2121 Ver NW #313 lrWhen I’m prepping a new listing for the market, I always follow these 7 steps to get the most money for my clients. It’s a lot of work but the results are always impressive. (See my reviews from satisfied clients!)

1. De-clutter. I know you like your collection of antique dolls and you think it’s wonderful. It isn’t…they’re creepy. Box them up and utilize the space in a way that’s appealing to buyers. Clear the counter tops in your bathroom and kitchen. Take your photos and holiday cards off the refrigerator. It’s all a distraction to a buyer.

2. Re-paint in neutral colors. Red kitchens and dining rooms are so 2000. Don’t date your decor with bold colors. Buyers are picky and one terrible paint color can make them over look your property. A grey or greige paint color are the latest neutrals. Boring but it works.

3. Clean extensively. Nothing is worse than a grimy bathroom or kitchen when you’re viewing property. Hire a cleaning service. Your property should sparkle. Keep your place tidy while it’s on the market. Make your bed. Put away your soiled clothing and clean laundry. Hang up your coat and put away your shoes.

4. Re-arrange/remove furniture. Most sellers have too much furniture in their space. If you have belongings in every single corner, get rid of them. If it’s over sized and makes your space look small, store it for your next place. Rearrange your furniture to make the space open and inviting. Open your blinds/curtains to show the view and the sunlight.

5. Make sure it smells good. That old man/sock smell is not making your place more attractive. On the other hand, you don’t want to go over board. Strong, floral plug-ins can make buyers suspicious. The most appealing scents are cinnamon/apple, vanilla or citrus scents.

6. Use a professional photographer for photos of your property. “Homes with professional photographs were found, on average, to be viewed 61 percent more online than others in that price range shot with a lower-end camera. The listings that used digital SLR cameras also commanded a 47 percent higher asking price per square foot, according to the Redfin analysis.” The stats speak for themselves.

7. Don’t overprice your property. Sellers first inclination is to list their property for waaaayyy higher than it’s worth. It leads to more days on market, price reductions and less money in the long run. Price correctly the first time. Your house will likely sell in 7-10 days and you’ll get the money you want.

A little prep work goes a long way when you list your home. If you’re looking to sell in 2016, contact me at jen@dcreresidential.com or 202.285.4238. It’s a great time to be a seller in DC!

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Jen_929-Florida-8007-Sold-1Congratulations to my client!

Modern 1 bedroom + den corner penthouse. Hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances, floor to ceiling windows, 10′ ceilings, two full bathrooms, balcony with amazing monument views. Garage parking. Communal roof deck with 2 gas grills. 2 blocks to U St. Metro, minutes to restaurants and new U St./Shaw retail, next door to upcoming Whole Foods. 95 walk score.

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novel novels

novel-novles-snow-days

During our extended vacation in the Bahamas and Miami, there were a lot of cocktails and a lot of books. Out of the many books I read, Did you ever have a family? by Bill Clegg and Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams were my two favorites.

If you’re looking for an uplifting, laugh out loud book, skip Bill Clegg’s Did You Ever Have a Family?  It’s a tragic tale about losing your family. It’s amazingly complex and beautifully written.  It’s Clegg’s debut novel and it’s included in the longlist for the Man Booker prize. It’s a must read but prepared to be sad.

Along the Infinite Sea is the third book by Beatriz Williams about the fictional Shulyer sisters. Set in 1956, it’s a historical novel that encompasses secrets from WWII, a rogue baby daddy and a love story.  What more could you want?

Also read The Secret Life of Violet Grant and Tiny Little Thing about the other Shulyer sisters.  Here’s a few more I enjoyed: Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain, Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith, A Knight In Seven Kingdoms by George R. R. Martin, The Art of Crash Landing by Melissa DeCarlo, The Lake House by Kate Morton, The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward.

A note on some of the books that have been getting good press but I wasn’t impressed: The Blondes by Emily Shultz, The Expatriates by Janice Y.K. Lee, All the Stars in Heaven by Adriana Trigiani, The Clasp by Sloane Crosely, Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff (I KNOW. I loved the Monsters of Templeton but I hated this book.  Ugh.)

*a small moment of holy *&^%: Last year, I read 113 books on my digital devices and that doesn’t include library books.  Isn’t that bonkers?  You can tell my #1 pastime is burying my nose in a book.*

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2008-16th-ext

2008 16th St, NW #302
Washington, DC 20009
2 bedrooms, 2 baths
619 square feet | $330.00 condo fee
list price | $385,000

2 bedroom, 2 bath fixer upper in the perfect location. Ideal for an investor or the first time home buyer who likes a project. New HVAC in 2014, new windows in 2010, w/d in unit, pet friendly. Roof top deck with amazing views. Minutes to restaurants, retail and Metro. 96 walk score.  Open house from 1-4pm on 2/21/15.

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916 G St NW-lrWhile 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 30-45 days. The days till closing starts the day you submit the offer to the listing agent. The closing date is usually 30-45 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 2016? I’m ready to help you! Contact me today and we’ll get started.

 

 

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uncle frank

My Uncle Frank passed away last week. He was my Dad’s younger brother who lived in Clarksburg, WV and he was a constant in my life.  He owned Chunki’s, an Italian restaurant in downtown Clarksburg. He was the father of my cousins Lori and Frank.  He was kind, generous, loyal, outspoken and opinionated. He loved our large, extended family fiercely.

To the residents of Clarksburg and WV, he was Frank “Chunki” Angotti, business owner and public servant.  He served on the County Commission, was elected for two terms in the West Virginia House of Delegates and served on numerous boards and commissions.  On Monday, the WV flags flew at half mast in honor of his public service.

He will be missed immensely.

photo by Gina Jones.

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gifts for my mr.

valentine2016

Valentine’s Day is next weekend. SAY WHAT? In case you’re like me and order most of your gifts, here’s a few that caught my eye.

1. Indie Bourbon Trio $168 2. Funky Socks $46  3. Waterproof Gold Jacket $197.50 4. Carolina BBQ Sauce $12

 

 

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miami-sailboatsAfter finally getting back to the US, my husband and I were stuck in Miami for four days.  I know..my life is full of hardship. While DC was being buried in snow, I was strolling around Miami enjoying more sand and sun.

standard-pool

I used the Hotel Tonight app to book us at The Standard. I loved the pool and the spa but the room was tiny and loud. Most of the time, you’re in Miami for sun and fun so tiny and loud doesn’t matter. Since we were stuck, it didn’t go over as well.  Would I stay there again?  Yes. Would my husband?  Absolutely not.

miami-palm-treesThe last day we were in Miami, it was 75 and sunny and we spent the day at The Standard pool. When we arrived, it was 50.  50 equals freezing in Miami and it definitely wasn’t beach or pool weather. On Monday, we spent the day exploring Miami’s Design District.  We saw a lot of great street art and explored the Design District’s high end clothing and furniture shops.

Miami’s food scene continues to evolve and we had a lot of good meals.  We had kick ass Cuban food at Las Olas. It’s a dive but there’s always a line of locals. The pulled pork and plantains were amazing and it was my favorite meal of our visit. We also ate at the Market at Edition, Milos, Sardinia Enoteca, Salumeria 104, and Yardbird. Not one of these meals was bad and I highly recommend any of these places.

Overall, Miami wasn’t a bad place to get stuck for a couple of days. However, I was happy to get back to DC.  Snow aside, it’s always nice to come home.

 

 

 

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