Trinidad’s (Almost) $1 Million Buyer Speaks Up

by Shilpi Paul

image
1228 Florida Avenue NE

Earlier this week, UrbanTurf reported that the most expensive home ever listed in Trinidad had gone under contract.

On Thursday, the buyer emerged in the comments section of the article. Earlier commenters noted the low price per square foot, but wondered how long the neighborhood would take to “catch up.” The buyer responded to a number of comments and explained his reasons for purchasing the home. Here is the full comment:

@Spectator,

This is why my wife and I are under contract on it. $300/sq ft sure beats the heck out of anywhere in NW DC. We are currently Bloomingdale residents. We were hoping to buy another rowhouse in Bloomingdale, but the prices and competition forced us to look elsewhere.

@LininginTrinidad, you are spot on. Would people rather pay $500k+ for a 3/2 condo or ~$900k for a 6/4.5 house? It is a no-brainer.

We toured about 50 “renovated” properties and this one was the best by far. The bedrooms and bathrooms were the most tastefully done, and it wasn’t even close. The staging of the first floor was horrible, but my wife has 1,000 ideas to make it much more functional and defined. Admittedly, the kitchen is a bit small, but definitely more than enough for us.

Our plan is to partition off the basement and make it a separate unit. The pictures online don’t show the bedrooms or full bathroom down there. Sure, it needs some rejiggering, but it will be perhaps the best looking English basement rental I’ve seen.

After laboring through a home search, we are happy to find such a stunning place. The price is a bit high, but you have no idea the amount of competition that exists out there. If/when the Capitol Hill Oasis debacle is rectified, then this stretch of Florida will become highly desirable. I would be open to working with neighbors and the city to find a good solution that remedies such buffoonery.

We love DC and cannot wait to become part of our new neighborhood. I sold my wife on the idea of Trinidad/H St and she cannot wait either!

The buyer did not wish to share the final sales price, but we will follow up once the sale closes.

See other articles related to: trinidad's 1 million home, trinidad

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/trinidads_almost_1_million_buyer_speaks_up/6692

18 Comments

  1. anon said at 8:30 pm on Thursday February 21, 2013:

    It’s a gorgeous house- congrats!  I’ve been through a ton of renovated homes as well and this was the first one that was well done with higher end finishings and didn’t put in “fancy” contractor grade junk in the bathrooms and kitchens that I’d want to immediately rip out.  The floor plan was very well thought out and the house is almost double the size of anything around it. The basement is amazing- tons of space for a second unit.  The back yard is huge.  I think you guys did well for yourselves.  Expensive, yeah, but you’re getting something for your money and if you want to live there and are happy with it, then it’s worth it.  NE is a great place to be and the Trinidad community is the best.  I had a 500k condo in NW and bought a HOUSE with a yard and parking-and great neighbors.  I couldn’t be happier and hope you will be too.  Welcome!

  1. Aubrey said at 9:59 pm on Thursday February 21, 2013:

    Welcome to the neighborhood.

  1. jag said at 2:33 am on Friday February 22, 2013:

    I hope you and your 6-8(?) children very much enjoy your new giant home. Personally, if I spend 900K on a place I’m not going to be living anywhere near this neighborhood, but to each their own. Congrats.

  1. Caleb said at 4:45 am on Friday February 22, 2013:

    “The price is a bit high, but you have no idea the amount of competition that exists out there.”

    I think the unprecedented level of demand in DC is what most people who read blogs discussing real estate don’t get. People aren’t purchasing homes >500k in Ekington, Trinidad and Capitol Hill East for kicks. It’s just the going rate for rowhomes in emerging neighborhoods on this side of the river. There are some pockets in upper NE and across the river in Anacostia that are still offering home prices <500k, but those are the few zones that can say that.

    I was here during the first “bubble” and I tell you, it never really popped. It chilled out/slowed down and you didn’t have to come to an open house with your offer in hand or a checkbook for a downpayment on new condo construction. Buyers had a little more leverage, but not much.

    Congrats on your new home!

  1. LivinginTrinidad said at 9:20 am on Friday February 22, 2013:

    Congrats new buyer!  I think that you will find that your investment was a sound one even if it takes a year - 3 to totally realize it.  We moved to the neighborhood on West Virginia Ave. in 2010 (well 2011) as we renovated the house we live in in 2010.  Renovating on your own (i.e. hiring contractors etc.) is not for the faint of heart.  We had a lot of hard lessons we learned during the process.  But I digress!  I look forward to seeing the basement turned into a rental unit.  Indeed it will be “one” of the best looking ones in the neighborhood (we’re going to be turning our basement into a rental this year too - albeit smaller than yours we’re hoping ours will be the best grin!  Good luck to you and welcome to the neighborhood!

  1. anon said at 11:04 am on Friday February 22, 2013:

    What’s the “Capitol Hill Oasis debacle”?

  1. Ann said at 11:24 am on Friday February 22, 2013:

    @Buyer -  no need to defend your purchase choice, we hope you are happy with it. Some of us disagree with the value in $600k of ‘renovations’ in Trinidad - Here’s to hoping that trolley arrives! How did you get priced out of those other neighborhoods with almost a million $ budget?

  1. nz said at 12:34 pm on Friday February 22, 2013:

    my two cents - i bought at 15th and G NE in late 2010. i got a great deal on a foreclosed property. i recently purchased in the 1400 block of Morse St in Trinidad as well. prices have certainly gone up in the area over the last 2 years, but for good reason. DC is blowing up due to lifestyle changes - families are having fewer children (need less space), young people are getting married later (demand for city housing), jobs are moving into the city, urban living benefits, and DC is finally starting to get its act together. DC property values are sky rocketing and few opportunities exist. Trinidad is a beautiful, tree-lined neighborhood and has great people. I invested in the neighborhood, because I think it’s a sure bet. not because of the trolley, but because of new construction between Union Station and the NoMA Metro stop. Also, there are new projects popping up around the starburst all the time. my main worry is interest rates. as they start creeping up, house prices will likely start creeping down. however, i expect other forces - jobs, lifestyle changes, dc improving -  will keep prices afloat. Trinidad is a great neighborhood and a good investment!

  1. Buyer said at 1:45 pm on Friday February 22, 2013:

    @ anon:  Here is a link to several articles giving you the complete story on Capitol Hill Oasis.  Rather hilarious and props to the people who covered it. http://frozentropics.blogspot.com/2012/04/wp-failure-at-capitol-hill-oasis.html

    @ Caleb:  Totally agree. The casual readers who aren’t in the trenches have no idea what is going on. The lack of inventory (and subsequent ridiculous demand) in LeDroit/Bloomingdale/Eckington is what drove this decision.  I could have chased 45 Bryant St, but it went under contract for above what I was willing to pay and doesn’t hold a candle to this renovation.  100 Bryant St and 2413 1st would have been fantastic, but the other buyers were more aggressive.  We only got “priced out” of the desired markets because we initially were not aggressive enough and now there is NO inventory. 

    The amount of competition in the market forced me to rethink the purchase process.  The methods I used in 2008-2010 do not apply in 2012-2013.  Then, I could lob in offers well below list and likely get a counter.  Now, you have to bring a strong offer from the outset if you want to even be in the running for a property.  I had to recalibrate my methods and expectations in order to finally get under contract on a property. 

    @nz:  You are spot on.  There is a structural shift in household formation for Gen X/Gen Y/Millenials that makes DC such an attractive place to live.  I’m not too worried about interest rates in the near or intermediate term.  If they do rise, values may depress some but overall affordability will still be a barrier to entry for would-be buyers.  Hence, the rental market in DC is rather insulated.  I know that I could rent out this property for well over the carrying cost.  Congrats on your two purchases; you have likely done quite well.  We should talk more once we get settled, as it seems you and I are of the same mindset and could really have a positive impact on Trinidad. 

    It always kills me that people cite the pre-renovation acquisition cost as a reason not to buy.  Sure, it is helpful to know how much the other side has put into a deal, but it doesn’t drive my ultimate decision.  The developer took a risk and deserves to be rewarded.  The Goldbergs will do well on this property; however, no one is buying shells for less than $300k nowadays, so their profit margins going forward will not be as substantial.  I am willing to pay someone who did a thoughtful and tasteful renovation, regardless of their basis.

    If I had the foresight and resources to know that Bloomingdale was going to appreciate so rapidly after I bought in 2010, then I would have snapped up 5 properties back then.  Shoulda coulda woulda. I won’t realize as much appreciation as I may like on this property, but I take a long-term view on my acquisitions.

    Trolley or no trolley, Trinidad is here to stay.  The walk to the NY Ave metro stop is the same distance (0.8 mile) as my walk to the Shaw metro stop from my current house. The “proximity to metro” argument against this neighborhood (and others) is overdone and bogus. 

    Trinidad is not slowing down, so giddy up!

  1. JT said at 2:05 pm on Friday February 22, 2013:

    Glad you are there to stay because nobody will buy your house for $1M in 5 years when interest rates are back up. You have about $200k in ‘speculation’ pricing in your house.  Giddy up!

  1. Kes said at 2:11 pm on Friday February 22, 2013:

    I agree with you, nz, Trinidad’s potential is real, and it will only improve both in amenities and home values over the next five years, streetcar or no. I still maintain it was mostly just the infamy of the 2008 shootings and checkpoints that kept the prices this low this long.

    The Capital Hill Oasis debacle is that stretch of empty pre-fab brick buildings at 12th & K, right near Florida Ave. A developer started the project in 2007 (horrible timing), apparently thinking the housing bubble would never burst, and people would be willing to pay $1 mil for “luxury homes” in that area. The construction crews were apparently incompetent to the point of dangerous, there were never-ending problems and delays, and with one thing and another the tire business behind the project was damaged and then burned down (!), the developer went bankrupt and the buildings have stood there waiting for whatever bank finally foreclosed to pull its thumb out of its ass and finish and sell the things. Frozen Tropics has a lot of coverage of this: http://frozentropics.blogspot.com/2012/04/wp-failure-at-capitol-hill-oasis.html

    What really chafes my ass are the cute row of ca. 1900 brick houses she tore down to fail at modular housing. What a waste. Timing was against her, but still, rank incompetence.

  1. ILiveinTrinidad said at 2:49 pm on Friday February 22, 2013:

    I bought in Trinidad in 2010 and it amazes me how much prices have gone up. Luckily, I was able to buy with a single, decent income. If I were in the market right now, I would be completely SOL right now, with the same budget. Love living here and can’t wait to meet our new neighbors!

  1. ACG said at 3:12 pm on Friday February 22, 2013:

    Mediocre to poor home-stock, lack of access to public transportation, no historic preservation to act as natural constraint. Trinidad is not a great place to plop 900K for single family. The neighborhood is a long way from being able to support actual amenities, this purchase will have to be a LONG TERM hold. like 20 years ppl.

  1. Magellan said at 4:14 pm on Friday February 22, 2013:

    @ACG. This house is a short stroll to the East End of H Street. There are all ready plenty of amenities there to be enjoyed.

    Yes, it’s Trinidad, but that portion of Trinidad that is close to H Street and the upcoming streetcar.

  1. Anon said at 4:49 pm on Friday February 22, 2013:

    When thinking about amenities, don’t forget Union Market and all of the development near Noma. Many parts of Trinidad are a 12 minute stroll to the metro and an even shorter walk to both H street and Union Market.  Once the Greyhound station work begins, there will be that retail and office space/apts as well and while not directly in our neighborhood, they are certainly walking distance.

  1. mona said at 4:53 pm on Friday February 22, 2013:

    Congrats on your new purchase. Ignore the naysayers on these comments. Pretty much most of NW is gone when it comes to <500k for homes. Remember when the boarder for buying in DC was 16th st, then Rock Creek Park, then Georgia Ave, Then just NW in general. Nothing much left in NW if home 1 block from North Capitol in Bloomingdale is going for 1.3million. Enjoy your new fabulous home and be glad your got in the city before things pushed out to Eastern Ave

  1. InvestorDC said at 5:05 pm on Friday February 22, 2013:

    I really don’t understand the negative comments that people are stating… you all probably underestimated the value of Old City 1, just 2 years ago.. I have bought at least 3 homes in Old City 1 and naysayers were saying the same thing..to make a long story short, all the properties has more then double in value less then 2 years.. now its normally to see homes go for $1 million. The point of this comment is that property doesn’t change the value of the neighbor.. people do..and when you have people invested that’s when you see value.

    FYI most neighborhoods in DC where like Trinidad, especial in NW and Capital Hill… but we forgot about that..

  1. cochrynn said at 5:08 pm on Friday February 22, 2013:

    Welcome to the neighborhood! My husband and I bought a flipped house a couple blocks north of yours last year and we love it around here. I’ll admit we scoped out your house when it was for sale and thought it was a gorgeous renovation. I would totally live in your basement apartment!

    @ACG- I think your comment is laughable, seeing as how I have used my car less than I ever have since moving to Trinidad. Buyer, I think you will find that bus transportation around here is extremely efficient (the 90’s go EVERYWHERE). Also, there are more amenities than I can even find the time to appreciate! I eat out a couple times a week on H street and haven’t even been to every restaurant. Union Market is the BEST, and check out Green Hat distillery on a Saturday. Trinidad is one of the few places that I’ve lived where you can make a whole day out of activities within walking distance, and never have to get in your car. Enjoy your new home!

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