Good Deal or Not? “perfect for parties” edition

by Prince Of Petworth February 22, 2013 at 1:00 pm 59 Comments

This house is located at 1421 3rd Street, NW:

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The listing says:

“Come home to this amazing 3 bedroom / 2 1/2 bath home and enjoy the spacious dining area and entertaining space. Best of all, the kitchen has been beautifully renovated and the back yard is perfect for parties. Just blocks to the upcoming O Street market, major bus lines and metro rail stops. Walkable to area shops and restaurants This home is a must-see.”

You can see a virtual tour here.

This 3 bed/2.5 bath is going for $449,000.

  • js

    Enjoy the Dunbar demolition noise.

    • Caleb

      Certainly the buyer will live here longer than the 8-10months left in the rebuild of the high school.

      Does anyone know if they are going to extend O St. through and connect it to 1st. St.? I maybe read that a few years ago when the project was being developed.

      • David

        Yes, O st will be extended. But that will take a while. The school will be complete for the Fall season. Only then will demolition start. Don’t know what the schedule for that is.

    • firsttimepostingtodaystopwiththewarnings

      because that’s clearly going to last forever???

  • Grand Funk

    Makes me wonder if that is the ‘master’ bedroom they are showing? Also surprised the photographer could fit into the bathrooms to take the shots.

    • Grand Funk

      Is that a sewer in the front yard?

      • Anonymous

        possibly water meter vault

  • bathrooms are tiny, and the dining area seems oddly placed (but fixable). the kitchen looks pretty nice. i wonder why there arent photos of the backyard. looks like it might be a nice area.

  • houseintherear

    I’d say that’s accurately priced. Too bad they don’t include photos of other bedrooms and back yard.

  • Grand Funk

    Pricing seems okay based on condition and location

  • I would love to know how people originally lived in these tiny house when they were first built. What kind of furniture they had and how did they arrange it. Photos would be fascinating – I know we have vintage photo geniuses here – any place to dig up old family photos that would show this?

    • nofiction

      I live in one (two story, 2 BD, 1 BA, 700 sq ft townhouse) and for one thing I can tell you the stairs were much narrower, steeper and at the back of the house, so 1st & 2nd floors might have felt more separated. I’ve heard tell of 10-14 people living in each of the houses on our little row of similar-sized houses. All I can say to that is Wow! It’s a tight-ish squeeze just for me, my wife and our toddler.

    • Well I mean 100 years ago they used to cram whole familes into one room, so if this was one family they were probably somewhat well to do to have their own house in the city.

      • I toured the tenement museum last time I was in NY and it was interesting to see the actual beds, tables & chairs squeezed into a small space. I also come from from immigrant families on both sides who each had 8 children while also taking in boarders to make ends meet, so I’ve seen those arrangements. I grew up with 5 people in a small one-bedroom apt. I had parties & Thanksgiving dinner in my old condo where it was so crowded people had to walk across the back of the couch to get out of the room!

        So I just find the living in small spaces interesting.

        • KenyonDweller

          Tenement museum is incredible. I highly recommend it.

          • I second this. They have a bunch of tours and they are all fascinating.

      • Anonymous

        that is not correct. this was never really a well to do area.

    • ET

      Its likely their furniture was MUCH small and they likely had less of it (and other stuff).

      I have looked at the 1940 Census for what was my house (then 3 bedrooms – medium, small, smallest) and there were 7 people living in it.

      As for this house – a back of mulch and some mums would NOT have pushed the budget pas the breaking point and would have made the front less….. barren, arid, pained??

      • ET

        It looks like the pictures in the listing are better than the one above but then it looks like someone forgot to clear the brush so it hard to say…..

      • Anonymous

        I’m really interested in digging up some of my house’s past. Where do you go to find something like a past census?

        • See https://www.popville.com/2012/12/dear-popville-learning-about-the-history-of-my-house/ for some good ideas and information.

          I don’t think I looked at census records in the House History Day workshop I attended (see the above-linked thread), but the MLK Library *does* have this nifty thing called a City Directory. It was basically like a phone book (and started including phone numbers after they became common), except that it listed the occupants of the house and their occupations as well as the street address. If I remember correctly, it organized the information by street and house number, but also had a section where you could look people up by last name.

        • Anonymous

          The library

        • I posted a reply with a link to a past PoP thread, but I assume it’s still awaiting moderation.

          Keep an eye out for it; that past thread was really informative.

        • Anonymous

          go to the washingtonian room at mlk.

  • hma

    Not a bad price. Not a fan of that location though, unless you are the type who likes to be home before it gets dark.

    Also: window unit upstairs.

    • anon

      I live up the block a bit, no need to get home before dark. Shaw metro isn’t all that far away… but even better is the G2… goes E/W down P street. Right out the front door of this place. Or ride your bike down Q… also easy access. One of the many reasons I moved to 3rd ST.

    • Anonymous

      I thought the same thing about the window unit, but it must be an old picture. This says central AC.


      Also, this house has a surprising amount of square footage. It looks TINY in the pictures. I was expecting around 800 or 900 sqft. Seems priced about right considering.

      • wobble

        The sales history in the Redfin link is interesting – sold for 589K in 2007, then was foreclosed on. Since, the price has been all over the place, and it looks like they are asking less than the last sales price.

    • anon

      Sounds like you’re the type of person who is scared of the dark even when sitting in their own living room.

      • hma

        No, I’m the type of guy with a wife.

        Glad to hear people feel it’s safe at night these days. Wasn’t the case when my friends first bought into the neighborhood not too long ago.

    • Data Don

      My son live there for two years. Agree, you don’t need to get home before the dark. He felt that it was a good place. Ventilation could have been a bit better but it worked well enough. Every house has an issue or two. Older homes may have a few more. So, for an older home this was great.

  • kac427

    It bothers me that some of the details and finishes seem to have been done quickly and/or cheaply (crooked outlet by the front door, poorly fitted and hung door on the bedroom closet, sloppy painting in the turquoise bathroom) – makes me wonder about the quality of the rest of the renovation.

    • It looks fine when you glance at the pictures, but there’s a lot here that says “badly down flip” when you study the photos more closely. Walls don’t line up properly, the front door doesn’t seem to fit right from the outside, the medicine cabinets in the bathrooms look to be hanged at random places… The IKEA kitchen cabinets are also a source of concern, because when they’re done wrong or quickly, they’re crap.

      • i visited the house during the open house — fyi, they aren’t ikea cabinets, but kraftmaid

    • Anonymous

      As someone who has himself renovated a house, I didn’t see any obvious red flags. But it’s certainly true that anytime you buy a house you’re taking a major risk of having significant unseen problems – and that’s particularly true when you buy a flip, since the renovator’s interest is in maximizing profit (unlike a homeowner who might have to live in his renovation for awhile). A good inspector helps, but doesn’t completely alleviate the problem. And most inspectors aren’t good for much aside from identifying super major problems that might not be obvious to you but are obvious to someone with some knowledge (of course some major problems aren’t going to be initially obvious to anyone).

      All that being said, it seems like a good price in an extremely convenient location. Probably the best location you can buy a house in for this kind of money these days – although of course for more money you can buy in much “better” locations.

  • Looks like the owners of these three houses decided the make the Bulgarian flag.

  • It’s strange to mention how great the back yard is for parties and then not post picture of it. Also, what’s up with the mirrors int he bathrooms (either way small or off center due to the window). I know it’s minor, but I think that would really be annoying to deal with.

    • Anonymous

      Totally agree! I was looking for pictures of the great outdoor entertaining space!

  • You couldn’t pay me to live right there. Found an amazing house on the same street last summer and nearly bought it until I walked around the neighborhood. You’re really taking your life in your own hands there at night and possibly in the day. that NY Ave./N. Capitol corner is the worst.

    • Anonymous

      Are you also terrified of your own shadow? Look at crime reports, this is far from the “worst” part of the city and as professional white guy who has spent a surprising amount of time wandering through the “worst” parts of the city – you’re not “taking your life” in your hands in those parts either. Pay attention, smile, treat people with respect, and by and large most people anywhere in the city will respond in kind.

      That being said, yes, obviously this is not the lowest crime part of the city either. The lowest crime parts tend to be much more expensive – and that’s a trade some people have the money to make. Others don’t.

      Personally, I’d say that given this area’s proximity to walkable amenities (U street, downtown, metros, grocery stores, many professional jobs, etc.), and the explosive growth in Shaw, Ledroit, Bloomingdale, and Noma, this is a pretty good buy. But to each their own.

      • manimal

        i bet there is a little wiggle room between being scared of your own shadow and being scared of night time just north of dunbar high. would you want you grandmother walking to that place from the metro at night? i wouldn’t.

    • I live 1/2 a block away, and have never felt unsafe coming home late at night by myself. i’d say i’m usually walking home after 11pm 4-5 nights a week, and i’m a young, single woman.

      of course, now i’m sure i’ll get jumped on my way home tonight. ;P

      • A female friend of mine lived a block over on 4th for about 6 months (in 2011), was robbed twice at night while walking home. Only friend of mine who has been robbed in the 3.5 years I’ve lived here in fact- knock on wood.

        That being said, I do think timmyp is going overboard. It’s not that bad of an area.

  • Anonymous

    Constructive feedback — on both the GDON and GDON revisited posts, can you put the square footage up front so that I don’t have to go hunt for it? Seems relevant.

  • Anonymous

    bad flip job

  • hma

    Interesting sales records:

    3/2005 – sold $185k
    3/2007 – sold $589k
    1/2008 – sold $348k (foreclosed)
    10/2008 – sold $225k
    3/2009 – sold $484k

    • Frothy bubbles are a bitch.

    • anon

      wooooo wheee… 589? sheesh

  • Anonymous

    that back door set up is just begging for a home invasion. no thanks.

    • I hadn’t noticed that until you pointed it out.

      Yeah, double glass doors with no security doors AND a backyard that’s completely open to the alley don’t seem like a good mix.

      It looks like the doors also close with a regular deadbolt rather than one that requires a key, which means someone could bash in a nearby pane and then turn the deadbolt from the inside.

      • if it’s used as a rental, dc does not allow rear doors to have keyed deadbolts. they have to be thumbturn in order to get past the rental inspection

        • Good to know. Yeah, thumbturn deadbolts are better from a fire-safety perspective, which I assume is why the rental code would require them.

          Is that requirement only for back doors — are front doors allowed to have key-turned deadbolts?

          • Good question. I don’t think there is any requirement for front doors. There’s a checklist that DCRA gives you when you apply for the business license of about 25 items that their inspectors look for and the back door requirement is on that list.

  • Latest DCRA told me was that all exits from a rental had to have thumbturn locks. But no one there ever seems to agree on much, or know the exact requirements for anything.

  • I went and looked at it, the layout was actually pretty nice and the kitchen was very nice save one major caveat:

    The lot drainage/pitch in the rear is all wrong so water was draining back towards the house which rotted the sill below the french doors and the subfloor in the rear of the kitchen. The sill should have been a concrete footer to begin with (even with proper drainage you can’t put untreated wood in contact with the ground and expect it not to rot, and you can’t expect an addition sitting on top of the ground to stop moisture from getting under your house), the addition was clearly done on the cheap or by a lazy/crooked/incompetent contractor.

    As I said, the kitchen itself is really nice and the damage is limited to right by the back door, so it is at least easy to access and fix. Worth looking at for someone willing to deal with the issues.

  • rd

    this place is great for parties if you only have like 3 friends

  • mollyd701

    I’m a married woman who lives two blocks away, and a bicycle commuter. I bike past that house twice every day. The guy with the wife should calm down. There’s a group of guys who live on that block who hang out in front of their house. If you’re dumb and racist, they’ll scare the crap out of you. If you’re smart and nice, you’ll introduce yourself, realize they’re sweethearts and the best neighborhood protection going. No one is going to mug you in front of those gentlemen, and they’re there all the time.

    I know a ton of people who’ve gotten mugged in Logan, Adams Morgan, Georgetown, even Tenleytown.

    • Data Don

      You are so right. Like I said, my son lived there and I visited quite a few times and the neighbors are as nice as can be. If you are afraid of a different race because they are a different race (not necessarily a racist but stupid) then your fear will get the best of you and miss out on knowing some very nice people. Nothing to fear there.

    • Anonymous

      why do people always jump accusations of racism? it’s so tiring.

      this area has crime problems, just face it. no one is saying that it’s bad because of black people. no one is stupid enough to believe that.

      i love this area, but comparing crime here to crime in tenleytown? gimme a break.


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