Real Estate Blog

One of the first things I do for my clients is to set up automatic email delivery of listings, new or changed, that might meet their
new home criteria.  And while some look fabulous and others look like hovels in their photos, they often bear little resemblance to the homes they are trying to depict.

A “good” virtual tour is an important part of any marketing plan for a house or a condo.  Some agents go in with a point-and-shoot camera and start clicking.  Others spend a lot of money on professional photography – my brokerage has a photographer on staff to make sure our listings look good.  And while many virtual tours will give you some idea of what you’ll walk into, others are more of a tool to lure you through the front door.

And when it comes to

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So, many of my friends are assuming that I'm selling some gazillion dollar homes to at least a few of the billionaires moving to DC to serve in President-Elect Donald Trump's cabinet and other top jobs.

But the only transaction that's been made public so far is Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner's beautiful new home in Kalorama, a favorite neighborhood close to downtown. And sadly, she used another agent to represent her in this transaction.

But for everyone else? Think about it.  You're moving to DC to take a job with a guy whose iconic line from his TV show, The Apprentice, is "You're Fired!" Will you go for an upper brackets trophy house you can buy, or will you find something to rent until you get the lay of the land?

And there are other

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 Once back in the day, I listed a house that was a total dump.  It had been inhabited by a group of wild and crazy graduate students and the house mascot - a pet goat.  The goat had actually eaten several sections of an antique oak staircase.  The place was truly awful.

And it smelled like a goat! 

I sat in front of my computer screen at the office trying to think of how to write an ad that might attract a buyer. 

There were all the euphemistic cliches:

  • This Old House!
  • Sweat Equity!
  • Rehab Opportunity!
  • Bring Your Decorator!
  • Bring Your Architect

Nothing felt right.  Then a wise old colleague suggested that I stop trying to be subtle and just tell it ike it was, and together we wrote an ad that totally captured the house. 

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The other day, I showed a house that will be easy for my clients to remember.  But it wasn’t because of the fabulous open kitchen with yards of granite.  It wasn’t the Endless Pool in the back yard..

It was the smell.

It was Fabreze.  Really, really intense Fabreze.  Like where’s-my-respirator Fabreze.  It was so intense that it completely overwhelmed whatever smells it was intended to mask.  In this case, it was a cat.

But you know what?

I’ll take kitty litter any day!

And it's not just Fabreze that is a turn off for buyers.  Pot pourri, scented candles and wall plug ins can be easily overdone.  Furthermore, any scent that is intended to cover up pets, tobacco or mothballs (the big three of HO - House Odor - offenders) will raise a red

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It's no accident that Cleveland Park is one of the Washington, DC area's most sought-after neighborhoods.  It has Metro, The Uptown Theater, lots of restaurants, and some of the most interesting housing stock in the entire Metro area. And the people who live are are no less interesting than the homes they live in.

Looking at the homes that are currently for sale in Cleveland Park, there is a lot of variety.

  • They were built between 1915 and 1970.
  • There are some that have been completely renovated, and others just waiting for your favorite architect and contractor to turn them into showplaces.
  • There is a lot of architectural diversity, from a center-hall brick colonial to a large wood-framed home with an enormous front portch.
  • There is
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This post is inspired by one of my listings.  It’s in a wonderful building, and the unit has 1700 square feet of space, sunny rooms, balcony, off-street parking and an updated kitchen.  There are 3-bedrooms, 2 baths, 7 big closets, fresh paint, newly refinished hardwood floors, and it’s priced well under the low side of the area comps. 

But like many wonderful old Washington buildings, they do not allow washer/dryers in the units.  And it's scaring off prospective buyers.

The rationale used to make sense. 

First, many of the older buildings were built with waste pipes that could handle waste water from sinks, showers, toilets and dishwashers, but that was about all.  When my apartment building went condo back in the 1980’s, they powers that be

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While many of my clients do resemble Ward and June Cleaver, others do not. Often, people buying a home are planning to purchase with a sweetie, a sibling, or a business partner in case it’s an investment property. And if any of these describe your situation, I recommend a sit down with an attorney to draw up what I call a “No-Nup”.

This is an agreement that covers all of the What Ifs that can happen:

  • If you’re buying with your sweetie and you break up, it’s not like getting out of a lease. Do you sell the place? Will one buy out the other?
  • What if, heaven forbid, you die, do you want your co-buyer to inherit your share? Or do you want your interest in the property to go to your family or the local animal shelter?
  • If your co-buyer dies, and
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Here in Washington, DC, it's hot.  It's humid.  It's totally miserable.  That's because it's August - the month   anyone with any sense is sitting on a beach somewhere up or down the Atlantic coast.

So that means they are not here in the city, available to look at houses.  And for anyone who is motivated to buy, I think that August is the best month to be in the market actively looking.

If you stay in town with serious thoughts of buying a home this month, you may not have quite as many houses or condos to choose among.  But if you do find a place you love, there are likely to be far fewer other buyers for you to compete against. 

The most popular time to buy property here in DC is in the spring, when a multitude of flowering trees and bushes

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 In July here in Washington, DC, it’s not only really hot, but the humidity is crazy – like you can almost swim through the air. So, bottom line, when buyers step from a cool car and walk up your hot sidewalk, when the door opens up, they need to feel a blast of cool air.

We all know that when it comes to energy use, less is better. After all, it’s good to be green, and lower electricity bills are your reward - but not if your house or condo is for sale right now in Washington, DC!

The thermostat needs to be around 75 degrees during showing hours. Oh, and the place needs to be bright. So if you are using draperies pulled closed over the south-facing windows to block some of the heat, that’s a bad plan for selling your house.  When your home is for

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When Real Estate Webmasters advertised their services on Inman.com, two things got my attention.

The first was a big picture of Barbara Corcoran, who is one of the site's investors.  OK, Barbara, I'm a fan. 

The second was an offer that, by now, these guys may be sorry they made, of unlimited tech support. 

So on April 14th, I made my initial inquiry, and today we turned on the housepat.com link and I'm off and running.

This is a site that is all about living in my home town, Washington, DC.  And the idea is to build up my collection of blogs and neighborhood information so this can be a resource, whether you live here, are thinking about living here, or are planning a visit. 

And one more thing - I totally hate hate hate it when the first

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