Good Deal or Not? “brand-new urbane boutique condos” edition

This condo is located at 475 Florida Ave, NW:

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The flier says:

“One-bed PLUS DEN model in brand-new urbane boutique condos in popular Ledroit Park with style and sophistication. Distinctive floor plans, lots of exposed brick, fireplaces, designer kitchens and baths, high ceilings. More for the money in an urban commuter’s dream, two and a half blocks to Metro. 100 PERCENT FINANCING AVAILABLE with NO PMI. There is nothing else like these.”

You can find more info here and photos here.

Unit #2 is a 1 bed/1 bath going for $299,900 ($231.96 monthly condo fee.) Unit #3 is 2 bed/2bath already under contract at $349,900 and Unit #1 is a 2 bed/2 bath going for $309,900.

Back in Feb. ’09 the building was a shell and was auctioned for $300,000. We rejudged the building here back in mid-May.

62 Comment

  • Sounds like a fair price in both cases. Lots of violence around there, but it’s super close to the Metro. Worth the trade-offs, in my opinion. Especially if you take your bike to work every day.

    • Lots of violence?!? like what? “lots of violence” implies gang wars.

      • Basically.

        • No, seriously. Tell me about your experiences here, since its “basically” a gang war.

          • When I said “basically” I did not say “gang war” but yes there enough murders, stick ups and other violent crimes in that area to cause concern.

            And no, I’m not going to go digging around the internet for you. Look it up your damn self.

      • There was a string of robberies/assaults along that stretch of Rhode Island Avenue last year. But it seems to have dropped off so either the perps are in jail or dead.

  • Good deal – all three.

    • Horrible deal, all three. Why anyone would want to live on such a corner with horrible traffic.

      The first reply about violence is wrong.

      • it’s not wrong. there was lots of violence near the shaw metro. daytime murders, etc… it’s only a few blocks from here.

        also, there was an issue posted on this blog about a woman entering her home on florida avenue and almost getting attacked and forced into her home.

        don’t ignore the issue of crime around here. its very real.

        • Disagree with both. You surely need caution in the area, especially at night, but the foot traffic has dramatically increased in the last year. The amount of new businesses moving into the area (Shaw’s Tavern, Bohemian Bistro and Beau Thai) are a testament to the fact that gentrification is occurring rapidly here. The issue of crime is real, as it is in most other neighborhoods in DC. Watch your back, be cautious, but at the end of the day, these properties are going for good prices and anyone who invests stands to make a good bit of money off of appreciation, assuming the trends in the neighborhood continue.

          • what part of what i said do you disagree with?

          • He disagrees with the part that reflects the realities of the neighborhood, because revealing this information hurts his investment in his house/condo in the area.

            Keeping a constant positive outlook while downplaying current crime issues is a necessary technique to early gentrification, because market prices reflect what people think a house will be worth more than what the house is currently worth. So, the more people think the neighborhood rocks and is safe and the crooks are handing out popsicles and flowers, the more this gentleman’s property is worth.

          • You are a fool. The reality is that far too many people on this blog have completely out of whack perceptions of crime in DC. You’d think it was 1991 and crime wasnt even as bad back then as some people act like it is now!

            There are few neighborhoods that one could characterize as “unsafe” in the entire city, particularly west of the river. There certainly are blocks, or series of blocks, that are unsafe or worse than others and certainly some neighborhoods are safer than others, but by and large, the cries of widespread danger are sensationalized and irrational.

          • I love how people can say it’s irrational but in same breath state “watch your back, conceal your belongings, don’t be a victim, hide yo kids, hide yo wife!” when talking about walking around the exact same area.

            DC is not totally immune to the housing crisis. Better make sure you like where you live, because you may not be able to stay above water soon.

          • You live in the city. Not on a ranch outside Casper, WY. Adjust accordingly.

            What I object to are the incessant claims that areas throughout the city, with similar rates of crime as this area, are perfectly safe and that this area, or other areas, are hotbeds of criminal activity and you run the risk of being maimed if you ever go there.

            The truth is if you are east of the park, outside of dupont and the downtown business area, outside of the immediate vicinity of the capitol, you are within a few percentage points in terms of safety from one neighborhood to another, except for those isolated clusters here and there – that are in ALL of these neighborhoods. Even still, the chance of being a victim of crime in the vast majority of these neighborhoods is extremely low.

            So, unless you are going to say that the only place you should live/buy is west of the park, the heart of dupont, or the heart of capitol hill, I suggest you shut it.

        • When someone says something about crime, often the implication is that the crime is worse here than at places with similar price points.

          Crime is worse here than at places priced considerably more, but its similar or safer than many other places.

          The fact that a few folks got shot at public housing a half mile away and you heard about this time that a woman was assaulted, doesnt mean that this area is less safe many other places around town.

  • There are a few aspects just from the photos that looked a tad jacked up which calls into question the rest of the reno.
    1. Weird tile work thing in the kitchen. It overhangs the counter but goes to nowhere…
    2. Poorly stained door
    3. “Light-filled Den” seems to be a euphemism for awkward space

    But the prices are low enough that it might be worth it…

  • Nothing to do with the price at all, but the drawback for me would be being right there on Florida. That’s an awfully busy street right outside your front door.

    • So, should it be free? At what price would someone NOT say “oh this is too busy of a street” or something else.

      The price pretty fairly accounts for the busy street. The question is “good deal or not?”. So if you dont have a comment on the price, all of your other comments are fairly irrelevant.

      Besides, busy street concerns are vastly over scrutinized. Its not a huge quality of life changer. there are million dollar homes in this town on busy streets. So, being on a busy street doesnt create a cap. Its all a balance of various issues. To me, any 1br starting with a 2 and any 3br under 350k is a damned good deal if its under 3/4ths of a mile to a metro (this is MUCH closer), there is a possibility for appreciation (LeDroit is a great neighborhood), and it is centrally located in the city (check!).

      All 3 are great deals, pending checks of quality work done on the interior.

      • I meant +1 on a different comment, not this one.

        There are busy streets, then there is Florida Avenue, at rush hour twice a day. Then there’s foot traffic at night and on weekends, and Howard University Homecoming…and the list goes on and on and on.

        Good deal or not, don’t know. But it takes a special person that can hack all that and still be very happy they bought there.

        Course, something’s already sold so there you have it.

        • Do you think its any better or worse than Connecticut, M Street, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania Ave, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, 14th, New York, North Capitol, New Hampshire, Georgia, Sherman, parts of 6th St and 11th St in Shaw, U Street, 18th Street?

          There are a ton of busy roads in this city. People live on all of them. Hell some people live in the shadow of the SE/SW Freeway.

          But thats not really the point. The point is, when you see a place thats priced below what other similar places are priced nearby, you cant use the “well its got this easily observable down side” line. Clearly it has a downside or it wouldnt be priced so low.

          However, buying a house is a set of compromises. Some people want to pay less and dont mind not having parking, others dont mind street noise, others dont mind being further from the metro. None of these issues will change and they’re forever priced into the value of the house. While you’ll sell it for less than a comparable on a more quiet street, you also paid less for it.

          Also, something to remember about this neighborhoods of LeDroit, Bloomingdale, Eastern Shaw, Truxton, Eckington is that with Rhode Island, Florida, North Capitol, New York, Howard U Hospital, and Washington Hospital Center, only a few isolated streets enjoy much quiet. Unlike in Petworth, H Street, and some other similar neighborhoods, most houses around this area are within 1-2 short blocks of a major road. Especially with petworth, the fact that it is relatively remote from several busy roads attracts folks to the neighborhood.

          Houses are selling like hot cakes in the neighborhoods that are near this place though, so noise must not bother a lot of people.

          When discussing whether its a good deal or not, its helpful to take into account the various strengths and weaknesses that this location has at this price.

          • this area will only get louder. and more desirable. i think it’s a great deal

          • The difference is Howard University’s Hospital. I live on Florida Ave, very close to this house. It’s not the foot traffic or the auto-traffic that gets to you…it’s the sirens. Unceasing, unending sirens, emanating from ambulances which are invariably stuck in traffic in front of your house.

            Trust, the noise bothers us.

          • I live in LeDroit and love it, but FL Ave. feels more congested than those other streets you mentioned. I think because it has 4 lanes all actively in use. On Conn. The streetscape is much wider and there are often parked cars on a 6 lane road and the residential/commercial spaces are 25/50feet back from the road and sidewalk compared to this section of FL.

            I always feel claustrophobic on FL. between RI & GA Ave. It will only get worse once the Howard Theater reopens.

            The prices are good though; someone less claustrophobic than me should snatch one up.

          • “None of these issues will change and they’re forever priced into the value of the house.”

            These issues _should_ be factored into the asking price of a condo/house… but sometimes they aren’t. So I don’t think it’s a bad thing for people to speculate on whether the asking price _does_ in fact account for the perceived drawbacks.

          • Right, but that is rarely the context of the discussion. Its always closer to “you couldnt pay me to live there”. Well, paying you to live there isnt really an option. Try to be objective.

            I agree, the loudness needs to be priced in. Though, I think some people feel that it should be a 25-35% reduction, which is just crazy talk. Maybe 10-15%? I dont know, that would be interesting to find out.

            Though, for my personal lifestyle, I’d be less concerned about noise and more concerned about parking, especially on a busy street that doesnt have even an option of parking out front.

            In fact, I bought a place on a busy street, but has 2 parking spots. Many places in my neighborhood doesnt have parking. I imagine my parking spots should more than offset the noise at the front of the house.

        • I live over on U Street and I would take this place for this price at this location. It’s a rapidly changing area, but the development of eastern U St and Florida Ave stretches give me a feeling that whoever buys here will be happy they did in a few years.

      • Are you the seller? Why so indignant over the obvious observations?

  • I’m not sure I would use the word “urbane” for that corner. definition – “polished and notably polite” – doesn’t really fit that block.

    And is that a clear-glass transom above your living room door or is that into a bedroom? Because if that is from the hallway, what’s to stop someone from getting a ladder to see what stuff you have to steal and then using the transom to make it happen?

  • 100% financing…and no PMI?

    Un huh…ok. I wonder what fly by night lender they found to “offer” that.

    The fine print…”carries interest of 20% compounded daily. Men of Italian decent in track suits carrying baseball bats will collect monthly mortgage personally on the first day of every month.”

    On a serious note, you would think we would have learned our lesson with the whole zero down thing.

  • The kitchen cabinets look weird to me. Instead of buying shorter cabinets for above the sink and microwave, they took the easy way out and used standard cabinets and just lifted them up the wall.

    • Agreed. That kitchen screams “easy way out.” I wonder what other shortcuts they took?

    • Agreed… the cabinets look lopsided in their current configuration.

      The tiled backsplash also looks LOUD to me… as did some of the countertops.

  • I like the location, being that it’s in my ‘hood. But yes, could be noisy, which I think it reflected in the price.

    I’d wonder about noise between floors– when I was looking for condos/houses, all of the condo conversions I saw were so loud. There was one on Florida Ave where I sent my Dad to the upstairs condo upen house and I stayed in the first floor condo. We closed all of the doors, and when he said, “Hello” in a normal voice I could hear him clear as day. Not my cup of tea!

  • is it zoned commercial? it would be a nice place for a shop or restaurant.

  • Walk Score: 88.

    Stab Score: 57.

    Comp nearby: DC7622420, a two level two bedroom condo on Florida for only $459k. It’s one block west. You get a whole ‘nother floor for only $100k, which makes that unit seem like a better deal to me. The GDoN seems tiny as fuck — regardless of what the realtor put as sq ft in the listing.

    Realtors lie like that sometimes.

    • “Stab Score: 57.”

      Stop sensationalizing the crime in this area. These units are an absolute steal and you’d be crazy not to jump on this opportunity.

      Just make sure you present yourself as having nothing of value on your person when in the area. If possible, wear ripped, dirty clothing on to and from your awesome condo and carry a change of clothing for when you reach your destination. Just make sure the bag you carry it in looks like a hobo’s sack of worthless crap.

      Otherwise, you’re not street smart and are setting yourself up to be a victim.

      • 57 is actually pretty good in my mind. Let’s call it 47! That’s less than 50 and I think it’s also prime.

        My thinking was half of 100 is reasonable. Leaves room to grow, but acknowledges “issues”.

        100 would be Anacostia as depicted in the mind of a Falls Church resident. 0 would be Disneyworld sans Mouseketeer pickpockets.

        • Why hate on Falls Church? I’d be with you if you said Reston resident.

          Have you read the comments on WTOP? Folks in Reston think Woodley Park = certain death.

          Its the same mindset that Denizen has of anything East of the park.

    • only 100k? So 80k financed plus another 20k out of pocket?

      That 80k will cost you 423/month or 152k over the life of the loan.

      Seems like a lot for an extra floor. Plus you have 1.5ba vs 2.

      I’d say, based on your comp and the GDONs, that your comp might be over priced.

      • Nah, that’s a good price for a two story condo near there. If you assume the extra level adds minimum 500 ft of living space — well, you do the math. Let’s just assume $200/sq ft — as if anything in NW is that cheap.

        $200 x 500 sq ft = $100k. Bingo. Now I’m guessing LeDroit is more like $400/ft. Pays to buy in bulk.

        • Extra levels don’t add living space, they generally just spread the space over two floors and use up a bunch of that space for a staircase. Your logic is flawed.

  • i walk thru this area at night often and don’t find it particularly sketchy. it is well-lit and has lots of foot traffic, so i actually feel pretty safe on this block. agree with previous posters that this area is a good place to look, because the howard theater renovation should be done next year and the commercial district will spread to RIA before you know it. That said, personally I would rather spend $350-450 K and get a whole rowhouse in Truxton Circle or east Eckington, which are both walking distance to U St too and less than a mile from this condo.

    • You probably mean west eckington, which is a ways from U St already. east eckington is a very long hike to U Street.

      I dont know if there are houses available in TC for $350k anymore.

      The ones in Eckington at this price usually have some downsides.

      • $350k would be more like a shell price. There’s one house in Truxton at about that price now — you would need to add central, redo the kitchen and bathroom, and add a second bath to bring it up to snuff. And that’s just what’s obvious from the pics.

        $450k is a reasonable budget for the area, buys you a two story home that may need work but you can live in. This spring, even tinier flips are going to be at least $500k.

  • i live on this block. it is not dangerous. the alley in between 4th and 5th street is one of the nicest in the city and i (white male, 30, unimposing) walk back there without hesitation at ungodly hour. some might say that it is only a matter of time, but i think the area has already turned for the most part.

    though it can be noisy at times, it would be great if the streetscape at the FRINJ intersection were improved.

    as for the condo, the third unit is hands down the nicest and very underpriced. larger than the other three with higher ceilings (i went to the open house). the others seem priced about right.


  • Great deal for the developer who brought this at auction 2 years old.

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