Archive for November 2016

Homebuying: Should you buy new or pre-owned?

Relocation (1)It’s safe to say that U.S. real estate composed of two types of homes — pre-owned and new constructions. If you can’t decide between the two, here are four things to carefully consider.

  1. New homes have minimal issues.

    One of the biggest perks of buying a new home is you get a clean slate. Unlike old homes, you can rest assured there are minimal to no underlying issues. Everything is in perfect working order– you won’t need to worry about additional costs for necessary repairs and upgrades.

    New homes are easier to purchase as well. Nowadays, most home builders in the country have their own financing departments. This makes shopping for a loan a whole lot easier. Whether the deal offered to you is a good one, however, is a different question.

  2. New homes are more expensive.

    Although you’ll be facing considerably less competition for a new home, buying one will require you to shell out more money. According to a study by Trulia, new homes are likely to be 20% more expensive that old homes. Yes, you do get newer materials and probably the latest technology, but is it really worth it when you consider the next item?

  3. New homes aren’t built on great locations.

    It’s not a bad thing, per se. We all know there is hardly any space for new residential developments in established or central locations. The thing is, location matters when you’re buying a home. While some new homes are build in "upcoming" areas, others are built on locations that have questionable potential.

    If you don’t mind living a short drive away from the city center, a new home in a new development might be an option for you. If you prefer living in an established neighborhood, close to downtown and a variety of amenities, investing in an old home might be the best course of action.

  4. Old doesn’t mean dull or boring.

    Old homes aren’t always outdated or in bad shape. Some sellers update old homes (even historic properties) to bring life to the residence. They do this so well, some old homes come in even better shape than new constructions. Washington, D.C., in particular, has a number of older properties (rowhomes, for instance) that are modern and highly coveted.

In conclusion, it’s best not to close your doors on either old or new homes. Check out what’s in the market! What is important is you finding a home that suits your needs and lifestyle, regardless of how old it is.

For more resources on homebuying, check out this page.

DC’s Historic Homes and Gardens

It’s no surprise that the nation’s capital is a treasure trove of historic homes and gardens. Take a day off to know more about Washington, D.C.’s history by visiting these gems that are off the beaten track.

Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens
4155 Linnean Ave NW

The home of collector and philanthropist Marjorie Weather Post is a must for any historic home tour. Hillwood is expansive, home to approximately 13 acres of lush botanical gardens. A tour through the grounds will acquaint you with Post’s love for French and Russian culture, golf, and her pet dogs.

Keep your eye out for: Post’s two Faberge Imperial eggs, the crowning glory of her collection of Russian imperial art. The Russian dacha (country house) is another testament to her fascination with Russian culture.

Dumbarton Oaks
1703 32nd St NW

Located in Georgetown, Dumbarton Oaks is home to what is considered the most serene gardens in the capital. Landscape architect Beatrix Farrand was the creative mind behind the garden, which gives the impression of country life. With the gardens’ wildflowers, ancient trees, and deep pools, Farrand succeeded.

Keep your eye out for: Dumbarton Oak’s massive collection of Byzantine artifacts. The 53-acre property is a Harvard-run research institute. It is also revered as one of the best places for Byzantine studies in the world.

Heurich House Museum
1307 New Hampshire Ave NW

The Gilded Age mansion of Christian Heurich (a.k.a D.C.’s greatest beer brewer) in Dupont Circle is known as the Brewmaster’s Castle, and with good reason. One of the best-preserved Gilded Age mansions in the capital, Heurich House’s tours and events revolve around beer, the original master of the home’s greatest legacy.

Keep your eye out for: Oktoberfest, which the Heurich House usually celebrate every September. More than just a celebration of the Heurichs’ German heritage, Oktoberfest is the best event to sample great local beer and authentic German fare.

You can find out more about Washington, D.C.’s best historic homes and gardens by checking out this link. Happy touring!

The best of D.C.’s family-friendly neighborhoods

Washington D.C. is a great place to raise a family, but some neighborhoods in the capital are just better than others. Let’s get to know the cream of the crop of D.C.’s family-friendly communities.

1. Georgetown

Family Fun

    The oldest neighborhood in D.C. (it was founded in the mid-18th century), Georgetown is an established neighborhood known for its distinctive 18th century architecture.

    For such a relatively compact area, Georgetown is packed with over 500 stores that cater to a variety of needs and services. Great education is also located nearby, and you’ll be pleased to learn that the neighborhood has community partnerships with George Washington University and Georgetown University.

2. Glover Park

    Due to its tight-knit community and support system, Glover Park is well-known to be a very family-friendly community. Aside from being the home of a topnotch school (Stoddert Elementary), Glover Park is also home to a collection of community gardens, softball fields, and more. Last but not the least, Georgetown is located right around the corner.

3. DuPont Circle

    Home to a relatively young and well-educated community, DuPont Circle is another family-friendly neighborhood you should check out. Amidst its expensive townhomes are more affordable real estate options, walkable streets, and a growing art and food scene. You’ll need to check the schools, however, if they can accommodate your child once you move to the neighborhood.

4. Chevy Chase

    D.C.’s Chevy Chase, one of the first “streetcar suburbs,” is one of the cleanest and safest neighborhoods in the capital. Lafayette Elementary, a highly rated school, is located in the area, and working parents will find the public transportation commendable.

5. Friendship Heights

    It’s not hard to make a friend at Friendship Heights, a family-friendly neighborhood lined with spacious apartments and upscale retail boutiques. Aside from the great commute, Friendship Heights boasts well-maintained and walkable streets and access to the efficient train system. Janney Elementary is located in close proximity to Friendship Heights, and you can easily walk your kids to school.

Learn more about D.C.’s wonderful neighborhoods by checking out our comprehensive area guides.

Washington DC Shopping Guide

From upscale fashion boutiques to indie storefronts, Washington, D.C.’s neighborhoods are filled to the brim with endless shopping opportunities. Here’s your definitive guide to the capital’s best shopping districts.

Georgetown
DC ShoppingOne place where you can find just about anything is Georgetown. Long established as a shopping hub, you can find trendy brands like Tory Burch and rag & bone in the area.

Consignment stores, like Ella Rue and Second Time Around, are also prevalent in Georgetown is you prefer casual shopping. National retailers, of course, can’t be absent in the district’s shopping scene.

Last but not the least, Georgetown has its fair collection of eccentric boutiques where you can check out (and purchase) antiques and other specialty finds. Most of these establishments are found in Book Hill, just along Wisconsin Avenue.

Downtown DC
Tourists and locals flock to Downtown for a bevy of shopping options. The latest among these is CityCenterDC, a sprawling 10-acre shopping center complete with restaurants and cafes. High-end retailers like Hermes, Dior, Kate Space, Burberry, and Paul Stuart have set up shop, making it a destination for fashionistas.

Chinatown is also a great place to score unique finds. This historic neighborhood has welcomed waves of development recently, and new, trendy stores like Loft and Urban Outfitters have popped up.

Meanwhile, F Street is home to national retailers like Banana Republic, Anne Taylor, H&M, Zara, J.Crew, and Anthropologie. F Street is also where you can find Macy’s, one of the largest department store chains in the country.

U Street/14th Street
For antique houseware, modern home décor, edgy clothing, and even some alcohol, head to U Street. Some say this is where the hipsters go, but we just think it’s a very cool place to be.

Furniture stores like GoodWood, Rom & Board, Miss Pixie’s Furnishings & Whatnot may be where you’ll find your holy grails of home décor. Shops like Junction and Lettie Good offer trendy clothing. For a fine bottle of wine, Cork & Fork is the place to be. Meanwhile, Batch 13 is where you will get some of the best American whiskey in the capital.

Check our blog once in a while for the latest in shopping in Washington, D.C.

7 Ways to keep your home stylish and pet-friendly

Playful paws Pets are part of the family, and most of us will go to great lengths just to make sure they are comfortable. Here are seven practical tips that will make your home pet-friendly without sacrificing style.

1. Go for durable fabrics.

    Dogs and cats love to hang out at comfortable sofas and the like, so it’s best to make wise upholstery choices. Stay away from linen and tweed as they can easily get ripped by dog nails. Instead, choose performance velvet. Spot cleaning won’t be an issue, and it repels mud as well.

2. Choose when to splurge and save.

    As a pet owner, you have a good idea of what will get dirty, stained, or even destroyed by your pets. List down these home items and choose budget-friendly options. You can splurge on stylish accents that won’t get damaged by your pets.

3. Invest in throw blankets.

    Throw blankets liven up any room with splashes of patterns and color, but you can also use them to protect your upholstery from muddy paws as well as fur. This will come in handy if you’ve already invested in a gorgeous sofa.

4. Choose closed storage.

    Pets can get nosy and they always seem to be searching for the most comfortable nook in your home. Sometimes it’s not a problem, but if your cat or dog has a trouble-making streak, closed storage will make your life easier. Now you won’t have to worry about treats getting eaten or important items getting chewed.

5. Removable duvet covers for comfy snuggles.

    Protect your comforter from fur, paw prints, or even occasional pet barf by using removable duvet covers or slips. In case of any accidents, you can easily remove the slip and throw it in a washing machine. Use on beds or sofas – a great alternative if you’re not too keen on throw blankets.

6. Remember these when shopping for rugs.

    To make your life infinitely easier when co-habiting with a pet, go for rugs that are in dark colors, have small patterns, and easy-to-scrub color-fast fibers. Dark colors and small patterns hide stains better than lighter colored rugs or large patterns. You’ll also want rugs that can be scrubbed without sacrificing color pay-off in the long run.

7. Relax.

    You live with pets. Everyday will be unpredictable. Don’t strive for perfection and choose practical yet stylish options. It will make life easier for you and your beloved pets.

For more home improvement tips, check out our blog.

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Andrew Pariser, Realtor®
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