GDoN? “walking distance to EVERYTHING!!” edition (multiple reader request)


This house is located at 1541 3rd Street, NW. The listing says:

“Don’t miss out on this Gorgeous Multi Unit in Truxton Circle. This property features 2 units with 2Brs and 1 BA each. Live in 1, and rent the other! Enjoy Beautiful Kitchens Complete with SS Appliances, Granite, and Hardwood Floors. These Well Appointed Units come with a Fireplace, Ample Living Space,a Porch and PARKING as a Bonus. This location is PRIME, and is walking distance to EVERYTHING!!”

You can see more photos here.

This 4 bed/2 bath is going for $695,000.

35 Comment

  • The buyer will likely find some trouble getting financing (due to two separate units), but I think that this is a very solid deal, especially in the long-term.

    • it might appraise as a sf with accessory unit. my place that has a basement apt with separate coo worked that way.

  • Price seems reasonable but I’m not sure what kind of buyer would want this. For 695k the interior is not that attractive on either of the units. Sure, you can rent the other out for 2500 or more, but you’re going to loose at least 30-40% of that in taxes. At that price I would just get a nicer house without a rental.

    • So how much would this buyer be able to spend on a nicer house if they are giving up a situation where they pay 700K but clear 2K/month in rent?

      • This buyer isn’t going to get financing unless they can afford to service a $700k mortgage themselves. Folks who can afford to pay for a ~700k mortgage would likely demand a higher level of “luxury”.

        • Agree to certain extent but say someone can ‘afford’ or get approved 700K mortgage (at 43% debt-income) but would prefer paying more like 500K. This fits that bill.

          Or someone looking at a $700k condo who instead decides to sacrifice a bit of that luxury and buy this instead.

          So agreed, its a much smaller subset of buyers than just those seeing what’s the best they can get for themselves for 700k

        • This is not correct. I own a similar place in that same neighborhood and financing was not a problem. I refinanced again, no problem. This is a great deal for someone planning to leave in one of the unit, which is what I do.

      • I disagree. I paid almost exactly this price for my house somewhat nearby, and would have loved this set-up. I doubt I’m the only one.

        • I also disagree. I would be able to afford a more expensive house (not quite this much, but close) b/c I would be much more comfortable dipping further into my savings for the downpayment if I had a probability >0 of spending much less on mortgage going forward. Without the rental income, I would never be able to replenish those savings so it’s a no-go.

    • The city’s property tax rate is about one percent on assessed value. On income tax, a middle-class working owner would probably pay a 25% marginal rate after write-offs and deductions for interest, expenses, insurance and property taxes — never mind depreciation. (Most American voters don’t understand marginal tax rates, I know.) So the real rate is probably 5-10% — i.e. “closer to zero” than to 40%.

      • What “middle-class” owner is buying a 695k house? Anyone that can afford this is probably in the 28 or 33% bracket federally and the 8.5% bracket for DC. This puts their marginal rate right around 35%. And unless you have a terrible mortgage rate, do enormous renovations, or have someone not paying you rent, your deductions will only be a small portion of that. And you get all of that to live in a small, poorly finished apartment. This will have trouble selling.

        • Accountering

          This just isn’t true. You could easily be in the 25% bracket, but that doesn’t make a difference. Depreciation, interest, property taxes, and insurance will wipe out virtually all of your rental income.

    • Accountering

      Have to agree with anon above. There is NO way you are paying 30-40% in taxes on 2500. You can assign $350k to this unit, and depreciate it over 27.5 years. Depreciation is $12,700/year, and your interest on this place is probably another $14,000/year. You can also deduct insurance, and property taxes, so you can probably write off ~28,000-$29,000/year in income. If it is rented full time, you get $30,000, with $28,000 in deductions. Given a 25% marginal rate, you are paying $500 in income tax, on 30,000 in income, or an actual tax rate of ~1.6%.

      • This is exactly right. We have a similar propery in Hill East, and while the was tricky, it was do-able once we showed what the rental income would be (you can actually get a commercial loan at a low interest rate for this type of set up). Now, the rental income covers a huge junk of the mortgage and we pay virtually nothing in taxes.

  • Can someone please tell me what (of interest) is within walking distance from this location?

    • A good part of DC. I mentioned a few, but even if you don’t like to walk far, you’ve got Bloomingdale and Shaw within 10 minutes.

    • Glad you asked! I live nearby and walk downtown (20th and M) every day to work. It takes 30 minutes at an easy pace, but may be considered a long walk for some. Beyond that, I would say the Bloomingdale area around 1st and RIA, Mount Vernon Triangle, Chinatown, Union Market, eastern U Street, and the rapidly improving scene on 7th Street are all within a very easy walking distance for most people.

    • Have you heard of this place called U Street? What about Shaw?

      Too far from Georgetown for you?

      • the “georgetown” comment – lol. walking distance to bloomingdale maybe, but other than that it is kind of in no-mans when you measure walking distance in terms of being able to comfortably carry groceries or something else back from a store to your house. crossing ny ave from the mt vernon sq safeway and n cap st from the noma harris tweeter seems like a pain. same with metro — kinda close to three stations but still far by DC standards

        • O Street Giant is exactly 5 blocks west. And the Safeway isn’t too far either. I’m not sure why crossing a street is more burdensome with groceries.

        • I live in the area, I walk almost everywhere: Chinatown, Logan, U st, Union station, Union market, sometimes H st, Dupont. This is literally the center of DC (2nd block of Bates st is).

    • Within a ~15 minute walk, you have: Bloomingdale, 3 metro stations (Convention Center, Shaw, NoMa), 3 grocery stores (Giant, Harris Teeter, Safeway), countless restaurants/bars along 7th St., east end of U st. … need I go on?

    • I walk my kid to 11th and W every morning for daycare and then to my office and 17th and L. And it’s also close enough to Capitol Hill to walk. We moved to 4th and R when we needed more house than was available/affordable in Logan, and it’s worked out great. It’s very central, even if some people don’t have a sense of where it is.

    • I think the problem I have is that you have to walk at least 10-15 minutes to get to anything of interest. Sure everything is walkable. But you’ve got to walk kind of far to get to anything.

  • I’ve always wondered what these houses are like! I could see this being great for a single person or childless couple who have solid income and are happy to avoid the “luxury” life for a few years. Build equity, then buy a new place and keep this as two rentals. And while the “walk everywhere” thing is a bit of hyperbole, I live a block away and walk to NoMa, downtown, U Street, Logan, etc. It’s a really convenient neighborhood.

    • This is what we are doing. We live in one and rent one and when we get a kid we will move somewhere else and rent this place forever. Knowing what I know now, if I was in the market I will buy it. Another house with 1BR (less updated) went for 629K one block away I think.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Upstairs/downstairs duplex, I’d convert it to a single family house.

  • Is there some sort of space-time wormhole in the basement that allows it to be walking distance to EVERYTHING?

    • Everything is not every part of the city but rather everything you’d need. Metro and buses, grocery, restaurants, and bars are all within an easy 10-15 min walk. This area is extremely central to most of the city.

  • Is it just me, or were some of the photos duplicates?
    A Mouse On House-type tour would’ve been very helpful. I’m really unclear as to how the two units are laid out.

  • There doesn’t seem to be anything “wrong” with this place. It just violates some very rigid expectations. I wonder what kind of “luxury” people are expecting.

  • I bought a similar building a block away last year, and had no trouble securing financing as a primary residence SFH. With that arrangement, you can qualify for the Homestead Deduction, and taxes are very reasonable (I pay just about 3K a year on a slightly less updated building, but with a longer lot that allows for parking and some outdoor space.)

    Definitely not a good deal for a developer or those looking to make a quick buck, but for the DINK looking for a 3-5 year place before saving for a bigger home, this is an excellent investment.

  • Cheeeeeap finishes…UGH

Comments are closed.