I mean old details are very pretty and nostalgic, but at a certain point unless large scale manufacture of those types of finishes resumes, they’ll slowly disappear.

  • i dont like the yellow. that will cost a few grand to repaint. why yellow and green. maybe the former owner was brazillian.

    • Agree! I have commented ion POP before re house paint colors.

      Though this is in no way my favorite combo, it CERTAINLY looks better than some of the electric purple horror shows that have previsouly been shown.

      But – if I had the cash – I’d just turn the green to white…. that would help tremendously.

  • did you all see what the price per square foot is? at $227, how is this not a good deal. if it were just a shell it would almost be worth it.

  • Has anyone else noticed that the fire hydrant matches the house’s trim? That should be worth something.

  • If I had the money and needed 5 bedrooms, I’d take this deal!

    The house appears solid and well maintained, but with plenty of room to make your own mark – particularly the kitchen and bathrooms – and in a neighborhood that seems to be getting progressively better. I’d think that it would be a pretty good investment.

  • the per square foot price is on point for a normally maintained house, in my opinion.

  • I love this house – and I love both modern and historic styles.

    Seems underpriced and will make someone quite happy.

  • I think the reported square footage is wrong. I toured the house, and it felt smaller than 2904 square feet. So I looked at the floor plan handout that the agent gave me, and if the dimensions listed on that floor plan is correct, then the house is a lot less than 2904 square feet.

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