DC Buyer: Lobbyist Looking For a Studio Crash Pad

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.
1300 Massachusetts Avenue
This week, UrbanTurf is looking for a downtown studio for Mara, a 37 year-old lobbyist in the health care industry. Mara already owns a home in Annapolis where she spends about half her time lobbying at the state level, but she is looking for a second property in DC since she has been spending three or four days a week in the city recently. She doesn’t have the strongest FICO score at 704, but since she earns about $100,000 a year and has about $150,000 to put down on the property, securing a loan shouldn’t be a problem. Mara just wants to get out of the rental apartment she has been sharing for the past two years, and find a studio. The majority of her clients are on K Street, but she also needs easy access to the Capitol and the adjacent office buildings. Most of her time in DC is spent working, so Mara doesn’t need much space, but she’d like to have a place with a serviceable kitchen and some natural light. Her only stipulation is that she does not want a basement unit. Mara is shopping primarily in the $250,000 to $275,000 range.
601 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
The first choice for Mara is a studio at 601 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Priced at $267,500, this is the most expensive property she is considering, but its advantage over the others is an unbeatable location. The Archives/Navy Memorial Metro stop is right across the street, and the Capitol is just a ten-minute walk. Three large windows let in plenty of light, and there’s an office nook for Mara to use as a home base. The bathroom has been redone, and the kitchen is fully functional, even if it is a bit plain. The building also features a roof deck with some great views of the city. Taxes and condo fees, however, are a bit on the high side, but Mara is hopeful that the amount of time this unit has been on the market (since September 2009) might mean the seller would be flexible about the asking price. For the second choice, we go from the most expensive option to the least. This studio at 1300 Massachusetts Avenue NW is listed for $209,900 (a dated kitchen and bath likely explain the low price). The location is an easy walk down to K Street, a few short blocks from the McPherson Square Metro station, and also gives easy access to Logan and Dupont if Mara ever finds any time to go out. Overall, the unit has strong bones with high ceilings, an open layout, and great wood floors. As an added bonus, the building allows rentals and pets, which would give her options whenever she decides to move out.
1420 N Street NW
Unit 602 at 1420 N Street NW is the final choice. This junior one-bedroom is listed at $259,000 and provides ample natural light, a beautiful new kitchen and a sleeping alcove off the main room. The black marble tile in the bathroom may be a turn-off to some buyers, but Mara likes it. The building has a roof deck with a pool, in case Mara ever wants to relax in the sun (or, more likely, bring her laptop to the roof and work in the sun!). The drawback for this building is that it’s the farthest from both K Street and the Capitol, although it certainly is the most condo for her money and a fairly quick commute to wherever she needs to go. Given these three choices, where should she put in her offer?

See other articles related to: penn quarter, logan circle, dclofts, dc buyer, capitol hill

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc_buyer_lobbyist_looking_for_a_studio_crash_pad/1929


  1. Bean said at 9:24 am on Wednesday March 31, 2010:

    1300 Massachusetts Avenue looks to be the most inviting, not to mention the cheapest. That is what I would go with.

  1. Nick said at 9:30 am on Wednesday March 31, 2010:

    Call me crazy, but aren’t high condo fees ($350+) a huge turn-off if you ever want to sell a place? And if they are already at $400+ aren’t you guaranteed that they will keep going up and up and up every year thus making the inevitable urge to sell this second home really difficult?

  1. John said at 9:30 am on Wednesday March 31, 2010:

    If she really wants to be near the Capitol, there are several beautiful (small) studios at 101 North Carolina Ave SE, one even has a perfect view of the Capitol and the Wash Mon.  They range from $189 to $229K.  Plus Cap South metro is about a block away.

  1. Emil Ali said at 9:33 am on Wednesday March 31, 2010:

    601 Penn is a beautiful building, I was looking there for a while. Parking is a problem because there is no non-metered street parking. 1420 N has a high condo fee because of the amenities and its not in the most convenient location for her. I would say go with 1300 Mass because of the price and location

  1. Mark S. said at 10:51 am on Wednesday March 31, 2010:

    WOW…three great choices. I too have looked at Penn. Ave. building, but the fees are out of range and do hamper resales at the low and high end.  Mass. Ave. efficiency looks best and has been on market too long.  The curb appeal of this building is incredible….current owner should do a quick cabinet and counter redo and receive multiple offers.

    I can’t imagine any broker not advising a seller that a small investment in modern cabinets would yield a quicker sale and higher curb appeal.  I also like 15 WEST, just coming on market on 15th St. SE with large one bedrooms around $270K, but with low, low fees and three blocks to Potomac Metro. She could train stress-free to Capitol Hill and K St. business.

    Good luck Mara.

  1. Janson said at 10:56 am on Wednesday March 31, 2010:

    I wish I could say that the Mass unit doesn’t look good, just so I could put in an offer and not have to compete. but that would be dishonest…

  1. Mark S. said at 10:57 am on Wednesday March 31, 2010:

    Sorry…should have said 15 EAST, a new Macy Development building with underground parking. Prices start at $289,900.

  1. Greg said at 3:52 pm on Thursday April 1, 2010:

    I second the suggestion of 101 north Carolina ave se. Perfect location and very affordable and recently renovated. I recently bought there and am very satisfied.

Comments are closed.

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