blue rust living roomI’ve got living rooms on my mind. Whenever I begin thinking about making changes in my space, I start pinning lots of photos for inspiration.  My favorite lately is this colorful and warm living room.  While I’m leaning towards greys, I’m sure some rust and blue elements will be in the mix. My mind is brimming with ideas!

photo via DomaineHome.com

 

 

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chairsIn March, I’ve lived in my condo for 8 years (!!).  While I’ve updated the bathrooms, kitchen cabinets, and countless pieces of art, I haven’t purchased any new furniture. It’s time.  While my couches are beyond comfortable, they are oversized and dominate the room.  I’m looking for a smaller couch with a chaise lounge and a kick ass arm chair.

First, I’m going to buy the arm chair.  Part of me wants something brand new like the chairs I’m featuring today.  The other part of me wants to buy something vintage and recover it.  The problem:  I need to sit in the chair and make sure it’s comfortable.  That means I’ll be buying something local but a girl can dream, right?

chairs top to bottom | mrs. godfrey swivel chair  | sonja velvet chair | arne jacobsen egg chair

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real-estate-round-up-feb15

photos and links top to bottom: inman, oprah.com, urban turf, washington business journal

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2852-mcgill-ext2852 McGill Terrace, NW

Washington, DC 20008

5 bedrooms | 6.3 baths

7,570 square feet | $31,894 yearly taxes

list price | $5,850,000

sold price | $5,600,000

The largest sale in January was an enormous, custom built Georgian mansion located in the Massachusetts Heights neighborhood.  The home is three levels with a formal living and dining room, octagonal library, family room and updated kitchen.  The master suite has his-and-hers sitting and dressing rooms and his-and-her baths. (click the address link for the full virtual tour.)  There’s a finished lower level with a staff suite and an elevator that goes to all floors.  The home also has a large terrace and a basketball court.

listing courtesy of Matthew McCormick, Washington Fine properties.

*this was a cash sale!*

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*#%$ realtors do

This is a repost from 2010.  Why repost? First, it cracks me up.  Second, something similar happened to me a couple weeks ago.  Third, the *#%$ realtors do to sell a property.- Living RoomRealtors do a lot of things to make a transaction happen. We clean. We put away stuff. We walk dogs. We travel at all hours to get paper work signed (this is clearly before docusign). We stage units. We arrange cleaners, painters, handy men and contractors. We set up home inspections. We show 60 properties in one week to buyers who are only in the country for a short amount of time. We do a lot of things to facilitate a deal.

Today, I hit a new level of “dumb *&%# I do”. I had to clean off a bathroom counter and put away someones XL Magnum condoms. Yep. Really. Many, many things went through my mind as I performed this action. Most of them I can’t print. The one thought that’s stuck with me all day: I can’t believe the things I do for my job!

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carnitasCooking for people is an Angotti tradition and I love a dinner party.  For Valentine’s Day, instead of going out, we invited a few people over for carnitas.  This is currently my favorite meal for entertaining because it’s delicious and easy.

Pork Carnitas

INGREDIENTS

2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt)
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chile powder, coriander, cumin, chipotle powder
3 cups of water
1 Mexican beer
Fresh cilantro sprigs

The night before: Season pork shoulder with salt, pepper, chile powder, coriander, cumin and chipotle powder.  Leave in refrigerator overnight.

The day you’re serving carnitas:  Preheat oven to 260. Rinse pork shoulder.  Put in dutch oven. Pork shoulder should barely fit in dutch oven.  Add water, beer and cilantro.  Cook for 6 hours.  Once it’s done cooking, remove from oven.  Pull pork shoulder from dutch oven and put on a cookie sheet.  Shred pork on cookie sheet.  Pour half a cup of cooking liquid on top of shredded pork.  Broil in oven for 5 minutes or until pork has crisped slightly.  Serve immediately on a platter with corn tortillas.

Carrot Slaw

12 ounces carrots (preferably assorted colors), peeled, julienned (about 4 cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more for seasoning
2 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, minced
1/2 cup (loosely packed) fresh cilantro leaves
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Freshly ground black pepper

Toss carrots, oil, lime juice, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and jalapeños in a large bowl. Let marinate for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally. Add cilantro and coriander; toss to evenly incorporate. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Chill 1 hour or more.

Black bean, tomato and pineapple salsa

2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 pineapple, cored and diced
1 cup rinsed and drained canned black beans
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 jalapeño pepper, diced
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil

Combine tomatoes, pineapple, black beans, onion, cilantro, salt, red pepper flakes, jalapeño, lime juice and olive oil in a bowl.  Chill.

For carnitas, assemble on a corn tortilla:  pork, carrot slaw, and salsa.  Add whatever condiments you like: avocado, salsa, sour cream or cheese.  I’m a purist and just like the pork, carrot slaw and salsa.  Enjoy!

 

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2539 13th extWhile it doesn’t feel like Spring out there, the DC Spring real estate market has begun.  In DC, Super Bowl weekend is the official kick off the selling season.  I’ve seen inventory creeping up.  The desirable listings are going under contract in 7 days or less. Multiple offers are still a reality. 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 their 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 2015? I’m ready to help you! Contact me today and we’ll get started.

 

 

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valentine2015

I know this is a laaattte post for Valentine’s Day considering it’s Saturday.  Life has been crazy and I’m behind.  Although every fellow is different, my guy would love any of these Valentine’s Day gifts.

1.  I’ll take a Manhattan $120.  Have you checked out the website Mouth?  I’m kinda obsessed with it.  It has small batch booze, fancy chocolates and spreads plus snacks.  The SNACKS.  For my husband, this Manhattan gift pack would be pretty cool.  It’s his latest cocktail craze and those cherries look yummy.

2. Anova Sous Vide Immersion Circulator $299.  One of our friends contributed to the Kickstater fund for this bad boy and gave one to my husband for Christmas.  He LOVES it.  I thought it’d be one of those gadgets that he never uses but he pulls it out at least once a week.  It cooks everything perfectly. If your guy likes to cook, this should be on his list.

3. Slim leg sweatpants $49.50.  My husband works from home.  His go to uniform is a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt.  I love this slim leg sweatpants because they don’t look sloppy and they fit.  I know many men prefer the “over sized” look but I don’t.  Surprisingly, my husband really likes his.  The down side: a lot of jokes about “how tight they are on his manly calves.”  Um yea..that conversation happens regularly.

4. Pappy Bourbon Balls $11.00 (4 pack)  This is probably my best discovery of the year.  Salt & Sundry on 14th had them in stock last week (call ahead) and I got 2 boxes for a dinner party. They are out of this world delicious and were a huge hit.

 

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novel-novels-feb15

Sometimes, a girl needs some magic in her life.  These two books fit the bill and I enjoyed them so much!

Did you read The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer?  It was one of my favorite books of 2014. When I saw her latest endeavor had been published, I immediately read it.  Belzhar is about adolescence, depression and how to endure and overcome.  Her writing is beautiful and the story immediately takes you back to your angst filled youth.

I love Sarah Addison Allen and I read her novels again and again.  First Frost is the sequel to Garden Spells.  Set in the mountains of North Carolina, the book is full of magical elements but mostly, it’s about family. I find her books entertaining and engrossing.

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Sometimes, listing photos make you scratch your head and say “wth?” A few of my favorites below:

bad mls hoarder

am I on an episode of hoarders? *shudder*

bad mls photo empty bed frame

yes, the empty bed frame *really* demonstrates the size of the room.

bad mls bath hoarder

is this the bathroom or a closet? i’m so confused

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2539-13th-ext

2539 13th St., NW #1

Washington, DC 20009

2 bedroom + den | 3 full baths

1,750 square feet | $5,020.00 yearly taxes

list price | $755,000

Spacious 2 bedroom + den, multi level condo with an open floor plan, gas fireplace, hardwood floors, granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen. Bedrooms on 2nd level. Master bedroom with en suite bathroom. Outdoor patio that’s perfect for entertaining. 10 minute walk down 13th St. to U St. Metro, restaurants and retail. 10 minute walk to DC USA and Columbia Heights Metro. 87 walk score.

Open house from 1-4pm on Sunday, Feb. 8th 2015

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