Washington, DC 202.600.2727
Maryland 301.986.6405
Virginia 703.873.5020



Severe winter weather hinders DC housing market…


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Market Update Dec 2013

Last month we saw interest rates hit a four month low of 4.1 percent, well, now they are at their highest since mid-September, hitting nearly 4.5 percent last week. Rising rates coupled with the holiday season explains the slight dampening in the D.C. area housing market. We expect activity to bolster heading into 2014, but changes to mortgage lending standards and the potential for a second Government shutdown could negatively impact the marketplace.

Effective January 10, 2014, new lending rules will be introduced as part of the Dodd Frank Act, which is intended to create a safer environment for buyers but might reduce the number of people qualifying for loans, thus lowering the amount of homes sold. Our fingers are crossed that Congress can avoid another shutdown by meeting their deadline of January 15 to re-evaluate the spending bill.

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Stylish AND Practical Custom Ceiling Design

This ceiling was custom designed to appear to be made of long solid planks of wood resting on wooden rafters. In fact, the planks are just two feet long and rest on the ledges of each rafter. The reward for such meticulous design, other than aesthetics, is the ability to easily push up one or more planks and gain access to wiring and plumbing in the ceiling.

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More information — www.WydlerBrothers.com — For viewing, call Steve Wydler 703.873.5020.

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Landmark Transportation Bill Passed in VA

$300 million has been approved for Northern VA transportation funding.  Ultimately, the infrastructure improvements will have a positive impact on the local real estate market, but sellers will feel the sting of an increased Grantor’s tax starting this July. http://www.nvar.com/content/government-affairs/government-affairs/historic-transportation-funding-bill-brings-money-to-northern-virginia

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The Effect Foreign Investment Can Have on Neighborhoods

We came across this interesting article in the NY Times about how foreign investors are buying up high-end properties in London and the subsequent neighborhood backlash caused by these absentee owners.  One wonders if something like this could happen here in DC, especially in neighborhoods like Kalorama, where there are an abundance of embassies.  Full article here:  http://nyti.ms/Z4Rxrh

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Baby Boomers & the Next Housing Crisis

Came across this interesting article (link below) yesterday.  We’re seeing empty nesters sell their large suburban homes and downsize into urban and/or walkable suburban communities (e.g. downtown Bethesda, Clarendon, etc.). These buyers are often “cash” buyers and crowding out traditional first-time and move-up buyers who may not be in as strong positions financially. This trend is certainly part of the story behind DC’s particularly strong condo market right now.


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Bathroom Renovation: For you or for sale?

Tackling any home renovation project can be a handful and a headache, however the end result can make it all worthwhile.  One question you should ask yourself before starting your bathroom renovation is, am I renovating this for my enjoyment or to make selling the house easier?  This question will help you decide on the features you include, the materials you use and the paint colors you choose.

If you are trying to increase the value of your home or at least make your bathroom more appealing to buyers, keep the following in mind:

-  If you have the ability, expand the space.  Buyers want space in their bathrooms, no one wants a tiny bathroom.  If your bathroom is a small space do whatever you can to make it appear larger.

- If you have the budget add a small “wow” factor such as a heated floor or towel rack.

- Do not insert too much of your own taste into the room.  Everyone has their own personal taste, so leave a semi blank canvass for the buyer to work with.

- If your budget is small you can still make some changes that will make a difference. For example if the floor is linoleum, switch it out for tile.  Changing out an old counter top or dated lighting fixtures will also help.

Remember, renovations will generally take longer then you think and you will almost always run into unexpected problems.  Keep that in mind when you start and things should go much smoother.

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Navigating DC

DC can be a tough city to navigate when you are new to town.  Street names will change for a block or two and then change back, new restaurants are opening up every week and everyone moves at a pretty fast pace.   While these things can hinder you a little when you first arrive, soon it just ads to the culture and lifestyle of DC.

We know it can be tough in a new place so here are a few of our own tips to help you out.  

  • Don’t drive if you can avoid it.  DC has a great metro system, and while it won’t get you everywhere you want to go it is simple to figure out and using it allows you to avoid another hassle. Parking.
  • Parking. Street parking in DC is available but a quarter will only get you 7 ½ minutes in most places.  If you do plan on diving and parking a large amount sign up for Park Mobile and pay by cell phone.
  • DC Eater is a great source of information for must try restaurants and the ones you better just skip.
  • DC is full of unique neighborhoods and each one has a treasure to offer.   If you are still deciding where you should life in DC, Urban Turf is very helpful.

The agents on our team also like to share their area expertise.  Here are some of their suggestions.

  • To celebrate a special event try The Inn at Little Washington or Bazins.
  • If you are heading out of town for the weekend head to Fredrick, MD, St. Michaels, MD, or Charlottesville, VA.
  • Kid friendly activities include Turtle Park, the puppet theater at Glen Echo park, and the water mine.

If you want more advice on navigating the area feel free to reach out to us!

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DC Fall Market Outlook

The fall market is upon us and it is strong in the DC metro area and around the country. Inventory remains low in the DC metro area, and we are seeing multiple offers more and more frequently. Prices are also ticking upwards. Clearly, this is good news for sellers. Perhaps a bit ironically, buyers also like a rising market. It gives them confidence that the asset they are purchasing will be worth more down the road when it’s their time to sell. If you’ve been sitting on the fence, deciding whether to jump into the real estate market or not, this is the best market we’ve had since the crash. Despite what the Fed says, we don’t think these low rates will last forever.

A recent report by Case-Shiller shows that the average house price in DC rose 3.7% between July 2011 and July 2012.  In the 20 cities that they index the average increase was 1.2% with the highest increase happening in Phoenix.  That city experienced a 16.6% increase in prices.  While there are always some discrepancies in reports, this does show that the housing market is building strength and consumer confidence is up.

Should you take advantage of this strengthening market?  Only you can decide that, however we are here to help.  If you’d like to have a private consultation about your real estate options, just give us a call. We look forward to hearing from you.

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A Look at Fall Entertainment in DC

With summer winding down it is time to look ahead to fall in the DC metro area.  There is an array of things to enjoy depending on where your interests lie.

Once the leaves start to change there are a number of great hikes you can take to enjoy the fall foliage.  Great Falls and Rock Creek Park are the closest places to go.  You can try the challenge of the Billy Goat trail or walk down the canal towpath.  If you want more selection there are an endless amount of day hikes in Shenandoah National Park, about 2 hours away. 

Great fall festivals can be found throughout the area as well.  Just a short drive east, Annapolis, MD offers both the Renaissance Festival and Maryland Seafood Festival.  The Renaissance Festival offers fantastic food on a stick, a dunk tank and one of a kind entertainment and shopping.  The Seafood Festival has become an annual tradition for any crab lover in the area.

As the end of September nears Oktoberfest will be in full swing.   You can find a comprehensive list of area festivities here.  October 6th-8th you can also experience all the food that DC has to offer during the Taste of DC.  Over 50 restaurants will be present with $3 tastings.

One of the best things about living in the DC metro area is the amount of entertainment and activities that are available to explore every weekend.  The beautiful fall weather doesn’t hurt either.

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