Deal of the Week: Buy This With a Friend

by Mark Wellborn


For this installment of Deal of the Week, we find a two-bedroom coop in Kalorama that we think would be a good buy for a couple of young friends who want to live in the neighborhood, don’t want to rent, and can come with the down payment $$. The unit has great views from every room, a kitchen with custom concrete counters, two good-sized bedrooms and access to a spacious roof deck. Of the 13 active or under contract two-bedroom coops in the area, there are only two lower in price (and neither has this unit’s view). The average rent for a two-bedroom in Kalorama hovers around $2,500; the monthly payments on this unit would be about $2,400 if you factor in insurance. More details and photos below. For the full listing, click here.

Master Bedroom
Second Bedroom
Roof Deck

2100 19th Street NW, #502 (map)

  • Price: $399,900
  • Bedrooms: Two
  • Bathrooms: One
  • Year Built: 1928

Here are some monthly payment calculations based on a 20 percent down payment and a 30-year fixed rate mortgage at 4.7 percent.

  • Loan Amount: $319,920
  • Principal and Interest: $1,659
  • Coop Fees (Includes Taxes): $543/month
  • Total Monthly Payments: $2,202

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See other articles related to: kalorama, deal of the week, dclofts, co-ops

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/deal_of_the_week_buy_this_with_a_friend/2256


  1. Rock said at 11:27 am on Tuesday July 13, 2010:

    I’d be very wary of recommending this strategy.  Buying with someone you’re not related to can create a world of headaches, especially in a city as transient as DC (what happens when one of the roommates decides to move away)? Plus, experts agree that you shouldn’t buy unless you have at least a five year horizon, or else transaction costs will likely destroy any return on investment, and few people will commit to living in a roommate situation for five or more years.

    Finally, this unit is a coop—which probably means subletting the unit is very difficult or even impossible, which compounds the risk of buying with a roommate.

  1. Lauren said at 11:33 am on Tuesday July 13, 2010:

    I second Rock’s comment!

  1. SportsGuyDC said at 11:43 am on Tuesday July 13, 2010:

    A counterpoint to the comments above: I bought with a friend in Mount Pleasant at the beginning of the year and would do it again, in a heartbeat. We drew up a contract that dictates what happens in the event one of us wants out, but more importantly, we have been paying down a mortgage rather than waving bye bye to our rent every month.

  1. skeptical said at 2:10 pm on Tuesday July 13, 2010:

    I concur with Rock.

    @ SportsGuy - Be prepared for scenarios that the contract does not cover.  For example, a kitchen appliance breaks and needs to be replaced. You and your friend might disagree on which model (prices vary by several thousand dollars for fridges, stoves, dishwashers).  Floors get scratched and need repair.  Which contractor do you pick and how much do you agree to spend?  Even changing out light fixtures can add up.  Simple home improvement projects require time and money: who’s going to do it?  This unit looks newer, but in 5 years when it comes time to sell, all units need a facelift.  Then you have to agree on paint colors, possibly staging costs, a realtor, commission costs, closing date, sales price, which buyer to choose, which financing option they present, how to counter their offer(s), whether you will make concessions/repairs before closing, etc.  I suspect you encourage this set-up because your situation is new and you have not encountered problems yet.  I wish you luck.  You might think differently when the time comes to sell (especially if one of you has a girlfriend/fiance at that point who adds a 3rd opinion).

  1. skeptical2 said at 3:00 pm on Tuesday July 13, 2010:

    To add to skeptical’s remarks:

    Even if you have a contract, that doesn’t meant the terms of it can easily be carried out.  What if your friend loses their job?  Even though they agree to pay 1/2 the mortgage and any home improvement costs, that doesn’t mean they can.  What happens when one of you is ready to leave in 3 years and the other one can’t buy you out AND you’re underwater 50k? 

    These types of questions would make me serously steer clear of this situation unless you’re both trust fund kids.  That might be the exception.

  1. SportsGuyDC said at 3:27 pm on Tuesday July 13, 2010:


    All the points that you make above are valid, but most have been worked out in the contract that has been drawn up between my friend and I. We are very good friends (yes, friendships can go bad over deals like this), and we researched the logistics of the purchase diligently and talked for a long time about the rational nature of this purchase before we decided to move forward. Minute (what color paint should be used) to major (when we sell) details will not be issues between the two of us.
    Frankly, the over-arching reason that we did this is because we didn’t want to pay rent and lose that $$ each month. The possibility exists that we will lose $$ when we sell the place in three years (our probable timeframe), but we had the down payment $$ to make the deal happen and decided to take that risk. We follow the local real estate market closely and haven’t seen the value of our home drop since purchase. We have friends that dole out $1,500 a month in rent and don’t pay it into anything. We decided to avoid the rental situation where we were certain to lose $$. We’d rather play the real estate stock market.

  1. Lauren said at 6:31 pm on Tuesday July 13, 2010:

    @ Sportsguy, your thinking would be solid except for the fact that in the first 3 years of a mortgage you’re mostly paying interest. Check out an amoritization table - it might surprise you. So with the realtor fees you really don’t have opportunity to build equity over such a short timeframe. Hopefully the market will be strong when you sell and you can break even but then at that point you’re not in any better position than had you been renting.

  1. DupontGuy said at 12:23 pm on Wednesday July 14, 2010:

    Lauren, I disagree.  Sportsguy and co-owner are able to write-off their mortgage interest and property taxes to their benefit. DC real estate on average for the past 30 years has seen 7% appreciation.  Better investment than stocks, and better than renting.

  1. jon said at 3:07 pm on Wednesday July 14, 2010:

    re this building: I have been inside and it is not very well kept. And their reserves are very low. Just pointing this out so that those who go know what they’re in for.

  1. Felicity said at 3:15 pm on Wednesday July 14, 2010:

    ...this neighbor would love to hear from residents of this building about the back to back fires ~ a year ago.

Comments are closed.

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