riveting rooms

Simple bedroomI can never sleep on Sunday nights and it drives me crazy.  I'm writing this at 1:30am.  I'm annoyed I'm up instead of sleeping in my cozy bed.  My friends and I call it the "Sunday night panics". Thoughts about the upcoming week are swirling around in your head instead of calm, relaxing stuff.  Pllff.

At 1:30am, this bedroom looks mighty appealing. The blue rug is soothing and the fluffy, white duvet looks welcoming.  Don't you love it?

photo by amy bartlam

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Tv-consolesThis week I'm on the hunt for a tv console for my brother's beach house.  He has a lot of wood in his place:  wood floors and a lofted wood ceiling.  He's still refusing to paint his ceilings white which I understand. (I really don't but he lives there, not me. I keep repeating this sentence hoping it will quiet my frustrated inner interior designer.) Which means he has to be careful not to overload his living room with too many pieces of wood furniture.  He recently built (I know!) a gorgeous mahogany dining room table. For the TV console, I think he should get something in a similar tone or mix it up with a white/wood console for contrast. My favorite is the first option, the Siena 3, but it's not cheap.  Either are the other two but they sure are pretty.  The console that Emily Henderson had built for Bri's living room (picture below) was my inspiration.  What do you think?

White and wood console

links to the consoles: siena 3, mid centery console, mid century dresser

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2026-klingle-exterior-cropped

For the last several weeks, I've been prepping new listings.  While I love representing buyers, it's a lot of fun to represent sellers too.  Especially since homes are selling fast! Below are some tips I've learned over the years to get the most money for my sellers.  

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1604-Longfellow-Street-exterior

1604 Longfellow St., NW

Washington, DC 20011

4 bedrooms | 3.5 baths

3,094 square feet | $6,084.73 yearly taxes

list price | $875,000

Lovely four bedroom, three and a half bath home with refinished hardwood floors, updated eat-in French Country kitchen with limestone counters and a wood burning fireplace.  Walk out to the back yard deck and patio that's perfect for entertaining. Spacious living room with a bay window, separate dining room and a finished basement with a wet bar, guest suite and full bath.  Top floor features two bedrooms and another full bath plus a master bedroom suite with full bath and double vanity.  Two car garage.   Minutes to Rock Creek Park and Military Rd. Open Sunday, March 30th 1-4pm. 

 
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Red door

The DC Spring real estate market usually starts the weekend after the Super Bowl. Except this year. After months of snow storms and low inventory, I’m finally seeing an increase in available listings. Are you interested in buying in 2014 but have no idea where to begin? I’ve put together a cheat sheet to guide you through the buying process.

1.  Talk to a lender.  Picking a competent lender is the most important step in the buying process. Obtaining a loan is difficult these days.  Your credit has to be good.  You debt to income ratio has to be just right. Lenders need reams of documentation. Stay away from the big banks.  Work with someone who’s local and knows the market. Once you’ve spoken to a lender and they have all the info they need (bank statements, salary stubs, financial records, your credit score. it’s invasive. get ready.) you’re pre-qualified and ready to start searching.
 2.  Find a property.  Discovering real estate you want to purchase involves looking at listings online and visiting houses/condos/coops.  A picture can only convey so much.  It’s wise to visit as many properties as possible to determine what appeals to you.  The search can take a day or several months.
 3.  Make an offer.   Once you find a property you love, write an offer.  The DC market is competitive which means you’ll need to make quick decisions.  If a listing is priced well, looks good and is in a desirable location, it’s going under contract in 1-7 days and often has multiple offers.
4.  Execute the paperwork.  After your offer has been reviewed and ratified, the contract is sent to the lender and the title company.  The title company reviews the title work.  Their job is to make sure the property is delivered with a clear title.  The lender starts processing your loan and orders the appraisal.
5.  Fulfill the contingencies (if there are any).  With the increase in multiple offers, contingencies have been on the decline.  If the sellers accept an appraisal, financing or home inspection contingency, fulfill them.   If they go smoothly, you’ll head to closing.
6.  Execute final reviews.  Before closing, you do a final walk through to see if the property is still in good shape.  You will also review the HUD1 (the closing statement) to make sure all your fees are correct.  If everything is in order, you sign the closing documents.
7.  Complete the documents Once all the documents are signed, you’re a proud homeowner.  Congratulations!
The entire process of making an offer; its acceptance, ratification, expiration of any contingencies to closing usually takes 30 days.  The 30 days starts the day you submit the offer to the listing agent.  The closing date is usually 30 days from the date the contract is written.
A few definitions:  Ratification means when all parties (the seller and buyer) agree to the terms of the contract.  There are lots of variables to an offer.  All terms stated in the contract are negotiable points:  the price, the closing date, how many days you have for your home inspection, financing contingency and appraisal contingencies.  Once ALL the negotiating points have been agreed upon, the contract is ratified.
Contingencies are a fulfillment of a condition.  There are 3 contingencies that are normally used in a contract that protect the buyer:  the home inspection, financing and appraisal contingencies.  All 3 of these contingencies have to be met before you can close on a property if they’re included in the contract.  There are different reasons to have these contingencies. Essentially, they protect the buyer from losing your earnest money deposit.  As I mentioned above, these contingencies are used less frequently as the market becomes more competitive.
An earnest money deposit (EMD) is the deposit that the brokerage or title company holds in an escrow account.  It goes towards your closing costs.  The earnest money deposit is usually 3-5% of the offer price.  It’s not deposited into the escrow account until the contract is ratified.  If the contract is not ratified, the EMD check is returned to you.
Closing costs in DC run about 3% of the purchase price.  The two biggest costs covered by the 3% is the title insurance and the recordation tax that goes to DC Gov.  This tax is 1.45% of the purchase price over 400K and 1.1% of the purchase price under 400K.
While the buying is often stressful, the end result is exhilarating.  Ready to buy in 2014? I’m ready to help you!
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riveting rooms

Fish scale tileLast week when I was searching for ideas for my brother's house, I came across this stunning bathroom.  That tile!  Isn't it fantastic?  I want to put it everywhere: in his house, in my parent's beach house, in my condo.  Happy Monday!

photo via prue ruscoe

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ready for the weekend?

Dope graffitiAfter the craziest weather week ever, it finally feels like Spring.  Fingers crossed this lasts beyond the weekend. I'm getting ready for an action packed weekend: client meetings, property showings, photos for another listing and an Open House on Sunday (stop by if you're in Cleveland Park: 3001 Porter St, NW #100 1-4 pm).  Meanwhile, everyone else will be relaxing. 

March Madness anyone?  My husband is going to the games in Raleigh.  If you're in DC, here's the best places to watch.

23 Ikea hacks that are really impressive.  Too bad I'm the most impatient person ever and I'll never attempt any of them.  Well maybe the driftwood lamp for my brother.  Or is that cheesy?

This oil pulling thing is everywhere.  Naturally, I had to try it to see it's legit.  First impression: kinda gross.  Will get back to you about the second and third impressions.

Check out Emily Henderson's AIRBNB she designed for Snoop Dog (Lion).  It's dope. 

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rustic beach house

Rustic-beach-houseMy brother is still on the hunt for a new couch. I've been helping him and as I've shopped, I've been day dreaming about re-doing his entire place.  

His home has a lofted wood ceiling that I'd love to paint white.  His entire place would instantly appear 100% larger.  I'd gut the bathroom, install tile that mimics fish scales in the shower area, add open shelving with baskets and a cool vanity. In the bedroom, I'd add floating side tables and simple sconces. Last but not least, I'd paint the kitchen cabinets white and add a simple back splash.  I'd add a rug in an indoor/outdoor fabric for easy cleaning, great art and a new dining room light fixture.  Rustic beach house at it's best!      

photos clockwise: prue rusco, casa tiba, house and leisure, amy trowman design

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Hood-happenings3.14links and photos top to bottom: Urban Turf, Washington City Paper, Prince of Petworth, Urban Turf

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3001-Porter-Street-NW-1013001 Porter St, NW #100

Washington, DC 20008

650 sf | $411.00 coop fee (includes utilities and taxes)

list price: $235,000

New listing alert!  It's a one bedroom, one bath coop in Cleveland Park.  It's been updated with hardwood floors, the bathroom has a river stone floor and a Kohler tub, new Pella windows were installed in 2007, the kitchen has a granite counter top, stainless steel appliances and a cork floor, there's an Elfa closet plus an enormous storage room.  There's no underlying mortgage and the coop fee includes all utilities and taxes.  Another fantastic feature is the common backyard with a community grill. It's one block to Cleveland Park Metro, restaurants and retail.  Open House Sunday, 3/23 from 1-4pm.

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dance a jig

Green-door-dc-shamrocksListen to bag pipes, wear green, eat shepard's pie, drink a Guinness and have a happy St. Patrick's Day!

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Flowers park chicago

At the beginning of the week, it seemed flowers and sunshine were around the corner.  Instead, Mother Nature pulled a fast one and it's freezing again. 

This week has been a good one and I'm prepping two new listings.  One will hit the market next week and the other at the end of March.  Meanwhile, my buyers are slowly coming out of hibernation. People don't like to look for a house when the temperatures are frigid.  

While I haven't had a lot of time to futz around on the internet, here's a few things I found noteworthy:

10 amazing console tables.  Use in your foyer or behind a couch or that wierd wall where nothing fits.

Creepy real estate agent photos.  This cracked me up.  

Shameless plug alert: did you read my eat here | columbia heights piece on Urban Scrawl? It's my favorite places to eat in CH.  

DIY wide plank floor made from plywood.  I would never attempt a DIY project of this scale but it looks fantastic.   

 

 

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