The DC housing market … why is it so hot

Every recent market report seems to add the caveat that DC is an anomaly. Most markets are still attempting to recover from the 2006 crash. DC took a bit of a dip, but is roaring back. How can this be happening?  The economy is certainly not much better today than it has been for several years. Federal workers haven’t seen a raise in pay for a few years. If all economic indicators remain uncertain, why are homes in DC costing more every month?

The answer is as plain as day.  DC has jobs.  Very few places across the country can make the same claim. DC is a small 10 square mile area. There are only so many homes that will fit. Engineers and builders and architects can do a lot of things …. they can not create more dirt. Space is limited in DC. Put those two factors together and you have recipe for rising home prices (regardless of the economy).

This little chart covers the phenomena.  At the top, the various places new residents come from are depicted.  People moving to DC come from Universities (college dorms or off campus shared housing), their parent’s home, homes they own in other parts of the country or homes they rent elsewhere.  They want to live in or near DC and begin a search. Almost every last one of them jumps on the internet and begins their search there.  After all, there are hundreds of thousands of websites that share available homes in DC.  The majority of the people searching do not understand that the accuracy of the data is often outdated or limited at best.  For every single home/town home/row home/condo listed there is just one property. How that property is displayed has more to do with syndication by agents and brokers than it has to do with the actual property. (A word to the wise: If you want to be more successful in your search, contact an agent in the area. Talk to someone that knows more about the area than can be revealed in wikipedia or some local towns site. Boots on the ground, an ability to listen and then share information is the best way to discover DC (or any other area for that matter).

housing flow chart

As always, DC has more people wanting to live here than there are places to live.  More buyers than available homes creates an imbalance and that old supply and demand process takes over.  Multiple bids appear, prices continue to rise and the market remains “hot”.  Regardless of promises that might be made by some, the truth is you may not find a home you are seeking for the price you are willing or able to pay.  I certainly would never guarantee that home prices will continue to rise, but I promise you that I can see nothing in the marketplace that will slow down the DC market in the near or distant future.

If you are considering a move to DC, you need factually based assistance.  You need to begin the process now, rather than later. You need to begin putting together a comprehensive home buying plan today.  Remember, a comprehensive plan begins with a discussion with a lender. Know what you can comfortably afford. Then, and only then, take the next step. Contact an agent that knows DC. Speak with someone that knows the difference between Adams Morgan and Madame’s Organ. Have a conversation with some one that understands the difference between Petworth and what is a pet worth, the difference between NOMA and no mas or the difference between the Capitol and Capitol Hill.  Subtle differences of a few blocks can add 30 minutes to an hour or more to your commute each day. A map of the subway (Metorail Line) does not include information regarding ease of use or ease of transfer.  A google map of DC will not reveal the walking score of a neighborhood.

DC is my town. I was born here. I know the neighborhoods. I know the Metro stops. I know the nightlife. This is a great place to live. Before you move here and decide on an address, don’t you think we might need to talk.  My phone number is 301-509-5111.

For More Information

The #1 home search site in the DC area …

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         Sure, there is a lot of information here. If you take the time to scroll through that list over there on the right, you will find advice, neighborhood information, personal rants and some videos.  All of it is provided to educate.  It is  your dime.  Now if you just want to start looking at homes, use the link above. It is our personal little Multiple Listing Service rip-off. It has more information than most search engines. Try it, you’ll like it. If  you just want to read…go ahead, pick a link on the right and click it.

Closing help for families of three in DC..income up to $74,500…You bet!!!

Stand in the long line of dreamers

or

Tap into resources others fail to use

         So, the little one bedroom apartment is getting really crowded. Sure, when the market went crazy, it seemed like a good idea to wait.  The arrival of the baby only met rearranging living conditions for awhile.  That little bundle of joy is now heading towards the terrible twos and one bedroom living is no longer comfortable.

          You would consider buying but the new addition has crimped your savings. You would consider buying, but what do you do with little cash on hand?  You are not alone.  There is a long line of folks facing the same dilemma.  You can choose to stand in that line or you can tap into resources that others fail to use.  There is help available.

         Of course you weren’t aware of it. You have enough to worry about being a parent and a spouse. You have enough to deal with doing your job, earning an income and hopefully scratching out time for one “date night” every couple of weeks.  Not to worry.  I check this stuff out all the time. It is my job to dig around and find ways to get you from that cramped living to a comfortable home of your own. I do know the path that is available to you.

        So, if you are ready and want to find out if you qualify, click this link -> contact me

Same sex couples find refuge in DC

         Back in March, the District of Columbia began allowing same sex couples the opportunity to marry.  The usual suspects attempted to reverse this decision, but in July the courts upheld the original law.  DC already had a reputation for being “gay friendly” ( I personally think that the term should be “somewhat tolerant if you stay in limited areas and keep your fondness for one another private”).  Friendly is not the word that immediately comes to mind when considering the vitriol and animosity shared by the narrow minded neanderthalic and religious conservatives. To my way of thinking, the human race has bigger fish to fry than expending so much energy on trying to prevent basic human rights and considerations being afforded to EVERYONE.

          I do not live in a vacuum and I am perfectly content to accept that there is room on this mortal coil for people of all persuasions.  As long as one’s chosen lifestyle does not infringe on the right’s of another, they should have the opportunity to seek “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. ( If that sounds vaguely familiar, it is taken directly from the Declaration of Independence. A little document our founders put together without reference to marital relationships. It was directed to everyone, well almost everyone, it took the Civil Rights Act to increase the African American from 3/5th’s to a whole.)

          The DC law has ” leveled the playing field” for same sex couples. Concerns about the right to do something as basic as visiting a partner in the hospital or whom to list as an emergency contact are no longer an issue in the District of Columbia.  The law does not mean that those opposed will be silenced, it does mean that if you are in love and want to be married, DC will grant you that opportunity. It’s about time that the removal of stigmas associated with caring for a same sex partner were legislatively removed.  It’s about time we allowed couples to legally marry.

          I am sure that there will be those that decide to not do business with me because I support this basic human right.  Truth be told, I won’t miss them. I would prefer not to do business with people that have a warped sense of supremacy.  Business transactions are much smoother when you deal with people that are comfortable in their own skin.

         Had the law been passed sooner, I could have attended family members weddings (I was not able to travel to a past wedding that had to take place hundreds of miles away because two people in love happened to be of the same sex.)  I won’t drop that old ” I have lots of (gay,black,jewish, insert any group) friends” line.  Truth be told, everyone has friends from every walk of life and lifestyle (some of you just don’t know it!).

         You see, I don’t care what consenting adults do in their bedroom. Professionally, I want to be sure that they find the bedroom they want.  I don’t care who is relegated to cooking. Professionally, I want to be sure that the kitchen they find is suitable for their culinary skills.  I don’t care about the ethnic, racial, religious or sexual persuasion of the friends enjoying a backyard barbecue.  Professionally, I want to be sure that the backyard is the size they desire. My job is to help people find a place they can call home.  I like what I do.

          I am a Realtor. I am licensed in the District of Columbia.  I don’t believe that your personal comfort zone eliminates me from representing you.  I happen to believe that people want experienced assistance.  The experience may include people from all walks of life, but the common denominator is the ability to find a home, negotiate a transaction while protecting the client’s interests.  The practice of solid real estate is the basis of my business.  I love the challenge of finding the right home at the right price for my clients.  I think everyone deserves that sort of representation.

          I was born in Washington DC and I have seen it go through growing pains and metamorphis into the city it is today. I have watched it move from a sleepy southern town to vibrant metropolis.  I miss Griffith Stadium but love the new ballpark.  I still sneak a bowl of Chili at Bens now and then.  I know the traffic patterns.  I am happy that the P Street beach remains and still find spending an afternoon at Dupont Circle relaxing. I am glad the DC government seems to be functioning more smoothly and I share the angst of many with the foibles that are ongoing in the Mayor’s Office and City Council.  The city continues to improve despite their short comings.

         DC is a Capital City.  DC has taken a large step towards equality for all it’s residents.  DC is a great place to live. If you are interested in moving to the District of Columbia, I would welcome the opportunity to assist you.  I can be reached at 301-509-5111.  Isn’t it nice that same sex couples find refuge in DC?

Is now a good time to buy a home?

Is now a good time to buy a home? This is another one of those questions that seems to be cropping up everywhere lately. It may be the result of the self serving advertisements run by the NAR and lenders and real estate agents. You have seen them. “Interest rates are at historically low levels”, “Home prices have leveled off”, and the real doozy “Real estate is the best investment you can make”.

I am reminded of an old rock n’ roll song “Don’t believe all those lies, darlin’ just believe your eyes”.  Can we begin with one basic fact.  You are an individual. While some statements above may be true in your case, that are not true for everyone.  You need to make a decision based on your circumstances. Ignore the hype and deal with the facts.

Your decision should not be as hard as it seems.  First, you have to decide if after careful review of all facts, you can buy a home…do you really want to buy a home.  If the answer to that question is no, don’t bother going through the exercise.  You have to want to own a home.  Owning just because you can is not enough. If you want to own a home, there is a good chance you will appreciate the home and you will take care of the home (and when times get rough, you won’t just walk away from the home).

So, you have decided, Yes you do want to own a home.  Let’s try and answer for you, is now a good time to buy a home?  Look at your current living situation.  It does not matter how much you are paying in rent right now. You have to decide how much you are comfortable paying for housing every month.  You have to decide upon a figure that you will pay every month.  The amount should not leave you broke.  You will need to save money from the day you move into the home until the day you retire. Things come up. Appliances wear out, plumbing springs leaks, lawns need maintenance, etc.  Owning is more than eating, sleeping and watching television.

Once you determine how much you are comfortable paying each month, you can do some basic math to see if you should proceed.  Just for general principles, divide the monthly figure you came up with by 6. (eg. 1800 per month divieded by 6 equals 300).  The figure you have now is just about the amount you would pay in principal and interest for a  $300,000  loan.  This is not exact, it is a ball park figure.  It is just to give you a general idea of what you might be able to afford.

Your next step is to sign on the internet and pull up real estate for sale in the price range you have determined. (In the example, you might pull up homes ranging from $275,000 to $300,000.)  Look at what your money might buy and look at what your money might buy in the area you would like to live.  Now you have some information that is useful in determining if now is a good time to buy a home.

Now, if there is nothing you would want to own at this point in your search, you have answered the question. Now is not a good time to buy a home.  If what you are comfortable paying will only cover rent in an area, then you should rent until your situation changes.

You see, it is always a good time to buy a home.  It just may not be the best time for you to buy a home.  All the advertising and slick talking salesmen can not change facts.  It is a good time for you to buy a home when you can comfortably afford to buy a home in the area you wish to live.

If you would like to have me help you analyze your personal situation, CONTACT ME.  I would rather point you in the right direction and help you in the future than lead you down the wrong path and destroy a relationship forever.

Downtown Washington DC… A Capital City

United States Capitol at Dusk

Downtown Washington DC

Imagine, Something different to 365 days of the year.

Walking to the office.

Gazing at the monuments, from your office or high rise condo windows

Welcome to Washington DC A Capital City

DC_skyline

Our National Monuments

Take a walk around the Tidal Basin after work

tidal basin

Be sure to enjoy the  Cherry Blossom Festival

The most beautiful city in the world, season after season.

white house

Our Nation’s Capital

The downtown Washington DC area has gone through a vibrant revitalization which still continues. Areas once thought lost to urban decay have been renewed. The Verizon Center, located a few blocks from Chinatown is a lively night spot. The U Street corridor has gone through a metamorphic change with the opening of a new metro stop. Every quadrant of the downtown are features new condos and refurbished row homes. Just a few miles to the west, Georgetown continues to be a mecca for those seeking little shops and fine dining. The nearby Waterfront offers the opportunity to find a bargin on the catch of the day or enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants overlooking the Potomac River. Just a bit north of the main downtown area, you can explore the international delights of Adams Morgan.This truly is a Capital City and it is spectacular.

verizon center

The Verizon Center

chinatown

Chinatown

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Georgetown

bens chili u street

The famous Ben’s Chili Bowl anchors U street

fish market on maine ave

The fish market at the DC Waterfront

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Gaylord Hotel at National Harbor

DC’s newest attraction is a few minutes down the Potomac

Downtown Washington DC is continuing to grow. While the rest of the country faces up and down cycles, Washington DC is somewhat insulated. The presence of the Federal Government creates a steady job market which in turn supports the housing market. A purchase of a home in the District of Columbia is a sound investment in real estate.

Washington DC homes for sale 
There are actually 3 major airports in close proximity to Downtown Washington DC. Reagon National Airport is minutes from downtown and can be reached using auto or Metro. Dulles International Airport has transport services from many points in downtown. Baltimore Washington International Airport is only 30 minutes up the road and is a hub for many popular airlines. All three of the airports feature many hot spots so travelers can check that last minute email before boarding a flight. There are over 115 wi-fi hot spots in downtown DC and the number is growing every day.
The development of the downtown area is a priority for the local government. They have committed time and resources to support existing businesses and have representatives ready to discuss opportunities with business owners that are considering relocating to Downtown Washington, DC. A brochure has been created for this very purpose.
Downtown Washington DC is home to several hotels. Trade shows and conventions are held at the DC Convention Center. Many of the hotels have the capacity to house small conventions and meetings on site. Speaking of meetings, visitors are welcome in #mce_temp_url#the Capital to watch the House and Senate in session.
Washington DC has a neighborhood to suit any taste in housing and lifestyle.
The upper Northwest is comprised of older neighborhoods and a range of homes from original sears package homes to custom built mansions. The Northwest quadrant is the largest area of the city and is the area where the majority of private homes are found. Neighborhoods include Chevy Chase, Tenleytown, Friendship Heights, Foxhall, Woodley Park, Tacoma Park, Shephard Park, Adams Morgan and Georgetown. The Northeast quadrant is also known for its neighborhoods such as Brookland, Michigan Park, Mount Ranier, Petworth and Trinidad. The Southwestern quadrant houses many office buildings but also has private residences overlooking the waterfront. The Southeastern quadrant remains in transition. Neighborhoods like Anacostia have homes with the most spectacular views in the city.
If you are looking for a new home in the Washington DC area, it is best to have a little help. The link above (Finding homes in Washington DC) will give you the opportunity to search for a home based on your needs. If you wish to see the homes, you will need a real estate agent’s assistance. You can track down each listing agent ( in Washington DC, the listing agent is bound by contract to represent the seller’s interest) or you can choose an agent to assist you that will be bound to protect your interests.
My partner and I would welcome the opportunity to share our knowledge and love of the area. In Washington DC, it is better to have someone that knows the highways and bi-ways moving around town. A GPS make give you a route, but they have yet to invent a GPS that truly understands the nuances of city traffic. We can be reached at 301-509-5111.
Looking for something to do in Downtown Washington DC
Washington DC has almost 70 different museums. They range from the Smithsonian to The Holocaust Museum. The are museums for history, aviation, art and so much more. Visiting the museums each weekend would take a visitor over one year to complete.
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The National Museum of Art
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When you visit this gallery, be sure to see Vermeer’s painting “Lady in a red hat”. The portrait has a luminescent quality that is beautiful. Look closely. There are no brush strokes visible. It is amazing. You see Vermeer used a technique of pouring the varnish over his finished work. This painting is just one of hundreds that are truly national treasures.
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The Holocaust Museum
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The journey from the front door until you end your visit may be the most emotionally draining trip of the day. The horror of the holocaust is shared with one exhibit after another. You will find yourself staring at a pile of shoes. It will seem out of place. Then you will realize, they represent a tiny portion of those that died during the holocaust. Take a minute, try to picture the people that wore those shoes. Picture their thoughts or feelings as the walked into death chambers, wearing those shoes. The enormity of the suffering can become overwhelming.
Festivals?
The Cherry Blossom Festival held in the spring is not the only party in this town. Washington, DC has various festivals throughout the year. Each summer there is the Folk life festival on the mall. DC has it’s own film fest, barbeque festival, a jazz fest to name a few and we end the year with the Pagent of Peace on the Mall which features the lighting of our Nations Holiday Tree.
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National Chistmas Tree
Did I mention Professional Sports?
If you love sports, Washington DC has a pro team in every sport. Washington is home to the Capitals in hockey, the Redskins in football, the Wizards in basketball, the Mystics in the WNBA, DC United in pro soccer and Washington is home to the Tiger Woods golf tournament. The area has green space, ball fields, soccer pitches, football fields and golf courses. College fans have the opportunity to see Georgetown, George Washington, Maryland and Navy compete. The area high schools have organized leagues for all sports.
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The National’s Ball Park
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Home of the Washington Redskins
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Capitals on the ice at Verizon Center
There is so much more that can be shared about Washington DC. There are boat rides on the Potomac and kite flying on the National Mall. Movies are filmed here and artist young and old create wonderful art here. This is a town to meet, greet and fall in love.
My partner and I love it here and would gladly share our vision of how you might call Washington DC home. We can be reached at 301-509-5111. When you are ready to buy, let us help you plan your visit and schedule your viewings.