Yesterday, I attended a Broker's Open at 1715 Q St, NW.  The T.F. Shcneider row house circa the 1880's is owned by interior designer Lori Graham and her husband.  It's well known that I'm a *little* obsessed with her renowned mix of old and new.  The house is a masterpiece.

It's for sale for $2,749,900.  It's four bathrooms, four full baths and two half baths.  Every inch of the home has been redone:  solid oak floors with a custom ebony stain, dual system HVAC's, new wiring, custom plaster and moldings on the first and second floors, built in audio, new windows, Viking appliances and a Sub Zero refrigerator, marble kitchen counter tops with a Waterworks backsplash, custom kitchen lucite pulls and exquisite lighting fixtures throughout.  The house also includes a legal studio/office in the basement with 300+ bottle wine storage, an amazing roof deck and two car parking.  There are too many details that delight to enumerate.  I want everything.   

Main floor kitchen with marble counter tops, ebony floors
Dining room
Additional view of dining room with full size wine fridge
Level two hallway and stair case to third floor
Guest suite on second floor with sitting area and bath en suite
Master bath with a view of the Master Bedroom
Roof deck.  Puppies not included.

It's going into the MLS next week and it's appointment only.  To view the house, please contact Murphy Team member Ross Vann at 202.256.0639 or

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Earlier this year, some clients stumbled upon a building in Cleveland Park that was being converted from apartments to condos.  Located at 3025 Porter St, NW, it's an ideal location.  The Metro plus numerous restaurants and bars are a quick jaunt down the street.

The developer, Watassa Partners, is also selling the units.  They're not in the MLS.  You have to walk by the building and call the number on the sign.  You'll reach the office and you can set up an appointment with Jim McInerney, the brains behind the operation.

The building is going to be very nice.  (When we viewed it, only a few units were complete.)  Jim has great ideas and amazing prices.  The two bedrooms were 360K.  The one bedroom/den was 350K.  The one bedrooms ranged from 260-297K.  There were several parking spaces available for 20K each.  Dogs and cats up to 50 lbs will be allowed.  Below are some of the features the building is offering:

1)  1.   Each unit has it’s own dedicated secure storage unit in the basement that is included in the price of each unit.
2)   2.   Finishes are top-of-the-line (Bosch appliances, including a matching cabinet panel-front dishwasher), Porcelanosa tile in the bathroom, marble listello in tub surround, Caesarstone bath vanity top,  medicine cabinets, built-in closet organizers, granite countertops, top end lighting, etc…).
3)   3.  All units have brand new electrical wiring, including wall-mounted TV outlets (cable and electrical plug side-by-side).  

4)   4.  There will be a gym/workout facility in the basement.
5)   5.   A separate bike rack/room to secure bikes in the basement.
6)  6.  All units have many green features including brand new energy star windows, energy star    appliances(Bosch), super high-efficiency HVAC systems and solar water heating.  The solar-thermal system will have an LCD display in the lobby which will show real-time energy consumption and production for the building.
7)  7.   A hand-made, decorative ironwork door and matching transom window will welcome guests at the front door of the building.
8)   8.  The building will be accessed by a secure, telephone entry system with keyless-fob entrance system.
9)   9.  The building will have a beautiful fenced back yard for all residents.
 M    My client were interested in a two bedroom or a one bedroom/den.  I set up an appointment with Jim to see a two bedroom unit.  There was only one left.  He was available to take us on a tour the fo
llowing week.  By the time the day of the appointment rolled around, the two bedroom had gone under contract.  I was told a one bedroom/den might be available.  We asked to view the one bedroom/den and the one bedroom units.  
As    As we expected from the details given above, the units were very nice.  They had big windows and nice upgrades.  Although the one bedroom unit was very nice, it wasn't enough space for my clients.  We were told to touch base later in the week to see if the developer wanted to sell the one bedroom/den.  At that moment, the developer was retaining the one bedroom/den but they might change their mind.  
        Although I was very persistent (or perhaps because I was too persistent), this opportunity didn't work out for my clients.  The developer decided to keep the one bedroom/den leaving only one bedrooms available for purchase.  If you're looking for a new one bedroom in the Cleveland Park neighborhood, this condo project could be an excellent option.
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Gone fishin’

After the last two weeks, I need a breather.  I'm hittin' the road this weekend to recharge, visit family, friends and soak up the sun.  Details when I return.

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FHA Update

FHA loans are a constant blog topic because it plays a huge role in the DC market.  A lot of buyers can produce a 20% down payment in the DMV but for many it's a stretch.  What to do?  Use an FHA loan.

FHA has recently made two big changes and there's more coming.  First, FHA will be upping the monthly mortgage insurance premium by .25% after April 18th, 2011. 

Second, FHA enacted a rule which made buildings with rental policies ineligible for FHA approval.  Translation:  if your condo building has a rental policy that limits the length of a rental (no rentals for less than 6 months, for example), your building will not be eligible for FHA approval.  If your building is already approved, you're golden.  If your building was hoping to gain FHA approval this year, it wouldn't be possible if there is a rental restriction policy in effect.

THANKFULLY, Dave Stevens, the head of FHA, signed a one year waiver for the rule on Monday.  Apparently, it's hard to rent condos in the rest of the country.  FHA doesn't want a rental policy to restrict a possible rental.  They would rather have a unit occupied than empty. 

DC's rental market is strong so the rule has the opposite effect.  It will hurt the market by making many buildings ineligible for FHA approval.  Most condo buildings in DC have a rental policy in order to prevent a high investor ratio.  It's a Catch-22:  a building wants to keep the investor ratio low to be eligible for FHA but if there's a rental policy to enforce a low investor ratio, you're ineligible for FHA.  Sheesh.

Moral of the story?  If your building isn't already FHA approved, do it pronto. 

*logo courtesy of HUD website

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Two weeks ago, I posted a teaser photo of a house I was getting ready to list.  I had just been awarded a contract to list fifteen to twenty houses.  You can imagine my excitement and the "dollah $ dollah $" signs I had dancing in my head.  I met with my new clients on a Monday.  By the following Wednesday, I had the house staged, photos taken and flyers designed.  We were ready to hit the market and I was excited.

Except for one problem.  We couldn't come to terms on the listing contract.  The listing contract was signed and submitted before I staged and photographed the house.  Then came the revisions to the contract.

I worked with this group previously with no major alterations to the listing contract.  The contract used is the standard contract utilized in DC, MD and VA.  I assumed it would progress as it had formerly.  It didn't.  Attorneys got involved and ultimately, my side decided the revisions to the contract were too risky.  All the liability was placed on the listing agent and none on the sellers.  The clients would not budge on their language even though they had altered the standard real estate contract.  No reputable real estate firm (or their legal department) would agree to these revisions.

There were other problems.  As the listing agent, it's my job to present comparable sold properties and determine the list price.  The sellers wanting to list the house for $50,000 over the neighborhoods comparable values and what I recommended.  No matter what material I presented, they were fixated on that price.

So it's over.

I'm not taking this well and I'm pretty annoyed for many different reasons.  I'm angry first and foremost at myself as I foolishly tried to meet the clients deadline for listing the house.  The necessary paperwork was signed but there was ongoing discussions about the amendments to the contract.  I erroneously believed everything would work out.  Silly me.

Meanwhile, business as usual.  I had property to show, a home inspection to attend and a listing to input.  Does the minutia of the other tasks help?  Not really.  Isn't life as an agent grand?

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As I was brain storming about what to write today, I checked the listings I found interesting earlier this year.  One or two were lingering and that surprised me.  SO what's selling in my favorite neighborhoods and how fast?  To satisfy my curiosity, I did a search of the zipcodes 20001 and 20009, two areas I work frequently.  Below are four properties that went under contract in zero to nine days since the beginning of the year:

Above is 1735 15th St, NW #36, a 2 bedroom/2 bath townhouse condo that was listed for 565K.  It was on the market for nine days in March. 

67 N St, NW is a 3 bedrooms/3 full baths attached row house.  It's been remodeled and was listed for 499K.  It went under contract in five days in February.

907 N St, NW #1 is a 2 bedroom/2 bath new construction, duplex condo that was listed for $465,750.  It went under contract in three days in January.

1010 Mass Ave, NW #1207 is a 2 bedroom/2 bath condo that was listed for $629,000.  It went under contract in ZERO days in January and sold for $624,500.

Each property is in a different neighborhood.  They have three things in common: a price, location and look that was attractive to a buyer.

*all photos courtesy of Matrix

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Real Estate Round Up

There's been a lot of interesting real estate headlines in recent days.  Here's the cream of the crop:

Foreclosures plunge 27% according to CNNMoney

Short sales take four months or more to complete via  Dur.  I could have unofficially told you that news.

FHA leader Dave Stevens (formerly of Long&Foster;) is leaving his post according to The Washington Post.  He spoke at one of our office meetings shortly before he was appointed to FHA.  He was funny and had amazing ideas.  I'd love to pick his brain after working as a White House appointee.  He's enacted widespread changes in FHA regulations.  Sometimes I didn't like them but they will strengthen the program.

DC area Tops Inman Real Estate Markets to Watch as reported by Urban Turf.  Hot diggity!

Happy Monday.

*graphic via Realty Trac

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I'm supposed to be blogging about my new listing that was hitting the market this weekend.  Except it isn't (maybe) due factors beyond my control.  The circumstances have left me…frustrated.

What do I do when I'm discouraged?  I daydream.  This week, my life would be in SC on Johns Island in this modern marvel.  It's on 23 (!!) acres, it has 4 bedrooms, 6 full baths, it's over 7,000 sf, it has a pool AND deep water access.  It's only $4,200,000.  I could live the rest of my life here.  Absolutely.  What about you? 

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This gem would be MINE!  All mine.  This is an impressive house mansion.  I can't figure out what's more amazing:  the price, the location in Dupont Circle or the fantastic interior.  This is 1824 R St, NW.  It has eight bedrooms, nine full baths and two half baths.  It's 10,000 square feet, has an elevator, an outdoor terrace and a five car garage and it's listed for $15,500,000.  Of course, this beauty is appointment only. 

The kitchen
The terrace
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My obsession started last week when I got my weekly Daily Candy Deals email about 30% off at Angela Adams.  Although I love all that's patterned and bright, I'd never heard of Angela Adams.  The photo above intrigued me.  I checked her website and instantly wanted multiple items.  I'm currently NOT shopping so I filed it away for another day.
Therefore I was pleasantly suprised to read a feature about Angela Adams in the Coastal Living March 2011 issue later that week.  (Unfortunately the article is only in the print version of the magazine. No online link. Boo.)  I'm not a frequent reader of Coastal Living but my Mom enjoys it.  She knows my love of graphics and showed me the article.  Above is a photo from her living room.  Can you see why I'm captivated? 
As I was researching this post, I found lots of Angela Adams info.  Design Sponge is also a fan and they have many links about her and her designs.  Click here (link about her new wall art), here (podcast about her background) and here (more photos of her house since the Coastal Living article isn't online) for various posts.   
*photos courtsey of Daily Candy DC and Coastal Living 
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Hood Happenings

Not everyone reads the news and the blogs as obsessively as I.  Here's some hood happenings:

POP spreads the news that Garden District is closing.  I hate when local businesses don't make it.  Makes me sad.

Metrocurean notes the new taqueria from the chefs at Masa 14 will be called El Centro DF.  I love the play on Federal District=Districto Federal (DF).  I'm such a goob. 

DC MUD has the scoop on Howard Town Center.  It *might* be done in 2015. They also broke the news about what's happening on the corner of 11th and V St, NW (above).  More condos.  Surprise, surprise!

*photos from Garden District FB page, Metrocurean and DC MUD

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