Buyer's Market Celebrating the District's Real-Estate Bust

Darrow Montgomery

1340 Vermont Ave. NW, No. 6
Original Listing Price: $449,000 (March 13, 2007)
Closing Price: $385,000 (June 20, 2007)
Slash Rate: 14 percent
Square Footage: 875

This Logan Circle condominium has multiple skylights, hardwood floors, and a wood-burning fireplace. It also happens to be located “on one of the prettiest tree-lined streets downtown,” according to the listing. But who cares about charm and old-fashioned details when modern amenities aren’t offered? Not enough people, says the seller’s agent, Scott Purcell. This “bright and sunny” unit lacked the kind of incentives that really entice buyers—parking spaces, flat-screen TVs, a lack of condo fees, and the big score: free closing costs. Buyers are looking to sellers for everything from taxes to courier fees, which can knock off many thousands from the deal, according to Purcell. “The thing is, with new construction and developers you can actually get a better deal than with a resale because developers have more flexibility than your typical homeowner does,” he says, adding that most downtown units require $400 to $600 a month for condo fees. Some developers will pay those for a year following the sale. Unfortunately, Purcell’s client couldn’t afford to do that, or much else. “After all was said and done, the seller actually lost money,” says Purcell.

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