Good Deal or Not? “not far from the weekend farmers market” edition (reader request)

by Prince Of Petworth April 16, 2012 at 1:00 pm 19 Comments

This house is located at 208 N St, NW:

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The listing says:

“Shaw/ Truxton Circle is a great place to be, not far from the weekend farmers market and close to the New York Ave Metro as well as NOMA shopping, and downtown. Great house with plenty of upside. Bring your imagination and make the place your own. 3 bed and 2 bath along with a great outdoor space for the garderner. Plenty of street parking. Don’t wait because at this price it won’t last.”

You can see a few photos here.

The reader writes:

“My husband and I are a young couple trying to find our ways into buying a house in this great but challenging city and we came across a house where it is hard to put our finger on the neighborhood it belongs to, and therefore identify it as a “good deal or not”. The house is located at N Street at the edge of Truxton Circle/Shaw/Mt Vernon.”

This 3 bed/2 bath is going for $399,000. It’s hard to tell without more photos but what advice would you give the reader?

  • marybindc

    “Bring your imagination and make the place your own.” = “needs extensive interior renovation.” I’m guessing anyway. So if all you have budgeted for a house is $400k (or close to it) then this is not likely a good deal for you.

  • Anonymous

    if you’re in the area, just contact Long and Foster and make an appointment to view the house. then you’ll know if it’s a good deal for you.

  • The lack of interior photos says, to me, add $100k to the price for a thorough reno.

    • Anomymous

      And countless hours of time and tireless energy to renovate it…

    • Anonymous

      I concur.

  • Think of North Capitol as a dividing line. East and West.

    Unless you have a few years of courage to fight the challenges this I say…

    As the song says, Go West…

    ParkView – one block east of Georgia Avenue – but west of this place – is a “Good Deal.”

    • Anon X

      You make yourself sound like an idiot.

      First of all, this is west of North Capitol.

      Second of all, how exactly is Park View substantially different from H Street, Eckington, Brookland?

      Interestingly enough, I think I’d rather live 2 blocks east of North Cap on N than 2 blocks west. East puts me at the NY Ave metro, West puts me on top of Dunbar High School.

      Stop shamelessly promoting your own neighborhood, especially with out-of-left-field comparisons and incorrect information.

      • How do we know you’re not promoting your neighborhood? Or are incredibly insecure about where you live now and over-react to relatively benign comments?

  • Anonymous

    This is a good deal. A house this cheap, this close to downtown will be a great investment, despite the short-term shortcomings of the neighborhood (i.e. stabbiness).

  • E.

    I live on the Unit Block of O St NW, so I walk past this property every day on my commute to the Yellow Line. Given the comps in the area, the price suggests to me that it will need some interior work.

    But as to the neighborhood, yes, there are certainly some less than fantastic aspects you should be aware of before purchasing. There will be construction right across the road from this house for the near 18 to 24 months with the high school. SOME’s clients hang out on the 100 Block of N St in the mornings waiting for pick up to work on eviction crews. The park on the 100 Block of N is pretty sketchy, and someone was shot there last summer.

    However, renovations are in progress for the park, and the neighborhood is interested in cleaning it up. You cannot beat the location for accessibility to pretty much everything. 395 is right there. Walk easily to both the red line and the yellow/green line. Walk up to Bloomingdale for dinner, or down to Chinatown.

    And most importantly, I’ve never felt unsafe in the neighborhood. The neighbors are friendly. MPD officers participate regularly in neighborhood safety walks and keep us aprised of areas of concern.

    If you’re serious about moving to the area, though, come visit at all times of day, talk to people on the street. Everyone is very friendly and will be happy to tell you about the neighborhood.

  • anon

    One thing to do would be check recent sales of homes that are in move-in condition and see if they are substantially higher than this one. That way if you can afford it and you renovate you know you won’t owe more than what the house would be worth once renovated. My guess is that it’s priced a bit high or it would’ve already sold.

  • It is directly across the street from Dunbar HS. While the neighborhood as a whole is good and getting better, I wouldn’t want to deal with all the noise and headache the students would make for you.

  • FulanoDeTal

    The prior comments about construction at Dunbar High School are right, you would have to put up with that for a while, but hopefully the finished high school will end up being a nice view across the street. It’s hard to beat this neighborhood for convenience, and with the steady march of new construction up New York Avenue the area continues to get better each year. Yes, we have our “sketchiness” and “stabbiness” quotient, but with the gradual removal of the Sursum Corda favela things have really quieted down over the past couple of years. (I’ve been here since 2005. ) I really appreciate the diversity and general friendliness of the neighborhood, and frankly wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in DC at this point.

    The price is low for the neighborhood, so definitely do your due diligence regarding necessary renovations before jumping into anything. Good luck.

  • Anonymous

    The higher price of comps and the lack of interior pics means it probably does need that $100k worth of work. But if you know what you’re doing, I bet only $30k would be needed to make it livable.

    And based on the satellite image, it looks like for even another $100k, you could double the size of the house in the back like the rest of the houses on the block. You’d have to get an exception to the zoning, but most of the block has the precedence, so it shouldn’t be too hard. So, it’s a good investment property.

  • As others have indicated renovation likely is required. The thing I would say about renovation is you need time and you need the ability to get about twice the money you think it will cost for contigencies. Don’t try to do this if the estimate for the work puts you at the top end of your budget without room for flexibility.

  • I live close by and that is far too low in price to be in decent shape inside. If you can swing a little more, there’s a lovely place on my block that went on the market this weekend. We have really friendly neighbors and a lot of improvement happening. It’s not big, but it’s in fantastic shape: http://www.c21redwood.com/DC7817121/1602-4th-st-nw-washington-dc-20001

  • DCP

    sounds like a good price if the hse doesnt need a lot of work.

    that is not Shaw @ all more like truxton circle.
    the are has change a lot for the better. but still has a long way to go. not the best area in town to walk around at night alone. i think in about 5 to 10 year would be a really good area.

    the crime situation gets really bad in the summer. i got robed a gun point last summer by 3 kids.

  • StawStrig

    E-mail our realtor, Renee Peres at the Mandy & David Team. She said the tenants are not very cooperative which is part of the issue with short sale. We love the neighborhood. http://www.mandyanddavid.com/about.html

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Dan! Thank you all! Your posts really helped us to get a better assessment on the area and the house. Unfortunately this place doesn’t seem right for us. But I’m not completely ruling out the area: maybe one day it will live up to its full potential, but not yet…


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