Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Jones-Haywood School's Legacy Continues!

This afternoon my clients sold their property at 1200 Delafield Pl NW. Why is this important? Because at this address lives the oldest African American Owned school of dance anywhere in the U.S. Some of the greatest dancers anywhere in the world have come out of this school and it has been opened since my clients mother owned the property in 1941. (Thats 66 years for those of you non-mathematicians). So why is the sale of the property important? Because two families, the Byrd's and the Green's purchased the property to help the legacy continue on for generations to come.

The school has such a strong history that it is on the African American Heritage Tour of Washington, DC and will continue to be throughout my life and many many more. To read more about the significance of this unique establishment click HERE.

For contact info click HERE.

Monday, July 30, 2007

$10,000 off your purchase price if you own a hybrid, what do you think?

This morning I was reading an article about projects going green across the US. One such developer had the brilliant idea to offer priority parking to owners of Hybrid cars and offering a community car that can be used for three hour time slots by any of the residences once checked out. The condo board would organize the gas, insurance and maintenance of the car but whats more important is it provides easily accessible transportation to any of the owners in the building and has the possibility to eliminate the need for several owners to purchase their own car. So I thought to my self (what a wonderful world...just kidding) what could we do with our newest client, Forest Development Group and their new eco-friendly project on Ontario Rd, to help bring press and exposure to their project that nobody else is doing. Bang! It hit me. I came up with the idea to offer owners of Hybrid cars a discount on the purchase of the units, upwards of $10,000. Talk about incentive and uniqueness! Imagine being the only developer in DC who is actually supporting the green initiative outside of just the home. It might just be possible that we can create one of the core goals of FDG to help the planet, not just their development and the extended efforts they are using to help the environment. I'll keep you updated with their response!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

This Months Top Home Sales in DC

I am starting a new series of posting on a monthly basis. Every month (from this month forward) will be a summary of the past as a review of the top sales across our city. The idea is to help keep you informed about whats moving, what stabilizing and where this city is headed. The posting is just a start of a new series of posts to help keep you updated.

At the top of the list is an incredible detached home in Kalorama at 2430 Wyoming Ave NW. Previously owned by a Mr. Robert Allbritton, former CEO to Riggs Bank which was first acquired by his father in 1981, the home was sold for a mere $4.7 Million. That price is pennies compared to the estimated net worth of Allbritton himself. Estimated at over $675 milloin. The home featured nearly 6100 interior square feet on a quarter-acre lot. What a beauty! With five bedrooms and four and a half baths, the home was built strictly for the entertainment of the rich and famous.

Second on this list (and a far second at that) is this mansion of a Georgetown home. As one of the largest homes available in Georgetown, this home was built to impress. This four bedroom, three-full and two-half bath home contains some of the largest living area in Georgetown at 4,000 sq ft. With an elevator and two car garage, living isn't offered much easier than this. This home closed at a price of $2.75 Million and from what I can tell, may have been an investment property owned by one Cynthia B Helsabeck from Germantown. Something fishy? You decide!

Third on the list is an amazing Cleveland Park home. One of DC's last one-acre plus homes, this palace is sure to maintain its value for generations to come. On top of the lot size is the homes 8,000 plus living area and nine bedrooms. This is as good as it gets. Formerly owned by Patricia Alsopo in Trust in addition to the family's other home at 2949 Garfield Ter NW, both of these multi-million dollar homes are at the top of the list.

Fourth on the list is another Kalorama home and as usual, on Wyoming Ave NW. Located at 2212 Wyoming, this is on the row of the wealthy by most standards in DC. Prior to the sale, this property was owned by Benedikt Ibing, involved with Berlin Atlantic, a company involved with real estate, private equity and loan products. The home featured eight bedrooms, four and a half baths an sold for just under the $2.7 million mark. The buyers are not too far off themselves, having paid down nearly 60% of the purchase price in cash. At 5500 sq ft, this home is one of the finest row homes in Kalorama.

As far as opportunity goes, Amy Henderson has hit it. According to the tax record, Henderson (a historian at the National Portrait Gallery) purchased or transferred her $2.5 million dollar estate for $188k back in 2000. Thats a near 1300% gain over seven years. Near the growth of Google. Unfortunately no photo was attached in the listing, considering it was purchased the day it was listed there may not have been a need to! This home, located at 20 Kalorama Cir, in Kalorama as well, was sure to be an eye-catcher. It contains nearly 4800 sq ft of living space with four bedrooms and three and a half baths. Dont tell anyone but according to the listing it was a CASH SALE.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Fort Belvoir to create 8,500 new Jobs

Released today as well was the announcement that Fort Belvoir, located 23 miles South of DC, will be hiring 8,500 new employees based solely in their Engineering Proving Ground. Unfortunately the hiring comes amidst the change of the original 18,500 that were projected to be hired in our area.

Keep this in mind when the total hiring quota is 12,000, due mainly from the base realignment. What would you say if I said the surrounding area near the base is 85% single family homes and residential areas?

Population growth in DC? The government is about to hire 193,000 new employees

According to an article released this morning by money.cnn.com, the government is about go go on a hiring spree to compensate for not only an aging workforce but to protect from terrorism as well.
What does this mean, greater demand for local housing means greater market stability and security for you! According to the Partnership for Public Service, 83,000 jobs are being created to protect the US, including nearly 48,000 ad the Department of Homeland Security, 9,700 at the Treasury and nearly 36,000 at the Department of Defense. And we all know where the DoD is located, JUST ACROSS THE RIVER!!!

While these jobs aid in the local market there are additional openings across the U.S. including almost 63,000 security and law-enforcement openings and 28,000 border patrol agents.

Read more here.

This article was written by Anne Fisher.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

DC Top city to Rebound after Slump according to BusinessWeek

Its about time!!! Just as predicted all along, according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting, out of Irvine, California, DC will be one of the first cities across the country to rebound despite what many of you have read in your local paper. This comes as a relief to many of the sellers out there that may have caught the real estate jitters. Among the other cities cited were San Diego and New Jersey. Refer to my original blog about my brother here.

Thank Peter Coy for todays recent insight, a writer for BusinessWeek. His article can be found here.

You may be asking what all this means. My interpretation of the release, despite difficulties in the mortgage industry is all too commonplace an answer. DC's population is nearly 40% subsidized by government funding. On top of the stability of public servants incomes as well as the general population here, the government is about to undergo a significant turnaround in their political population, thereby increasing the need for housing movement. I wouldn't be so worried, this is still the most powerful city in the world.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Get this, 1329 Wisconsin Avenue NW just sold for $6.7 Million!!!!

The Washington, DC-office of Marcus & Millichap, a Real Estate Brokerage Firm led by its team of Matthew Clinebell, Jim Kornick, Ed Laycox and Gerald Burg, recently brokered a sale in Georgetown that ranks as one of the most expensive this year.

Manhasset, NY-based Sivan Properties purchased the 4,195-square-foot street retail property for $6.7 million, or $1,597-per-square-foot, from Rock Creek Property Group. Thats nearly the price of a condo in NYC!!!

With an address of 1329 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Jones New York tenants the two-story building with two of its shoe brands, Bandolino and Easy Spirit. The building is located in the heart of Georgetown's elite shopping district that is a destination for Washington residents and visitors.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

New Report shows DC United may not be headed to Poplar Point, my sources say otherwise

According to an article published today by NBC4.com, the DC United stadium, originally headed for the 110 acre lot in Poplar Point, may be in a state of scrutiny. According to my original research (and unreleased sources) Poplar point had gotten the contract to be developed. See my previous blog here.
As of yesterday, this may not be the case. Yesterday Fenty publicly released that they are seeking alternative development proposals for the same lot. Why the cause for Fenty's change of mind? What else but MONEY?!?!?!?

The owner of DC United is only willing to pay $150 Million but the city wants $200 Million for the lot now that the city has realized the potential of profitability. The city wants to initiate a publicly available competitive bidding process for what many would consider one of DC's last & most valuable assets.

DC - NYC Bus service now offers free internet and soda

This article just came out today about a new bus service from DC to NYC that offers a competitive and in my opinion appealing advantage over those smelly, old, slow buses currently running.

From here.

A discount bus line on the popular route between DC and New York is going upscale.

The new DC-2-NY service scheduled to begin Thursday will offer a free beverage and free wireless Internet access on the trip. It's a way to stand out from competitors, such as Vamoose and Washington Deluxe.

DC-2-NY will offer round-trip fares starting at $40 with advance reservations. That's about $5 more than what other carriers generally charge.

The service also touts direct service to New York's Pennsylvania Station with stops in Dupont Circle and McPherson Square in DC.

Monday, July 23, 2007

My Home State Hurtles Towards a Recession

This past weekend an unfortunate article was released from more sources than I can count, stating that Florida's economy is about to undertake a frightening recession. According to Dean Foust of BusinessWeek online, construction and housing accounted for nearly 20% of all jobs over the past few years and now, as some states have been slipping into a housing slump with Florida as a front-runner, those jobs have now been lost.

Its difficult to assess where the market in Florida stands at this point. My entire family resides in Florida or New Jersey, both of which have undergone significant changes during the course of the last few years.

If you or anyone you know resides in a state having more difficulty than we are having in our area please let me know.

Mayor Fenty Announces Development Partner for Former McMillan Sand Filtration Site

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty today announced Vision McMillan Partners will serve as the District’s development partner in redeveloping the 25-acre former McMillan Reservoir Sand Filtration Site at North Capitol Street and Michigan Avenue, NW.

“We have an incredible asset in the McMillan site, but it’s been fenced-off for decades,” Fenty said. “It is time to put this land back into productive use and we’re partnering with a highly capable team that can do just that.”

Vision McMillan was selected among five bidders by the National Capital Revitalization Corp., which is currently being folded into the District’s Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED). The team is led by EYA, a Washington-area developer who is currently leading the redevelopment of the 25-acre Hyattsville Arts District and the 30-acre National Park Seminary. Other members of the team include the Alexander Cos., a development firm nationally renowned for historic preservation projects; MacFarlane Partners, one of the largest African-American-owned real estate investors in the country; the Jair Lynch Cos.; StreetSense; Smoot Construction; and Urban Services Systems.

“We are honored to be selected by the District for a project of this importance. EYA and our team members have a true passion for and deep expertise in completing challenging, urban projects”, said President of EYA Robert Youngentob. “We look forward to working with the District and the community to create a vibrant new neighborhood that respects the site’s history, furthers economic development, and enhances quality of life for District residents.”

The McMillan site is expected to be redeveloped into a mixed-use project that could include residential, retail, office and park space, but there is no current development plan for the site. The project will include affordable housing and 35 percent of the local contracting opportunities must go to certified local, small and disadvantaged businesses (LSDBEs). More than half of all new jobs created must be offered to District residents and at least 20 percent of the equity used to finance the project must come from LSDBEs as well.

Did you know there were programs available for developers involved with low income housing?

Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program Allocates a 4% tax credit to developers of new or rehabilitated affordable rental housing.
Must meet affordable housing guidelines:
  • Min. 20% affordable housing for persons with 50% of median income and
  • 40% for persons with 60% of median income

    MD-VA-DC MSA median income is $85,600*
    *Statistic as of FY2001. Subject to change.

  • Tax-Exempt and Taxable Multi-Family Rental and Co-op Bond Financing and Tax Credits Bond financing is available for permanent and construction debt associated with the construction/renovation of rental and cooperatives. Four percent (4%) tax credit is available to developers of low-income housing.

    Housing Production Trust Fund Program (HPTFP) Provides financial assistance to nonprofit and commercial developers for rental and ownership of low- to moderate-income rental and ownership housing and related facilities.
    Must provide low to moderate-income housing and related facilities.


    Distressed Properties Improvement Program (DPIP) Deferral or forgiveness of real estate taxes, water charges, and other public debts owed on rental properties, as an inducement for owners to rehabilitate previously vacant housing.

    See Title VIII of the DC Rental Housing Act of 1985
    15% of completed units must serve low- and moderate-income households.


    Single-Family Residential Rehabilitation Program Provides low-cost financing for the rehabilitation of 1 - 4 unit residential housing. Provides low-interest amortizing loans for up to 20 years, depending on the financial circumstances of the borrower and the amount of rehab required to correct code deficiencies.

    Special monies set aside for handicapped access and senior living improvements.
    Residential property must be owner-occupied or investor-owned and located in Community Development Area or Enterprise Community.


    Multi-Family Housing Rehabilitation Loan Program (MfHRLP) Provides low-cost interim construction financing for the rehabilitation of residential property containing five (5) or more units. Program available to developers of rental housing and lower-income cooperative housing.


    Apartment Improvement Program Provides technical assistance to owners of rental housing for property improvements.
    Available to owners of rental housing

    from here.

    Sunday, July 22, 2007

    The flyering campaign is a success!

    Over this past weekend I was able to pass out nearly 2000 flyer's to local homes and the return was astonishing. This past open house had nearly 30 visitors and we are expecting 1-2 contracts out of the traffic today. On top of the initiative we were able to spread the word to many consumers who brought friends and family. More on this tomorrow.

    Mayor Fenty Pledges 10,000 Units of Affordable Housing

    Released this past week was Fenty's affordable housing resolution for the crisis ensuing in the market segment. His intention is to ensure that citizens of all income levels are able to afford to live in the city.

    The goals of the new initiative is to create an additional 5,000 new units of affordable housing for ownership and maintain an additional 5,000 homes in areas where priced have dramatically increased over the past few years.

    Additionally, Fenty is committing over $117 Million to these initiatives on an annual basis to pay for the protection and growth of affordable housing growth. With government owned land the government plans on ensuring that 30% of developed properties be utilized for affordable housing when the rest of the property will be utilized for market value sale.

    As many of you may know one of the most secure market segments I foresee over the next two years is this market. I have been utilizing equations that can return 25-35% for available land with 90 accuracy. You may have read in previous posts that the fastest moving market in my experience is the $450,000 and under market.

    If you or anyone you know is looking to develop in real estate and feel that returns like this are considerable enough for you to consider please contact me at the information above.

    Saturday, July 21, 2007

    Vienna, Virginia Named Top 100 Best Places to Live According to Money Magazine

    This month Vienna, VA was listed in the top 100 best places to live across the U.S. They ranked the city number #70 and the city description on Money Magazine's site was:

    Population: 15,300
    Median home price (2006): $664,270
    Average property taxes (2006): $5,636

    A small town with brick sidewalks, old fashioned streetlights and a town green, Vienna stands in stark contrast to the corporate and retail beehive of Tysons Corner just a couple minutes away. All that charm and proximity to high-paying jobs has made it a pricey place to live, but for many employees of Northrop Grumman, Bechtel and other government contractors with operations in and around the nation's capital, it's one of the most desirable little towns to settle down in. -A.F.

    The article can be seen here.

    This Month Olney, MD named top 100 best cities

    Yesterday Money Magazine listed their top 100 cities to live across the U.S. Surprisingly Olney, MD was #17 in their rank. Whats more surprising is their ranking with the increased foreclosure rates in rural Maryland.

    Their description of Olney is:

    Median home price (2006): $499,025
    Average property taxes (2006): $2,260

    Once a rural crossroads village, Olney is now a bustling community with businesses and residences radiating from the town's historic center. As a modern community that maintains its old-time charm, Olney gives families the chance to enjoy small-town amenities among bits of history - an 1838 farmhouse used as a girl's boarding school, Civil War badges and bullets hidden behind a shopping center. Plus, it offers easy access to Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

    The article can be seen here.

    When and How Should You Transfer Your Utilities in Washington, D.C.?

    written by Michael Buckley from here.

    If you are about to close on the sale or purchase of your property, you will need to let the utility companies know when you need the utilities transferred. If you don’t do this (from a sellers perspective), you will be paying for another parties utilities and your own. If you don’t do this (from a purchasers prospective), your utilities will get turned off once the sellers stop paying for their old utilities. So, when and how should do you transfer your utilities in Washington, D.C?

    “When Shoud I Transfer the Utilities?”

    In Washington, D.C., you should transfer the utilities into or out of your name (for the purchase or sale respectively) on the date of settlement unless you plan on a rent back. A rent back being when the purchaser has allowed the seller to remain on the property for a specified amount of time after settlement, which is normally less than a week. If this is the case, have the utilities switched over on the day that the rent back ends (when the sellers move out.)

    “How do I Transfer the Utilities?”

    The three utilities you have to transfer include:

    • Gas
    • Electricity
    • Water

    Keep in mind, that owners of a condominium or a cooperative sometimes have some or all of their utilities included in the condo/coop fee. Your real estate agent or the property management company/coop board will have this information for you.

    Click on the links below to the corresponding utility to request utility transfers online.


    Washington Gas

    For purchasers: Washington Gas

    For Sellers: Washington Gas




    DC Water and Sewage Authority

    Note: If you don’t want to bother with the different ut

    Friday, July 20, 2007

    Stay Tuned, Monday Fenty Will Unveil his Affordable Housing Plan

    According to a release this afternoon by NewsChannel 8, Fenty will allocate $117 Million a year to help protect affordable housing in the District. What does this mean? Well I have not worked with the programs before my my research assistant is investigation supposed interest free loans from the DC Government allotted to help developers constructing affordable housing in the District. I will have more on this later.

    Monday read here again for an Update on the Affordable Housing Plan.

    5 Lousy Excuses for Not Buying a Home

    Thanks to Leila Search for contributing this article...

    Hard-core renters can come up with all kinds of reasons to avoid real-estate purchases. Here are some of the usual stories -- and why they just don't wash.

    By Colleen DeBaise, SmartMoney

    A good chunk of the U.S. population refuses to give up renting. We're not sure how many renters are stubborn holdouts because the U.S. census doesn't measure in terms of obstinacy, although we do know that the majority of Americans -- about 69% -- own their own homes.

    For many, the American dream is simply out of reach for financial reasons. But for others, it's not the money, it's the . . . well, we've come up with five reasons why people don't want to buy real estate.

    Perhaps you've used these excuses yourself or know a colleague, family member or friend who has. We've enlisted the aid of experts -- Stacy Francis and Nancy Flint-Budde, certified financial planners in New York City and Salem, N.Y., respectively, and Mark Schussel, a spokesman for the Chubb Group of Insurance Cos. in Warren, N.J. -- to counter these excuses and knock some sense into the real-estate-challenged.

    Excuse No. 1: "Everyone is way too insane about real estate."

    Count this as the "protest" renter -- the person who perpetually rents, who thinks he's too cool for school and doesn't want to be one of those people who talks about renovation projects at a cocktail party. (The true "protest" renter also protests cocktail parties.) Such people might also fear growing up, becoming their parents, owning guest towels, etc.

    Counter: Well, owning your own home is indeed a responsibility, and if you're not ready for it, then don't do it. Of course, you'll miss out on nice tax breaks for mortgage interest and property taxes, which make owning a compelling proposition for many. Not to mention, you're not exactly building equity when you split the rent with the roomies (but hey, it does help with the cable bill).

    "I look at renting as writing a check and throwing it out in the garbage," says Francis, who often advises clients on buying apartments in Manhattan. For many people, buying a home is their first crack at building their net worth over the long term, she says. The traditional way to ease into homeownership is to buy something like a condominium or town house, so your weekends aren't spent at the home-improvement store picking up weed whackers.

    But be careful: You might feel like a real adult once you own. "You are no longer at the whims of your landlord to raise your rent or sell your building," Francis says. "It really gives you stability."

    Excuse No. 2: "Renting is a good deal."

    Truth be told, there is some logic to that. After all, if something breaks in your rental apartment, you just call your landlord. You don't spend money on pricey renovations. Heck, you don't have to pay property taxes. And if you've got enough money for a down payment, why dump that cash into an expensive home when you could use it to buy something like stocks instead?

    Counter: Many people consider their home an investment. "We call it a use asset," says Flint-Budde. "It's an asset that you own, and you hope it will appreciate, but you are using it along the way."

    That means even if your home doesn't appreciate as much as your favorite stock or exchange-traded fund, you still gain because it doubles (hopefully) as a nice place to live. Homes historically appreciate over time, so if you are able to hold on to your abode for a minimum of five years, you'll likely see a significant increase in value, Flint-Budde says. In its latest report, the National Association of Realtors, or NAR, said typical sellers are still experiencing healthy gains on the value of their homes over the past five years, even in areas where prices have fallen recently. The group estimates that the median five-year price gain is 41.8%.

    Would you still rather build your securities portfolio than buy a house? "If you have to turn around and pay $1,000 a month to rent somewhere, you may have less available to put into stocks," Flint-Budde points out. "And at the end of the day, if you put some into stocks and some into real estate, you would have diversified your portfolio more."

    Oh, and for those averse to paying taxes? Don't fool yourself. Even renters pay property taxes. That's often what most of your rent check goes to pay, and your landlord -- not you -- gets the tax deduction.

    Excuse No. 3: "Buy a house on my own? Then I'll really never get married. What do I do next -- buy a cat?"

    OK, so we hear this one a lot from women. Well, interestingly enough, research has found that single women are leaping into real estate. In 2006, they accounted for 21% of homebuyers, up from 14% in 1995, and well ahead of single men, who made up only 9%, according to NAR research. Yet many women confess they are hesitant to buy a home on their own. Shouldn't they be waiting for Mr. Wonderful to come along and sweep them off their feet?

    Counter: Tsk, tsk, says Francis, who hosts "Savvy Ladies" seminars to counsel women on personal-finance decisions. She's heard this excuse hundreds of times from female clients. "I call it the Prince Charming syndrome," she says. "They put their life on hold until they find that Prince Charming. What it really comes down to is that women are just as capable as men at doing things on their own and starting to live their life for now."

    One thing Francis reminds women, regardless of their marital status, is that they're more apt to live longer and need more money in retirement. A home is a perfect way to begin building wealth, she says. Women in general are hesitant when it comes to not only buying a home but investing, looking for a new job or asking for a raise. Accept that you are not going to be comfortable with the process, but do what you can to prepare for it, such as reading books on real estate, or doing research on the Internet, Francis says. Buying a home is a smart decision in many ways.

    "Women who have actually purchased homes tend to have more equitable relationships," she says. "They are choosier and decide to be with men who they want to be with for emotional reasons, not financial reasons."

    Excuse No. 4: "I'm afraid of commitment."

    Funny, we hear this excuse more from men. But seriously, there are some meaty issues here. Many people aren't sure they want to commit to a certain city, especially if they are building a career and possibly switching jobs. And despite the fact that we're a nation of debtors, some people perish the thought of taking on an enormous mortgage. Others are worried about the possibility of outgrowing their home, perhaps because they're considering starting a family or having more children.

    Counter: As excuses go, this one isn't bad. Most experts recommend that you stay in your house at least three to five years, to recoup costs associated with closing and to see an increase in the home's value. Plus, you need time to weather the ups and downs, such as shifts in interest rates that can quickly turn a healthy seller's market into one where the buyer calls the shots.

    In addition, from a tax perspective, you need to own your home for at least one year to qualify for the 15% capital-gains tax rate on profits; own it for more than two years and there's no tax on the proceeds from a sale (up to $250,000 for singles, and $500,000 for married couples). Flint-Budde says she tells clients, especially first-time homebuyers, to purchase a home only if they plan to live there at least five years.

    Research has shown that homebuyers put thousands of dollars on credit cards upon moving into a home "because they need so many things -- they never needed a garden hose before," she says. "There are some real cost issues with moving into a house."

    Francis says she tells clients to put buying on hold "if you've had some traumatic thing happen in your life -- maybe it's the loss of a spouse or a divorce, or a job change," she says. "Sometimes it's good to just sit for a few months so when you do go out there and purchase a home, it suits your needs."

    Francis also recommends that homebuyers have enough for a 25% down payment and a stable job. If you don't, then "it may not be the time," she says.

    Excuse No. 5: "I'm worried about disaster striking."

    No doubt about it -- this is a valid concern. In recent years, a Category 5 hurricane, a terrorist attack and a documentary about the certainties of global warming have struck fear in the hearts of many potential homebuyers. But should it stop you from buying a home?

    Counter: Nope. Historically speaking, property values bounce back, especially if the disaster happens in a desirable area. Real estate in Manhattan, for instance, has soared in value since the 2001 terrorist attacks. Despite mudslides, earthquakes and smog, property along the California coast is still the most sought-after in the country. What to do if you're really worried? Before you buy, call in a loss-prevention specialist, who can analyze a home's design and construction to see how likely it could survive a catastrophe, Chubb's Schussel says.

    Then, if you really want peace of mind, beef up your insurance. For starters, people who are investing in expensive homes in vulnerable areas should make sure their policies include guaranteed-replacement-cost coverage, which would protect you during rebuilding if the prices of labor and material surged, Schussel says. Make sure your policy covers debris removal, rebuilding to code and additional living-expense coverage, in case it could take you months or even more than a year to rebuild, he adds. There's a good chance you might not want to rebuild if disaster strikes, so check to see if your policy provides an optional cash settlement so you can decide whether you're "taking the money and running," he says.

    In places where flooding is a concern, many homeowners get basic coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program. Upscale customers may want to buy additional flood coverage (offered by private insurers) to supplement that, he says.


    We like real estate. If you've got enough for a down payment and have a stable job, and you're in an area you'll be comfortable living in for years to come, we can't figure out why you don't.

    Thursday, July 19, 2007

    My Opinions on Redfin

    What can I say? For those of you who have checked out the site since my blog yesterday, I would love to hear your opinions! For those of you expecting to hear what my opinion of their success will be here it goes.

    Redfin is a brilliant company based out of Cali that targets those who are comfortable using the internet as a medium for their home purchase. I would expect that a typical home buyer who has had experience in the past purchasing a home would feel more comfortable using this system. First time home buyers might not. Even experienced home buyers might not either. Too much trust is placed on a non-experienced site with little to no objection or input from someone experienced with the process. Ill give you an example. Did you know that if you own a home and have a basement without a Certificate of Occupancy or business license that is being rented out for any number of years you will liable to pay the tenant back all of their rent since their first day of occupancy or possibly face jail time or fines up the wazoo! That is if your tenant ever gets mean and decides to sue you. How about what constitutes a bedroom. Did you know that just because you have a room in your house with a closet doesnt mean its a bedroom. It must have two means of egress for safety (exits). What if a seller sells a home that they called a 4 bedroom home when it only has 3 legal bedrooms. Guess what? Lawsuit time! I have a few lawyers that would love to get their hands on that one. And what about purchasing a home that was remodeled without permits? If you buy it, you buy the violation and now the buyer is responsible for the problems.

    No site in the world can offer the value and protection of an experienced agent. Do I think the industry will get more competitive? Absolutely! But real estate will never be agent free, there is a human element required to ensure the transaction progresses smoothly and hassle free. Redfin cant offer that.

    O St Market to include 700 parking spots & a Luxury Hotel

    According to Susan Ruether of DC North, the O St Market (between the John F Kennedy Center and Giant) may soon have a new face. According to the newest plans, currently with the support of Historic Review Board, there may soon be a 65,000 sq ft Giant Food, a 180 room luxury hotel, 300 Condos, 300 apartments as well as a bit of affordable housing and 7,500 sq ft of local retail.

    Wednesday, July 18, 2007

    Redfin Comes to Washington DC

    According to just about every source I could find, Redfin, the famed online real estate "brokerage" released their DC branch last night. Originally from California, Redfin has come quite far since their establishment in 2002. According to an article out of Washington Business Journal


    The company, founded in 2002, launched its home-buying service in 2006 and is already doing business in Washington state, California and the Boston area.

    While traditional Realtors typically command a 6 percent commission on transactions -- 3 percent for the seller's agent and 3 percent for the buyer's agent -- Redfin's online brokers charge home sellers a flat fee of $3,000 upfront, or $4,000 at closing, regardless of the house's price. For buyers, Redfin rebates two-thirds of the commission, which can be as much as 2 percent of the price. The company also provides online video tours of homes and allows customers to quickly compare home prices.

    Some Realtors argue online real estate companies like Redfin should not be allowed to tap into the Multiple Listing Service, the comprehensive database of homes for sale in specific markets around the country.

    Although anyone who pays the fees for access to MLS data is entitled to its contents, the D.C.-based National Association of Realtors (NAR) says online companies are essentially stealing from traditional real estate agents.

    "The Internet-only businesses are not in the business of actually listing properties and selling real estate," said Walter Molony, a spokesman for the NAR. "These companies are just skimming data, and they're skimming off the profits of others."

    Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman declined to comment in advance of the company's launch in D.C.

    Redfin's model hasn't exactly been met with open arms, at least not on the regulatory side. Eleven states prohibit companies from giving homebuyers rebates on real estate commissions. The District, Maryland and Virginia, however, do not.

    Redfin does have one big ally in its corner. The U.S. Department of Justice is pursuing an antitrust lawsuit against the NAR, contending that the association is engaging in anti-competitive behavior against online home brokers. The NAR policy for "virtual office Web sites," or VOWs, contains a provision that allows Realtors to prohibit their listings from being displayed on competitors' Web sites."

    Read the full story here.

    More on my opinions tomorrow!

    Article from Express this morning about Dupont Underground...A strip club?!?!

    Newspaper Clipping. CLICK TO ENLARGE!

    Tuesday, July 17, 2007

    And the prediction was right! Marriott is building a hotel at Union Station!

    Several months ago I was speaking to a client of mine about where I was intending to purchase in DC and I mentioned that I would most likely be purchasing in the area between Florida Ave NE and H St NE, East of Union Station. Wouldn't you know what DC released this past week. Marriott is building a hotel right on top of the train at Union Station.

    According to DCMPED, the developer, Finvarb Group, based out of Florida, broke ground this past Friday on their new site for 218 rooms. The hotel is based in the NoMa area.

    As a part of the development agreement negotiated by the District, 35 percent of the construction contracting must be done by businesses certified by the District’s Local, Small and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (LSDBE) program and 51 percent of the new jobs must go to District residents. Additionally, the project financing includes a 20 percent equity stake from LSDBE investors.

    The hotel will also be the first in the District’s emerging NoMA neighborhood, which lies between Union Station, the Florida Avenue Market, Eckington, Bloomingdale and Northwest One. The NoMA area is expected to produce more than 20 million square feet of new development, $500 million in new tax revenue and 36,000 jobs during the next 10 years.

    Better than Zillow?

    According to BusinessWeek Online, there is new competition to Zillow.com, an online real estate service dedicated to helping consumers get an edge in real estate by providing valuable tools and information. The new site is Terabitz.com

    According to Maya Roney, a writer from Business Week, "In my opinion, the coolest thing about Terabitz is its customizability (that’s a real word, I checked). Think iGoogle, but for real estate. For those without a personalized Google homepage, iGoogle allows you to add web feeds and “Google Gadgets” to the usual Google homepage so that when you go to www.google.com to search, you can also track things like the local weather, your stocks, your email or the top stories on your favorite news sites. With Terabitz, you enter a location and drag icons from the top of the page into “the workspace.” This way, you can simultaneously view maps, for-sale listings from a number of different sources, local photos, a list of restaurants or doctors offices in the area, population demographics, a mortgage rate calculator— you name it."

    DC Ranks # 5 according to Forbes for best city for young professionals!!!

    As all of you know, I am in love with DC!!!! Everything here appeals to me mainly due to my upbringing in Florida in my earlier years and New York, NY for most of my childhood. Unfortunately neither of them appeal to me whatsoever for exact opposite reasons. Florida is to sparse and New York is too crowded. DC is just about right. You can walk to your local grocer or bar but within two blocks there is always somewhere to enjoy yourself. This afternoon Forbes released a report on the top 5 cities for young professionals their rank

    Their top 5:

    New York, NY

    San Francisco, CA

    Atlanta, GA

    Los Angeles, CA

    Washington, DC

    They ranked the cities based on where graduates of top universities ended post graduation and where the opportunities most presented themselves to the young professionals. As indices, a study was commenced at the class of 1997 from the six best universities; i.e. Duke, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, Northwester, and Rice...and where those graduates ended up 10 years later.

    Having gone to American University myself, I can say that I made my decision to come to the city prior to college but there is no intention of leaving, not with all the city has to offer.

    ENJOY DC!!

    Monday, July 16, 2007

    How about this for an investment; ever consider a parking spot?

    As a follow-up to my post yesterday about purchasing a condo without parking I thought I would follow up with a bit of research regarding the price of parking in New York City. Based on a recent article from CNN parking in New York City can cost upward of $225,000. Keep the price in mind when DC considers a legally deedable parking spot to be no smaller than 9'x18' (thats 162 sq ft). At nearly $1400/sq ft, a parking spot in New York City costs more than any condo in Washington DC. Given the relative size of Washington DC to New York City, 39 sq miles vs 33.6 sq miles respectively, I might consider investing in a parking spot. What do you think?

    Our newest campaign, MetroFlyering, debuts today!!!

    As I may have mentioned in the past, we have unveiled several proprietary marketing campaigns to help our listings sell faster, receive more exposure and allow us to create quantifiable predictions for ROI on investment in guerrilla marketing tactics. We will be the first to implement the new campaign anywhere in the city but our results are what presents the actual value. Our newest campaign print run can be seen below. The schedule of the campaign is to pass out flyers at the metro entrance most close to our project, this week its my listings at 1815-1819 Irving St NE in Woodridge. They consist of three brand new homes, all of which are priced in the low $500's and are nearly 4000 sq ft. Talk about value! They are priced very aggressively as per the request of the developer and I don't see them staying on the market for long. Ill have much more in depth updates as the week continues but our real results will come from the open house this following Sunday. If you have a chance, stop by! By the way...I'm very optimistic about the weather.

    Sunday, July 15, 2007

    Condos Without Parking? How about the option to purchase?

    Correct me if I'm misconstruing my perception of the market (which has been rather accurate so far), but with real estate as prime as what is available here, in DC, how can one consider purchasing a condo without parking???? Obviously depending on the buyers needs one may not need parking but take a look around. Seriously! This city is only becoming more dense, real estate is only going up, both literally and figuratively, and parking is going to be a strong selling point within 3-5 years if it already hasn't affected buyers.

    According to my research, deeded parking can go for as high as $75,000 as I experienced with a buyer looking in the Beekman Place community off of 16th St. Talk about prime real estate. According to DC law a legally deedable parking spot must be 9ft x 18ft. At a total of 162 sq ft, thats nearly $463 /sq ft. Condos in the same community are currently selling for $528 /sqft. Could it be a good investment? You tell me! (On Adams Mill there is a 124 sq ft spot selling for $75,000....$605 /sqft. PPPHHHHHEEEEEEW, thats as much as a luxury condo by BrookRose Development!)

    Saturday, July 14, 2007

    Do you know anyone going into foreclosure? A short short sale might be an unwelcomed option.

    Despite my last post we have been working a significant amount with banks representing properties on their way to foreclosure. Keep in mind that the following information only outlines what a short sale is but it can be detrimental to ones credit.

    This recent post is from About.com regarding Short Sales...

    There are many ways to lose a home but signing away ownership in a manner that destroys credit, embarrasses the family and strips an owner of dignity is one of the hardest. For owners who can no longer afford to keep mortgage payments current, there are alternatives to bankruptcy or foreclosure proceedings. One of those options is called a "short sale." When lenders agree to do a short sale in real estate, it means the lender is accepting less than the total amount due. Not all lenders will accept short sales or discounted payoffs, especially if it would make more financial sense to foreclose. If you are considering buying a short sale, there could be drawbacks. For your protection, I suggest that all borrowers
    Obtain legal advice from a competent real estate lawyer
    Call an accountant to discuss tax ramifications
    As a real estate agent, I am not licensed as a lawyer nor a CPA and cannot advise on those consequences.

    Be aware the I.R.S. will consider debt forgiveness as income, and there is no guarantee that a lender who accepts a short sale will not legally pursue a borrower for the difference between the amount owed and the amount paid. In some states, this amount is known as a deficiency. A lawyer can determine whether your loan qualifies for a deficiency judgment or claim.
    Although all lenders have varying requirements and may demand that a borrower submit a wide array of documentation, the following steps will give you a pretty good idea of what to expect.
    Call the LenderYou may need to make a half dozen phone calls before you find the person responsible for handling short sales. You do not want to talk to the "real estate short sale" or "work out" department, you want the supervisor's name, the name of the individual capable of making a decision.
    Submit Letter of AuthorizationLenders typically do not want to disclose any of your personal information without written authorization to do so. If you are working with a real estate agent, closing agent, title company or lawyer, you will receive better cooperation if you write a letter to the lender giving the lender permission to talk with those specific interested parties about your loan. The letter should include the following:
    Property Address
    Loan Reference Number
    Your Name
    The Date
    Your Agent's Name & Contact Information
    Preliminary Net SheetThis is an estimated closing statement that shows the sales price you expect to receive and all the costs of sale, unpaid loan balances, outstanding payments due and late fees, including real estate commissions, if any. Your closing agent or lawyer should be able to prepare this for you if you do not know how to calculate any of these fees. If the bottom line shows cash to the seller, you will probably not need a short sale.
    Hardship LetterThe sadder, the better. This statement of facts describes how you got into this financial bind and makes a plea to the lender to accept less than full payment. Lenders are not inhumane and can understand if you lost your job, were hospitalized or a truck ran over your entire family, but lenders are not particularly empathetic to situations involving dishonesty or criminal behavior.
    Proof of Income and AssetsIt is best to be truthful and honest about your financial situation and disclose assets. Lenders will want to know if you have savings accounts, money market accounts, stocks or bonds, negotiable instruments, cash or other real estate or anything of tangible value. Lender are not in the charity business and often require assurance that the debtor cannot pay back any of the debt that it is forgiving.
    Copies of Bank StatementsIf your bank statements reflect unaccountable deposits, large cash withdrawals or an unusual number of checks, it's probably a good idea to explain each of those line items to the lender. In addition, the lender might want you to account for each and every deposit so it can determine whether deposits will continue.
    Comparative Market AnalysisSometimes markets decline and property values fall. If this is part of the reason that you cannot sell your home for enough to pay off the lender, this fact should be substantiated for the lender through a comparative market analysis (CMA). Your real estate agent can prepare a CMA for you, which will show prices of similar homes
    Active on the market
    Pending sales
    Solds from the past six months.
    Purchase Agreement & Listing AgreementWhen you reach an agreement to sell with a prospective purchaser, the lender will want a copy of the offer, along with a copy of your listing agreement. Be prepared for the lender to renegotiate commissions and to refuse to allow payment of certain items such as home protection plans or termite inspections.
    Now if everything goes well, the lender will approve your short sale. As part of the negotiation, you might ask that the lender not report adverse credit to the credit reporting agencies, but realize that the lender is under no obligation to accommodate this request.

    New Development On Maryland Ave NE

    Friday, July 13, 2007

    VP of KTRE Resigns...

    Trouble you may ask? Actually no. Tomas Guirola put in his 30 days of KTRE to open our newest development division of KTRE as the leading developer sales and marketing firm of the area. Whats spectacular in our ability is our complementary traits in the business. He is dedicated, focused and has incredible writing skills and sales skills and I have been brokering, establishing and closing development contracts since my first day in the business. All I have to say is WATCH OUT!

    Wednesday, July 11, 2007

    Whats the most difficult phone call a Realtor can receive?

    Earlier this week my brother called me in a frantic panic. He had overspent on his new home purchase and his previous home was still on the market. Being his little brother, I can understand (though not justifiably) why he would have made his decisions without consulting a professional first. (Keep in mind that I am MUCH younger than him). Whats worse is his home is in New Jersey, a market in much worse condition than anything around hereIts not so much that he had made a poor home buying decision but he was passive in getting his home sold and only after did he come to me for advice. What kills me is that now he is in over his head more than I can express though my blog and I seem to be one of his few solutions, besides bankruptcy.

    Tuesday, July 10, 2007

    Oh Macy...

    Letters to Macy Development, by a former & understandably enraged client!

    To preface the story, we settled on a condo built by Macy Development nearly two months ago, since then Macy has been nothing but difficult about making the necessary changes...please refer to my previous post; Macy, Macy, Macy, Oh why have you done this Macy Development

    Leading up to the following is my clients interaction with Macy & their HVAC company.

    Devender informed me that this situation has reached a point where Kort MUST get involved. To call it a total mess is an understatement. Our situation and the way it's been handled has put new meaning to the word, "reasonable".

    We have given you a "reasonable" amount of time to solve this issue or to at least form a plan to solve this issue. We are not asking for anything that is un"reasonable" as it is "reasonable" for us to assume that when we bought a brand new home, the air cooling system would be in top working order. Please try and view our situation from a customer point of view. If you guys (Macy) would bend a little, we could work this stuff out, but you have fought us at every turn. We're coming to the end of our road.

    Devender hasn't informed you of his "master plan"? It's in M's email:

    "Devender's solution now is to install a large pipe in the back of the furnace. This pipe would then go into our master bedroom walk-in closet and head directly downstairs to the ceiling above the kitchen."
    I recommend that you give us a written proposal of the intended work prior to any "repair" on your part for us to approve first. And Aaron, per legal council, I don't need your writen approval for me to correct your errors. The legal system will collect for us.

    I am not sure what you are referring to "putting duct work through my closets". As you guys (M, Tony) are aware 1900 Fourth Street , LLC is attempting to repair your warranty requests. I recommend you allow us to proceed. When we are completed if you are still not satisfied you can take whatever action you feel necessary.

    In addition 1900 Fourth Street, LLC will not be responsible for any fees you incur without our written agreement to do so which we are not providing at this time.

    Devender started work at 10:15am (6/29/07) and installed a large damper into the flume on top of the furnace. This damper's job was to redirect the air to the little bridge that Devender's men built that attaches the giant furnace flume to the feeder pipe that feeds the downstairs ducts. The damper minorly increased the airflow. Not enough to satisfy any of us.

    Devender brought a little blower with him (on the recommendation of the furnace rep) and seeing that the damper didn't improve things much, he called the furnace rep to ask his advice. The rep (Greg) said that installing the blower would not increase the air flow to the downstairs. In fact, installation of the blower might actually DECREASE downstairs air, because it's going to take up so much space in the pipe. So, we're at a standstill again.

    Devender's solution now is to install a large pipe in the back of the furnace. This pipe would then go into our master bedroom walk-in closet and head directly downstairs to the ceiling above the kitchen. A large vent with a damper would be installed to control the airflow, but this vent would deliver a large amount of cool air to the kitchen and living room. It would operate separately from the existing ductwork already installed in the first floor. It would involve the cutting of dry wall. It appears that we are at a stalemate with the existing duct work.

    I must say that I'm very disappointed that's it's come to this. I am not thrilled at the idea of having a large pipe installed into my closet that will cut through the floor and end up in the ceiling above my kitchen. I'm frustrated that the existing ductwork doesn't do that job it was installed to do. I'm even more frustrated that it has taken over 2 months for us to reach this decision. Devender's man, Sonny was supposed to install the large damper (that Devender installed today) a few weeks ago. Much time could have been saved, but that's in the past now. Devender said he's going to talk to Kort regarding the construction plans so he can locate the water pipes and electrical wiring in the walls and ceiling so the new "pipe vent" can be properly installed.
    That's the update from here. Macy Development, please contact me when you have some new information.

    My latest message to Macy.
    I'm documenting everything.

    They say that the rep from the window manufacturer will be by this week to measure our windows to make sure we get window screens. It's been 3 months and still NO window screens. Here's the latest on the AC issue.

    They refuse to pay for us to get a rep in for a 2nd opinion and are threatening us with a loss of furnace warranty if we go with someone else.
    I think that if they were truly interested in solving our problem, they'd pay for a 2nd opinion and then pay for the fix, if that opinion was better than their own guy. They have ZERO customer service. ZERO. It's like they've never sold homes before.

    Monday, July 9, 2007

    What if I told you there was 28,000 sq ft of retail space underneath Dupont Circle?

    Believe it. After a long conversation yesterday with a very enthusiastic homeowner, whom I'll call JO, I promised todays Blog would be all about the 28,000 sq ft of retail space underneath the circle in Dupont. Well, here it goes.
    From sources online:
    It all started back in 1949 when the city was exploring new ways to avoid the traffic congestions with the once functional street cars. The intent was to avoid having the street cars ride through the circle, and the solution that was introduced was to have them run parallel to Connecticut ave on the left and right sides of the street under the circle.

    (In the picture to the left, the red dots are the now boarded up entrances and there is a gap where Connecticut ave runs under the circle.)

    At was first it was a wonderful option to what was once considered heavy traffic. Thats a joke! However after the demise of the streetcar in 1962, the entrances were blocked in with the plywood covers you see today, leaving Connecticut ave alone. In 1995 there was an attempt to redevelop a food court and was named Dupont Down Under and most recently, the lessee of the 20 year lease investigated possible uses without determining any significant use.

    Now for the truth from my sources...

    The man who had the 20 year lease and opened the food court was somewhat successful but after several years of operation was shut down for illegal electicity and gas tapping underground by a close personal friend, whom I'll call JD. Upon closing Dupont Down Under, the stairs were closed and it has not been opened since. What seems shocking is that the lessee was paying 25k to the city and reassigned the rights for 125k per year to the new tenant whom opened the food court. The other half was under city control and was never developed. In recent times, the owner of Kalorama Sports Management Associates, who is a partial owner of Washington Sports Clubs in Dupont, Paul London, had the intention of expanding his gym into the space below but never moved forward with the development.

    Since that time, Paul has used 9 of his 15 year lease and still argues that his lease is still enforceable despite never having paid nor having been requested to pay. Additionally, it is my understanding that the property was just transferred from the Office of Property Management to NCRC and is unavailable for development at this time. I have tried. For questions, call Sam Young with NCRC.

    Saturday, July 7, 2007

    INVESTORS, DEVELOPERS, Condo applications projected to cut in half over the next two years

    I just came across an article by DCMUD, a publication by dcrealestate.com, that stated their prediction is that condo developments may be cut in half during the next two years when compared to the last two years. What does this mean? Well the simple answer is that an investment in SE DC will reap significantly more benefits than an investment in NW DC. Conisdering the article published last week, "Anacostia from Buy to Strong Buy" I cannot help but support the development of the cheapest land in Washington DC.

    According to the estimates stated in the report, only 7600 condos will become available over the next 2 years, versus 13000 in the previous two. My impression of this downturn in release may come in part from a number of reasons:
    -DCRA is horrible at aiding the process of condo conversion in Washington DC and based on my interation with many local developers, has scared many developers to maintain their development growth in areas outside the city.
    -The real estate market has maintained steady but is unable to provide the growth rates once offered to any developer.

    For those of you who are considering investing in our city or developing condos or townhomes, consider the SE Market. Even with sceduled production of unit releases, the earliest a development begun now would be sold is early spring next year. GET STARTED!

    Friday, July 6, 2007

    New Condo Spotlight: 5220 Wisconsin Ave

    Akridge Development was recently approved for a 70-90 unit building in the lot on Wisconsin Ave where the car dealership currently exists. The address is 5220 Wisconsin Ave NW. I spoke with their development representative this past week, DT, who mentioned that they are looking to list the condos in the 900/sq ft range, even higher than PN Hoffman's building, named Chase Point, selling upwards of $800/sq ft. My impression is that this building will be a great success, hopefully more than the Chase Point condos around the corner, then again PN Hoffman doesnt have the best reputation for building a quality product. My feeling of the building's best selling points is the limited space for a non-'bulkified' lot in a somewhat dense commerical area. The lot is quite large, according to the tax record it's an R5B zoned lot at nearly 1/3 of an acre. Thats 15,000 sq ft in leymans terms.

    Here is the sites description.

    Page 1
    Akridge owns the Friendship Motors property (often called the Buick Site)
    located at 5220 Wisconsin Avenue NW between Harrison and Jenifer Streets
    (less than 300 ft away from the Friendship Heights Metro Station).
    Currently the site contains a used car lot, an auto body repair shop and a
    flower store. We propose building a 60 to 70 unit condominium building with
    ground floor retail space on the site. Along with related upgrades to adjacent
    areas on this block described on the reverse side, we believe this project will
    substantially enliven this block. See reverse for details.
    Proposed Condominium Project in Friendship Heights
    Conceptual rendering of the project.
    Friendship Motors and a PEPCO substation to the south.

    There is a PEPCO substation to the south of 5220 Wisconsin
    which has bricked-over windows. The building façade and sidewalk
    areas are in disrepair. As part of this project,Akridge will
    upgrade and repair the façade and replace the sidewalk, thereby
    enlivening and reactivating an additional street front section
    of Wisconsin Ave.
    􀀗 On The PEPCO Substation, Akridge Plans To:
    • Install new retail storefront-type windows to be
    used for public display of art work, school-related
    activities and public service announcements. Use of
    these windows would be administered by an appropriate
    neighborhood organization.
    • Restore the limestone and terra cotta building
    • Replace the existing entry door and clock to give
    the appearance of an attractive retail storefront.
    Akridge is a Washington DC-based real estate services firm. We have been working in the local market for more than thirty years.
    WE WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU. If you have ideas, reactions, comments or suggestions including what type of retail uses
    you would like to see at this location, please email wisconsin@akridge.com.
    YOU MAY ALSO VISIT www.5220wisconsin.com for more info
    􀀗 60 – 70 for-sale condominium homes with approximately 13,000 SF of ground floor retail space
    􀀗 2 levels of underground parking: at least 1.2 spaces per residential unit and 15 validated retail spaces
    􀀗 Half of the building is 5 stories or lower; the other half is 7 stories
    􀀗 Parking and loading will occur via the Harrison Street alley, thereby eliminating three existing driveway
    entrances which frequently involve hazardous left-hand turns on to and from Wisconsin Ave.
    Aerial image of conceptual model, looking north on Wisconsin Ave.
    Wisconsin Ave
    Harrison St.
    􀀗 We will provide streetscape improvements including upgraded sidewalk pavers, trees and planters on approximately 250 ft of
    Wisconsin Ave. (includes area in front of substation).
    􀀗 Affordable housing units will be included as part of the project (approximately 7%).
    􀀗 To minimize traffic impacts and neighborhood parking ‘spillover,’ we will market the retail space to neighborhood-serving businesses
    (not “destination retail”), include: 2 parking spaces for car sharing programs (Zipcar and/or Flexcar), 3 visitor spaces for guests of residents,
    bicycle storage, a shower and changing room. Also,we will prohibit project residents from obtaining Residential Parking Permits.
    􀀗 The building will be LEED Certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). This includes sustainable or “green” design features
    including a roof which stores and filters storm water; a reduction in water and energy use; and the recycling or reuse of at least 50% of all
    construction materials waste. These are just three of many such features. No residential building in DC has yet received this distinction.
    􀀗 The Sierra Club’s DC Chapter endorsed this project, saying it will set “new standards for green urban development.” In a press release, the
    Sierra Club suggested that residents should insist on developments like this one which cut down on pollution and traffic congestion.
    􀀗 The Smart Growth Alliance (SGA) has recognized this project as exemplary in achieving smart growth objectives. This distinction commends
    projects which help “the Washington region accommodate growth in a manner that achieves economic, environmental, and
    quality-of-life objectives.” The SGA represents five organizations including the Urban Land Institute and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
    􀀗 With community input,Akridge has selected additional community benefits and amenities as part of this project. These include $500,000 for
    the Lisner-Louise-Dickson-Hurt Home, $100,000 for Janney Elementary School, $30,000 for IONA Senior Services and $40,000 to fund a
    “Friendship Heights Transportation Management Coordinator.” Please click here for more information.
    Proposed Building

    Mortgage rates drop for the second week in a row....

    Mortgage rates decreased for the second week in a row according to the results of Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the previous week.
    According to Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, "Mortgage rates edged down slightly for the second week in a row after having risen over the previous month and a half, and as financial markets prepared for the June 28th Federal Open Market Committee's announcement on monetary policy."

    Thursday, July 5, 2007

    Akridge Development in Friendship Heights at Dealership

    Yesterday, one of my clients asked me to see what I could find out a rumor he had heard in Friendship Heights. To my surprise there is a proposed development at 5220 Wisconsin Ave NW where there currently resides a car dealership. It turns out that Akridge Development is building their second mixed use development project, after their first at Gallery Place. I spoke with the project manager, DT who informed me that they will be looking to hire a new team to represent them in this development after their unsuccessful partnership with McWilliams Ballard on their previous Project. What seems more difficult to understand than their choice to use McWilliams is DT's defense of PN Hoffman's development success after speaking about the feedback I was given from clients of my own...ALL of whom have said they could have made a better choice in developments...but who am I to judge? If any of you have any feedback regarding PN Hoffman or are purchasers of Akridge's first mixed use development please send me feedback on your purchase! I would love to post it.

    Has anyone heard of interactive development design? You are about to!

    As competition in the area rises for agents targeting developers, the need developed to always stay one step ahead of the competition. This is not to say that my team is not already on the cutting edge, but it has come to a point where we need to begin winning over the multi-million dollar projects in addition to the catering that we offer our developers who prefer smaller developments.

    We are about to unveil our next-generation of marketing to buyers, through online furnishing design options. My vision for the program is to work with developers who can offer exclusive purchase agreements with companies that furnish their interior. We can use the loaned items from the manufacturer to stage and set the unit for photos, upload them online and allow potential buyers or the public to vote on their favorite interior. There is no going wrong!

    More updates soon!

    Wednesday, July 4, 2007

    Poplar Point, Anacostia, From Buy to STRONG Buy

    Just got out of a meeting with a friend of mine who informed me that there is rumor that the new DC United stadium is going in over on Poplar Point in a 9 acre site. The only reason this land is available is because our president just released the land to DC Government for development. Its going to be an incredible opportunity and I would recommend to any investor, buy in Anacostia! Anywhere!

    On the same site will be the new Anacostia waterfront as well as mixed use development including, but not limited to condos, retail storefront, and apartments.

    Tuesday, July 3, 2007

    Not the usual...VA is now imposing traffic fines up to $3550 per violation

    Virginia legislator introduces new speeding ticket tax that boosts penalties beyond $3550, driving business to his traffic law firm.

    Virginia motorists convicted of minor traffic violations will face a new, multi-year tax beginning July 1. Led by state Delegate David B. Albo (R-Springfield), lawmakers slipped a driver responsibility tax into a larger transportation funding bill signed by Governor Tim Kaine (D) in April. Albo, a senior partner in the Albo & Oblon, LLP traffic law firm, can expect to see a significant increase in business as motorists seek to protect their wallet from traffic tickets that come with assessments of up to $3000 in addition to an annual point tax that tops out at $700 a year for as long as the points remain.

    "The purpose of the civil remedial fees imposed in this section is to generate revenue," the new law states. (Virginia Code 46.2-206.1)

    Driving as little as 15 MPH over the limit on an interstate highway now brings six license demerit points, a fine of up to $2500, up to one year in jail, and a new mandatory $1050 tax. The law also imposes an additional annual fee of up to $100 if a prior conviction leaves the motorist with a balance of eight demerit points, plus $75 for each additional point (up to $700 a year). The conviction in this example remains on the record for five years.

    Other six-point convictions include "failing to give a proper signal," "passing a school bus" or "driving with an obstructed view." The same $1050 assessment applies, but the conviction remains on the record for eleven years.

    Although the amount of the tax can add up quickly, the law forbids judges from reducing or suspending it in any way. The tax applies only to Virginia residents, so that out-of-state motorists only need to pay the regular ticket amount. Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Texas also impose a somewhat more modest driver responsibility tax which they apply to out-of-state residents.

    Found here