Good Deal or Not? “Monochromatic white kitchen with white appliances” edition

601 Pennsylvania Ave NW

This unit is located at 601 Pennsylvania Ave, NW:


The listing says:

“Charming 1 BR/BA w/light hard wood floor throughout. Eastern exposure through wall of windows. French doors lead into BR from living room. Foyer with entrance to bath w/tub/shower combo. W/D in unit. Extra Storage conveys. Horizontal blinds and mirrors on walls convey. Monochromatic white kitchen with white appliances. Large full length closet in BR plus 2 spacious closets in foyer. Ideal!!”

You can see more photos here.

This 1 bed/1 bath is going for $369,000 ($547 monthly fee.)

38 Comment

  • justinbc

    Seems like a nice building, nothing visually striking about the unit though.

  • This is a damn good deal. You could get $2300/month for this place as a rental.
    If you put 20% down, that would give you a $500/month income stream.

    • At 20%, your mortgage would be like $1,500 + fees (550) + taxes (~240) = ~2300. That doesn’t include property management fees, insurance, the money lost on closing cost, etc. You might as well keep your 75k and let it earn on its own.

      • “You might as well keep your 75k and let it earn on its own.”
        But then you have a $75k investment growing at whatever rate, instead of a $369k investment growing at whatever rate. If the condo goes up 10%, you’re up $36k. You’d need your $75k investment to go up 50% to get the same return.

        • Except when you sell the condo to get your profit, you pay a realtor 6% of the sales price, which using your example, is $24,000 or so of the $36,000 you’ve made.

          My 401K grew nearly 20% this year. I don’t see real estate doing that.

          • LOL @ thinking your 401K is going to grow at 20% next year.

          • As anon said, I don’t see your 401K growing 20% either. Last year was exceptional to say the least.

          • It is certainly not out of the realm of possibility to see another 20% bump in 14. With that said, it isn’t likely.

            Also, everyone is forgetting the mortgage pay-down. That is another ~5k/year, which adds up over multiple years.

          • Obviously, you cannot expect a 20% return on your investment, but 8-10% is not unreasonable. When you factor in the hassle of owning and costs associated with it (say 10% for property management, however much for necessary repairs, taxes on the rental income (minus depreciation), etc. it is not like you are making a ton more by owning the property if any at all. Most people who want to make good money on a rental, want actual profits each month on top of the mortgage.

          • I didn’t say that I thought I’d earn 20% this year on my 401K. But last year I earned just shy of 22%. And that was in a fairly conservative set of funds. The point was simply to say there are better returns out there than real estate, especially when one considers the costs associated with real estate not faced investing in other ways. These costs seem to be well covered by other comments.

          • If you had put $75K in stocks vs. DC real estate back in 1999, its pretty easy to figure out where I would have made more money.

          • If you expect a similar return on this condo featured in this post over the next 10-12 years as you would from the stock market, then you’re a fool.

    • I live in a 1BR with den in PQ, and pay less than that. Please don’t tell my landlord!

      Penn Quarter is an odd spot to live. I actually ended up there because this particular place was way less for nicer digs than Dupont, Logan, etc. I don’t know that I’d buy here as a full time DC resident–there’s just not enough neighborhood here yet, and the office buildings may mean it really won’t ever be one–but it’s been a fascinating couple of years.

  • The listing agent clearly does not know the definition of monochromatic.

    • Exactly my thought. Unless monochromatic is code for “clearly hasn’t been updated since the 90s” then it doesn’t mean what he thinks it means.

  • Looks like they installed really cheap kitchen cabinets to make it look renovated.

  • Dang, I had no idea there was actually housing in this area. I guess I had assumed that these were all office buildings.

    • There is a decent amount in this area, though it seems to be filled with a lot of wealthy foreigners/out of area lobbyists/lawyers who use it for work. This one is only a block or two south of Penn Quarter though. If it was a higher floor with perhaps a better view, it might be worth living there.

  • The kitchen is really not bad, it just needs a few small updates here and there. New drawer pulls and handles would go a long way, as would replacing the appliances with stainless. It has the potential to look very stylish even with cheap white cabinets.

  • The layout for this place is really nice. No wasted space, good sized living & dining rooms, and every room seems to get a lot of light. You could easily rent this out to a commuter who’s in town Monday – Friday.

  • I don’t understand why people are so into stainless appliances — those white appliances look pretty new, and I imagine that in 10 years people will be saying, “Stainless looks so dated!”
    I thought from “monochromatic” that the kitchen would have white counters too, but it doesn’t. The granite or faux-granite makes me think the kitchen has been done/redone within the past few years.
    The door/drawer pulls are definitely cheap. The only possible problem with replacing them is that you’d need for the new ones to require holes the same distance apart as the current ones. (Maybe that’s easy enough to find, but it’s one reason that I chose to put single-hole knobs on my basement kitchen’s drawers and cabinets, rather than handles requiring double holes.)
    I question the wisdom of having French doors leading to the bedroom — you’d need to add curtains if you wanted to have occasional guests and still retain your privacy.
    The location is really convenient for anyone who works downtown or on the Mall.
    The condo fee seems on the high side. The listing ought to mention the included amenities, not just show them in the photos. (There appears to be a roof deck and a fitness room.) The photos also show a parking garage — is parking included? Available for rent?

    • Yeah but stainless has been a “trend” for the past 10 years already and it doesn’t seem like it’s fading. Maybe in 10 years there will be something completely different. Different color enamel appliances perhaps. I think the popularity of stainless as well as solid surface counters is here to stay for a while though.

    • I think people are already saying stainless is dated. The new trend is monochromatic. Just not this kind of monochromatic.

      • Agreed. We’ve been talking to several contractors about a kitchen remodel the past month and each has said stainless is on the way out. We were told all white or all black are coming back. Get into it.

        Hey, I’m sure the people who put the pea green appliances in the house I grew up in thought that trend was going to last forever too.

        • For some of us, it did. It was a good 20 years after it was out of trend before my parents removed their pea green appliances.

    • there is absolutely nothing that won’t look dated.

  • I like the view from the rooftop, but the actual unit leaves a lot to be desired. At that price, I would imagine there are better options available.

    • At that price/size, there are scant options available this far downtown. Sure, I wouldn’t personally want to live there, but the location is perfect for someone who’s only in town for work.

      • I guess I don’t know the market for people who are interested in this type of condo. Would they not also consider all of the places in Chinatown and Mount Vernon Square?

      • By available do you mean on the market or in existence? Because there are several large condo buildings within a two block radius of this one. It’s called Penn Quarter.

        • You’re being quite dense here, and I’m not quite sure why? Pretty sure you can answer your own question there bud.

  • good spot for say, a political appointee in any one of the numerous federal agencies all in close walking distance of this place. many of them maintain a permanent home elsewhere anyway.

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