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Old 07-27-2012, 10:01 AM
 
7 posts, read 9,019 times
Reputation: 10

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My fiance and I currently rent in Cleveland Park and we really like the neighborhood. We have been looking (very briefly) at condos in the area. Preferably we'd want a 1 bedroom and we currently pay $1950 a month in rent for a 1 bedroom, all utilities included (also includes cat fees).
I had a few questions...
1) We are pretty comfortable with paying $1900 a month, assuming utilities are included... is that a doable price range for a condo? I've seen a few online that are in the $200,000 range; anyone have any idea of what our monthly bills would look like? I know it'd be best to talk to a mortgage rep or real estate agent but we totally aren't ready for that step yet!
2) What's the DC market like as far as selling your home? If we bought, say, a 1 bedroom condo for $200,000 in Cleveland Park/Van Ness/etc, is that a good deal? We plan on staying for at least 5 years but probably no more than that. I know about the housing market in general but I know DC is pretty unique. We want to make sure we are making a smart purchase.
3) If we like Cleveland Park are there any other similar neighborhoods that might be better to look in?

Thanks to all
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Old 07-27-2012, 02:07 PM
 
2,149 posts, read 3,874,566 times
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1. Assuming you put 3.5% down, you're looking at your mortgage being maybe around the $1200-$1300 range. That does not factor in utilities (HOA fees), which could be another 200-300 more. So maybe, MAX you're looking at $1700 a month.

2. DC Market, if you buy in a place like Columbia Heights or Dupont, you're not gonna get a lot of return on your investment. You might get something, but generally from what I was told, you either break even or lose money. But a) I doubt you will find a condo for 200K in Cleveland Park and if it is that much, it's probably small. Your best bet is to expand your search.

3. It's really up to you, you guys know what you want w/regard to your area, look around and ee what other neighborhoods offer that.
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Old 07-27-2012, 03:42 PM
 
132 posts, read 326,568 times
Reputation: 100
If you've found a one bedroom condo in Cleavland Park for $200,000 then you need to jump on it quickly. It's hard to find even a studio at that price. And if it's that low you're sure to make a profit in no time. One bedrooms can easily run between $300, 000 - $400,000.
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Old 07-27-2012, 04:42 PM
 
Location: NoVA
160 posts, read 257,219 times
Reputation: 106
Be sure to factor potentially high condo fees.
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Old 07-28-2012, 11:16 AM
 
373 posts, read 767,434 times
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Any 1br condo in Cleveland Park priced at $200k will be that price for one of these reasons:

It is 400 sq ft.
It is in a building with monthly fees of $1000 (very common).

Buying a one-bedroom condo is foolish, especially since you're already two people. Save your money until you can afford a townhouse or at least something with a second bedroom or den.
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Old 07-29-2012, 09:51 AM
 
34 posts, read 100,834 times
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I agree with seiketsu about potential reasons for a condo to be that cheap. A 1br condo near Cleveland Park for $200k is likely that cheap for a reason (most listings in that area are closer to 300k), though I'd add other potential reasons to their list:
not a very good building or HOA
Basement level unit
May need updating and/or repairs
Also, it may be a co-op rather than a condo

Coops tend to be cheaper on the face of it, but tend to have higher fees (some do include property taxes and utilities, though- be sure to check). They also tend to be harder to sell in part because you cannot get an FHA loan (which allows the low 3.5% downpayment mentioned earlier) for a coop. This is because the ownership structure for a coop is different than for condos (you don't technically own your unit in a coop, but rather a share in the larger coop organization, with permission to occupy the unit). So keep that in mind, both in terms of your ability to purchase such a unit as well as your ability to sell it in the future.

To get a better idea of what you'd actually be paying for a new home (condo, coop, or otherwise), I suggest using CNN Money's mortgage payment calculator, as it takes into account not only the mortgage payment itself, but taxes and insurance too- people often forget about these. And be sure not to forget about adding in the HOA dues too to your monthly total too. Mortgage Payment Calculator - CNNMoney

In terms of your more general questions as to whether or not it would be a good investment to buy a condo in DC, the housing market here has done much better than the rest of the country. As far as that goes, particularly in a nice neighborhood like Cleveland Park, I wouldn't worry about depreciation or anything. I think I saw a report recently that said, on average, DC homes have experienced 10-11% appreciation over the last year.
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Old 07-30-2012, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Seattle
13 posts, read 31,324 times
Reputation: 15
Although I'm nowhere near able to buy anything right now, I've been playing with New York Times Buy vs. Rent tool. This might be helpful for getting a sense about whether or not it is worthwhile to purchase.

Is It Better to Buy or Rent? - Interactive Graphic - NYTimes.com
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Old 07-30-2012, 12:47 PM
 
Location: DC
6,848 posts, read 7,293,720 times
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You live in the neighborhood. Shop the condos on Saturday and Sunday.
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