Shepherd Park is a small, historic neighborhood north of Walter Reed between Georgia Ave. and Rock Creek Park. The houses are stately, the streets are tree lined and it's convenient to downtown Silver Spring and DC.  Today there's two houses that caught my eye.

1121 Kamlia St, NW
1121 Kalmia St, NW living room

1121 Kalmia St, NW is a renovated, semi-attached townhouse with three bedrooms, two full baths and two half baths.  It's 1391 square feet and it's listed for $475,000.  Yearly taxes are $3,681.  The kitchen has been renovated with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances.  There's hardwood floors, new windows, and a slate patio. 

1325 Iris St, NW
1325 Iris St, NW living room
1325 Iris St, NW is a Tudor that hasn't been on the market since the 60's.  Built in 1929, it's four bedrooms, two and half baths with 2246 square feet.  Yearly taxes are $4,912.  It's listed for $599,000.  It features refinished hardwood floors, new gutters, and it's been freshly painted.  Both the kitchen and baths need updating.  It also doesn't have central air conditioning.  What is does have is tons of character and architectural details, a screened in porch, a two car garage and a slate roof.  It's Open on Sunday, May 1 from 1-4pm. 
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Real Estate Round Up

Spring has sprung.  So what's happening in the real estate world these days?

Church to be developed at 10th and V St, NW via DC MUD

"Sorg Gearing Up to Turn Former Church Into Condo" by DC MUD.  The most interesting part of the post for me was the comments by various neighbors.  I live around the corner from the church and found out some good scuttlebutt. 

"Builders of New Homes Seeing No Sign of Recovery" per The New York Times. 

"It's Still Cheaper to Buy in DC than rent" via Urban Turf.  For some reason, people are always surprised by this headline. 

"With Changes ahead for FHA down payment, private mortgage insurers seek inroads" from The Washington Post.

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Fast Gourmet at 14th and V St, NW

Back in December, both Prince of Petworth (POP) and U St. Girl had rave reviews about Fast Gourmet, a sandie shop in the gas station at 14th and V St, NW.

I was dubious.  A marvelous new sandwich shop in a gas station?  I know that's commonplace in Miami but it's not in DC.

I told my husband, who's a more adventurous eater, and one day he came home with a Cubano.  I sampled it and wham, our love affair with Fast Gourmet began.

I know both POP and U St. Girl professed love for the Cubano but we're partial to the Chivito (steak, ham, fried egg, bacon, cheese, green olives) and the roasted turkey with the green olive mayo.  I'm sure you can guess which one is mine.   I highly recommend giving it a whirl next time you're in need of a good sandie.  Yum.


Roasted turkey with green olive mayo

*photo of Fast Gourmet via POP.  Sandie photos, my own.

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Riveting Rooms

I love a big, cozy, comfy couch.  I know that's not cool in haute interior design but I'm a reader and a lounger.  The photo below from TradHome (still many interesting ideas) embraces my love of the couch.  

Designer Sara Gilbane make a loft livable in TradHome
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Hable Construction Jute Sail

Hable Construction has been on my radar for a couple of years.  They have great graphics and everyone knows I like circles, squares and stripes. 

I was reading Elle Decor and they're reporting that Hable Construction and Hickory Chair furniture are collaborating on a collection.  It's a mix of traditional and mod and it's marvelous.  Check it out.

Tuscany chair upholstered in Pepper Pom Pom via Elle Decor
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This week it's all about Brookland.  This neighborhood doesn't get a lot of love and I've never understood it.  There are consistently well priced houses, access to the Metro (the red line), a Yes! Grocery and a bustling strip of commerce plus a seasonal farmers market.
4316 12th Pl, NE

4316 12th Pl, NE living room

The first house featured is 4316 12th Pl, NE.  It's four bedrooms, 2.5 baths and it's been completely renovated with hardwood floors, granite and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, a finished basement and a large back yard.  It's listed for $469,000 and it's 1592 square feet. Taxes are $2869 yearly. (The taxes will likely increase if it sells at 469K.  The current taxes are for the house before the renovation.)  It's Open on Saturday 4/23 from 12-3pm and Sunday 4/24 from 12-4pm.  

103 Webster St, NE
103 Webster NE kitchen
The second house highlighted is 103 Webster St, NE.  It's four bedrooms, 3.5 baths house with a rental unit for $449,900.  (3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths upstairs, 1 bedroom/1 bath in the rental unit).  It's 1336 square feet, it's been renovated with hardwood floors, updated baths, a kitchen with granite and stainless steel appliances, Energy Star windows and HVAC, and it's eight blocks to the Metro.  Yearly taxes are $2388.  As with the property mentioned above, taxes will likely increase if the property is sold at the list price.  Once again, the current taxes are pre-renovation.

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Shelter Pop

Curb appeal via Shelter Pop

I just discovered Shelter Pop.  Somehow, in all the reading I do, I missed this fantastic website.  Of course I enjoy the design element of the website but I also love the real estate tips like "3 Step to Curb Appeal" and "How to Stage Your Bedroom."  This is a new daily obsession!

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The 20% down debate

graph via The Washington Post

Over the last several months, a huge debate about making 20% down payments mandatory when purchasing a home has been raging in the news, blogosphere and in real estate brokerages across the country. 

If you've been out of the loop, basically the gov has decided to implement a minimum 20% down payment for conventional loans in order to obtain a mortgage at the best interest rates.  If you're using an FHA loan, the minimum down payment will remain 3.5%.

What's the point?  To make sure we never have another financial meltdown like the one we just witnessed.

Personally, I am not in favor of a 20% down payment.  I know I'm biased.  A 20% down payment would impact some of my business. 

On the other hand, DC is expensive.  Coming up with 20% down payment or $80,000 on a 400K property (the *informal* average price of DC property) is a struggle for most buyers.  I have plenty of clients who manage to save 20% down on average salaries and I'm always thrilled for them. 

Furthermore, buying a property these days is rife with hurdles.  Why make it even harder? 

I also don't think obtaining a loan should be easy as it was in the early 2000's.  But lenders are rejecting fantastic loan candidates for the stupidiest reasons.  If it didn't break client confidentiality, I could give you multiple examples. 

Meanwhile, I (and every other realtor in the country) will be watching closely how the issue is resolved.

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Riveting Rooms

Room by Diane Bergman

I am captivated by this rug by Madeline Weinreib of ABC Home.  I first mentioned it last October.  It was in Lonny Magazine and I was smitten.  I took a soujourn to see it in person at the ABC Home Store when I visited NYC.  It's more fantastic in person.

It was recently featured in a COCOCOZY post about blue and white rooms and I'm hooked once again. I want it in grey and white but I love the graphic pop of the blue and white version.  There's also a fantastic zig zag pattern.

Madeline Weinrib Zig Zag Steel
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Visionary Victorian

1400 21st St, NW

1400 21st St, NW is the latest fancy lady to catch my eye.  Listed at $1,495,000, it's four levels, four bedrooms, four baths, 2224 square feet, and has parking.  Located two blocks from the Dupont Circle Metro, it's central to restaurants and shopping.  Although the outside is classic, the inside is sleek with an updated Poggenphol kitchen.  What a spectacular space!

Living room with original stained glass windows
Poggenhal kitchen
*photos courtesy of Matrix
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1260 21st St, NW
1260 21st St, NW living room

I'm holding an Open House today from 1-4pm at 1260 21st St, NW #101.  It's a 2 bedroom/2 bath condo with parking for $449,900.  It's 863 square feet with big windows, stainless steel appliances and parquet floors.  It's a quick walk to Dupont Circle, the Metro, the Dupont Circle Farmer's Market and restaurants galore.  I hope to see you there!

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First Friday

This week the focus is on houses.   

606 14th Pl, NE is a 2 bedroom, 1 bath rowhouse in Capitol Hill within walking distance to H St. Corridor.  Listed for 349K, this is an excellent condo alternative.  Although it's narrow, it's 1096 square feet, has hardwood floors, a fireplace and off street parking.  The taxes are $3160 a year.  It's Open on Sunday, 4/17 from 2-4. 

606 14th Pl, NE
606 14th Pl, NE living room
606 14th Pl, NE master bedroom
1713 Harvard St, NW is 3 bedrooms/2 full bath town house located near the zoo for 619K.  Designed by modern architect Joseph Abel, it has an open floor plan, a lovely patio with a hot tub (!), and two car parking.  It's 1248 sf and the taxes are $4298 per year.  It's Open this weekend on Saturday 4/16 and Sunday 4/17 from 1-4.  
1713 Harvard St, NW
1718 Harvard St, NW living room
1718 Harvard St, NW patio with hot tub
*photos via MRIS   
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