GDoN “NEW PRICE” edition (reader request)

This house is located at 2234 12th Place, Northwest. The listing says:

“NEW PRICE. Amazing renovation from top to bottom on the one block street of 12th Pl. Open spaces on main level with exposed brick, fresh paint, newly refinished hardwood floors throughout. Kitchen with tons of cabinet space, granite/stainless appliances and sliding door leading to a private back patio. Just bring your furniture and make this home. Metro & nightlife 2-3 blocks.”

You can see more photos here.

This 2 bed/1.5 bath is going for $735,000.

54 Comment

  • How that saying goes? “perfect condo alternative” lol

    • I’d prefer an actual condo as an alternative this this. As it would beard to find one this narrow – this one would feel like living in a hallway to me.

  • They’ve done a nice renovation job on this house. The houses on 12th Pl are very cute, and I love the block, but they are tiny. This is one of the nicest I’ve seen (going by the photos) – and the price is good compared to what these sell for – but I personally would have a hard time paying $735k for something that’s probably around 800-900sqft.

    • It’s a reader request, so if they’re reading this: if you find a buyer, great…get your money. 735K for a 1000+ square foot townhouse is absolutely insane though.

  • I know they’re very small and probably overpriced, but I love these little houses that are scattered around town. I would prefer a house to a condo but don’t need more space than this. Wish I was in the market now, this doesn’t seem like a horrible deal for the location.

  • Definitely overpriced, condo comps are going for ~450-650k, and the closest row house comp to this I know of is an end unit with a more tasteful renovation on 3rd and P that’s presently in closing negotiations for 690k.
    Greedy developers at their finest right here.

    • Third and P isn’t as established a neighborhood as this area, nor is it as convenient to Metro. (Yes, some buyers don’t care about distance to Metro… but in general there’s a premium for proximity to Metro.)
      This strikes me as overpriced, but perhaps not as overpriced as some posters here are saying it is.

    • There’s two recent row house comps on the same block. 2248 12th Pl sold for $720K on June 11, 2015, and 2242 sold for $729K on July 13, 2015. 3rd and P is nowhere near here, real estate market-speaking.

      • This is inline with my experiences with this block. When I was looking last year (March/April), I saw a house that closed around ~$680k that was in need of some major work. Given that prices have surely increased in the past 18 months, and the place itself looks nicely renovated, this doesn’t seem that bad of a price to me. Just have to love the block and neighborhood.

        • “Given that prices have surely increased in the past 18 months…”

          This is the first warning sign of an overpriced market.

    • justinbc

      3rd and P is about 3 or 4 neighborhoods east, no appraiser would / should ever use that as a comparable property.

    • Accountering

      Did you really try and use a house behind Dunbar High School as a legitimate comp for a house on a really quiet cute block, just a couple blocks from the U St Metro?!?!?

      • I had a REAL ESTATE AGENT try to do this when we were getting ready to sell our place. Glad we didn’t go with him.

  • I LOVE this street so much, but I don’t think I could justify paying that much for this house. The reno is nice and it even as a cute little outdoor area, but it’s small and 721 per sq foot is pretty steep. I think it’s worth more like $650k.

  • This is almost a mirror image of the house I recently sold nearby in Shaw for a similar price, and I would say that it was a lot better than owning a condo. Yes, it’s tiny and you have to be thoughtful about getting rid of clutter and picking the right-sized furniture, but we loved our place. On a $/sq t basis the price pretty crazy, but we never needed a car and because it wasn’t a condo there were no HOA dues. It was also *ours*, not shared. Doesn’t seem like a bad deal to me — for the right buyer.

  • If it sat on this market for a month without moving, i’m not thinking that the 2% price reduction makes it a terribly great deal. But hey, good luck!

    • I’ve been reading and hearing anecdotally that this fall has been significantly slower than in previous years. Owners are “reaching” in their price strategy are sitting far longer than this last spring and summer. People who were scared about interest rate hikes already purchased.

  • I love, love, LOVE this block, but I hope this goes for less or my dream of one day living there may stay just that, a dream.

  • DC1

    A smart developer would’ve installed a larger gate and offer the house with patio/parking.

    • If the alley behind this house is the same width as the one behind the odd-numbered side of 12th Place, it’s EXTREMELY narrow. I looked at a house on the odd-numbered side several years ago. IIRC, the listing for that one claimed it had “parking potential,” but my agent pointed out to me that the alley was so narrow that even if there were NO gate in back, it might still be difficult to maneuver a car into the backyard.
      This house would be fine for someone who doesn’t have a car and doesn’t want to get one.

  • HaileUnlikely

    Do I understand correctly that this has no basement (no obvious stairs down; no mention of basement on Redfin listing). I’d be fine with this size if there was a basement (and unfinished is fine), but don’t think I could handle this small of a house with literally no basement. (I suppose I could part with a few of my power tools that now occupy half of my basement if I were buying a renovated home that isn’t a lifelong work-in-progress like the foreclosed home that I actually bought was.)

    • I very much doubt it has a basement. It’s a bit hard to tell from the photos, but I’m pretty sure this has the same thing our place had: a big storage closet under the staircase (which was very handy). We also had a shed in the backyard for things like power tools and that freed up a good amount of space inside.

      • No basement. If you look at the tax records the taxable square feet (1020) is the same as the Redfin listing and the basement is taxable.
        But yeah I agree. I wouldn’t buy a place with no basement, no parking and only 1 full bathroom regardless of the price.

      • I love the block, but these houses are just so small. I went into one a long time ago and it was claustrophobic. For that price, I would rather buy a bigger condo with amenities (gym, deck, concierge).

        • But you’d then have the same mortgage plus a condo fee of about $400 a month — and the condo fee, unlike mortgage interest, can’t be deducted from your taxes.

          • +1. And it’s also money that’s not going into building equity.

          • Technically, your mortgage payment isn’t really going into building equity either when you’ve recently bought a place — the way amortization works, you’re paying mostly interest at the beginning, and mostly principal at the end. But you’re getting something (a tax deduction) for your money.

          • “Technically, your mortgage payment isn’t really going into building equity either when you’ve recently bought a place — the way amortization works, you’re paying mostly interest at the beginning.” It’s true that you pay only a bit toward the principal in the beginning, but it’s not $0.
            If someone were to buy this house at its current listing price, put 20% down, and get a 4.15% rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage, the *first* payment would include $824.79 toward the principal and the number would rise from there. Obviously this would change depending on the inputs, but over a year, that’s about 10k in equity.

      • I’ve seen a few houses on this road and none had basements. I would imagine that’s exactly the same case here.

  • I Dont Get It

    Love this house, love this block. I thought these had parking though? Dunno about price.

  • justinbc

    Small, but nicely done throughout. Not nice enough for $720 / sqft, but still nice.

  • I live about half a block away from this house, but not on 12th place. For much of the past four years, this small area has actually not seen home prices rise much. We have seen prices rise in 2015. So $735k is probably close to a reasonable selling price given 1) the recent rise in prices 2) the desirability and community of this block of 12th place in particular and 3) the renovation done on this property. If I was putting an offer in, I’d go in at $722,500. And, if someone priced this property at $650k, they would be under-pricing it by a substantial margin.

    If you want to go the condo route–congrats, plenty to choose from in the area. But the idea of paying a fee on top of a mortgage isn’t appealing to everyone–and, again, the community of this block is something special that most condos can’t replicate.

    • And the idea of paying property taxes, maintenance and utilities on top of a mortgage isn’t appealing to others.

      • You still have to pay property tax on a condo, and (in most condo buildings I’ve seen) utilities.
        The main thing that a condo saves you from (vs. a house) is having to maintain the exterior — the walls, the roof, the landscaping, etc. (Though you’re basically paying for all of that via your condo fee.)

        • Many condo associations, particularly newer ones, are vastly undercapitalizing their maintenance reserves. Once systems start breaking in 8 to 10 years, or roofs and windows need replacing in 15 to 20 years, condo owners will have huge special assessments they thought they were funding through their monthly fees.

          • HaileUnlikely

            Yes. I nearly bought a coop that I backed out of when I received a copy of their financials which revealed that they were basically in a death-spiral. They had a grand total of $200K in reserve and were spending down a couple thousand a month on operational expenses (which obviously is not what the reserve is for), and hadn’t contributed a penny to the reserve fund in years. It was a large old building, in need of fairly immediate tuckpointing to the tune of about $100K. When that place needs a new roof, elevator, or other major repairs, the owners who are paying $500-$800/month in fees will not be happy to learn that they will have to either increase their fees even more or else pay astronomical special assessments just to keep the place habitable.

  • I never understand why people talk about a condo fee like it pays for nothing – as if it doesn’t pay for the insurance and repairs and improvements (and things like water & sewer, heading in older buildings, sometimes other utilities as well). When you buy a house, apparently you have no utilities, no insurance, no bills, and no repairs or improvements – ever – on your house.
    No wonder there are so many foreclosures.

    • Hit the nail on the head.

    • I think most people under-estimate the amount on maintenance they spend for their SFHs. Landscaping, HVAC repairs, re-sealing windows, painting, etc – all that stuff really adds up and I guarantee many home owners are not keeping exact track of the expenses. $200 here at Home Depot, $50 there for a quick run to Ace, tools bought off Amazon for $80, uh oh need to quickly outlay $1300 to re-tar a leaky roof, etc etc etc. Once you you aggregate all of it, it would end up being similar or more to a condo.

      • Yes. I think it actually ends up being considerably more than a condo in many cases, because you share the expenses with other units. Especially in old townhouse-type buildings. The roof is the same size as it was when it was a single-family house – as is the whole building package – the facade, the stoop, the sidewalk, the rear wall, the fire escape, the stairway and stair hall, the basement. Sharing repairs to those when split 3 or 4 ways is 3 or 4 times cheaper than paying for it all by yourself.

        In larger buildings without elevators or staff, the savings are still great. Not to mention the time saved by not having to do the actual work. Or diagnose problems and get contractor bids and oversee the work if others in the building take on that job for you, as I have in the past. (Just prove to be incompetent and unreliable and uncooperative, and those competent owners will take over maintaining the building for you.)
        The savings is far greater in older buildings, probably even moreso in larger old buildings, which still have common heating and hot water systems as well, not to mention those that still don’t meter cooking gas or, more rare, electricity.

      • You’re talking like people who own condos don’t have to do minor upkeep on their condo. If I understand condo ownership correctly everything in the unit the owners are responsible for so they still have to pay plumbers and HVAC repairmen and do aesthetic stuff like paint etc. Sure a condo owner might not have to pay to re-tar a roof but a condo fee isn’t going to pay for all of your maintenance.

        • Painting is decorating. HVAC can be expensive – but in older buildings with common heat and hot water, it is not your expense. I think I spent a total of $200 (to fix some tile coming loose in the bathroom) when I owned a 1200 sq ft place circa 1893 over the 8+ years I owned it. (Other small things I added as improvements I wanted to spiff things up were not necessities as repairs are.) That’s it – $200. Everything else as far as repairs goes was a building expense that came out of reserves.

    • I’m not sure if this was directed at me, but will say that this seems like a bit of a straw man argument since I’m not sure anyone here is actually making that claim.
      I think that an educated buyer of a condo or SFH would look at the big picture — what’s included in condo fees and what’s not? Does the inspection for the SFH indicate that a lot of work will be needed or just minor upkeep? Etcetera. There are good reasons to buy condos and good reasons to buy SFHs, depending on your needs and what you want out of ownership. (And there are educated and uneducated buyers of both. I don’t think foreclosures are limited to SFHs….)

      • True. But people buying condos know there is a fee. They don’t go into it expecting to pay nothing for maintenance.

        • But would any (not idiotic) would-be buyer try to get a SFH assuming they would pay _nothing_ for maintenance? That seems pretty unlikely to me. If you’re at at place in life when you’re seriously considering home ownership, it seems like you would mostly likely take at least some maintenance into account when making that purchase. That’s why people get home inspections and a reason why mortgage lenders expect you to have about a year of home payments in reserve before giving you a mortgage.
          Obviously things can go off the rails for a lot of reasons to cause foreclosures, but I’m not so sure that unexpected home maintenance is at or even near the top of that list. My guess is that more foreclosures have to do with unexpected job losses, serious health problems, divorce and the like.

  • I’ve owned condos and I’ve owned SFHs. I’ll take the latter anytime, even with the maintenance.

    • Well, sure, a lot of people would. But you have to be able to afford it. The point is that claiming you wouldn’t buy a condo because you can’t afford the condo fee is NOT an argument for buying a SFH instead.

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