GDoN? “original millwork, plastered walls, pocket doors & more” edition

1805 2nd Street Northwest

This house is located at 1805 2nd Street, Northwest. The listing says:

“Totally livable, but needs TLC, this c.1909 Victorian style row home has its original millwork, plastered walls, pocket doors & more. It’s unique features include a front parlor, formal stair hall for receiving guests, formal dining room, powder room and kitchen ready to be re-imagined, 3-4 bedrooms & 2 full baths up with an in-law suite on the terrace level & parking. Seller motivated!”


You can see more photos here.

This 4 bed/3.5 bath is going for $729,000.

49 Comment

  • clevelanddave

    Not many pictures, but looks very cool. Victorian, but probably earlier than 1909 (probably more like 1880’s or 90’s). Looks like the 700K or so is probably just the down payment for a restoration job that will probably run another 500K ish?

  • justinbc

    Had this been on the market when we were looking I absolutely would have tried to make an offer. I was really looking for a place with original details like this but struggled mightily to find anything that hadn’t been stripped, and this price is very appealing.

  • Hmm… the fact that there’s so few photos makes me wonder how bad the other rooms currently look. I can understand strategically omitting the kitchen and bathrooms, but even the dining room? And all the bedrooms?

    • That was my thought. All of those pictures look quite nice, but “livable but needs TLC” is usually code for rat-hole.

    • Probably not great. I’m guessing they show only the reception and entertaining area of the downstairs for a reason. This place is well over a $1M investment if you want to modernize it while retaining the charm which is the primary selling point

  • If seller were truly motivated, they would have an agent that would post photos so potential buyers could get a look at all the rooms to see their condition. The lack of photos will discourage some from looking. It is easy to assume the worst.

    It is hard to tell how much a renovation will cost without seeing more of the house and knowing more about its condition. I agree that 200 – 250K should do a nice job IF the place is structurally sound – but it may not be, and may require more work than that. Impossible to know.

    Also, if motivated, price like motivated. A house needing renovation shouldn’t be priced at sale price + cost of renovation – there’s a whole lot of work on the part of the owner to be done there, which counts for something, as well as potentially having to pay to live elsewhere while work is being done.

  • Aglets

    my kingdom for some pocket doors!

  • Hi-diddly-ho, neighborino.

  • Assuming that this actually is livable, is this not still a bit high? I know Bloomingdale has seen amazing gains in property value, but I thought most “project” houses were still going for under $700k.

  • gertie_wickler

    This house will go for way above asking. The market in LeDroit/Bloomingdale is totally crazy right now. A smaller basic rowhouse 2 blocks north of here at 1946 2nd Street just sold for $727,000…$88,000 over asking.
    Finding a house with this much original millwork in good condition is rare. And livable usually means just that – livable. Something you could renovate at your own pace. I hope whoever ends up buying it does it justice; it could be a real stunner.

    • Livable means livable … but different people have different definitions of livable.
      And, even if livable as is, some can’t live there through renovations for a variety of reasons – allergies to dust, little kids or potential moms who can’t be exposed to lead paint dust, etc.

      • Not to mention many buyers don’t want the hassle of a major renovation that could potentially make your new home not livable for a long time. Don’t kitchen renovations take a month or more? My guess is this goes to a developer.

        • And many buyers are looking for just this—a house they can live in, but make their own. I hear it all the time. But holy crap I can’t imagine spending 700k+ and then sinking 200k into it!

      • gertie_wickler

        True enough…but none of those things determine whether or not this house is a good deal for someone without those concerns. And there are plenty of those people out there.

        • I wonder. If there were plenty of them, then we’d see more of them buying and doing that, rather than developer flips. I think there may be plenty, but they don’t have the cash to compete with the developers – and sellers seem to want to sell to the developers with cash rather than wait a few weeks for an owner-occupier to get a mortgage. Which may happen to this house as well.

          • Yes, that is the problem. Most owners take the all cash offer and the regular buyer didn’t stand a chance. However, there is an owner out there every now and then that would rather see it go to a regular buyer and not a developer. I know that’s the only reason we beat out the 10 other offers on our fixer upper.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Yes indeedy. I was one, bought through a federal program that only allowed offers from would-be owner-occupants for first 21 days on the market, and almost lost out to multiple investors who submitted fraudulent offers.

          • justinbc

            “If there were plenty of them, then we’d see more of them buying and doing that, rather than developer flips.”
            Do you actually have stats on how many homes are bought by people who want to live in them versus developer flips? It seems like this idea that developers buy up everything exists, but nobody ever provides numbers to back it up. There are a huge number of housing purchases that happen in the District every month (see the stats posted here on Popville every month end). I can assure you they’re not all renovated. Just look at the photos from any random property search, you’ll see a lot of “normal” houses out there.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Another issue that can hinder those who need financing is that the house might not appraise for enough for the buyer to even get the mortgage, or the home might appraise for enough dollar-wise but not be eligible for conventional financing due to the condition (mine appraised for enough but was rated C4, so I had to apply for a new loan that didn’t require C3 or better).

          • justinbc

            One thing that benefits conventional buyers is that there are a lot of people working in DC who make a lot of money. Developers don’t typically play in this price range, although you do see it sometimes. They’re much more likely to snag up the 350-450K dump and turn it into a 600-800K listing.

          • gertie_wickler

            I know lots of people that would pay a higher price for a house with this much original detail even if it needs work. I guess my point on this one is that it’s priced high enough that hopefully developers will pass on it because the profit margin might not be worth it. I really hope so because if I see another beautiful house gutted and turned into a basic, boring open floor plan with bad soffits and kitchen cabinets that float 6 inches off the ceiling I might hurt someone.

          • Hey gertie, how do you feel about vessel sinks and recessed pot lights? 😀

  • That front staircase makes me swoon! I love this house. Of course, I have my own fixer upper to contend with at the moment, so I shall pass. I’m thinking it may be a fair price given the location.

  • This price point seems a bit high for developers to swoop in and flip it. I guess they could carve it up into multiple condos, but of course they’ve need to destroy all that original mill work. Then again, I’ve been wrong before. Here’s to hoping it goes to a family! (for the sake of both the neighbor’s and a family that needs some space to grow).

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