Good Deal or Not? “Opportunities like this do not come along often” edition

by Prince Of Petworth June 6, 2014 at 12:55 pm 30 Comments

4914 Ashby Street Northwest

This house is located at 4914 Ashby Street, NW. The listing says:

“Opportunities like this do not come along often. Sited on a level 11,250 sq ft lot, this home is ready for the next owner to create their dream home. Build, renovate or remodel, the potential is there. Located one block off MacArthur and walking distance to all the great offerings in the area. Open Sunday 6/8 1-4.”

You can see more, uh, interesting photos here.

This 6 bed/2.5 bath is going for $1,100,000.

  • Nope

    If I had any money at all I’d buy that ish tomorrow. Barbie dream house.
    Wouldn’t even renovate it. Just gonna rip out that hideous carpeting on the stairs.

    • Anonymous

      Me either! The crazy wall colors/coverings give it so much character, and the attic space is adorable.

      • Anonymous

        I bet there’s a lot of smells in that house that add to the character as well.

  • holy crap.

  • shawguy

    Wow… just… wow. Assuming it is structurally sound, this is going to get snatched up by a developer in a heartbeat. You could completely renovate that and landscape the property for a few hundred grand and *easily* sell it for $2m+. I’m curious to see what happens to it!

  • CPT_Doom

    This place is why we need “Property Brothers” here in the States. If the bones are good, it’s a deal, because of the size, but man does that need a down-to-the-wall-studs reno.

    • They do film in the states now, just not in DC.

  • Anonymous

    First time I’ve seen this neighborhood advertised as being walking distance to things. Walkability must be really trendy now!

  • Brian

    Never, even if I had that kind of money.

  • frickorfrack

    You would need to wear your “revolutionary costume” to own that place….but tres’ cool.

  • Anonymous

    Do Big Edie and Little Edie convey with the price?

    • VarnumGuy

      This FTW!

  • sbc

    Oof. Cannot imagine spending over a million dollars and then having some pretty significant renovations to do (no central air, and it looks like some serious water damage in the blue bedroom). It was not surprising when I looked it up on the real property database that the owner is getting the senior tax deduction. It’s a LOT of house for an older person to keep up. Interestingly, there’s a recordation date in 2005. Could be a refinancing or a reverse mortgage. I doubt the house changed hands that recently.

    • Jay

      Obviously it’s a mess now, but the potential is crazy. If you have a budget of $1.1 million I wouldn’t do it. But imagine you have a budget of $1.5 million. You buy this for $1.1 million, poor several hundred thousand into renovations, and easily end up with a $2 million home. This sort of thing is how the rich get richer.

      • sbc

        absolutely. I love the idea of fixing a place up and still mourn “the house that got away” during my real estate search–good transit and schools, in our price range because of its rather intense ugliness, and could have been made significantly better with paint, removing carpets, and refinishing floors. My wife is less interested in DIY or dealing with contractors and we wound up with a smaller but much lower-maintenance home.

        This might be a bargain for someone who wants a $2m house done exactly to their specifications and doesn’t mind supervising a major project. I’m thrilled people like that want to live in DC because it means lots of jobs and tax revenue. I just meant the idea that I personally could have so much money that I could buy a $1.1m fixer upper boggled my mind.

  • Anonymous

    one of the best flip jobs i have seen.

  • Anonymous

    I love how the pictures get progressively more shocking.

  • Anonymous

    WOW. Obviously it needs some serious updating and TLC, but I just love these big, rambling old homes. A lot of awesome spaces in there. And that widow’s walk! Awesome. I hope someone with a lot of money and love of old homes buys and updates (fat chance, I know, but a person can dream…).

  • anonymous

    I read about this house elsewhere. IIRC (and I might be confusing this with another house), an elderly grandmother lived there for decades until her passing, and frequently had her grandkids over – I’m thinking the interior reflects her style from 30 years ago, and she never renovated.

  • Anonymous

    I would hope that someone would buy this and restore it, but it will probably be torn down and a spec house built in its place. Unfortunately it would certainly be cheaper! It’s fascinating to walk some of those blocks off of MacArthur. Among all of the seriously high end (and usually new) houses there are literal shacks still standing, mostly belonging to elderly residents. Aren’t there still a couple renovated Sears homes down there? They will probably all be gone in a few decades replaces by McMansions on too small lots.

    • jcm

      I think you might be able to tear it down and build two spec house, depending on the width of the lot.

  • Anonymous

    You’d think that with the anticipation of a 3-percent commission on a $1.1M house, the agent could have done some staging. Or persuaded the (eccentric?) owners to let him do some staging.
    The downstairs didn’t look so bad, other than the cluttered porch, some indoor untidiness, the crazy wallpaper in the kitchen, and whatever the hell is going on with the kitchen ceiling (is it decorated with record sleeves? handpainted portraits? both??)… but things got pretty weird with the pink-trim bathroom and then got weirder from there: all the stripped beds, crazy shades of paint, etc.
    And the wallpaper in that last bathroom and in the attic (?) bedroom makes me think of the Charlotte Perkins Gilman short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” — one could definitely go crazy looking at it.

    • textdoc

      Oops, that was me.

    • A lot of older sellers don’t realize the value of staging, and aren’t willing to part with any extra pennies (assuming this seller is still alive, and it’s not an estate sale). You could make the argument that the agent could easily afford to pay for it themselves given that commission, but not many I’ve met strike me as the types who would.

      • textdoc

        Yeah, I guess so. :(
        It just seems kind of sad to me, partly because making photos like this public exposes the owner to all kinds of disbelief/mocking/ridicule — if this were my eccentric older relative, I’d want her to be shielded from that. (Fortunately, the owner is unlikely to be frequenting the blogosphere.)
        Even if the agent wasn’t going to go in for a full-on staging, you’d think he/she could at least straighten the chairs around the kitchen table, move the porch clutter out of view while shooting the photo, etc. And put some freakin’ bedclothes on the beds. The higher the price that the house fetches, the higher the commission.

        • Anonymous

          I dunno, I kinda love the old furniture and the style. Sure it’s a bit messy, and there is definite water damage, but I have nothing negative to say about this. I’d even want to keep some of that furniture (especially the wonderful secretary desk in the pink room and the gorgeous Victorian sofa in what looks to be the attic).

          • Anonymous

            Whoever the people are who live here now – I like them. Of course it’s a bit crazy – but I’m tired of everything looking the same.

  • ET

    I assume some developer will pick this up but I think given how much work needs to be done (ACK on that first bathroom pic) over one mill is too pricey even given the size.

  • spartanindc

    Good deal — Can turn this into a haunted house no problem.

  • Lmi

    I love it!


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