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Home Selling Tips: Increasing your Home’s Value

Before you take the big leap and sell your home, why not follow these tips to increase its value and, as a result, your revenue from the sale?

Small improvements go a long way

One of the biggest misconceptions in home improvement is that bigger renovations equal bigger return of investment. That is not always the case! Small improvements and minor replacements such as new window treatments, permanent lighting, and better faucets and hardware can increase your home’s total value.

Don’t forget the curb

Curb appeal helps grab the attention of potential homebuyers, so make sure to invest some time and money to freshen it up. Accentuate nice features like archways and walkways, and eliminate negative aspects. Remember: homebuyers are drawn to properties that look well-maintained and looked after.

Once you’re done with the improvements, make sure your listing’s photos are in full color, especially if you also sweetened up your home’s landscaping.

All about kitchens and bathrooms

If you really want to significantly increase the value of your home, concentrate on two important areas: the kitchen and the bathroom. If you’re going for a major upgrade, don’t forget to keep the overall look timeless to suit different tastes. This may also be a great time to invest in smart home technology and water-saving systems, making your home more efficient and eco-friendly.

Don’t add another room; finish the basement!

If you’ve got an unfinished basement, this may be the best time to finally finish it for good. This increases your home’s value, and is attractive among homebuyers. Turn it into an entertainment center, a man cave, a guest room – the choices are endless.

Hire a certified home inspector

To make better, informed decisions, it’s best to hire a certified home inspector. This way, you’ll know your home’s current value and you’ll get a better picture of what you can do to improve it.

Click here for more home selling tips to help you navigate your way towards a successful sale.

The Most Expensive Neighborhoods in D.C.

With their prime locations, history, and real estate options, these five neighborhoods in D.C. have been named as the most luxurious by Washingtonian.com. Let’s take a closer look.

1. Great Falls (22066)

    Fans of British period drama Downton Abbey (and outdoor space) will love Great Falls with its beautiful acreages, sprawling mansions, and winding two-lane roads. The average size of a home in Great Falls fall somewhere between 10,000 o 12,000 square feet, and the median sold price is $1,060,000. Public transportation is unheard of in this wealthy community.

    Who lives here? A variety of people, from powerful lobbyists and lawyers to tech executives and defense contractors.

2. McLean (22101)

    Known as one of D.C.’s power centers, McLean real estate is characterized by a mix of imposing older homes and newer McMansions. The median sold price is around $988,000. It’s a community where families root for their kids’ sports teams, making it rather warm and wholesome. You can trust your neighbor to take your kid to school for you, if you happen to live here.

    Who lives here? Families, mostly, due to McLean’s charming, suburban appeal. Professionals working in D.C. and Tysons also call McLean home.

3. The Chevy Chases (20015 and 20815)

    Whether it’s D.C.’s version of Chevy Chase or Maryland’s, rest assured both Chevy Chases are highly desired and expensive. Chevy Chase MD (median sold price: $885,000) is known for its collection of handsome brick houses—the favored homes of Washington elites. And although Chevy Chase DC (median sold price: $949,000) is its less aristocratic brother, the neighborhood boasts a community of respectable profssionals. Both Chevy Chases are also known for access to some of the best schools in the area.

    Who lives here? Chevy Chase MD has long attracted the likes of established Washington families, while Chevy Chase DC is home to successful professionals.

4. North Arlington (22207)

    Although homes in North Arlington don’t have the seemingly endless space available in Great Falls, the neighborhood boasts a convenient location. Real estate, with a median sold price of $887,500, is mostly made up of brick Colonials, but the commute is fantastic. Parks, shopping, schools, outdoor recreation—they’re all located mere minutes away.

    Who lives here? In general, people who would rather pay top dollar to be near the center of everything. After all, stress-free commutes are a rarity these days.

5. Georgetown (22207)

    Georgetown is all about historic charms and prestige. It’s one of D.C.’s most established neighborhoods, and the housing stock is unparalleled. From simple clapboard homes to impressive estates, Georgetown has just about everything, and people seems to agree that the median sold price of $875,000 is totally worth it.

    Who lives here? Young, well-to-do families, professionals—it’s a diverse community that has all the makings of the perfect urban neighborhood.

Everything you should know about Petworth

For avid followers of the Curbed Cup, it might have come off as a surprise when Petworth was crowned the best neighborhood in the city in 2015. One thing is for sure, however—the uninitiated will definitely fall in love with Petworth’s residential charms, from neighborhood joints to interesting characters that make life in this enclave a little more colorful.

Where you’ll find calm and diversity in the city

Washington D.C. is a bustling urban metropolis, and calm oases may be hard to come by especially for the newbies. This is where Petworth comes in. Still located within the city, the neighborhood is known for its slow-paced, calm atmosphere and friendly community. It’s a place where you can make lifelong friends out of your neighbors, which is composed of a diverse mix of people from different walks of life.

Full of interesting surprises

Unbeknownst to many, Petworth has its own fair share of stories that will definitely pique your interest. For one, President Lincoln used to vacation and relax at Lincoln’s Cottage. The church that currently stands at the corner of 8th and Shepherd was actually once a synagogue. Petworth is also home to attractions listed on the National Register of Historic Places: the Armed Forces Retirement Home and the Rock Creek Cemetery, which dates back to the early 18th century.

Petworth’s “porch culture”

A family-friendly neighborhood, Petworth is the kind of place where you’ll want to spend some time in your front porch. It’s up to you to decide what you’ll do, of course. Greet people walking down the street, play your favorite instrument, or just enjoy a nice glass of your preferred drink. It’s a great place to settle down and raise your kids.

There is still so much more to know about Petworth. Read our area guide for more information, or get in touch with us today to explore the neighborhood.

A closer look at the Kalorama Triangle Historic District

For most people, Kalorama Triangle is just another D.C. neighborhood oozing with old colonial charm. Well-manicured gardens look immaculate, and the trimmed gardens and marble fountains lend this sophisticated enclave another layer of elegance.

For locals, however, Kalorama Triangle means so much more. It’s a community full of character, history — a neighborhood you definitely don’t want to miss.

A trip down memory lane
An established neighborhood, Kalorama Triangle began spreading its roots in the late 19th century. Then, the community was already being populated with dignified buildings. Real estate during the early days of Kalorama Triangle was a lively mix of modest apartments and grand residences.

Plans for urban development took shape in the late 1880s, but these plans did not materialize until ten years later. Kalorama Triangle slowly shed its rural character in favor of more cosmopolitan tastes. Streetcar lines were established, existing roads redesigned, and construction of several infrastructures bloomed until the turn of the century.

As Kalorama Triangle became more urbane, the housing stock in the neighborhood expanded. Rowhouses and apartment buildings popped up for the middle-class market. Meanwhile, high society retreated to their grand mansions in Sheridan-Kalorama, known that time as the wealthiest neighborhood in all of Washington, D.C.

Kalorama Triangle’s most popular residents
For such an esteemed neighborhood, it’s no surprise Kalorama Triangle served (and still serves) as the home of a number of luminaries and people who made a mark on American history. Some of Kalorama Triangle’s most popular residents since its early days include

  • Jeanette Rankin, the first woman to be elected to Congress
  • Samuel W. Woodward and Alvin M. Lothrop, co-founders of the Woodward & Lothrop department store
  • George Truesdell, engineer and developer
  • Thomas Fuller, architect

Today, Kalorama Triangle continues to attract some of the best and the brightest in the country.

Kalorama Triangle and the 21st century
Today, Kalorama Triangle is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. Aside from its affluence, history, and architectural variety, one thing that makes Kalorama Triangle a dynamic and urban neighborhood are its people.

Looking for more iconic places in the capital? Read about the historic Union Market historic district here.

Universities and Colleges in and around D.C.

Washington D.C. is the best place to be to study politics and history. You’ve got four well-renowned universities in D.C., along with several topnotch colleges where you can explore the world of higher education. No wonder the capital is breeding ground for aspiring change-makers from all over the world.

Georgetown University

Georgetown University enjoys a stellar reputation as the highest ranked university in D.C! Older than the neighborhood where it’s located (Georgetown, if you’re still not familiar), Georgetown University is a research-driven institute and counts several renowned politicians and luminaries as part of its faculty. Famous alumni include Mary Jordan, Bill Clinton, and Jose Manuel Barroso.

George Washington University

Named after George Washington, this private research university is ranked 65th in the U.S. and caters to a student body of over 21,000. Political activity of more progressive inclinations is particularly active among the student population, but you’ll find other organizations that cater to other interests (like sports!)

Some of the schools that make up George Washington University include School Business, Columbian College of Arts & Sciences, Elliott School of International Affairs, and Milken School of Public Health.

American University

Focused on a liberal arts curriculum, the private American University is particularly renowned for its programs in public affairs, international law and human rights, and public policy. It’s also known as one of the most politically active schools in the country, even taking the top spot from 2008 to 2012, according to The Princeton Review.

Studying here, you’ll get to mingle with a very internationally diverse student population. You’ll also get to brush shoulders once in a while with visiting foreign dignitaries.

Howard University

One of the top 125 universities in the country, Howard University is a historically black institution that was established in 1867. It sits on an impressive campus encompassing approximately 250 acres, leaving plenty of space to pursue your degree in different programs such as business, communications, arts and sciences, dentistry, and education.

Looking to explore more of the educational opportunities available in Washington, D.C? Click here to learn more.

All about up-and-coming Columbia Heights

Often overlooked in the past, it’s safe to say that the neighborhood of Columbia Heights has been through a lot. It began as a farmland and horse track in the 19th century, a heavily damaged neighborhood after the riots of 1986, and finally, the up-and-coming enclave we now know today. So, what’s with Columbia Heights, and why is it one of the most popular D.C. neighborhoods today?

The simple answer? It has everything you’re looking for.

Family-friendly yet urbane: a well-rounded community

It’s not often you come across an urban neighborhood with all the trappings of a family-friendly community. It’s one of the main reasons why so many homebuyers are eager to explore their opportunities in Columbia Heights.

Served by its own Metro stop, Columbia Heights also has an impressive collection of retail shops and restaurants. There’s a wholesome atmosphere that will suit families of all ages, but you’ll still find great bars for a nice night out with friends. Excellent schools are located nearby, and Columbia Heights has plenty of playgrounds and spaces where kids can make friends and enjoy their childhood.

11th Street: Columbia Heights’ hidden gem

If you really want a taste of Columbia Heights, stray from the crowded 14th Street and visit 11th Street, a quieter neighborhood block where you can find some of the best local restaurants and bars. Gatherings are frequent here, but 11th Street remains undiscovered by tourists and newbies. Better take advantage of this before the place gets overrun by visitors.

Find out if Columbia Heights is the neighborhood for you

Up-and-coming Columbia Heights has everything, from good food to great real estate. Explore the area with us today to learn more about the neighborhood and the real estate offerings in the area. You can read our area guide or, better yet, get in touch with us today.

Homebuying tips: The pros and cons of hiring a buyer’s agent

buyer’s agentAt a glance, the primary function of a buyer’s agent is to protect the buyer’s interests during the various stages of the homebuying process. Still, some people wrestle with the importance of hiring one. To help you decide on whether you should work with a buyer’s agent or not, here are a couple of pros and cons to weigh in on.

Pro: A buyer’s agent exclusively works for your interests

A real estate agent can help you look for a home and negotiate a reasonable price, but a buyer’s agent goes beyond the call of duty to make sure your interests are protected.

To avoid any potential conflicts of any interest, buyer’s agents normally don’t list properties and work solely to represent the homebuyer. This gives some of mind, knowing you’re not being led to a property just because it’s one of his or her listings.

Of course, the opposite of an exclusive agent is a dual agent—one who lists properties and, at the same time, represents sellers. Unlike a buyer’s agent whose only concern is you, a dual agent will have to balance his or her time to manage both you and the seller he is representing. As implied earlier, this can bring about a fair amount of possibilities that may lead to conflicts of interest.

Although a dual agent can help you negotiate a better deal, you might not be as protected as a homebuyer.

Con: Because of exclusivity, a buyer’s agent costs more to hire

One of the biggest misconceptions in the homebuying process is that sellers shoulder the costs to pay for the buyer’s agent commission. That’s actually not the case. In fact, the homebuyer is the one who’s bringing more money come closing day.

Where should you find a reputable buyer’s agent?

For starters, look to your trusted friends and family members for any recommendations, just like how you would with a normal real estate agent. If you hit a dead-end, it’s time to take your search to the Internet. The World Wide Web is full of recommendations—it’s just up to you to peruse every review and affiliations until they’ve met your criteria.

Once you’ve found a worthy candidate, invite him or her for an interview. If everything went smooth sailing, sign a Buyer’s Broker Agreement.

Do you need more help in finding a home? We’ve got plenty of homebuying tips to share. Just check out our blog here .

New developments in Petworth, Shaw, Mount Pleasant, Chevy Chase

DC New DevelopmentWashington, D.C.’s real estate landscape is always evolving. New developments and renovation projects are constantly being drawn up somewhere in the city. Here are some of the latest in Petworth, Shaw, Mount Pleasant, and Chevy Chase.

Petworth

  1. The Montage South – A condo project currently under construction, The Montage South will feature 20 units built under D.C.’s green compliance code. Features include elevators and a green rooftop terrace.
  2. Fahrenheit – Featuring 31 apartments for rent, Fahrenheit also has approximately 32,000 sq. ft. of mixed-use space. Building amenities include bike storage, and 24-hour emergency maintenance.

Shaw

  1. 7th Flats – A mixed-use development, 7th Flats will feature approximately 100,000 sq. ft. of office space, 20,000 sq. ft. of retail space, and 205 residential apartments. Building amenities include a fitness center, a rooftop terrace, and a multimedia lounge.
  2. 1512 6th St NW – A planned residential project by Sean Joiner and Matthew Grace. The development will consist of 12 shipping containers transformed into two-bedroom condos sitting atop a concrete foundation.
  3. Northern Liberties – Currently under construction, the Northern Liberties project will transform the 40-bed halfway house into an 8-unit residence by Lock7 Development.

Mount Pleasant

  1. Mont Plaisant – A renovated residential project, Mont Plaisant is a four-unit boutique condo housed in a building over a hundred years old. The units feature high ceilings, hardwood floors, exposed brick, and private outdoor spaces, among others.

Chevy Chase

  1. The Collection – The Collection consists of 8 two-bedroom condo units housed in two separate four-story buildings. The project is currently under construction.
  2. Fifty Three Thirty Three – A 263-unit apartment project by Calvin Cafritz Enterprises, Fifty Three Thirty Three (5333) also features a community room, a dog-walking area, and a fitness center, among others.

For more information about Washington, D.C. neighborhoods, check out this page.

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!

Blog

Home Selling Tips: Increasing your Home’s Value

January 03, 2017

Before you take the big leap and sell your home, why not follow these tips...

Read More

The Most Expensive Neighborhoods in D.C.

December 29, 2016

With their prime locations, history, and real estate options, these five neighborhoods in D.C. have...

Read More

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Andrew Pariser, Realtor®
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