Good Deal or Not? “Open + contemporary” edition

375 O Street Southwest

This townhouse is located at 375 O Street, Southwest. The listing says:

“OPEN SUN 7/20, 1-3pm! Renovated 3BR/1.5BA River Park townhome. Enjoy urban living w/ excellent amenities in the middle of the booming SW Waterfront. Open + contemporary. Stunning kitchen w/ stainless steel appliances + granite counter tops! Generously sized BRs. Finished basement perfect for rec room. Private backyard patio. Parking available for rent. Walk to Metro!”

You can see more photos here.

This 3 bed/1.5 bath is going for $449,000 ($922 monthly fee.)

22 Comment

  • How do you enlarge the photos?

  • I was about to say good deal, given everything that’s about to happen in that area, but then I noticed the monthly fee. That’s nearly half the mortgage would be. Plus, there’s no caps on that, could go up indefinitely. No deal.

  • $922 fee on top of your mortgage and it’s not even one of the cool barrel roof ones?! Nope.

    • Since this is a co-op, it probably includes your taxes and other stuff. Price is OK, but I’d probably do away with that type of hardwood flooring.

    • And it doesn’t even appear to cover parking.

    • The fee covers HVAC, water, gas, property taxes, 24h security, doorman, and amenities like a gym, pool, playground, even a wood shop. Parking at River Park is silly cheap, like $50/year. Technically, the fee could go up, but most of these buildings are filled with seniors who would revolt if that happened.
      While this unit is pretty competitively priced, these towns always seemed like a great deal for families. The entire property is gated, and some of the kids really do just run free — just try that in most any other rowhouse.

      • Parking is actually $60/month, monthly fees tend to go up 1-2% a year, but could always go up more. They already have a number of folks who are delinquent on their fees.

        I don’t think the fees are bad, all things considered, but I don’t think the price of the house is competitive.

    • The fee most likely includes an underlying mortgage which finances capital improvements. The mortgage part is tax deductible and it’s likely the fee will drop over the forseeable future. At some point in the future, they may need to fund new improvements and it may go up again. OTOH, if you buy a condo, you can wind up with an assessment at any time and condo buildings with relatively low fees tend to do that often. The high fee also accounts for the relatively low price.

      Another nerdish fact—as the underlying mortgage principal goes down, your equity at sale goes up. Coops are for people who are in it for the long run, which is why they tend to be very stable buildings–more so than condos.

      I don’t like the parquet floors either.

      • River Park doesn’t have an underlying mortgage ATM, but it may need one in the future if it ever updates its windows or insulation.

  • It’s listed at about $25K above the only other TH at River Park on the market, which is nicer than this one (although not vacant), and $18K above the most comparable comp.

    • I thought that too…but the other one is only 1 bathroom. Having an extra half bath is worth $25k, in my opinion (it could easily cost that much to install one, and sometimes two people just gotta go at the same time).

      • oh, and my big concern about this place (we ended up buying in a different community nearby) were the floating stairs. They look awesome but I am a klutz and have a very small and clumsy cat. I could just picture us, or a guest (especially a kid) falling and really getting hurt, though I don’t know how realistic that fear is. I was seriously considering a barrel-roof there and they do look cool, but probably would’ve put plexiglass risers or something on the stairs.

      • The half bath is definitely better than just one bath, but would likely cost a fraction of $25k to install.

  • I would hold out for the barrel roof. But this is a coop so 922/mnth in fees is more like 722/mnt in fees plus 200 in taxes. $722/mnth at 4% 30yr mortgage is about $150,000. Not sure where else WOTR you can get this much space, three blocks from Metro, for $600K. Maybe Tacoma west of Blair, or Kingman Park?
    Does anyone know if this co-op mandates more than 20% down? That would definitely shrink the market of young families who might be interested.

  • It requires minimum 20% down

  • This whole neighborhood is a great deal.

    People in DC don’t understand coops. That monthly fee is a great deal. It is actually low. it not only covers real estate taxes (which you still can deduct your portion from your tax bill), it covers insurance (in a coop, you need only renters insurance plus sometimes more for your renovations, but it is really cheap compared to insurance on a house), it covers repairs (homeowners spend a lot on these things, coop owners very little, only for fixing some stuff internal to their unit), grounds upkeep, and here there’s a pool and gym apparently, perhaps included if there’s no additional fee for them.

    If DC folk ever comes to get coops like NYers do, the price of coops here won’t be so cheap compared to condos.

    • +1. If I worked on this side of the Mall, then I would scoop up one of these with the barrel roof. Everyone in DC is rowhouse crazy, and you pay a premium for trendiness.

      • justinbc

        Using the word trendy when describing 100+ year old rowhomes is a bit odd, don’t you think?

      • A single home is still the “American dream” – even for people who live in dense cities. People also have very specific ideas about where to raise their children. That’s why you see couples dump their condo as soon as they have a kid, even if it’s a spacious 2BR. Having an individual home – whether that’s an unattached SFH or a rowhouse – is a signifier of having “made it” in life.

  • I think this is about right. You can distinguish this unit from the other one that is on the market in that this unit is a different floorplan, so you’re getting an extra half bath, plus a finished basement. Looks like a unit with the same floorplan, with about the same finish levels, sold in May for $431K, but without a finished basement. The coop fee is high, but I think the price reflects that. Houses in SW with 3 bedrooms in this condition with lower condo fees sell for about $100K more.

  • Why do so many real estates use “stunning” in their listings? This agent says this kitchen is “stunning!”

    No it’s not. It’s typical.

    The flooring is dated, you can see a gap between the doors in the cabinet above the sink, and the lighting is from Home Depot. It has tiny windows and I bet it’s pretty dark with the lights off during the day. “Updated?” Yes. “Stunning?” No way….

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