Good Deal or Not? “City living at it BEST!!” edition (reader request)

by Prince Of Petworth February 28, 2014 at 1:00 pm 30 Comments


This unit is located at 1426 Rhode Island Ave, NW. The listing says:

“City living at it BEST!! Fabulous light filled owners unit plus lower level rental. Owners unit features a fully equipped kitchen with granite counters and SS appliances, LR/DR with wood burning FP, refinished HDWD FLRS, loads of light from the floor to ceiling windows, large master suite with spa like master bath, den/study with full bath and laundry plus roof top deck and garage pkg.”

You can see a virtual tour here.

This 2 bed/3.5 bath is going for $699,996 ($415 monthly fee.)

  • Anonymous

    that’s super cool. will sell in a heartbeat.

  • Anonymous

    The place is built like a bunker and quite utilitarian, but this a pretty awesome deal for the location and square footage. Good luck buying a similar sized townhouse around here for less than $1 million. I think the entrance to this place is on the back alley side of the building. Nice double height living room.
    That basement apartment scares me. I don’t even think there is a window.

  • Chris

    Where is the second bedroom?

    • Anonymous

      Basement apartment.

  • Anon

    Looks like it’s already been on the market for ten days, so maybe it’s not quite as great a deal as it seems from the listing.

  • katemc

    The catch here is that it’s a one-bedroom house, where the bedroom is on the third floor. The “second bedroom” is in the basement. So, while you have the benefit of a rental unit, you are still talking about a 700,000 dollar one-bedroom with a second seating area.

    • textdoc

      And not only that, from the floorplan it looks like the basement “bedroom” isn’t even a bedroom — there’s no separation between the living room and the bedroom, and even if there were, the “bedroom” has no windows and no closet. (It looks like the only window in the basement apartment is the one in the living room, and the only closet is a hall closet.)
      Cathedral ceilings generally strike me as a waste, and they seem like an especially big waste in this house. The “sitting section” could’ve been a whole middle floor.

  • BadgerWonk

    It’s a very cool design, but I’m getting some crazy claustrophobia from the photos! I would slap a baby for that deck, however.

  • That Man A

    Nice alternative to a condo in that area imo

    wouldnt call it a cuper deal as a townhome though… its small and really is a 1br

    • Anon

      I think it is technically a condo, not a townhouse.

  • Anonymous

    At first glance, it looks great. At second, it looks creepy. Open spaces that don’t really seem usable in a comfortable way. The fireplace is nice — but how cramped would the living room be with a sofa and a few chairs instead of just one? Looks like a great place for a hermit who likes to cook. Or maybe just hang out on the deck.

  • Anonymous

    I think this place is pretty freaking cool

  • Phoebe

    Is there a refrigerator in that basement apartment? Lots of unusable space throughout unless you are a two-dimensional person. Concur with comments above — very claustrophobic, but I, too, would slap a baby for the deck.

    • textdoc

      I think there’s a dorm-size one under the counter.

  • Florista

    They kinda slapped the tile/grout onto the front (foreground of photo) end of that tub in the master bath, no?

  • CE

    It’s cool, but I still hate it. This is the kind of place I’d love to stay in for a weekend. As a permanent house, it’s claustrophobic and kind of creepy, and there’s so much wasted space!

  • textdoc

    I wonder what’s up with the blue tarps over the carport. The carport itself is ugly, and the tarps make it look even worse.

  • Boozehound

    Minor quibble, but the carpeting in the bedroom looks really cheap. I lived in a rental for a couple of years that had been redone as cheaply as possible and it appears to be the same type.

  • annonny

    This place is interesting, though it seems like a lot of wasted space and as others mentioned it’s essentially a 1BR house with a very small basement apartment attached to it. I wonder with the advent of Air BnB if it would be possible to rent out the basement place for a few nights a week and make as much/more as a regular monthly rental. It’s a studio, so how much would one without windows located off an alley actually go for with a lease? $1,500/month? That’s 15 X $100/night on Air BnB.

    • Anonymous

      To me, dealing with airbnb rentals sounds like a real and constant hassle, so it would have to be a lot more income to make me want to essentially take on a part-time job (advertising and emailing with prospective airbnbers, exchanging the key, making sure you get paid, cleaning the place, etc.). Some people here have mentioned having apartments they rent out that way, maybe they could weigh in. Would it really consume some real and quantifiable time (in a way that a typical long-term tenant would not) or am I overestimating the hassle factor?

      • Anonymous

        Another thought, it seems like the income stream would be a lot more variable which could be an issue if you are relying on that income stream to cover a mortgage. What if nobody wants to stay there that month?

      • Airbnb in DC is currently a complete cluster frenzy – with over 1, 400 listings. Maybe 200 of those are good. But even with all that mess, this apt. in this location, would not be desirable when compared to the competition for more than perhaps $75.00 per night – less if you are renting by the month.

      • If you have a really good place in a really good location – i.e. not a dungeon and within 2-3 blocks of a good metro it can definitely be worth the hassle. But Airbnb is currently a complete mess for DC. There are some good places, but you have to really know the city well and figure out how to search on their website.

  • Rich

    Narrow entry, the second floor just seems like wasted space all the way around. I’ve walked passed it 100s of times but can’t place the entrance. The basement seems very awkward.

    There’s a condo fee, so it is a condo. THs are sometimes called “fee simple” townhouses (the legal name) when they are truly separate.

  • timmyp

    700K for this? You have to be kidding right? People are losing their marbles. Sure the location is pretty good but you can go to Petworth and buy an actual house for less than that. A two or three bedroom fully renovated with either a basement or a basement apartment and no $415 a month condo fee. The monthly payment on that has to be like $3,500. And what do you get for that? A weirdly set up, terribly cheap upholstered One bedroom condo with a rentable basement that has no real refrigerator. Deck is great and I too would slap a baby for that but not at that cost. To what end people? To what end?

    • Anonymous

      An the old “you could buy a bigger house for this price in anger location” argument. Guess what – you can buy a detached Victorian mansion in Cumberland maryland for 20 grand. Good luck on your commute.

  • textdoc

    Seeing the basement apartment with a two-burner stove, no oven, and a dorm-size fridge makes me glad that I didn’t put in a similarly abbreviated kitchen in my basement apartment, but instead opted for a full stove with oven and a proper-sized fridge.

  • xminustdc

    700K for a one bedroom? I guess you could make some of it back with a tenant in that really scary basement studio apartment. Overall, there seems to be a LOT of wasted space.

    At first I thought it was pretty cool, unique and all. But the more I look at it, it just seems like it could be laid out a little better. What’s the square footage? It seems super small. Also, that long entry way is a turn off. I know that sounds stupid, but it just makes it feel so much more closed in.

    Compare this with the 2BR/2.5BA unit right on 14th Street between N and RI above B Too that just dropped to $725 yesterday and this listing seems absurd. The 14th St unit is only one floor, but has a great patio, a much more efficient floorplan, tons of light, and seemingly better fixtures.

    It looks like they found a townhouse or an alley, split the area in half and put up some drywall without caring how it was laid out. Now, if you could take this townhouse and combine it with the one next door that looks like it may be similar? Then you’re talking.

    • xminustdc

      (also, yes, in case you didn’t notice– I’m totally coveting the 2BR/2.5BA unit above B Too that I cannot even remotely afford)

  • no deal

    also key to keep in mind – that right side party wall as you enter appears to be shared with hotel helix, not another house or business or apt. building.

    when you consider how far back it’s set, you are paying 700K plus over 400 in condo fees to live behind a hotel.

    Also, who are your neighbors in the condo group? how many are there? how could the fees possibly be that high? i pay less than half of that in fees in a 4 unit boutique cut-up house.


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