GDoN? “Fabulous Hill location” edition

703 Massachusetts Avenue Northeast

This house is located at 703 Massachusetts Avenue, Northeast. The listing says:

“Fabulous Hill location. 2 bedrooms up, renovated kitchen. Lower level efficiency apartment with C of O, kitchen & bath, small patio. Just 5 blocks to Union Station, Barracks Row & Eastern Market Metro.”

You can see more photos here.

This 2 bed/2 bath (with Lower level efficiency apartment) is going for $675,000.

77 Comment

  • Setting the stage for a bidding war? This is worth at least $150k more than its list price.

  • That kitchen is hideous – the design elements are so poorly thrown together. And the window treatments throughout are rather unfortunate. Still — I agree that it’s underpriced.

    • I like the kitchen cabinets, but that sink sticks out like a sore thumb. The decor overall is incredibly fussy, and might put some people off (pistachio walls?), but I also thought the price was low.

  • Not great decor, but definitely priced to encourage a bidding war.

  • Very small. No dining area (unless you put the table in the kitchen) Second upstairs bedroom is tiny. Doesn’t appeal to me, but I’m sure it will appeal to a single person or a couple without kids.

  • Aglets

    way underpriced, right? that is a great location.

  • Going to sell for much more. At least 800k.

  • Thats a hike to either metro. The main kitchen is hideous, as is the paint (baby vomit green everywhere? Why?!) And the tilework and bathrooms look like they were remodeled by the lowest bidder, at the lowest cost, and done by Liberace’s decorator.
    Anywhere else, i’d say this was worth $250-300k tops. Being dc, and cap hill ridiculous prices? probably undervalue at $650k.

    • “hike” — maybe 10 minute walk to Union Station . . . even if you’re slow. Maybe 12 minute walk to Eastern Market?

      Seriously, how lazy would you have to be to consider that an issue?

        • And it’s not necessarily an issue of “laziness.” Just because you CAN walk 10 minutes every day to the Metro doesn’t mean that you DO want to walk 10 minutes every day to the Metro — in the rain, in the snow, etc., etc. And that 10 minutes does add time to your overall commute.

          • HaileUnlikely

            This is the same distance from Union Station as I am from Takoma. I’m perfectly content with my house and location, but I spent substantially less than half as much as this house’s asking price (and less than a third of what I bet it will go for). If I were spending that much, I’d want to be closer to either a metro station or a bus that gets me to my destination (i.e., not a bus to ride to a metro station).

          • You’re making a lot of speculation about the buyers. We chose Capitol Hill over some place like Takoma because we have jobs in VA and it’s easy to hop on the highway from here. The proximity to public transit is nice but not essential for us (unless the day finally comes when DC starts gaining tech jobs!).
            Plus it’s not all about proximity to transportation. Being close to the Capitol, Navy Yard, etc. is important to people who work there. Being able to walk to the Mall, Chinatown, etc. as I often do is important to some of us. You don’t get that out in Takoma.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Nah, I don’t care one bit about any of that. I am just objecting to the characterization of somebody deterred by the distance of this house to transit as “lazy.”

          • sounds like you’re well set up in the suburbs then.. this is normal walking distance for Metro and/or mass transit. I’ve seen places much farther tout ‘short walk to Metro’

            I could name any number of reasons why your home costs half the price of the Hill but most would be entirely too obvious to bother

          • Real estate agents, apartment listings, etc. are notorious for saying that something is “steps” or a “short walk” from Metro or other amenities when the reality is that they’re not.
            I think you’re so preoccupied with trying to make this personal with HaileUnlikely that you’re not taking into account that different people have different definitions of what constitutes an acceptable “walking distance.”
            The reality is that — all other things being equal — people tend to think that a 5-minute walk to Metro is preferable to a 10-minute walk to Metro, and that a 10-minute walk is preferable to a 15-minute walk.

          • HaileUnlikely

            You don’t need to be a d!ck. I can name about 4,296 reasons why my house cost less than half as much as this. My sole point was that I was objecting to the characterization of somebody deterred to by the walking distance as “lazy.” This house strikes me as a fabulous deal. If I could buy it, I would. It’s moot, as my upper limit was about $300K. Nonetheless, if somebody finds the length of the walk from this property to the metro to be kind of long, I don’t think there is any justification for calling them “lazy.” That is all. Good day, dickhead.

          • HaileUnlikely

            P.s. The above was [hopefully obviously] in response to anon 5:13, not textdoc.

          • The 90s buses will take you to the following locations: Navy Yard, Eastern Market, H St, Union Market, NoMa, Bloomingdale, Shaw, U st, Adams Morgan, Woodley Park/Zoo. I think that’s plenty convenient, no?

          • HaileUnlikely

            Last time I rode the 90, the bus got pulled over by cops who boarded the bus with guns drawn to arrest one of the riders. I realize that is not a typical 90 experience, but proximity to the 90 isn’t a point to talk up for a $675K house. (I live steps from the 70. It gets me within a couple of blocks from my office. Nonetheless, believe me, I bought my house in spite of, not because of, proximity to the 70.)

          • I find that many people grossly under-appreciate the bus system in DC. I understand that it may be rather discomforting riding a bus with folks so conspicuously outside one’s socioeconomic bracket, but they don’t pose as much threat to you as it may (unconsciously) appear. Since moving into DC from Silver Spring, I have found that the bus system is MUCH more convenient than the metro. I don’t live close to this particular location, but I prefer to use the bus system over the metro. And it’s also much cheaper!

          • HaileUnlikely

            I’ve been riding the S2/S4 and the 70 for over a decade. I basically agree with you. But for a house that will almost certainly end up over $800K, proximity to the 90 ain’t a selling point.

          • I live on 8th Street SE and couldn’t be happier that there’s a 90 bus stop right in front of my house. I take the bus all the time and love it! Why does it matter that my house is worth $900k? Am I supposed to be too good for the bus or something?

      • This is a great location: in about ten minutes you can walk to either Eastern Market, Union Station and the restaurants/shops along Massachusetts, two great parks, or H Street. You’re one block from the very convenient 90 buses and you have easy access to 4 metro lines. Parking here is fairly easy and Mass Ave is convenient for heading out to NW neighborhoods.

      • I don’t know how fast you guys walk — I used to live at 8th and C and it definitely takes closer to 20 minutes to walk to Union Station. A “hike” may be pushing it but it is not particularly close.

        • Google estimates 15 mins, but I think that’s long– I live on 16th and can walk to Union Station in around 20 minutes. A brisk walker could make it in around 10 mins.

          • Google has the distance at 0.8 miles. Covering that in 10 minutes means 4.8 miles per hour. Normal people need to jog to keep that speed. That doesn’t take into account red lights. If you hit one, you would need to run even faster to make it in 10 minutes.

          • actually .7 mi and you can cut across Stanton Park. ~15 mi/hr would get you there in 10 (add a few minutes for a few lights). 20 mi/hr would getout you there in 15 — my grandmother could do that

          • HaileUnlikely

            I understand the point that you are trying to make, however, your math is very wrong (15 mi/hr = 4 min/mile = elite male runner, and gets you from this house to Union Station in under 3 min).

          • Your grandma runs at 20mph? That’s incredible!

      • HaileUnlikely

        Re: “lazy” – most people who can afford to purchases homes in this price range are older than most people who post on PoPville. (Single counterexamples don’t contradict that. Two or three people in their thirties reading PoPville and paying this much for a house says nothing about “most people”)

        • I purchased a home near that precise spot in my 20s and I had plenty of like demographic neighbors. I doubt the market is geriatric here. it’s not too far for someone in their 40s or 50s either.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I’m talking about the price, not the location. If you bought a house for $675K in your 20’s, congratulations. Most people can’t do that until they’re older. Also, nowhere in DC do the demographics of your neighbors reflect the demographics of people buying today. Most of your neighbors who owned their homes bought them a long time ago for a lot less money. And again, isolated “I know a guy who…” and “I am a guy who…” do not disprove general statements. Most people who buy houses for $675K+ aren’t young.

          • I doubt you’d bat an eye at someone in their 20’s buying a 325k condo, so why Is it so unusual for a couple in their 20’s to combine their incomes to buy a house? Especially one that nets them $1500 in rental income?

          • Well put, HaileUnlikely.

          • My partner and I bought ours when I was in my late 20’s. Two weeks earlier a gay couple in their 20’s/30’s bought the one next to ours. It’s not Logan Circle but there are plenty of young two-income households in the neighborhood.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I am not saying that the number of young people buying houses in this price range is zero. I am saying that the number of young people buying houses in this price range is much, much smaller than the number of old people buying houses in this price range.

          • HaileUnlikely

            BTW, I think this house is an amazing deal and would be astonished if it sells for less than $800K. I just think calling somebody who doesn’t want to have to walk that far to get to a metro station “lazy” is out of line.

          • My partner and I bought a house for around 650K in Hill East last year, when we were both 29. Our parents kicked in some money toward the down payment, which we thought was pretty rare, but our agent told us it’s extremely common and that what help we got was pretty small potatoes! So we’re probably underestimating how many younger people can afford expensive homes with parental help.

          • It might be “extremely common” because real estate prices have risen to the point where people who aren’t getting $ from their parents simply can’t afford to buy.

          • Emmaleigh504

            It’s probably also extremely common for that real estate agent since he/she is working in that price range. When she sees younger folks buying houses they get help from relatives b/c the prices are higher. If she was mostly selling smaller condos she probably would be seeing other patterns.

    • I do agree that the redecorating SHOULD add a discount, but being that it’s DC and it’s Cap Hill I doubt that will happen

    • You know that it’s easy and pretty inexpensive to repaint, right? Those cupboards would look great painted white.

      • I was thinking the exact same thing, @Eponymous! Crisp semi-gloss linen white on those cabinets and the stainless steel and even that dark granite would really pop! That tile in the kitchen is a definite no, though. That would have to be redone. But, that’s fairly affordable.

    • Accountering

      I don’t understand how it is relevant that this is worth $250-300k in Columbus, OH. Can you walk to your job or Union Station from this house in Columbus?

      • Emmaleigh504

        exactly! I could afford to buy a really nice house if I went back home with a DC salary. But I wouldn’t. I’d have a Louisiana salary if I went back home and not be able to afford anything.

    • HaileUnlikely

      I don’t understand why people fuss about things like paint. Paint is cheap, and painting isn’t hard. Worst case scenario – you’re too busy to paint, or too infirm to paint – then hire somebody. No more vomit green. Done.

    • Sorry, but 10 minutes isn’t a hike. I lived in Adams Morgan and had a considerably longer walk to the Metro, and that never stopped anyone from buying for even higher prices.

      I live three blocks northeast of there, so I have a 15 minute walk, and I see throngs of people making the same trek. And I’m in my 50s, by the way. If it’s super cold, or the weather is nasty, then I take the bus, or hop on a Bikeshare bike.

      And my feeling is I’m a lot healthier for it. Better than sitting in a car, putting on the pounds and pumping fumes into the atmosphere.

  • Does the main house only have one bathroom? Seems likely, since the second would be in the basement.

  • The upper two levels total 1,086 sq ft. I’ve been in one-bedroom condos that are larger.

    • Accountering

      Without pictures it didn’t happen. Most 1BRs are 500-700. An 1,100 1BR would be quite surprising. We are renovating a 2/1.5 that is only 804 sq feet.

      • HaileUnlikely

        Saying “I have seen a one bedroom condo bigger than this” is different than saying “most one bedroom condos are bigger than this.” The latter is obviously false, but I have no difficulty believing that Anon has seen one. I almost bought a 1100 sqft 1-br coop in Brightwood several years ago, though ultimately the deal didn’t happen for a variety of reasons. In any event, my house is 1240 square feet. This one uses space more efficiently than mine. I do not find this one to be too small. It would be a massively good deal to get it for this price, though it is likely to go for so much more than the asking price that the question of whether the asking price represents a good deal is basically moot.

      • 1,100 sq ft one-bedrooms might be rare, but my old 1 br, 1 ba co-op was 810 sq st. Your bedrooms must be tiny.

      • …I own a 500sq ft 1 bedroom and an almost 900 sq ft one bedroom. Takes all kinds!

  • Living room fireplace is decorative. bummer.

  • I live in a similar house 4 blocks south of here, except ours doesn’t have a basement apartment. We got ours for $775k exactly 4 years ago. We’d already been searching for three years and knew a good deal when we saw it, so we made an offer the first week it went on the market, and it’s worth around $900k now.
    This one’s a little further from the metro but the C of O definitely adds value, so I’d say it’s worth more than ours. Maybe $950?

  • Way underpriced, even for a small place. It’s a classic facade in one of the best locations in the city. Will go for a lot more.

  • Like others, I think this is very underpriced. I actually love the style of the house (ok, maybe not the paint color)- but the old woodwork, the chandeliers and the fireplaces are great.

  • I’d say it goes for $800k.

    • That would be a steal if someone could get it for only $800k. After rental income you’d only be paying about $2k/month!

  • Very rough numbers here, but let’s say this gets bid up to $800,000 and the buyer has a 20% downpayment. You end up with maybe a $3000/month mortgage, and let’s throw on a few hundred for taxes and insurance, making it $3400. You’d get maybe $1500/month in rental income. At that point you’re spending $1900/month to live in a small 2BD/1BA in a great location. Even at $800,000 that sounds like a great deal.

  • Agree with others that this seems way underpriced. (I also agree that the decor too precious, and that decor is not really relevant to home value).

    Is this priced so low because it’s winter? I’ve seen a lot of zestimates (or home value estimates whatever they are called) that seem much lower than they used to be or the house sold for…is something going on?

    • Zillow relies almost exclusively on appraised value for many parts of DC, including Cap Hill — the reason the Zestimate is so low is due to this being owned by a long time occupant with capped annual assessments which are notoriously lowballed. My block shows a $200K+ range of “zestimates” and the only distinguishing factor is how recently the homes have turned over

      • I hope they didn’t price it that way based on Zillow — this place would command $800-850K minimum and possibly more with the C of O on the basement unit.

  • $900K.

  • Someone mentioned this but, shouldn’t the fact that there’s no place to sit down and eat be a huge drawback for what most people are calling a great deal?

  • I live two blocks from here in a nearly identical house (actually a bit larger upstairs) that we bought in 2013 for $650k, so I’d love to see this go for $800k. And to people saying those in their late 20’s can’t afford this price level, why? We did it, put 20% down without any parental assistance, and don’t earn high salaries. living simply and saving after college allowed us to do this.

    Also, this location is not a hike to the Metro, is a 10-15 minute walk max.

    • west_egg

      So you (1) had an S.O. to cohabitate with immediately after college and (2) were able to save because you weren’t underneath student loan debt. There’s your “why”.

      • Exactly right! Excellent deduction. It may be a rare situation, but it’s how we were able to get financial freedom early on. I know many aren’t so lucky because (1) it’s hard to find an SO that you want to live with and (2) most have student debt. But I do talk to many people (and read comments) where people just seem simply shocked that you could buy a house for $650k, or live “comfortably” in DC making less than $108k a year. It’s not all because of the cohabitation and lack of student loans, I just think most people spend way too much and make poor financial decisions – spending lots for graduate degrees that don’t earn them any more money, being one example.

        • HaileUnlikely

          And as the instigator of this whole line of discussion in this thread, I basically agree with you. My point wasn’t that no young people can ever buy in this price range, my point was just that the percentage of houses in this price range that are bought by old people is larger than the percentage of houses in this price range that are bought by young people. I added that because the discussion seemed to be basically assuming that the buyer would perceive the environment the way a young person does and value what a young person values. Sure, it is possible that this house will be bought by somebody in their 20’s. But, just by the numbers, it is more likely to be bought by somebody much older. That is all.

          • Well I’d be interested in the numbers – do you have them? Meaning, who are the purchasers at this price point broken down by age groups? My experience from going to many open houses (both while buying 2 years ago, and now for fun) is that most of the people looking were around my age, not much older.

            I went to the open house for this place just for fun, and I’d actually be shocked if it went for $800k. I think the $675 price is fair. It’s got a strange layout, small kitchen, no W/D or dishwasher (!), and in general appears to be in rough shape (cracks/lumpy sections in the walls, in dire need of re-pointing, windows need to be restored or replaced and who knows about the mechanicals). Although, most young buyers will not even think about these issues during the purchasing process, so perhaps it will get bid up a bit. But I predict not much more than $700k.

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