Good Deal or Not? “Natural wonders” edition

3505 New Hampshire Avenue Northwest

This house is located at 3505 New Hampshire Avenue, NW:

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The listing says:

“Estate Sale: Imagine life in the center of it All.. Columbia Heights Restaurants & Shops. Natural wonders overflow in this beautiful brick 3 bedroom, 2 full bath attached row house. This brick home features a large eat in kitchen with separate living room and dining room. Full basement with kitchenette. Sale of property is subject to existing lease.”

You can see more photos here.

This 3 bed/2 bath is going for $425,000.

46 Comment

  • bfinpetworth

    Love those mirrors!

    Seriously, the house I purchased in Ft. Myers Beach has a wall of mirrors between the living room and kitchen. Well, it USED TO have a wall of mirrors. Demo is under way.

    This seems like a pretty good deal to me, especially for someone willing to do the updating herself. Being at the intersection of NH and Sherman isn’t ideal, but otherwise it has fantastic proximity to just about everything good in Petworth and CH.

  • Well someone sure loved their cocaine…

  • Oh Mylanta! What in heavens name is going on with those colors?! They oughtta back the price down on that point alone. Holy Moses.

  • Yes, scary colors, but this has got some great potential! Assuming no big structural issues and that the systems are not super outdated, I wouldn’t be surprised if it actually sells for more than asking.

  • I love to see houses with, shall we say, non-standard decor. It means that the non-myopic buyer will get a bargain. Paint is cheap. As caitb says, assuming the systems and structure are sound, good deal.

    • Reminds me of a house we were considering in Capitol Hill; it was owned by an eccentric artist who refused to repaint the black walls and ceiling. The house was sitting on the market forever because it was so crazy, but a few cosmetic changes would have made a huge difference. I’d be really curious to see what it looks like now.

  • Why is this house going for $200K less than other houses in the same neighborhood??

    • Any single family house in the $600k range in this area has been recently upgraded. Judging from the photos, this house has not been upgraded.
      In addition, a low asking price encourages a bidding war. A developer could get this near $500k, put another $50-60k in, and resell it in the mid to high $600k range.

    • I’m guessing that it has some serious issues with outdated electric / water systems to be priced that low. Otherwise, it will be bid up well north of $500k.

    • a) estate sale–they just want a buyer fast (they don’t need the money to move to a new place) and they may not know what the market will bear

      b) already has tenants–many buyers will find it hard/impossible to get a loan with as good an interest rate or as little down, so the market for the house is smaller

      c) could be something wrong with it other than the bright paint colors (I actually love the dining room)

    • Because this house needs $200K in renovations. Notice it has window units and not a true A/C. That also means the expensive removal of radiator units, pipes, etc. Your best bet with this property would be to gut it down to the studs, rewire, new plumbing, new floors, and bring it back from there.

      The unfortunate part is the tenants. Good luck getting them out. D.C. is too tenant friendly. Sucks for the sellers.

      • No, don’t remove the radiators! For god’s sake, existing rads should be a selling point. AC can be added on top of it (minisplits or high velocity). There’s no replacing radiators once they come out, and there’s no better way to heat a rowhouse.

        • Yeah, I don’t understand why installing central AC would mean getting rid of the radiators. My home has both, and they were a big selling point for us.

        • bfinpetworth

          That is a point of debate. While I loved the character of my house in Vermont with original radiators but updated boiler, etc., I grew weary of always having to work around the radiators for decorating purposes. And they are really hard to keep clean and a general pain in the rear. Of course heating bills are a much bigger issue in Vermont than DC. I have thoroughly enjoyed the clean look of no radiators in my current renovated home and would not even consider going back to those bulky radiators. Romantic though they might be, they are an impediment to good interior design, especially in the small spaces typical in DC rowhouses.

          • Better resell value if you keep them, though.

          • bfinpetworth

            Really?? My Petworth rowhouse that I just sold for above asking in the mid 600’s would have gone for MORE with ugly radiators in every room? Doubt it. The house sold quickly and for the price it did because it is beautiful, updated, and tastefully decorated. The romanticism attached to radiators is misguided unless living in a very cold climate where heating billls can really add up. Then the big radiators may make sense to preserve.

          • Yes, I think it would have. Many people buying homes in DC appreciate original features and are specifically looking for them. Many people think radiators are beautiful and are worth giving up a tiny bit of floor space for. And they’ve been heartlessly torn out of so many homes that they’re somewhat of a rare find which makes them even more valuable.

          • Anoymogul, I’m guessing your quick sale had less to do with your taste and more with the fact that there’s no inventory in Petworth.

          • Anybody can slap in a crappy one zone forced air HVAC system. It will be serviceable but it will likely suck. Comfort is possible in multi level houses with forced air, but it requires a lot of attention to detail that almost never happens in flip jobs.

            There is practically no way to replace radiated heat systems in the United States once they are ripped out– the installing and configuration of these systems is a dying trade. If floor space is your concern, you can consider replacing the old radiators with streamlined modern models, which take up much less room.

          • Ha, anonymogul. Your patting yourself on your back for you’re impeccable decorating and taste is humorous. You are in a lopsided sellers market, don’t quit your job to host a show on HGTV just yet 😉

          • For me it’s a lot less about aesthetics and more about comfort. Forced air = dry and noisy and more temperature fluctuations.

          • FWIW, I had my radiators reinstalled. I found them on craigslist from people ripping them out, found a boiler on CL, refinished them in groovy metallic paint, and had my plumber reinstall them. But only on the first floor and basement.

        • +1
          High velocity AC + radiator heat is the best combination you can get for both cost and comfort.
          An appraiser just recently gave me kudos on keeping the radiators in my rowhouse and dissed houses that remove them.

      • Tenants make it hard to see the place also. Usually they’re very uncooperative.

  • In its own way, no worse than seeing the same tile backsplash and bathroom tile that every flip has and it won’t attract the usual whining about “finishes” or lack of central air.

  • Who cares about the colors. It is a gut job. I imagine the existing lease is the only reason this hasn’t been snatched by a developer paying cash for less than asking.

    • Why is this a gut job? Bring in the wrecking ball because you don’t like the paint?

      It’s impossible to know from the information provided.

      • It’s a gut job because it needs new plumbing, electrical, and central air…

        • How can you tell it needs new plumbing and electrical? Is that just speculation based on the price?

          • I just got done looking for houses and looked at several in this price range. Every home I looked at in the $400 range needed the electrical completely re-wired and the panel upgraded. In addition to that, all the houses I looked at needed a new roof and many needed to have many of the roof/basement joists sistered. There’s probably water damage somewhere and the plumbing is probably very, very old.

        • “Needs” central air is also a stretch, in my opinion–it’s something that many folks (me included!) are able to do without.

          This strikes me as a livable house that a regular person can buy and live in, and fix up as their financial situation improves. I hope it goes to one of the posters on here who complains about flips.

          • Agreed. I don’t have central air and it really isn’t a problem. I have a hard time plunking down a chunk of change for something that might get used 2 months of the year. I only think about installing it for resale.

  • There will be an all cash, no contingency bidding war by the developers we see all over town selling brand new, just flipped luxury condos. The location is very good and the price is excellent.

  • justinbc

    They have a very interesting view of the “All” that this location is apparently the center of.

  • Great deal. Snatch it up now. It’s ugly but liveable, and that’s how regular folks get to live in a house in the city.

    Please keep the radiators. And a few years with window units won’t kill you. I lived with them for 18 years in Mt. P.

  • doesnt the fact that it has no yard whatsoever make it less appealing? The reason i bought a house and not a condo was to have a yard/BBQ/garden

  • All I know is I am tired of seeing every renovation is just a gut job, then a unoriginal “open concept” space. I personally think there needs to be some seperation but not too much. Especially between the kitchen and the living room. Hopefully the open concept craze dies down soon.

  • Considering that this a fixer upper house in the same area went for 515k last year, I would be surprised if this house went for less then 500k

    I really do hate the DC real estate market.

    Unless you are a some sort of lawyer or willing to rent out all of your extra bedrooms, buying in the city is almost impossible for regular people like me who work for the Feds.

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