GDoN? “Sale subject to Court approval. Defendant has right of first refusal” edition

1764 Kilbourne Place Northwest

This house is located at 1764 Kilbourne Place, Northwest. The listing says:

“Three-level townhouse, including a fully-finished in-law suite with separate front and rear entrances on the lower level. Hardwood floors, fully-fenced backyard, patio, front porch, back porches on the main and upper levels. List price is appraised value, as of Nov 2014. Sale subject to Court approval. Defendant has right of first refusal.”

You can see more photos here.

This 4 bed/2 bath is going for $810,000.

31 Comment

  • This will sell for at least $1,000,000

    • I wouldn’t be so sure. Depending on this whole “defendant has right of first refusal” situation, this sale could drag on for years.

      • How many houses have sold in Mt. Pleasant for $1+ million? This is a nice house, and I would love to live there. But Mt. Pleasant is not a wildly expensive neighborhood, and this house is not especially attractive or recently renovated.

        • Within the last three months, 5 houses have sold for over a million, some substantially so (1.5 and 1.4) and there were two more that were within 50K of it. Do you follow DC real estate?

        • justinbc

          Mount Pleasant was the #1 neighborhood in DC last year for selling above asking price, quite a lot over a million. I don’t think this house will go that high due to the underlying legal uncertainties, and I also just don’t think it’s that nice of a house.

        • The ones that have were bigger and more finished. This lacks central AC, which isn’t a problem for me, but some will object. It also needs a lot of other things. However, Kilbourne is a great street. I used to live in group house there back in the early 90s.

          • Accountering

            Central air can be done for $20,000. This is not that big of an impediment.

          • Central air in a full townhouse is unlikely to be only 20k, especially if you need multiple zones or the smaller ducts. Also, as others have said, I think the house needs a lot of reno to compete with the 1M+ sales. Finally there is no indication on EXACTLY what the legal issues are – a docket number / filed briefs would go a long way to clarifying the additional risk

          • Accountering

            Ok, so 25K? Point is when you are talking about a several hundred thousand dollar difference, the cost of HVAC is not Mt. Everest.

          • I put in central air in my townhouse for $10k.

          • We’re putting central air in our house for 13k (quoted at 17k, but giving us a discount since we’re doing it in the winter). Another company quoted us about 20k so 25k would be pretty high.

          • justinbc

            I’m curious what size houses you guys are in with those quotes? We’re going to redo our whole AC system next year, and although it won’t be a brand new install most of the guts are going to be redone.

          • Justin, my house is 1344 sq feet. Polar Bear is who we’re going with and he did a really good job explaining what they would do. Like I said, normally it’d cost around 17k, but since we’re doing it during the winter (when they obviously don’t have much, if any a/c work) he gave us 20% off.

    • Nice location, nice size house/lot. But a bit out of date (no central air, meh kitchen, etc). Only one bathroom in main living space. AAAAAAAAAAnd you’re buying a court battle? I had no idea Mount Pleasant was pulling those kind of prices I guess….

    • The listing says “List price is appraised value, as of Nov 2014.”
      Maybe a new appraisal would come up with a somewhat different value, but my understanding was that lenders don’t like it if a house appraises for less than the offer price. So if that’s what happens, the buyers might need to seek some kind of secondary financing or make up the difference themselves.

  • I really hope they mean “tenant” and not “defendant”….

    • Why would you think that? The listing clearly says this is subject to court approval. Maybe a lender/borrower tiff?

      • Or a divorce, or a partition action (a civil case where one or more co-owners of real estate sue the other co-owners to force a sale).

        • And what often happens is the parties put the house up for sale to see what a fair market price is, then one party or the other meets that price.

          IOW, it’s more likely than not that the defendent will get the house, not the non-party prospective buyer.

      • Defendant is a term of art used to refer to a party to a criminal case.

        A party to a case not charged with a crime is a respondent.

        • Really? Where did you come up with this little tidbit? The stacks of pleadings on my desk, and credenza, and table (and floor, in the interests of accuracy) disagree. In some instances, this is true, but in run of the mill civil actions all across the country, most often there are plaintiffs and defendants.

  • If I was in the market I’d be willing to go through some trouble to get a nice MtP row home for this price. It all depends how much trouble.

    • If I were interested I’d look at the tax records to see who owns the property and then pay a visit to the courthouse to look at the case file. You’ll probably get a good idea as to how much of a hassle the defendant will give you by the nature and tone of the his or her filings. It’s a pain, but not that much of a time investment for what would be the largest monetary investment most of us will make.

      • To follow up, the docket is available online (I closed the window before writing down the case number, but it’s in DC Superior Court). It is a partition action, and it looks messy. Service disputes, requests for default, requests for sanctions, lots of motions, you name it. Looks like a trustee was appointed to handle the sale, but if the defendant has the right of first refusal I wouldn’t count on any sale going smoothly based on that mess of a docket.

        • PDleftMtP

          I hear you, but is that really the buyer’s problem? Seems like a court-ordered sale is by definition pretty clean, so while you might be hanging out there for a while while they get to an order, the fighting wouldn’t really be your issue. If you’re not in any hurry to move and can just wait to see whether it goes through, you might not care if the divorcing owners beat the crap out of each other in the meantime.

          I don’t do DC real estate at all, though, so that might not be realistic.

  • When we bought our house we got a great deal because we were willing to deal with a nightmare legal situation just like this whereas the flippers and cash buyers and generally wealthier people weren’t. Of course this is still a lot of money but someone with patience who has a place to live in the mean time could get away with a great deal here.

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