Good Deal or Not? ” 3 fireplaces. Custom millwork + stairs” edition

132 U Street Northwest

This house is located at 132 U Street, Northwest. The listing says:

“Stunning Bloomingdale row home w/ a 2BR/2BA main residence plus a 1BR/1BA rental unit. Beautifully renovated w/ sophisticated style + excellent finishes. Main unit -2 levels, 9~ ceilings, pine hardwood, 3 fireplaces. Custom millwork + stairs. Spacious floor plan. Open gourmet kitchen. Upper level has private master suite w/ spa BA. Weatherproof rear porch. Secure parking.”

You can see more photos here.

This 3 bed/3 bath is going for $799,000.

39 Comment

  • That seems like a really good deal. I love everything about this place.

  • My instant reaction was “good deal.” My delayed reaction: $0.8M +/- is what it takes to buy a nice rowhouse in a nice-ish location these days…hard to afford.

  • justinbc

    It’s nice to have a place actually live up to the hype the agent lists with it, and this place does. Beautiful details throughout and lots of attention to detail (love that blue Bertazzoni range), I would say this place is more than a deal, and expect heavy bidding.

  • Not a good deal.

  • Charming house, great location. I smell a bidding war.

  • I don’t think this is as good a deal as people think it is. Looking at the floor plan, the main house looks like a 1 BR + den. Plus, the rental unit isn’t in the basement – looks like it’s on the second floor. It’s a lot of money for what appears to be a pretty small main living space.

    • Why would you characterize the second bedroom as a den? It looks pretty big to me…
      That said, the layout is very weird. I don’t think I’d actually like living in this house… the living room at the front, then a big hallway/bedroom in the middle and the kitchen/dining in the back would drive me nuts. And the two bedrooms on two different floors would make it really difficult for a family with kids to live here, although obviously that’s not what everyone is looking for. I love the covered porch though.

      • I’m thinking this house is probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 16.5 feet wide, so if you subtract the hallways, walls, and interior courtyard, you’re probably left with that 2nd bedroom being something like 9 x 9. That’s kind of small for a bedroom.

        • As far as I know, the den classification isn’t based on size, but rather on the room missing something that a bedroom must have, like a closet or window.

  • Nice place. I’d say deal…..
    Speaking of deal .that the GOD on Monday on West Virginia Ave in Trinidad is already under contract. Can’t wait to see the closing price. Was listed at 699k.

  • I’m a little surprised even with a rental unit, it’s that high with only two bedrooms in the main house. I have no doubt they’ll get it, it just is flabbergasting to me.

  • Good Deal! I love this house and it’s blue oven. And this is a great neighborhood (didn’t the Prince list it on his favorite blocks in DC a little while back???). That said, I can’t decide how I feel about the “interior courtyard,” and the layout with the rental unit is a little confusing–can anyone figure it out? It looks like they split the house up, as you’d do to turn a house into condos, but then turned one into a rental (instead of the rental being a basement)–right? Either way, I dig it.

  • Love the bidet.

  • I say gorgeous renovation but bad deal. Did anyone else notice that it has an unfinished basement? Why would you do such a nice renovation of the two above-grade floors to create a 2BR main unit and a 1BR rental, when you could have renovated the basement and created the more orthodox two-story 3BR main unit with a 1 or 2 BR basement rental unit? You could fit 5 bedrooms into that structure, but it only has 3. This makes no sense to me… I guess if I bought it I would try to create the third unit in the basement and rent it out, if I could get the zoning variance. In that case you’d have some great income for a single person, childless couple or one-child couple living in the 2BR. But I wouldn’t pay $800k for that privilege, in Bloomingdale, given what I’d spend on the basement plus the zoning uncertainty. There are Bloomingdale houses regularly on the market that are in decent condition and have the 3 BR + 1-2 BR combo, selling in the 800s.

    • justinbc

      Might have been a permitting issue, or the unfinished basement is only like 5 foot or something, which would require a dig out which itself can be very $$$.

      • Hi Justin, yes, I agree there must have been impediments that led to the decision to leave it unfinished. It also appears that there is no existing front entrance to the basement, and the lot may slope upward toward the front, making an entrance difficult. But Bloomingdale is not yet a historic district so if you want to dig a trench to the lower front door, you can. The back photo shows that the basement is 2/3 above ground in the back and is at least as high as a standard door, suggesting that it may be 7 feet. Maybe in the end the sellers had good reason to do this, but I just would not buy it for 800k. They could at least have done a finished family room/third bedroom to provide more living space for the main unit. It would be cool if realtors would sometimes chime in on these GDON issues that arise on PoP, as the builders sometimes do in the comments to the pop-up posts. I guess the realtors figure there’s no such thing as bad press. Plus, most posters here appear to think that it is a good deal, so if they are representative of potential buyers, it will sell.

    • If the unfinished basement is tall enough to be livable, but not tall enough to meet the standards for a Certificate of Occupancy, one could finish it as an “in-law suite” and rent it, albeit not as a “legal rental.”
      But as Justin says, if the ceilings are only 5 feet tall, then it’s not feasible even as an in-law suite.

  • That is a really lovely house.

  • The staging with all the rugs laid out diagonally is really distracting to me.
    I would’ve loved a Mouse on House-type floor plan — there are floor-plan images at the end of the images in the listing, but they don’t display fully and it’s hard to make sense of them.

  • I’d say deal. According to PVIS, all the work was done in 2010 (thus permitted and to code I should add!), including the CofO for the rental unit. If it’s too small for the new buyer, they can just live in the rental space too. I’ll admit that it could be a little odd having a tenant on the same level as you. But for 3BR/3BA with such great fixtures (including a bidet, lol, and fancy blue stove) + porch w/ swing + parking + great location = deal to me.

    As to the basement, my guess is low ceilings or always damp.

  • We’ll probably go check it out on Sunday. Any commentors/Bloomingdale residents have thoughts on the flooding issues in this neighborhood? Is that something that’s been resolved / will be resolved / is overblown? That would be my one concern.

    • If it’s in your budget range, you should also look at 130 S listed at $834 if you are particularly targeting Bloomingdale. The flooding problem was primarily along first street so as you get toward the edges (2nd or N. Cap.) it didn’t seem to be an issue. Well, unless someone had dug down the basement causing Archimedes related problems with drain backup.) The only flooding we had (one occurrence) was due to gutter failure.

      • 130 S Street looks like a better deal to me! And one that might actually appraise for that value!

    • Well considering the rain we’re expecting tonight, you’ll probably get to see if it floods first hand 😛

      I don’t know, I don’t want to downplay anyone’s experience, but, I actually think that most houses are fine. For every one that floods, there are 20+ that don’t. They are working to improve the water tunnels, yes – I believe they’ve already done a little bit to alleviate the flooding, and it will improve over the next few years. Of course, that means construction for the next few years as well.

      I think flood damage is really hard to hide, so maybe google a little bit about how to spot it, and look for those signs in the house. Especially considering that the basement is unfinished – harder to hide stains behind new drywall, etc.

    • the low points in the neighborhood are the ones that flood (i mean, the literal low points, like the lowest elevation).

    • We live down the block, and didn’t have any flooding issues. Except when we did work on the roof right before a rain storm, but I don’t think that’s the issue you are referring to. Great neighborhood–you should move in!!!

  • While the finishes certainly are lovely (who doesn’t think a bidet is awesome!), I wouldn’t let finishes distract you from the basic layout of the house. As stated previously, it’s a 1 bedroom/1 den with 2 bath and only 1.5 floors. That is very limiting and gives little space for growth. There are 3 bd/3ba houses occupying 2 full floors plus a basement rental going for less in Bloomingdale. I’d say buy one of those and put in your own fine finishes yourself = better deal! I would think a place like this with it’s limitations would have a harder time appreciating/selling as a million $ home in a few years.

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