Sunday, June 17, 2007


I thought I would write two blogs on two different buildings that have recently undergone condo conversion that have been sitting...and sitting...and sitting...

The first of the two is 1626 5th st NW. Its a four unit conversion, each with 1200+- sq ft, two bedrooms & two baths. The interiors are attractive and the layount is walk into the living room/dining room combo, the kitchen is on the left about a third into the property, to the right is the hallway leading back to two baths and two bedrooms both on the left side of the unit. On the top of the building is a somewhat amazing roofdeck. The fact is that the property has been on the market close to a year now and the prices have been reduced by $150k a piece since they first came on the market. I can only remember when I first showed this property to a good friend of mine, Jen L. She was in the market for a two bedroom, two bathroom unit in the $450k and under range. (We found a great property for her near the intersection of Missouri and Georgia in Petworth) It was about three weeks after that HEAVY rainstorm we had for three days straight towards the end of last year. So we go inside the first unit...aka the basement unit...and it was a MESS. The water from the rain has poured inside the unit and flooded the first two feet of the unit. You may be asking yourself how I knew that. Well upon first entering the unit all of the floors were buckled from the water saturation and the corners were bent up and edgy. That was the first sign. The second sign was the thick, dense MOLD growing on every wall two feet above the ground. It was frightening.

So Jen decides the basement isnt for her (and I dont recommend the basement unit to many people, just ask the owner of the basement unit in Melanie Moses' building). So we head upstairs to the first floor unit and everything looks fine. The unit is well set up, its clean, the place is well kept etc. Second floor; the same. As we head around the common area staircase to the third floor, we immediately notice our second problem. The roof was leaking where the staircase joined the levels, and it was leaking badly. The drywall tape was hanging off the ceiling nearly 3 feet after being finished and to make matters worse, there was still water dripping from the floor above. I can only wish that the developer took the time to build and drain the foundation correctly because they have a mess on their hands. To this day all four units are still on the market. To my estimates, if they borrowed hard-money they are paying around 15k a month in holding costs and I dont see the properties going anywhere fast.

P.S. none have parking!!! Ill have another blog on condo's without parking!!!

The second of the two is 726 8TH ST NE. This one is a two unit conversion. One of the units is a single floor basement unit and the second unit is a bilevel top floor unit with a fantastic roof deck. Parking is available. So the big question, as of now both units are approaching their 250th day on the market and why havent either sold. To be as frank as possible, this building is probably one of the poorest examples of workmanship I have seen in my career. It was my experience that floors were unlevel, countertops were linoleum and looked really cheap, hallways were too narrow and I wouldnt be surprised if the roofdeck on the top floor wasn't built with a permit. Upon entering the building with my clients several months back all I can recall is that the stairway to the roof was barely 24 inches, it didnt have a handrail (god forbid a client falls while viewing the property, can someone say lawsuit city) and if a handrail was added, I dont think I would have been able to get up to the roof. Thats right...none of the steps were level either, all leaned forward, down the stairs. I dont know what else to say. I feel bad for the developer and the agent to be quite honest. Had the develper done their work right & to code they wouldnt be in this mess & its nobody but the agents job to market the property... lets just say it will be on the market for quite a while longer if its not permanently used as a rental property.

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