35 Comment

  • Um, really. This does not look good. I know you could pour XXX dollars and make this into your dream home but unless the pictures are crooked, I wonder about foundation settlement/shifts, it looks like there is plenty of water/mold/mildew damage and it is in need of a total overhaul in terms of updating. For almost a quarter of a million, I’d much rather have the land and build from the ground up instead of dealing with this, very good chance, structural mess. I say this with only seeing photos and not seeing this in person. Don’t know if an in-person viewing would help or hurt the cause even more.

    • Yeah, it looks like it’s on a slope but it’s hard to tell.

      I’d still say the price is right if you’re motivated and very handy.

      I cringed when the slideshow clicked over to the bathroom shot… *shudder.

  • I found it a sad little detail that the bathroom had a glass doorknob. What a hard life this poor house and its previous residents have had.

  • Holy cow,

    This is a great 203k investment property! The price is unheard of in this area. I would seek a 203k loan for $400k and put $160k into that place and it would look ridiculously good within 5-6 months. Wish I wasn’t tied up with my own projects right now. With interest rates around 4% after taxes and insurance the mortgage on this spot would only be about $1,600 a month. You can’t rent even a dump of a place anywhere near that area for $1,600/month! Snooze and lose!

  • anon. gardener

    What’s wrong with a glass doorknob? I think they are rather nice… Much sadder that some of the other interior doorknobs look like they lock with a key.

    • I think angryparakeet meant that the home originally had really nice details like glass doorknobs. And then things went south……..

  • Actually I think this is a pretty good deal, although I agree that foundation issues (if present) could add big $$ to a rehab. But if the work is just cosmetic, you could fix it up for $75K and have a nice house worth $400K. My take on the $75K:
    – drywall fixes (DIY)
    – interior painting $8K
    – refinish floors $4K
    – new bathrooms (including tile) 2 x $8K each
    – new kitchen: $15K
    – heavy-up to 200amp $5K
    – new windows/doors $15K
    + misc. other $10-15K

    • Plumbing and electrical would be highly recommended from my Point Of View… I’m willing to bet the pipes there are outdated. Electrical fires are out of control these days, and you’d need a heavy-up to support modern electronics. I’d also recommend total drywall replacement and brick pointing or repair at least to lock rats out of the place. That means you get into tearing walls down and finding woodwork that needs to be replaced leading towards a 100k+ reno project. Don’t go cheap or it can cost you! After all the work is done (on a 400k total/renovation loan) I’d be willing to be there would be about $80-100k worth of equity in the house for the buyer (by year end 2012)

    • gotryit

      Electrical and plumbing are probably ~100 years old + (probably not legal) touch ups. It’s something I’d want to change while the walls are down. Speaking of which – old plaster demolition… add that $$.

      Also add roof work / replacement – typically neglected on a place in that condition.
      Brick pointing, joist shoring / replacement, any layout changes, central air conditioning… could probably think of more easy targets.

    • I would recommend that the average homeowner not attempt to do any extensive drywall repairs. If you don’t know what you’re doing, the results will look like crap. Installing a drywall ceiling requires two people, and it’s a lot easier to hire someone to do that.

      Furthermore, you’d need a truck or van to pick up the sheets of drywall from the home improvement store.

    • What, no air conditioning?

  • gotryit

    Even pouring in $150-$200K to do a complete gut / reno (maybe save the hardwoods) doesn’t seem worthwhile. Would someone really pay more than $400K for a house over there?

  • This looks to be in similar condition to a house in Petworth I bought and redid with a rehab loan. $75k is just not going to happen. You’ll spend that in plumbing, electrical and HVAC alone. Everyone has a different definition of “dream home,” but to make this comfortable and livable is minimum $150k even if the structure is perfectly sound.

  • I agree with Jack and Petworthres in that this is probably a pretty good deal. I know I would be interested if I were looking. The foundation questions certainly are valid, but other than that, the floors look like they’re in pretty good shape. Also, it looks like it has soffits and vents, as in central heat and air? I don’t see any radiators (too bad). I think it’s a pretty nice location as well.

  • This is a great deal. Assuming the foundation is not a mess, this house fixed up could easily sell for over $400k in this area. The blocks close to soldiers home are really beautiful and tree lined. This area and parkview (the neighborhood just south of petworth metro) are basically the last “affordable” metro accessible and moderately safe areas in the City.

  • I wonder if the people who say it is not a good deal are really interested in it and want to scare other people away? Like, the so called mildew damage just looks like years of grim to me. It has wonderful details (glass knobs) and lots of charm. It just needs a super clean up/gut, while retaining its charm, and it would be easily worth $425k. I just bought a condo in CoHi but would offer on this one if I couls.

    • gotryit

      I’ve gutted and redone the place I live in now (learning experience), and I’ve looked into similar projects in other parts of town as a next project. I’m not looking for a project now. I just think some of the $75k estimates were far too rosy. From experience.

    • Perhaps you are directing your comment to me since I’m the one who mentioned mildew in my comment. No, I’m not trying to discourage others because I want it myself. If you want the project, go for it. I say it as someone who has done DIY in pretty much every place that I’ve lived so I know about renovations, cost, surprises, what is realistic, etc. As I also mentioned in my comment, my comment comes from only looking at photos. It’s possible that it is dirt and grime but it honestly doesn’t look like that to me. The listing also says sold as is, which probably means it’s an estate sale. If not, then the buyer buys all the potential problems. You don’t get to have the seller make those fixes.

      • It’s already a moot point (went off the market in 2 days!) but I agree with you, it’s buyer beware on these estate sales. Unfortunately, with great risk can come great reward. That’s why you need to bring a top home inspector when house hunting.

        • Structural work is not a huge issue if you plan on doing brick pointing anyway. You could re-do all the brick work and wood work (framing) on a house like that for around $35k. Yeah, it would be a big project, but If the project’s profit will justify the investment, the location makes the project worthwhile. This is why developers won’t tie negotiations down with inspections. Now on a 4-10+ unit building, structural becomes a much bigger issue… No reward without risk!

          • 35 thousand for re-pointing bricks? You sure about that? It’s hard work, it’s a lost art, so your 35 sounds like a really low estimate. Yes, I’ve re-done small amounts of brick so I know what is involved.

  • I think everyone is missing the point – Joe Average isn’t going to be able to buy this house because Mr. Developer/Contractor will swoop in and bid higher than the house is now worth since they know that they can do the reno on the cheap. Keep dreaming everyone.

    • As a homeowner you can put 3% down on a loan, a contractor or investor has to put down 20%. If you watch the markets and set up alerts with an agent you can find stuff easily and put offers down before everyone else, you’ve just got to keep on your toes, and not flip-flop on decisions. The early bird catches the worm, and the second mouse gets the cheese.

    • Sad but true – way things work in DC, and Petworth is the new spot it is all happening.

  • well, apparently a bunch of developers DO think this is a good deal, or at least a property interesting enough to make offers on. word is that more than 10 offers came in, all from developers, within 2 days of its being listed.

    • That was fast! Where do you see that’s gone? Yeah, I’m not in the market but I know a good deal when I see one. I guess so does everyone else. And they have a barrel full of cash on top of that.

    • I heard it was 100 offers from 50 different developers…

    • They set the price low to create a bidding war… My guess is that the final price climbs nearer to $270k. Still a good deal but that cuts the profit down by around 30k, but making $70k in 6 months is better than most desk jobs, and by hanging onto the house a little longer (possibly living in or renting it) the profit potential is even greater. Not a bad move at all. This area is a great location, especially with all that park space next to Lincoln Cottage. I hope more stuff like this happens in the area, it’s exciting.

      • this stuff is happening all over around this area. the Parkview blog this morning had an article about developer renovations on houses in the area. usually sell as is for about $300 and then can be sold for over $500, at least in the south petworth area. CH is already too expensive and still has too much crazy random crime. I really thnk a lot of families are “discovering” the GA avenue neighborhoods now.

  • Obviously not for everyone, but you’d have to basically be a moron (or have zero awareness of DC real estate) not to recognize what a deal this is.

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