GDoN? “Where are my DIY`s/Renovation Nation fanatic`s at?” edition

3521 17th Street Northeast

This house is located at 3521 17th Street, Northeast. The listing says:

“Where are my DIY`s/Renovation Nation fanatic`s at?? Opportunity knocks in this well built Brookland Bungalow. Situated on a large corner lot with off street parking, this fixer upper is primed for a slow reno or a complete gut! 3 large bedrooms, separate dinning room, front porch, basement & more. Sold strictly as-is”

You can see more photos here.

This 3 bed/1.5 bath is going for $440,000.

21 Comment

  • Worth it for the party room in the basement alone!

    Looks like it needs a lot of TLC (and kitchen/bathroom gutjobs), but the original character is lovely and I crave that staircase.

    • Yes exactly.
      ugh. Please please please DO NOT TEAR OUT THESE FLOORS OR PAINT THE TRIM.

      So gorgeous if they cleaned it up, you could even clean the soot off with the right cleaning products and not damage the plaster. And, that looks like a pretty big kitchen and pretty “open” for the time period.

      From the pics looks like the bathroom is the only place needed to be TOTALLY gutted and the kitchen just the cabinets and other things replaced, floors could be awesome. That’s a pretty open kitchen for the era.

      Oh won’t someone call Nicole Curtis?

  • Cute house. But… was there a fire? It looks like there’s soot on the living room walls and ceiling.

    • my first thought was that it was a heavy smoker.

      • If the dingy walls are dingy from accumulated cigarette smoke… how difficult is it to get the cigarette smell out? (Is it an easy fix, or a more difficult one?)

    • My thought was that the soot in the living room is due to a blocked chimney flue, which needs to be cleaned before you build another fire in the fireplace, as having fires with dirty chimneys can cause the debris on the inside of the chimney wall to catch fire and burn your house down! And the chimney needs to be evaluated for whether it needs repair or lining as well.
      As to the dirty walls in the other rooms, I have no idea if that is caused by a fire in the fireplace, a bigger fire, or a heavy smoker – but the walls sure are filthy.
      It is a nice house. The cost to fix up depends a lot on how much you need to spend on the pricy items – the plumbing, electricity, any structural repairs, furnace age, roof repair – which can’t be seen from photos. It is fairly cheap to refinish floors, paint, etc., even fix up a kitchen with Ikea cabinets, and much of that can be done DIY, even refinishing woodwork, which is expensive to have done, but can be done slowly yourself – though it is nice when they take up the rugs so you can see the wood floors to see if they would do well with a refinishing or have damage from pet urine (or fire) that sometimes means the floorboard have to be replaced to get smells out.
      Just because it is advertised on the market and described as something one could renovate oneself doesn’t mean a flipper won’t get it in the end. If flippers want the place at the price it is offered at, flippers often have cash, so it means that it usually then won’t go to a DIY renovator unless the seller specifically wants to sell it to a person who wants to live in it instead of a developer.
      I have no problem with flippers buying and renovating houses per se – the problem I have is that the fast developer ones take the character out of the homes, and renovate such that I wouldn’t want to live in them. Doing it on one house is not a problem – but when there is a trend to do ugly renovations all over the place, as there is now, it means the city is slowly losing the character of its housing stock. I like modern kitchens and bathrooms, and even like the trend of more open living/dining/kitchen on the first floor – I just hate the way the developers do it – it is ugly and not tasteful, in my opinion.

  • I love this place. Seems like a rare opportunity to snatch up a livable-now fixer upper before a flipper gets it and turns it into a $700-800k house. I was fortunate to happen upon a similarly-rough-but-livable (and much smaller) rowhouse in Truxton Circle in 2009, paid under $300k for it, and have been renovating it since moving in. I refinanced the mortgage in December and it appraised for double what I paid for it, which enabled me to get a home equity line of credit that will enable me to speed through the remaining needed renovations with very low-interest financing. I kind of wish I was in place in my life ready to take on a new project–I’d jump on this.

  • I surprised this made it so that the public even has a chance. Flippers usually get these right away. I would love to see a non-flipper get this and fix it and live in it but I think a flipper will swoop in. They could easily put in $50-70K if that and flip it for $100-220K more.

    • Oh yeah, this shit is definitely going to a developer. We’ve been house shopping in DC for about 5 months now. Developers jump on this shit so fast it’ll make your head spin. They “rennovate” it and destroy all the things that gave it character without actually upgrading necessary pieces like plumbing and electrical and structural.

  • Seems like a big job for a DIYer. Maybe a 203k. Putting a number on a house like this is hard until you know about any exterior and structural issues, but I’d say a developer will snap it up at 440. After a nice reno this place could go for 800k or more.

  • Wow, what an awesome opportunity! I’d absolutely love a place like this – looks perfectly livable as is, and has the space to isolate one room at a time to renovate slowly. Houses like this one are *rare* in DC!

  • HaileUnlikely

    Solid deal if structurally sound. Livable houses under half a million are in high demand. An ugly-ass but livable house on the same block as my even uglier house in my much-derided neighborhood went for $450K ($10K over asking) in three days.

    • I have a house like yours. Here’s to ugly-ass but liveable houses!

      • HaileUnlikely

        Sort of like the OnionTV ad for Ford’s concept car of the future, the 93 Taurus, where they interviewed the “customer” who said “Basically I just needed a car, and the 93 Taurus is one.” I just needed a house, and my house is one 😉

  • I love this. It is super cute and is on a great lot. Yes it needs some work, but it’s totally livable in the meantime. But no central a/c? No thanks.

    • Window units are smaller, more efficient and do a good job of cooling these houses until you can afford to get central air.

      • I don’t think window units are more efficient. I had a place where I rarely ran more than one of my window ACs at once, because I was generally only home at night and in my bedroom, and because running one in a room I wasn’t in seemed wasteful, and running more than 2 stressed the electricity in my small building such that the lights would start to flicker (especially if my neighbors were running theirs, as all four units had access to the whole building’s total amperage).
        When I moved to DC to a place of similar size (1200 sq ft) with central air, I was shocked to find that my electric bills were no higher in the summer months with running central AC than they were in my old place with one window unit running – they were about the same. And this was with central AC on ALL the time, as the new place was on the top floor with no trees that high and baked under the sun and really needed it on all the time, the place wouldn’t cool at all with open windows. Whereas the old place didn’t have ANY AC on for most of the day. Same bills! (And the price of electricity was the same as in my old city, as my winter bills were identical in size, too – no heating to compare, as both had radiators that the building paid to heat. And my window Acs were not old, but a new, energy efficient models.
        When I mentioned this to people, they all said central AC is way more efficient, and indeed I found it was. Which isn’t to say you’d need it on all the time in a house like this necessarily. But know that, after the price of installing it, you can cool the whole place 24/7 for the cost of one window AC running at night – at least in my experience.

        • HaileUnlikely

          On average, I think central is probably more efficient than window units *to cool the same amount of total space from the same starting temperature to the same final temperature.* The efficiency of window units varies some, though, and the efficiency of different central HVAC systems varies by a ton, so there may actually be some overlap where a select few really good window units are more efficient than some really crappy central systems. Ordinarily, though, the savings would come from just cooling one or two rooms that you really want to cool with a window unit versus cooling a whole house with central. Sure, one could close all of the registers in rooms that they don’t want to cool, and that’s easy enough to do, but most people don’t do that and thus expend more energy than they need to with central. I.e., yeah, I think you’re right that central is typically more efficient from a technical standpoint, but it’s easy to achieve savings with a window unit if you only want to cool a small portion of your house rather than all of it.

    • I used to think that until I bought a place without central air. It’s REALLY not a big deal, which explains why there’s a relatively large number of occupied houses in D.C. that still do not have it. Plus, since so many well-heeled buyers think that it IS a big deal, there’s a huge difference in how much it costs to install (probably mid- to high-20’s in a house like this) and how much it raises the value of your home (seemed like at least $40k when I was looking).

    • HaileUnlikely

      I have central air and hardly use it at all. No window units either. A couple of nice high-efficiency ceiling fans keep me comfortable and happy. (Don’t get me wrong, on the rare occasion that I actually use my central air, I’m glad to have it, but definitely wouldn’t DQ a house for not having it).

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