GDoN “200 sqft PRIVATE patio terrace” edition

by Prince Of Petworth June 23, 2016 at 12:15 pm 27 Comments

2001 12th Street Northwest

This unit is located at 2001 12th Street, Northwest. The listing says:

“Large, modern 1bd + den w/ 2 full baths & a 200 sqft PRIVATE patio terrace. Gorgeous custom closets, new hw floors, new water heater, marble baths, and upgraded kitchen. NOT a ground floor unit. Includes a garage PARKING spot. Lowest condo fees in DC for a doorman building w/ a gym, party room, and roof-deck. Across from U St. metro in the heart of U Street corridor near 14th Street. Pet Friendly!”


You can see more photos here.

This 1 bed + den/2 bath is going for $599,900 ($383 monthly fee.)

  • mcd

    This seems like a really good deal to me. So much so I am trying to figure out what is wrong with it. Spacious unit, private balcony, low fees…whats the catch? I would think this would be priced closer to 700k. The “den” doesn’t look too small either- easily a second bedroom. Maybe they just want a bidding war?

    • elizml

      This building suffered a bad fire late last year so my first thought was “renovations or fire damage repairs?”

      • DC_KT

        +1 You have to think the condo fee is going to go way up and/or special assessments to pay for the fire damage. I looked at a few units in this building last summer (pre fire) and the units were very nice, but the building itself/common areas seemed a little run down, and very active with lots of young people coming in and out constantly, which made me think there are a lot of renters there. (Not a problem if you’re young yourself and that’s what you’re looking for, obviously!) Obviously a very happening location, but for me (late-30 something) if I had that budget I’d be looking at houses rather than a condo, however nice. If you just add 400/month to your budget (because no condo fee) that would up the amount of mortgage you could get quite a bit.

        • anon

          Why would condo fees need to go up? Wouldn’t insurance cover the repair costs?

          • textdoc

            When my condo building had a fire, the insurance premiums went up and our condo fees went up as a result.

        • anon

          Common fallacy. Only true if you don’t intend to insure your home (which you will need to do if you have a mortgage anyway) – condo fees cover building insurance. And other repairs necessary to the building. So, that you save the $400 is also only true if you never intend to fix or replace things in your house as necessary – that is, you intend to live with a leaky roof if it leaks, not repair doors if they are broken into, not fix or replace the boiler or hot water heater if they break (granted, this is only a true comparison with buildings where these are common and not individually provided, but that is the case for many DC condos), etc. If you buy a house never planning to spend a penny for insurance or repairs, you will surely be in trouble eventually.

          • DC_KT

            I’m not saying those things don’t cost money, just that if you buy a house in good condition, it’s unlikely to cost you 400/month in repairs every month. Most condos I know of have their own hot water heaters; I had to replace mine immediately upon moving in. It’s nice not to have to think about the roof or snow removal in the winter, etc., but many condos’ fees also end up paying for common elements that you may or may not use. Mine has a pool and I can’t swim, so that doesn’t really do much for me. In a house you’re likely to have a few huge bills occasionally, when something needs fixing; in a condo it’s spread out with a smaller bill every month, that quite possibly will total up to be more.

          • HaileUnlikely

            You both have points here. If you do not save up for repairs, you will be in trouble when the roof or the HVAC need immediate replacement and you don’t have $10K lying around. On the other hand, these are things that should last for 20+ years, not things that you need to do every couple of years. House repairs other than roof and HVAC are nowhere near that level of expense unless you have problems with your foundation (e.g., a brand new top of the line hot water heater is < $2000 installed). My hazard insurance on my single family home is $70/month. If I were to save the remainder of this place's fee ($383-$70 = $313) every month, it would way more than cover all repairs, and when I sell my house and move, I bring my savings with me to my new home. With a condo, those fees just go in the pot, and when you move, they'll go toward your old neighbors' and your buyer's maintenance, you don't get to take them with you.

          • JoDa

            Apropos of nothing, unless you have a phobia of water, I would strongly encourage you to learn how to swim, DC_KT. If you’re ever near water where you might fall in, it could save your life. DC offers cheap adult swimming classes at all public pools, which a friend who didn’t learn to swim until he was an adult (over 30) gave rave reviews (I was a lifeguard and swim instructor when I was a teen/young adult, he knew that, and he asked me questions to see if he was getting good instructions…he was). You may love, like, tolerate, or hate swimming, but at least you can get yourself out of the water safely if you have basic swimming skills.

            Otherwise, the general rule of thumb is that you should save 1-2% of your home’s value for repairs or replacements each year, in a single-family home (depending on the age and condition of your home). So, if you owned a home worth $600K, that would be $6000. As an owner in a condo association, we spend somewhere between .1 and .25% of home value on my share of common element maintenance, and I save another almost 1% of my home’s value for the things I’m responsible for like appliances and fixtures inside my unit, so I think the fee on this is pretty reasonable (.07% of home value if it sells for list). The fire may or may not change that re: insurance.

      • Anon

        Paper thin walls. Ugly, cheaply built building. Lots of renters/turnover.

        • GBinCH

          I second that on the thin walls and cheap construction. The building is nice enough, but not something I’d want to plonk down a wad of cash on. I looked at one unit here and the whole time of my viewing (after work, around 7pm), I could hear a baby crying through the wall from a next door unit. Not something I would enjoy coming home to after a long day of work.

    • anon

      Seems priced high to me. It is a one-bedroom – a large one-bedroom but still a one-bedroom. A den, a windowless room, is really only good for storage of various things, and perhaps to stash an occasional houseguest overnight – I certainly don’t like spending time in windowless rooms. And the kitchen is apparently (no photo shows a window) as well, which is a deal-breaker for me. The bedroom storage, and two baths if you need that, are nice, but offset by the terrace issue – I can’t tell from the photos whether the terrace access makes the apartment unsafe as it is, or not – always an issue for me when considering outdoor space.

      • tom

        It’s all about the location and the terrace. I was looking at these a few years ago and absolutely lusted after the large outdoor area you get. It’s on the interior of the building, so the only safety issue would be one of the neighbors breaking in…there would be no access from anyone on any of the nearby streets. I also believe (but don’t know) that the kitchen would be open to the living room, so it’s not like you’d be closed in. But again, I’m just speculating. My biggest concern would be common area noise. I lived in a TERRIBLE condo in NE where you could hear absolutely everything, so I”m real gun-shy about certain types of construction…not that I can say that’s a problem here, but if I was interested, that would be my only concern.

  • anon

    As of a month ago, a large portion of the building hasn’t been able to move back in after the fire. These owners must be desperate to sell now – I imagine they’re going to take quite a hit.

    • AB

      It’s not actually a large portion of the building but there are several units still under repair. Hallways were all renovated so that 15 year old carpet is now gone. The common area are much improved.

      It’s typical of newer construction that isn’t “luxury” in that you may sometimes be aware that you have neighbors. It’s rarely a serious issue. I could have spent $100K more for less space in a luxury building, but I prefer the space. For people who are very sensitive to noise, I’d discourage you from living in this neighborhood at all. Being in a row house instead of a condo probably won’t address your concerns.

      • textdoc

        I had the impression that pretty much _all_ new buildings had issues with sound carrying between units — not just non-“luxury” ones.

        IME, the kind of noise you hear from inside an older rowhouse is solely outdoor noise — cars, sirens, etc. In a newer apartment building or townhouse complex, you can hear outdoor noise PLUS noise from your next-door (and potentially upstairs/downstairs) neighbors.

        • anon

          This is true, in my experience, with row houses – unless you happen to have unusually noisy neighbors, which can happen occasionally.
          Also true with new construction multiunits – which is why I far prefer older, solid buildings that were built with thick walls and floors between units.

  • Anonymous

    Years later I STILL have not stopped kicking myself for passing up the opportunity to ‘buy new’ in this building.

    • Planner

      Me too. It would have been a real stretch at the time (I forget the price) but with the way that neighborhood has changed I think would have been worth it. But – instead, I went away to grad school which was altogether not a good choice. Oh well

  • Angry Parakeet

    It’s not a luxury building, but when it was constructed it was an “urban pioneer” for the neighborhood which was rough and underpopulated back then.

    • Anonymous

      My friends recently sold their 1BR in here and had big downpayment for their rowhouse in Petworth. She snagged a ton of equity in 15 years. Then again, for the first 6 or 7 years she wouldn’t walk on the sidewalks outside her own home; it was too sketchy. She only regrets not buying a 2BR initially.

  • Rich

    I recall looking at 2 bedroom in this building which was absolutely claustrophic–tiny rooms and a general air of cheap construction.

  • Lincoln Condo Survivor

    I lived in this building for 4 years and I hated it and am SO glad I don’t live there anymore. I got a least 2 emails a week from the condo listserv from people asking for use of parking spots for their relatives or themselves for free. I would’ve died in that fire had I been home because I never evacuate given the number of false alarms that happen in that building–at least once a month. Everyone I know who lives in this building has dealt with noise and noise complaints from every neighbor (upstairs, downstairs, on either side). That courtyard is so loud on the weekends, I can’t imagine enjoying it since it’s also a fishbowl since it’s in the inner courtyard and everyone would be able to hear your conversations, and would never lay out in there (not that it gets sun).

    • Lincoln Condo Owner

      That’s not true. The courtyard area is totally quiet. In the four years I’ve lived here (in a unit facing the courtyard), I’ve never heard anyone in the courtyard. People will grill on the roof deck and there isn’t a grill or table in the courtyard (the tables and grill are all on the roof so the courtyard is a quiet oasis). Also, after the fire, all the units were required to remodel their floors with a thick soundproof material. Personally, I have never heard my upstairs neighbors me and I have never seen anyone complain on the listserv about noise from their neighbors but I imagine that now that every unit has had to have the special soundproof flooring installed, it definitely will not be an issue. You are right about people asking for parking spots for relatives on the weekends but that’s because is a nice community and neighbors who are going to be out of town don’t mind letting someone’s family member use their space!

    • I lived in this building (as a renter in two different units) for 8 years before I relocated to a different state and I absolutely LOVED it. I left a few months before the fire and agree that there were many false alarms, but maybe one every couple of months. I never had a problem with noise, except from the Islander across the street.

  • Owner of the Unit

    I’m so thrilled my unit is on GDoN! So awesome. To answer two common questions from commenters: (1) we had a condo board meeting last night and the condo board president said they do NOT plan to have a special assessment; and (2) This is the quietest condo ever — there is no street access and the condo is in the interior courtyard on the “second floor” of the building (it’s the floor ABOVE the lobby and garage). The builder of the Lincoln designated this as the “first floor,” however, other condo buildings in the area designate the floor above the lobby as the “second floor” (such as the Union Row condo building and the 2020 Condos across the street). There is absolutely no street noise and no way anyone can access the unit from the street. I used to lay in the hammock at night to watch the stars and would fall asleep.

    It’s a good deal because the patio scaffolding on my neighbor’s unit is being removed on Tuesday, June 28th (in four days) and the new hallway carpeting is getting installed in two weeks (the first week of July); but I can’t afford to wait and keep paying two mortgages (I bought a new condo in April). By the time a potential buyer moves in (assuming they have a 20-30 day closing at the end of July), the building will be in tip-top shape again! With brand new carpeting, new rooftop furniture, and a renovated lobby!
    Feel free to come to the Open House on Sunday or come by with your agent anytime before Sunday or on Monday! Offers are being accepted on Tuesday!!! Also, please feel free to check out the updated pictures on Redfin with a 3D view! https://www.redfin.com/DC/Washington/2001-12th-St-NW-20009/unit-113/home/10183101

  • Katie

    Unit 402 is also on sale in the building and just went under contract today (they were asking $579,000 but apparently got an offer in two days that was good enough that they decided to cancel their Open House on Sunday). It is a much smaller unit that faces the street and does not have a patio. That unit smelled like cigarette smoke and did not have any updates. So it is now under contract for at least $660 a square foot. Unit 113 is definitely a good deal.


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