I have a new listing hitting the market today at 1727 R St, NW #503.  It's a bright, top floor 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath corner unit at the Art Deco Pierre.  It has many wonderful upgrades like bamboo floors, granite counter tops, a Miele cooktop and oven, an open floor plan, a fireplace, upgraded bathrooms, Miele washer/dryer, home theater wiring throughout and it's pet friendly.  There's also a rental parking spot available for $200 a month.  The condo fee is $417 a month.  Click here for the virtual tour.  I'm holding it Open on Sunday from 1-4pm.  If you're in the neighborhood, stop by and say "hello."

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If you purchased a home in 2009 or you're planning on purchasing a home before April 30th, 2010, you're probably going to take advantage of the housing credit.  There's been a lot of press about the 8K first time home buyers credit but not a lot of clarity. 

Just in time for tax season, the IRS has issued new guidelines on what sort of documentation is needed to obtain the tax credit.  In Saturday's Real Estate section, The Post published a comprehensive overview of what is needed for your $6500 or $8000 credit.  If you're taking advantage of the credit, make sure you review this article. 

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The Floridian has had it's fair share of problems.  It hit the market initially in 2007 and it was expensive.  Really expensive and the building wasn't even complete!  It did have very nice finishes.  It also had some upgrades that most buildings weren't offering at the time like concrete counters tops plus high end tile in the bathrooms.

The first closings were in 2008.  The building continued to sell into 2009 and then everything ground to halt.  There was a lawsuit and all closings were halted.  The developer went bankrupt.  From the scuttlebutt I've heard, the current owners in the building are not happy campers.  Punch lists were never completed, half the building was empty and there wasn't a lot of hope.

Thankfully, the Floridian has been purchased by new owners.  They're getting ready to relaunch the building next weekend with an Open House on the 25th from 6-9pm. As you can see from the photo, workers are busy gussying up the building.  Check out Urban Turf's post about the pricing. 

I think there's a good chance that some of these units will sell.  There's not many new construction projects available.  The property inventory is low.  Buyers would like to take advantage of the tax credit.  We'll see what happens!

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Refinancing is a topic that hits close to home for me.  Several of my previous clients wished to refinance their homes that I helped them purchase in 2006/2007.  They've had the usual up and downs that most Americans have suffered this last year:  layoffs, pay reduction and no raises.  Due to various reasons (low appraisals, funky loans), they weren't able to refinance.  They are the homeowners that fall outside the refinancing parameters.  They need relief and they're not receiving it.  Thankfully, they're still able to afford their mortgage but it's tight.  A reduction in their interest rate would save hundreds of dollars a month and make things a lot easier. 

Apparently, my clients aren't the only people affected by this trend.  Although values in DC have remained strong in some neighborhoods, they haven't in all Metro areas.  The Post published an excellent article in today's edition that illustrates the hazards of refinancing in today's market.

Although I know this has been happening all over the country, it isn't easy to accept.  I wish I had better solutions for these clients but I don't.  Real estate 2010.  Happy Valentine's Day! 

(Graph from The Washington Post)


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Snow Trance


This is what's happening outside of my window.  I'm really glad I'm not showing property!  In fact, I've been pretty content for the last several days to do nothing.  I have things to do.  I have a new listing hitting the market at the end of the month.  I could be inputting that into the MLS.  Unfortunately, the snow if putting me into a trance like state.  All I want to do is watch bad TV, read multiple novels, and eat warm foods like stew.  I haven't gotten *really* stir crazy yet because I've been able to work out every day.   
Of course, I've had to do work.  I FINALLY got some movement on my short sale that's been in the works for 4 months.  Yep.  4 months and STILL no approval letter.  I could go on a full fledge rant about this deal but I'm going to restrain myself.  
I have a deal closing next week.  That's going well and on schedule.  Unfortunately, the title company has been closed for the last couple of days.  So much for sending out the lending package.  All work is at a stand still in this part of the world.  It's surreal.  
I'm hoping the snow will end tomorrow and we'll be able to get back to real life.  It's been lovely to see but I'm ready for the Spring season to start! 
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FHA changes

The FHA loan program is widely used in the DC area.  Last year, half of my buyers used this type of financing.  With this in mind, I've summarized a few of the upcoming changes in the FHA loan program that will impact buyers.

This month, FHA spot approvals disappear.  In April, a few additional changes will take effect.  If your credit score is less than 580, you'll have to put 10% down if you use an FHA loan.  Currently, the down payment for an FHA loan is 3.5% regardless of your credit score.  The up front mortgage insurance payment is changing from 1.75% to 2.25%.  That's a big difference!  Monthly mortgage insurance payments will remain at .55%.  Also check out Kenneth Harney's feature "To Boost Sales of Foreclosures, FHA Suspends Anti-Flip Rules" in the The Washington Post.  

Lending is becoming more and more difficult.  If you're thinking about purchasing this year and utilizing the tax credit, talk to your lender FIRST.  This is the most critical part of the process.  

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