Good Deal or Not? “cozy 1BR/BA condo” edition (reader request)

This condo is located at 1748 Corcoran St, NW:

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The listing says:

“This cozy 1BR/BA condo offering is located in Corcoran Mews, a boutique condominium community in the heart of Dupont Circle. Unit 1B offers striking floor to ceiling bay windows, designated dining room space, an open kitchen, master bedroom, lovely wood floors throughout & in-unit washer/dryer. Offerings nearby- public transportation, Safeway, restaurants/cafes & coffee shops.”

You can see a virtual tour here.

This 1 bed/1 bath is going for $319,900 ($504 monthly condo fee.)

28 Comment

  • i want this. like, bad.

  • Is that a mini-fridge? If so, I think those stop being acceptable once you’ve graduated from college, especially if you’re spending $300k+ and $504/month on fees.

    • I think a mini-fridge might be OK in a rental, and I’d maybe raise the age limit to 25… but in a condo, it’s not really acceptable.

      Actually, the more I look at the kitchen photos, the more the kitchen seems to be a design FAIL. There’s no cabinet space over the stove, sink, or countertop next to the sink; the ductwork (?) overhead might prevent the installation of super-tall cabinets, but medium-height or short ones probably would’ve fit there.

      If I’m not mistaken, that’s IKEA’s “LAGAN” faucet (bottom of the IKEA line; $19.99), and the “LAGAN” circular sink (no longer available, but I’m pretty sure that there was such a thing and that it was also around $20). I vaguely remember that the LAGAN sink was the only IKEA sink that did _not_ have some kind of warranty or guarantee.

      I don’t think IKEA fixtures are necessarily objectionable (although I think someone once posted here saying their faucets were problematic). But to put such bottom-of-the-line fixtures in a unit that’s for sale (as opposed to rental) — and to put in a mini-fridge instead of a full-sized one — is kind of insulting.

      I think the buyer will have to plan on redoing the kitchen, and should probably lower his/her bid accordingly.

      It’s one thing if a kitchen has cabinetry, etc. that’s somewhat outdated-looking but functional. But to have totally inadequate cabinet space AND only a mini-fridge? Sheesh.

      • Not sure why a sink should have a warranty or guarantee. Any issues with the sink would have to do with installation. It’s essentially a stainless steel basin – not sure what kind of warranty would be necessary.
        I’m familiar with that sink and it’s on the smaller side, but optimal for tight kitchens.

      • Thanks – your post made me laugh. I’m not so well-versed in such specifics from Ikea but your rant about the kitchen sink/faucet is hysterical. I’m not saying that I don’t shop at Ikea (I have) – they can be great for some things but your point is well-made.

        • Glad you liked. 🙂

          I don’t have objections to IKEA fixtures, etc. in general (other than their bathroom sinks looking too contemporary for my liking), but to have completely bottom-of-the-line fixtures — like, not even IKEA’s midrange kitchen sinks/faucets — in a condo unit just seems like a bad choice.

  • Cute place, although the property description is misleading. For Dupont, probably a decent price.

  • Part of me wants to know why it seems to be priced at this level, which seems good, for this area. Then I look at the photos; the place isn’t bad at all. The kitchen and bath are okay, though I think the kitchen sink looks small, for the way kitchen sinks are often used. Did I miss the refrigerator, didn’t notice one in the photos. The condo fee is mid-higher end of these monthly fees. As someone once commented, you live in a small condo association, which could mean hassle at meetings, when things need to be done. Even having said all this, I have this “too-good-to-be-true” feeling, not sure why, though.

  • People actually like this place? Looks depressing to me.

  • yikes, no way. needs lots of upgrades, and it’s a shoebox. i love corcoran, but $320k should get you a lot more.

  • It can’t be more than 500 sq ft. (DR and LR are the same room!) Let’s call it a shot gun studio or Jr. 1BR. Still for Dupont this is competitive.

  • Without looking at the listing, I’m guessing 475sq/ft…

  • I thought the price sounded okay until I saw the sq footage. The other places in the area in the 400-500 sq ft range are around $240-280. Also it looks like this apartment does not get much light.

  • i live in the building, i dont know why this place doesnt have an offer on it yet. this is a great deal, albeit at $766 per sq ft it could be a bit unattractive to some buyers in this buyer’s market…however, in this hood, on this street, its hard to find a washer dryer in unit, wood floors, big windows, ground level but not in basement and a one bedroom! not an efficiency…

    the condo association is nothing different from other places, with 30+ owners, it has its shares of ups and downs. building itself was built in the 19th century, converted to condos in the 1970s…so with annual maintenance and regular necessary upgrades, that $504 isnt going down anytime soon.

    its possible that the owner is standing firm on the $319 number, but id buy it as a rental investment at $295 and make around $800 per month if i had the time/money/desire to be a landlord.

    • I think part of the problem is that $766/sq ft is insane, even for DC real estate. The only time that I think it makes sense is in multi-million dollar homes but then that is comparing apples to oranges. Actually, they aren’t even both fruit. Besides the fact that the kitchen and bath are average. I also am going to guess that the layout is a little strange. I have a really good sense of living room, dining room, kitchen with the front door entrance opening up to the dining room/kitchen threshold. I’m curious to know how one gets to the bedroom, bathroom and in-unit laundry facilities.

      Part of my overall disappointment with the place is, honestly, the place is gorgeous from the outside on a lovely street in the Dupont neighborhood – all quite sweet – but is is so disappointment once inside, everything downward from there, alas.

      Thanks for sharing insight into this place, though.

      • I was wondering the same thing about the layout!

      • It looks like you walk through the kitchen to the bedroom, which is in the back, and that the bathroom and kitchen are both in the middle of the apartment. It looks like it needs work, ie. the floors look a little rough and the kitchen needs some improvements, but I’m thinking it’s not that bad of a deal because it’s in a very convenient location. I know nothing about condo fees, but $500 sounds high.

    • Sherman,

      1. Are you saying 1 bedroom condos rent out in your building for ~3000 a month?

      Buying this place at `300K means a ~1,300 mortgage + 200 a month in property tax, + 500 a month in condo fee is $~2000 a month. Making 800 a month on it means you would have to rent it out for $2,800 a month.

      2. Maybe as an owner in the building you can explain why the condo fees are so high, and yes a $500 dollar a month for 416 sq/ft of space in a building without any amenities (rec/pool/decks/elevators etc) whatsoever is well above the threshold of high. Does the building have current structural defiiciencies that are on the verge of needing addressed?

      Either something is drastically wrong, or the association is putting away gobs of money for the inevitable. Regardless, as someone who has owned many a condo and served on many a condo board, that condo fee is the biggest detractor from that place. Well…ok, the college fridge is high up on the list too.

      • I noticed the condo fee included all utilities and sorts of things. do you think that makes it any better? Shit, I pay $50-$100 just on my electricity where I rent right now.

        • It makes it marginally better, but certainly not palatable.

          I own an investment condo on the hill, a one bedroom 600 sq/ft unit that is seperately metered.

          The electricity bills in the summer which include A/C and electric water heater are $50 a month. In the winter it drops to ~25 a month.

          Gas is $9 a month (cooking), so excluding the $55 a month in utilities the the hottest months of the year, you are still paying a 450 a month condo fee for a tiny unit in a building with zero amenities.

      • Joker: I was wondering about the $800 number as well. Seems crazy if you think you can buy that for 295 with a 504 fee and profit at all. I think you can appropriately tack on an extra $100-200 a month to your estimates for repairs/upgrades on the turnover of your tenants, and you get to your $3,000 number.

  • It’s so…boxy.

  • $320K for a bad kitchen renovation and no fancy condo amenities? No thank you.

  • Not a good deal – you can get a whole 4BR house in Trinidad for not that much more per month!

    Seriously though, there’s something depressing about this place. Even small spaces can be made inviting, and this one is just … not. They make narrow but reasonably sized tall fridges for situations like this, so one could reconfigure the kitchen to make it fit and add more cabinetry so it looks like a grown up lives there. Plus the condo fees are high, IMO, for a small unit (416sf) in a smaller building, even with utilities included.

    But the location is excellent, so I think it would go if the seller dropped the price to just under $300k and were willing to take $275k. (Too bad he/she paid $310k in 2006, but that’s not the buyer’s problem.)

  • For this location I think the price is decent, but the condo fee is really high. One expects that in a new building that is trying to build up reserves, but an older building should already have a solid foundation. Does make one wonder if the building needs work and has added a special assessment or something.

  • High fee for no amenities. Horrible kitchen unless you eat out every meal and never intend to rent or sell to anyone who cooks. Great location.

  • I understand location is key, but you’d have to be on crack to pay a $504 condo fee for something that small. 1 br/1 ba are hard to sell at that, so much harder to re-sell.

    Don’t get me wrong, I realize someone will buy it. I’m just saying that whoever buys it is on crack.

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