Monday, September 19, 2005

Washington, DC: 1214 Geranium Street NW

It was a lovely Sunday afternoon in DC. The neighborhood, Shepherd Park, is the very northern part of the city of Washington. The house is a fully renovated cape cod. It is a wealthy neighborhood that is near a lower middle class neighborhoods.

I went to visit an open house there. From the outside it did not look so big. The inside however, had 3373+ Square Feet. A completed basement. "3 - 4 bedrooms" = depending if you count the basement downstairs. Granite countertops ( absolute must). MLS #DC5379141

The realtor told me an investor had bought it in February for 565,00 ( this is true as I confirmed it from a public DC government database) and that he had invested about 200K into the house. He wanted 877K for it now. Alright.

The realtor, said "one of the houses that is a joy to show." that's a nice chunk of commission.

When I walked out of the house the investor showed up and I started chatting with him. I praised the lovely job he had done renovating the house and asked him how much he had spent. "oh 150K." Wait a second, the realtor told me that 200K had been spent renovating. Hmm.

Anyway, the realtor said that if the house does not sell by Thursday then the investor may decide to live in it. The investor confirmed this.

Picture of house before renovation.


  1. David,

    This just shows that the word "investor" is thrown around very loosely. They are called investors on the way up, will they be called divestors on the way down?

  2. What I find interesting is that of my past two open house visits, both times the relator said that if it is not sold soon then someone else ( investors/ owner or Realtor ) will buy. it. It is a pressure tactic.

  3. I wonder where this fellow lives now, and what would happen to that property should he move into 1214.

  4. I'd say it's at least twice as big as the 1943 one you showed us in Silver Spring last week, and they reduced the price on that one to $489,000, down from $519,000. (Is it still unsold?)

    Offhand, this 3700 sqft house would seem to be more 'reasonably' priced, bearing in mind the location is D.C.

  5. I live in the DC area and went to a 555 Mass Ave condo open house last week. It was packed with investors, but the condo was built by JBG Group as an apartment complex originally, and it looks real crappy in my opinion and is on Mass ave near a homeless shelter and the projects. Asking price? Upwards of $450K for a 1 bedroom and den.

    Might I go out on a limb here and say that lots of rowhomes/apts in upscale hoods will always have renters interested in renting?

    I own a rowhome near the MCI Center and I've had tons of lawyers, Georgetown Law students, Capitol Hill interns/aids, non-profit associations, etc express interest in the last two years I've been renting it out profitablly. I think quality rowhomes in that area will always have renter interest (if priced right of course, and cash flow positive, which I am). Anybody care to opine on DC's transient renter nature? Don't you think there will always be people coming/going into DC?

  6. The owner lives in Spring Valley, which is a wealthy neighborhood in DC proper.

    DC does indeed have a very strong rent market due to the transient nature of the town. Lots of high paying jobs here.

    The last house I feature is still unsold. I guess the realtor did not buy it like he said he might. Great pressure tactic. I expect one more price reduction before it sells.

  7. Well, David, you're right. It is a pressure tactic. And obviously the realtor doesn't know the first thing about selling.

    The first rule of real estate is this: the house sells itself. The second rule is this: you're selling to a woman. (70% of the real estate in this entire country cannot be bought or sold without the signature of a woman.) Now, if you know anything about women at all, you know this. If she doesn't like the house, it doesn't get bought. It's as simple as that.

    The realtor in question is obviously using outdated and ineffective sales tactics. There's a very interesting book, titled High Probability Selling, that details the difference. Basically, interruption marketing (i.e., cold calls) and pressure tactics (trying to convince a buyer to purchase something he or she doesn't want or need or can't afford) are failed tactics of the past.

    The most successful selling agents today use attraction marketing (determining exactly what a buyer wants or needs or can afford, simply by asking questions) and no-pressure tactics (providing the buyer with what he or she wants, needs and can afford, without any conditions).

    I sell a lot of homes, and it works for me.

  8. Rental market in DC is still OK. On Housing Bubble 2, the NOVA guy said $1.1M properties in the outer suburbs rent for around $2500/mo. My place in the city is good for abour $4K/mo (basement apt and main house) and maybe is worth $850K - so the city proper seems much more favorable in terms of rental return - not that 5% is so great.