To buy or not to buy in Trinidad?

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Topic: To buy or not to buy in Trinidad?

Real Estate January 16, 2014 at 1:18 am

To buy or not to buy in Trinidad?

I’m a prospective first-time buyer with a fairly limited budget by D.C. standards. At this point in my search, I’ve turned up a few leads in Trinidad that are within my budget and that are renovated and nicely presented. My plan is to use a second (or third) bedroom to generate some rental income to help offset costs.

My gut check tells me that the neighborhood is only getting better, that the new Whole Foods and streetcar will add to the area’s appeal and that buying relatively cheap now will probably mean a decent return on investment in 5-10 years. I also like what I’ve seen of the neighborhood in general; it seems like it has a good community vibe. I go to NoMa and Union Market frequently, as well as H Street, and those areas are no sweat.

The only thing really keeping me out of Trinidad is, fairly or unfairly: Trinidad. I know that it’s not nearly as bad now as it used to be, but I’m still a little skittish. Then again, I have a feeling that I might look back in a few years and kick myself for not buying there. I’ve been in D.C. for a while now but not long enough to have been able to buy in any neighborhood when it was still on the way up.

So, what say you, PoPville? Is it worth getting a nice-priced property with rental potential in a neighborhood that’s still developing and overcoming its, well, reputation?

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Hey there – I bought in Trinidad last year for the exact reasons you mentioned. I was priced out of every established neighborhood and did not in any way want to live in MD or VA. Was looking for a great investment home in a transitional neighborhood walking distance to restaurants/bars and the city in general. I am a single woman and I live along West Virginia Ave. You can probably guess which house is mine if you drive up WV b/c its the only one that is painted! Screams break in to me but alas…. I might just be projecting b/c I am wanting the same things for myself (great investment, turning neighborhood etc) but I really enjoy living there. Yes, you have some very “interesting” people but I have had no problems in the year plus since I have lived there. Just a couple really interesting conversations 😉 It is rapidly changing and I have found my neighbors who are all long standing residents to be quite lovely. They really look out for me which I really appreciate and it does have a community feel to it even if some of that community are seemingly a little sketchy. They aren’t for the most part. In the year since I have been there I have seen homes going for $100,000 over what I paid for my fully renovated house so I am seeing the investment piece come true. Yes, it is block by block in terms of crime and houses that are either abandoned or severely in the need of work. The house next to me for example is abandoned and a true eye sore but I have heard rumors that it is about to be renovated which is super exciting and only increases my property value. The farther north you go, the worse it gets but again I do strongly believe it is changing. It is close to H street, Union Market, NOMA, metro, union station, streetcar etc which I think makes it one of the better “transitional” neighborhoods left close to town. I would love a new neighbor so DO IT!

Trinidad is improving without question though, we looked at a house there ourselves and the streets looked nothing like they did before. We ended up getting something in Takoma (DC) instead that better fit our needs, but I would say if you are priced out of other neighborhoods it is a good choice as it’s rapidly improving.

Popular opinion is not nearly as important as your level of comfort. I’d recommend spending time just walking around the neighborhood, at different times of day or night. It is certainly only improving and property values should continue to increase, but your happiness living there is more of a priority. I would imagine that if you walked around on a nice afternoon you would see people out and about that wouldn’t mind sharing their thoughts on living there, I think thats the most unbiased way to get a realistic picture of what it would be like living there.

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