GDoN? “Gorgeous, fresh renovation of a classic Trinidad home” edition

DC8566901 - Interior (General)

This house is located at 1164 Neal Street, Northeast. The listing says:

“Gorgeous, fresh renovation of a classic Trinidad home boasting four bedrooms, three & half bathrooms, large backyard with off street parking! Beautiful hardwood floors throughout, chefs kitchen with stainless steel appliances. High ceilings, master suite with additional private deck, and the beautiful lower level can be used as rental unit or as extra living space.”

You can see more photos here.

This 4 bed/3.5 bath is going for $699,900.

78 Comment

  • Ha, I was just looking at this last night. I really like it and think they did a good job, but 699k? I think it’s overpriced and also seems like they’re including the basement square footage in the overall.

  • justinbc

    Better than average looking flip. I’m sure the folks in Trinidad looking to sell are loving this price a lot more than those looking to buy in a “transitioning” neighborhood.

  • Looks really nice, but that pricetag is steep based on my (perhaps outdated) understanding of Trinidad. Genuinely asking–how dicey is Trinidad these days? How far is this from restaurants, etc?

    • 1301 trinidad ave was listed at 749k and closed for 765k so this seems to be entering new norm for the bigger renovated homes in the neighborhood

      This is a 4 blocks from the heart of H street bars/restaurants. And just on the opposite side of gallaudet from Union Market.

    • justinbc

      Some parts of it are still very unappealing to the eye, and not the type of place you would want mom / girlfriend to walk home alone at night, but the closer you get to the Florida / West Virginia intersection in both directions you see quite a lot of development and change.

      • Good to know that I should have spent the last five years being escorted around by a man. Thank god I wasn’t aware, or I’d be a jobless, friendless hermit!

        • Hahahah totally agree. And the FL / WV ave assessment is dated by about 3 years.

          • justinbc

            Really? Real estate developers would differ with your assessment.

          • Why, because there is a two-townhouse development being built on that corner now? Developers and flippers have been working in that immediate area for years. The radius has expanded considerably over the last couple, though.

          • justinbc

            There are multiple projects up and down Florida from 8th through 13th. WV is right next to Galluadet, and just down from the Union Market explosion which has some MASSIVE projects in the pipeline. That specific intersection might not have the most development, but it plays a clear marker of the 2 areas where Trinidad development is spawning.

        • justinbc

          I never said it wasn’t possible. Are you not used to having someone care for your well being? That must be a sad reality.

          • There’s a difference between caring for another person and thinking women need to be treated like children for their own good. Your statement was not caring, it was condescending and paternalistic.

          • Agree with Kenyon st– comments from justinbc really missed the point. I’m fine to walk home all by myself, and I have people who care for my wellbeing.

          • justinbc

            My comment was specifically because I care about the women in my life and wouldn’t want to put them in a position of unnecessary danger. I didn’t realize that was a complicated concept for so many people to grasp.

          • I get what justinbc is saying. I nearly rented a place owned by a friend in Trinidad at a great price. After checking the place out at night a few times and looking at crime stats I opted out because I did not want my gf to walk from metro to the apartment late at night. She agreed with my assessment. I moved to a different neighborhood. I guess that makes me condescending and paternalistic.

          • What Kenyon Street said – “are you not used to having someone care for your well being? That must be a sad reality” is a very condescending statement.

        • +1
          Is this Saudi Arabia or DC?

        • HaileUnlikely

          Serious question: would you want your mom to walk from the NoMa metro station to this house after dark on a regular basis? If so, ok, great! I’m a guy in my mid-30’s, with some martial arts training. In a bit over a decade in DC, with no car and walking about 3 miles total to/from transit every single day, I’ve had a gun in my face a couple times. I wouldn’t want my mom, my wife, or for that matter even my big strong younger brother to make a regular thing of walking from this place to the metro and back at night.

          • No, but I also wouldn’t want my father to, either. Which is the point. This guy was the one who brought gender into it, and as a woman who has lived in these kinds of neighborhoods I’m well aware of the danger and I’m tired of being talked about like I’m a child because of my gender.

      • Sheesh. Maybe it’s because I’ve met Justin in real life, but I don’t think his comment was paternalistic/condescending — more conveying that he thought the area was sketchy, like somewhat iffy for a guy walking home alone at night, and even iffier for a woman walking home at night.
        There’s a difference between saying “I don’t think this area is so safe for a woman walking home alone at night” and “WOMEN, NEVER WALK HOME ALONE AT NIGHT!” The latter is really annoying and frustrating, especially because it’s not feasible.

        • Plus one. I think Justin’s thoughts on this are right on. He’s not being paternalist- he is being realistic. I think folks are being a bit too defensive on this.

          • Justin’s comment was snarky – implying that if someone walked in this area they didn’t have anyone who cared for them. Adding “that must be a sad reality” was the patronizing/condescending part. In my opinion.

          • Agree with Anons. The idea that I must not have someone who cares for me if I have the audacity as a woman to walk home at night by myself, as if my husband’s job is to be some kind of chaperone for me and otherwise he doesn’t love me, is both sexist and condescending.

            It’s not defensive to call someone out on using that kind of paternalistic language, it’s going on offense and standing up against casual misogyny that gets pretty tiring.

          • HaileUnlikely

            If your goal is to find something to which to take offense, you will never fail. Yeah, he could have phrased it differently, but I think it is pretty obvious that his point was about the neighborhood, not about gender.

    • Granted this was already two summers ago, but I took a little bike ride one summer afternoon up Queen Street and had a gun flashed at me.

      As for this place, I’d call $700k might be a stretch when two doors down the house is boarded up.

      • That is probably one of the best upkept boarded house I’ve see in dc. It’s not boarded because of neglect. It’s completely framed/hvac/plumbing. I think it’s caught up in a legal battle.

      • And the house two doors down the other way just sold for $600,000 in May.

    • It is a lot better than it was five years ago, though violent crime and drug traffic are both still more frequent than anyone should be happy to see. This property is about a 10-15 minute walk from the heart of the H Street corridor, including the Atlas Theater, tons of bars, the Rock & Roll Hotel concert venue, and midprice and high end restaurants. The neighborhood is certainly seeing a lot of money coming in, and there are a number of large developments on Florida Ave, just 2 blocks away from this house, that will keep that money rolling. In terms of crime, it’s hard to say where it’s going. Part of the problem with the gentrification of the neighborhood is that there are many longtime residents who’s children are being priced out a future in the neighborhood. That creates an understandable resentment, and I’d like to see the neighborhood advance in ways that make room for residents at a variety of income levels while still encouraging home ownership (Trinidad has a number of single-family or multi-family buildings that are either vacant or in extreme disrepair, which does nothing to help the crime situation). Overall, though, this is a terrific established neighborhood with lots of older residents who take great pride in their homes and communities, as well as an influx of young folks, including some with kids (it’s great to see young families in a neighborhood like this, instead of just wealthy childless professionals who are less like to invest in the community and local school). The proximity of Gallaudet adds to the diversity and uniqueness of the neighborhood. I’m also excited to see this part of town becoming a crossroads for the arts. Fringe just opened new digs, including a theater, on Florida Ave about 5 blocks from this house. The Atlas/R&R are just a few blocks south. On the other side of Gallaudet is Union Market, which will soon host an outdoor jazz venue in the summer from the folks at HR-57. The biggest drawback is lack of public transportation as buses in this area are overcrowded and unreliable and there are no other options.

      The price is high (certainly higher than I could afford), but it’s apparently a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath house WITH a finished 1-bed, 1 bath basement apartment. A house of this size with the finished unit downstairs could easily run $800-900K closer to H and closer in at this point, maybe more (though we’re in the off season, so fewer buyers on the market). At $700K, this isn’t a house you could turn around a sell for a profit in 3 years, though no one should be buying real estate with that in mind anyway. The price isn’t astronomical based on recent sales in the neighborhood, the relatively close-in location, and the size and appearance of the house.

      • this is advertised as 4 bedroom but if you look at the floor plan, one of the upstairs bedrooms does not have a window; therefore, no egress and not a legal bedroom. I saw this layout recently in my neighborhood for a WSD house and on their website the floorplan calls this “bedroom” an office but the MLS listings clearly calling it a bedroom. I suspect this happens a lot? annoying, b/c I have the original floor plan in my house which is really 3 bedrooms upstairs, albeit one is really small, but at least it is legally a bedroom.

        • This house has 3 bedrooms up stairs. Its the one setup as an office in the pics(window visible) but showed as a bedroom in floor plans. The other 2 bedrooms are at the front and rear of the home obviously with windows.

      • “priced out of a future in the neighborhood”? How? Those kids are HEIRS, actually, whose families are profiting hugely from doing nothing (at best) and being in the right place at the right time. With their amazing, unearned windfall, they can live wherever they want. Even childless couples will do plenty to improve the schools. In the meantime, they can enjoy an improving part of town, without having to bear much at all in the way of a real estate tax burden. That much is settled, in spite of whining about need for ever more tax breaks on top of tax breaks for land bankers.

        • HaileUnlikely

          A young person who grew up in that area and is now, say, 25, and whose parents who own their home are now, say, 55, has very grim prospects for being able to continue living there unless they either continue to live with their parents, make a very high salary, or their parents die soon. Sure, they might inherit a valuable property in 30-40 years, but it isn’t of much use now or for that matter anytime soon. Even if you don’t agree with resentment on the part of a long-time resident who feels this way, it shouldn’t be too hard to see where it might be coming from.

          • Isn’t that true for a neighborhood like Georgetown? Do you think the 25yr who grew up in Georgetown can afford to buy where his/her parent was able to afford when they bought and but would be priced out if they were looking to buy today? Should they have resentment?

          • HaileUnlikely

            If you really don’t get the difference between getting a young person getting “displaced” from Trinidad versus Georgetown, I don’t think I can help you.

          • I dont see how a child in a somewhat functional family can resent the equity gains of their parents. Yes, you can’t afford the neighborhood you grew up in. But on the other hand your parents are sitting on equity that can keep them out of poverty when they are too old to work.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Wow. The kind of density on display right here is a big part of the reason why some of the working-class and poor old timers and their families aren’t immediately thrilled to see the influx of money and people with it into their neighborhood, despite some of the benefits that it also entails.

          • I see no downside to gentrification. There is no god given right to be able to afford a house in the neighborhood where you grew up. Owners get a big windfall when they sell, and with DC rent control long term renters can stay at their old price.
            The group I do see getting kicked out are people who use their home like a cash register. When prices go up a lot of people take out loans with terrible terms to buy cars, tvs, etc. on the equity they’ve accrued from gentrification. When they can’t make the payment they lose the house. This is part poor decisions and part predatory lending. Either way it’s not really the fault of people buying houses and cleaning up the neighborhood.

          • Well you’re the one who made it seem like it should be a right that they should be able to afford to live here where they grew up.
            I live in the neighborhood and know several long term families including the young lady who own this home prior to being sold to investor. She inherited 3 homes on that block from her grandfather and have sold all of them. They all decided to sell their homes because they have been in Trinidad the entire lives and wanted a change. They felt that change was only possible by actually leaving the neighborhood, but there was NO escape for them because they didn’t have the $$$ to relocate and achieve the change that they wanted. No matter how much the neighborhood improved or all the new amenities that are now available, that wasn’t the change that they were seeking. What the history of Trinidad represents to some, it’s just the total opposite for other long term residents. Some see it as their opportunity to escape the past.

          • An old timer with a 300k equity gain is no longer working class. Would they rather see neighborhoods and prices stagnate? I understand the resentment if you are a renter and want prices to remain flat, but long time owners hit the lotto when they choose to sell.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Sure an old timer with $300K equity gain is still working class. Many would not have the means to pay off a home equity line of credit, and other than taking out a home equity line of credit, the only mechanism accessible to most by which to turn an equity gain into actual money is by selling your house. Without a significant income, $300K in your pocket doesn’t exactly enable you to upgrade.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Neighbor – I didn’t say there is some God-given right to be able to stay in the same neighborhood, I just said I find the resentment of the people who feel resentment understandable. That is all. Even if you don’t agree with the basis for the resentment, it takes some serious blinders to fail to grasp why somebody else might.

        • justinbc

          You’re only thinking of those who own though. There’s a big chunk of multi-unit properties spread throughout Trinidad which are all rentals. Those people can very easily get priced out of the neighborhood when investors come in and buy up those properties, enhance them, and sell individually as condos or rent at much higher rates.

          • Oh god. Those multi-unit properties are just hideous. Luckily for those people I think it’s going to be a really really long time before any investors are interested in those.

          • Hmm, yes, wouldn’t it be awful if the owners of those run-down trap houses were induced to sell at huge gains to landlords who might get a business license, take care of the property, pay income taxes, shovel their sidewalks, and ask residents to register their cars in DC?

          • You mean just like the 4 unit building you have over in ivy city where you’ve mentioned already about the possibility of expanding due to all the developments planned.. Don’t think you’ll displace those tenants? Doubt you’ll keep the rent the afterwards.

          • justinbc

            Your indignation towards the current owners doesn’t negate the fact that having someone else buy the property will likely price out the current residents, which is what you’re trying to disprove to begin with. Whether you like those tenants or landlords is not really relevant to the matter of the issue that the neighborhood is becoming unaffordable for many of them and thus contributing to the angst displayed.

    • This is a practically impossible question to answer without knowing you. Is there crime in Trinidad? Yes. Violent crime? Sure, some, but not enough to provoke police roadblocks as in the past. Are you likely to be a victim of said violent crime if you’re the kind of person that buys a renovated $700k house in D.C.? The odds are probably really, really small. Are you safer in Cleveland Park? I’m honestly not sure, though you might FEEL safer.
      As a woman, I would walk home alone from the bus here (making sure to keep my wits about me and not to flash my smartphone around). But that’s just me. If you’re the kind of person who can’t see a drug sale take place up the street and still feel safe, then this area’s probably not for you.

      • “Are you safer in Cleveland Park?”


        Next question?

        Side note: Why are Trinidad residents so defensive about crime? I’m surprised no one has yet trotted out the ol’ reliable (horribly misleading) standby “There’s actually way more crime in Dupont Circle than Trinidad!”

        • I’m not a Trinidad resident, so I really have no dog in this fight. I’m just going off of what I know about my own neighborhood, along with others that I looked at when buying a home.
          But no – the sheer number of crimes in a neighborhood is not a great predictor for whether you yourself (given your habits, activities, and a host of other factors) are likely to be a victim – especially of violent crime – in any given location. Most violent crime in D.C. isn’t random, which is what the PP is probably concerned about in a neighborhood like Trinidad. If you know the exact numbers on random violent crime in the two neighborhoods, feel free to share. The rate may well be higher in Trinidad, but if so I’d be willing to bet that the disparity is not as stark as many people imagine (especially the pearl-clutching types that tend to live in CP).

          • Some violent crime numbers, taken straight from the DC crime map:

            Number of violent crimes committed within 1,500 feet of Connecticut and Ordway (aka the heart of Cleveland Park) over the past year: 4

            Number of violent crimes committed within 1,500 feet of Trinidad and Oates (the geographical center, more or less, of Trinidad) over the past year: 32.

            And there’s much more density in Cleveland Park than there is in Trinidad.

            I’m not saying that Trinidad is the crime-ridden hellhole many people claim, but in no way is it safer than a neighborhood like Cleveland Park. It just isn’t.

            And I don’t live in either neighborhood.

          • @Ellis I think you just proved Eponymous’ point. Those crime stats are the exact reason a person might FEEL safer in Cleveland Park. But what if the same troublemakers from Trinidad decided to head to Cleveland Park for a Saturday night, then what?

        • In Trinidad we have a contingent of neighborhood cheerleaders who like to downplay the high crime rate, and are typically those who trot out the misleading comparisons you cite. Instead they talk about the “neighborhood feel”, etc. I’ll be honest and say there are a few streets that I, as a 230 pound, trained dude, still get a little skittish if I find myself alone on them, either on foot or bike.

          • So what should I say when I’ve lived here for several years and have never been a victim of any type of crime or know anyone who has? Most crimes are specifically against individuals or groups as is in most neighborhoods that have a high concentration of low income housing and are mostly drug or gang related and ties to criminal activity. I can assure you that violent crimes or home invasions in well to do neighborhoods are mostly predators seeking a victim; whom have entered that neighborhood looking for a target. It would be nice to see the raw data as to how much of the crimes are against total strangers/residents vs. Someone that is already involved in criminal activity across different neighborhoods. Maybe the fact that I’m not involved in any criminal activity gives me the sense of safety, but I’d still be on the same level of alertness no matter where I’m at walking late at night.
            I tell everyone the same thing- this is a city, always be aware of surroundings regardless of where you are. Be alert, pay attention walk on the side of the street that has the most open visible sight and light. If you’re going to be drinking take a cab home. This advice carries over to all neighborhoods.

          • “So what should I say when I’ve lived here for several years and have never been a victim of any type of crime or know anyone who has?”
            n=1 doesn’t equal a trend, buddy. Trinidad is demonstrably less safe than Cleveland Park on every quantifiable metric.
            My guess? Whomever buys this house for $700K will immediately start bitching about the neighborhood.

  • While they left some green space in the backyard, that concrete patio is ugly! And they need a tree for shade!

  • I Dont Get It

    Don’t know about the price, but nice reno!

  • Seems reasonable to me. It’s one block off the “nice” part of Trinidad which as far as I can tell is Morse Street and on a block with nice housing stock. It’s the very North and East side of Trinidad that I think tend to be over-priced. Reno is nice, although a little bland for my taste. And it has some of the classic flip tackiness (see concrete pad in the back).
    Does it look like the basement is up to code for a C of O? If so it’s maybe even a good deal.
    Related point: places with finished basements and kitchenettes tend to be overpriced if you are looking to rent legally. Lots of buyers are willing to rent illegally and incorporate the expected income into the price their willing to pay for the building, thus driving up the price in a way that would be unwarranted by the legal status. This is a huge negative consequence of DC’s lax enforcement and problematic for those who want to follow the rules.

    • This is obviously an in- law suite which could be rented. From pic there’s no stove at the moment” and There’s no front entrance to the basement.

      Can a basement get a CofO if there is an interior staircase to the upstairs?

    • I don’t understand your last paragraph. Houses with legal basement rentals go for more than houses with basement in-law suites. What are you trying to say?

      • Take three houses: One has an unfinished basement, one has a finished basement, and one has a legal income unit. Finishing the basement has some value, making it legal has more (since you can put that money towards the mortgage).
        Because many people are willing to rent illegally, they value the second house (finished but not legal) almost as much as the third, rather than how they would value the house if you actually could not rent the basement. This has two negative effects: (1) If you want a finished basement but don’t care if it’s legal you will have to over pay to get it. (2) There is an incentive for developers to build not up to code “in-law suites” knowing that this will add almost as much to the sale price as an actually legal unit at a much lower cost. Tons of remodels have these in-law suits because all the developers know this and take advantage.

        • I actually prefer this option because it gives you the option to use the space as extra living space, have an elder family member living there, or finding a friend etc to rent out the space to. It would Almost be like have a roommate that you never see.

  • Another 1-room main level. What ever happened to nice cased openings and the division of rooms?

    • Seriously. Unless you are Deaf or hosting indoor hockey games, the living spaces need something to visually break up the space.

      • My place was originally a mirror image of my next door neighbor’s house, but when mine was renovated it was turned into the very open floorplan like this one. My neighbor’s still has the divided spaces, and to me feels very cramped, whereas mine feels spacious and open. We use various pieces of furniture to break up the space and the open floorplan provides a lot more flexibility in my opinion.

        • I agree with this. I think the reason they’re so popular in row-houses is because there are often no side-windows, so opening the space allows natural light into all “rooms”.

        • I have the same situation and agree. Our small row house definitely feels bigger than the same houses of our neighbors because of the open plan. And the space is flexible enough to accommodate a few different configurations, which is amazing, given the small square footage.

          • I can see the open floorplan working well for a single person or a couple. But with kids, it’s awesome to be able to close the pocket doors between the living room and dining room (ours are glass-paned sliding doors, so no light is lost). The kids can play video games or otherwise be noisy, and the adults can sit and talk in the dining room.

  • Slightly better than a typical flip, plus a potential rental unit? Seems like a decent deal to me.

    • As referenced above this is only a potential rental unit if you are willing to flaunt the law.

      • Well, you know, there are a lot of lawyers in this area. I’m sure they’re just flaunting the law all OVER the place.

      • Also, it may be relatively inexpensive to bring this up to code and get a C of O – so flouting the law might not be necessary for someone willing to make the investment.

        • Unlikely. It would need a front entrance, the connecting stairs would need to be removed or covered over, and the electrical systems would need to be separated. And unless the developer already did a basement digout, the homeowner would need to do that too in order to get the ceilings to be the required height.

          • They didn’t do a basement dig out but They raised the floors on the first level to get a higher basement ceiling. You can see in the pics where there is a step up once inside the front door. So now instead of the 10ft main level ceiling it’s now 9ft. But as mentioned there is no front entrance to the basement.

  • Is there much investment upside to paying 700k in Trinidad, especially when rates begin to creep?

    • If you stay there 6-8 years, the hidden work on the renovation is actually good, and the market doesn’t crash you probably won’t lose money. Not an investment property for sure.

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