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3407 Holmead Place NW

List price: $700,000

Previous sale price: $198,000 (February 2001)

Square footage: 1,504

This three-bedroom Columbia Heights row house is an income property in the rough. Just leave it as is: a college-student flophouse. Keep the broken radiator vent in the washroom on the main floor, barely exposing a crawl space in which tenants can hide their marijuana, fake IDs, and other contraband. And don’t worry about cleaning the bathrooms that, with thick layers of mold growing along the grout and caulk in the showers, add to the schoolboy ambience. And the decorative touches—curtains hiding bicycles and refuse; speckles and gashes marking the pastel-painted walls; condoms littering nightstands—are de rigueur for collegiate types as well. Three years down the line, you can move yourself in—after the development on nearby 14th Street NW is complete and the noise has returned to a somewhat tolerable level. —Brian Beutler

Art accompanying story in the printed newspaper is not available in this archive: Photograph by Darrow Montgomery.