Good Deal or Not? “Renovated Town home near nationals Stadium” edition

1215 Carrollsburg Place Southwest

This house is located at 1215 Carrollsburg Place, Southwest:

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The listing says:

“Location, Location,Location – Great Condo Alternative. Renovated Town home near nationals Stadium, Capital Hill and SW Waterfront. 3 Bedroom 2 1/2 Bathroom. Bamboo hardwood floors. Exposed Brick. Recess Lighting. Eat in Kitchen with SS Appliances FP, Skylights, Deck off MBR. Backyard w/Off Street Parking No HOA!”

You can see more photos here.

This 3 bed/2.5 bath is going for $625,000.

56 Comment

  • I would say its a good deal. I live a half block away and the neighborhood can be a little rough, but nothing too sketchy. Plus the neighborhood is up and coming so the property value is going to go up substantially.

    • Count me as a skeptic that this neighborhood is really going to take off further price-wise. If home prices here have doubled in the last five years, most of the improvement might already have happened. It’s just like buying a stock too late. It doesn’t mean the company doesn’t have somewhat better years ahead of it, just that the price already accounts for what’s coming.

      • Oh please, people were saying that about H Street NE as late as last year. Bunch of NW DC naysayers that have probably lived in DC all of 2 years and know it all, “Oh noes, people would NEVER want to go over there – it’s dangerous.” Gimme a break. They have been doing a lot of improvements and upgrades around that stadium – like they are going to leave that cash cow neglected forever.

        • you’re over reacting.

        • It’s funny you mention H Street because I think it’s a similar example. Prices shot up a few years ago and probably won’t go much higher. The “good deal” window has already passed by here as well as there.

          • The trolley cars – direct link to Metro – are not even running yet. What a foolish assumption. Just wait….

          • Oooh, good point. You’re so ahead of the game! I should go buy some property on H before someone else discovers it’s on its way up…

        • jim_ed

          I think you forgot to add “IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, MOVE TO RESTON!!111!1”

          Anyhow, the H Street comparison is a lousy one because H St isn’t surrounded by acres of public housing like this part of SW is. This isn’t to make a judgment on anyone who lives in public housing, but the crime levels associated with it are undeniable. Also, this isn’t part of the ballpark neighborhood. Yes, it’s very close, but S Capitol St is basically an at-grade highway. It’s difficult and dangerous to cross, and creates a large psychological distinction between SE and SW; case in point, everything on the SE side is booming with high rise construction, meanwhile immediately across the street, the Randall School, the abandoned church on Delaware, and the industrial lots due south all sit vacant.

          And yes, it will be redeveloped eventually. They are in the very preliminary stages of HOPE VI funding for Syphax Gardens, James Creek, and Greenleaf right now. But that’s a minimum 5-6 years away, which means this house is 5-6 years away from being worth $625,000.

          Or, you know, just scream about it and make wild-eyed accusations about people who disagree with you.

          • Also, SW isn’t getting a streetcar!

          • This stretch reminds me of North Capitol around Gonzaga. On the east you’ve got some nice condos and on the west you’ve got people getting their asses shot in front of the projects. The bellweather for any neighborhood is to go there at 2am and walk around and see how safe you feel. I wouldn’t do it and I used to buy drugs there in the 1980s.

          • “They are in the very preliminary stages of HOPE VI funding for Syphax Gardens, James Creek, and Greenleaf right now” is somewhat inaccurate.

            There is no such thing as HOPE VI anymore. It’s called Choice Neighborhoods and last month DC applied for a planning grant just for Greenleaf. So IF they get the grant they’ll make a plan, and IF they make a plan they’ll apply for funding for it, and IF they get the funding they could [maybe] implement it. And that’s just for Greenleaf. Nothing is planned for Syphax or James Creek.

          • Please go by the “abandoned” church on Delaware. A boy scout organized cleaning up and landscaping the grounds for his Eagle Scout project. And the owner, an architect friend, installed exterior lighting that is dramatic. Some neat plans for that place; and although not in use yet, it is tightly secured and stabilized.

        • I don’t think Jay is saying the neighborhood won’t get better. I think s/he’s saying the price already captures the expectation that the neighborhood will get better. And I agree.

          • Agreed. Though there is plenty of real estate in SW that is still far cheaper than what you’d find in much of NW DC.

            And anyone who thinks that SW isn’t going to experience a development boom hasn’t been keeping up with the massive projects coming to the waterfront area. It’s going to be super desirable to be in that area before long.

          • Thanks another anonymous, I was indeed saying that the price already anticipates about the right level of improvement that’s coming.

            I do think there will be some further improvement, but it’s also true that I don’t see a scenario where this neighborhood starts fetching Dupont or Logan Circle-type prices. There’s a lot of damage to the urban fabric in this area.

          • “I don’t see a scenario where this neighborhood starts fetching Dupont or Logan Circle-type prices. There’s a lot of damage to the urban fabric in this area.”

            And I am telling you sound like a dolt. Anyone that has lived in DC can tell you what Dupont and Logan or even Columbia Heights was like 10-15 years ago. You are clearly ignorant, and a know-it-all to boot.

          • Neither Dupont, Logan, or Columbia Heights have South Capitol running through them.

  • Good deal if you have enough money to sit on this property for some time while the neighborhood continues to improve.

  • jim_ed

    No way.

    The SW side over there is still really rough, with open air drug markets still plain as day on 1st St. Carrollsburg is much nicer than the rest of the streets in that area, but you still have to deal with a lot of nonsense.

    Its a great street if you’re buying in low and plan on rehabbing something yourself, but 625 for a flip over there is comical*

    *Someone has probably already payed 700,000 for it because BOOMTOWN!

    • If you go several blocks south towards NDU you are correct, but this close to M street is completely fine. I live on M and Half and I have never had a problem. I just wouldnt go for a morning jog south.

      • You have to admit though, that the sketchiness is REALLY close. If a couple of those gang members on O Street get high one night and decide to go attack/rob/burglarize/rape a random person you’re an awfully convenient choice.

        • Have you ever even been down here at night? Me (a Hispanic guy in his mid-20s) and my fiancee (a 5’2″ white girl also in her mid-20s) rent like 2 blocks south of this listing on O street and have been here for over a year. No, it’s not the same as our old neighborhood (Foggy Bottom), but it is totally fine. I have walked around here at all hours of the day, waited at a bus stop at midnight on a weeknight in the middle of winter, and never felt any less safe than if I were walking on some of the less trafficked streets in my old neighborhood. Just because you don’t feel safe and are worried about the “open air drug markets” that you think happen in the “ghetto” doesn’t mean that other people wouldn’t find this neighborhood a perfectly good place to live.

          • Yes, I’m the commenter who lived on this block in 2008. Like your fiance I’m a 5’2″ white girl and I was in my mid-20’s then. I drove most places, and there was always street parking right in front of my house, so I wasn’t walking around much at night. It wasn’t something I felt too comfortable doing to be honest. Sometimes I’d come home and find some character lurking near my front door. My roommate said some of those guys would lift the corner of their shirt to show that they had a gun. Kinda unnerving. Hopefully the neighborhood has changed a lot since then but I can’t imagine all the criminals are out of there.

    • I agree completely. When we were burglarized on Carrollsburg the cops insisted we must have had drugs in the house because everyone does there.

  • The lack of pictures of the deck/backyard are more than made up for by the beautiful shot of the towel rack.

    • *is* more than made up for…

    • I just can’t get past the aggressive use of the fisheye lens. I think every room must be microscopically small if they’re spending that much effort to make it look bigger. (Seriously, I like a listing to give me a sense of the actual proportions of a property, and this one just doesn’t.)

  • Yikes. I lived on this block in 2008 and these houses were listed in the 300’s back then. This particular block was ok, with a lot of elderly folks and a woman at the end of the block who was truly devoted to making the neighborhood better. But some of the nearby blocks were really bad. It wasn’t unusual to hear gunshots on a nice summer night, and our house was broken into despite it having thick bars on every window and door. I’m not sure I’d recommended this location even now, and definitely not for $625k. I’m pretty sure you can get a house near the Wharf area or on the outskirts of Capitol Hill for around the same price.

    • justinbc

      Given the amount of change this particular area has seen in the last five years I would say that if it was “OK” in 2008 that should be great news for a current investor / home buyer.

      • You might be right. I peek down the block every time I walk or drive by, but I can’t get a sense of whether it’s changed at all. Nevertheless, even if it’s been completely gentrified it’s not a great block aesthetically. I think there are a lot of nicer places nearby in SE and SW that have houses in the low 600’s.

    • How did they get through the bars?

      • They used some sort of tool to bend them. We had an alarm system too, but it wasn’t activated and they must have known that somehow.

        • Wow, that’s pretty bad. You don’t hear about too many incidents of breaking through window bars.

          • You don’t?

          • That’s why my roommate and I broke the lease and got out right away– if bars and an alarm and lots of locks can’t protect the house, then what can? It’s not like we had anything in there worth stealing. I’m just so glad I decided to rent before buying there. It was really affordable at the time, and so conveniently located, but I didn’t feel safe at all after the burglary.

          • Sadly, you don’t hear about them, but according to a police officer who was investigating a neighbor’s break-in, they happen quite often. One method is to chip out the brick or mortar into which the bars are anchored. Some bars can be pried off, or bent apart enough to slip through, using a car jack. They will deter the casual burglar.

            Aside from that, these photos are terrible and the realtor should be fired. You can’t have a crap listing in a marginal neighborhood, especially when trying for a post-marginal neighborhood price.

          • Yeah I was gonna say, someone looking for a crime of opportunity isn’t going to mess with it, but a robber determined enough to get in can find a way. I was told by a police officer who regularly patrolled my old neighborhood that having big dogs is the best deterrent to burglary over even alarm systems.

  • Does anyone know how these few blocks of SW escaped the urban renewal project that bulldozed almost everything else down there?

    • Because the HOPE VI projected that bulldozed all the projects basically eliminated all the violent crime in the near SE area. But this house is not in the near SE area, and thus would have not fallen under the Carollsburg/Capper redevelopment project.

      Expect SW to be far more crime-ridden than Navy Yard until they redevelop the projects, which may not ever happen.

      • I think the previous poster is referring not to the demolition of Capper-Carrolsburg in the past decade, but the “slum clearance” projects of the 1950s and 60s that removed most of the housing stock in SW and replaced it with tower/townhouse developments.

        Don’t know the answer…my best guess is that these were some of the larger and more modernized homes in the area at the time (indoor plumbing, made of sturdy brick) so no need to take them down. Plus, they’re sort of far from most of the redevelopment that occurred at that point.

    • These were outside the Urban Renewal area. The area where James Creek once flowed, however slowly, and the James Creek Canal later festered (think DE Ave, Canal St, and 2nd St farther south) was probably the, um, let’s say, “most affordable” section of the city in the late 1800s. Well, affordable to buy, because the low-lying land was most undesirable. Wood frame shanties, homes to former slaves, predominated. So that eastern part of SW was targeted for redevelopment – both public and private – in the first half of the Twentieth Century. So Urban Renewal – begun in the 1950s – focused on the area west of there, which was working-class and racially and culturally mixed, with African-American, Jewish, Irish, and immigrant populations of all sorts. This linear block was built in 1909 by the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company with state of the art domestic technology for working class families.

  • Wasn’t there a story in the news a little while ago about how someone was trying to pay the local thugs protection money in this area? But, it still didn’t work.

  • No. Over $600,000 for that is not a deal. I don’t care that it is 3 bedrooms and I don’t care that it is closer to the Capitol. In a few years maybe.

    • It may be three bedrooms, but these houses are pretty small and don’t have basements or much yard. Not worth $600k even in a nicer ‘hood.

  • In 2001, I almost bought a house on this block (same size)…for $120K. I’m kind of kicking myself, but man, it was rough back then…

  • I live a few blocks away and I think this is way overpriced. It’s only about 1400 square feet (not huge for a 3br) and I can’t tell the layout of it. The flip isn’t that nicely done. The walk to Waterfront is long and to Navy Yard is deserted when the Nats aren’t playing. Based on other stuff in the neighborhood, I think $400-425k is about right.

    • I agree with your price assessment but not necessarily the other stuff. Lots of people work in the Navy Yard area and it’s pretty active into the evening. I also don’t think the walk to Waterfront is long at all!

  • For what $625k buys you now, you can still get a way nicer house than this. Yes its close to the ballpark and metro. But, the house sucks. And M&South Cap is terrible. A lot of traffic, a lot of undesirable folks. Projects/subsidized housing to the north, south, and West.

  • Just an FYI, people were saying a lot of the same things about neighborhoods such as Columbia Heights, Shaw and Ledroit Park ten years ago.

    • And now look! You never hear about shootings in Shaw anymore.

    • 10 years ago? People STILL say this stuff about those neighborhoods. Let’s face it, unless you live someplace like Woodley Park or Georgetown, you’re going to be dealing with a certain unsavory element in most every neighborhood in DC. That’s just what happens when a city is changing as rapidly as DC is.

  • My friend lived in this neighborhood. I grew up several blocks away in SW my entire life. Although I don’t think its horrible, if you are not used to “rough” neighborhoods, junkies sleeping in your backyard, having drunks yell at you while in line at 7-11, or having to come home late at night from a bar and being slightly intoxicated while walking to your house and not worrying about being accosted, this is NOT worth it. Rooms ARE tiny. Good observation. These are not big units. 625 could be better spent elsewhere in upper NE/NW. Vote NO.

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