Good Deal or Not? “Kitchen w/ 2 skylights” edition

This condo is located at 1454 Newton St, NW:

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The flier says:

“Fabulous 2BR, 2BA condo with high ceilings and hardwood floors in super convenient location. Fully renovated in 2007. Kitchen w/ 2 skylights, stainless appliances, and recessed lighting. Large master suite w/ double closet. Second BR or den w/ large closet and access to sunny back porch w/ treetop views. Washer/dryer. Walk to Metro, Target, CVS, Giant, restaurants, dog park & more!”

You can find more info here and photos here.

This 2 bed/2 bath is going for $325,000 ($193 monthly condo fee.)

18 Comment

  • I think that’s a good price for the location and size. My 2ba/2br house in a nearby/comparable neighborhood was just appraised for $370k, so this seems priced to sell. Unfortunate that it doesn’t have parking.

  • I was thinking it was an amazing deal until I noticed that there is no living room.

  • I was thinking that seemed like a really good price for the location, and was thinking: “What’s the catch?”

    I guess the catch is that it has no living room other than the kitchen/dining area. I see from the listing that it’s 650 square feet — I guess the “no living room” thing explains how they found enough room for two bedrooms and two full bathrooms within that square footage.

  • At first, it sounds like a great deal (esp with the low monthly condo fee). Here, is the reality: I suspect the place is tiny – again, because the close-up shots instead of photos that give a sense of space and overall layout. Really, 2br/2ba in 650 sq ft. If this were listed as a studio, people would say that is an average, decently-sized studio – and now we are trying to sell 2br/2ba in this amount of space – Wow! Where are the 2 kitchen skylights? At least they don’t try to sell the kitchen as a gourmet chef’s kitchen, which I see too often for kitchens that look like this. Kitchen is tiny with little cabinet space and relatively little counter space. I have to question whether or not the 2nd bedroom is really a 2nd bedroom (it needs to have a closet as well to be sold as a true 2nd bedroom). If not, there is a difference between a 1br and 1 den vs 2 br (for the purpose of sale price).

    Also, my own pet peeve and not the fault of the seller – but I don’t like that they have 1 medium-sized window in that built-out, bay-style window. It seems like a lost opportunity to bring more light into the units. So many of the older rowhomes have three windows, so I have to question how much light these units get.

    • This is kind of nit-picky, but the concept of a “low condo fee” can be misleading. Sure, it’s nicer to fork over $193 a month and not $500, but what are you getting for the money? More money usually covers more bills/services. In converted houses I tend to think any fee is kind of a waste. Whereas in larger buildings the fee might cover utilities – covered at a bulk rate. So you spend more to get more and it manages your monthly utility costs.

      • I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen a condo fee that covers utilities… it seems like usually it covers trash, water, maintenance of the common areas, and snow shoveling in winter.

        At least in my experience, a higher condo fee usually buys amenities — a doorman, a shared gym, a rooftop pool, a nice lobby — but not basics like electricity.

      • kev29,

        I’m not in disagreement with you regarding monthly condo/coop fees. I think it would be preferable to have no additional monthly fees (outside of a mortgage), but that’s not always a realistic option given that a plain mortgage tends to go with single residential properties (please correct me if I am wrong). This would mean, more than likely, a lot more money for the real estate transaction, especially in the Washington area. When I refer to a low monthly fee, I’m saying so because condo/coop fees range from 150-600 (more or less), so a monthly fee of $193 is pretty decent, if one is buying property with a monthly fee attached. What does a monthly fee include? It varies but it tends to include maintenance of common areas and anything included in the condo or coop’s responsibilities (trash, snow cleaning, etc.) It also may be used for the reserve funds, if there is an excess, should there be some major work for the building. If you own your property/home/house, then you are responsible for paying for trash pick-up and cleaning your front from snow, etc. Maybe the monthly fee is a waste but it does serve a purpose. Considering that condos/coops tend to be cheaper in the real estate market (mostly because you are owning a fraction of a place – e.g., 1br/1ba) as opposed to entire house, a coop or condo may be more reasonable to buy, if you want home ownership. Given that – the monthly fee here of $193 doesn’t seem horrible.

        By the way, I have never seen where utilities are included in a monthly fee. Not saying that it’s not possible or doesn’t exist, but I think that would be pretty uncommon.

    • Agreed. Although it’s not the seller’s fault, that one small window in the built-out area looks odd and disproportionate.

  • Nice place and looks well cared for; the painting is nice. I think the price is right, the buyer just needs to be comfortable with using the second ‘bedroom’ as a living room. Low condo fee, too, which is great so long as the buyer ensures the condo building’s finances are in order (or if the fee is projected to sky-rocket after it’s sold).

  • $500 a square foot? No parking? Dicey block to say the least? No thanks.

    • The place is 100% new construction as of 2007. It was a very run-down SFH before that time. I agree with most posters here that it would be much, much better to call it a 1BR/2BA and be able to argue for a living room that flows onto the back balcony instead of a second BR, or to have designed it differently in the first place … it was, after all, a SFH that got chopped into 4 condos, but not an 8BR/8BA SFH. But 325k for a 1BR in that location is still a fairly good price, provided you can exist within 650 sq ft., which is still on the small side for 1BR.

      And @eyelessingaza … “Dicey block to say the least” really to me reflects a very low tolerance on your part for dicey-ness, or an impossibly high standard for any urban area to not be dicey. There’s a halfway house with guys known to the block and a large blighted building that Jim Graham has been moving on for over a year that has been designated blighted. There’s also about an 80% gentrification ratio at this point and a high level of foot traffic at most hours. What else you got? XOXO, a guy who lived there for years.

  • Not too bad, a similar 1 BR in Ad Mo would be hard to find at this price (patio, no parking, same sq. footage, no real dining room, low fee, pets OK) and this neighborhood is hot to say the least. Layout is weird and needs a fireplace for romance…

  • When the building was rehabilitated a short while ago, it was clear that there were some structural problems with the exterior brick (yes, there is brick under that stucco). It was collapsing. It was not fixed. It was simply covered with that stucco. I suspect the odd small windows have a lot to do with an attempt to stabilize the structure by reducing the size of the openings. I assume somebody inspected this rehab work, but knowing the condition of the building’s brickwork beforehand, and knowing that it was merely covered over, I would not want anything to do with it.

  • I’d go with the “no” vote on this one. I’m not that bothered by the block, but I don’t think it’s a premium block for Columbia Heights, which is what it’s priced at. I, personally, also wouldn’t pay that amount for what *could* be a shoddy flip, no matter what the neighborhood. I would urge a VERY good home inspector to any potential buyers. Oh, and I have looked at buildings where electricity is included in condo fees, the buildings are rare in DC, but certainly do exist.

  • facade-wise, to quote confederacy of dunces, it’s “an abortion”

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