DC Buyer: 27 Year-Old Looking For A Place Where His Clothes Will Be Clean

by Martin Smith

DC Buyer is a series on UrbanTurf where we look at buyers from various demographics and provide available housing options for them in the current DC market. After presenting some choices, we will ask readers to help them make their choice.

2 17th Street SE

This week, we’re searching for properties for Vincente, a 27 year-old man who works near McPherson Square and has been watching the DC real estate market for about two years trying to decide when to jump in. As a first-timer, he is particularly sensitive to price, and has set his absolute limit at $200,000.

Vincente makes about $48,000 a year working for a health care company, and has an acceptable FICO score of 734. His monthly debt is only about $400, made up of a combination of a small balance on a student loan and payments on the balance for a flat screen TV he charged to his credit card right before the Super Bowl. He has managed to save about $37,500 that will be used as a down payment. He knows that he’s going to have to make a lot of compromises at this price point, so his only “must have” is a washer/dryer in the unit. Everything else (size, neighborhood, amenities) is negotiable.

The first property we found for Vincente is actually an entire row house (albeit a small one) in the H Street Corridor. On the market for $192,500, it is both the largest (two bedrooms, one bath) and the least expensive property that we found. That said, it is also the riskiest as it is a short sale. We normally wouldn’t recommend short sales to a first-time buyer, but because this property is such a good deal, we think it is worth the potential headaches. Aside from the massive benefit of not having to pay condo fees, this property is fully renovated and has off-street parking. The downside is that it is located on Florida Avenue, so noise may be a problem.

1215 Florida Avenue NE

Our second choice for Vincente is a one-bedroom, one-bath unit at 2 17th Street SE. This unit is on the far east side of Capitol Hill and is listed for $194,900. Like the property on Florida Avenue, it goes above and beyond his one requirement of an in-unit washer and dryer, boasting a granite/stainless kitchen, hardwood floors and quite large windows. The condo fee is also one of the lowest we’ve seen at $146/month. The Hill is always a safe choice for first-time buyers, and the outer edges are becoming increasingly popular.

The last property we recommend for Vincente is a one-bedroom condo in Brookland at 2625 3rd Street NE. This $195,000 condo has the usual package of hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, and granite counters, but the reason we chose it is because of its proximity to area amenities like tennis and basketball courts and grocery stores. It is also not very far from the Rhode Island Metro on the Red Line.

Looking at these three options, all under $200,000, where do you think Vincente should put in his offer?

See other articles related to: h street corridor, dclofts, dc buyer, capitol hill, brookland

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc_buyer_27_year-old_looking_for_a_place_where_his_clothes_will_be_clean/1788


  1. SimonF said at 1:10 pm on Wednesday February 17, 2010:

    Even though it is a short sale, I would go with the home on Florida Ave. Could be a painful process, but the investment potential is huge.

  1. former Georgetowner said at 1:16 pm on Wednesday February 17, 2010:

    wow 17th St SE is considered capitol hill now???

  1. 10th St said at 1:23 pm on Wednesday February 17, 2010:

    That Florida Ave property looks like an absolute steal.  I know someone who just bought on the 1000 block of Florida and she is thrilled with her place, which cost a ton more than that.

  1. annon said at 2:06 pm on Wednesday February 17, 2010:

    go with florida avenue place.  great deal for townhouse. no condo fee!

  1. Lauren said at 2:11 pm on Wednesday February 17, 2010:

    Why, when you have $35,000 in savings, would you need to charge a TV on your credit card?

    I think the 17th St condo would have the best commute as it’s on the Orange Line (Stadium-Armory). Rowhouses are nice, but they can come with lots of unexpected repairs and maintenance costs, which can be tough for a young person without a large financial cushion.

  1. MS said at 2:32 pm on Wednesday February 17, 2010:

    @Lauren: I think, in this case, he may be earning a higher rate on his investments than he will spend in interest by financing the TV. At least that is a fairly common reason to finance things when you have the resources to pay cash smile

  1. JeanKonika said at 2:33 pm on Wednesday February 17, 2010:

    Florida Ave row house, for sure. @ Lauren, you ask a good question. Unfortunately, way too many people are fans of the following two words: payment plan.

  1. BD said at 2:42 pm on Wednesday February 17, 2010:

    @Lauren: it’s very likely an 18-36mo. 0% interest plan, which is the only way I could justify that kind of purchase over paying cash.

  1. sm said at 4:41 pm on Wednesday February 17, 2010:

    I would buy the Capitol Hill condo - it’s close to the Stadium/Armory metro station which is on the Orange line like his job at McPherson Square, and is probably in the nicest area.

    All three of these properties are in “up & coming” areas that may have crime issues, but I think this is probably the best location.

    I wouldn’t waste time on the short sale - it could take months to even get a response on an offer. If the price is low it is very likely there would be other offers. In the meantime, he could lose out on a lot of other properties. I think this 1BR on the Hill is the most practical option.

  1. wdc said at 3:19 pm on Thursday February 18, 2010:

    That Florida Ave spot seems like an absolute steal.  And although I don’t spend much time that far north, I think that is a nicer block than the 17th Street place, which is basically right at Eastern High School.

  1. Steph said at 1:55 pm on Monday February 22, 2010:

    That Florida Ave house is EXTREMELY cramped, and at only 10.5 ft wide, you couldnt event fit a normal sized couch in the living room. As a young bachelor who’s propably gonna want some company and at least a little room to entertain, I would focus on deciding between the two condos.

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