Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
□ Near U St there is a building that has a brick exterior but all wood construction underneath.
□ Downtown there are “luxury” condominiums going for up to $500/square foot and here is what you get: unmitered baseboards, light switches on the left when a bathroom door opens on the right, plastic soaking tubs, thin granite installed with large seams exposed, GE appliances, wood veneer flooring, simple and very limited placement of light fixtures, no recessed lighting, hollow core doors, apartment-grade carpeting, uncentered vanity mirrors, home depot grade cabinetry, crooked granite installation in bathroom,. (I can remember dorm rooms that started off better than these!)
□ There is an over-priced rental building in a bustling new area that, when you get done with all the hidden costs of rental (pet free, pet deposit, move in fee, move-in deposit) and the extravagant price for rental you are in a whole new category of rental (or you may just wanna go ahead and buy!) and you get bare concrete floors that are supposed to be a nod to “fashion.” Maybe the jazz down the street can give you some solace. Come on!
□ Another property tells naked emperors and their wives every day how beautiful their new clothing is with cramped windowless and dated kitchens, boring living rooms, low ceilings, and that 1/8th inch veneer wood flooring that cannot tolerate a decent sanding.. Ah yes, but they have a doorman. And you have the opportunity to pay for a club membership while paying $1000/mo condo fees. You want a two bedroom there? It will cost you about $1.2 million.
□ Another in the West End boasts a Viking kitchen—but insults the buyer with Home Depot -like foam core doors. Oh, and they provide the new trend of the veneer flooring—well it is better than Pergo. Please explain the insanity.
□ There is a new project in near Dupont that boasts and charges for the finest finishes in the city. What were they thinking when they installed a standard American Standard bathtub... charging $800+/sq ft?
Now there are some great projects that are great value in affordable quality with some luxury and full luxury that is TRULY luxury.
True luxury throughout.
3303 Water St
I would like to commend the builder for Maricor Gardens, 1817 24th Pl SE. You will find thick granite, stainless steel, REAL hardwood floors, solid core doors and Kohler products—even colored paint-- for $250/sq ft. Oh and the two bedroom has a view of the Washington monument. Take that NW DC! Thanks, Stu, for putting your heart into the building and offering Southeast real quality—something that makes a permanent contribution to the renaissance of Washington DC.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Question of the Day - Can a Management Company Raise the Condo Fees Higher than What was First Contracted?
Thanks to reader DE for the question.
The simple and straight answer is - yes. While initial advertised condominium fees are just about always below $160 per month on condominium conversions, they just about always go to $230 - $250 per month within two years. Initial condominium fees cover the basics, such as trash removal and the master insurance policy but developers dont always take into account the cash reserves that the association will need to begin keeping for that 'rainy day' when something happens.
In response to the exact question, I would ask if there was originally a management company in place when the unit was purchased. If not, then the unit owners have to pay for the management company's fees in addition to their standard costs, after all, management company's dont manage for free. However, if, when purchased, there was a management company and the association has changed management companies and there is a strong increase in condominium fees due to the change, you may consider negotiating the management company's fees.
The third option is that by hiring a new management company or by changing companies, the new company has assessed that the original condominium fees being paid by the owners was not covering the expenses of the building and would have to increase the fee to pay for the building's updated expenses.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Posted by Jesse Kaye at 10:56 AM
Posted by Jesse Kaye at 10:51 AM
Friday, March 7, 2008
This weekend is the property auction at the Washington Convention Center where they will be auctioning off 550 DC Metro area properties. We'll be on site, live, streaming video here. So, if you have been curious about how auctions work, or just curious, stop in and watch. The video bar will be RIGHT HERE.
Posted by Jesse Kaye at 7:50 AM
If you take a look at the video blog below from two days ago, you'll see that for about a year, its been my belief that relief will not come until FHA or Fannie/Freddie increase their lending limits to help homeowners in trouble. Well, that time has finally come. Yesterday FHA increased their limits in the DC Metro area to $729,750 for single family homes and up to $1,403,400 for four family homes. An impressive feat considering that their limits have been $360,000 for more years than I have been alive.
With this newfound freedom for refinances and purchases can we be approaching the bottom?
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
To all of you skeptics out there, I just happened to stumble upon an article this afternoon on USAToday.com that outlines every states state of the market. I found it interesting because its the first report to specifically give market data based on the individual state rather than the country as a whole.
As the article goes DC and Maryland are both in stages of Expansion while Virginia remains an at-risk state. DC's home values, on average, gained 1.9% last year while Maryland and Virginia gained 0.8%. Not bad for an economic recession. The information was based on three key factors: employment, industrial production, and adjusted retail sales.
What do the locals think about the local market?
Posted by Jesse Kaye at 11:25 AM
Several months ago I wrote a post on how the only way for developers to make money anymore was by going Modular. That is, having the homes/multi-family buildings built off site at a factory and then shipped and installed on site. Well, the trend may be catching on. The Martha Condominiums is going up as we speak and in the least expected place...Northwest Washington, DC. Thats right, the address is 5414 1st Pl NW, and there are planned to be 20 luxury condominiums built with a starting price of $325,000 per unit, and at a cost of around $130 per square foot for the finished product, these units should profit the developer a pretty penny.
According to the listing, the units will have:
Exceptional kitchen with stylish cabinetry and granite countertops
Energy-efficient stainless steel appliances
Over 4500 sq. ft. of patio and terrace recreational space (with 2 handicap lifts)
Whirlpool tubs (Master bath)
Washer and dryer
Ceramic tile (all baths)
Cable TV and high-speed Internet ready
8-foot ceilings and oversized windows; balconies*
Large walk-in closets; linen closet*
Elegant bathrooms with beautiful countertops.
...so I thought I would take a drive over to The Martha and here is what I saw...
Do buyers out there have a stigma against modular/manufactured housing?
Yesterday Former Mayor Barry proposed legislation that could soon create the Anacostia Business Improvement District. BIDs are created by local homeowners contributed extra to local cleaning and public safety programs, helping to improve a local neighborhood. Barry's proposal would include commercial and retail along Good Hope Rd SE and 18th St SE as well as Martin Luther King Ave SE and St Elizabeths Hospital.
One might consider that there are other courses of action that the city can take to help improve the area better than a bit, such as small business tax-credits.
Would Anacostia benefit from a BID or is there another course of action that could benefit the area more?
Much like the European Renaissance,
The vagaries of time faded the forgettable and regrettable mistakes and carpet bagging charlatans of the artistic and cultural movement of the 16th century. Now we are left with just the enduring beauty of work from the likes of Da Vinci and Michelangelo. And, here too in
There is no place better than the recent real estate development to illustrate this state of mix we are in—and the hubris that appears for all to see. Yes, real estate development and investment has been a vital part of the rebirth of DC. We can see examples of it all over:
next "Luxury in DC: The Emperor's New Clothes"
Posted by Marty Hosking at 1:15 AM