2556 University Place NW

Previous sale price (January 2004): $335,000

Listed price: $729,000

Surprise your bride with this spacious, totally renovated, three-story cream-colored brick town house, nestled among chain-link fences, boarded-up windows, and “Hard Hat Area” and “No Loitering” signs, near 14th Street in crime-prone Columbia Heights. A great place to raise a family—just one block from the local Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington. This refurbished five-bedroom home, built in 1910, is described by the sellers’ agents as a former “investment property.” And how! In 2001, it sold at auction for $144,060. The building now sports new windows, new hardwood floors, new plumbing and HVAC, and a newly recarpeted basement in-law suite. The kitchen features Corian countertops and stainless-steel appliances. A freshly mulched back yard can double as a parking lot, fitting up to four cars. This property also features a waist-high wrought-iron gate and bars on its lower-level windows and doors, handy in the 3rd District, which saw 52 burglaries, 104 thefts, and three arsons in the past month. (Electronic alarm system not included.) Preliminary 2005 tax assessment: $355,490. —Chris Shott