1721 20th St NW- Stunning Duplex in Dupont Circle

New on the market is a beautifully redeveloped two bedroom, two and one half bathroom duplex by District Quarters, full of luxury details and fine finishes. Thoughtfully designed to provide maximum light and living space, this home features a gourmet kitchen, gorgeous bathrooms and a den & private roof deck for the ultimate in entertaining.

Step inside and take in the open concept floor plan offering hardwood flooring and oversized windows. The spacious dining room offers plenty of room for seating and opens into the impressive gourmet kitchen. Prepare meals surrounded by marble countertops, stainless steel appliances and crisp white cabinetry. Stylish pendant lighting compliments the large center island with seating. Relax or entertain in the living room complete with a wall of sun-filled windows. A powder room for guests completes the main level.

The second level features a master retreat complete with a walk-in closet for abundant storage. The luxurious master bathroom will impress with a custom tile shower and double vanity. Guests will feel at home in the second bedroom offering a walk-in closet for excellent storage. The spacious den is perfect for entertaining with it’s own wet-bar. A nicely appointed hall bathroom and convenient laundry room complete this level.

The same attention to detail can be found on the exterior of this home. This stately building offers a sleek modern design that will impress the most discriminating buyer. Relax or entertain on the private roof deck providing an oasis in the center of the busy city. 

Conveniently located in the the bustling neighborhood of Dupont Circle, this development is close to the intersections of Florida and Connecticut Avenues NW and just a few blocks north of the Dupont Circle Metro station. Commuters will appreciate the ample bus stops along Connecticut Avenue. Nearby grocery stores include Glen’s Garden Market, Fresh Farm Dupont Circle Market, and Safeway. Several post offices, gas stations, and pharmacies are also nearby. This neighborhood is a foodie’s paradise with close access to dining and entertainment such as Obelisk, Duke’s Grocery, Bistrot Du Coin, Mission, and other neighborhood favorites. Mitchell Park is just a few minutes away and offers sport courts, a playground and walking paths or check out the rec center at Stead Park. Take in a performance at one of several theaters in the area including the Lincoln Theatre and Studio Theatre.

Advice for Home Buyers on Handling Costs and Repairs

You’ve come up with a budget. You’ve found the right place that fits within the budget. Now what? Many home buyers and sellers forget the hidden costs that come with closing on the sale of a home. Those hidden costs should be prepared early on and either factored into the budget or negotiated into the real estate purchase contract. 

This article will discuss some of the costs home buyers should be prepared to cover, define some essential real estate lingo, and cover some costs you can negotiate around.

Typical Buyer Costs

In a perfect world, a house would cost what it’s listed for, but there are usually some additional costs that are part of buying a home. The following items are the typical closing costs home buyers should be prepared for:

  • Title Search – A title search is essential to reassure you and your lender that the seller has full title to sell. It will reveal easements, liens, and restrictions on the property.
  • Title Insurance – A title insurance policy protects you and the buyer from fraud or mistake and will defend your ownership. If you’re taking out a mortgage, your lender may require an additional policy for them as well.
  • Home InspectionHome inspections help determine if there are any alerting conditions in things like the roof, plumbing, foundational issues, termites, mold or asbestos.
  • Appraisal – An appraisal establishes the value of the house given its condition and locality. If you’re getting a mortgage, most lenders will require an appraisal.
  • Survey – A survey is typically optional, but it can be helpful to ensure the boundary lines for a single-family home are what you believe they are. They also help you to avoid any ownership disputes and discrepancies in the title descriptions.
  • Property Taxes – The property taxes are typically prorated for the portion of the year that you occupy the home.
  • Attorney’s Fees– Attorney’s fees will vary state by sate and are dependent on the amount of work that is required based on the property. If an attorney is needed, aim for quality work and reputation – and we will recommend one.

 

Understanding the “As-Is”

Some sellers choose to sell their home in its “as-is” condition, which contractually limits the seller from any liability for any issues with the home. If an inspection reveals concerning issues, such as with the foundation, or identifies water damage, you will be responsible for all the costs associated with that repair. The as-is language tells potential buyers from the outset that the price is set with all damages and maintenance issues factored into the price, which can raise closing and post-closing costs.

Negotiating the Costs

Like most matters, everything is negotiable. Sometimes, a seller will pay all of the buyer’s closing costs to encourage the buyer to follow through with the purchase. If the inspection reveals some repairs that need to happen and they affect the value of the house, buyers may be able to negotiate for the seller to make such repairs prior to closing and/or reduce the purchase price to account for the cost of the repairs. A home buyer should be prepared to make small repairs and cosmetic changes themselves. A buyer can also as for the seller to pay for a home warranty to cover certain home appliances, such as heating, air conditioning, water heaters, and electrical systems. If you’re purchasing in a buyer’s market, sellers are more likely to consent to more costs, but if you’re purchasing in a seller’s market, you may not be able to negotiate as much or not at all.

All real estate purchases come with some additional fees here and there. When searching for your home, be prepared to cover closing costs and some repairs. Also make sure you have a grasp on what “as-is” entails, and don’t be afraid to negotiate with the seller to cover closing costs and repairs. If you go into the home-buying experience well prepared, you’ll likely save yourself a lot of stress, time, and money. And we’re here to help you every step of the way.

Guest Article Written by Natalie Jones,
Natalie_Jones@Homeownerbliss.info
Homeownerbliss.info

 

Photo Credit: Unsplash

1236 G St NorthEast

Live in the center of it all in this 3 bed, 1.5 bath home located in the lively H Street Corridor.  Enter through a custom glass door and take in the exposed brick, custom millwork and soaring ceilings.  Entertain in the living room featuring a bay window and original hardwood flooring that continues into the formal dining room.  The gourmet kitchen makes preparing meals easy with stainless appliances, including a new gas range and double ovens, granite countertops and glass-front cabinetry.  The second level features a large master suite with a sitting area and a second bedroom with a space-saving alcove.  A large deck is perfect for entertaining while the paver patio can also be a parking space!

6600 Westmoreland Ave

There’s so much to love about this 3 bed, 3 bath home surrounded by lush landscaping and a private backyard. The living room features an inviting brick fireplace flanked by two large windows. Continue through the dining room to the fully updated kitchen with 42~ cabinetry, stainless appliances and granite countertops. Unwind in the family room complete with a skylight and access to the backyard. Two guest rooms share a nicely appointed full bathroom. The second level features a true master retreat complete with a sitting area, dual closets and a full master bathroom. The lower level offers an additional living area and a full bathroom. Close to the Takoma Metro station, shopping, dining and DC! Please contact co-listing agent for any questions.

Our Final Predictions for 2019

With the Spring comes many things, and among them our final predictions for the year. In recent “Market Update and News” we shared what we were watching. This month we’re breaking out our crystal ball!

While many federal workers – and related contractors – were waiting for paychecks in early 2019, new contracts on homes were up 70 percent from early last year, even with the number of listings down 20 percent. Mortgage interest rates are at a 11-month low and our regional home sales are at a 10-plus year high – that makes for an active market. Here’s what we see for 2019:

  • Home prices will increase, with neighborhood by neighborhood exceptions. Bright, our local MLS, reports that the average percent of original list price received at sale was 97.2 percent early this year — the highest list-to-sale for the D.C. metro area in a decade. The median price is up 5 percent from a year ago – the 28th consecutive month of year-over-year price increases. We’ve also had 4 months in a row where price appreciation has exceeded 5 percent.

  • Millennials drive the hottest markets. Neighborhoods in, or close to, downtown and vibrant areas have will continue to draw Millennials. These areas have done better than average. This trend continued in 2018, with above-average home price growth in areas with the most millennial buyers who now dominate the first-time homebuyer market.

  • Less Affordability, More Mortgage Programs. Interest rates are down but projected to go up again. With home prices increasing, affordability is hurt. Even though higher interest rates reduce home sales, modest increases in mortgage rates are not apocalyptic. Historically, rising rates caused only temporary, mild slowdowns – not price drops. If rates increase this year, fewer people will refinance, there will be fewer trade-up home sales, which will reduce the number of homes for sale – with upward pressure on prices.

  • There’s No Bubble. Why? No widespread housing bubble exists. The typical warning signs — excessive debt levels, poor quality loans, exponentially increasing home prices, rising vacancy rates and a high number of internet searches on house flipping. The only red flag at present is declining affordability. With flipping happening in areas with low inventory, and interest rates below the historical average, home prices are more supportable than 10 years ago.

As always, we’re watching these and other market factors closely. We know they affect you, whether directly or indirectly. If we can help you make sense of what this means for you and your specific situation – buying, selling, investing, or just staying in place – let us know. We’re here to help!

800 4th st sw #s105

$1850 | 0 BR | 1 BA

Tastefully Furnished spacious studio available for 12 month lease.

Key Features

  • Studio - 1 Bath
  • Available Fully Furnished or Unfurnished!
  • Hardwood Floors
  • Elfa walk-in closet
  • Walk-out balcony with park views

Amenities

  • Community Pool
  • 2 Community Fitness Areas
  • 24-hour front desk attendant/security
  • Yoga/Exercise Studio
  • Close to Wharf Amenities
  • Stellar Walk Score, Transit Score, Bike Score
  • Near Popular Restaurants, Bars, Cafes
  • Near Safeway, less than 1 mile to new Whole Foods

What are we watching in the market?

Happy New Year! With the New Year comes many things, and among them predictions. We won’t break out our crystal ball just yet – stay tuned for our predictions in February’s “Market Update and News.” This month, we would like to share with you a few things on our radar:

  • Wall Street and the Economy. Wall Street got spooked late last year, primarily by the President’s tariffs and the Federal Reserve’s actions. For perspective, the economy remains strong. Unemployment remains remarkably low, and the U.S. is still gaining jobs. Wages continue to rise. The Fed doesn’t hike rates if the economy isn’t doing well. And per Ken Fisher, founder of Fisher investments and a NY Times bestseller, even if all tariffs were collected, they would amount to only 2.5% of one year GDP growth – and most of these tariffs aren’t collected.

  • The Effect of the 2018 Election – the elections created elevated levels of uncertainty, particularly in our “political” area. Uncertainty isn’t good for consumer confidence, including home buyer confidence. Now that the elections were over, did confidence go up? In November, DC metro area home prices were stable (compared to November 2017) although price per square foot declined. Economists believe that a divided government will increase the likelihood of less government spending, but not until early 2020.

  • A National Real Estate Slowdown. There’s a common misconception that there’s a downward trajectory in national home prices, but that’s not the case. It’s the sluggishness of home price increases that we are watching. The Case-Shiller home price index measures the rate of home price change. The index dropped from +6.72 in March to +5.2 in September. This is a 29% decline, but it’s a decline in price growth – not a decline in prices. That said, the last time there was a loss of home price momentum of this magnitude was in 2014. In that year, many analysts believed – wrongly – that the real estate market was turning bearish.

  •  

As always, we’re watching these and other market factors closely. We know they affect you, whether directly or indirectly. If we can help you make sense of what this means for you and your specific situation – buying, selling, investing, or just staying in place – let us know. We’re here to help!

Your Market Snapshot

Fall into December 2018

As we look at our Fall 2018 real estate market, the data shows a market which has stalled. Unit sales, down year-over-year across the DMV region, were -7.7% in Arlington and Alexandria, -2.2% in Montgomery County, and -9.5% in DC Proper. Yet, average sale prices rose by 2.6% in Arlington and Alexandria, 1.8% in Montgomery County, and 6.6% in DC in October compared to last year. In DC, October’s sold-to-list price was 97.7%, down 0.6% year-over-year. The sold-to-list price in Virginia for October settlements was 97.8% (+0.5% year-over-year) and 96.6% in Montgomery County (+0.2% year-over-year).

This market stall is very common historically – we’ll often see this happen in November and December. This year the stall came early. Why? With the local and national economy strong, we’re attributing the slowdown to October anxiety around elections and turbulence in the stock market.

While the stock market’s roller coaster ride has continued, with the elections behind us, we’re seeing the signs of a market pick-up right now, in late November and early December.

As we look to 2019, we believe the DC market will strengthen and perform very similarly to 2018 – outperforming most of the nation’s markets. And as always, real estate markets are a very local phenomenon – what’s happening on Capitol Hill and neighborhoods like Hill East is very different than what’s happening in Arlington and areas like Aurora Highlands as well as Silver Spring and neighborhoods like Woodside. Whether you’re looking to understand your home’s value as it relates to your overall wealth portfolio or are interested in making a move, we’re always here to help you understand the market and evaluate all your options.

Coming this week to Shaw!


Come see our new listing in Shaw open this Sunday!

519 Florida Ave NW #2 Washington DC 20001

Open Sunday December 2, 2018 1-3 pm

 

Fall Home Checklist

Homeownership comes with its share of routine seasonal tasks and chores.  Fall is the perfect time to take care of the little things that can make a big difference for you and your home as we head into winter.

Please review this list and if you need a hand finding the right professional to help you address any of these tasks, please let us know—we are only a phone call away!

  • 1. Inspect and clean gutters and downspouts.
  • 2. Seal gaps and cracks around windows and doors with weather-stripping and caulk.
  • 3. Inspect your roof for damaged or curled shingles, corroded flashing, or leaky vents.
  • 4. Drain and winterize outdoor faucets and irrigation systems.
  • 5. Clean or replace dirty furnace filters.
  • 6. Give your furnace a physical by having a professional inspect your heating system.
  • 7. Check fireplaces for soot or creosote build-up. Better yet, schedule a visit from a reputable chimney sweep.
  • 8. Keep the humidifier humming by cleaning the plates or pads to ensure efficient operation.
  • 9. Test smoke & carbon monoxide monitors and inspect (or install) fire extinguishers.

Check Out Our Hot New Rental in Glover Park!

Explore 2235 39th Pl NW! A great 4 bedroom for rent at $3975!!

Classic DC charm and fine finishes are the hallmarks of this beautiful three-story home situated on a quiet street in Glover Park. Features of this four bedroom, two and bathroom home include an impressive gourmet kitchen, flexible basement living area, a private rear deck, and ample off street parking. Step inside onto rich hardwood flooring and take in the neutral décor that continues throughout the home. The open floor plan offers a spacious living room, an open kitchen and dining room both with elegant lighting and sun-filled windows. The open concept gourmet kitchen is impressive, featuring a large island complimented by wood cabinetry and a custom tile backsplash. Enjoy meals in the dining room or venture out to the private deck for al fresco dining.

The second level of this home features three bedrooms with hardwood flooring, a full bath and generous natural light. The lower level of this home has the capacity to suit a variety of sleeping, guest or au-pair needs. With a large, open room and attached kitchenette, this could serve as a separate living or entertaining space. With a walkout back door, it offers convenient access to the rear yard and parking.

Enjoy quick access to all Glover Park has to offer, including gourmet grocers, health clubs and spas, shops, bars and well-regarded restaurants. Stoddert Elementary, rated as a high-performing school by the U.S. Department of Education, is just steps away, and nearby Glover-Archbold Park is a 190-acre park of nature trails and an unofficial dog park.

Home Inspections: Understanding Your House From Top to Bottom

By Orlando Gonzales

Buying a home is an exciting experience which can be overwhelming and self-empowering at the same time. Taking the time to understand some of the steps before you encounter them can allow you to more fully leverage the experience. Such is the case with the home inspection. The home inspection is intended to provide you with a long and thorough list of everything related to the home which ranges in severity from minor to major. 

 

This phase of the homebuying process sometimes seems like a pitfall because you have just fallen in love with the home, submitted an offer that was accepted, and now you’re being handed a list of defects.  Remember that every home will have a list of defects because no home is flawless. That’s an impossible expectation.  Be sure to attend your home inspection so that you can get to know your home beyond the design features.

During the inspection take an active role.  Be prepared by being curious and pepper your inspector with questions—a whole lot of them, in fact! This is important because it helps you understand the issues at a deeper level than trying to decipher your inspector’s (very technical) report.  It’s easier and friendlier for the professional and licensed home inspector to show you what’s actually going on with the house.

 

To help you get this essential show-and-tell session rolling, here are a few questions to ask a home inspector that will help you put issues into perceptive. 

  1. ‘What does that mean?’: During the inspection, your inspector will methodically go through the entire house. The inspector will point out things to you that aren’t as they should be. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions about what he’s telling you, and make sure you understand the issue and why it matters. For example: If the inspector says something like, “Looks like you’ve got some rotten boards here,” it’s smart to ask him to explain what that means for the overall house—how difficult it is to repair, and how much it will cost.
  2.  
  3. ‘Is this a big deal or not?’: Since you will hear the inspector rattle off numerous issues, you may start to feel panicky. Hold steady. If you’re unsure, ask the inspector whether the issue is a big deal. You will be pleasantly surprised to hear that most houses have similar issues and that they’re not deal breakers.

And if it is major? Well, that’s why you’re having the inspection done. You can have your agent address it with the seller or you can rule this house out.

  1. ‘What’s that water spot on the ceiling and is it a problem?’: Don’t be shy about pointing out things that look off to you. It will help your inspector address those things that you’re catching. If something is bothering you about the house, make sure to ask the inspector to check it out very carefully. Most inspectors have a method to their madness, so they might note your concern and address it once they’re ready to check out what you’re observing. Take a note pad to write down those things and be sure they’re noted by the inspector in the end.
  2. ‘I’ve never owned a house with an HVAC/boiler/basement. How do I maintain this thing?’

Flaws aside, this is your golden opportunity to have an expert show you how to take care of your house. Inspectors are great at explaining basic maintenance issues to people to help ensure that you take good care of the home moving forward. Learning how frequently you should change filters, clean gutters, etc. will allow you to start thinking about the necessary things you need to do in the future.

  1. ‘What are your biggest concerns about the property?’: Once the inspector is done, take a step back and ask the inspector for a summary. You will be getting a technical written report later, but this is a great moment to hone in on what the inspector thinks are the biggest issues. You should walk away from inspection day with a mental punch list of things that need to be addressed by either the seller or another expert. Your technical report will have extensive detail, but you should know what the most pressing issues by the time you are leave.

Together with your agent you will present a list of issues stemming from the home inspection for the seller to consider. In DC, MD, and VA there is a limited amount of time for you to have the inspection completed and for the list of issues presented, and the same goes for the amount of time the seller has in responding to the list of issues. The seller may offer to provide funds back to you to address the issues, or the seller may elect to have the issues fixed prior to settlement. In some instances, an expert—a plumber, electrician, roofer, or HVAC professional— will need to take a look at the issues that the inspector flagged. In turn the seller will shall provide receipts showing the fixes made and include the name of the contractor with their license number.

Keep in mind that your inspector can’t tell you whether or not to buy the house, or how much you should ask the seller to fix (though your real estate agent should be able to help with that). These questions will help you engage fully in the process and will help you not feel powerless.

Why are We So Interested in Interest Rates? Part 1

It’s something our team hears a lot – “interest rates are going up!” Sometimes that means mortgage rates and other times that means the Federal Reserve rate. Neither affects the real estate market like many people think.

First, let’s talk Federal Reserve. The Fed did hike interest rates in late September. When the Fed raises rates, they are raising the interest rates at which banks lend money to each other. So mortgage rates aren’t directly tied to the federal funds rates the Fed sets. The Fed’s actions do have an indirect impact on the interest rates available to the public – including mortgage interest rates. If the Fed increases the federal funds rate, it tightens the money supply and that can put upward pressure on mortgage interest rates. (The Fed can also tighten the money supply by selling government bills, notes or bonds.)

But Fed actions aren’t the only things that influence mortgage rates. Historically, inflation, economic growth, the bond market and housing market conditions are all factors which indirectly influence mortgage rates.

Right now, inflation is low and has been low – about 1-2% every year since 2012. That’s right at the Federal Reserve’s target of 2% with forecasts around 2% for 2019 and 2020. US economic growth is solid without being out of control…averaging around 2.25% per year since 2012. The Fed forecasts growth at 2-3% through 2020.

The 10-year Treasury note influences rates because investors compare its yield to the yield on home loans. 10-year interest rates have been slowly rising since 2012 – from just under 2% to around 3.2% in October 2018. These are still historically low – the 10-year Treasury note was generally well above 4% from the 1960s until 2008.

Now we come to housing market conditions. Generally, if we were to pick one measure of market health, economists would measure how many months of supply of homes are available. With less than a 6-month supply, home prices rise faster than inflation. The housing market has had less than a 6-month supply since 2012 – certainly a strong real estate market.

So, even with the Fed increasing rates, with inflation low and with growth solid, and with the 10-year note rising slowly and housing inventory low, mortgage rates will likely rise slowly and have a modest effect on the housing market.

In Part 2, we’ll talk more about the effect of mortgage interest rates on the housing market.