3844 Dominion Mill sold

Congratulations to my clients on the purchase of their new home! I represented the buyers on this lovely townhome in Alexandria.

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916 G St NW-lr

The DC real estate market has been hot for years but 2018 is proving to be unique. Inventory is low, multiple offers are still a reality and most listings are under contract in 7 days or less. Interested in buying but have no idea where to start? I’ve pulled together a cheat sheet for you.

Talk to a lender. Besides finding the place you want to buy, choosing a lender is the most important step in purchasing. Obtaining a loan is difficult. 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. While searching online is the place most people start, photos can only tell you so much. Visit properties. See as many properties as you can to see 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 it goes smoothly, you 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 documents at the closing table.

Complete the documents. Once all the documents are signed, you’re a homeowner! Congratulations!

The entire process: making an offer; its acceptance, ratification, expiration of any contingencies to closing usually takes 25-45 days. The days till closing starts the day you submit the offer to the listing agent. The new norm for closing is 25 days in competitive situations. If it’s not competitive, expect closing in 30-45 days.

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 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, contingencies are used less frequently as the market become 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. Until October 2018, DC passed a first time home buyers tax break and the recordation fee is .0725% if you qualify for the program.

While  buying a home can be a stressful, the end result is worth it.  You own a home!  2018 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 phone or email: jen@dcreresidential.com/202-285-4238 and we’ll get started!

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vertical tile

I’m still waiting on one more quote for renovating the master bathroom but I’ve already decided on the tile I’d like to use.

Last week, Amber Interiors published this gorgeous bathroom.  It’s so amazing!  Stylistically, it won’t work in my condo but it can definitely influence some choices.

cement line tile

For the floors, I love the idea of Moroccan influenced tile. However, a more modern look will work better in my place like this white and grey hexagon cement tile. It adds visual interest but I don’t think it’ll date itself in five years.

I also love the vertical tile in the shower in Amber Interiors photo except I plan to use a matte white tile in around the bathtub and in the vanity nooks.

What do you think?  Yea or nea to the floor tile?

 photo via Amber Interiors

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bathroom after bed1

Although the guest bathroom renovation finished in July, it wasn’t photo worthy until recently.  I’m thrilled with the final result!

before after guest bathroom bed

It’s unbelievable how new tile adds to a space.  For the floor, I chose a 5 x 5 carrera marble hexagon tile.  It’s a small space so it made a big impact.  I used a matte white subway tile and grey grout for the rest of the  bathroom. I am overjoyed not to see brown, builder grade tile anymore.

before after shower stall

My only regret is not adding a niche in the shower wall for shampoo and soap.  I can’t believe I spaced on adding one!

before after guest bath hallway

I also replaced the original toilet with a Toto dual flush toilet, tiled behind the toilet for a more cohesive look, added a shut off valve for the shower and switched the shower hardware to match the sink hardware.

The art is by Kristi Kohut as detailed in this post.  The ocean print above the towel bar is from Urban Outfitters.  It’s by Tina Crespo and it says “the cure for anything is salt water. sweat, tears, or the sea”.  True words.

Total cost was around $3,000 for labor and materials.

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I’ve always been a huge fan of Rejuvenation’s lighting options. I’ve been stalking their Cedar & Moss collaboration for months because it’s so good. I recently discovered Rejuvenation also sells furniture and it’s bad ass.  I don’t need anything for my house but I’ll be sharing this website with my clients.

Clinton Modern Wingback    SYMBOL stereo console  Belmont Tuxedo Sofa   Cascade Table

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esty-pillowsIndigo Hmong Pillow Cover $60    Blue Ikat Pillow $25.00   Schumacher dragon pillow $130

Etsy is one of my favorite resources for unique items. I’ve bought photo booth props, a bar cart for my brother and art. This week, I found beautiful decorative pillows for my living room at reasonable prices.  Do you use Etsy?  What’s your favorite shop?

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living room update

living-room-rugSlowly but surely, my living room is coming together.  The first major purchase was the rug and people, it’s gorgeous.  It changes the entire character of the room and I LOVE it.  There was a major freak out about the size.  This bad boy is 10′ x 14′ and my living room is an odd shape.  First, I tried it one way. Then another.  Eventually I realized I need to re-imagine the entire room. I needed to leave my preconceived notions of how it looks now and imagine what it’s going to look like in the future.  It took a minute.  There was *a little* panic because I wasn’t sure if I could return the rug if it was too big.  Thankfully it all worked out.

The next step is ordering the couch.  I’ve decided what I want but not the color.  Originally, I was thinking a grey couch with blue undertones would work. It doesn’t.  Stay tuned!

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Next on the agenda for the living room is finding a new couch. I want the same thing that I have but with sleeker lines and in a smaller size.  We love our current couches but they’re HUGE. Regardless, I’ll be sad to see them go. The replacement MUST be as comfortable and have down filled cushions.  So far, these two have caught my eye.  Which one do you like?

taft sofa with chaise $2598    paidge 2 piece chaise sectional $2598

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fish tile bathroom emily hendersonAs you can imagine, the news that a Whole Foods is being built across the street has made me very, very happy.  It also means we’re never leaving the condo.  For years, I’ve thought we’d sell eventually and move into a house.  Now I’m content to stay indefinitely.

Which means I can renovate the bathrooms!  Before the the Whole Foods news, I was reluctant to invest anymore money into the condo. Now that we’re staying, it’s on. This is not happening anytime soon but I’m having a ton of fun thinking about it.

First up, the master bathroom.  I am 100% copying this fantastic master bathroom that was designed by Emily Henderson. I’ll use brushed silver hardware vs. oiled bronzed but that’s the only change I’d make.  Isn’t that tile divine?

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hudson&craneI love a well curated home store, don’t you? Hudson & Crane in Adams Morgan is a fabulous addition to the decor options in DC.  The store opened in November 2014 and is full of great furniture, art and gifts.

The backstory via their website:

“Hudson & Crane (opened in late November 2014) was conceived by business partners, Lyric Turner and Jaye Langmaid, in an effort to bring accessible and affordable design to the NW DC neighborhood of Adams Morgan. Turner and Langmaid bring their own aesthetic of rustic modern and industrial chic to everything in the store, from the furniture, rugs, decor, art, and lighting to the varied and eclectic gift options”.

These two are also the owners of Red House staging. DCRE Residential agents have worked with them for years.


The store is cash and carry, which means you can buy anything off the floor and take it home immediately.  Or the store can order a piece for you in a different color/fabric. They also offer interior design services.  I stopped by yesterday and spent about thirty minutes sitting on sofas and chairs.  I definitely have furniture on the brain!

Hudson & Crane 1781 Florida Ave, NW Washington, DC 20009 202-436-1223

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The holiday shopping frenzy has begun!  I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite ideas for the home.  Hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving!

I’ve become obsessed with pour over coffee.  This glass coffee dripper and pot set can go in the dishwasher and the filter is reusable.  I love my Chemex but I’ve converted to the Carat.  Also necessary is a kettle that heats up quickly.  carat coffee dripper & pot set $65 hario coffee drip kettle $37.99

Everyone needs fun matches for their candles or their bathrooms (mine are in the bathroom for stinky guests. it happens).   skull matches  $7.00

This lucite trey is perfect for a bar or your coffee table.  lucite serving trey  $40.00

Who doesn’t love a fancy gold pillow to dress up your couch for the holidays?  fancy gold pillow $39.00

One of my favorite bloggers published her first book!  My copy is on the coffee table. elements of style book $22.14

I’m always looking for a good source for affordable art and I love print this from Buddy Editions.  Abstract No. 3 $50


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perfect towels


Last weekend, all of my first cousins on the Angotti side visited DC for a cousins reunion. Initially, only the cousins were supposed to attend but then it evolved into a full fledge mini Angotti reunion.  One of my cousins is having a baby (the first Angotti baby!). The parents-to-be had a baby shower and all of the uncles attended.  It was a ton of fun to see everyone and get together for such a happy occasion.  One of the perks of semi-organizing the event was hosting some of my cousins.  They always bring me the nicest gifts even though it’s totally unnecessary.  This time they brought these amazing Japanese towels.  I want them for every bathroom.  They’re absorbent with a smooth finish on one side and terry cloth on the other.  How stinkin’ cute are they??? Perfect for my new bathroom.  They purchased mine at Morihata in Philly.  The e-commerce site is called Rikumo. The towels come in a lot of colors but the blues were my favorite.

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