My trip to LA over President’s Day weekend was a ton of fun. The only downside: the weather! The weekend we were there, LA had a “monster storm” and it rained like crazy two out of the five days we were visiting. Figures. They’ve had a drought for four years but the weekend we visit, it’s a deluge.
We spent a couple days in Pasadena with my Aunt and Uncle then moved onto LA. While in Pasadena, we ate at wonderful restaurants and visited the Norton Simon Museum. The museum was incredible and had a mix of old Masters and modern art. I found a new artist that I like: Sam Francis. I’d never heard of him but I LOVED the “Basel Mural 2”. I wish I could recreate it.
On Saturday, we met up with more family but on the Angotti side. We spent the day with them at the LA Natural History Museum and then checked out their neighborhood in Hollywood. It was cute! California has an interesting mix of housing styles and I enjoyed gawking. Always a real estate agent.
We stayed at Santa Monica pier at the Shore Hotel for the rest of our visit. A few of my DC friends have absconded to LA and live in Venice Beach. Santa Monica was the perfect location between Hollywood and Venice. Saturday and Sunday we spent hanging out in Santa Monica and Venice. Saturday evening we ate at Michael’s (which was seriously amazing) and Sunday we had brunch at Scopa. Venice was adorable and I loved all the shops on Abbot Kinney Rd.
Although we managed to pack a lot of visiting and wandering while we were there, there’s still neighborhoods that I want to explore. Next visit!
The second location of Union Kitchen Grocery has opened in Shaw. Located on the corner of 9th and N St, NW, the store features a coffee bar, house made sandwiches and a hot/salad bar. Many of the available grocery items are produced locally. You can also grab basic necessities like a bottle of wine. Welcome to the neighborhood!
I’m off to LA tomorrow and I’m looking forward to sunshine and nice temperatures. At least 2 of the 4 days will be nice. Even though LA has been having a drought for the last 4 years, apparently this year they’re getting record rainfall. While I’m pumped for LA, I’ve been feeling a lot of *#%^ due to the weather forecast. Le sigh.
I’m spending a couple days in Pasadena and then a couple of days in LA proper. More on my adventures next week. Have a happy President’s Day weekend!
In 2016, I had grand plans to renovate both the bathrooms in my condo. Instead, I went on some kick ass trips and renovated one of my bathrooms (priorities people!). The master bathroom is on the schedule for 2017 and I’ve started getting quotes. When it’s all said and done, I hope it’s going to look similar to the photo above, a bathroom designed by Alexander Design. How gorgeous is that bathroom???
This is my master bath. Excuse the disaster that’s my towel storage but hey..real life. As you can see, it’s ugly and the space isn’t used well. First, we have a tub and a shower stall. We don’t use the shower stall and I’m getting rid of it. I’m keeping the tub because I think all homes should have at least one tub and our second bathroom has a shower. The shower stall I’m converting into a sink for my husband so we’ll have two: one on each side. All of the tile is getting ripped out, I’m replacing the toilet with something more modern and storage is going to added next to the tub.
This is the current vanity situation. It’s going “bye bye bye” and I can’t wait. It’s been functional for the last 10 years but it’s time to upgrade it. I’m imagining white, modern vanities with marble or quartz countertops. Our bathroom doesn’t have a window and I want the space to look bright.
While the project will likely take place sometime in May/June, the prep has begun.
First photo via Domaine magazine. The rest of the house is amazing too!
It’s official..the DC real estate season has started. The Super Bowl is over, the weather is temperate and buyers are swarming. Listings in the hot neighborhoods are going under contract quickly and multiple offers are still a reality. Interested in buying but have no idea where to start? I’ve pulled together a cheat sheet for you.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Execute the 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 CD (the closing document) 3 days before closing to make sure all your fees are correct. If everything is in order, you sign the closing documents at the closing table.
Complete the documents. Once all the documents are signed, you’re a proud homeowner. Congratulations!
The entire process 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 monies are 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. For 2017, DC passed a first time home buyers tax break and the recordation fee is .0725% on all properties.
While buying a home can be a stressful, the end result is worth it. You own a home! 2017 is shaping up to be a wonderful time to buy while interest rates remain low and the first time home buyers tax break is in effect. Ready to buy this year? Contact me via email or phone (firstname.lastname@example.org/202-285-4238) and we’ll get started!
Jen Angotti is the creator of Concrete Jungle DC, a blog about real estate in DC, ideas on how to decorate and design your abode plus a variety of topics she loves: new restaurants and bars, DC happenings, food, and travel. Jen is a licensed realtor in DC and VA.
Rise Bakery, located at 2409 18th St, NW in Adams Morgan, is a gluten-free bakery. This is monumental news in my gluten free world. A couple of months ago, my husband popped by there and grabbed a few things: a bag of bagels, a loaf of bread, a banana nut muffin and a cinnamon roll. They were delicious and I was so exited. Good gluten free bread and pastries are hard to find. I had an appointment today in Adams […]