GDoN? “Two level condo lives like townhouse” edition

343 Cedar Street Northwest

This unit is located at 343 Cedar Street, Northwest. The listing says:

“Directly across from Takoma Red Line Station. Secured bldg with Parking. Near downtown Takoma with shops, restaurants, and year round Farmers Market. Two level condo lives like townhouse. True 2bed/2bath both with en suite baths. Additional half bath. Spacious living and dining areas with additional family room leading to private rear terrace. Granite counters. Oversized pantry. Walk-in closet.”


You can see more photos here.

This 2 bed/2.5 bath is going for $395,000 ($677 monthly fee.)

26 Comment

  • HaileUnlikely

    Very nice if ok with carpet. Fee is quite high though. Walk to/from metro is fine during average morning/evening commute, not great later though (I have lived nearby for 12 years)

    • This building is about 50 feet from the Metro station – what are the problems with walking to and from the Metro?

    • This is right next to the metro station, so it’s really not that much a walk.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Sorry, my bad, nevermind. I mistook this building for a very similar-looking one that is 3-4 blocks south of the metro along Blair. My comment about the walk was envisioning that walk down Blair late at night. Still don’t recommend that walk, but for this location, nevermind.

  • What’s included in the condo fee? Utilities and/or some sort of common amenities? Gym or pool or something?

    • Along with paying for amenities, condo fees are calculated based on square footage (there’s some kind of formula). This place looks pretty big so its fees will be higher. In my old building, I paid several hundred less in fees than people who had twice the space. It’s part of how its calculated.
      New buildings can also have higher fees because they are trying to get their reserve fund established. After it has been, the board can vote to lower the fees, but it will be by a flat percentage and larger units will still pay more than smaller ones.

      • HaileUnlikely

        Completely understandable. A fee this high doesn’t exactly make it more attractive, though.

        • I agree with you. But it’s astounding what it takes to run a condo building. When I was on the board of mine we were always trying to cut costs but stuff is expensive: weekly cleaning for the common areas, common utilities (hallway/porch lights), pest control, landscaping/grass cutting, paying the management company, master insurance, putting money in reserves, paying for our trash removal, snow removal in the winter (far more expensive than you would think).
          And we didn’t even have amenities to maintain such as a gym, pool, concierge, anything that required additional maintenance.
          When you really look at the budget breakdown for condo fees, they make sense as long as the Board isn’t wasting money. But yeah, on its face, a hefty fee like that can be off-putting.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Yes, I realize that a lot goes into running a condo board. I almost bought a coop years ago, but I bailed when I found out that despite their fees of over $1000 monthly, their reserve massively inadequate and dwindling rapidly (fully 1/3 of the owners were 2+ months behind on their fees). This isn’t necessarily a bad deal, as long as one realizes that at present interest rates, this level of fee roughly equates to another $160K on a 30-year mortgage. (I guess $545K won’t get you much of a house these days either, so still, not necessarily a bad deal.)

          • Yeah, I’m aware bigger units pay more in condo fees, but I still think this is pretty high for what it is. $700 a month condo fee for a sub-$400k place is pretty rich.

          • You realize that one can easily pay a similar fee for <1000 sf, albeit in a more upscale part of town. The fee may reflect 10 years and reality hitting the owners in the building in terms of upkeep and the need to build reserves. Newish low fee places are essentially bait and switch deals–low fee to make buy-in seem more affordable than it really is. In addition, first time buyers greatly underestimate the cost of ownership. A smart, relatively long-term buyer should not be putoff by the fee, although with any building you should check on the reserves and take a look at the most recent reserve study (if there isn't one, that's a problem–the building is old enough to need one).

            For me the flaws are the tiny second bedroom given the fairly generous square footage. The alignment of the unit seems narrow and it looks like the LR winds up seeming cramped. Putting the kitchen in back probably would interfere with making the bathrooms convenient for the bedrooms. The half bath is probably for the downstairs and in the long run, having 2 1/2 baths instead of 2 means more headaches–plumbing to watch and more expense for remodeling.

            If you except the flaws and are willing to bet that Takoma DC is finally taking off (it seemed poised 25 years ago but has been a laggard), the =n it's probably a good deal.

  • So much carpet! But this looks like a great space. It’s almost too close to the Metro, as the tracks are right outside the patio. Those freight trains that go by are REALLY loud.

    • Haha, yes! So. Much. Carpet. If you walk around in socks, you’ll be giving everyone shocks when you touch them!

  • Terribly bland and cookie-cutter. Awful complex. Carpet?! Ewww. Nope.

  • Presumably if you liked the unit _except_ for the carpeting, you could replace it with wood flooring.
    I’m wonder if perhaps this complex has a rule that 80% of the floor space needs to be covered by carpeting or rugs — frankly, so much sound carries in newly built apartment/condo complexes that they really all ought to have such a rule.
    And you might pooh-pooh this carpet for yourself, but if your upstairs neighbors have carpet, it works in your favor. (And if you have downstairs neighbors, it decreases the opportunity for noise-related conflicts between you and them.)

    • HaileUnlikely

      An 80% rule here would be kind of goofy, with this being a 2-floor unit. I’m not sure whether this is on floors 1&2 or 3&4 of the building, but either way, there can’t possibly be any justification for requiring carpet on both floors. My cousin in San Francisco lives in an ingeniously-designed 4-floor building where the lower unit has its bedrooms on the bottom floor and the upper unit has its bedrooms on the top floor, so neither unit’s bedrooms are across the floor/ceiling from the other’s living room – they have all hardwood floors and no rules about rugs and it works fine there.

  • There is a better deal in Takoma right now with a douplex going for $500k. There is also another condo a block from there going for $319k. It’s a great neighborhood, but people need to realize how to spot the good deals there.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Have you been by/in that one? Not sure I’d regard it as a better deal. I see the one up a couple blocks on 8h is under contract, though. It’s about time. I would have made an offer on it myself if I didn’t already live close by in a house I bought years ago for way less.

    • HaileUnlikely

      p.s. The “not sure I’d regard it as a better deal” was related to the house in question. I don’t know anything about the condo.

    • Yeah, when I saw the other condo for $319k, I immediately thought, “Why the hell would I be interested in this place??”

      • I live in the neighborhood and I’ve seen other units in the building that’s up for $319k. As of last summer, it was all condos-being-rented-out and quite frankly it showed. The building was in poor shape and the insides of both units I saw felt extremely cramped and narrow. (My favorite was the unit in that building where the stairs were so narrow that I think you’d have to get furniture delivered via the windows.)

        That other building looks great on paper but all it takes is an open house to realize why units there go for so much less than anything else in the area.

  • Of course places where people walk over others should be covered with rugs. But that’s not a reason not to have wood floors. This place would look so much better with hardwood floors, and with rugs covering the central part of each room and runner rugs in hallways. The place would still look cheaply built, but the interior would be much more pleasant to live in.

    Replacing the carpet with wood floors would also likely make this place sellable.

  • The fee is high, but worth it, if it is put to good use. I live in this neighborhood, and this is the best maintained building in the neighborhood it seems. A friend lives there and they are constantly making positive upgrades and ensuring that maintenance is done. I am sure that there are some individual units that are total dumps. But this one seems rather nice.

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