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Good Deal or Not? “gourmet table space” edition (reader request)

by Prince Of Petworth October 18, 2012 at 1:00 pm 77 Comments

This house is located at 123 T St, NW:

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The listing says:

“Completely renovated GORGEOUS Victorian with hand scraped hardwood floors, marble counters, owner’s suite and more. This homes boasts a gourmet table space kitchen with stainless steel appliances. Complete with English basement (separate CoO) separately metered, parking and convenient to all that Ledroit/Bloomingdale has to offer. Must see”

You can see a virtual tour here.

This 5 bed/3.5 bath is going for $924,900.

  • Rock

    Not saying it isn’t a nice house, it definitely is. But that price seems way, way high for the area. To get anywhere near 900+, I think it would need a third above-ground level and a more usable backyard. Looks like a $750,000 house to me.

  • Anonymous

    english basement on the 100 block of t street? yikes.

  • For that kind of money, you should just live on the west side of RCP with the rest of the rich people. Nearly $1m to live on the edge of the ‘hood?
    Yeah, no.

    • Anonymous

      thats just stupid. i would far rather live east of the park. so would a lot of people.
      you have your preferences. others have theirs.

      • At nearly $1m, this house has no upside value whatsoever. You are going long on a property in an area that is not local to any decent schools (thus you’ve eliminated a lot of potential buyers of a house), still has a significant amount of crime, has very little green space, and is under-served in terms of local amenities/businesses. What happens when interest rates rise? Do you really think think this house will fetch $925K?

        I know some people might prefer to live east of the park, but NOT at west of the park prices. That’s incredibly stupid.

        • Eric in Ledroit

          We are no longer underserved by amenities and businesses. We have one of the best bars in the city, another on the way, one of the best coffee shops in the city, a sit-down pizza place, another pizza place, 2 dry cleaners, a mini grocery store / cafe, a bakery is coming, a tapas place is coming, a high end italian place is coming, there are 2 thai places and a green pet store. This is within 4 blocks of my house on 2nd.

          • anon

            But you could pay the same price for a house in another neighborhood and multiply those amenities by 10. And have less crime and better schools.

          • anon

            True, we are no longer underserved, but I would not delude myself into thinking that there are other neighborhoods in this city with MORE amenities and BETTER schools that $900K and change will get you in to. Neighborhood “character” (which is what I love about BloMi) only gets you so far.

          • Anonymous

            which bars are you thinking of that are better than Boundary Stone? Which green pet stores? Which corner markets better than field to city? Cleaners better than city cleaners? Coffee shops better than big bear? Thai better than Thai Crossing or Beau Thai? Shaws Tavern or Cafe Bohem? Seriously, name the neighborhood. Bloomingdale has come out of nowhere in the last 2 years to seriously be one of the most well-served in the city, easily on par with the 11th street corridor in terms of neighborhood amenities (11th street by meridian pint is, i think, the most comparable area).

          • Eric, I’m not hating on your ‘hood; as a young person, I think it’s a great area. And the area has truly come a long way from even 5 years ago. That said, I don’t think this area can support this price. It’s a nice renovation, but it’s not worth the increase these flippers are looking for.

            Furthermore, the flooding issues are another significant aspect. Will insurers even offer policies for these places related to flooding and back-ups?

          • anon

            RE: Anonymous @ 3:43

            I think our neighborhood has some superlative amenities (Boundary Stone IS my go-to bar, Beau Thai IS my favorite Thai in the city, Big Bear IS … well, one of the better coffee houses). But can you seriously contend that U St or the 14th St corridor or Dupont don’t offer substantially more in the way of amenities? More crap, sure, but also more variety and choice, and more than a couple exceptional businesses of their own. That’s all people are trying to point out in relation to this listing.

            5 years ago we landed in Bloomingdale because it gave us the most house for our money (considerably less than half of what they are asking for this place). With $900K+ to spend there is no way in hell I’d buy in the ‘hood again when there are better DC options, especially with kids in the picture.

          • Anonymous

            While the renovation of the house looks nice and what you would “expect” for a near million dollar house in Dupont/Logan/maybe U street area, over 900 thousand seems high for the area right now. I like Bloomingdale a lot and think it has some lovely homes, but I can’t argue why to spend almost 1 million for this house. As someone rightly pointed out, it doesn’t even have 3 floors as part of the main. I’m sorry to have to dredge up this point, but I’d be concerned about the basement with the flooding issues.

            To respond to Eric’s point, a single fantastic bar doesn’t make a neighborhood nor does it rightly justify a million dollar price tag.

            Best of luck to the sellers.

          • Anonymous

            I posted too quickly. I think the dining/kitchen area is too cramped to be all that functional/comfortably useful. The tiling is crazy but that’s an easy fix/replacement so shouldn’t factor in the price debate. A red flag is that I see this listing describes a legal basement rental (English Basement with CofO). I’m questioning this because in the redfin listing it says that while it has front/rear entrances, there is a connecting stair (to the main house, I assume). If this is the case, I don’t think they could have a CofO because one of the requirements for a legal rental is that it is NOT to have a stairway connecting to the main of the house. Someone please correct if I am wrong about this point. If I am right about this point, the sloppiness/misleading information (intentional or not) in the listing makes me wonder what else is not quite as is.

        • Anonymous

          indeed, crime and schools are the issues. not really underserved for other things.

        • You’re not going to get far here with that argument. The fact that the rebuttal is that Boundary Stone is nearby shows that in PoPville, neighborhoods are judged on a very narrow basis. $900,000 + for this place is laughable, as is the contention that the buinesses in Bloomingdale are all amazing. I think Bloomingdale has come a long way and is progressing nicely, but it’s nowhere near the price range of this house.

          • Anonymous

            your jealousy is showing.

          • Jealousy? Of what?

  • Wow, that’s a pretty slick job. I love that style of flooring, but $924k is pretty scary, If it’s worth that then my 6BR in Col Hts must be worth more than $1 mil after my renovations?! We need more GDON’s from the Petworth area!

    • It’s a very slick job. But not enough to make it worth that price in that location.

  • Dawg

    Dang, crib’s done tight! But serious coin for ‘hood.

  • bfinpetworth

    High for that neighborhood, and good luck to the person who rents that basement apartment.

    Those floors are very trendy but, as a person who works with wood, I don’t think they will wear well over time. The raised points will wear faster than the valleys and you’ll have an unevenly finished floor then. Some things are done in a certain way over time for a reason, and flat wood floors is one of those things. And forget about ever refinishing them (if they are even solid hardwood?).

  • Eric in Ledroit

    naysayers clearly don’t know the market. Bloomingdale/Ledroit Park have blown up incredibly. This area is much nicer than a lot of the area to the west up to Logan. The bones of Bloomingdale housing stock is Georgetown quality, and is rapidly being renovated to reflect that.

    • TG

      I think the re-sale concerns are valid. The square footage seems low for the price. If this were one of the large victorians with 3 levels above ground I would give it to you. It isn’s thought and comps in that square footage range are not consistently in the 9’s (some in the high to mid 7’s) in the area. If you are going to buy this place you have to be thinking long term. But inventory is super low so who knows, they may get it.

    • anon

      There is clearly some awesome housing stock in Ledroit/Bloomingdale, but do you really think this particular property is worth more than one of the HUGE corner properties up the hill on 1st St, a couple of which have traded hands around this asking price? And any buyer who has seen or read the news in the past few months will be aware of the flooding issues which this house is damn near at the epicenter of.

    • Anony

      “Clearly don’t know the market”, I’d beg to differ Eric. Listen to the naysayers, they are speaking the reality of the situation.

      They are not saying your neighborhood is bad but rather close to $1M has no upside and is clearly not a good buy in that location no matter how well done the house is. It is also several blocks to the Metro. NO THANKS!

      • Eric in Ledroit

        I agree that this place is a bit overpriced, but not by much. The haters are thinking of Bloomingdale of 2 years ago.

        • Freefall

          So you define haters as people who feel differently than you?

          Can we remove this term from our grown up vocabulary? It makes people sound like ignorant middle schoolers.

        • bloomingdale resident

          haters are people that don’t think bloomingdale is a million dollar neighborhood? hmmmmmmm.

          call me a hater then. it’s not a million dollar hood. does it have houses as nice as georgetown? hell no it doesn’t. maybe if you’re looking at the old slave/ laborer houses. but the nicest houses in bloomingdale have nothing on the nicest houses in georgetown.
          neighborhood cheerleaders are fine, until they become unrealistic.

        • Anonymous

          Just because someone doesn’t think the house isnt worth $924 doesn’t make them a “HATER OF BLOOMINGDALE”. chill out dude.

          • Anonymous

            No, indeed not. But there is a certain cohort of 4-5 PoP regulars who without fail leave nastygrams on any Bloomingdale posting. And while select comments do not define haters, patterns can.

        • Eric in Ledroit

          Haters are the clowns who write things like this:

          “You are going long on a property in an area that is not local to any decent schools (thus you’ve eliminated a lot of potential buyers of a house), still has a significant amount of crime, has very little green space, and is under-served in terms of local amenities/businesses. ”

          I’m not saying the house is worth $925,000, but I am certain it will sell for more than most of these comments think. Five years ago the type of concern voiced above was valid; now, it’s very, very different. We definitely continue to have crime problems, but there are few spots east of the park that don’t.

          • I’m sorry that the truth hurts. That’s not “hating,” it’s being realistic and answering PoP’s question – Is this a good deal or not?

            Like others before said in this thread, you can get 5x the amenities, green space and school quality for $900K in other parts of the city. A fool would drop this much scratch in Bloomingdale for this small of a house in the epicenter of a flood zone. The stuff that Bloomingdale does have is great and it’s constantly growing (a good thing!). But it does not have nearly the same degree of variety and choice as the U Street Corridor, Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, Glover Park, or areas west of the park. Nor is it as safe as those areas.

            I really like Bloomingdale, but the rah-rah cheerleading is getting out of hand. I get it, you want to see your property values go up. But in no way does calling this out as a BAD DEAL indicate that we’re haters.

    • You’re right about the quality of the housing stock – some of the best in the city. But the price is way too high for what the neighborhood offers on other respects (crime, schools, Metro accessibility, etc.).

      • bloomingdale resident

        yes, crimes and schools are mostly negative here. but metro accesible? it’s a 10 minute walk to the train. what’s the etc…?

  • Love the kitchen and coffered ceiling. It’s interesting that the lights are in the coffers instead of the ceiling itself. Still trying to decide what I think of that, but overall I like the space and layout.

    Agree with the others, though, that this is too pricey.

  • Anonymous

    That tile around the tub surround, is that a joke?

  • Ugh, no.

    It was bought last year for 375K. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING that was done to that house is worth a 550K increase. And no, the area doesn’t support that pricing either.

    There is a house two blocks over that sold for this pricing back in April. The difference, their lot was 4 times larger than this one and it was all land costs.

    Redfin is full of recent comps in the immediate area, the highest topping out at $410 a sq/ft, making this about 125K over priced.

    • Anon X

      The fact that you think this place is worth 800k is remarkable. How things have changed…

    • Anonymous

      Actually, joker, it was bought the prior year for 282K and 2 days later (it looks like and I would guess) that it was refinanced at 375K. Your point is well taken. These numbers would root your pov even more. Cheers.

  • Ward One Resident

    A nice renovation job, although I would have jackhammered out half the cement pad in the back for some green space and would have used a different fence (all wood instead of chainlink). It does seem pricey, but what do I know.

  • Anonymous

    $474/sqft is certainly – aggressively – priced but not trail blazing. 37 R sold for $567/sqft in June. 113 R is under contract (in 13 days, list price $809K) for $459/sqft. There are a couple of others. Certainly not a plethora but enough not to be utterly absurd, only mildly. I would say that $425-$435/sqft is more in order.

    • Anonymous

      wow, someone who actually makes a well-reasoned evidence-backed argument. best post of the thread. this should get starred as a model for future posts.

      • Bloomingdale-ite


  • Anonymous

    My wife and I looked for a house in Bloomingdale/Ledroit for over a year before buying elsewhere. During that time, we rented at 2nd and T, a block away from this house.

    I think this house is worth more like $750k. The significantly larger, corner house on this block sold for $860k a few years back, and nothing else on the block has sold for much more than $700k. And as some have pointed out, this immediate area is extremely flood-prone. This is the block that is featured in every picture of Bloomingdale under water.

  • I would love it if it sold at the price since I live 1/2 block away ;) However, I have to agree, no way this sells even close to this price with only two levels above ground and the way that block looks during the floods. No pics of the basement unit make me suspicious that it’s a mess. I would go with 725k.

    • I think their strategy is to start with an astronomical price and pray that they close at $800K (“Hey buyer, you just negotiated down by $125K – you’re so smart!).

      I think it’s worth closer to $700-725K as well, based on comps.

      • I have a hard time seeing them getting offers. I would have a hard time offering $699,000 (whihch would be my offer) on a place listed at 925. I am saying bad deal for sure. Plenty of other nicer neighborhoods I would prefer at close to a million.

        • I’m sure the inspection is going to turn up a bunch of shit related to the flooding. I’d be seriously concerned about any flood damage and mold underneath the dry walls. And, for gods sake, this place better come with a powerful sump pump at this price point!

          • Meant to type sh#t, I’m sorry Mr. PoP :)

  • The combination of very dark floors, black furniture and super white walls and trim – not a good design choice, unless that house is a lot wider than it looks in the picture. the walls, ceiling and kitchen island look like they are floating, and the space looks small.

  • Jay

    Come on, PoP — April Fool’s is 6 months away!

  • Anonymous

    $924 and you don’t even get a yard?! no way jose!

  • lovessoldier

    My family home is around the corner and purchased in 1942, for $19,000. In 2000, houses on our block sold for $64,000. 2010 for $500,000 and now in 2012 almost 1M. All this to say it is very sad the very people who built these homes, were raised in these homes, worship at the church’s in the area, were educated in the area can no longer afford to live in the area. Sad state of affairs. I am not a felon, never been arrested, don’t have children, yet my income as a mere federal employee doesn’t afford me the opportunity to purchase a home in the very neighborhood I was raised. My question is who drove up the prices to the point that the AVERAGE person can no longer afford to even rent in this area?

    • It’s a complete and utter boondoggle. The vast majority of DC residents are government employees and even the highly paid & well educated ones (like myself) are priced out from buying here. As your numbers just showed, there has been a rapid and unsustainable rise in real estate prices in DC partially due to speculation, low interest rates, and the growth of government jobs.

      Well, guess what? Government is going to be cut dramatically over the next 4 years and interest rates will rise. These prices are unsustainable and DC is due for a massive price correction. Real estate prices have become de-linked from incomes.

      • You’re making a big assumption that there will be big government cuts; cuts big enough to hiurt the real estate market here.

        The only way big cuts are happening in the near future is if Congress continues its inaction and sequestration happens. Otherwise? I seriously doubt it. When was the last time Congress actually implemented big budget cuts?? They’ll only do it when things get really dire. And if Obama is re-elected? Even less likely there will be big cuts in the immediate future.

        That being said, I don’t think the real estate market will continue shooting up like it has been.

        • Assuming Obama wins, the Democrats are going to take the deficit cutting argument away from the GOP by making the cuts themselves, similar to how Clinton reformed welfare and has made that a non-issue for the last 3 election cycles. For Democrats, they’d rather be the ones making the cuts than allowing the GOP to run on it in 2016 and institute a scorched earth policy.

          The spending cuts and tax increases are coming, whether we like it or not and regardless of who is controlling the White House. Even if you avoid the sequestration, the Defense budget is going to get hammered regardless.

          Just my two (well-informed) cents.

          • Ha ha, ok, sure. Bill Clinton was a master politician. The Democratic Party has more party discipline than it used to, but it still doesn’t have much (especially compared to the GOP). There is no way they can all agree on a large number of cuts. Sure cuts will happen, but they’re not going to be that drastic if Obama wins and Congress is divided again. Congress is great at being inert and kicking stuff down the road. I suspect it will continue that way for the near future.

            We shall see!

          • T

            I don’t know about your ‘hood, but in my east of RCP neighborhood I can’t think of the last time a government employee bought a house. The flood of cash I’m seeing is totally misdiagnosed. Government employees? Nope, I’m seeing the money from Citizens United, baby. “Free speech” is buying these homes and I don’t see anyone talking about turning off the real spigot.

          • Anonymous

            I bought a house east of the park in December 2010 as a federal government employee!

    • “It is very sad the very people who built these homes, were raised in these homes, worship at the church’s in the area, were educated in the area can no longer afford to live in the area. . . My question is who drove up the prices to the point that the AVERAGE person can no longer afford to even rent in this area?”

      Actually, the real question is – why did neighborhood residents allow this area (and the city in general) to decline so drastically that the average good,”non-felon” etc. person fled the neighborhood and refused to even consider living there for 30+ years? $64,000.00 was quite affordable in 2000. Why weren’t all these local people & churches scooping up properties then?

      • Anonymous

        redlinning, for one.

    • Anonymous

      You mean the people who abandoned these homes, let them decay and fill with junkies? Those people, right? Because when I bought my place in Ledroit 10 years ago, 1/2 of the houses on the street were boarded up.

      • Anonymous

        i’m not 100 certain who you mean by “those people”, but Howard University was to blame for many of the boarded up housing that you encountered.

  • Webster

    This is completely absurd.

    With a functionless kitchen/weird dining area(s), cheap hardware on almost everything (exterior doors), bathrooms of ceramic tile meets marble/stone tile/granite, dark and weird flooring, untreated eyesore decking, and lack of any kind of storage, this house has almost nothing going for it.

    Design-wise its a horrible hodgepodge. The floors are rustic-contemporary which I guess coordinates with the brick. The bannister is old worldy with victorian woodwork details. The kitchen is modern with country cabinet hardware and dinged appliances. Plus, who wants their kitchen and bathroom tile to match?

    I love Bloomingdale and its proximity to everything, but I agree that this is overpriced for both the house on offer, and the neighborhood. It’ll go in the 800k range, but it’s worth about 600k in my eyes.

  • Bloomingdale fan

    There is a house up the street on Flager which has a better layout, just as much space, and a backyard with parking originally priced at $615,000. This smallish house for Bloomingdale is priced nearly $200k more than what the market will fetch. Similarly priced units “recently” sold have been a third to fifty percent bigger larger.

    And Boundary Stone is nothing more than a good bar.

  • Anonymous

    the overall tone of this thread is very reminiscent of a similar property that everyone seemed to think was overpriced. it end up going very close to its ask: http://www.princeofpetworth.com/2012/07/gdon-revisited-by-hipchickindc-1926-2nd-st-nw/page-cat/gdon-revisited/

    when the same happens here, what will everyone say?

    this is aggressively priced, but not unreasonable, especially considering where the neighborhood is and will be.

    • Anonymous

      This is exactly the point.

      • Anonymous

        Asking price was 899 and it went for 772? That’s not close to asking.

        • Apparently $127K below asking is still “close to asking”!

          Um, no.

  • JM

    Glad I bought in Bloomingdale in 2001.
    Glad I cashed out in 2012 ;)

    • You’re a smartie. Though your capital gains tax this year is gonna be a bitch, lol

    • Anonymous

      where did you move?

  • ET

    It think it is overpriced – particularly after looking at the admittedly out of date street view on Google. I know that is one school of thought with regards to pricing – is to price high and negotiate down. Unfortunately if you price it too high you won’t get as many look-sees. It is a risk you run.

    I do think the facade photo is quite “clever.” You aren’t seeing either of the neighbors. And one of those neighbors has s a pop up which you can see from the back view – though it is not as obvious from the front. Also, the view from the front door is not as tree lined as that picture would indicate.

  • hma

    Absolutely freaking insane. A million dollars for THAT neighborhood??? The house better be made of gold.

    This reminds me of people who bought 1 bd condos in Reston for $350k in 2004.

  • hma

    Price just dropped to $899k.

    • Haha, that was quick.
      This still has a long way to go before they start seeing offers.


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