Good Deal or Not? “Big unit for the money” edition

by Prince Of Petworth — December 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm 11 Comments

This condo is located at 1911 8th Street, NW:

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The listing says:

“Great location a few blocks from Town Danceboutique and the rest of the U Street night life. Big unit for the money…two good size bedrooms, huge private green space, solid wood floors…Loads of light…Large balcony and extra large storage in basement…Unit 2 also avail…”

You can see more photos here.

This 2 bed/1 bath is going for $409,650 ($150 monthly condo fee.)

  • b

    It’s hard to find anything in that area for under about $300/sqft; typical sales in the last six months have been somewhere around $400-$500/sqft (depending on how you want to define the neighborhood), with a long upward tail. The sales for significantly below that range have been in needs-work condition.

    So yes, at $409k/1828sqft = $224/sqft, this is indeed very underpriced for the size, to the point that I’m starting to wonder why…

    • I think the 1828 sq ft is the estimate for the two units combined; just looked on Trulia and it appears unit #2 is only 980 sq ft, and these pictures make the space seem tiny. Nonetheless it is a good location (though not sure being close to Town Danceboutique really sells it for me).

  • The listing seems to also include photos of both units, as the listing says one floor, but clearly shows two floors.

  • Just Asking

    I’ve never owned any real estate so I don’t know all that much about it, but – I’ve always thought I’d rather not get into a condo situation in such a small building. With only one other unit (or in other cases when it’s maybe a few more) it feels like too much would depend on the right personal relationship with the other owners in a way that wouldn’t be as noticeable in a larger building. Also it seems like you’d want more other owners with whom you could share common costs.

    Does anyone with real knowledge of real estate think there’s any basis for this type of concern, or am I just making things up to worry about?

    (BTW – this is a general question, not meant to reflect on this particular building, to which I have no connection or interest.)

    • Anonymous

      The first time I heard where people had reservations about buying into a small condo (SFH turned into condos, for example) was on PoP. I thought it was sort of an interesting notion and I could imagine scenarios where it would turn into a nightmare, depending upon who were the other owners in the small condo community. The comments seem valid. However, don’t be misled into thinking that because you are buying into a large condo community that all will be super duper. The board is made up with a random selection of people (as it is a random self-selected group of individuals/couples who buy into a condo building community). Although there is a voting process, (we all know how that turns out for some of the local elections), but seriously it doesn’t mean that any or all of the community would be good candidates for sitting on a board and managing the association/community affairs. There are large condo communities where the boards are pretty much helpless, useless or incompetent (or any mix thereof). Don’t assume that because you buy into a large community that all will be well. There are really pros/cons to either living situation.

    • Absolutely a valid concern. I would never buy a condo in a 2 unit building. NEVER. Larger buildings can of course have horrible & troublesome owners – I have many years of awful experience with this – but there is at least a good chance that the sane ones will eventually prevail. In a 2-4 unit building – you are totally screwed.

  • anon

    I’m probably just paranoid/sensitive because I’ve lived in a second-story condo for so long, but that lower-level bedroom scares the bejeezus out of me. It looks like there is a path from the alley right to the bed inviting some psycho to kill the occupant in their sleep….

  • Anonymous

    On top of far too easy access to the bedroom from the back yard, is that an electric coil stove? Ew.

  • Anonymous

    This is NOT a good deal. We saw both condos when they first went on the market. They are tiny, I can’t believe the sqft estimate is remotely close to accurate.

  • another anonymous

    In related news, I nearly bought a condo from that seller’s agent — same situation, 2-condo building, recent renovation — and I learned that the square-footage had been GROSSLY over-estimated. (I think living in a tiny apartment has robbed me of my spatial logic.) They acted like I was insane for being outraged that they had so misrepresented the property. Anyway, I would never work with that real estate firm, on either the seller or buyer side. Also, in the process I learned that usually in 2-unit condos, the person with the most square-footage automatically has the voting-majority, and is sort of the big kid on the playground. Seems weird to be on either side of that.

  • P

    The living room is incredibly small in these units, that’s why the price is so low for a 2 bedroom in that area. The bedrooms themselves are decent, but living room has room for a 2 seat couch and that’s it. I wouldn’t know where a TV would go.


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