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GDoN “oversized balcony” edition

by Prince Of Petworth December 1, 2015 at 12:40 pm 17 Comments


This house is located at 620 3rd Street, Southwest. The listing says:

“Wonderful opportunity to own tandem unit in popular SW Waterfront. 2 bed upper unit receives abundant light in every room with generous open living area, modern kitchen & oversized balcony. Separate lower level has full bath & kitchen with walk-out rear porch. 2 parking spaces & W/D in each unit. Minutes to the Metro, grocery, restaurants, National Mall, downtown, & incredible new Waterfront dev.”


You can see more photos here.

This 3 bed/2.5 bath is going for $574,555 ($594 monthly fee.)

  • anon

    at first i thought great deal. then i saw the kitchen, bathrooms, and carpeting, and now i think ok deal.

  • another anon

    what is the name for that kind of alternating brickwork above the window? lattice brick? i just made that up, but its not implausible.

  • GBinCH

    I know this will sound asinine, but what an unattractive house. That alone makes me say this is a bad deal.

  • How does one determine if their balcony is “oversized” or appropriately sized?

    • dcd

      In this house, you compare it to the kitchen. If it’s bigger, it’s oversized.

  • sbc

    I think good deal. The bottom level is rentable and that defrays a lot of the mortgage…or pays for the new bathroom and other (mostly minor) renovations, like painting and replacing carpet. Single units with 2brs and 1.5 baths are selling in the low-mid 500s in the complex, though they do have more square footage. This also comes with 2 parking spaces, one for each unit.

    The challenge with these dual-unit condos is that it can be hard to get financing.

  • Spookiness

    Sure, needs some interior upgrades, but friends lived in these and i like the natural light you get. Cozy in their own way. I regret not buying one of these years ago.

  • Bob

    I think this is a really good deal. The lower studio apartment would probably be easy to rent. I mean a studio with a parking spot and a small outdoor area would probably go for around $1500 per month, which covers the condo fee and half the mortgage. That alone makes it a good deal for the upper unit. Where else in DC can you own a 2 bed. 1.5 bath condo with parking and outdoor space, and only pay around $1300 per month out of pocket?

  • petworther

    This is a condo, but I don’t see a condo fee listed. Any idea what it is?
    Okay deal, depending on the condo fee. It needs updating and has a boring layout. I don’t like the neighborhood at all, but the location is convenient for the price.

    • shaw

      HOA fee is $594 each month. Covers water, trash, exterior maintenance and landscaping, but does not include any other utilities.

      • NoCo

        $594 for a HOA fee that isn’t a co-op seems incredibly high.

        • well

          It’s really for two units though–a studio and a 2br. So it’s more like $200 a month for the studio and $400 for the larger unit. Part of the expense in this development is that they are townhouses on several blocks of land. So there are more sidewalks, roofs, gutters, exterior lights, trees, etc. than you would have if this were 250 apartments in a single building. The water bill is also higher because DC water has an impervious surface charge by the square foot, and this complex has a parking space for every unit (2 for tandem units). Add to that the fact that the complex is about 50 years old and the fees do add up.

  • shaw

    This is one of the more unusual layouts in the complex. For those who can’t tell by just looking at the photos, the lower floor is that little studio apartment (about 500sqft), and the middle floor is the lower level of the upper unit and has two bedrooms and a bathroom and the top floor has the living room, kitchen, and that balcony. It’s just strange having your bedrooms in the middle and not on the top floor – so much so that a handful of owners have completely gutted and put the kitchen and living room in the middle where they belong.
    Overall, it’s not bad, but you’re paying a premium for that upper unit “new” kitchen, which is (in my opinion) a waste. In a building like this, I’d rather have the stock kitchen and renovate from scratch. Then you’d avoid having cheap cabinets that you can’t match that don’t even go up to the ceiling or have a cabinet over the kitchen. That layout just left a lot of room for dramatic improvement without a substantial increase in cost to the original renovation budget, so it’s a shame to pay a premium for something that needs to get ripped out and redone properly.
    Otherwise, I like it. If you’re willing to do so, you could even live in the studio downstairs for a few years and rent the upstairs (they rent easily, even with that bathroom, for $2,500 a month) to pay down the mortgage and save up for more renovations. Then you’d have a nice place that was pretty affordable. Great deal at $525k. Okay deal at list price. Luckily, still well under the $625k FHA lending limit.

    • Accountering

      Appreciate the input as to this building, and without knowing more, it all seems reasonable. One caveat, the $625k limit is for the actual loan, so a house can be sold for more than that, just the $625 is all you can finance.

    • Sparta

      Upper floor for living room/kitchen and lower (or in this case, middle) floor is pretty standard for SW. Long live 60s-70s architecture. Not.

    • ZetteZelle

      The great advantage of this layout is for the person living in the lower unit–if s/he goes to bed before folks on the upper floor, the upper-floor folks won’t be cooking/watching tv/etc right above where s/he is sleeping.

  • SW-gal

    My husband and I actually own one of the units part of this condo assoc. in SW. On the outside it screams old ’60s architecture but when you walk into it, it’s pretty big (bigger than most typical rowhouses) is airy, open space, floor to ceiling windows that brings in tons of natural light. Because there is so much natural sunlight on both sides/front & back, we fell in LOVE with it the moment we walked in even though our particular unit was very outdated and over the past yrs we’ve spent all our $$ renovating, gutting the kitchen, bathrooms, replacing windows, doors, the studio downstairs, endless it seems. Yes, the condo fees are high but for such a unique place, it’s worth it. The location is fantastic as there are several metro lines, exit right off of 395/295, & Nats Park/Navy Yard is very walkable to. And with the coming of massive Wharf–you guys will all be jealous you don’t live here. : )


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