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“Our row house has been on the market for 40 days and we have not received a single offer”

by Prince Of Petworth June 10, 2016 at 2:10 pm 165 Comments


“Dear PoPville,

Our row house has been on the market for 40 days and we have not received a single offer. I think our proximity to the metro and its Capitol Hill location are great, but it seems that the closed floor plan and the lack of A/C are turnoffs. I thought we were priced right, but am now wondering if we need to do another reduction. I would love to get feedback from the PoP Community.”

The listing says:

“New price! Instant equity! Open House Sunday 6/12 1-3pm. Historic charm meets modern living on a tree-lined street on Capitol Hill! Fall in love with the tin ceiling and hardwood floors. Imagine spending all your time in the renovated kitchen overlooking the dining room on one side & a patio on the other. One block to metro & .5 miles to Barrack’s Row & Eastern Market. PARKING & basement!”

You can see more photos here and here. 513 14th Street, SE is a 3 bed/2.5 bath listed at $680,000.

  • andy2

    Poor marketing and/or too high of a price.

    I think the lack of a master bath on the 2nd floor is a big issue.
    Opening up the first floor and reclaiming some space where the full bath could be a 1/2 bath would be good.
    If you could expand the back bedroom over the kitchen extension and turn that into a real master suite that would be good. If you could stage some of the basement like a tv room – you could show folks the possibilities.

    The other thing is to soften up the back yard. See if you could turn it into a back yard that could also be used for parking if one decided but also had grass/plantings.

    • textdoc

      “Opening up the first floor and reclaiming some space where the full bath could be a 1/2 bath would be good. If you could expand the back bedroom over the kitchen extension and turn that into a real master suite that would be good.”
      I don’t think the OP needs to undertake any big structural renovations to sell this house. I think it’s just a matter of getting the price right to reflect the lack of A/C and some of the other downsides.

    • ET

      Master baths are not common in Hill houses but people like 2 full ones in the house. The parking may be a problem because it is so close to the Metro people in less convenient Ward 6 like to drive to the metro.

      Guess my neighbor isn’t likely to sell for what is a close comp in terms of price and location and they have just listed it for over $700,000….

  • CW

    Well, Barracks Row also isn’t spelled correctly.

  • Former DC house hunter

    My husband and I were searching for a home around this time last year and we looked at similar properties to your home including in that neighborhood. Our experience was that the market was extremely competitive and things like layout became luxuries, not necessities. I would have jumped at the chance to look at your home, but would have walked away immediately when I realized there was no AC. That’s a huge expense to have to add to a home. I think you’re right in that that may be your deal breaker. That tiny bathroom sink in what looks like the upstairs bath would also be tough to deal with. Prospective buyers might see that bathroom as a necessary renovation adding to the dollar signs.

    • textdoc

      +1. IMO, a teeny-tiny sink like that is acceptable only in a powder room… and maybe not even then.
      Is there space to accommodate a larger sink? If there isn’t, that might be part of the problem. It’s not a big deal for a buyer to replace the existing sink if there’s room for a bigger one. If there’s no room for a bigger sink, though, that’s a problem.

      • textdoc

        Oh wait… is the teeny-tiny sink in the _basement_ full bath? That makes it not as bad.
        The sequencing of the photos is problematic in this respect — the basement bathroom photo should come _after_ the photo of the door to the basement, not before.

        • textdoc

          Ahhh… it took me a while (and looking closely at the floorplan) to figure which bathroom was which.
          – The bathroom with the clawfoot tub and the teeny-tiny sink is the 2nd-floor bathroom.
          – The modern-looking bathroom with the two sinks is the 1st-floor bathroom.
          – It looks like the basement has a toilet, but no sink.

        • textdoc

          OP, if the basement does indeed have a toilet but no sink, you might want to have a sink installed.
          I was thinking that maybe you could sell this house without having to change much on the inside, but a potential buyer is going to think, “What’s the use of a toilet if I have to go upstairs to wash my hands?”

          • anon

            these ‘handyman’ bathrooms became popular on the Hill at some time in the 80s/90s. We asked the same question when we inherited one in our unfinished basement, but it’s been put to use by contractors who’ve avoided tracking mess around our home.

            I agree that it makes little sense to not build a sink with it. It was also built in the days before Purelle was common!

          • JoDa

            “Quarter bath.” VV common in my hometown area. Seen plenty around here, but they usually don’t qualify as a half bath. There’s a laundry tub in between the washer/dryer. That’s where we washed our hands when using those quarter baths back home.
            Agree with everything else, though. No A/C AND no forced air makes for an expensive addition, The concrete back “yard” is sad, the second floor bath is severely outdated and appears too small to turn into anything nice/useful, and it appears that all the closets are close to useless in size. Plus my personal pet peeve of the master bedroom being in the front of the house (noise). Though I do understand that historic homes reflect a different time, the price should reflect these major downsides. Not worth almost $700K with all those downsides.
            What really gets me is that the owner is focused on things that aren’t that important, like the closed floor plan, while glossing over the MAJOR downsides. Set your sights a little lower than +43% in 6 years and you will find a buyer.

      • textdoc

        OP: If the 2nd-floor bathroom has no room to accommodate a full-sized sink, I think you will probably have to redo the bathroom — stealing space from one or both of the adjacent bedrooms, if necessary — in order to sell the house.
        I was thinking you could sell the house with no structural renovation, but that tiny sink is going to be a deal-breaker for many (most?) people, especially in conjunction with the lack of A/C.
        The clawfoot tub in the 2nd-floor bathroom is awesome and it would be great if you could keep it (especially since I understand they are heavy as a mutha to remove)… but another idea would be to get rid of the clawfoot tub, put in a shower stall, and use the newly gained space for a full-sized sink/vanity.

        • Hill Denizen

          Woah, reading these comments before viewing the listing, I thought maybe the sink was just a pedestal think, but no, that is TINY. I don’t even know how you could wash your face in that. They should have made the downstairs bathroom smaller to give more space downstairs, and cut into one of the bedrooms for a usable upstairs bath.

          • FridayGirl

            Yeah, even if the price was good that bathroom with the tiny sink is a huge NO for me. I couldn’t deal.

        • anon

          Yes, this – needs a bathroom renovation on the second floor, putting in a full sized sink (i’m partial to decent sized pedestal or wall-hung ones, the old fashioned looking ones, though some would prefer a modern one with vanity storage underneath), and while some couples will demand a double sink in the bathroom near the master bath, other couples and singles will be fine with the single sink that will fit in here, once you remove the clawfoot tub and put in a nice tile and glass shower. Even if that means taking a little slice of space from the back bedroom.

          Or, price for a bathroom renovation needed, which IS needed, as someone may do it, as they have the nice full bathroom on the first floor to use while the upstairs one is being redone. No way should that first floor one be changed to a powder room, it should be left just as it is. And priced like someone needs to install central air.

          Is your broker offering a full 3% commission to other agents? If not, that could be your problem. Also, review what other marketing your agent is doing, compared to what others do. And are you holding open houses every Sunday?

          As to easy fixes, remove furniture. Two sofas in the living room makes it look crowded. Also, get a smaller dining room table and smaller chairs in there, with no tablecloth. And remove any excess furniture you can in the two larger bedrooms.

          The window bars, which I like, as I like the safety, are a turn off for many buyers. You might want to think about removing them for sale. Yes, a buyer could do it – we aren’t talking rationality here, but first impressions.

    • Formerly ParkViewRes

      It’s not a huge expense and having the AC installed yourself adds a ton of equity into the property.

      • textdoc

        The realtor might even want to put that in the listing — something like “Add a $14K Spacepack high-velocity A/C and you’re ready to go!”

        • textdoc

          Er, Spacepak. Or something-pak — maybe I’m misremembering the name.

          • meerswan

            How do people feel about mini-split/duct-free units? I know it’s not ‘central AC,’ but we are considering putting it in our home (open floor plan helps in this regard). How do homebuyers view the mini-splits?

          • Formerly ParkViewRes

            I do not like them. We got a quote for it and it was really expensive to install. Personally, I don’t like them aesthetically. They immediately catch my eye, but maybe it’s because I am not used to it.

          • HaileUnlikely

            No idea how buyers view them. My house came with a poorly designed central HVAC system (AC & heat pump) that hardly gets any air up to the second floor. I am strongly considering replacing it with a ductless mini-split when it requires replacement, mainly for efficiency reasons, though I recognize that some people may not love having the wall- or ceiling-mounted units visible in the rooms.

          • KingmanParkRes

            Our home was flipped and they installed minisplits throughout. We like the ability to run the zones separately – AC only in master bedroom during milder summer days, heat downstairs only when not overly cold in winter. Utility bills have been great. Biggest downside is the lack of airflow in common areas.

            The units themselves disappear after a bit and run nearly silently.

          • ananon

            I would love to have the mini-split system instead of central AC. Even though my home is highly efficient, it just feels super wasteful to cool the entire house when I’m only using one room.

        • Cassie

          Maybe the seller should spend the $14K for the mini-splits, and then up the price to $700K.

          • textdoc

            That’s also a possibility, but that will take time, even if the seller found someone who could start the project on Monday.
            It would also create lots of dust, debris, etc., and all of that would have to be cleaned up and the house re-prettified before going back on the market.

          • meerswan

            the mini-splits shouldnt even cost that much. i got two estimates around 6 – 8k for two wall units, one outdoor unit, 18k btu total.

          • Adam

            We have the SpacePak system at our house on the hill and like it. It cools well and not having the duct work saves a lot of space.

          • Cassie

            I was thinking 7-8 ceiling units (2 exterior units), one for each room and maybe one for the basement.

          • meerswan

            at that cost wouldnt it be worth just doing spacepak?

          • James W.

            How do you figure that if it won’t sell at $680K, that adding $14K of additional work would net a price of $700K? It’s highly unlikely that, at least in this market, buyers are walking because of a tiny sink or lack of an amenity they could remedy for 2% of the purchase price. More likely it is grossly overpriced relative to the location and overall construction standards.

          • west_egg

            James, you might be underestimating the average buyer’s tendency to avoid “big” projects and the general desire for a “move-in ready” home. For many it’s more about hassle than $$.

          • James W.

            My general point was that it’s broadly overpriced and not just based on the lack of AC. If that was the one thing lacking and all else was priced fairly, it’s a competitive enough market that people would at least be making offers. Installing the AC and then marking up the price by 150% of cost isn’t a winning equation for a house that is already languishing on the market. In short, this needs a 6 figure price reduction.

  • PetworthMom

    The lack of the master bath, plus a full bath on the first floor is a big turn off.

    I also personally wouldn’t want all glass front upper cabinets.

    The lack of AC would be a turn off. It also looks really crowded in there. Could you downsize furniture? All the rooms look really, really small exaggerating the closed-off nature of the floor plan.

    Perhaps, you could either lower the price, or offer a seller’s subsidy for an AC unit?

    You’re also now finding the “been on the market for a month, what is wrong with it?” Could you possible delist it and try again later in the year?

    • timmyp2353

      Agreed, a delisting for a bit is necessary. People get spooked when something is on the market for a while in a hot area. Perhaps try to do a few of the things PetworthMom suggested in the interim.
      I think the AC is a big deal but not always a deal breaker. Some people are willing to go with window units but it definitely cuts your pool in half. A seller’s subsidy could potentially bring some of that pool back.

  • georgetowner

    One of the photos is a close-up of a crack where the wall meets the ceiling — made me wonder if there were structural problems. Why include that one? But I agree the lack of AC is a deal-breaker.

    • textdoc

      Agreed — I think the OP/realtor were trying to show off the pattern in the ceiling, but the first thing I saw was the crack.

    • timmyp2353

      I thought the same thing at first but I think it’s supposed to show the molding. The cracks are pretty common in these old houses from years of settling. We have them and they are really nothing more than cosmetic. Bad idea to include that picture though. I’d get rid of it immediately.

  • Sarah

    As someone who bought a year or two ago:

    — The kitchen is a good size but has very little usable storage. Between the window and the breakfast bar, there’s little storage. Is there a pantry? If there is, market that.
    — Take the pots and pans down off the top of the cabinets. That just highlights how little storage the kitchen has. Keep the counters clear, remove bulky kitchenaid tools.
    — Remove the table in the entryway. It makes it look more cramped than it may be.
    — TV over the dining table makes it look like there’s no room for a TV in the living room. You may want to consider how the space is staged, even swapping out the loveseat for a single chair or recliner.
    — Take out picture 14 that shows off the crack in the ceiling.
    — The dresser in picture 19 is blocking both the windows, making the room look smaller than it is. Consider removing the piece from the room to open it up or restaging the furniture.
    — The only bathroom on the bedroom floor would have been the dealbreaker for me — not that there’s no master bath but that I couldn’t begin to get ready every morning at that tiny, tiny corner sink. Same with the not-real shower. If you don’t remodel but get feedback on the bathroom’s condition, consider offering a remodel credit of $5K or $10K to incentivize.
    — Bars. Doesn’t look like your neighbors have bars on the windows. Do you think they are necessary? Could turn off prospective buyers who see bars and get nervous.

    Good luck!

    • textdoc

      Agreed with pretty much everything except removing the window bars.

      • LandS

        when I told a teeny condo,, I staged it by taking EVERYHING except teh basic necessutues out and those I kid. Basically my house looked cominplete sanitized and unlived in ( and I had two dogs). THe more personal-type decorations, etc the less the seller can see themselves in it. (I coulkdn’t help but see the dog calender in the kitch).

  • Formerly ParkViewRes

    Wow, not in the market, but I prefer a house like this over the flips. The price doesn’t seem too high considering the area and it looks to be in good shape. I am really shocked there hasn’t been one offer. Have you had open houses? People have voiced concern over the lack of the AC? We had AC installed in our house and it wasn’t as bad or expensive as people think.

    • jumpingjack

      How much did it cost?

    • Anon

      How much did you spend to install AC? When I got it installed in a place about this size, it was over $20k. I had some (but not all) existing ductwork to work with, I would imagine it would be more expensive if there was nothing pre-exiting (which I assume is true for this place given the radiators).

    • Formerly ParkViewRes

      We had no duct work and had it installed on the first and second floor (not in the finished basement though, which stays pretty cool). It was done for $13,600, but we did get a discount for doing it in the winter when they didn’t have as much AC work. I forget what the exact discount was, but I think it was about 20% less for doing it in the winter. We kept our radiators because I love radiator heat.

      • HaileUnlikely

        That is a very reasonable price given that you were starting from no ductwork. Did you leave the ductwork exposed or DIY some of the finishing, or did this include all labor for finishing walls, ceilings, and maybe floors that would have had to have been cut into to install the ductwork? If all inclusive, that sounds like a very good deal.

        • Formerly ParkViewRes

          No, the exposed ductwork looked horrible IMO. Even though it was hidden in the closets it still bothered me. However, we had a few issues during the process (not cleaning up, cut a hole too large for one duct) so I talked to the owner of the company. He was the person who gave me the estimate, main POC during the process, etc. He very graciously offered to split the cost of closing up the duct work and putting baseboard along it so it matched the closet. That was an additional $500 out of my pocket I think and the owner paid the other half…we had a great experience. We paid cash for half of it and then financed the rest through the company at 0% interest for one year. Recently made the last payment on that wooo!

      • Anonymous

        I had mine done during the summer a couple years ago. It was $13,000, first and second floors but not the finished basement. The ductwork was in the closets and attic, and I left it exposed, not wanting to lose even more closet space closing it in. My house is an end unit, so having the outside unit in the side yard might have a reduced cost, but the inside unit is in the attic, under a flat roof. I was fine with window units for a long time, one large window unit on the first floor and in the bedrooms.
        On the second floor bathroom, the small sink it terrible, and I think the solution is to replace the tub with a shower and have a usable sink, or let the prospective buyers know how much that would cost.
        Also wonder why there are rain barrels in the backyard/parking pad. Not clear how the homeowner can effectively use the collected water.

  • John

    680 is pretty high for no a/c and having to travel down the stairs to a better bathroom. Hate to say it, but I think you’re looking at a price that starts with a 5. (my thinking is based on buying a home last year)

    • stacksp


      680k is basically $700,000 and that is still a lot of money and quite the investment. Once you add on AC installation, bathroom remodeland other personal touches one might add you in addition to the lack of outdoor entertainment space and overall sq ft you are looking at a three-quarter of a million dollar home.

  • MRD

    It’s a lovely house, but four things are making it overpriced: 1) unfinished basement, 2) no outdoor living space, 3) low sf., and 4) not-so-great local school. Number 3 wouldn’t be a big deal if you had at least two of the others.
    You’ll probably have to come down at least another 50k.

    • anon

      the schools are fine. It’s inbounds for Peabody/Watkins/Stuart Hobson. That’s more of a selling point than you realize.

      • Anon again

        If it is inbounds for the Capitol Hill cluster, that’s a GREAT selling point. The best schools on the Hill.

        • smh

          better than Brent and Maury? I don’t think so.

          • anon

            it’s not a question of “better” – it’s a good option in a city of plenty of lousy neighborhood options (some nearby on the Hill). It also has better MS feed than Brent or Maury.

  • Too high on the price for no A/C. You will actually find some people who like the closed floor plan (me being one of them!), but when I was looking, I absolutely would not have considered a house for the price that had no central air.

    • HaileUnlikely

      I agree with this. I would recommend pricing it at slightly less than recent sales prices for similar homes in the area that have central air and a master bath, minus the cost of installing central air and the cost of renovating the upstairs bath. Off the top of my head without having much of any idea what it would cost to install central air in a house that size and layout, I’d say price it $40K lower than what others with central air and a master bath have gone for. Also do much of what Sarah suggested above.

    • textdoc

      Agreed with Amanda and HaileUnlikely — I don’t think the lack of an “open plan” is a big problem, or even a problem, period. (And anyway, the kitchen is open to the dining room.)

  • Anon

    Not sure what the issue is – seems like a pretty good deal to me? Maybe stage with less bulky furniture.

  • asa

    Lack of AC is the biggie. Give someone a credit to install a new system.

    Also: I would see about turning the downstairs into an open area. The living room seems really cramped as does the foyer. And the bars on the window. I realize how vital they can be, but they are ugly and turn off buyers. I would consider changing the color of the bathroom (the yellow one) And what’s up with the crack? I’m sure its nothing, but you do want to seal them up (and definitely not feature in a picture!)

  • Jessica

    The no-AC thing is probably even a bigger issue at this time of year. Buyers would be moving in in the summer. I’d be more likely to consider a no-AC home in the fall or winter when I would have plenty of time to get central AC installed before the next summer.

  • acb
    • RealtorinDC

      acb – This article fails to take into account what is happening to conclude the drop in median home sales price like increase in condo sales, starter homes, and the like. Additionally, making a blanket statement like “The area’s overall median price fell to $430,000 last month, down $5,000 compared with May 2015” is like saying “California has nice weather in the summer”. The DMV is a very wide real estate market. In Cap Hill home sale prices and number of sales are up.

      OP – I’ve shown your home to potential buyers and sold a home on your block in the past few months. The large full bath on the main level is an awkward addition. The placement in what would have been the dining room, unfortunately makes the front living room feel very closed off. Additionally, the basement is hard to access with the very steep, narrow stairs making laundry a chore.

      In my opinion, I would remove yourself from the market over the summer, do some heavy-handed, strategic staging/thinning out of large furniture (like the living room couches), remove personal items and dogs from the premises, replace all of the lightbulbs with bright, new bulbs and consider a new price for the Fall market – go live the first weekend after Labor Day.

      Hope this helps!

  • SLB

    Cute house, but it’s probably overpriced if you don’t have any offers. The lack of central AC, the tiny shared bath on the second floor, and the concrete back yard are expensive projects that are probably issues for prospective buyers at that price point. I’m not sure whether having walls on the main floor is an issue (open floor plans seem to be popular, but a lot of people don’t want to buy a house that looks like a giant apartment) — but even if it is, the solution would seem to be to lower your price, since the first floor bathroom would prevent you from opening it up.

  • What do you mean by “instant equity”? This house is somewhat fairly priced, if not slightly overpriced. I know you have to extol the greatness to some degree, but that just sounds misleading, it’s not being sold at a loss. (at least I hope not, for your sake, since it says it sold for $475K just 6 years ago) It’s definitely a nicer looking house on the renovation side than I would have expect, so good job there, but as some others noted a bit better staging would make the house feel larger. Also not having a closet in one of the bedrooms would be as big a turn off as no AC, since there doesn’t appear to be an easy way to add one if a buyer wanted to. Personally though the biggest turn off for me would be all of the crime in that area around the Potomac metro. I live in Capitol Hill as well (even though this is in Hill East), and seemingly the majority of crime reports I get are centered around the little triangle of Pennsylvania and 13th to 14th SE. Remember, just because someone hasn’t made an offer doesn’t mean that your house isn’t priced “correctly”, per se. It just means that you haven’t found someone who’s willing to accept the good in spite of the bad. You’re already eliminating a huge pool of buyers simply by not having AC installed…maybe just bite the bullet and install it yourself and increase your price accordingly, unless you’re already cash strapped (or look at getting a HELOC to pay for it with some of that equity you say is in it).

  • Kate

    I agree that the biggest issues are no AC and that tiny, tiny upstairs bathroom. It also seems really weird that there’s a TV over the dining room table, but no TV in the living room- is there no space for a TV there? I’d move the DR tv to the LR, take the TV and stand out of the master bedroom and remove a few pieces of the massive furniture from the other bedrooms. Maybe paint the basement door? I’d also add a table and chairs to the back patio and maybe add some potted plants to make it look like a nice place to hang out.

  • Anon

    We actually toured this place… What are the barrels for in your back yard, all I can think about is Breaking Bad?

    • textdoc

      Surely they’re rain barrels, no? Although there seems to be very little greenery in the back to use the water with.

    • Cassie


  • I should get back to work

    Agree with the clutter and staging. Too much visual clutter

    1) Remove table cloth from table. Visual clutter
    2) Bookcase and jewelry bureau need to go. Also not sure what that it is in the corner– a tv stand. Maybe remove the tv stand for the photos and center the bureau. It makes the room look cramped.
    4) removed bed side table next to radiator in guest bedroom
    5) why do you have the air purifier in the nursery? Remove it for the pics
    6) You could try sprucing up the landscaping.

  • Rower32

    Is that the photo of a crack on the ceiling?

    I don’t like unfinished basements but it’s just me.

    Also seems like little closet space upstairs by looking at the photos.

    The price is too high. Cut it down to 5 handle and then we are talking.

  • hungeegirl

    I just bought a house in Hill East 3 months ago with more square footage for less than that. And it had AC. The AC is why no one is buying your house. Also that tv looks terrible.

  • BostonToShaw

    1. Fire your real estate agent or get one.

    2. I would remove the bars. The houses on either side of you are bar free, so I would remove them.

    3. It appears that the larger, newly redone bathroom is the one on the first floor. That is shame, as I would have invested in the bathroom on the 2nd floor, since that is one likely to get more use. Its just inconvenient to come downstairs to shower, get ready in the morning.

    4. Remove some furniture as its not doing you any favors. Can’t fit 2 bedside tables in the middle room? Don’t point it out with the weird one in front of the window.

    This is well priced for this neighborhood, so it should be selling — or at least offers being made!

    • textdoc

      For what it’s worth, I wouldn’t remove the bars (at least not just yet) — I don’t think you’ll need to remove the bars to sell the house.
      If you do remove them, take down only the ones on the front porch. The windows in the back and dogleg are probably more likely candidates for a break-in anyway.

      • anon1

        +1 with all the recent crime on this section of the hill (right by Potomac Ave metro), I’d definitely prefer bars on the windows.

        • textdoc

          Ahh… and the recent publicity with the rape conviction.

      • HaileUnlikely

        I hope the bars are at least mounted properly. Recall discussion other day regarding how to mount security bars. They may well be able to remove all of their bars in 10 minutes total with no equipment other than a $5 screwdriver available at CVS.

        • HaileUnlikely

          Upon further inspection, the front window bars are cut out in the bottom corner, probably for a window AC unit, and provide plenty of room to enter through that window. And the ones in back are mounted to the window framing and thus likely provide no security function unless mounted deep into the studs with long one-way screws, which they hardly ever are – I bet these would be easy to remove.

    • Anon

      Don’t remove the bars if your neighbors still have them. No way I’m buying the only barless house on the street.

      Also, echoing what the others have said — too $$ for no AC.

    • j

      i don’t agree about the bars. i’d be more likely to reject a place for lacking bars than the other way around. the aesthetics don’t bother me at all and i’d feel safer.

      i think the AC and the tiny bathroom sink are the biggest problems (and the fact that that bathroom is also kind of meh in general). there are other things that could be done to spruce it up and stage it better, including clearing out and painting the basement, but you’d have to put in 20-40K to do the bathroom and add AC.

  • Anon

    Oh just realized that tiny sink is the upstairs bath and the double sink is downstairs. Yeah, I think if that is the only upstairs bathroom that would be a turn-off to me- no vanity at all is tough. If you install a/c and re-do the upstairs bath so it has a real vanity I feel like this is a $750k house

  • navy yard anon

    The lack of AC is the #1 problem followed by the full bathroom on the 1st floor/lack of decent bathroom on the 2nd floor. I actually think the rest of the house looks great (despite the glass cabinet doors) and I was totally ready to tour this house until I saw the lack of AC. As a buyer I’m willing to deal with cosmetic changes and potentially some bathroom renovations, but installing HVAC is a big nope.

    • anon

      really? installing AC is WAY cheaper than a full bathroom reno. to each their own

      • HaileUnlikely

        To each their own indeed. Without high-end finishes [which do not pay for themselves at resale], this bathroom could certainly be made to look respectable and be functional for about $12K – $15K.

  • lebro

    As someone who just sold in under 4 days on the Hill – photos/staging are really your issue. People deal with no AC and layout issues all the time on the Hill. You need to get a storage unit and put everything but the necessities in it – get smaller furniture. Finally, pay a real photographer! Delist and relist.

    • textdoc

      I don’t think the photos are the problem, with the except of the photo of the molding and the photo of the basement door. And even the staging isn’t a huge problem… just needs paring down.

      • Rich

        There’s just way too much clutter. And they need an explanation for the ceiling crack. I grew-up in a 20s house with imperfections in the walls, but that would grab my attention immediately.

  • Cassie
    • Anon

      Yes but the comp has a better location, bigger lot, more light, more original features, more space (it seems) to work with.

      • Cassie

        I live two blocks away, and I think it’s a worse location. And the city owns most of a corner lot. And while I love the more original features, the ugly kitchen and bath in OP’s house already preclude that kind of buyer.

        Although, you’re right about the light. I hadn’t thought about that.

  • zed

    If the house had AC, a lot of things pointed out in this discussion could possibly be overlooked. However, when something big (AC) is missing, I think the approach changes. You want to see something that would make up for the missing AC. I think that is why some of the other imperfections are amplified.

    • textdoc


    • anon

      I bought a house that I could only afford due to lack of AC. 13K later (this was a decade ago) and it’s as appraises just as high as its neighboring comps

    • Anonymous

      This seems to be the only plausible explanation for the posts identifying staging as the problem. Maybe it could be better (but it’s not *bad*) but I hope no one seriously thinks that the staging is more of an issue than the lack of A/C. Or maybe I just really don’t understand the human mind.

      • Sarah

        I ignored the A/C issue in my post because it’s absolutely the main obstacle, and I’m guessing the homeowner isn’t putting in an A/C system to sell. Fixing the staging and appearance issues is all they have left to make the property more attractive.

        • Anonymous

          Fair enough, I had considered that perspective, but several other commenters also went straight for the staging without bringing up A/C (or other issues involving real time and money) so I thought I was missing something. And I’m naturally skeptical of the importance of staging; I don’t think the staging is *bad* and it hurts my brain to think that people will refuse to consider a home because the seller’s dresser doesn’t fit between the windows (for example). Having said that, I’m not in the business of buying and selling houses, so what do I know? :)

          • Sarah

            It’s not about the dresser fitting, it’s about how it makes the room look. If the furniture is too big for the room, it makes the room look too small. You might not think that directly but it’s subliminal. It’s hard for most people to ignore furnishings and think about how their things will fit. The room might actually be big if you put appropriately-sized things in it. That’s what staging and designing properly does — maximizes the attractiveness of the space, light, etc.

          • textdoc

            I think a lot of people mention the staging because that’s (comparatively) easily remedied, whereas a lack of A/C and a teeny-tiny bathroom sink aren’t.
            I don’t think the staging is bad, but I think it could use some streamlining.

          • Anonymous

            @Sarah, I get what it’s about, it just amazes me that it would make much of a difference. And it also seems like tinkering around the edges in this case without addressing the fundamental question.
            @Sarah and textdoc, so if we say that the staging is improved, do you think that the house is appropriately priced or does it need to come down due to lack of A/C, bathroom situation, etc? To me this is the real question.

          • textdoc

            Anonymous 4:30 — I don’t know what the comps are like, so I don’t know whether the house is appropriately priced with its current reduction or whether it needs to come down further.
            If there were an exactly comparable property except with A/C and a decent upstairs bathroom… maybe deduct $20K for the lack of A/C, and $10K-$15K for the need for major changes to the upstairs bathroom? The reductions would need to cover at least the amount it costs to make those changes, and quite possibly more considering the hassle factor that the next owner would face.
            Or if the OP follows the realtor’s suggestion downthread and takes the house off the market for the entire summer, the OP might want to try getting those things done over the summer.

  • U neighbor

    You bought in 2010 for 475, then put it on the market originally at 725, which is about a 10% year-over-year increase each year since you bought it. The current 680 asking is closer to 8% yearly.
    Yes, the market is telling you it’s overpriced. But you know that, and this letter was just a clever piece of marketing.

    • CatieCat


    • I should get back to work

      Good poing. I don’t follow real estate closely in the neighborhood, so I had no idea whether it was over-priced in my earlier comment. (You could not pay me to live in that particular location). But 8% in 6 years? Without fresh paint?

      This is not 2005.

    • anon

      you don’t know what shape it was in when they bought it. They’ve put in a new kitchen and bath so that’s worth something. I think a lot of commentators are fixed on its flaws and ignoring that most of those flaws are factored into the price. That upstairs bath could be done on the cheap and still be a drastic improvement which would probably pay for itself

      • U neighbor

        True, they may have done renovations, but they certainly didn’t do a $150k nice flip job.
        (I also forgot inflation — revising downward to 9% initial asking (at 725), 7% current at 680)
        I were to buy this house, I would do so with the clear understanding that I would be putting a LOT of work (and money) into it.

        • textdoc

          Does it really need THAT much work, other than adding A/C and reconfiguring the 2nd-floor bathroom?
          Those are both significant tasks, but this isn’t a house where every last thing needs to be redone (putting in hardwood floors, redoing kitchen, updating electricity, repainting all the rooms, removing paneling, etc., etc.).

    • Patrick Division

      DC has assessed my Hill East house (and my neighbors) at the maximum 10% increase for all five years I’ve lived here, so I’m not sure this is as much of an issue as the AC and the bathroom.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t buy that this is marketing. No home seller who has been paying attention would think that subjecting his or her property to the PoP commentariat would end well.

      • anon

        good point — usually commentariat rips apart and then marvels at how it sold close to asking despite it’s much discussed shortcomings :-)

        • textdoc

          Exactly. I don’t think this was marketing; I think this was a frustrated owner (with a not-so-great real estate agent) who was trying to figure out why the house wasn’t selling.
          And although the PoPville commentariat can be harsh in evaluating real estate, I think people mostly tried to make their criticism constructive for this one.

          • anon

            some constructive comments, but suggesting a %30 price reduction for a reasonably priced house is a bit much.

            Sadly this house isn’t particularly expensive for DC these days. Its position in the market is relative to other available options, many of which are varying degrees of expensive.

          • textdoc

            Yeah, that one comment was ridiculous.
            Overall, though, the comments give the OP a sense of what people perceive as the flaws of the house — chiefly, no A/C and the tiny upstairs bathroom (particularly, the tiny seat).

  • neighbor

    Keep in mind a lot of buyers in that range are young professionals starting a family with big salaries but little savings. They’re probably putting most of their savings towards the downpayment, so adding 15-20k for A/C, plus a lot of other little things that need fixing sounds like a lot.

  • AC

    What am I missing here? All these posts are talking about the costs of putting in Central Air. What about window unit ACs? Or the portable ones?

    • Rich

      There’s a vocal group here who are “too good”for window units. Depending on the layout, window units would be fine. If someone plans to sell in 3-5 years, I could see the idea of installing central air to be a concern, but for a long term owner, not so much. Cashflow is an issue and people almost always underestimate what they need to maintain a place–flips have flaws, new houses often have hidden time bombs, and older places will have maintenance.

      • textdoc

        I don’t think we think we’re “too good” for window units. There are a lot of considerations with window units — increased chance of window break-ins, installing the very heavy units in the first place, etc., etc.
        My experience with portable A/C units is that they’re OK to use as a stopgap, but not long-term.

      • Dognonymous

        Nothing wrong with window units, but there’s probably not a ton of overlap between people willing to spend nearly 700k on a house and people willing to get by with window units, especially in the summer. At that price you usually don’t need to make that compromise.

        • Capt Obvs

          +1. At a certain price point, you just don’t want to deal with window A/C units anymore. I don’t know where the line is, but the fact that you can get a place nearby with central air for less than the list price here, means that this is over the line.

  • textdoc

    It looks like the kitchen peninsula either has no cupboards underneath it, or the cupboards open from the seating side. Is that the case? Probably too much hassle to redo it just to sell the house, but be aware that it’s a drawback that will count against the house to a prospective buyer.

  • houseintherear

    I have ductless/mini-split a/c and it cost $7500 for one large unit and two smaller… may be worth listing for $10k more than you want, and adding the sentence “$10k subsidy for a/c installation.”

  • NEhomeboy

    having the re-done bathroom with double vanities next to the dining room is just kind of weird and could a turn buyer off. Having to run up and down stairs to shower isn’t really ideal –
    Your also asking 566 a sqft which I think is right around the average, I would say awkward layout and no AC would equal a below average ask.

  • Franklin

    Well, even at $520/sf, you are at the top of the comp range compared to some nearby homes (adjacent 3 block radius) that have recently sold, and all of them have central AC. and are nicely finished.

    Your house looks like it is finished ok. One of the bathrooms looks a little rough, but it strikes a potential buyer as odd that they would spend the money on a finished product, that they then need to spend 15K-20K on for AC, which is definitely needed in this climate. It is not just the money, but the optics of not having it done, and the effort people don’t want to put themselves through if they are purposely looking for a finished product. If you were selling a fixer upper, it would be different.

    Based on the recent comps, I would say you should be in the $500-$510/SF range, or ~$660K

  • hammers home expert

    For me- AC is a biggie to be move-in ready. But what actually freaked me out was that tiny bathroom. No one can see themselves getting ready in there. That’s my dealbreaker. On top of poor staging, those 2 issues look even worse. It is a lovely home though.

  • anonymous

    The house is really cute, makes me wish I were in the market for a new place, but I’m still 1-2 years out. That said, the a/c thing would be a huge drawback for me, particularly since this would be towards the top of our price point. If you don’t want to put it in yourself offer a credit towards a split or central system. At the very least it helps idiots like me price out what it would cost (if I don’t know I assume it’s going to be prohibitively expensive).
    Like others said, rethink some of the photos and staging. The arrangement of the furniture makes the rooms look very small, and interior photos are already kind of difficult. Some thoughts:
    – Get rid of the smaller sofa in the living room and rearrange to show that there’s room for a TV. With photos like this my first thought is always “where am I supposed to put my TV?”.
    – In the kitchen, can you take the backs off of your bar stools? Not a huge deal, but I think it might make it feel more open if they’re backless (and for a photo you could just fake it). If the dining table isn’t too scratched, I’d take off the table cloth
    – The bars don’t particularly bother me, but light curtains could help make make them less obvious.
    – In picture 14 (crack) find another shot to show the ceiling/molding (which I love). I know it’s probably not a big deal, but when something like that is featured I start thinking it’s alluding to a bigger issue.
    – In all the bedroom photos (16-20) remove some of the smaller tables/furniture. They make it look tight/cluttered
    – The upstairs bathroom is tricky. Is there a way to get a better photo? The current one makes it look like the door opens right up onto the toilet. Understanding the layout a bit better would also let me know what sort of renovation I’d be looking at (i.e. would pipes/walls absolutely need to be moved). Or maybe add it to some sort of credit?
    – Door to the basement makes it look dingy, repainting would help
    – Do you have a friend with some patio furniture you could borrow? Adding a small table & chairs out back would make it look more inviting. Potted plants wouldn’t be a bad idea to distract from the bare concrete.
    Honestly, it is a really cute house (and I like your decorations). Play around some more with the lens/photo angles. If we were looking I’d totally want to at least consider it. Lack of a/c is the biggest problem I’d have, followed by the upstairs bathroom (but I hate my current bathroom so I could get over it).
    This might be a stupid question…but do you know if people are actually coming and viewing it? I ask because the apartment I bought several years ago had the wrong key for who knows how long (had been on the market for a year, no offers). I only got in because I was stubborn enough to come 3 times and had my realtor pester him. Worked in my favor, because they accepted my first lowball offer just to be done with it, but that’s probably not a situation you’d want to be in.

  • textdoc

    For what it’s worth… the house has been listed at $680K only since yesterday.
    It was originally listed for $725K in late April, and bumped down to $700K in mid-May.

  • llucas

    Personally, I loathe open floor plans and love radiator heat (I wish I had it in my home). That being said, I do think your home may be priced too high because people expect open floor plans and central air/heat. I don’t understand all of the comments, though, about how expensive it would be to add central air. The charm of older homes is radiator heat and window AC units. And window AC is an easy fix at little cost.

    • Anonymous

      Radiators are charming. Loud, condensation dripping window unit AC’s will NEVER be charming.
      I’ve never heard anyone ever say “Oh I just love quaint window AC units.” That’s crazy talk.

      • LittleBluePenguin

        True, there’s nothing “charming” about window units. However, they are certainly an economical way to get the job done.

        • Anonymous

          Not for nearly $700K. Sorry. People are expecting a lot more at that price point, especially for SE.

        • anon

          economical to install .. but much more expensive than central air to run in term of electricity consumption.

          • HaileUnlikely

            The break-even point on install vs. electricity consumption would be measured in decades. There are lots of arguments for installing central AC, but saving money isn’t high on the list.

  • Dognonymous

    I don’t think the lack of AC in a house is generally as big an issue as many other commenters do…but it’s a major issue *right now.* No one wants to move in to a nearly $700k house in the middle of summer if it doesn’t have AC. Getting it installed after closing and before move-in would drag out the timeline for a buyer. It would be less of an obstacle in September or October.

    • textdoc

      This is a very good point. Especially this weekend — is the house currently fitted with window units?

      • kyindc

        OP here – yes it is.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a high price to be on 14th Street SE in that condition. If I’m moving to near Potomac Ave SE, I better be getting a deal. It’s not a deal, considering that a lot of work needs to go into this place and the neighborhood still has a high level of crime. At nearly the $700K price point, you have lots of options that are fully finished in nicer parts of DC.

  • Toni

    You got bad advice on listing strategy. You should list LOW because that gets more people to come in, and then you either have multiple bidders pushing up the price (likely nowadays) or you have your realtor tell the people what you’re expecting. Just because you list it LOW doesn’t mean you have to accept those offers, and if you list it HIGH that doesn’t mean you’re going to fool someone into paying more than it’s worth. Pricing lower gets more eyeballs, which leads to more opportunities. Pricing higher keeps it off people’s radars. Look at 701 14th St SE (which I don’t think is an apples to apples comp at all b/c it’s bigger and easier to comprehend)–they priced it at 599 and then closed for over 700. You should have priced at 499 and jumped at anything north of 575.

  • Reno Reno Reno

    One thing buyers with a competent real estate agent will be told is that there isn’t much you can do with that upstairs bathroom. Doesn’t look like the room is big enough to meet code nowadays, so you can just replace it with like fixtures, you can’t move anything around in there. I suspect the current owners were told the same thing, hence renovating the bathroom downstairs. I wonder if it’s possible to move the walls around upstairs and cur into the third bedroom to make that bathroom bigger? Maybe not, otherwise the current owners would have done that, seeing as it makes more logical sense if it’s possible. Could also ignore permitting and higher a contractor that is willing to work that way, and then do what you want.

    • textdoc

      Are bathrooms required to be a certain minimum size?
      As much as I love clawfoot tubs and wish I had one, I suspect the easiest option for the OP is probably to replace the clawfoot tub with a shower stall and use the space gained for a proper sink/vanity.

      • Reno Reno Reno

        Yes, there are code requirements. If I remember correctly, they are about how much unobstructed space is in front of the tub/shower, the door most open completely, etc. I remember the door one was tricky, because old homes sometimes have narrower doors (which lets them open completely), but you need to have the current-to-code fat-american size doors, and that requires more space and renovation (width and depth). Tough to tell with the pictures here, but best guess is it’s a no go.

        • textdoc

          Interesting. So is the deal that if you keep your bathroom the way it is, it’s grandfathered in, but if you’re renovating it, it has to meet the same standards as if it were new construction?

          • Reno Reno Reno


        • Cassie

          That’s what pocket doors are for.
          There are also codes for how far apart the different fixtures are. I think minimum is 25 square feet.

          • JS

            Yeah – as long as this room is ~ 5×6, you can re-do it to code. Put a tiled shower where the window is, locate the sink + toilet where the tub is, and either install a pocket door or flip the hinges to the other jamb.
            I disagree with everyone saying A/C is 20K. I had high-efficiency standard A/C installed in a similarly sized house for 16K, and this included running all the duct-work.

  • Commentator

    As others have said, the main issue here is that you have priced this like it’s a renovation with no work to be done, while installing A/C and remodeling the bathroom are both, while not a gut renovation, major jobs that I believe many people would think are necessary to make the house livable for themselves. And the bathroom could just be a straight-up dealbreaker for most if there’s no way to expand the space, which is tough and not reflected in the price. You’d either have to choose to leave it somewhat as is, maybe just updating tiles and fixtures, and then it’s not really usable for most as a place to get ready, or you pull out the tub and go with a shower stall to free up a little room. But then if you have a baby or younger children, they are going to need to bathe downstairs in the tub which just isn’t ideal.
    Although those are really the main issues, even if you drop the price to reflect that, I still think you need to address a lot of the staging issues mentioned as you need someone to fall in love with everything else and purchase in spite of the A/C and bathroom (unless you really drop the price so that it’s a steal). There is way too much furniture and just to reiterate other comments and add a few more, this is what I see:
    -console table in entry needs to go
    -swap love seat with a chair
    -take down the dining room TV
    -take off the plaid tablecloth
    -remove everything on top of the cabinets plus most of the clutter on the counter and stove (maybe leave the toaster and utensil caddy)
    -take out one of the bar chairs
    -take out the short bookcase in the light blue bedroom and center the small chest between windows
    -take out the TV and stand in the light blue bedroom and move the dresser over so the door isn’t hitting it
    -take out the night stand by the window in the smaller bedroom
    -take out the tall chest of drawers in the nursery
    -Can you paint the small bathroom? Maybe a grey or taupe to work better with the tiles?
    -paint the basement door, or don’t include that picture
    -I’m not sure if a bistro set would fit out back if the car is there, but a small dining set would be nice with some potted plants or at least plant some colorful flowers along the side
    The bars are a tough call, as I wouldn’t want to push you to remove them and then have someone break in through a window, but really with some of them half open (as was mentioned, appears to be for window A/C units) they are not serving their purpose anyway so I don’t think you’ll be less safe without them. And none of this is meant to criticize your taste (I like the green pops of color in the kitchen) but what a staged house and a lived-in house look like are very different, and yours looks too lived-in. People need a little more of a blank slate to imagine living there. Good luck!

  • AJ

    Everything’s pretty much been said. I really think the bathroom is the weakest link.

    1.) I’d get rid of the front porch bars. especially since it has that cutout. Nitpicky but lower all the half screens.
    2.) Get rid of the moulding detail pic, my eye went to the crack. I don’t even see another pic of the room where it’s featured.
    3.) The TV between the dining table and breakfast bar is strange placement.
    4.) I’d lower all the blinds that aren’t cellular. Keep them open but there’s no reason to highlight unobstructed views of security bars, brick walls and trash cans.
    5.) Is the basement unfinished with a finished ceiling or is that the construction? Even when I get around to finishing my basement, I’ll probably leave the ceiling exposed and just paint it. Not a deal breaker but I paused to figure out what was going on.
    6.) Throw a container garden of some sort out back. Those [rain?] barrels look extra industrial.
    7.) FIrst floor furniture is not to scale. A sofa, love seat, chair and ottoman, even if scaled down is probably a lot for a room that size. On the opposite end of the spectrum, that storage ottoman looks undersized. I’d probably remove it all together.

    I live in a house without AC but with the combination of using both panes in my double hungs, a whole house fan and a ceiling fan find myself under covers when I wake up on all but the hottest of summer nights. 80% of people I know wouldn’t consider a house without air though.

    I hate mini splits. They look like shiny and new wall-mounted window units. If I were in the market, I’d buy a house without air rather than one with a split system.

    • Cassie

      I totally agree with whole house fan, if they’re better than 30 years ago and are quiet. Mini-splits can be mounted in the ceiling with a decorative vent.

  • Anonymous

    The simple answer is that if your home is not selling in this market, it is priced too high. No matter what the faults, there is a buyer out there willing to take it at the right price.

    In terms of “faults,” the main problem I see is that you have a house that is move-in ready, at least on the surface, but which many buyers will think needs somewhat significant renovation in order to turn it into a really practical living space. As far as what I see as being necessary to turn it into my home:
    – Take out the middle bedroom on the second floor and use some of that space to add a master bath for the master bedroom. Maybe keep the other half of that space as a den. Redo the baby sink bathroom to turn it into a half bath or toilet, shower, and sink combo.
    – Redo the “master-like” bath on the first floor and turn that into a half bath (toilet and sink), reclaiming more space for the kitchen and living room.
    So I’m looking at turning this 3 BR, 2(?) bath place into a 2 BR (+ den?), 1 + 2 1/2 baths place.
    And then there is adding AC, which is essential in DC.
    All of this is doable if I can get the property for the right price.
    I have not looked at the comps, but query whether the homes that are selling are laid out in a more functional way than yours.

  • LandS

    For me — lack of AC is number #1.

    I dont’ mind a chopped up interior – my teeny 100 sq ft shoe box in alexsandria is that way.

    THe location is awesome – and if you want to trade, I’d be glad to ;)

  • Dot

    It’s beautiful! But you know that in DC, you gotta have a/c. People don’t really know what the projects involves or costs for adding central a/c – and at the price you are asking they are expecting it – so I would say just take on the project of adding a/c (or maybe reduce the price $15k)

  • The house needs some significant work. The tiny upstairs bathroom is a huge issue, as is the lack of AC. Fixing both won’t be cheap.

    That said, price fixes everything. I’m actually in the market and would likely be a buyer at around $495k.

    • d

      Nope, you wouldn’t be a buyer at that price range because it would be bid up much higher by other buyers. You do realize it’s not 185k overpriced, right? Bit of wishful thinking? That said, I do agree with others who have said it is somewhat overpriced given the significance of the two main flaws already beaten to death here: no A/C and the awful upstairs bathroom.

    • neighbor

      Yeah this is a little over priced but lol @ 495. They’ll get at least 6. Probably 640-650.

    • textdoc

      +1 to d and neighbor. $495K is a joke — according to an earlier poster, this house was purchased in 2010 for $475K.

  • SilverSpringGal

    It’s the height of summer and you’re selling a house without A.C?

  • Ash99

    There are already a lot of suggestions, so i will stick to very few ones related to the critical issues:

    1. That master bathroom upstairs with the tiny sink is horrible The idea of three good size bedrooms is great – but when you put those next to that tiny sink, immediately a buyer starts thinking how unusable the space will be. But I don’t think its very expensive to fix – you could fix it for probably $3K. Change the tile floors to something modern and high end. Get rid of the tub and add a smaller footprint shower stall instead – the min size for a shower stall by code is 30 by 30 inch, but you have enough space to do at least 30 by 40 there. Then get a good size nice vanity with a mirror instead, that allows for storage and decent size sink.
    2. The lack of ac is a huge issue. Your best option is probably to reduce the price, or offer some kind of substantial subsidy to the buyer to implement it. You could go the mini split route, but that will run probably at least $8 to $10K – and electric heat and ac can get quite expensive in terms of utility bills. I put a mini split system in my 350 sf studio, and that cost $3.5K.
    3. That basement quarter toilet is awkward. If at all possible, try to turn that into a powder room. If you can squeeze in a tiny but nice sink in one corner, then it will actually be a huge plus – rather than a very awkward and old fashioned looking quarter toilet. I mean, who uses a toilet without washing hands nowadays – that’s so 100 years ago!

    That aside, i do think its a nice space. With the location, the back space, generous sq footage and lots of windows – there are lots of pluses. Good luck.

  • anon

    Several houses without AC have sold in my area with no problem (near H St NE). The price just needs to reflect the fact that $20,000 will go towards installing AC.

    I personally love this layout over an open floor plan. I would say the teeny tiny sink in the 2nd floor bathroom is not appealing to buyers, but again, the price would have to reflect the buyer making big changes themself. I would not make major changes yourself unless you have the Property Brothers doing it for you.

    • John

      Offering a $20k credit is a better way to do it; otherwise the buyer would have to come up with $20k out of pocket that wouldn’t be covered by the mortgage. Perhaps you could find a lender willing to give an extra loan for the a/c, but my experience is that those loans are at a higher rate and on crappier terms (e.g., balloon, limited in how much, etc.).

      • textdoc

        Ahh, good point.

  • Andie302

    I agree with most of the comments here, and would argue that it’s not that you have one single thing wrong, but just too many small things for most buyers to stomach. There’s too much clutter throughout the home, I’m sure it’s relatively warm, if there are window units in then that’s the first thing a prospective buyer is going to see, the laundry is in the basement and the basement is unfinished, the back yard isn’t very appealing for anything other than parking, there are still bars on the windows. If it were only one or two of these items on the list, or you went on the market with a super competitive price, then I think you’d already be under contract. I wonder how much of this advice your agent gave you and you thought a hot market would get the job done without going through the trouble. It really is a lovely home! I’m sure the new price will drop this into some people’s search that weren’t seeing it at $700k+.

  • TropicBird

    Get a new agent! House has everything one could ask for, purchasers could live with window unit AC until they get central installed. Visit comps in your area to get a feeling for how much one would need to drop the price (not some aribitrary amount) to put it at the top of the list for someone shopping at that budget and just under the top couple prices for comp. properties. You don’t want to be the house agents take people to soften them up for the next house on their list.
    Or just hold onto it, rent it out, sell it in a couple of years.

  • Jill

    My partner and I own a rowhouse in Capitol Hill, that we bought after three years of searching. In our experience the closed floorplans sold much quicker. Lots of buyers (ourselves included) prefer them, and they’re becoming increasingly more rare in a sea of cookie-cutter open floorplan flips. We didn’t give a shit about whether the bedroom is a Master, and I don’t think we’re the only ones who feel that way. There are people who appreciate these historic homes and want to keep them as unchanged as possible.
    I also disagree with the people who are telling you to remove the window bars. I live on 8th Street SE and wouldn’t be able to sleep at night without them. The buyer can always remove them if they’re bold enough.
    The backyard is very unappealing. I get that you’re trying to sell it as a parking space, but street parking isn’t that difficult around here is it? Instead of showing it empty, or with a car parked in it, stage the area with an outdoor area rug, potted plants, and furniture. An outdoor oasis will be incredibly appealing to buyers, especially this time of year. My house has a similar sort of backyard– we’ve used it exactly once as a parking spot, when we were going out of town for a month. During the warm seasons it’s outfitted beautifully and I even have a small vegetable garden going. I think that’s a much better use of that space!
    Unfortunately for you it’s unusual to find a house for sale in Capitol Hill that doesn’t have AC. So buyers expect it, or expect to get an outrageous deal on the house if it’s not there. I think that’s your biggest problem. If you’re not willing to install AC you might want to wait until fall or winter to sell, when it won’t be on people’s minds as much.

  • Marc

    My girlfriend and I attended your open house yesterday, as a couple looking to buy in “Hill South” (Po Ave area), amongst other neighborhoods in DC. We compared your house to some others on the market near a similar price point (roughly your price or cheaper). Yours does not compare favorably on that basis, simply put. For less money, I can get more square footage with the A/C already installed and no basement to concern myself with. Or for the same money, I can get a top-floor condo at 13/Penn with its own balcony and needing no work, plus it still has parking. You’re really overpriced, and the layout with the bathroom separating the dining and living rooms is awkward. What is more, the front of the house was dark with the curtains drawn on one of the sunniest days we’ve had in the last month. That doesn’t bode well. I would at the very least drop the price to FHA Max levels. That might sell it, might not. It isn’t worth what you are asking, cute or not, and the kitchen and bathroom aren’t bad but don’t stand out from the crowd either. It will not sell at that price point unless the market heats up, which isn’t happening. Drop your price, and if you don’t get offers near the FHA Max price point, drop it another $20K. It should sell after that. You are possibly wasting your own time leaving the price as high as it is.

    • anon

      good points, but anyone in the buyers column has a different agenda than the sellers

    • dunning-kruger

      Spot on and appropriately stating the obvious, it doesn’t compare favorably with similarly priced homes. What you do from there is up to you.

  • Its_Dave_from_DC

    I know the area well and attend mass at 14th and East Capitol.

    Your listing has two homes nearby listed at over $1 million, so the price of $680K is not offensive to a a serious buyer. The address has a WalkScore of 87, and a BikeScore of 93.

    Below are recommendations:

    1) Build over the first floor extension to add a master bath and a walk-in closet. If you can, add a rooftop deck over that IF you have a decent view.

    2) Go with a dual zone HVAC system–one from the roof or attic coming to the 2nd floor, and a separate unit coming from the basement (thankfully unfinished largely) to the first floor

    3) Redo the basement toilet to add a sink

    4) If the basement is dry, get a contractor to frame it out, add electrical outlets, install moisture resistant sheet rock, install recessed lighting, install berber-like carpet, and paint it white leaving the space open but finished. If it’s low, spruce it up for a kids area. Move the storage to another area.

    5) For furnishings, you must remove all pots and pans that do not fit in the cabinets. Buyers will notice if you cannot fit your most basic items away.

    6) If you plan to leave the backyard as a concrete pad, I would recommend getting a handyman to construct wooden, raised planter boxes so that one could really grow vegetables. Alternatively, you could leave it as is and plant bamboo to offer privacy between the houses.

    7) Your realtor should write specifically about the amenities–transom windows, covered porch, renovated kitchen, hardwood floors throughout. Also, list the at the house is adjacent to Harris Teeter, Safeway, the Metro subway, and Capital Bikeshare.

    Lastly, I assume that electrical panel box is updated and has space to accommodate additional breakers that will be needed to complete a renovation or HVAC installation. I did not see pictures of it, but it is one of the first places I look as a buyer seeing that a “heavy up” could cost $2-3 thousand.

  • RE Anon

    RE professional here.

    There is only one reason for a lack of offers, and that is price. There are plenty of DIY buyers who would love to be on the Hill, and who aren’t turned off by a small/non-existent master bath, very little kitchen storage, etc. and there are plenty of people who want a turnkey home. Drop the price and offers will come in. How you market the property will have only a marginal difference when you’re talking about a $600-700k property. Especially in a market with sophisticated buyers.


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