Lately I’ve felt like I’m not taking advantage of the cool stuff that’s happening in DC. I get stuck in my little corner on U St., I obsess about work and keep doing the same thing, every day. It frustrates me. I become grumpy and dissatisfied. When this occurs, I immediately plan a jaunt to the museums. Art and the immediate availability of art in DC always lifts my mood.
I’d been wanting to see the Degas/Cassat exhibit for months. The Impressionists are always an interesting topic and the show is closing Oct. 5th, 2014 (go this week!!). I knew nothing about Cassat and I’d only seen Degas’s sculptures before this exhibit. It was interesting to see the connection between the two artists and how they inspired each other.
The Wyeth show blew my mind. I didn’t realize it was running (till Nov. 30th, 2014) but it was literally next to the Degas/Cassat exhibit. I stepped into the exhibit and was happily occupied by it’s beauty. Don’t miss this one…it’s stunning.
images via national gallery of art website.
6 bedrooms | 3.1 baths
4,992 square feet | 24,772 yearly taxes
list price | $3,975,00
sold price | $3,377,000
The largest sale in August was a five story town house in Kalorama. It has hardwood floors, three fireplaces, a formal dining and living rooms, a library and media room, an elevator, terrace and rooftop deck plus a two car garage. While the home has been updated, many original architecturally details remain. The basement is finished with a baseball theme (click the address for the full virtual tour) and is one of the strangest rooms I’ve seen in my real estate career. I bet the new owners are gutting it immediately.
listing courtesy of Margot Wilson, Washington Fine Properties
Did you know I’m involved with a charity? It’s called DC Wise and it raises money for women and children. It’s a brand new charity and our big event is on October 21st, 2014 on the roof top of Room & Board on 14th St., NW. We’re having a silent auction, drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and sweet treats to raise money for N St. Village. I hope you’ll join me!
The Fall selling season has started with a vengeance. There’s more inventory (yeaaa!) and multiple offers remain a reality. Interest rates are low and new condo buildings are slated to deliver soon. Are you interested in buying but have no idea where to start? I’ve put together a cheat sheet to guide you through the 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! Contact me today and we’ll get started.
I have exciting news today…Leslie Kingery has joined me at DCRE Residential. Leslie has lived in DC for five years. Before beginning her career in real estate, she was a digital marketing consultant. Her interest in design and architecture began when she studied architecture at UVA and worked at Monticello. As part of her digital marketing business, Leslie regularly consulted with interior designers and architects. She was also an integral part of the Modern Richmond Tour, a monthly tour of modern buildings in Richmond, VA. Leslie also renovated and sold homes in the historic Churchill neighborhood in Richmond, VA. Welcome Leslie!!
Last night I stopped by Tico on 14th St., NW. It opened in June and while I love trying new restaurants, I also believe in allowing a restaurant to find it’s footing. Early reviews from a few locals weren’t stellar but the space is beautiful and I can never resist a taco.
Tico is the first DC restaurant from James Beard Foundation winner Michael Schlow. He describes the concept as “an American restaurant with international influences”. The menu is divided into several sections: ceviches, small plates, tacos, a la plancha and entrees. I never made it past the ceviche and small plates which means I’ll definitely be returning for a taco! All of the plates I sampled where delicious and my favorite was the scallop ceviche.
Overall, I was impressed with the menu options, the quality of the dishes, the extensive wine/cocktail list and the service. Welcome to the neighborhood Tico!
Tico 1926 14th St, NW www.ticodc.com
It’s been unbelievably beautiful in DC. It’s perfect Fall weather: a little chilly, windy and sunny. I want to sit outside for hours and soak it up. I’d love to recreate this outdoor living room in Spain. Rustic yet comfortable, it looks like it’d be a wonderful spot to entertain and enjoy yourself. How’s your Monday?
photo vía Nuevo Estilo
5 bedrooms | 4.4 bathrooms
6,800 square feet
list price | $22,000,000
Normally, I don’t get too excited about a celebrity selling their home. This townhouse in NYC is the exception. Owned by Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, it’s stunning. It has all the bells and whistles: it’s just been refurbished but they kept many of the original architectural details (those fireplaces! the master bathroom!), it has a 5 zone HVAC, NEST thermostats, there’s multiple outdoor areas, the master suite is an entire floor and it’s located in Greenwich Village. Yea. I’d take it.
photos via Elliman Real Estate
I’m having a hard time getting back in the swing of things. My mind is focused on where I want to be instead of where I am. Right now, I want to be anywhere but DC. There’s no particular reason. Life is great but I feel restless. I’m ready for my trip to Argentina but it’s months till it happens. Meanwhile, I’m going to satisfy my wanderlust by traveling virtually. Did you know there’s a town in Morocco named Chefchaouen where all the houses are painted blue? It’s beautiful, isn’t it? May it brighten the beginning of your week.
As a realtor, my busiest days are the weekends. That doesn’t mean I don’t like to celebrate the end of a work week with a strong beverage on Friday evening. However, an early drink is prudent and that’s why I love happy hour. My go-to Friday night plan (unless I have to show property) is have a few cocktails, socialize a bit with my friends and home by 9pm. There’s lots of happy hours on U St. but below are my favorites.
Who doesn’t love a $5 glass of wine? While lots of bars in the city offer a standard pinot grigio and shiraz at happy hour, Vinoteca takes it further. They have a multitude of red, white and sparkling options and they’re all good. I also enjoy the back patio when the weather is nice and the happy hour snacks from the grill.
$5 Tito’s at the Fainting Goat. Need I say more?
When the weather is fine, there’s no where better than the roof top at Brixton. Especially early on a Friday evening before it becomes super douchy. $6 rail drinks, $6 house wine and a bevy of beer options from $4-$8. Salud!