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Good Deal or Not? Needs a Little Sweat Equity Edition

by Prince Of Petworth February 5, 2010 at 1:00 pm 28 Comments


This home is located at 6 Grant Circle, NW:

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The flier says:

“Owner started renovating but lost energy – his loss is your gain. AC installed, kitchen and baths updated, basement studded out for in law suite – Owner has saved the beautiful woodwork that set this home apart. Elegant home on Grant Circle is just a little sweat equity away – All the hard work is done – now just waiting for your touches.”

You can find more info here and a virtual tour here.

I am a bit biased but I love the location. I would however be a bit daunted at the remaining work that needs to be completed. How much do you think it will cost to finish up all the work? Given that does $369,950 sound reasonable?

  • I think it has a lot of potential (and is huge!)and think 6 Grant Circle is a cool address! Def. worth the price.

  • Petworth Newbie

    You are killing me with this low priced offering down the street from my house, facing the Beautiful Life tree. Let us now pray for a bidding war.

    • Petworth Newbie

      Anyway, looks like it just needs a speck of drywall and some work on the master bath to make it more liveable. Although the kitchen appliances are sort of strangely arranged.

    • pwedza

      bidding war so that everything can be overpriced again..?

      no – let’s not pray for that. I’d rather pray for reasonable prices for years to come.

  • Petworth Res

    Def. a good deal! Gotta say, I feel for the owner. If the previous work was done right, I think you could finish the house nicely for an additional $20K.

    • biggie

      Plan on more than 20k but still a fantastic deal. Thankfully it looks like much of the original charm is still there.

  • Raymo in LeDroit

    I love it! I may go see it seriously.

  • Karl

    My realtor said that he visited the place and almost fell through the floor– he thought that there might be a termite issue. Do your due diligence on this one.

  • snow bunny

    You can see the new underpinning beneath the first floor — it seems the structural issues have been isolated and addressed (or would be ready to address).

    I love it. Also a really nice virtual tour. It’s hard to judge how much work there is behind the scenes, but it would certainly seem to be liveable with some drywall and a floor sander. Looks like you could finish the work simply or go all-out and blow in insulation, finish the basement (nice thin studs), finish the bathroom nicely, etc.

    Is the master bath really on a sunporch? That doesn’t seem too sound.

  • realistically

    Realistically, theres 50,000 – 75000 or more needed to finish the place…

    I dont find the location compelling. Its quite far north and isn’t convenient to many work locations, restaurants, bars, or public transportation. Living on a circle is fantastic and the park there is great.

    The house itself is nothing special. That same style is common in nearly every neighborhood in DC.

    In terms of crime, theres definitely less in this location than several blocks to the south.

    $370,000 seems a bit high.. I think the fact that its under $400,000 and hasnt been snatched up in 22 days means something, though the last 22 days have been pretty brutal for sellers.

    I think it would be a great deal at 320,000. I wouldnt be surprised if thats what the final sales price is…

    From the looks of it there is a LOT left to do to get it up to a presentable level…

    • RD

      It is literally ON a great commuter bus line that goes downtown. it is also just a half mile from the metro station. Out of the million things you can complain about, lack of access to public transportation is not remotely valid.

  • Jim

    Those low-end kitchen cabinets have gotta go. You’ll spend $20k in the kitchen, $25k and up in the rest if there are no structural issues, depending on how you want to finish out the basement, other baths, etc. Close to, if not, a good deal.

  • Anonymous

    Quite far north? why are you reading the petworth blog if you’re down on petworth? restuarants? have you tried the hitching post and a number of other neighorhood eateries? LOVE the house. and the location. i own a house a couple of blocks from there.

    • realistically

      Being a half mile away is hardly “accessible” which is exactly where the Hitching Post is in one direction and the metro is in the other. Don’t believe me? Its got a walk score of 69. Walkscore is also stretching it by using the locksmith as a “hardware store” and “philips shoe repair” as “clothing and music” as well as GALA hispanic theater as “movie theater”. The actual score is probably much lower.

      My only point was that this property isnt worth $370,000 with that much work needed.

      305 properties sold since Jan 1/09 in Petworth – 68 of them sold for $370,000 or more. Is this property, in its current state, in the top 25% of petworth?

      Look you can accuse me of “being down on petworth” because I dont think the 20011 zip code is an instant $75,000-100,000 value add to other “transitional” (of course some of you dont consider it transitional, huh?) neighborhoods, but I think I’ve painted quite a compelling picture for why this property is probably $50,000 over priced.

      For the record, I read the blog because I like the information. Just because my opinion is different than yours, it doesnt somehow mean I shouldnt share it.

      • JW

        I actually agree with you on the price but how is a 10 minute walk not accessible? The 64 bus is 30 seconds away, which takes you to the metro in about 3 minutes.

        It never ceases to amaze me that some citizens of DC think that if you have to walk longer than 2 minutes that it makes it inaccessible.

        I imagine this will sell for less but not because of its location (in terms of it being close to stuff) but because it is a bit overpriced for a fixer in the neighborhood.

      • hardly compelling argument. Nice neighborhood, close to transportation, nice walk to metro, cool people, etc. Good deal.

  • Park Viewer

    Makes me wish I had enough money to actually purchase in this neighborhood. Provided the eventual buyer does his/her research, that has the potential to be a seriously good deal. Love the location and, while the kitchen could be more attractive, it’s generally a good layout.

    Sigh…I’ll just have to keep writing my rent checks and wait for a more settled life and higher income before I get my dream rowhouse on Grant Circle.

  • CHP

    I looked at this house and considered making a bid. First off–only one bathroom in the house actually has plumbing going to it, and it’s far from complete. The guy has the master bathroom and a powder room framed out on the sun porch/extension on the back, and I’m not quite sure how you’d get plumbing to there without running it on the outside of the house.

    The roof was redone, but botched, and you can see the tar dripping through massive gaping holes in the attic, plus some water damage.

    The floors also need to be redone, the kitchen is in much worse shape than it looks in the pics (albeit, liveable).

    All of the walls on the second floor need to be re-plastered or drywalled.

    I still think it’s a good deal, but will certainly require $100-150K of work to be the showpiece it deserves to be, unless the people who buy it are contractors themselves.

    • This is a very good assessment. My wife and I are keeping an eye on the house, but at a minimum it is $100-150k to complete the renovations. There is only one working INCOMPLETE bathroom (the shower sans curtain rod has no grout). The kitchen needs to be redone. The floors need to be refinished. The walls need to be completed. The basement is only partially framed for a rental unit. The roof was poorly done. To make this a really nice renovation it could cost upwards of $200k.

  • Anonymous

    The original woodwork is gorgeous, love the columns and the pocket doors! Location isn’t perfect, so I’d just put $100k into finishing the renovations and call it a good deal.

  • Markus

    That is the most ridiculous usage I have ever seen of the long-view lens that realtors use.

    That’s the same layout as my house (pretty much). The virtual tour is like looking at a Fun House mirror. Just awful and laughable.

    That said, it’s a good location and has potential. But the pics are LOL bad.

  • Jane

    mark my words-it will sell for less than 300,000. People who think it will only cost 20K to finish are crazy! I had a perfectly fine and working bathroom (it was 10 years old and looked a bit dated). It cost me close to 8,000 just to redo the bathroom. Except for one or two rooms, the whole house needs a lot of work!

  • mark

    Why speculate on the value? Anyone buying this house should definitely have a competent contactor look at it and provide a price to complete the house. And any bank making a loan on this property will insist on getting an independent appraisal. I have my doubts as to whether this house in this condition will appraise for the current asking price. The appaiser will either make his/her own estimate of the cost to complete or might use an estimate from a competent contractor if one was available. I love the location. It will only get better with time. One word of caution. A bathroom built on a porch is bound to have problems with frezzing pipes.

  • Landed

    Up here, the value is in the land/location. It’s super close to transit, there are bus lines all through here and this house sits nearly atop the tube. All DC circles warrant some love and Grant certainly offers some eye candy. Pretty close to most amenities. Delivery range of good eats is expanding. Tax bills put all these old buildings in the $100-200k range. This one would be hard to finance, no banks would give you the nice low rate mortgage with open walls. Awesome potential building interior, with all the nice looking woodwork. The SOV commute traffic would drive you bananas. Vroom vroom morning and night. The price seems a bit high.

  • gk

    i’ll add that this one went under contract a week after it first went on the market and had multiple offers. so i’m thinking the price may be about right particularly for contractors/investors. however, that contract fell through and it’s now back on the market which makes me wonder if there’s some more serious underlying issues with the house (which would warrant a lower price). it def has potential to be awesome, though, with the right renovation. such great original woodwork and floors.

  • Petworth Resident

    I live on Grant Circle and I am fully aware of some problems with this house. Anyone interested in this house should definately have it inspected and appraised. TRUST ME look into the core for the problems, believe me, there are many.

  • PW neighbor

    I love all the comments above from people who haven’t even been in the house! I’ve been through it with friends and a contractor. Yes, you will need a large sum to fix it up, but no, it is not a normal DC rowhouse. It is super wide, much wider than my rowhouse that looks similiar, and mine is wider than many. The house has the potential to be beautiful.

    Jane- you’re wrong. It is again under contract, for much above 300!

  • ET

    Wonder if they will turn it into condos? (that seems to be quite popular – especially for those places that are going to need a lot of work)

    Location directly on the park (almost a front yard with none of the maintenance), nice size lot, back alley – all pluses.


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