House for Sale of the Week

by Prince Of Petworth February 27, 2008 at 2:30 pm 34 Comments

IMG_7003, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

This “drop dead gorgeous renovation of a 1910 Victorian rowhouse” is located at 3617 New Hampshire Ave a block away from the Petworth metro. The asking price is $659,000. So what do you think, a good price or they’re dreaming?

  • AJS

    Today? Dreaming.

  • Anonymous

    dunno about that, it looks move in ready, and being one block to metro, looks like a good price.

    I realized CH is not MT P but over in Mt p, single family homes are still pretty much going at or above list price.

  • saf

    First, that’s not Victorian.

    Second, SO dreaming.

  • Mark

    It was purchased for $350,000 on 12/6/2007. I have great difficulty believing that you could add $300,000 value to a house in three months’ time. For that kind of money, it had better have *perfect* mortar all the way around, *perfect* joists, all new windows, all new appliances, all new wiring. (Also, I have doubts about the the way they hung that deck right on the masonry in the upstairs back.)

    Even with all that, and though I like NW plenty: that much money would get you comparable square footage near Eastern Market. You could get a fixer-upper in Glover Park.

  • Mark

    It has one of my favoriate kinds of interactive virtual tours, here:

  • Being one block from the Petworth metro is not really a selling point as of today… give it a couple years though.

    I looked it up, it’s looks pretty nice & has off street parking. I think the yards are small on that block. But still, for a 2-level+ basement house in a borderline neighborhood that’s a bit of a fantasy.

    It’s a bad time to sell anything for more than about 450k around here…

  • Cliff

    I dunno..a place down the street from me just sold for 620,000 and thats just across the Col Heights border in Petworth

  • mz. lady

    That house used to be a total mess. It caught on fire/was set on fire back in 2004 and the whole thing was gutted. The previous owner who began the renovations was kind of sketchy and had stop-orders on the work all the time. For a few years after the fire the backyard was a favorite hangout for needle users and homeless folks. It looks good on the outside, but I would be careful about trusting the quality of work there.

  • Anonymous

    the market’s not that bad in DC people. stop watching CNN!
    659k is a little high but not crazy. interest rates are low. people in DC make a lot of money.

  • Parkwood Person

    I don’t think it’s “dreaming” but if I were putting in an offer, I’d try to get it for less.
    That being said- I think it’s a reasonable asking price. It is FIVE bedroom, 3 1/2 bathroom home with a fully finished in-law suite/rental in the basement. If you rented that our at what… 800 or 900 bucks a month (I have no idea what a 2 br basement rental in Petworth would go for, but I’m guessing at least that much if it’s so close to the metro) you could knock off around 100K worth of mortgage from your net monthly payments. (feel free to correct my math, but I’m guessing that’s a reasonable ballpark). For a longer term investor, that place will pay off.

    Assuming of course that the renovation work wasn’t shoddy.

  • matt

    I agree that $660k isn’t outrageous, but certainly depends on what was done inside.

  • matt

    Is there a garage? The listing notes garage door opener, but no garage.

  • Cliff

    LOL…”Uhh, honey…we got a garage door opener but we forgot to make sure there was a garage”.

  • It’s a horrible remodel: they kept the not-original metal porch roof supports. That door is atrocious, not historically correct and too narrow for the opening. Also, I bet you that “colonial-eque” door surround isn’t original either. Bad, bad, bad.

  • pinkytime

    I just walked by and looked at the flyer and you can see pics of the interior here:


    It looks like the whole back has been extended/added on. The kitchen/bathrooms are eh. The backyard is nothing. Mostly, though, I wouldn’t want to live right on NH Ave.

  • Parkwood Person

    I don’t care for the door surround, but I really like the door.

  • Anonymous

    I live on the block and went to the open house. It is definitely a HUGE improvement, but the price is high. The best house on the block went for much less 2 years ago.

  • Toby

    Yes, it’s a tiny bit high, but it’s gorgeous. I have seen so many ugly, dirty houses for sale in Petworth, people thinking they can get whatever they want without even cleaning up. But the biggest drawback is being right on a busy street. Loved the mouse on house link!!

  • poo poo


  • The place is pretty-ish and within the city limits. Though I’m waiting for the market to come down so I can buy, $600 to $700k might be fair for so much space in DC. Then again, there is a 3-level 3 bed w. finished basement on 13th just south of U that has been up for sale for an age. It originally listed over 700 and the owner was really resistant to coming down.

  • Anonymous

    not worth a penny over 525k.

    people in this area are still insane when it comes to pricing a house. i bought in petworth last August, after 4 months of looking (mostly in Petworth, Columbia Heights and Brightwood). i saw more than 100 houses within 2 miles of the Petworth metro, and at least half of them are still on the market. some have been for sale for more than 18 months. i was pre-approved for a $600k loan. i made at least two offers on houses that were roughly 5% below their asking price (both houses had been on the market for >6 months with little or no change in price), and both sellers did not even respond with a counter offer–i was told “the price is what it is.” both of those houses are still sitting empty and for sale; one appears to be in foreclosure.

    the house i bought was originally priced at $540k, which was ridiculous. i ended up getting it for $430k, and its much larger than the house pictured here, the renovated interior is just as nice (while maintaining the original character like the oak window and door frames, heavy base boards, etc), and i have a 2 car garage. meanwhile, 5 houses up from me, a house with virtually the same floor plan in really poor condition sits on the market priced at $495,000.

  • I’d want to see an itemized list of every single thing that went into that house’s renovations, and speak to the lead contractor directly to justify the $300k price differential over what the house was worth 3 months ago.

    Yes, the DC housing market is in much better shape than, say, Mansfield, Ohio. But it’s not 2005 anymore either–a lot of investors, er, homeowners still think that they’re guaranteed to pay for their children’s college education with the financial windfall they’re sure to receive by flipping houses in DC. That’s not the reality so much anymore.

  • PetworthRes

    Anonymous is exactly right. Petworth is full of sellers who have no idea what they’re doing real-estate wise. Tons of overpriced houses that will never sell. They see one house sell for $600K and they decide they deserve that for their estate sale house that’s about to fall off its foundation. When I was looking I saw about 30 houses before I found one to buy, and I saw a lot that were in rotten condition with bandaid repairs. Houses that are reasonably priced still sell fast though, you just have to catch them when they’re listed.

    Oh, have to mention some of the worst agents. What is the “Associates of Ekuban” and have they EVER sold anything? Roger McNeely is the king of the overpriced house…after I saw 2 houses he listed I never looked at anything else he had on the market. All his listing have the “I’m gorgeous inside” sign on them which cracks me up, because they were mostly crapholes listed for $200K more than they should have been.

  • Woops, looks like my wife has knicked my screename here. Looks like we’ll have to have a family discussion this evening (of course, she’ll probably say *I* knicked *her* screename…sigh…)

  • Anonymous

    here’s another perfect example of crazy pricing:


    at $469,000, it’s at least 10 and probably 15% overpriced for that size, condition, and neighborhood. and it has been on the market at that price for over a year (i saw it with my realtor in April 2007, and it had been on the market for a while back then).

  • matt

    I concur with the Roger McNeely comment. We went to an open house on Spring Rd, right across from the DC Mental Health offices. Overpriced even if the neighborhood was really nice, which it certainly wasn’t. Now that I think about it, it did have the “Gorgeous” sign too!

  • dj

    Who is buying these 600,000+ homes? Who can? I don’t understand who these buyers are. I consider that my housemate and I make decent salaries, above the median, but could never afford anything near this. We got a house in Petworth five years ago just as the real estate tidal wave was creeping up this way and consider ourselves lucky to have gotten the shabby fixer that we did for an affordable price (hint: it was in the 200s, if you can believe it). Within a year the value of our very same house would have been out of reach for us. So where can people in circumstances similar to us now buy? Where can people who make less buy? Methinks they can’t here, and that’s a pity. I don’t know who’d pay over 600,000 for that place and I don’t know where people who can afford only half or less of that can buy around here. But I would hope that more “average joe/jane” types could afford to be in the neighborhood. $659,000?!? I’m stunned.

  • PetworthRes

    when you sell your house that you paid $200K for and get $500K, even if you are a modest fellow, you become someone with a $300K down payment for your next place.

    I think you’ll find that a lot of people paying over $500K for a house made a killing on a condo they bought a few years back.

  • Mark

    I think the house is designed to rent its basement to 1 or 2 college students. Certainly you wouldn’t want or need a second full kitchen in the basement if intended to use all three floors. So you’re really paying $659K for a house with no basement, plus a guaranteed income stream. But the house itself is so expensive that you’re essentially sending all the forseeable profits to the current seller. It really doesn’t make any sense — unless maybe you rent the entire house to college students, for somethiing like $4K per month.

  • PetworthRes

    you’d be much better off buying this huge house in Columbia Heights 1 block from the Petworth metro and fixing it up yourself. I’m sure it needs work, but the price is right…


  • Parkwood Person

    DJ- I guess I’ll raise my hand and say I’m one of those people.

    1) Dual income, no kids, no more student loans.

    2) We rent out our basement- ours is completely separate from our house, so rent-wise, it’s a more of an “apartment” than a basement.

  • dj

    PetworthRes – of course, I should have thought of that. In fact, I know someone who did that. He actually bought on U Street many years ago for under 100k and lord only knows what he made off it.

    Parkwood Person – thanks for raising your hand. I always thought it might be nice to have a basement to rent but wasn’t sure I could deal with being a landlord. Having rental income must help (a little) offset the mortgage. I’ve got the same circumstances as your number one point, but I still puzzle over and freak out over these high (to me) prices. I’m being obtuse (or naive) I guess.

  • Parkwood Person

    DJ- I never would have dreamed of doing something like this before I could wrap my mind around the idea of long term investing in something WITH someone else. People always talk about marriage being big commitment- eh, I think it’s the home buying that is the leap of faith. Personally, I think THAT is what consummates a marriage or domestic partnership in today’s world.

    The rental helps off sets about 25% or our mortgage right now (for about 30% of the house’s total square footage). The nice thing is, the rent goes up over time, and our mortgage stays the same. We have to be prepared for the inevitable vacancies now and again, but we’re young enough and risk-averse (dumb?) enough to find it worth while. Without the rental income, our options would have been to buy a condo or a fixer-upper, neither of which sounded very appealing to us. “Sweat equity” isn’t our style. So instead of drywalling, re-plumbing etc, we went the land-lord route.

    Okay, there’s my life story.

  • geep

    This house is under contract… It’s still listed for $659,000. I’ll be curious to see what it actually sold for.


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