Tues. Afternoon Rental Option (reader request) – Logan Circle

1342 S Street, NW

“Dear PoPville,

I’m with the Frontiers Condominia Association, a cooperative non profit group whose members are owners of Frontiers- you know, the 54 units at 14th between S and Riggs, as well as similar properties around 11th and N/M streets. At one time we were public housing, however in the late 1990’s the city sold units to resident owners.

As you know in the last few years we’ve had some developers offer to buy out Frontiers, however that has not come to pass. That said, at least two of the developers have been buying up some Frontiers units, though we are still by a large margin still owner occupied- a mix of long term residents as well as some newcomers (like myself).

In any event, the association collectively own one unit, 1342 S Street. We decided a couple of years ago that instead of using it as a place for the association to meet and store records that we’d renovate it and rent it out. We finished doing a modest but nice re-renovation in late fall and it is ready to rent.

Some think it ought to rent out for about $3000, yet we’ve seen other modestly renovated units in our association rent for $6000. We on the board feel that this is a good deal- four bedrooms, full basement, back and front yard, parking space in one of the hottest parts of town.

Is $5000 / 4br – Newly Renovated 4BR, 2BA Townhouse! (1342 S Street, NW) a good deal or not?“

86 Comment

  • This is newly renovated? I would hate to see what it looked like before. I think it is about $1,000 overpriced.

  • Go to $3500 and call it a day. $6K might be too steep and while it looks nice, it doesn’t scream “this is worth $6K a month in rent.” 4K tops.

  • Amazing deal! As a former resident of one of the units on R Street last year, I can say that we paid about $5,000. However, we used the basement as a fifth bedroom, so we paid about $1,000 each. Still, for being RIGHT ON 14th Street, I couldn’t have asked for a better place to live. Would move back there in a second if I wasn’t locked into a lease somewhere else. $1,000 for a room on 14th Street? Good deal.

    • Using what you said, wouldn’t it make sense to rent it out for $4,000 then?

      • Possibly, but the only reason why this one isn’t listed as a five bedroom is because you can’t call the basement a bedroom since it doesn’t have windows. No reason why the tenets can’t turn it into one though.

  • em

    My friends rented in that development back in 2006. I doubt their rent was that high, but they loved the location and the unit seemed decent in terms of space for four new-to-the-District residents in their mid-late 20s.

  • 3,500 is max you can get for that with the neighbor hood and police activity!!!!

  • What’s the square footage? It drives me bonkers when listings fail to mention that critical data point.

    • clevelanddave

      I think it is a little south of 2000 square feet. Bedrooms aren’t huge but aren’t as small as they seem either.

  • I’m surprised the developers haven’t been able to pull this off yet. I don’t know the exact zoning rules but in addition to the massive parcel on 14th and S, the Frontier condominiums also have at least three lots on 11th street that are all enormous. I don’t know the zoning rules but it seems like you ought to be able to develop at least 4 buildings with around 800 total units on the land, just based off the nearby buildings. People focus on the 14th street parcel, but the 11th street units have to be at least as promising, because you can build retail on that road too, you’re halfway between 14th and 9th, and the developer that does it will have the chance to single-handedly make 11th into a hot corridor.

    • The offers were rejected by the association. Their association requires 100% agreement which will kill any deal.

    • The developer needs to get every single home owner to sign onto the plan to sell. There needs to be unanimous agreement, per the condo by-laws. That’s the only way to begin redevelopment of the Frontiers parcel. So yeah, it’s pretty much impossible to develop here.You’ll always have at least one holdout. The developers would need to offer a ridiculous amount to get people to leave (probably $2 million per unit).

      • I’m obviously not a developer but even at $2 million a house you’re talking about $100 million to acquire four super hot parcels that are currently extremely low density. Seems to me like that may well be worth it in this neighborhood. I’ve seen the story about the owners rejecting earlier deals over $1 million and think it’s almost tragic as they basically won the lottery and were too stupid to cash it in. (Although if they end up getting more I guess they were savvy.)

  • 100% agree that it should be $3,500— $4,000 tops. But, like every other absurdly overpriced piece of real estate in this city, someone will pay $5,000+ for it.

    Also, isn’t this the block where the shootings were this summer? And then the muggings a month or so ago?

  • You can probably get 4k for it. But what a depressing place to live. I can’t believe folks don’t just sell. Not too bad–from public housing to a million dollar home you didn’t pay over 200k for.

    • The people who live here have a community of friends and family in a walkable neighborhood. They can’t replicate that with a pile of money out in PG County. When you get older, proximity to friends and family that can take of one another becomes paramount.

  • Agree with 3,500-4k max range. Is “newly renovated” the new buzzword for just recently cleaned and painted?

  • You’re out of your mind if you think this place is worth $5,000/month. If it had high-end appliances, luxury finishes, two or three more bathrooms, and it wasn’t on one of the last remaining sketchy blocks of 14th, you’d get that much. I’m with the others who said $3,500/month is more realistic.

    • I agree with the overall conclusion that $5,000/month is overly optimistic, but I think the “last remaining sketchy block” in this area is the 1400 block of R Street NW, not the 1300 block of S Street NW.

      • It’s that entire section right there, including R, Riggs, and S streets between 13th and 14th where stuff goes down. They aren’t very well lit, so it pretty much invites people to get mugged right there.

    • clevelanddave

      As a previous poster said, sounds like you’ve taken the way back machine to around 2004…

      • No, he is right. And I would like to add R between 14th and 15th into the mix as well. I always avoid walking past there, too.

        • They may be sketchy, but $3500 is what a 4 bedroom rowhouse rents for about 10 blocks east of this location. They’ll get way more than that. Not what a rowhouse would get, but well over $4k.

  • If this really does have a basement like one of the above commenters suggested, then I think that $5,000 is a decent price. If not, I think it’s a little high, but I’m sure someone would take it anyway.

  • I think $3500 is too cheap, but $5000 is too much.
    Offer it at $4000 and you’ll get plenty of offers from well qualified tenants. Raise the rent 5% per year – that’s low enough that you won’t get high turnover. As a condo association, you want someone who will stay a few years.

  • How can you call it a “highly sought after rowhouse”? It might be in a row, but it’s not a rowhouse. That term means something specific in DC. And “highly sought after”? When every time that block comes up the majority of comments are “why hasn’t that eyesore been razed yet,” and “you couldn’t pay me enough to live on that ugly block, even without all the crime”.

    Dudes. Truth in advertising.

    • agree. this is a townhouse, not a rowhouse.

      • What’s the difference between a rowhouse and a townhouse in DC? Are these not interchangeable?

        • A rowhouse has four outside walls, usually with at least one wall abutting the outside wall of the neighboring property. A townhouse shares a common wall with its neighbor.

          You can tear down a rowhouse in the center of a row without affecting neighboring properties.

          • where did that definition come from?

          • What’s the source for that? I’m pretty sure my 1890 rowhouse has party walls, and no one on the block has ever ever called it anything other than a rowhouse. We could all be wrong, but if you are going to provide the “rule” couldn’t you tell us where it is coming from?

          • hmmm…I think the terms “rowhouse and condominium” have more to do with ownership structure rather than physical structure. Rowhouses are essentially single family houses that are connected physically to another single family house. That is why in a real rowhouse you do not have a homeowners association. This home, however, is a condominium, more specifically referred to as a “townhouse”.

    • What is the difference? Out of curiousity.

    • What is the difference? Out of curiosity.

  • That listing and pictures could use a whole lot of work. If you’re going to convince someone to spend $60,000 a year, you could at least put in a little effort.

  • $5k a month to live in an old housing project. Gotta love DC!

  • Why is the first photo in the photo array a picture of the BACK door and a crappy yard? Not a great first impression. I gotta admit though, the “location” can’t be beat; but these residences never really appealed to me.

  • I was recently in the market for renting a new place. If I had come across this, I would have never given it a second look. Here’s why: all the photos show are small rooms with really awkward shapes (slanted ceilings and walls), cramped space, 1 bathroom that doesn’t look like anything special (where is the other bathroom?), no mention of the kitchen. There is absolutely nothing that makes this place look “newly renovated” unless, as one other person says, paint and vacuumed carpets constitute a renovation. There is nothing about amount of space (square footage), closets/storage, etc.
    Suggestion: a picture of the brand new washer and dryer and brand new appliances in a good sized kitchen would work tons better than awful pictures of awkwardly shaped small rooms. If you advertise it better, you might get $5K for it ($6K for that place? no way). Also, are pets allowed? A small fenced in yard would be delightful for a dog-owner and quite a selling point. If pets are not allowed, you might consider allowing them (increasing the value of the place).
    The way it looks now in photos and the description given, I wouldn’t consider paying more than $3,500 for it, since a wise person knows that it’s really unlikely that all 4 rooms labeled “bedroom” are prime bedroom-sized rooms for an adult, especially with all of those bizarre angles. At most you could probably fit 3 people comfortably in the place, and maybe on the bedrooms is really tiny or something, so it won’t be an even split of rent between people.

    • +1 Ugly, cheap and cramped, but is in a desirable location. With 4 people sharing, $4000.00 a month seems reasonable. With utilities they will be paying $1,100-1,200 each to have a cramped carpeted bedroom and shared bath – not bad for DC, but reasonable.

      Once people are willing to pay $1,300 – $1,500 for a share, they expect more.

  • Ignoring that it is former projects that do not appear to be heavily updated (who leaves wall to wall carpet in a rental like that – vomit), it looks fairly small/tight. I can’t believe anyone would fork over $5,000/mo instead of putting that in a mortgage. Especially for this. I have friends who rent entire rowhomes (real rowhomes) nearby for that. Better space, more character/charm, and on a better block.

    I love that somehow this is worth $5,000 but the general feeling was that $1m was too high for that brick rowhome six blocks north on U Street. You’re kidding me right?

    • I think the general feeling is that this is NOT worth 5k, but the U Street GDoN from today IS worth 1 mil.

    • I think the general feeling is that this IS NOT worth 5k, but the GDoN on U Street NW from today IS worth 1 mil.

    • clevelanddave

      Tell me, within two or three blocks of this place in any direction will you find a four bedroom, two bath, full basement with backyard and parking space for $5,000? I mean it has a new HVAC, new paint, cleaned up and in decent shape. Renovated one bedroom one baths are renting north of $4,000 at this location. I understand the place is about 2,000 square feet, more or less. I also know that other units nearly identical to this one have rented between 5,000 and 6,000 in the last six months.

      BTW the whole discussion of a townhouse vs. a row house is a red herring. It is moot. It has to do with the method of ownership, not the format of the building. Nearly identical multistory single family units with common walls can be either a townhouse or a row house and are used interchangeably.

  • The rent you can get has a lot to do with the prospective tenants you want. At $5000, you’re likely looking exclusively at a group house. A young couple, or a young family, or even two friends looking to rent a place together aren’t going to even consider that place for that price. If they can afford that rent, they’ll want much more for their money.

    I think it’s an insane amount to ask, personally, but I come at it from the young family perspective. And frankly, it’s pretty shabby for “newly renovated” – when I read those words, this is NOT what I expect.

  • Definitely overpriced. The renovation is very basic, but its nonetheless a good size house in a very nice location. But at 5K, one would expect a much nicer higher end renovation – e.g. not just new carpet. Not everyone needs or wants an ultra fancy renovated unit – not everyone can afford that anyway. So its nice to see more modest properties like this in that area, but unfortunately this is not well priced. The only way you would get $5K would be with a grouphouse of 5 people, with 5th person living in the basement – but even then, only 2 bathrooms would be a problem. I think this should be in low $4000s.

  • Disgusting. A group of people who have benefited from public housing -and now stand to profit from their luck – are not seeking to make this unit available to a family on Section 8 or other assisted housing program. It was, as they explained, a vacant unit, used only “as a place for the association to meet and store records.”

    So now, instead of offering an affordable rental to a local family or young starting-out lower wage renters from the community, they want to milk the “yuppies” for rent at $5 – 6,000.00.

    I think this clearly puts an end to any guilt over “gentrification.”

    • The person writing the letter specifically stated that the group is “a mix of long term residents as well as some newcomers”, and self-identified as a newcomer. You’ll note that he states “Some think it ought to rent out for about $3000”.

      At any rate, 14th and S is not the same place it was in late 1990’s. The original owner-occupants that do remain spent 15-20 years caring for their property, building up the neighborhood (and allowed it to build up around them). I don’t think receiving public assistance and a one time *purchase* option benefit decades years ago should condemn those folks (as well as the new comers who purchased in to it since, and never received assistance) to providing handouts, and charity for the rest of their lives.

      >I think this clearly puts an end to any guilt over “gentrification.”

      I think your outrage is misplaced.

      • I am hardly “condemning” anyone to “providing handouts, and charity for the rest of their lives.” I am saying that people who have benefited from public assistance should be obligated to pass that benefit along to others.

        The OP states that “in the late 1990′s the city sold units to resident owners.” So the city facilitated a program to enable people who were receiving public housing to become homeowners. I think that is a good thing. But I think it is wrong that they are then able to sell, or rent, for huge profits.

        If we want affordable workforce housing – and I do – then income restricted housing is essential. We can not, and should not, limit the opportunity for profit for those who bought property entirely on their own. But we absolutely should limit those who bought with public assistance.

        • Definitely some misplaced outrage here.

        • albany

          I don’t know if it’s misplaced. I’m all for the resident owners obtaining an ROI – but as someone who is looking for housing, it is hard to swallow when I see places listed at 700k + yet were last sold for 70k not even a decade ago through public assistance. I guess that puts me on Victoria’s side on this issue.

          • where’s you get $70k?

            A citypaper article[1] states $100k-$150k, which is entirely in line with property values in that neighborhood 15 years ago. And they were sold to people *on* public assistance, not *through* public assistance.

            1) http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/housingcomplex/2012/05/16/who-wants-to-be-a-millionaire/

          • You could have bought a place in DC 15 years ago for $100k. You chose not to, and you were largely priced out of the market. That is what I figure is hard to swallow for you, not basic public assistance programs that eased ownership transition in the ghetto of 14th street during the 1990’s.

          • albany

            Try checking out the records on Zillow. Pick almost any neighborhood –

            Yeah, I could’ve bought in DC 15 years ago, at the ripe age of 12. Thanks for the advice anon.

          • My statement stands: you are largely priced out of the market, the timing just didn’t work for you. My condolences, we all don’t get to live where we want to live.

            The upside, you didn’t have to live in a crack cocaine, whore infested ghetto for ~5 of the past 15 years. So keep your chin up, you got that working for you.

          • albany

            Well anonymous internet tough-guy, please let me know if you have any pragmatic advice, I mean once your trust fund runs out.

          • Trust fund? Really? You’re the one who comes off as petty and entitled. The nearest analogue today to what these people purchased for $100-150k is probably Historic Anacostia. You can still get very livable place (probably with more outdoor space) for (inflation adjusted, of course) about that much over there. And while it could be a VERY nice neighborhood in a few years it will probably continue to struggle with crime in the short term. If you invest in Anacostia now, you could well be sitting on a $1M+ house in 15 years. Why do YOU think you’re entitled to be able to buy a place in one of the most transit-accessible, happening areas of the city?

          • Only a trust fund brat would use the rationale “you had a choice to buy 15 years ago and didn’t…” with regard to my former 12 year old self. It’s an absurd logic, my buying power back then was pretty much limited to candy – not real property. I guess you hung out with a different kind of crowd in 7th grade. Applying your logic simply gets you unrealistic results.

            I NEVER said that I was entitled to live in Logan Circle, or anywhere else for that matter (Look at my posts anonymous coward). I only pointed out that it didn’t sit well with me that people who used public assistance home ownership programs in the recent past are now expecting a 1000% ROI. Similarly, it irks me that certain developers use minute tax lien deficiencies to foreclose on homeowners – again something not right with both.

            And with regard to Anacostia, I actually prefer River Terrace –

        • ” I think that is a good thing. But I think it is wrong that they are then able to sell, or rent, for huge profits.”

          You either think *selling* units to resident owners is a good idea or not, and you seem to be arguing it both ways. Any real estate most anywhere in a 50 mile radius appreciated considerably in the past 15-20 years. And the units were not given away, they were *sold* at then-market rate of $100k-150k. If you wanted to take advantage of this market, you certainly could have, but it would have meant you would have had to live on 14th street throughout the 1990s and 2000’s like these folks did. You chose not to do that, and I don’t blame you, neither did I.

          But you shouldn’t get upset about the fact that wealthy development projects just happened to encroach former public housing projects and economically depressed areas over the past decade or two, increasing property values for all of DC.

          • You are assuming quite a lot about me aren’t you? But in case you want facts – I actually did buy a condo on 14th St. & Columbia Rd. in 1987 and lived there for 18 years. The condo building was a govt./private effort to provide home ownership for low/moderate income people.

            It was completely botched from the start – long long story – and I wound up running the building for many years and saving it – literally – from collapse. I also wound up owning 5 units, which I tried to sell – for over ten years – up until around 2000 – to at least a dozen housing groups to keep them for affordable housing. No one wanted to buy there.

            I offered the apts. myself as lease/options to help people buy them. None ever did. Finally I just gave up. Columbia Heights took off, I sold 4 and bought a house. I still rent one out at a very affordable rent.

            The building is now stable – flourishing in fact – but these 30 condos that were intended for workforce housing now sell for $350 – 480,000.00.

          • So you did exactly what these folks are doing now, only you had more than one than one communally shared unit to work with.

            got it.

          • Not at all. I bought entirely with my own very hard-earned money (and then lived with 2 roommates.) Had the govt. subsidized half or more of my housing costs for 10 or more years I could have saved enough to buy today’s House Porn instead of a condo in the (then) slum.

          • your words: “so the city facilitated a program to enable people who were receiving public housing to become homeowners. I think that is a good thing. But I think it is wrong that they are then able to sell, or rent, for huge profits. ”

            you can either think that the city facilitated program to enable people who were receiving public housing to become homeowners was a good thing, or you can not. At any rate, I don’t think “homeowner” means what you think it means.

          • I think that what you think you think something means isn’t what it really means. Especially something as clear as “homeowner.”

            For example, “Homeowner” means someone who owns a home.

          • …and as a home *owner*, is entitled to sell or rent as they choose, when they choose, for as much or as little as they choose (assuming a buyer/renter agrees).

            i guess at this point, agree to disagree and lets just walk away.

          • No. Not walking away. Anon and anon and anon et al. Let me make it simple for your.

            1. You buy with your own money and pay mortgage with your own money = do whatever the hell you want – profit out the wazoo. The hell with anybody.

            2. You receive any support from the govt. (i.e. taxpayers) you have a duty to pass along the benefit you have received.

          • oh, BS.

            You and all homeowners receive annual “support from the govt. (i.e. taxpayers)” in the form of a tax deductible mortgage that you enjoy above all other renters, paying fair market rent. You and all DC homeowners receive annual “Homestead exemption Tax credits” which are “support from the govt. (i.e. taxpayers)” every year that renters do not enjoy.

            So no, get off your high horse. YOU are receiving, and have received for several decades Federal and DC Government subsidies for your ownership that some of us have not.

            Perhaps if SOME of us had purchased when you did, and received all the Federal and DC govt tax benefit you have, at the expense of all other tax payers, OTHERS could have afforded their dream houses today. But that is not the case, is it?

          • Sorry that you feel slighted. Please do tally up all the cost & benefits and explain your moral arguments.

          • “Sorry that you feel slighted. Please do tally up all the cost & benefits and explain your moral arguments.”

            I guess the same could be said regarding your insufferable butt hurt over this current story on POP.

            **Please do tally up all the cost & benefits and explain your moral arguments behind your opposition over the proposed rent in this one specific unit**

            It comes full circle here, doesn’t it, Victoria dear?

  • Rip out the carpet and put in hardwood. Renovate the kitchen as well. Do something about the yard. Re-list for $4250.

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