GDoN “Bring a flashlight” edition

3920 3rd Street Northwest

This house is located at 3920 3rd Street, Northwest. The listing says:

“Handsome 3 brms & 3 full baths home in the sought after Petworth, across the street from Lincoln’s Cottage & tree protected space. Finished bment has more rooms & an exit to the rear small porch with space for a small garden. Walkup attic perfect for storage. More garden space on front/side. Bring a flashlight. This property is sold strictly as-is no exceptions. Needs TLC!”


You can see more photos here.

This 3 bed/3 bath is going for $630,000.

17 Comment

  • HaileUnlikely

    Possibly technically a good deal given prevailing property values in the neighborhood, but I would contend that the days of getting a legit good deal south of about Walmart or east of about South Dakota Avenue in the either of the northern quadrants of the city are basically over. Buying a fixer upper for $300K is one thing, but buying one for $600K is another.

    • HaileUnlikely

      I meant *west* of South Dakota Ave

    • Yeah. I went to an open house the other weekend for a property in my neighborhood (near the Georgia Ave.-Petworth Metro). It needed significant rehab, and possibly even gutting — it some places it looked as though someone had started renovations and then given up early on.
      The asking price was $698K, which I thought was crazy for a house needing so much work. And the real estate agents hadn’t even bothered to have the terrifically overgrown and weed-filled awn mowed!
      Fuller description in this comment:

      • Maybe they knew that developers were the only real buyers but that is expensive for what is a gut and flip job.

        • I was just checking Redfin and the house has been on the market for over a month at that price. So I guess even for a developer, the numbers don’t make sense.

          • I’d contend that a month seeming like a long time is, in itself, a matter of rapidly changing expectations.

    • Might be hitting up against some semantic/philosophical issues there. Real estate value is based on location (and supply/demand, of course). If the typical properties in a location are relatively expensive only when judged against the past and/or some other location, is it a fair comparison? What is the fixed metric against which you’re measuring if you’re discounting location? Salaries?
      Clearly, someone’s making enough to drive these prices up that high. So I’m not sure that’s it either.
      I guess you could make the argument that it’s all bad deals because of a coming drop in valuation in the future. Is that the contention?

      • HaileUnlikely

        No, I’m not prognosticating a future drop in values. I am saying that if people value this location so highly that they are willing to pay this much money to buy a house in this condition at this location, the DC market has collectively gone insane.

        • Based on what metric of sanity? How do people go collectively insane? Reality is just a collective delusion anyway.
          Seriously, though, I blame tax incentives like the mortgage interest deduction and imputed rent not being taxed, and supply constriction caused by zoning laws, for housing prices growing as fast as they are. But solving those problems would probably result in higher net cost for smaller spaces, which, if you’re using 1950s-1990s homeowning America as some canonical benchmark for how life should be, will still seem insane to you.
          I don’t think any path forward is sane or insane, since most of human history has been lords/kings basically owning everyone else. I’m just happy to not be a slave, personally.

  • It seems like it’s in decent condition and you could live in it while you renovate it over time (assuming the inspection doesn’t turn up any major issues). It’s also pretty big. However, 630k is a lot of money to then have to sink more money into major renovations. Still, I’d rather be in this situation than spending $800k or more for a flip.

  • I hope they get it, but $630K for an as-is property in petworth seems ambitious.

    • Wonder how quick a developer would have paid $700K for it a year or two ago when (after $200K-$300K investment) it could have been turned into 3 or 4 condos?

      • It can’t be turned into condos anymore? Was there some downzoning in Petworth or something?

      • All snark aside, this lot is only 1917 square feet so the the R-4 downzoning only impacts height and mezzanine definition. It always would have only been two units.

  • “Even without referring to the data, we’re all painfully aware of how quickly places like D.C. and San Francisco have become out of reach for lower-income, working class, and even many middle class households.”

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