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A weekly feature celebrating the area’s real estate bust.
1816 Independence Ave. SE
Original listing price: $799,999 (June 8, 2007)
Current listing price: $450,000 (July 18, 2008)
Slash rate: 44 percent
Square footage: 1,857
This estate sale property, built in 1935, is a short “walk to the metro, stadium, schools, and more.” Instead of boasting the usual amenities—renovated bathrooms, stainless steal appliances, granite countertops, new flooring—the listing mentions off-street parking and the enclosed back porch. Hmmm, perhaps the house hasn’t been renovated for quite some time? Yes, about 25 years, says Vernada Williams, a broker with Exit First Realty in Bowie. The current sellers are three siblings, between 60 to 70 years old, according to Williams. After their mother passed away, they put the house on the market for nearly $350,000 more than its current asking price. “Where it’s listed now is where it should have started,” says Williams. “It’s a slow process of convincing [the sellers] to drive the price down.” In its roughly 450 days on the market, the house has received two offers from speculators—one was made back in late winter, and the other arrived in June. They were “not serious” and “drastically too low,” says Williams, adding that her clients “are not desperate to sell. It will take them longer to sell because they’re moving the price more slowly. They’re trending behind the market.” In other words, similar for-sale properties in the neighborhood are priced below her listing: One row house a block west is listed for $395,000.