DC Buyer: Savvy Former Investor Looking for First Real Home

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’re working with Alexis, a 37 year-old DC resident who works in Cleveland Park. Alexis makes about $50,000 per year and has a good credit score of 722. She maintains minimal consumer debt with payments of around $300 per month.

Alexis has ridden the DC real estate wave before. Several years ago when the market was headed up, she and a group of friends invested in a townhouse they flipped as weekend warriors (HGTV reference) in upper northwest. They rolled the profits into a second home which they also flipped, and then Alexis bought a run-down one-bedroom plus den in Logan Circle that she renovated on the weekends with the help of her friends. She sold the condo in late 2006 before the market went into a nosedive, and has been renting since. Now she’s ready to roll the $250,000 that she has accumulated over the years into another property.

233 Kentucky Avenue SE

Alexis doesn’t really have any restrictions on the type of home that she will consider. Having lived in Logan Circle, she isn’t interested in being in the middle of the most trendy neighborhood, but she’d still like to be able to walk to things like a dry cleaner or a restaurant. She would love having more space to stretch out, and find something in a livable, even if not beautiful, condition. Given her income, debt, and substantial down payment amount, she is shopping in the $350,000 to $400,000 range.

Our first choice is 233 Kentucky Avenue SE, #1. This two-bedroom, one-bath unit is south of Lincoln Park on the eastern edge of Capitol Hill. The unit is fairly spacious at about 850 square feet and has a wood-burning fireplace, updated kitchen and bath, built-in bookcases, as well as a fully-fenced-in patio area. The unit is listed at $350,000, so on the low end of Alexis’ price range, but it does carry a monthly condo fee of $383.

4114 Davis Place NW, #119

Our second choice for Alexis is 4114 Davis Place NW, Unit #119. This two-bedroom, two-bath home in Glover Park is fairly large at 1,261 square feet. It is a quick walk to the shops on Wisconsin Avenue, and offers large rooms, a tasteful, simple kitchen, massive windows, and deeded parking. At $293 per square foot, Alexis would be hard pressed to find a better deal in this area. The only downside we see to this property, listed at $362,900 is that the monthly fees are high at $505 per month.

1017 Monroe Street NW

Our final choice for Alexis is 1017 Monroe Street NW, #1. This three-bedroom, 2.5-bath condo is the larger unit in a two-unit Columbia Heights/Petworth row house conversion. While the foreclosure status may make some buyers uncomfortable, Alexis has friends she has invested with before who are working on foreclosures in this market, and can help guide her through some of the process. This unit features a massive kitchen, private parking, and a rear deck and while the kitchen is not complete (some appliances are not yet installed), the bank is offering an owner-occupant credit that may cover some of the costs of appliances. All that said, this home will need much more work than the two above, but at $354,900, it is enticing.

Given these three choices, where should Alexis put in her offer?

See other articles related to: petworth, glover park, dclofts, dc buyer, columbia heights, capitol hill

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc_buyer_savvy_former_investor_looking_for_first_real_home/2146


  1. SimonF said at 1:28 pm on Tuesday June 8, 2010:

    Even though it is the smallest, I say the Capitol Hill place. The Glover Park unit does not appeal to me at all and the Petworth home looks like it is going to need a lot of work.

  1. SL said at 1:39 pm on Tuesday June 8, 2010:

    Well, the Capitol Hill Place is a basement and the Monroe St unit has the bedrooms in the basement. The Glover Park unit is on the 1st floor. So none of these are appealing to me. If she’s into renovating/investing she could buy a whole rowhouse in Petworth. That’s what I would do.

    Note to the editors - could we hear what decisions people made later?

  1. Mark Wellborn said at 1:49 pm on Tuesday June 8, 2010:


    We are trying to figure out the best way to follow up with the buyers that we feature. Given the fast-paced nature of the market these days, that is easier said than done as many of the properties that we feature are purchased soon after the article is published. Our ultimate goal is to update these posts with what homes people choose, though.


    Mark Wellborn

  1. SL said at 3:32 pm on Tuesday June 8, 2010:

    Thanks for the reply! I look forward to hearing more on what the posters ended up deciding, even if they decided on none of the choices or somthing totally different.

  1. DG-rad said at 5:41 pm on Tuesday June 8, 2010:

    what about my place in Anacostia?  smile

  1. BellyBen said at 6:58 pm on Tuesday June 8, 2010:

    Go back to rehabbing with the Monroe St. property!

  1. cbmendez said at 11:46 am on Wednesday June 9, 2010:

    Cap Hill is nothing special.

    Monroe has potential, I lived 1 blk up on Park Rd for five years. Loved the neighborhood. Alexis is not afraid of hard work, I would love to vote for Monroe. The glaring problem for me - a two unit condo building (yikes). If there is a roof or sewer issue - you have to hope the homeowners have enough emergency savings and a reasonable personality, to negotiate price and agree to pay their share of the repairs. If neighbors get into a financial mess and stop paying HOA fees, then the other unit will either bear the entire cost, or the services stop altogether. I really do not like small condo situations. I am board president of a 15-unit building; with 4 units in forclosure and not paying their fees - its a struggle just to keep the utilities current.

    So - Glover Park. There is location and square footage. If she catches the reno bug again, there is plenty of opportunity to update the kitchen, baths, flooring, lighting and walk in closet.

    @DG-rad” whats the MLS # ?

  1. Jamie said at 10:27 am on Friday June 11, 2010:

    Given her experience and obvious aptitude in fixing up places, I would think she would be interested in looking at properties that need work. These all look pretty move-in ready.

    I am not sure if she indicated that she is only intersted in condos, but for that price range there are a lot of options for sf houses that need some work in parts of Columbia Heights, Petworth, Shaw, and so on. When you eliminate the condo fee she probably afford another $75K or so, too.

    I would think she’d be interested in continuing to use those same skills to find something to which she can add a lot of sweat equity—or perhaps on the other hand she’s burned out!

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