Comp and Circumstance: Renovated Homes in Neighborhoods Getting Their Footing

by Rebecca Ortega

Comp and Circumstance presents two listings of roughly similar prices in DC and considers the pros and cons of each. This week, we discuss two newly renovated properties in the Capitol Hill and Shaw neighborhoods. The price point is between $729,000-$760,000.

See all our past Comp and Circumstance features here.

112 14th Street SE

Four-Bedroom Straddling Capitol Hill and Hill East

This week’s Comp and Circumstance considers two newly renovated properties in neighborhoods still finding their footing.

112 14th Street SE is an end-unit row home two blocks east of Lincoln Park and hovering on the border of Capitol Hill and Hill East. The property is listed as having four bedrooms and 3.5 baths. For being a somewhat narrow home, the renovation did not take full advantage of the potential for the space. The kitchen island, while beautiful and a draw for many buyers, unfortunately leaves little room for a dining area. Also, two of the three bedrooms on the upper level are fairly small, with one having an awkward shape that makes it difficult to envision space for much more than a bed; the second looks like it would best be used as an office.

The home has a fully-finished basement with hardwood floors, a living/kitchen area, a bedroom and a full bath. The area could be rented out. The house also has a back patio, but a low overhang limits its usable space.

Kitchen at 112 14th Street SE

Despite its cons, the renovation of the home is quite nice, and the bathrooms and main level kitchen are very well appointed. The location of the property also lends itself to a number of different amenities in the area. It’s a short walk from Lincoln Park and the Potomac Ave Metro on the Blue and Orange Lines. Those willing to walk just a bit further can get to Eastern Market and all of the restaurants and bars of H Street NE.

1620 New Jersey Avenue NW

Four-Bedroom Straddling Shaw and Truxton Circle

1620 New Jersey Avenue NW is similar to 112 14th Street SE as it is a newly renovated row home that straddles the boundaries of two neighborhoods (Shaw and Truxton Circle). There are important distinctions, however, in both the property itself and its surroundings.

1620 New Jersey Avenue was renovated in 2007 and also has four bedrooms and 3.5 baths. It features a working fireplace, hardwood floors, a patio with room for a table and chairs, and one off-street parking space. It suffers from being a middle unit in a block of row houses, meaning that some of the rooms are not exposed to very much natural light. The narrow property fits a decent sized master bedroom, but the second two upstairs bedrooms are each only around 10 feet by 10 feet.

The fully finished basement in this property is a legal rental unit, meaning that the eventual buyer may assume the position of landlord, something that not everyone is hoping to do when they buy a home. (The current tenant’s one year lease is up and is month-to-month, according to the listing agent.) Those willing to house a tenant will see at least a $1,200 monthly income (2009 rental price), which will help offset the mortgage. The downside to having a tenant in this property is the loss of extra living space; the living areas on the main and upper levels are not very spacious. With such narrow rooms, potential buyers will wonder where and if they can entertain.

Living room of 1620 New Jersey Avenue NW

1620 New Jersey Avenue NW is in potential walking distance of the growing nightlife options of the U Street Corridor, the encroaching redevelopment spreading east from Logan Circle, and the planned development projects just north of the Convention Center. New Jersey Avenue is a busy street, however, and its proximity to the even busier Rhode Island Avenue, Florida Avenue, and North Capitol Street make this property feel removed from the residential streets that attract buyers to Shaw.

So, what do you think? Do these prices feel high or correct? Would you invest in these neighborhoods just off the beaten path? Let us know your preference in the comments below.

  112 14th Street SE 1620 New Jersey Avenue NW
Bedrooms 4 4
Bathrooms 3.5 3.5
Pros Top-to-bottom renovation, 2 blks from Lincoln Park, 5 blks from Potomac Ave metro station, end unit Top-to-bottom renovation, patio, working fireplace, 3 blks to Shaw metro station, legal rental unit, off street parking
Cons Limited outdoor space, poor layout upstairs, no parking Very little natural light, narrow living space, small bedrooms
Price $759,900 $729,000
Neighborhood Capitol Hill/Hill East Shaw/Truxton Circle
Links Full listingMap Full listingMap

See other articles related to: shaw, hill east, comp and circumstance, capitol hill

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/comp_and_circumstance_renovated_homes_in_neighborhoods_getting_their_footin/2409


  1. Lazlo said at 11:03 pm on Monday August 23, 2010:

    Both properties are expensive given the neighborhoods, but I would lean to the Hill East house given the renovations and layout.

  1. jag said at 12:51 am on Tuesday August 24, 2010:

    Agree that neither are worth the price, but would lean towards the Shaw property because of the rental income.

  1. Nikki said at 9:04 am on Tuesday August 24, 2010:

    I’m not familiar with the Shaw area but the Hill property seems overpriced…especially since the buyer probably won’t realize rental income.

  1. Barry said at 9:21 am on Tuesday August 24, 2010:

    Prices aside, I like the Shaw property. The rental unit on the basement level is far better than the lower level section of the Hill East home if you are looking for rental income.

  1. Mike said at 9:49 am on Tuesday August 24, 2010:

    I’ve driven by both locations and think they are both overpriced right now.  In the Shaw area you can find a much better bargain if you are willing to do some of your own renovations, but that rental option is nice (but there are many options like that in the area as well as the Hill).  Also, being right on New Jersey, there is a lot of traffic that passes through.  I’d probably favor the Hill property, but only if it was 100k less.

  1. SL said at 10:58 am on Tuesday August 24, 2010:

    It’s interesting to compare this to the Comp & Circumstance posting last week comparing the Petworth and H Street properties, which cost almost $300K less than these two houses. I actually think the Shaw, Hill East, H Street and Petworth neighborhoods are all very comparable in terms of being up-and-coming and access to amenities (many on the way but still in process). I think the Shaw and Hill East prices are much higher due to proximity to downtown (Shaw) and being south of H Street (Hill East), but I’m not sure that the day-to-day living of the more expensive houses warrants the higher prices. It depends what you want to be close to, but Petworth and north of H St offer much better values.

  1. Mike said at 12:12 pm on Tuesday August 24, 2010:

    Well said SL.  The two last week were so much more appealing in cost and comparable.

  1. Jimmy said at 1:00 pm on Tuesday August 24, 2010:

    SL - totally agree. You can get a lot more for your money in Petworth and closer to H St NE. It’ll be interesting to see if the prices for these drop. I actually went to the open house for the 112 14th prop on Sunday. UT is right - it’s not a good use of space. What’s the point of cramming 3 bedrooms in a house that can’t house 3 bedrooms? I’d rather buy a place that had 2 comfortable bedrooms. They could have split the basement into 2 bedrooms and gotten the 4 they were after. Esp if it isn’t a rental.

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