Good Deal or Not? “Fresh Paint” edition

This condo is located at 1420 Harvard St, NW:

The listing says:

“Why Rent when you can purchase this recently updated Top Floor Condo in the Columbia Heights, just seconds away from Metro, Shopping. This Top Level Condo features Fresh Paint, Hardwood Floors, New Carpeting, Newer Kitchen Cabinets, New Refrigerator and a Renovated Bathroom. Just Move In!”

You can find more info (but unfortunately no photos) here.

I’m always hesitant to post listings without interior photos but this seems like it could be a good one – this 2 bed/1 bath is going for $239,900. Anyone happen to check it out yet?

12 Comment

  • No need to even view it. At $239K – below tax assessed value – in that area, it can’t be a good buy.

  • There are several off-market listings from this building which are listed as 2 BR but are only 600-700 sq ft. So I’m going to guess that the rooms are tiny and the price reflects this?

  • Even for tiny rooms, it would be a crazy good price. I think it’s bait to try to get bidding war or the place is a real wreck (no photos)

  • the listing on this website says it’s 99,999 Sq Ft. that would be a good deal. [absurd]

  • I automatically write off any post that doesn’t have pictures. I even write it off if it has pictures but not of the kitchen or bathrooms. Not worth my time!

  • its next to section 8 housing

  • I just looked this up on line and I can see all the other units in the building. Most of them have sale price of “0” which indicates that the building was probably once a coop that converted to condo and the existing tenants/owners converted over to Condo owners through some complicated financing. (I say this cause I live in a building that did this same thing years ago and most of the sales were either waaaay below market or zero, its just the way it shows up on DC tax system). Its possible this unit might have an income restriction on it or something of that nature that is driving the price down.
    No matter what though, if there are no interior pictures then assume it looks like outdated crap or maybe the realtor doesn’t even want to deal with the hassle of a unit that isn’t gonna be worth the commission or dealing with prospective lower income owners etc.

  • One more thing…its hard to live in Columbia Heights and NOT be next to or super close to section 8 housing. That has almost no effect on house values in up and coming metro accessible neighborhoods.

  • This building was one of two renovated around 1985 as a DC govt./private partnership as condos to provide affordable ownership for first-time buyers. I bought in the other building, 1421 Columbia Road in 1987. There were enormous problems from the beginning – the developer was crap & shiesty, poor management, underfunded condo association and general bat sh**t crazy owners that gave me a good 15 years of extreme grief.

    I suspect the Harvard St. building has a similar history – so if interested just be sure to examine all condo stuff very closely. Could be a good deal, probably livable.

    1421 Columbia did eventually get turned completely around and is now a really good building – though condos are expensive. There are a couple of apts. currently for sale. This one is nicely renovated.

    This one is not renovated and vastly overpriced.

    • Correction on that second one – I just noticed they dropped the price $60,000.00 from 459 to 399 so that’s better. It does unfortunately overlook the dumpsters and the alley.

  • Full disclosure: I am a real estate agent, and I have looked at this property. The property just came on the market. It is actually a full two bedroom with decent size rooms. (Lesson number one: DC Tax records are 80% inaccurate). Also, the pictures may not be available because sometimes it does take a while getting the pictures uploaded when you hire one of the professional photo companies to get the pictures. At three days on the market they should be online, but they are not. In any case, if a listing has no pictures, I would preview the place for my client and take some basic pictures for them. In this property, the unit actually showed quiet well. Nothing fancy, but a nice size kitchen with new cabinets and fairly new appliances. It had the stick on vinyl floor, but that can be an easy fix. They had the basic builder stock home depot oak wood floors. They had decent (not fancy) ceramic tile in the bathroom. They also had tons of windows and good light. If you took at the fake flowers and chunky furniture and slapped on some paint and maybe redid the kitchen floor, you would be golden. (Lesson number two: Do not always assume lack of pics indicates a crap shoot).

    I will not be surprised if it becomes a competitive situation.

  • I rented in this building until a few weeks ago and broke my lease to get out. The building has a serious roach problem, and I’ve read reports of bedbugs (though haven’t experienced any myself). Sketchy people who didn’t live in the building would frequently sit on the porch and on the interior steps. They probably were able to do this because the lock on the front door was totally inoperable from August to December, so anyone could just waltz right in. (I called building management many times and they continually blamed the condo association.) The dumpsters in the back don’t close so rats scurry in and out of them all day (again, no action from management on this issue after several complaints). The walls are extremely thin and from my bedroom I could hear everything in the apartments next to mine and in the hallway. The building only has two washers and two dryers for 4 floors of apartments, many of which house families, which means serious laundry competition. I’ve read reports of bedbugs online but thankfully didn’t experience them myself.

    The place is cheap and convenient and served me well as my first DC apartment, but I’m very glad to have moved on. I will say that the other residents of the building are generally very kind, easygoing, low key neighbors from all walks of life, which was pretty cool. Also the location is pretty unbeatable transit-wise.

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