GDoN “Tree-Lined streets & Wide sidewalks” edition

610 Aspen Street Northwest,

This house is located at 610 Aspen Street, Northwest. The listing says:

“Spacious, Updated, Det. Brick Colonial in Lovely & Charming Takoma Park w/Tree-Lined streets & Wide sidewalks. Special features & upgrades include Hardwood Floors, Recessed Lights, Wall Sconces, Crown Molding…Rear deck has a Pergola & Powered Awning overlooking Deep Backyard. Rare 2-Car Detached Garage. Convenient, 9-minute stroll to Takoma Metro, near dining & shops.”

inside

You can see more photos here.

This 6 bed/4 bath is going for $849,610.

53 Comment

  • Not that it will matter to anyone who buys this (as I’m sure they’ll know the difference), but the description is deceiving. This is in Takoma, DC, not Takoma Park.

    • It seems to be located directly across the street from the “Takoma Park Baptist Church” and down the street from a DC library called the “Takoma Park Neighborhood Library”
      .
      If I thought I was moving to Takoma, WA and ended up here, THEN maybe I’d be pissed

      • I;m not one to usually enter into the debates about neighborhood names, but there is really a big difference between Takoma and Takoma Park, namely that one is in DC, and one is in Maryland. So the distinction is important. Having recently went through the process of being super excited about a house listed as Baltimore County only to realize it is, in fact, Baltimore City, I get the need. There can be a HUGE difference in schools, property taxes, and in this case congressional representation, within just a few blocks that could keep someone from even wanting to look at a property.

    • While true, the historic designation muddles things a bit. The posted signs say Takoma Park Historic District on the DC-side. And I think this home on Aspen falls within the historic district bounds:

      http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/wash/dc1.htm

  • This looks like a great deal to me, considering the house and proximity to metro. I get the impression that’s an underappreciated neighborhood, though, so it might be tough to attract buyers in that price point.

    • HaileUnlikely

      These houses go up for sale very rarely, so I couldn’t even hazard a wild guess as to the likely final sales price. However, hideously ugly unrenovated semidetached houses roughly half this size and further from the metro (I just described my own!) have sold for close to $500K in the past several months, and I cannot imagine this not being worth twice as much as those to a buyer who could afford it, so I think this will sell for this price unless the seller chooses to jump at a lowball offer quickly.

      • As a fellow owner of a smaller, uglier, farther-from-the-metro home, I hope you are correct!

    • HaileUnlikely

      I also note that this is one block from the vacant lot that sold for $270K a month or so ago, and this lot is approximately 50% larger than that lot, nevermind the nice house on it.

  • Some real estate agents remain (deliberately or not) ignorant of such distinctions, and others deliberately misrepresent where listings are.

  • Nice. 2 car garage, perfect location, SF detached…. Checks the box for me.

  • I’m curious what people think about this place, which is right around the corner.
    https://www.redfin.com/DC/Washington/6815-6th-St-NW-20012/home/10054607
    I saw it this weekend. It needs a lot of work, but has some original details. The backyard is quite small. It’s listed at $525k, which is low for that area.

    • $525k seems really low for a detached house these days. It does need some work though, and it’s small for SFH. I am not that familiar with that area…is $384 per sq foot about right (seems low)? Now I just looked at the map and it’s pretty close to Takoma station. I could actually see this house going for quite a bit over list.

    • HaileUnlikely

      This style of house seems to do a good job of appearing to be larger than it actually is (I have not been inside of this one but have been in other similar-style houses in the neighborhood). At 6 bed/4 bath/$324Kmore vs. this 3/1.5, I don’t know which would be a better “deal.” $525K for this strikes me as goofy low and I suspect it will probably go for way more. Some of the ugly semidetached houses I referenced above likely “needed” more work than this unless you found other-than-cosmetic issues here that would seriously require repair (e.g., roof, foundation, HVAC).

    • Not a bad house, but hard to say, as the third bedroom is not pictured. Upstairs shown looks like it needs little work, except for those ugly-looking (form the photo) shower tiles interspersed, that I’d want to replace or cover with vinyl tile covers in a different design. The enclosed porch with the brick wall is ugly and awkwardly shaped, though could be improved with paint in built-in shelves and such. The deal breaker for me would be the kitchen with its small and awkward workspace (hate those corner sinks) – I don’t need a big kitchen – I like efficient galley ones – but I do need one well laid out to work in, and it isn’t clear if this one is large enough/shaped properly to have this. Deal breaker for others will be the lack of a second full bathroom on the bedroom floor, though the unpictured third bedroom might be small enough to make a nice one out of if you don’t need the third bedroom. The basement needs a full rehab if you want a third floor of living space.

      • The third bedroom is the office/enclosed porch off the living room (the agent confirmed this). There’s a closet so I guess it’s technically a bedroom.
        .
        I like the layout – separate rooms and not one big open space (including a dining room which isn’t pictured). It’s possible that it only needs cosmetic fixes but the general condition of the house makes me wonder about the electrical, roof, etc.
        .
        Also, no central air, which itself would probably be a deal breaker for me.

        • Why would that be a deal breaker? You know you can have central air (including duct work) installed for a pretty reasonable price? Not to mention it gives you the opportunity to add value to the house.

          • Yeah, but there’s a significant hassle factor.

          • I did it a couple years ago, for a relatively small semi-detached house. It cost 13K (might have been less if I hadn’t opted for a very efficient model), and it definitely was a hassle, but they were able to route it through the closets, cutting down on post-installation work. Now that it is done, I have forgotten about the mess and the time off work. Hot water radiators give a very comfortable heat, so I find that with a separate central air system to be the most comfortable set-up. Just need to remember to turn one thermostat off before I turn the other one on.

        • There is no way someone should really call that enclosed porch/study/den a bedroom, closet or no. So this is not at all underpriced, for a 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath plus study house with a lousy kitchen layout.

    • To me a detached at 525k in that neighborhood is pretty decent deal. Probably can get another 100k in a 203k loan and make some initial updates. Over the years continually upgrade the property and you have a nice SF home in the district.

    • I really like the original details of that house. I wonder if having a shared driveway is a deal breaker to most buyers?

    • I am absolutely in love with that house. The lack of central air is actually a plus to me–I have my own ideas about the best kind of a/c system to install, and anything pre-installed probably wouldn’t meet my standards. I see it as a house to grow into (including adding 1-2 bedrooms at some point in the future), but love everything about it.

    • This house is really a steal for the neighborhood. Easily one of the best deals I have seen in Takoma neighborhood. It’s hyper cute.
      Also the house in the OP is a good deal as well, but may be too big for some.

      By the way both of these houses are a far better deal than the one posted yesterday that was far flung from the metro. This is a safer neighborhood and these houses have great access to public transit (both rail and major bus routes). Taking Walter Reed is a few blocks away they are also good investments. So good deal to this one, and good deal to the OP.

    • houseintherear

      Shhhhh! I’m going to look at this house tomorrow… hoping to avoid a bidding war! 😉

  • Thought this place looked familiar! A friend of mine lived here until last fall when the owners decided to sell. It was a group house for many years. They seem to have painted since my friend moved out, but the kitchen needed a lot of work and it doesn’t look like they changed anything except the colors.

    • The kitchen as pictured looks good, and I like it (except for the stove placement which looks like it may be directly against the wall, which I hate when cooking, even a few inched of countertop on the far side makes a big difference), so maybe they spruced the kitchen up for sale, too, along with the painting. The enclosed porch here seems useful, as it adds storage, though a window in it on the wall with the cupboards to make that breakfast area sunnier would be nice.

      The thing I don’t like about this house is the awkward placement of the windows in the attic dormer when it was expanded. It looks odd from the outside, though that may be able to be remedied with some paint and trim. It is a shame the windows didn’t echo the doorway below better, with a half oval window on top, instead of a half round, and perhaps three windows instead of four. The wall of windows does make the room look nice on the inside, though.

    • Did the owner have then sign away their TOPA rights? If not have your friend get in touch with a lawyer. There’s definitely a chance to make some money there.

      • Don’t be that guy. If all parties happily have moved forward why would you encourage this behavior? You know SOME people know how to act like adults and solve things amongst themselves.

        • So the adult thing to do is give away boatloads of money?

          • It’s not “giving away” money. To give something away, you first have to have it.

          • You do have it. In the form of a right assigned to you by the district government. TOPA rights are a relatively liquid asset in a hot real estate market. It’s no different from exclusive rights to develop land or to buy stock at a certain price. The idea that property rights have value and can be bought and sold is not so alien as you seem to pretend.
            .
            Perhaps a more apt analogy would be that it’s like leaving a 15k piece of furniture in your apartment when you move out because you’re feeling generous towards your landlord.

      • Easier in theory than in practice. My landlord lied and said he was moving back in, when in fact he was trying to sell the place to others who lived in the building before I moved out, and never had any intention of moving back in. (Was too pigheaded about the price, and he ended up renting it out again after a few weeks.)

        • Not really. It’s super easy. You just need to have a lawyer prepare a statement saying you are claiming your rights under TOPA. That’s enough to hold up a sale. At that point they’d probably buy them back from you for 10-15k.

          • Jesus! Really?! And this is why so many english basements sit empty. People don’t want to rent their properties when a tenant may turn around and extort them for money when they’re just trying to sell THEIR property. REALLY GROSS.

          • HaileUnlikely

            If they would have truly been interested in buying the place and were not provided the proper TOPA docs, this would be a completely legitimate thing to do. If they would not have been interested in buying, this is still legal, but dirty as sh!t.

          • Agree with FormerlyParkViewRes. If the tenant/landlord relationship ended amicably why would you try to get money out of them? People complain it’s so hard to find a decent rental in this city and lawsuit happy jerks are a contributing factor- people just don’t want to deal with the possibility of inadvertently renting to someone like petworther who is looking for any opportunity to screw them over.

          • Agreed with Formerly ParkViewRes, HaileUnlikely, and anon. Don’t be a jerk.

          • “may turn around and extort them for money when they’re just trying to sell THEIR property. REALLY GROSS.”
            .
            Tenants who exercise their TOPA rights are simply legally claiming an assigned right. That right has value (much like, for example, a stock option), and it’s not unreasonable for them to sell that right to another party (possibly a developer, possibly the current owner). Indeed when you (or any owner) bought property (assuming you bought after 1980) that right already existed. It’s not as if something is being taken away when a tenant exercises TOPA; you never had the right to sell a rental property without first offering it to the tenant.
            .
            This kind of restriction is no different from the many others on your property rights imposed by the government. Much in the same way you can’t simply turn your house into a smelter or a tannery, there are restrictions on how you can sell the house. If you want to blame someone, blame the district government for enacting the law, not the tenant.
            .
            tl;dr hate the game, not the player.

          • petowrther, you are totally right, but most people here in DC can’t see that tenants have legal rights. If a tenant doesn’t want to buy, fine, but there is time cost to the seller of the notice period required by law If the seller wants to shorten the time by buying out the tenant, to speed things up, that is perfect legitimate for the tenant to ask for and accept. Even after the fact, as you suggested they do. Tenants have costs involved with being forced to move, and this can help with that. But, as I learned when being screwed by my landlord, most people here can’t see things as legal rights – they are just prejudiced against tenants.

          • That is not what you’re suggesting and you damn well know it. I am not arguing against TOPA. I am arguing against you suggesting a tenant go back and extort their former landlord. You’re talking about trying to hold up a sale so you can get 10-15k from the owner and that is what I find repulsive, not tenants who want to throw their hat in the game and bid on the house!

          • people are fine with landlords extorting money from tenants, though. The rent is due, and paid, even when plumbing, electrical, peeling paint, security issues, and appliances are broken and landlords refuse to fix them, and far worse.

          • Who are these people? I for one always advocate dcra, courts, or whatever other remedy is available if a landlord isn’t keeping the property in good repair. As far as rent, you’re able to escrow it until repairs are completed.
            I have yet to see anyone complain of a purely maintained home being told to pay their rent and shut up.

          • @petworther–looks like you stepped into a landlordcentric blog.
            .
            TOPA was designed to make it more difficult for landlords to sell. It is the cost of doing business in DC.

          • HaileUnlikely

            The purpose of TOPA is not to “make it more difficult for landlords to sell.” The purpose of TOPA is literally to give tenants a bonafide opportunity to purchase the property in which they now live in the event that it is sold. If they want to purchase it, cool, that’s what the law is for. If they don’t want to purchase it, legal mechanisms exist that allow the tenants to exploit the law and exploit the landlord, but that is a consequence of the law, which is different from the actual purpose of the law.
            .
            I am not a landlord, but the notion that exploiting a loophole that was designed to allow tenants to form an association to act on their behalf to buy a large building that none of them could buy on their own to hold up an ordinary person’s sale of a his or her own single family home is the “adult” thing to do is the height of absurdity.

          • “suggesting a tenant go back and extort their former landlord.”
            .
            Absolutely not. I’m arguing they exercise their legal right to have an option to buy the property. Then, if the property is not for them, I’m suggesting they sell that right either to the current owner of the house or to an interested third party. Presumably whoever pays more.
            .
            Exercising your property rights within the bounds of the law and then selling those rights is not “extortion.”

          • +1 to HaileUnlikely.
            .
            And I don’t think anon is correct that this is “a landlord-centric blog.” People here have commented on all kinds of renter/landlord situations — sometimes in favor or the renter, sometimes in favor of the landlord. There are many landlords on PoPville… but there are also many current renters, and even more past renters who are now homeowners but not landlords.
            .
            FWIW, D.C.’s landlord/tenant laws and regulations are generally perceived as being more favorable to tenants, not more favorable to landlords.

          • @haile

            So what do you do if you are a tenant that doesn’t want to buy (the vast majority) and you have a landlord that doesn’t bother to provide TOPA notice? Are you suggesting that tenants should just let this go because it doesn’t personally affect them?
            .
            Extracting a settlement from the landlord that fails to give notice is how the system works. It keeps the landlord class on their toes and protects other tenants down the line. The only other method of regulation would be to have the government monitor these notices and issue fines.

          • “Extracting a settlement from the landlord that fails to give notice is how the system works.” No — TOPA allows tenants who _have_ been given proper notice to be jerks to their landlord and demand money in exchange for waiving their TOPA rights.

          • HaileUnlikely

            My opinion is that if they truly did desire to buy the place, it would be perfectly reasonable for them to lawyer up and go after the owner for not giving them their first right of refusal, if he or she did not do so.
            .
            If they did not desire to buy the place, my opinion, which I recognize is different from those of some here, is that they in the event that they were asked to waive their TOPA rights, they should have simply done so and ended it there, as I contend that holding them over the landlord to hold up the sale despite having no intention of buying is a dishonest and generally sh!tty thing to do.
            .
            On the other hand, if they feel that the landlord actively pushed them out without bothering to inform them of their rights, tough call. My personal opinion is still that if they wanted to buy, it is reasonable to go after the landlord, and if they did not want to buy, they should wash their hands of it and move on with life.
            .
            More generally, this kind of bullsh!t kind of makes me question my decision to buy a house in DC. I have never desired to rent my house to others for the purpose of making money, but I have allowed friends and acquaintances who have found themselves in need of a place to stay to stay in my spare bedroom for a while (in some cases for waaay below market rate, in other cases for exactly zero dollars). Only in DC could one of them, if they elect to be a d!ck, claim TOPA rights or squatters rights and essentially make it very difficult for me to simply end my voluntary provision of housing to them or sell my f*cking house that I bought and let them stay in for free as a favor.

          • +1 Haile. Actually, when we went under contract on our house, the seller had allowed a “friend of a friend” to stay in the basement apartment while the house was on the market because she got kicked out of her place. Big mistake on his part. The woman demanded he pay her or she would not leave. They set a court date, which delayed closing for 5 months- all while he was still paying the mortgage on the house and we were wondering whether or not the sale would actually go through (seeing as we would not accept it with a squatter in it). Ultimately, the seller ended up paying her $7K just to vacate so we could close the sale. Now I think makes her a downright sh!tty person to extort thousands out of someone who did her a favor by letting her stay for free in his place….

        • *poorly= purely

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