“Open House” signs dotted every block of the District this weekend, the last before the expiration of the $8,000 new homebuyer tax credit. I headed to Capitol Hill expecting plenty of open doors, and I wasn’t disappointed. From a “cute condo alternative” to a “sun-drenched, expansive, semi-detached historic rowhouse,” it seemed like every other house was on sale. Fitting, I suppose—as realtor Jeanne Harrison told me, “In New York, people go to brunch. In DC, they go to open houses.”
With that in mind, I let an intriguing Trulia listing led me to 516 4th Street NE #201, a two-story condo going for $282,000 with a $280 monthly fee. According to the Internet, the unit’s price had actually increased by $13,000—the opposite direction of most price changes. An email to the realtor, Monica Youngling, confirmed this curiosity: Apparently, it had been listed under market value for a quick sale, but after reviewing closing cost estimates, the owner felt the price should go back up.
Realtor John Smith of the Smith Team (tagline: “To HILL With the Suburbs!”) saw plenty of foot traffic through his “High Victorian Bay” at 447 12th Street NE. Whether those visitors were potential buyers or just curious passerby, it’s hard to say: The two-story home, originally built in 1908, has been totally renovated to include as many original details as possible. Smith, whose headshot shows him sporting quite the dashing top hat, spoke at length of Keil Construction’s attention to detail during the process; the company refinished the original pocket doors, fireplace mantel, and transom windows. For $750,000, you could have quite the story to tell about your house’s history, and its renovation—the Keil guys apparently found some old newspaper sheets during construction.
Also of note: Every property I looked at sported original, refurbished hardwood floors, and every realtor I spoke to extolled Capitol Hill’s virtues as the best neighborhood and the best market in Washington. Coincidence? Only further research can prove this intriguing potential correlation.