DC Buyer: Couple Looking for Room to Grow

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. If you are a prospective buyer and would like to be featured in DC Buyer, send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). See all of our past DC Buyer articles here.

This week, we are working with Linda, 29, and her husband Jorge, 35. Linda works with the DC court system near Penn Quarter and earns $75,000 per year. Jorge works for a lobbying firm on the Hill, and earns around $80,000 annually. Linda has a stronger FICO score of 744, but carries law school loans of about $700 a month. Jorge has no debt, and a credit score of 717.

1240 4th Street NW

Linda and Jorge want to start a family in the next few years, so they are looking for at least a two-bedroom unit. They currently own a condo in Friendship Heights, and while they love their home, the long commute has become a burden. They have made substantial upgrades while living there, and have enjoyed customizing things to their personal taste, but would prefer the property they buy not require much work on the weekends. Given these factors, we will be looking for something in a downtown or downtown-adjacent neighborhood that has been renovated. Linda and Jorge expect to have about $135,000 in positive equity to roll over from the sale of their current condo as the down payment. While they could be approved for a larger mortgage, they prefer to shop in the $425,000 to $475,000 price range. It being the summer, the pickings were a little slimmer than we would’ve liked, but we did find these two choices.

The first option is 1240 4th Street NW, #200. Based on where Linda and Jorge work, the location of this two-bedroom unit is fairly ideal, just two blocks from the Mount Vernon Square Metro on the Green and Yellows line. The unit itself gets a lot of natural light, has high ceilings, hardwood floors, in-unit washer/dryer as well as a built-in speaker system. At just over 900 square feet, it will offer more space than the couple’s current abode. It is listed for $450,000.

Kitchen at 1736 19th Street NW

The second option for Linda and Jorge is 1736 19th Street, Unit 1. This two-bedroom, two-bath Dupont Circle home is the basement level unit in a converted row house. While Linda and Jorge would prefer an above-grade unit for light and sound, the neighborhood is very desirable, and it is difficult to find a unit of this size in Dupont at this price point. The condo features a newer kitchen, two fireplaces, and wood floors. The $286 monthly fee is not too bad for the neighborhood, although utilities are separate. 1736 19th Street hit the market a couple weeks ago, and is priced at $449,000.

Given these two choices, where should Linda and Jorge put in their offer?


See other articles related to: mount vernon triangle, dupont circle, dclofts, dc buyer

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc_buyer_couple_looking_for_room_to_grow/2253


  1. C said at 1:15 pm on Monday July 12, 2010:

    neither.  square footage is too small once they have a kid.  with $135,000 they can shop at the $500,000 mark and put 20% down (no PMI) and still have $35,000 leftover for small repairs/renovations.  I suggest a single family home in near NE for 500k.

  1. SimonF said at 1:18 pm on Monday July 12, 2010:

    The Mount Vernon Square choice. If you are going to move from Friendship to be closer to work, might as well be as close as possible. Looks like the condo gets a lot of light. The basement unit in Dupont could be pretty dark.

  1. RL said at 1:45 pm on Monday July 12, 2010:

    C actually has a good point. Neither of these condos have enough room for a family. For the $ they are spending and the amount they have for a down payment, it would be wiser to just get a small row home in a gentrifying neighborhood…

  1. James said at 1:49 pm on Monday July 12, 2010:

    Honestly, they should look at 902 13th St NE. It has tremendous appreciation potential, is a great size for a family just starting out and is listed at $400K. With the savings they could buy a car. The commute downtown is 10 minutes.

  1. Ellen said at 2:03 pm on Monday July 12, 2010:

    If you are gonna have a kid in the next two years, I think either of these would work or frankly any property that has an additional bedroom. Live in it until you decide to have another kid (two more years, maybe) and then look for a bigger place.

  1. guy said at 2:22 pm on Monday July 12, 2010:

    Not sure how the 15 minute metro ride commuting from Friendship Heights to downtown (gallery place) would be considered a long commute.  Seems MUCH shorter than the commute of the vast majority of working stiffs downtwon

  1. girl said at 8:26 pm on Monday July 12, 2010:

    agree with the row house comments in NE.  the NY/Florida/Gallaudet metro is 3 stops from Chinatown.  and a trolley is being built.

  1. Mary said at 9:06 am on Tuesday July 13, 2010:

    Agree that they should look for a row house - NE or out towards Stadium/Armory. Or, there are several in that price range on the mkt in SW, walking distance to both the waterfront greenline and federal center SW stops. But, a two bedroom condo won’t be enough space for a growing family and the market’s not necessarily going to be such that one can count on buying a place and having it appreciate enough to be able to sell at a profit in a couple of years.

  1. mona said at 2:24 pm on Tuesday July 13, 2010:

    I fear that if this couple goes to any place outside of northwest DC they aren’t going to be “comfortable”. NE is to unfamiliar compared to where they have been living and as I have seen most folks that have lived west of the park want to stay west of the park or as close to a “similar” neighborhood as they can and Mt Vernon and Dupont are very much like that.

  1. cbmendez said at 1:57 pm on Thursday July 15, 2010:

    AGREED - A house, not a condo

    4606 15TH ST NW, Washington, DC 20011**
    Neighborhood: Petworth  

    Beds:  5
    Type:  TOWNHOUSE
    Sq. Ft.:  2,084
    Lot Size:  1,900
    MLS #:  DC7325998
    Baths:  3/0
    Built:  1919
    $/Sq.Ft.:  $240
    List Date:  04/30/10
    On Market:  76 days
    List Price: $499,999

  1. Rose Leclerck said at 1:54 pm on Sunday July 18, 2010:

    It is crazy to leave Friendship Heights! It is a great place to live. Everything is within few minutes walk. It has wide avenues. Very, very safe! Forget about DC. In Friendship Heights (FH) you are 15 minutes away from downtown DC. For $450k you get larger units (1200sf) in FH.

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