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How Much the Mount Pleasant House that “needs structural repairs” Sold For in 24 Days

by Prince Of Petworth April 1, 2016 at 11:25 am 32 Comments


Hipchickindc (aka Suzanne Des Marais) is a licensed real estate broker. She is an associate broker with Bediz Group, LLC at Keller Williams Capital Properties . Unless specifically noted, neither she nor the company that she is affiliated with represented any of the parties or were directly involved in the transaction reported below. Unless otherwise noted, the source of information is Metropolitan Regional Information Systems (MRIS), which is the local multiple listing system and/or Real Estate Business Intelligence (RBI). Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Featured Property: 3302 19th St NW
Legal Subdivision: Mount Pleasant
Advertised Subdivision per Listing: Mount Pleasant
Bedrooms: 3 Baths: 3 Parking: Detached Garage Ownership: Fee Simple
Lot Square Footage: 2212 square feet
Original List Price: $795,000.
List Price at Contract: $650,000.
Original List Date: 10/24/2015
Days on Market: 24 (was off market in between 2015 listing & present listing)
Settled Sales Price: $565,000.
Seller Subsidy: $0.
Settlement Date: 03/08/2016
Transaction type: Standard

Original GDoN post is: here.

The listing can be seen here: here.

Unfortunately, the sales price in relation to the list price is not an April Fools joke. Over the past six months, fee simple homes in Mount Pleasant have sold with a 99.36% median list to sales price ratio, so this is truly an anomaly. Current median sold price for fee simple homes in Mount Pleasant is $962,500.

Offered in the multiple listing system for sale in October 2015 at a price of $795,000, the listing status changed to contingent contract in November, then was eventually changed to off market. There was no mention of specific concerns in that listing.

The home was re-listed at a much lower price in February 2016 with very clear language stating “This property needs structural repairs. Please see disclosures and attached Engineering Reports provided by the Seller.” This knowledge is what is referred to as a material fact, which, by DC law, must be disclosed to potential buyers.

DC housing stock is generally around 100 years old, and, for the most part, was built good and sturdy. Stuff can happen to a house over a century, however. Some issues that can cause structural problems include water, fire, or termite damage, significant settling from internal (load bearing) or external issues (like the underlying soil), as well as removal or alteration of original structural features of the house.

Even if it might end up being a good deal, the buyer pool for a house with known structural issues is generally limited to buyers paying cash. Even with specific construction financing, banks generally do not like to lend on properties with known structural issues to owner occupants who are not experienced builders due to the higher level of risk involved.

The listing agent for this sale was Rob Low with the Linda Low Team at Long and Foster Real Estate, Inc. Per the listing, the Buyer represented his or herself.

  • Formerly ParkViewRes

    565k!!! WOW, that’s a heck of a deal.

  • JS

    I’d be really interested in knowing what was wrong with this house. It has to be really really bad, because what would otherwise be a $1 million house just sold for south of $600K.

    • Formerly ParkViewRes

      Not necessarily. I mean structural issues aren’t good, but I know a few people who have bought houses with structural issues and had it fixed. I think this is pretty telling: “Even if it might end up being a good deal, the buyer pool for a house with known structural issues is generally limited to buyers paying cash. Even with specific construction financing, banks generally do not like to lend on properties with known structural issues to owner occupants who are not experienced builders due to the higher level of risk involved.”

      • JS

        I mean, maybe, but this house A) went under contract $150K less than list; and B) was reduced another $100K at close. I’m betting it’s worse than some rotted joists and and a little bit of underpinning.

  • SilverSpringGal

    *whistles* They lost 179,000 on that house.

    • JS

      Probably more like $200K+, when you consider closing costs on the purchase (ouch) and sale (ooof).

      • SilverSpringGal


    • Formerly ParkViewRes

      I cannot imagine. I know someone who lost $455k on a house!!! (In Va, not DC though)

      • DC Runner

        Eek. How?

        • Formerly ParkViewRes

          Bought in 2005 during the housing craziness at an already too high price and then the market fell off a cliff in 2007. They just sold it back in December 2015 and it just never really recovered from what it lost in value.

          • DC Runner

            What neighborhood? That’s stunning.

  • HaileUnlikely

    Oof. Previous owner bought this house for $744K in 2007. Assuming the structural issues were not so evident as to cause a typical buyer to want to consult a structural engineer at that time, this guy is almost uniquely unlucky.
    On a related note, I wonder if the structural issues in question are unique to this house or whether they are common to others/many/all of those in this row. The slope of the land behind these houses is very steep. The back yards don’t go back very far, yet the vertical distance from the alley to the house is well over half the height of the house. It would make me nervous if I were thinking about buying on this side of this street.

    • That Man A

      I believe the damages were directly related to this issue
      if i remember correctly it was foundation issues and something about the back yard needing to be built up

    • AnonV2

      This is absolutely the issue. It would take very little erosion back there to cause concern, and the fixes would be $$$$ if you let it sit unaddressed until walls started to crack, etc. I’m guessing these folks bought the house originally without an inspection contingency and it came back to bite them big time.

    • Anonymouse

      I’m not sure it’s *just* the backyard slope. Mr. Mouse and I toured this house when it was listed last fall and someone had bumped out the master bedroom into the sunroom and taken out what appeared to be a load-bearing wall. The basement floor was also considerably sloped and smelled strongly of mold.

      • HaileUnlikely

        Obviously not the questionable bump-out and removal of the wall, but the sloped basement floor and smell of mold are likely related to the crazy slope of the land and related settling or erosion.

  • HaileUnlikely

    I wonder if the owner before the one who just lost his shirt was aware of the problems, but perhaps did not have actual documentation of them and thus got away with not disclosing them. That owner bought in Dec 2005 for $695K and sold only 21 months later for $744K, basically just enough profit to break even after closing costs.

    • Anon

      HaileLikely? Though I doubt the subsequent buyer is able to do much about that now. This just goes to show that home buying carries very expensive risks, even in Boomtown USA.

  • john

    interestingly, 3240 (just 4 houses away) sold in 7/2014 for $950,000 and from old listing photos seems to have very been well maintained) yet the new owner has never moved in. Today the house is totally gutted and work is being done. Makes me wonder if the new owners encountered structural issues as well after they took possession. $950K seems like a lot to pay for a total gut-job – at least IMO it does.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Given when I strongly suspect the structural issues are, I suspect that most of this whole row has similar issues.

      • Anon

        Backs of the houses falling down a hill?

        • HaileUnlikely

          Assuming this is intended to be hyperbole, then basically, yeah, that’s the idea.

    • Anonymous

      The owners indeed moved in, with their kids. (I met them at their house party, and they were most definitely living there.) Then they moved out for extensive renovations, primarily design-related from what I understand. I do not know if that included structural repairs.

      • john

        my bad – I thought the work started soon after the sale sign came down. guess my nosy neighbor snooping skills need to be improved :)

  • Hurleybird

    Mount Pleasant is **full** of crappily built and mass-produced, structurally problematic homes. People get distracted by the trees and the claim that they are “historic” and hip, but it’s no different than the endless rows of identical, particle board homes now being built in Reston or Manassas. The fact that they were massed produced by a get-rich-quick developer in the 1920s, rather than the 2000s shouldn’t make people think they are going to be more sturdy.

    • soozles

      This is just false. These houses were mass produced, yes, in the 1910s to house the growing federal workforce, but are rock solid and hardly crappily built. For one thing, the floor joists are closer together, and the houses are oak and brick and not particle board covered with vinyl siding. The plaster walls have held up as have the windows in most cases, save for the sash cords that have to be replaced periodically. The attention to detail in wood trim around the windows and doors is phenomenal. The construction is far superior to what they’re doing today, which is why they’re in pretty good shape after 100 years.

      Some of the structural problems have occurred because of settling, but some is because the neighborhood is basically sliding down the hill into Rock Creek. I had a neighbor on Irving who paid thousands to secure his home with pilings that went through his basement floor and deep into the ground to keep it from sliding. The house on the corner of Kenyon and Adams Mill is a mess because it’s at the end of a row that is sliding down the hill. So that may be the issue with this house.

      • DC Runner

        Depends on the house. Pre 1920 or so some of the houses have hand hewn joists, all of which will need to be replaced eventually. If the joists were machine cut they’ll last much longer.

    • wdc

      Yeah, soozles said it all… the idea that mass-produced housing from the 1910s – 1920s is the same quality as today’s is laughable. I’ve lived in 100 year old tract houses in a few different cities, and they’ve always been in better shape than the houses built in the 1980s or later.

      • HaileUnlikely

        Agreed. My house was built in 1978 and the builder took a lot of fairly egregious shortcuts. However, well-built does not necessarily mean trouble-free, for the potentially very expensive reasons that soozles also notes.

  • Philippe Lecheval

    Wow, I’d been wondering what Rob Lowe was up to these days.

  • ExWalbridgeGuy

    Old neighbor of mine bought a place in Mt. Pleasant… had lost a couple bids so they waived the inspection. Moved in and discovered structural problems that cost them like nearly $100,000 to fix in the first year after moving in… One lesson here is never waive your inspection contingency…

    • Becket98

      Or do a pre-offer inspection so you know what you’re getting into. But yes, in general, I agree – Never just waiver your inspection contingency and walk into a home purchase blind.

      Also, I have to say that MP homes are generally in terrific condition. People may want to invest money in a home for some modern upgrades, but these homes have great bones and are in a beautiful location.


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