DC Buyer: Long-Saving 29 Year-Old Looking for Unit Larger Than His Apartment

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.

1875 Mintwood Place NW

This week, we’re working with Paul, a 29 year-old electrician. Paul has managed to save nearly $55,000 for a down payment after several years of conservative living in Brookland. He has a good FICO score of 738, which reflects the fact that he carries no balances on credit cards, and also has no student loans. Paul is successful in his field, and was just promoted to a supervisor role where he expects to make about $65,000 per year before bonuses and commissions.

Paul is very open to exploring new neighborhoods and has few limits on what he would consider. His primary objective is that the property should be spacious, as he has grown tired of his cramped apartment. He would also really like something with large windows, lots of natural light, and his only real requirement: no renovations needed at all. Based on his loan approval, Paul is shopping in the $250,000 to $295,000 range. Given Paul’s flexibility, the two properties that we found for him are quite different in a number of ways.

The first option for Paul is a top-floor corner one-bedroom co-op at 1875 Mintwood Place NW in Kalorama. Two things make this an attractive unit for Paul. The first is that it has a number of windows that bring a good deal of light into the property. The second is its size. At almost 700 square feet, it also much larger than the apartment where Paul is currently living, and unlike the two-bedroom condo below, it is very centrally located.

5885 Colorado Avenue NW

The second choice for Paul is actually a two-bedroom, 1.5-bath unit at 5885 Colorado Avenue NW listed for $279,500. As the listing accurately states, the photos look like something right out of Architectural Digest, but of course, they do come with a catch. The building is located at the busy three-way intersection of Georgia Avenue, Missouri Avenue and Colorado Avenue, which is one of the least pedestrian-friendly areas of the city, and is far away from Metro. That being said, this 800 square-foot unit is quite possibly the most apartment per square foot anywhere in the city, and the 20-foot ceilings are tempting. The fact that the unit has been on the market for some time (and has already had two price reductions) might mean that Paul could negotiate the price down a little more.

Given these choices, where should Paul put in his offer?

See other articles related to: kalorama, dclofts, dc buyer, brightwood

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc_buyer_long-saving_29_year-old_looking_for_a_unit_larger_than_his_apartme/2019


  1. Dex said at 8:47 am on Wednesday April 28, 2010:

    Even though the Colorado Avenue unit looks amazing, it is too far away from the rest of the city. The 700 square feet of the Kalorama place should be enough.

  1. Tom A. said at 9:55 am on Wednesday April 28, 2010:

    Hmm we need more information!  Where does he work?  Does he need parking? 

    I’m not a fan of condo fees, so I’d encourage him to get a small row house (preferably end unit) in hill east close to Stadium Armory metro if he wants to feel more like a home owner and have a yard and free parking.

    Maybe this one:  http://www.redfin.com/DC/Washington/322-19th-St-NE-20002/home/10115182

  1. Jerald said at 10:12 am on Wednesday April 28, 2010:

    @ Tom A.—Doesn’t seem like where he works and parking are issues for Paul or else they would’ve been mentioned.

    I prefer the Colorado property. That intersection isn’t that bad, and I’ll bet that the listing price could be negotiated down a little bit more. Plus, Brightwood is coming up!!

  1. J said at 10:19 am on Wednesday April 28, 2010:

    These are both pretty bad choices.  The intersection noise is going to be bad through those windows, and location blows (although if he’s car only that could be alright).  And those co-op fees are killer and just not worth it (ie there are lower fee 1bdrs out there for the same price range…and perhaps even lower after-tax monthly payment).

  1. Brendan said at 10:29 am on Wednesday April 28, 2010:

    First, cheers to Paul for socking away 55K on a $65,000 salary.  Way to go!  As for the purchases, I’d advise Paul to think big picture and try to see if he was going settle down anytime soon and get married.  If so, I’d look hard to find a place that you know you can live in for 2-3 years—-and possibly move your fiance’ into during the engagement—-use the funds you are saving from her not paying rent to build another nest egg and to rent the place out at either CF+ or neutral once you find a small row house and you can move into. 


  1. Frustrated said at 10:34 am on Wednesday April 28, 2010:

    The Colorado prop is really a good deal, but yes, too far away. The Kalorama coop seems like good space for the money and the location is quite central.

    Having been looking for a 1-bed for two months now, these are some of the better options I have seen. The selection is very limited right now and if something really good comes on the market, it won’t be available for that long.

  1. DB said at 11:53 am on Wednesday April 28, 2010:

    Does it have to be in DC? There’s some very spacious condos that have a wall of windows available on Columbia Pike in Arlington.

  1. Morgan said at 1:08 pm on Thursday April 29, 2010:

    I think that the apt that Paul will choose will it depend on his lifestyle (which we know very little about).  Everyone is saying that the Colorado Ave apt is far away, from what?  Is the point to get an apartment as close to downtown as possible?  This apt seems suited for a person who likes to entertain and drives and loft-style apt in this price range unique.  But if Paul wants to live closer to a metro and doesn’t mind the condo fees then the kalorama apt should suit him.  A townhouse does seem out of the question if he wants a move-in ready place because a townhouse at this price point will need work.  Good Luck!

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