(Was it a) Good Deal or Not? “w/ the utmost attention to quality & design” edition

This home is located at 1925 12th St, NW:

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The flier says:

“This beautiful & spacious hm, complete reno in 2002 w/ the utmost attention to quality & design. 2BR +(third bedroom or den), two & a half bath w/ a spectacular granite & stainless kitchen, family room, luxury baths and beautiful restored hardwood floors. Private terrace & pkg”

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

This 3 bed/2.5 bath went under contract in 11 days (asking price was $899,000.) Are you surprised it went under contract so quickly?

85 Comment

  • They’re saying mortgage rates are near their all-time low so no surprise it went quickly.

    I remember moving into a house a block away at 12th and S back in 1998. Three days later they found a dead body in the empty lot across the street from the house posted above. That entire block of houses was depressing and a little frigtening to walk past. Always completely dark but still inhabited. The transformation is breathtaking.

    • I moved in at the same time on T St. backing up to that empty lot. Parents came to see my new house and there was police tape everywhere….

    • I believe it’s a co-op, not a condo, and they just redid their windows, stucco and brick. I looked at it and that unit still owes it’s share of the blanket mortgage, hence the large monthly fee. The owner is planning on paying this off reducing the monthly by $378. Water and heat are included, there’s almost always a place on the street to park, there’s a real estate tax deduction (not on condos I think), and knocking out three loads of laundry, wet to dry, in an hour ten? I like that!

  • Good Lord I am never going to be able to afford a home in DC.

    I mean I get it, the location is perfect for a lot of folks, looks like great reno, parking & (small but private) outside area…but 900K, ouch…and possibly went over asking…

    • Don’t despair… there are still houses in Shaw, Petworth, and Park View that are hundreds of thousands less than this.

      • True. You can still do well in Columbia Heights too. If you are handy, you can pick up something that needs work and build some equity that way. Come-on in, the water is warm. FYI, only cash at the craps games.

        • Are there any renos left in Columbia Heights? I think the time to find a bargain fixer-upper there has long since past. Even in Petworth and Park view, the renos are being snatched up by developers paying all cash.

          • austindc

            Yeah, there are definitely some houses (one in awhile) in Columbia Heights/Pleasant Plains that are lived in, but not falling apart that people can pick up for around $300-350k. Perfect for people who want to put in a little elbow grease for cosmetic stuff but who don’t want to deal with a whole gut job.

          • We bought a house in Parkview recently right in that affordable (by DC standards) range. It was liveable to start but in need of some elbow grease. So far so good, we feel it was a good metro accessible buy with the action on 11th street and the development moving south from the Petworth metro.

            Try and go into the houses with vision for what it could look like with a little tlc

          • Check the websites of some of the local real estate companies, such as Long & Foster, Weichert, et al., and plug in the zip codes for those areas (20010 and 20011). Then select the maximum amount of money you can pay, and that will generate a list of houses for sale that might be in your price range. That’s more or less how I found my fixer upper that went for under $400,000 in 2010 but was livable (newish kitchen with granite, central AC). Still lots of work to do, but all in all, a great house.

          • The problem with buying something that needs a lot of work is you will often get neat out by all cash offers. It happened to me in Columbia Heights even though we were offer about 10,000 more.

    • Me neither Jen. It gets depressing, but that’s life.

    • Things get insanely expensive when you get within a block of a metro station. And U Street is one of the pricier neighborhoods. This is by no means a typical price for a rowhouse in DC.

    • Forge east my friend…there is a vast land of property in NE. Some may scoff at the idea, but as MichelleRD posted, the transformation of U Street from back then is “breathtaking” and Ekington doesnt look much different from U street in the late 90’s.

      • Ja, ja, I agree…and honestly I’d rather be farther east than this close to the “action” on U Street (am getting old and cranky). Just worried that by the time I’m able to save up a down payment, everything that now looks like U Street did in the ’90s will look like U Street does now, with comparable real estate prices….

        Hmmm, maybe it’s time to invest in yurt manufacturing…or UpScale Trailer Parks (“granite countertops!! Stainless steel appliances!”)

      • Eckington isnt any different than many areas of NW, except for its address…

        In order to get really good bargains these days, you really have to go further east…

    • I’m a city person, I love city living, but yesterday I looked at an open house across the street from a friend’s home in Arlington. $560,000 – 3 bedrooms plus spacious finished basement, nice yard, across the street from parkland/woods & creek, dog park, bike path. Five minutes from great schools, rec centers, other parks and Balston metro. 1 min. from one of the best Thai restaurants in the DC metro area. 12 min. drive to Dupont Circle.

      If you have, or want to have kids, why would you even think about buying in DC? For that extra $300,000 you could easily have a limo on standby for whenever you want to go to town.

      And this isn’t a soul-less suburban wasteland – but cool families from all over the world who have frequent (boozy) street parties.

      As I said, I love city living, but bought in s**thell 1987 so don’t have to face crazy prices today – I’m just curious about how people sort this out.

      • Where in Arlington? Most of what I’ve seen there is just as expensive as the nicest parts of DC.

      • Victoria
        12 minute drive from Dupont circle with absolutely no traffic. There are many times you can’t get from the DC side of the bridges to Dupont Circle in 12 minutes, and this is not even including the time you spend looking for parking.

        • i have a friend that lives in hagerstown. he tells me it takes in 30 minutes to get to dc.

          everyone exaggerates everything.

        • I used to live in North Arlington. It took me at least 40 minutes to get to Capitol Hill in the morning, and even longer to get home. Even with no traffic at all, there’s absolutely no way you could get to Dupont in 12 minutes. Trust me, I used to make that drive frequently.

          At any rate, I would hesitate to raise a child in the Ballston area. Have you seen the traffic there? It’s insane. I’d be afraid of the very real possibility of my kid getting hit by a car. Having lived in Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, and various parts of DC, I can attest that the quality of life is much, much better in DC than it is in Northern Virginia.

          • I am with you. My wife and I have two kids and can’t see leaving the City. Takes me 15 minutes to get home from work and that proximity means a lot in terms of spending time with the family.

          • I too lived in North Arlington for 20+ years before moving to the U Street area last year (after our youngest started college). 12 minutes to Dupont? Gimmie a break Maybe by helicopter after midnight, but that’s about it. It was the hellish commute that led me to move.

            I will say, though, that Arlington is a great place to raise kids.

          • 12 minute drive from Clarendon to Dupont is certainly doable.

            Hop on 50, take it across the Teddy Roosevelt Bridge, take the exits for the Rock Creek Parkway, take the exit for Penn Ave, turn right onto Penn, get in your left hand lane, take a left on to 25th at the light (you even get a left arrow) take 25th north till it turns right into N Street, take N Street until it turns 1-way headed towards you, turn left to go north on 22nd. If you dont consider 22nd and O Dupont, or if you dont consider 22nd and P dupont, turn right down P, and you’ll be at the circle…

            This will take you 12 minutes under normal to slightly slower than normal traffic conditions. This will not work at rush hour.. it might take 15-20 minutes then.

            Really though, you can get pretty much anywhere in DC, if you stay south of U, West of eastern market, and east of Wisconsin in 12-15 minutes if you know how to avoid long, untimed lights, know where the left turn signals are, and how the traffic patterns go.

          • I’ll give you that Clarendon to Dupont on a weekend might be done in 12 minutes, but only adding 3 to 7 to deal with rush hour traffic isn’t realistic. I’d say the very best case scenario during rush hour is 20 minutes — but more likely 25 to 30 minutes and too often more than that. Like another poster said, everybody underestimates their commutes.

          • If you take my route, you’ll get there in 15 minutes any time of day except rush hour, because Rock Creek Park is a cluster (or closed in one direction) and then you’ll have to take the E Street Expressway to 19th Street and go North.

            I’m not underestimating my commute, i dont live in arlington nor do I work in dupont.

      • Can you take out a mortgage for the $300k limo that is on standby all the time?

    • what do you think is a decent price for a house in dc?

      • Is this a serious question? There are SO MANY variables to take into consideration.

        • i was responding to this specific comment:
          “Good Lord I am never going to be able to afford a home in DC.”

          so the variable would be, what does jen consider a house she would like and could afford. i didn’t think it far fetched.

          i was asking sincerely. sorry if that seems absurd.

          • I took her comment to mean simply “can afford” – let’s face it, house prices in DC are simply out of reach of many, many people. The downpayment alone on a $900,000 house, at 20%, is $180,000. Even assuming FHA at 3.5%, you’re looking at a downpayment of over $30,000! Plus closing costs. Then a monthly mortgage payment of what, 3, 4, 5 thousand dollars? That’s well more than many/most people GROSS in a month – ie, they will never be able to afford a home in DC.

            Even the ‘cheap’ houses in DC will require a downpayment in the tens of thousands, and a mortgage that’s still substantially higher than most people’s rent. And then probably more money to fix it up. Even a diligent saver would have trouble buying a house on a less than 6 figure salary in this town.

            Honestly I think most house prices around here reflect a 2 income household (or more, if you include basement rentals). It’s very tough for one person to afford a house in DC.

          • Sorry, I have been off the site all afternoon. But yes, as a single person household without much prospect for a big boost in income, not sure I’ll ever have more than a small condo.

            Of course I’m aware that lots of people don’t even have that option, so I do count my blessings …

          • but what do you consider affordable? what monthly payments can you make? can you afford a 3br house in one of the hottest neighborhoods in the city? no, probably not.

            but there are lots of places in dc that are not shaw.

            my guess is that you haven’t really looked into your possibilities. you might be surprised.

          • Something she can afford? The median (household) income in DC is about $60,000. That’s $5000/month. Following the 1/3rd income rule of thumb, that gives $1666.66/month for a mortgage payment.

            A quick run through of an online mortgage calculator, assuming 20% down (so no PMI) and 5% interest on a 30 year fixed mortgage, gives a house value of about $330,000. That requires $66,000 down at closing, plus closing costs. That’s at least 5 years of living cheap and saving all your money, to buy what, in most of this town, is a fixer-upper… and then not have much left over for the fixer-upping.

            And that’s at the current median household income, so it already includes multi-earner households. Hopefully you can see how even a ‘cheap’ $330,000 house is out of reach of many, many people.

          • dt,
            are we arguing or something? i was just asking what she could afford.
            averages mean little when it comes to specific people and specific properties.

          • They mean little for any specific case, true, but you seemed surprised that someone would consider house prices in DC to be unaffordable. Sure, she might be one of the few that make a lot more than $60K, but most people aren’t. I’m just trying to show that they are unaffordable for probably the majority of people on the city, so it’s not surprising at all that someone would look at a house selling for $900K and lament that they’ll never be able to afford a house.

            Saying “you haven’t really looked into your possibilities” and assuming they only looked at “the hottest neighborhoods”, when all you know about a person is that they think DC is too expensive to buy, seems to show a lack of understanding of the realities that face most of the city, probably (and here’s my unfounded assumption) because you make a lot more and most of your friends do too. I was trying to illustrate that reality with hard figures. That’s all.

          • dt,
            you’ve made assumptions about me that are not what i said, nor are they close to true. i’m not sure why you are trying to knock my statements down or make up shit about me.

            the only assumption i’ve made is that i bet she hasn’t looked into the possibilities.

            look up houses east of the river. look up the manna projects in ivy city. there are places that are affordable. i’m suggesting that it may be possible, and you are telling me that i just don’t understand.

          • Anonymous: I think you’re misunderstanding what the phrase “Good Lord I am never going to be able to afford a home in DC.” means.

            What they’re saying is, they’ll never be able to afford a house in an area that either surrounds them with people who are similar to themselves or will enable them to project to others the certain image of themselves that they would like to portray.

            Obviously there are houses that are affordable in this city, but the people who say there arent are the ones who just dont want to live in the only areas they can afford.

  • I went to the open house two weekends ago and I’m not surprised that it went under contract so quickly. The open house was very busy.

    This place was STUNNING!

    I thought the layout was great with a small sitting room in the back and a more formal dining, living room in the front. The finishes were very nice too.

    The backyard was small, but still big enough for a car, grill and a few chairs. It would have been all I ever wanted.

    • Another thing which might have helped the price.

      The entire place was gut renovated in the early 2000. The only thing that the owner saved was the front facade, but the foundation, structure is all new.

      • that makes more sense… this house is TINY!!

        • That’s exactly what I thought. However, I liked the finishes and general reno, despite the open floor plan, which I mostly despise. However, SKIN-EEE living room and dining room.

          • +1. not so appreciative of open floor plans.. i dig a separate kitchen. keeps my house nice and cool in the sweltering months when i’m cooking it up on a sunday…

  • If a home goes under contract in 11 days, then yes it was a good deal – at least for the buyers, the only people that matter.

  • The agent is a little free with the “spacious” claims – it looked pretty cramped to me. I question whether it’s really 1800+ sq. feet.

  • this looks very standard to ask almost a million… the renovation looks very much like a home depot showroom. I suupose the buyer is paying for location, but I do not think this house is worth that kind of money for 1200 square feet. Not in the least.

  • I would never buy a row house without a basement. With no attics & small/non-existent closets, there is no other place to store anything.
    And I agree with dcd – the master bedroom hardly looks spacious – you couldn’t even fit 2 dressers in it.
    I for one hope there are still homes in Petworth & CH that need a little love, because when we out grow our current place I would hate to have to undo some crap investor renovation.

    • haha, time for spring cleaning! agreed on “some crap investor renovation”…. i feel like sometimes it’s just better to buy a house that needs a bit of work and then throw a bit of cash at the situation… at the very least you won’t get those cheap looking blowaway doors with gold knobs (pet peeve about flips… they all use those AWFUL doors)

      • This doesn’t look like that bad of a renovation to me. It’s held up pretty well given that it was done 9 years ago.
        In any event, the real question is what you want to throw your “bit of cash” at. Unless you are in the enviable position of having unlimited cash at your disposal, you’re going to have to make choices.

        • clearly choices would have to be made, but that depends on the house… for instance, the kitchen in my home in Bloomingdale was in disrepair, so that’s where a good chunk of my renovation money went. There was no “unlimited cash”… you’d be surprised at what can be done with little money. I did a REMARKABLE amount of work for around 30K…. and for me, 30K is NOT chump change, that’s a big deal. So I’m happy with the choices I made.

          Hey PoP, that’s an interesting post for you… not sure if you’ve ever posted “before and after” photos from your readers… it would be interesting to see what people can do with limited funds…

      • +1 on the cheap flip doors!

      • Victoria,

        Yeah, but doors are so easy to replace. I’d rather pay for cheap doors and put in my own than pay for something exotic that’s already there. Plus, some cheap doors are acceptable: for example, on closets.

    • What is all this stuff you people need to store? We have two tiny bedroom closets and a small storage area under the stairs, and it works just fine (our kitchen/dining room is in the basement, so we can’t use that area for storage). We do have a small attic but it never occurred to me to put anything up there.

      • do you really lack the imagination to figure out your own question?

      • Camping gear – 4 cubic feet. Scuba gear- 3 cf. Suitcases, backpacks etc. 3 cf. Ski stuff – (cross country + downhill) – 3 cf + skis (they are long) Kayaking stuff (pfds, paddles) 4 cf. Gardening stuff – 2 cf. One little bin of essential tools – 2cf. – Not even counting painting supplies. You just have a boring life!

        • We have luggage as well, plus supplies and equipment for my various hobbies (skiing, biking, gardening, sewing, knitting, scrapbooking, photography, cake decorating, etc). But yeah, no kayaks– I guess that makes us downright dull.

      • Life changes too, you know. Try having a baby and then find out all the crap you have.

      • Various sized dog-crates for various sized foster dogs. Luggage. Husband’s tools. (In the Winter) gardening stuff. We clean-out the place once a year, but some of this “stuff” we need to keep and store somewhere.

  • Just because the seller wants $899 doesn’t mean you have to offer that price.

  • Also – “Utmost” is one of those words that have always bugged me, but I just looked it up and found “Ut” isn’t an unnecessary modifier like “most unique” or a silly Germanification like “uber” at all, but a real word – ME Utmest, OE Utmest.

  • Good deal for the location. The comps in the area are simular or more depending on condition.

  • Love the reno and it is well staged. The only thing I disliked was that backsplash with those counters.

  • Have all of the people who are criticizing a flip job been in this house? Have you ever renovated your own house? Do you have anything, other than a keyboard, to give you credibility on this issue?

    • Yes, Yes, and Yes. I take it you are a ‘flipper’ who is nervous about their work being discovered as sub-par?

      Not all flip jobs are bad, CW just suggests that corners might be cut and quality sacrificed in order to sell a home quickly as opposed to someone who intends on living there and has more of a vested interest in the property other than profit.

      • haha no. i’m just a PoP frequenter who gets annoyed with all of the keyboard experts on EVERY topic. Its like Bill Frist diagnosing Terry Schivo after watching a doctored video.

  • As a single female who purchased a fixer upper and tried to save by acting as my own GC, I would toss out another consideration. The experience is similar to taking your broken car to a unknown shop. Every day. For thousands of dollars. Only you get the unique bonus of being intimidated in your own home. Plus spending entire weekends bathed in polyurethane as a DIYer because you have no money left.

    It’s vastly overrated.

    • Yeah but you had great fortitude to give it a try. Nice work.

    • Your experiences arent necessarily common. Anyone doing work themselves, myself included, should find a trusted and skilled contractor that can do a wide range of jobs to fill in the holes in jobs where needed. No need to shop around after a while, just find someone who will do good work at a fair price and keep them on speed dial. Also, google is the best resource for finding quality goods and parts, finding advice, how-tos, and price shopping.

  • Fn nuts. Almost every comment in agreement here. I cannot wait till DC’s housing ceiling bursts.8YRD

    • Anyone who tells you they know what any market is going to do is a fool. The only thing thats for certain is that eventually the DC housing market is going to go down…. or maybe up.

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