Monday, August 31, 2009

New Grocery Store Coming Soon...

I was reading DCist this morning and discovered I missed a post about a new grocery store coming to the 'hood. I read about this upcoming development in 2008. This is VERY exciting because currently there's a really ugly abandoned car wash across the street from our building. It gives our part of U St. a lovely cityscape (ha!) It's encouraging to know that this development will be 3 blocks away. Another value add for the building and the surrounding area.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Importance of Insurance

That, my lovelies, is the ceiling in my guest bathroom after a fireman hacked it open. This image is what greeted me when I returned from vacation along with the news that there was a fire, a faulty sprinkler and a flood. What a trifecta!

Which leads me to the title of this post: the importance of insurance. We live in a condo building which has a Master Insurance policy. Every month, a portion of our condo fee goes towards the payment of the building policy. We also have a home owners policy that covers all sorts of stuff. Both will probably be used to deal with the results of this disaster.

The fire was on the 3rd floor in the unit next to ours. It wasn't a big fire but the sprinkler system went off in that unit. Unfortunately, one of the sprinklers had a malfunction. It spewed water for about 45 minutes (!!) down the side of the building, into the hallway, down the elevator shaft and into the units below. We missed all the action since we were out of town. From the reports of our neighbors, it's a good thing we were out of town because it was an unpleasant night. The fire alarm went off 3 times starting at midnight and ending at 7am. Ugh.

Thankfully, we don't have much damage. Wet carpet, a hacked up bathroom ceiling and some molding removal is the extent so far. But our place smells funkalicious and we slept on the couch last night. I was amazingly blase about the whole thing until I realized we had to sleep on the couch with Zazu the Kitty lurking. We could have gone down the hall or called some friends but I was beyond grumpy by that point. I wasn't going to inflict myself on the public.

Stay tuned for updates on the situation. Currently, we have 6 industrial strength fans and 2 humidifiers on full steam. It sounds like a wind tunnel in our condo. The hubby and I are constantly shouting "WHAT??" but we're adapting.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Ask me a question...

This week, I was asked by the bloggers at Urban Turf to contribute to their weekly "Ask an Agent" feature.

This week's question explores the best time to lock your mortgage interest rate. It was a complicated question because there's a lot of variables. They edited my original reply to fit their format (I'm a windbag, what can I say?) but the essence is there. Click on the link above to check out my answer.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Real Estate Intervention

Have you seen "Real Estate Intervention" on HGTV yet?? I'm officially obsessed. I watched the premiere (for was a repeat Sunday night) and I want to be Mike Aubrey. Oh..except I already am in the comfort of my home! Hahaa.

Seriously, this is a very, very interesting look at a part of our profession that nobody addresses. The agent that's a realist. I employ this same approach all the time. Sometimes it's very effective but sometimes it isn't. Not all prospective clients want an unvarnished assestment of their property and it's value. But a lot do and I think that's why I've been able to be successful in this wacky market.

One reason I really enjoyed the show was because it shows sellers foibles. I know I sound a little gleeful. I can't help it. I feel like real estate agents have a bad rep of pushing over priced listings. That's not true a lot of the time. We want our sellers to be successful. Sometimes sellers won't listen to us even though we're the "experts." That's why I find "Real Estate Intervention" so refreshing. Finally, our point of view.

HGTV Thursdays at 10:30pm.

DC Vacant Property Tax Update

Last week, the DC Council met for the last time before the summer recess and reduced the vacant property tax back to $5 per $100 of assessed value.

Washington Business Journal wrote an article about all the changes enacted by the council in order to fill the budget gaps.

The increase that the DC Council passed earlier last year (from $5 to $10 per $100 of assessed value) clearly back fired. Vacant property owners were furious and there was a lot of public discussion about the increase.

As I mentioned in previous posts, the increase had affected two of my deals and it wasn't pretty. As everything with DC Gov, both situations became long, drawn out affairs. Both situations were rectified but it was a pain.

I'm glad to see that the Council listened to it's consituents!

PS-Craigs List FINALLY took down the fraudulant post. What a mess. I had a couple of calls from people that actually called the number in Nigeria! (I bet their cell phone bill is going to be outrageous.)