Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Update II: 1228 Walter Street SE

The listing for 1228 Walter Street SE has been pulled from the MLS. The sale is pending.

Previous Posts

Update 1228 Walter Street SE

Original Post 1228 Walter Street SE

So did the rowhouse sell at its reduced price of 529K? Or did the buyer lowball?

Information is not yet available.


  1. I am still hearing talk of multiple contracts on houses, not condos, in DC. Its no longer a bidding war, bu a battle of contingencies clauses in contracts.

    I would not be surprised if the seller got an offer that is pretty close to the last asking price.

  2. It is certainly possible. We will see.

  3. I would not be too surprised, either. I believe this house was actually owned by real people, a family, as opposed to speculators. The former are usually loathe to drop their asking prices unless they are in real trouble. The neighborhood is getting down right bizzare, in that some houses are sitting for months, others are selling quickly, with comparable asking prices. Is it possible there are "hidden" concessions in some of these transactions? Things that are not part of the reported property transfer? Warranties? Plasma TV's? Trips to Disneyland? Cash give-backs at closing?

    Is there an honest Realtor (tm) out there, who might shed some light?

  4. So if there were a lot of concessions, then the house could have sold at the official asking price, but really sold much lower?

    Does this mean that real estate sales prices are not particularly meaningful? Are the concessions eventually published also?

  5. Yes, it is possible an "official sales price" does not reflect precisely what has transpired. Keep in mind though, that this is customary and usually reasonable. For example, I make a full price offer, made good if you agree to replace a faulty roof. There is nothing particularly sinister here.

    These concessions are not eventually published. Real estate sales are a private matter, essentially agreements between buyer and seller.

    The scale of any possible shenanigans is usually not so great as to undermine the meaning of reported sales prices, however.

    I am merely curious as to why two, comparable properties, comparably priced, in the same neighborhoods, seem to be moving/sitting somewhat capriciously.

    The question is, are we witnessing typical market whim, or something else?

  6. I'd guess that shenanagains could account for as much as 10% of purchase price.

  7. So if the house sold for near its listing price and there were no concessions (we will likely never know if there were any), does that mean the property was not in fact overvalued?

  8. Anon - value is a subjective judgement. There are some who believe that "value" is measured by price, accurately, at any given moment, by the marketplace.

    I would submit that if a property sells, at asking price, with no known concessions, it was indeed "priced" correctly, given market conditions the moment it sold. The property's "value" is another matter.

    Those who paid 50, 75 or 100 times annual earning for tech stocks six years ago paid the correct "price," but no one, today, believes there was any "value" in stocks that were priced that way by the marketplace.

    Do you believe a two bedroom rowhouse, in a near-ghetto neighborhood, priced at over a half-million U.S. dollars, represents "value?" I suppose it is really the buyer's judgement, and no one else's, that matters.

  9. folks - walter street is not a near-ghetto neighborhood - it is about a block from lincoln park in capitol hill. It is a small one way street full of young families - probably one of the best hidden gems on the hill. Are you going to find the huge victorian rowhomes - no - but you will find a great community. Stop by that block on halloween next year and see what I mean - the block is decorated from head to toe. Trick or treaters galore. This block has no chance of people swallowed back by the "ghetto".

  10. Stanley - I tried to speak carefully. If "near ghetto" offends you, please except my apology.

    However, notwithstanding the Trick or Treaters, these houses are outrageously overvalued. They are very small, less than 1,000 square feet of living space, I believe, and can hardly be "valued" by any sane person at $500,000.

    That was the point of my original post, and I shall not back away from it. In fact, David kindly provided us the seller's estimate of costs in his first posting of this house. Look at it carefully, and explain to us how these costs are justified.

    If your answer is that "real estate only goes up," we will understand. Thanks, Stanley.

  11. dc-too,

    I am not disagreeing with your opinion that the houses may be ovrevalued on walter street - my contention was with the use of the word ghetto. Do I think it warrants the 500 K price tag - probably not. Just wanted to give my five cents about the area. It is a nice street - but the houses are small.

  12. I think we need a little ECON 101 here, i.e. the definition of Fair Market Value. The simple fact that vaules(prices) go up or down over time (fluctuate) has no bearing on whether this is a fair market sale.

    And jeesh, all the intrigue about "possible" concessions. Things are starting to sound paranoid. Does anyone seriously think a plasma tv or new beemer wouldn't be listed in the MLS?

  13. Vaininvestor-

    No one is saying it is not "fair"; they are saying it is not a good value.

    If you buy a house that is worth $200,000 but pay $500,000, then the sale may be fair but the value you got was rotten.

    Example- if you bought a dotcom bubble company in late 99 or early 2000, only to find out that yes, it actually does matter whether they are making any money or if they had a viable business model, then you lost a ton of dough. You may have paid the fair market price at the time, but you got a terrible value.

  14. Stanley - For the record, I live in the neighborhood and am fond of Walter Street. It is my humble opinion that our neighborhood has not been spared by the housing bubble, thats all.

    VAinvestor - It has been pointed out that any statement that begins with "ECON 101" is suspect. You have explicitly equated price and value, which is subject to debate. However, if you go back and read what I said, you will surely agree I was trying to express exactly what you have with respect to "fair market sale."

    Please don't interpret the concession question as paranoia. It was just a straightforward question. And no, I would not expect concessions to be listed in the MLS, unless they were offered by the seller to the marketplace as an enticement. The MLS will never reveal bargaining between buyer and seller.

  15. Check it out

    It works really well in Northern Virginia. We all know people bought high in the last year. I'm looking forward to using this in the next year for information.

    Love the internet!

  16. With Who needs Realtors to tell me what is a good price ;)

  17. dc_too

    Please check MLS Data on closed sales. Concessions (such as points, closing costs, etc.) are plainly shown and further, are accounted for by appraisers. FYI

  18. Zillow seems 5-10% high IMO. My house anyway. Maybe more.

  19. Zillow seems to show you past sales. The market has only shifted gears in the last 4 months. I'm looking forward to looking at zillow in 8 months.

  20. Zillo seems underpriced for my location in Connecticut- by about 5%.

  21. The Walter Street property will settle on the 24th of February. The sold price will be made public at that time. - Joe

  22. Joe,

    Please post the price then. Thanx.

  23. Will do....As you know, we're not allowed to communicate the final price (in any form) until settlement. It will be posted to my site shortly after settlement. BTW, I like your site. Don't forget, the other bubble out there is the realtor bubble. You might want to examine the forcasted decrease in NAR membership this year. Take care, Joe

  24. Joe,

    Thanks for the update and compliments. I will be posting the selling price once it is publicly available. You are correct about the realtor bubble. Good topic.