DC Buyer: Single Working Father Looking For Home in the City

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 Max, a 39 year-old defense contractor who is looking for a new home for himself and his six year-old daughter, Marissa.

Max has a nice home in Baltimore that’s already paid off, however he needs to move closer to his new job at the Navy Yard. Max earns about $110,000 per year, and has a decent FICO score of 718. In addition, his consumer debt is fairly minimal at around $500 per month. He is expecting to sell his current home for around $330,000 and roll almost all of the equity into his new home, but intends to keep about $15,000 to buy a car. He anticipates shopping in the $600,000 to $650,000 range.

Kitchen at 406 11th Street SE

As Marissa gets older, Max knows a property with only one bathroom becomes more of a problem, so he is only considering two bedroom, two bath properties. In addition, Max loves to cook, so he needs a nice, functional, decently sized kitchen to “make pancakes with Marissa every Saturday morning.” Lastly, Max’s house in Baltimore has an amazing yard, and he’s grown to love outdoor living and entertaining. While it is not a deal breaker, Max would love to have some outdoor space, where he can cook out and his daughter can invite friends over to play.

Our first option for Max is 406 11th Street SE on Capitol Hill. This two bedroom, two and a half bath home is the closest to Max’s job, and is within just a few blocks of Harris Teeter, Safeway, Lincoln Park, the Potomac Avenue and Eastern Market Metro stops, and Barracks Row. Not only does the property meet his needs for two bathrooms, but it has a large, recently renovated kitchen, a fireplace in the dining room, a large backyard with a brick patio, and a pair of master suites with a washer/dryer on the second level. The home just recently hit the market for $629,000.

9 Cleveland Avenue

The second choice at 9 Cleveland Avenue in Takoma Park is the largest property we picked for Max. The three-bedroom, 2.5-bath home offers refinished hardwood floors, an amazing white-and-wood tone kitchen, fireplaces in the living room and den, and a massive backyard complete with a two-level deck, an in-ground hot tub, and a large lawn. If those aren’t enough selling points, this property is the former childhood home of actress Goldie Hawn and is the least expensive choice at just $585,000.

1080 Wisconsin Avenue NW

The final choice is fairly different from the other homes we feature for Max. It is a centrally-located Georgetown property at 1080 Wisconsin Avenue NW. The renovated two-bedroom, two-bath condo is perched above the Georgetown shopping district, which has both pros and cons. The biggest disadvantage, parking, is alleviated by the fact that this unit comes with a garage space. The kitchen in this unit is beautiful, big, and modern, a big plus for Max, but unlike the other properties featured, this home does not have a yard, just a small balcony. However, the condo building comes with a roof deck, including a large swimming pool, which Max can’t offer his daughter in any of the other selections. All of this comes at a price, however. Listed for $639,000, the unit is the highest priced property we feature and the condo fee ($803 per month) is quite hefty.

Given these three choices, where should Max put in his offer?

See other articles related to: takoma park, georgetown, dclofts, dc buyer, capitol hill

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc_buyer_single_working_father_looking_for_home_in_the_city/1973


  1. Jeanne said at 8:33 am on Wednesday April 14, 2010:

    I would go with the Takoma Park property. The backyard is great and it is only a Metro ride (or two) from the Navy Yard. Way close than Baltimore, thats for sure.

  1. Liz said at 9:18 am on Wednesday April 14, 2010:

    School districts?  With a six-year-old, and assuming that at his salary he isn’t sending her to private school, that would trump the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

  1. SL said at 9:21 am on Wednesday April 14, 2010:

    Hmm, he didn’t mention anything about schools - so I’m guessing the public school situation isn’t a consideration. I think if he’s living with his daughter full-time, I’d go for the Takoma Park house. It’s beautiful, close to metro, and in a family-friendly area. The 11th St house is my 2nd choice and love Capitol Hill. Georgetown makes no sense to me - congested and expensive.

  1. richard said at 9:22 am on Wednesday April 14, 2010:

    why nothing in va?  Arlington is in his price range, has good schools, low taxes and the commute will be reasonable.

  1. Sally said at 9:28 am on Wednesday April 14, 2010:

    @ Liz—All these homes are located in neighborhoods with good school districts. Capitol Hill—Capitol Hill cluster schools, Georgetown—Hyde, Takoma Park—Takoma Park Elementary (among others). My pick: Capitol Hill, bring her up in the heart of the city!

  1. emerald said at 9:46 am on Wednesday April 14, 2010:

    I like the Takoma Park home. It seems great for a family and does allow room for expanding that family. It also has a great backyard.  However, the Capitol Hill home puts him in walking distance to work.

  1. what said at 10:01 am on Wednesday April 14, 2010:

    wow.  how does a single father making $110K afford a $650K house?

    I really don’t understand these posts sometime.  I make as much money as this guy, I’m single, I had $60K saved up when I bought my house, and there’s no way in hell I would have been able to buy afford $600-650K mortgage.  Doesn’t $650K house translate into a $4000 mortgage?

    Don’t these people eat?

  1. SL said at 10:07 am on Wednesday April 14, 2010:

    I also am sometimes surprised by how much people plan to spend…but it does say he will have equity from the sale of his current home (how much isn’t mentioned).

    I’d be interested in some follow-up on these stories to let us know which of the properties they end up buying. I assume they are probably under contract by the time these stories post and don’t want all the Urban Turf readers competing with them!

  1. Peter said at 10:24 am on Wednesday April 14, 2010:

    @ what—Do the math. He is going to have $300k plus in equity from his home sale, so whatever mortgage he is paying is on a loan of max $300,000. On a $110K salary that is quite doable.

  1. CS said at 11:09 am on Thursday April 15, 2010:

    He might like the new condo buildings around the ballpark too. Lots of space for his price range! Check out Capitol Hill Towers and Velocity Condos!

  1. MRB said at 2:47 pm on Thursday April 15, 2010:
  1. cbmendez said at 3:43 pm on Thursday April 15, 2010:

    Saw this at open house this weekend. Easy walk to Takoma station. Sunny, spacious reno. Nice yard with two parking slabs.

    6514 5TH ST NW, Washington, DC 20012
    MLS #:  DC7307076
    List Price: $599,500

  1. cbmendez said at 4:11 pm on Thursday April 15, 2010:

    Ask seller to toss in a riding mower:
    7408 EASTERN AVE NW, Washington, DC 20012
    MLS #:  DC7196546
    List Price: $499,900

    7216 7TH ST NW, Washington, DC 20012
    MLS #:  DC7265503
    List Price: $535,000

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