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Price Pick of the Week:

735 Otis Place, NW
Original listing price: $669,900 (July 11, 2007)
Current listing price: $410,000 (June 26, 2008)
Slash rate: 37 percent
Square footage: roughly 2,000

This four-bedroom Petworth row house is “wonderfully renovated” with new stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, cabinets, hardwood floors, and a finished basement with a TV niche. So why is it “in need of a minor clean up,” as the real estate listing says? This home was first purchased back in 2005 by a woman ready to make her first attempt at investment purchasing. She bought the place for $600,000, started renovations, and quickly decided to flip the house, but ran out of money as the property’s value continued to decline. She originally listed the house for $669,900 in late 2005, but took it off the market in May 2006. Roughly a year later, she tried her luck again. This winter, a seller bit and the house went under contract for several months, says RE/MAX real estate agent Michael Brown. But the deal died when the owner’s bank, Ocwen Financial Corporation, decided to stop doing short sales—where a lender agrees to a home sale for less than is owed. In the last 30 days, Brown says he had nine visits to the house, which is “95 percent done,” has no electricity, and occasionally hosts homeless people on its steps. But no matter. Brown says a few missing cabinet knobs should be no deterrence for potential buyers. “This is truly a nice property. With a touch up here and there this can be a true gem to a buyer,” he says.

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