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Good Deal or Not? “sure to please you” edition

by Prince Of Petworth April 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm 49 Comments

8 Grant Circle Northwest

This house is located at 8 Grant Circle, NW:

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The listing says:

“This renovated Petworth rowhouse is a rare jem! This property is sure to please you. 8 Grant Circle has 4 BR’s 3.5 BA’s; gleaming hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, designer gourmet kitchen, large back yard, parking for 2 full size cars, tall 18′ ceilings in the Master Bedroom suite, private entry to the 600sf basement suite, plenty of storage and much more! Less than a 1m from Metro.”

You can see more photos here.

This 4 bed/3.5 bath is going for $749,000.

  • Thor

    the bubble is really pick up pace

  • Anonymous

    more like “a rare jem” edition

  • Fonzy

    I haven’t thought of Jem in years!

    • rosenrosen

      Now that’s truly outrageous.

  • Anonymous

    I’m only spending $700+ if it’s a true jam

  • Anon

    I would say the price is truly outrageous, but the synergy this property provides to the neighborhood makes it worthwhile.

    • Anonymous

      “Truly, truly, truly outrageous! Contagious!” could be a great description of the DC real estate market, come to think of it…

      (Also, I’m glad I’m not the only one on here who’s old enough to pick up on those references! ;) )

  • Anon

    What’s going on with those ceilings?

  • Horrible pictures so it’s hard to tell.

  • Anon3

    Looks nice from what I can tell. Perhaps the sites unseen are worth a lot though, which would explain the price. From as far as my eye can see with the info available, I’m going to say it’s in the ball park of $50,000 higher than necessary.

  • Oh good lord

    • I love the enthusiasm behind “less than 1m[ile] from metro!” as if that is impressive?!

      • bfinpetworth

        Well, it is actually about .6 miles ( I live around the corner), and it is a very easy, 10 minute walk. How close do you need to be?? For many of us living in Petworth, we appreciate being a bit distanced from Georgia Ave. and the relative quiet that brings.

  • bfinpetworth

    I stopped into this open house yesterday. The house is nicely done, although I suspect some will think it is overdone – in particular the ornate ceilings through much of the house. Simpler lines would have worked better. The master bedroom balcony is nice, with a good view across Grant Circle. The kitchen is well done also.

    While the price may seem ridiculous, a couple other houses of equal size and quality have sold for over 700k in the last few weeks in the immediate vicinity of this house and a bit further from the metro (one has not closed yet, as I understand). So if it is overpriced, it’s not by much. It does, however, seem absurd that prices are climbing so rapidly and I agree that the market is frothy, to say the least.

    • The circle there is quite a coveted area. I’d love to buy a house in that circle. I too saw this at the open house yesterday. The crown moldings are quite overdone for the size of the house, could have been left out, also the basement is tiny (especially the basement bathroom) and there is no full kitchen in the basement…

      If the basement had a full kitchen the price would be more around 700 for me, but 750 is a bit presumptuous, this house will take 1-2 years to climb to that value in my humble opinion. I think $680k is a more reasonable price to start out in that place and have buyer’s equity of about $15k. The renovation looked okay quality-wise though.

      Just a few weeks ago, I observed an angry dude walking with a knife through that circle, even though I live just down the street from there, the neighborhood still has a few issues. Good investment at the right price, but be ware the neighborhood needs a little more evolution.

      • bfinpetworth

        While you are correct about the neighborhood still having its “issues,” the same can be said about any neighborhood in DC. Seeing one guy with a knife is a bit anecdotal perhaps?? And your use of the term evolution is, well, risky. I’d say the neighborhood is changing at a nice pace, and the old-timers are generally receptive to the newcomers so long as those newcomers are respectful. I’ve been just off of Grant Circle for three years now and think it really is a great place to live and is steadily getting better.

        • Agreed, what I meant to portray there is that it may take a specific personality to move into this house. People may look a the decor and crown moldings and think that the neighborhood matches the decor of the house… I live down the street, so trust me, I have all hopes of the area improving, it’s just that you’ve gotta be ready for the current state of the area with a healthy dose of street smarts.

  • That’s a major milestone if this house sells for over $700K. It’s really only about a year or so that Petworth has seen houses selling for over $600K. I saw that 902 Quincy is under contract at $699K and that was pretty shocking to me (and that house is really just steps from the metro).

    I agree with the comments about the ceilings. They look ridiculous and ornate. Something simple would have been much better.

    • bfinpetworth

      424 Allison just closed for a price of $700,500. Ask was $689, under contract in 5 days. Another is under contract around the corner on Varnum for over $700 – I believe it went under contract before ever actually going on the market.

  • klm

    I also walked through yesterday. Good location and houses on Grant Circle proper don’t come up too often. It’s a decent flip (I’ve walked through several in the neighborhood in the last 4 years) but the ceiling, especially on the first floor is too ornate and the fireplace and it’s location is weird. A plus is that the basement is set up to be rented as a 1 BR w/ a separate entrance, which is unusual for many houses in this neighborhood. Given a middle row house is under contract for over $700K (listed at $689K) on Allison b/t 5th and New Hampshire, this will probably go close to asking.

  • petworthnewbie

    902 Q sold for 725K! Many buyers will pay a premium to live in a circle. Having a “circle” address is appealing to many and not to all. Think if the properties with a “#Logan Circle” address and how they appreciated quickly. Not saying that Grant is such, but I can see where it will become a very desirable address in short order.

    • Unless they have money and time to burn, a buyer’s perspective should be to buy a house that presents equity immediately after purchase. Spending well above market rates on a house makes no sense if you’re an educated buyer. There has to be a bit of reasonability injected into the homebuying process otherwise it’s just another bubble scheme that will fall flat on it’s face and lead to huge losses for everyone. If the house doesn’t retain equity at or soon after purchase on a mortgage that big, the (above market) buyer is ultimately at fault.

      • peworthnewbie

        Possibly, if the assumption is to buy a house solely as an investment venue and generate equity in short order. Some buyers buy because they want to “live” in a place of their liking. Don’t get me wrong, I think the house is slightly over priced- but I can see where some buyers would pay a premium for a nice address. Also, the mortgage is not “that big” and time is a relative exercise.

      • WalbridgeGuy

        Well, it’s obviously a great idea to buy a home for $50,000 less than you could immediately turn around and resell it for. But DC isn’t exactly swimming in those sorts of opportunities. It’s a pretty competitive market for buyers. “Immediate equity” sounds like a bit of wishful thinking to me.

        • Anonymous

          This x 100

        • Not sure how it is possible to buy with “immediate equity.” If there was additional value in the house in today’s market, your bid would have lost to someone who gave the “immediate equity” to the seller. By definition, whatever price you paid is the market price. There is no “extra” equity that’s going to be left behind in the sale.

          To put this another way, if you buy a house for $580,000 thinking you are getting a great deal because it already has $20,000 in equity, why didn’t it just sell for $600,000 now? How would you think that you could turn around and realize this equity if the previous owner was unable to do so?

          Also, 6% comes off the top for your agents.

          • Having equity in the house allows you to qualify for a loan faster. It allso means your assets are more liquid. The prior mortgage meltdown left a whole bunch of homeowners with that mindset in deep trouble. A lot of people I know had to walk away from jumbo loans of this kind… Like I said, unless someone has a lot of money and time, a risky approach of buying any house beyond it’s immediate value is too much risk to justify in any market, it’s simply too much risk. Anyone would tell you the art of buying high and then selling high is not a good game to play.

            I’d rather wait out this market, or find a property in need of total reno and get the work done myself with the remaining $250k. If someone wants to simply “throw the money away” they’d be much better off buying a penthouse condo, or simply renting a luxury apartment at that level of cost (Still only my honest opinion though).

          • By definition the price you pay for any home is its “immediate value.” There is no case where you could buy a home for one price and turn around to sell it for a higher price. If this was possible, it would have sold for the higher price in the first place.,

          • Anonymous

            of course it is possible.
            even in hot markets, not all houses close for what they could. it takes a seriously savvy buyer, maybe a very desperate seller, maybe a piss poor real estate agent with a crappy camera, but it happens.

  • rd

    less than a 1 meter from the metro? i’m sold.

  • Anonymous

    my house is way less than 1 month from the metro.

  • Anonymous

    this house is actually a hologram. i can tell from the coded text.

  • pworthmommy

    saw this yesterday and from what the agent said, there was a home that sold on Princeton for $770 (and it was an interior unit listed at $750)! Also, the corner house on Varnum sold for $700 last week before it was even completed i think. Based on those two homes, i can see why its priced at $750K especially for a circle house. i agree on the ceilings though, but the kitchen is great, the deck off the master is nice. it looked on par with the other flips ive seen. nice color selection too.

    • Kvatch

      Are you talking about “squirrel house”? The one at 409 Varnum? It’s on the alley right next to the so-called “Petworth Green House”.

      I was wondering how much that one went for considering that the porch roof was inhabited by vermin.

  • Kvatch

    What’s truly amazing is that only 18 months ago you could have picked a much higher quality renovation on Grant Circle–more original details, better…well…everything–for almost $200K less.

    • Anonymous

      it’s gonna pop again and i think it will actually affect dc this time.

  • JMR

    Supply and demand. How often do houses on the circle come on the market? The location itself, in my opinion, is the driving force behind the price and as already mentioned homes in the surrounding area have already closed in the $700s. For some, location is key. I toured this property and it shows really well. I particularly love the deck off the master- great view of St. Gabriel’s just across the circle.

    • Another one (10 Grant Circle) will probably be on the market in the next few months. Of course, it could have been bought by someone who wants to live there instead of a developer, but I doubt it.

      There are a good amount of houses on Grant Circle that are similar, I don’t think that this is that rare.

  • People have too much goddamn money and not enough sense.

    That does not look like a legal basement unit–the ceiling ends right about at the door frame. But, maybe I’m wrong.

    Under 2000 square feet (including the basement), with a small lot (1907 sq ft). 424 Allison was a little over 2000 sq feet, with a larger lot (2,973 sq ft). 8 Grant Cir is $548/finished sq ft while 424 Allison was $458/finished sq ft. That’s a big difference, especially considering the lot sizes.

    Either way, no, it’s not a good deal. Just because other houses sold for 700k does not mean that this is a reasonable price or a good deal. I’m not going to convince anyone who thinks it is, because we obviously think very differently.

    • bfinpetworth

      424 Allison was 1530 sqft. And I think there is something funky about the square footage listed for 8 Grant Cir.. That is a bigger house, I am certain. Sometimes when a house gets flipped the tax listing isn’t updated quickly enough and the basement isn’t counted in the “official” square footage of living space.

      • Anonymous

        I thought finished basements were never counted in the official living space (mine wasn’t in my appraisal). Or is it different if it’s a rentable basement?

        • bfinpetworth

          That’s definitely true in the tax database, but I don’t know if that controls the real estate listings. I definitely see some very odd variability in real estate listings that don’t make sense unless people are using different rules to determine square footage. Or just lying!

      • I was counting total square footage in my post, not finished (though the price per square footage was based on finished).
        424 Allison:
        Finished Sq. Ft. 1,530
        Unfinished Sq. Ft. 640
        Total Sq. Ft. 2,170

        8 Grant Circle:
        Finished Sq. Ft. 1,368
        Unfinished Sq. Ft. 608
        Total Sq. Ft. 1,976

        It is my understanding that the tax record would only consider it to be “finished” if it is legal. Like I said, the basement doesn’t look to be of a legal height, based on how low the ceiling is on the door frame, but I could be wrong. And, of course, it would have to be reassessed as finished, which would presumably drive up the taxes, which most people want to avoid.

      • Also, re: it being bigger than listed, when you compare it to the house next door (which I think looks wider) which was part of the same build, it seems like what’s listed is about right, and it was probably just the layout that made the Allison house feel bigger. They didn’t add an addition in their reno, so the tax records for total square footage should be correct.
        9 Grant Cir:
        Finished Sq. Ft. 1,440
        Unfinished Sq. Ft. 640
        Total Sq. Ft. 2,080

        • *made the Allison house feel smaller

  • Well, this is already under contract so I presume it went for close to asking or above. Crazy market.

  • s3

    yeh this particular neighborhood is going nuts right now. i live pretty close to this property and, if going by comps, the asking price is on target. but it’s purely subjective. i agree, the circle address is prime, and merits the price tag based on what is happening on back roads. there are a limited number of residences located on circles, making them a better value in that it’s just one more unique detail you can point to when selling. the federal porches are also going up around the block, so it will be nice to see all these properties grow into one another with landscaping, etc. Grant circle has the opportunity to become a showcase location in another few years. the residents there just need to keep working on their properties as the yards mature, etc. That there’s an open park as a front yard really broadens the view from these homes, which is really an amazing thing in an increasingly crowded city. as someone else said, if #10 hits the market in the next year, it’s only a matter of time before the circle homes are in lockdown. this is the third one on this particular row that has been turned in the last 2.5 years.

  • Poubelle

    I saw this house was withdrawn. It went under contract really fast, which sort of surprised me and then didnt close. I’m wondering why it was withdrawn?

    • It’s been relisted for $729,900. They probably wanted to make it be a “new” listing, though most websites have a cumulative days on market portion now.

      According to Redfin, here’s the timeline:
      Apr 27, 2013 – Listed (Active)
      Apr 24, 2013 – Delisted (Withdrawn)
      Apr 12, 2013 – Relisted (Active)
      Apr 09, 2013 – Pending (Contingent (No Kick Out))
      Mar 30, 2013 – Listed (Active)


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