Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Shamless plug

Spring has sprung and all those other platitudes and it's OFFICIALLY the real estate season. Flowers are blooming and I'm ready to help YOU fulfill your real estate dreams.

This is a great time to buy if you have the necessary funds and secure job to do it. 3 weeks ago The Post published an article titled "These Days, First Time Home Buyers Are Primed to Cash In". I know there's an article every season saying "it's a great time to buy" but this columnist made a very strong statement:
"In the nearly 16 years that I've been writing this column, I've never seen a better market in which to be a first-time home buyer." WOW.

As a result of the overwhelmingly good press about the real estate market, business has picked up. Houses are getting multiple offers in some price bands and Opens are a little busier. I feel hopeful for the first time in a while. Fingers crossed people. Fingers crossed.

Do you need to modify your loan?

If the answer is a resounding "YES", the new website www.makinghomeaffordable.com is up and running. What in the sam hill is this? A new program that can help you modify your mortgage and make it affordable. It's part of the program recently passed by the Gov to help people who are underwater on their mortgages. It's for the folks who couldn't refi due to falling home values or people who got laid off or people who have stretched their finances too far. It's a great website that takes you through a very easy survey to see if you qualify. If you think this applies to you, click the link and check it out.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Holy shmoly!

This beauty is located at 1717 15 St, NW. I've driven by this place a million times and I always admired it's clean lines. I thought it was an apartment building.

Imagine my surprise when I get my weekly Open House email from the Schaeffer-Chetrit Group and I see this HOUSE is for sale for a cool $5,000,000. THAT IS A HOUSE.

And I quote: "This magnificent 1920's Villa was the former Rectory of Bishop's Gate and is located in the historic district between Logan Circle and DuPont Circle. The first floor plan has much flexibility for living and entertaining with multiple public rooms, a first class kitchen with commercial grade appliances and breakfast room. The main living space has a gracious entrance foyer with 10 foot ceilings, stone floors, beautiful woodwork and French doors opening to a grey stone slate terrace. A rear entrance provides parking and easy access for catering and deliveries.

The second floor has a wonderful landing with French doors leading out to a private intimate balcony overlooking the Scottish Rite Temple. There is a large master bedroom with cedar closets, large bathroom with stone floors, separate shower, double sinks and a Jacuzzi tub. There are an additional two bedrooms, cedar closets and a full bath.

The third floor has an additional five bedrooms and three full baths with stunning views. And the massive private roof deck has a grilling area, pergola, 360 degree views of the Scottish Rite Temple and is perfect for large scale entertaining."

I immediately start to day dream: "What if all of my friends and I bought this house together? We could all live there and take care of each other as we grow old. But more importantly... the parties...the PARTIES we could have." Hahaaaa! Isn't it fun to day dream? Did I mention that most of us are married and there's no way in hell that anybody would agree to that? But the parties!

Anyway..click there for the virtual tour. It's an incredible place. I still can't believe it's one house. It's one of the last grand dames.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Don't worry..I'm not going to blather about current real estate policy..I'm going to tell you about checking out Policy over the weekend. It's a new restaurant/bar at 14th and T St,NW. PoP did a post about it last week and showed the interior shots and discussed the press release here.

Of course I was intrigued! It's now well documented that I love to try a new place. So imagine my delight when I noticed it was open on my way to dinner on Friday night. I was out with the girls..perfect time to drag them to someplace new. And it was one of their birthdays. Double trouble.

After dinner, we trouped over to take a look. The downstairs, as shown by Pop's photos, is black and red. I think it might be too shiny. I love all things shiny so for me to be making this comment means it's *really* shiny. But the place was packed and it was only 9:30pm. Then we went upstairs to the lounge. Again, I had seen the photos but I didn't anticipate loving the look as much as I did. I loved the wall of graffiti. And the chandeliers. I need chandeliers like that in every room and in every color. Chandeliers make everything OK because they're purty.

As we sipped our cocktails, the lounge filled up. It was their opening night and they were having a launch party. It was about 11:30 and time for a change of venue. We crossed the street to St. Ex.

I'm really curious about the food in this place. More details once I try it. I am very excited to have another new place in the hood. We all know I'm a big proponent of new places.

Now I wish they'd figure out what they're going to do with the old church on the other side of 14th and T. Latest word on the street is the Room and Board store is OUT. I'm thrilled that the nation chain didn't get funding because I'm a big fan of local business. Maybe the Diner folks will be able to resurrect the restaurant/comedy club idea. Wait and see!

Friday, March 20, 2009

A U St. blog!

I was reading DCist and I came across a new blog called U St. Girl. It looks right up my alley: it talks about food, shopping, bars and construction in my hood. Sometimes the info over laps on the blogs I read but each has an unique perspective. I hadn't found a blog that was about U St. proper so check it out.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I'm famous!

Well..sorta famous. Cork was featured in the April issue of "Food&Wine" and my husband and I are in the photo. (Me in the red shirt).

As you can tell from my blog roll, I have some eclectic interests. I think this is exciting because I really love when local restaurants get great, national press. I'm not a regular at Cork. We tend to gravitate towards Vinoteca because it's closer to home. But isn't this exciting?!

This has a trickle down effect for the hood. More national buzz means more local buzz for neighborhood joints. That means more interest in living in a cool neighborhood that has yummy places to eat and drink. That means a better return on my real estate investment and one content property owner.

Oh yea..Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


In my post "What in the world?", I made a comment about the 6% seller subsidy credit in the second offer that was incorrect.

FYI for all you buyers out there: FHA loans DO allow a 6% seller subsidy credit. If you're using a conventional loan, a 3% credit is allowed.

Blogs you should be reading (besides mine!)

Recently, The Washington Post started a real estate blog called Local Address. It's written by Elizabeth Razzi who has contributed to the Real Estate section for many years. There's a lot of blogs about real estate but they all have different approaches. Razzi does a good job of covering the local market but also addresses national statistics without boring you to death. Her latest post, Prices Down All Around is really, really interesting. The numbers in DC vs. VA vs. MD give you a good idea of what's happening in the market. I tend to focus on the market in DC but I love being in *the know* about MD and VA.

Urban Turf launched this summer and it's readership has grown quickly. It was just named by Washington City Paper as one of the best real estate blogs. They have a number of features that I really enjoy like Neighborhood Profiles and the Best Open Houses This Weekend. Sadly, my lovely blog didn't make the cut at Washington City Paper. I'm outraged! lol. I think three people actually read my blog.

My favorite blog is Prince of Petworth. He focuses on many of my favorite DC things: new restaurants and bars, architecture, and neighborhoods. His commentary is generally snarky which I think is hilarious.

Make sure you bookmark!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

What in the world?

As you know, I have a listing at 5304 Illinois Ave, NW. We lowered the price dramatically from 275K to 235K because my seller needs it to move. And we've gotten 2 offers as a result. YEA!! Right?? Um..no.

Apparently, if you're in this price range in the DC market it's a clear indicator to buyers that they MUST low ball you..to death.

Let me remind you before I go further: this is not a foreclosure, short sale or estate sale. It's a house that needs a lot of work but is livable. A thorough cleaning and some new paint would need to occur, but livable.

The first offer was all cash (yea!..quick closing) for 149K. WOW. 86K off list? We countered at 220K. My seller has an idea of what she'd like to get and we know everything is negotiable. Their counter? 150K. Yes..you read that correctly.

Our second offer was 180K with $12,500 in closing costs , a home warranty from us and they're using an FHA loan. Did I mention this house is "as-is"? Have I also mentioned that banks DON'T ALLOW a closing cost credit higher than 3% of the purchase price? But, I take every offer seriously. We're countering.

I'm writing about this because I hadn't experienced this market. I'd read about it. I knew sellers were hurting. But this..this is appalling. My seller is in the position to wait for an offer that she finds appropriate. This is her Aunt's house and she's selling it to fund the rest of her life in a retirement home. She feels a responsibility to get the best possible price. But there are sellers out there that HAVE to take one of those offers. Ugh. Let me wipe the slime off my face.

Maybe I'm being too idealistic. Maybe we will have to accept one of these offers. But bluck.

Life as an agent in 2009. Wahooo!