Tuesday, July 18, 2006

DC Housing Bubble Blues:
The House Next Door

The house next door is for sale.



Boo Freakin' Hoo, y'all.

$5,671 Mortgage (with perfect credit, of course)
Status: ACTIVE Listing
Type: Townhouse
Style: Federal
Year Built: 1908
Subdivision: CAPITOL HILL
Number of Bedrooms: 3
Baths: 3
Halfbaths: 1
Lot Size: 0.03 acres

Renovators worked day and night from December ('05) until February ('06), when the owners hosted the first of many open houses to come.

If you inspected the property or if you could see the photo clearly, here's what you'd know:

The white paint on the garden-shop variety concrete stepping stones cum capstones has blistered, peeled off, and looks really bad.

The wooden porch railing is interior grade, not exterior grade, and the wood wasn't primed before painting. On my side, you can see lots of raw, unpainted wooden spindles.

The front doors are actually patio doors (Note the expanse of glass) and extremely vulnerable (Scroll down for the house's break-in episode).

The basement entrance is strewn with trash bags, more peeling paint, and it boasts a what looks like a water spout, which not only doesn't work, it's just a spigot stuck onto a inoperative piece of pipe sticking out of the wall.

Under the eaves (Look up) is the telltale evidence of the house's complete destruction by a devastating fire. Smoke damage could've been cleaned, but the owners decided not to bother.

Broken window panes have been replaced twice since February, but a close inspection reveals no putty.

Long & Foster has the listing today, but the sign (See the bush in the lower left corner? The sign is stuck in the ground there... which makes people think my house is the one for sale) reads HELP-U-SELL, which was the second real estate company to list the property.

History: the house next door was originally listed by Coldwell Banker (I think) for $849,900 in February. Hundreds of people toured it, but it didn't sell. In late May (I think), the price was lowered to $749,something, but it still didn't inspire buyers. Meanwhile, several houses in the neighborhood sold in a matter of days for higher amounts.

The house was taken off the market, and it sat there in limbo for over a month.

Now it's back on the market at its original asking price. Besides being the joke of the neighborhood, the house next door has caused me to keep my front door locked at all times: realtors and prospective buyers have actually walked into my living room and insisted that my house is the one for sale. They're really disappointed to learn that it's actually the house next door.

But I divert.

What you can't see in the photo:

The house has been broken into, and the owners wondered why I didn't hear anything. Hm. Could it be that it's so easy to break into that any criminal with half a brain and a crow bar can do it without making any noise?

The backyard is about 14' X 8', with the air conditioning unit taking up almost a full ¼th, and that particularly noisy A/C unit would drown out any conversation you ever tried to have out there.

Inside, the bathrooms have those trendy bowl-partially inset-in-the-countertop deals. When you turn on the water, it splashes up into your face. Every freakin' time.

The third bedroom is the size of a small closet, and it has no windows. Child Services just might frown on that. Another added "plus,": by deciding to offer this third bedroom, the other two have been significantly, um... downsized.

The scariest part: Someone (or multiple someones) had to inspect this property and deem it acceptable for sale and habitation.

Heavy sigh.

Thus endeth the tale of the house next door.

Note to buyers: this house is in one of the best locations in DC. 3½ blocks from both Eastern Market Metro and Franklin Park, 11 blocks from the US Capitol, and an easy walk to Pet Boutique/ Cappuccino/ Panini heaven. Former Speaker of the House Foley lives around the corner, Supreme Court Justice Breyer jogs down the street, and I ran into Sen. Jeffords walking through the park a few weeks ago. Oh, yeah. Donna Brazile shops at the local hardware store, Fragers on Pennsylvania Ave.

There are currently 173 houses for sale in my zip code (not even including hundreds and hundreds of condos). The house next door is still for sale. And the owners have no idea why.


A final note: This is just my layman's opinion of this house, based on my observation and a comparison of other houses I've visited in the neighborhood. The timeline is based on my recollection alone, and could be off by a week or two in either direction.

Best bar bet in the world: Delilah didn't do it.
Judges 16:19--


Blogger The Lily said...

I can see how flip-work like that can be done on a 1960's condo in an suburb...

But how can they do such half-assed work in such a nice neighborhood? AND expect it to sell?

Light's on, but no one's home.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Mad Cabbie said...

Enough with name dropping, Does the house come with a bullet proof vest?
Don't forget to mention the armed robberies and stabbings, I don't give a shit who lives next door or who joggs where, people are getting conned in Capitol hill with these prices, $900,000 for that dump! come on!

8:24 PM  
Anonymous Madame M. said...

Our crappy realtor didn't want to show us that house when we were looking. Either she really was the crappiest realtor known to man, or even she had standards.

10:24 AM  

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