Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sunday Open Houses In and Around Bloomingdale

Lovely Spring weather continues to bring new listings and plenty of Open Houses to visit around the neighborhood. Here is the list for Sunday 4/19.

I am thrilled to have a new listing on Adams St, which is represented in the above picture. I hope to see lots of neighbors at the Open House from 1-4pm on Sunday at 167 Adams St NW. The home has 3 bedrooms, 3 full baths, and a finished basement. It has been beautifully renovated and is priced at $499,000.

I was heavily quoted in an article in the NW Current newspaper yesterday and of course, mentioned beloved Bloomingdale. See below for the text:

Bargains can be
found, but steals
aren’t very likely

by Linda Lombardi, Current Correspondent

Even in a recession, some things
don’t change: If you want a deal
in real estate, you need to know
where to look.
The D.C. market peaked in 2005, so
prices have been coming down for four
years already, according to Suzanne Des
Marais of EYA Urban Properties. Des
Marais, who was recently voted one of the
best agents in the city in a poll by the
Washington City Paper, said that with
interest rates “ridiculously low,” it’s definitely
a good time to buy — but if you go
into it thinking that everyone is desperate
to sell, you may be in for a surprise.
Des Marais said even foreclosure properties,
if they’re in a good neighborhood
and in decent condition, are attracting multiple
offers — above listing price, although
still below market value — “so people
need to be prepared to compete.” With
condos as well, while a knowledgeable
agent may be able to help find a deal when
a project is almost sold out, it’s a misconception
that builders are desperate to get
rid of a glut of properties.
Carlos Garcia of the Eng
Garcia group at Keller Williams
Capital Properties said he finds
clients wondering why sellers are
being so tough in a down market.
“Buyers are sometimes surprised
that they’re not able to get
the discount off of [the] sales
price that they anticipate, when
they are looking in a very stable
neighborhood,” he said.
But basically, value is still
value, and neighborhoods with
good schools and retail are holding
that value, he said, with
close-in neighborhoods connected
to transit having become even
more desirable.
There are good deals if you
know where to look, though —
for example, both Des Marais and
Garcia are particularly enthusiastic
about Petworth as a place to
get value for your money. There’s
an excess of inventory, said
Garcia, and the properties are
wonderful homes in a neighborhood
that’s looking up, which
makes for a great deal.
“It’s beautiful turn-of-the-century
housing stock — block after
block of beautiful row houses,”
said Garcia.
They’re “great solid houses,”
agreed Des Marais — brick with
wood floors, and many with front
porches, in the $400,000 to
$500,000 range for one that’s
nicely renovated, and perhaps as
low as $250,000 if you’re willing
to put in some work.
There’s more to a location
than the buildings, though, and
Des Marais said Petworth has the
benefit of a high percentage of
owner-occupied houses — “it
feels very much like a neighborhood.”
Along with long-term residents,
Garcia said there are “lots
of young professionals and families
of all kinds.” There’s also
development under way at the
area’s relatively new Metro stop,
by the same company that did the
development at the Columbia
Heights station.
If you’re interested in more of
the amenities of the suburbs, like
a yard for your dog and a more
car-friendly situation, look just a
little farther north to 16th Street
Heights, said Des Marais, where
you’ll find Metrobus access, as
well as on-street parking and in
some cases a garage.
She’s also enthusiastic about
Bloomingdale and LeDroit Park,
which she says feels “like
Takoma Park 20 years ago” —
with yoga studios, an organic
market and properties ranging
from condos to large Victorian
If you’re not in a hurry, another
way to find a good deal can be
short sales. With many homeowners
owing more on their loans
than their houses are worth,
Garcia said banks — realizing
they don’t want to be in the business
of owning houses — have
become more open to authorizing
sales as an alternative to foreclosure.
Short sales can be a good deal
for everyone — the bank, the
buyer and the seller, who is
relieved of the burden of the loan
and takes less of a hit on his or
her credit rating. But the process
is more complicated and less
transparent than a normal sale.
You need to be able to be completely
flexible about your movein
date, and you need the right
broker — some don’t like to handle
short sales because of the
“Short sales are a terrific
opportunity, but you need to be
patient, and you need an agent
who really understands them,”
said Garcia.
No matter what you’re looking
for or where, Garcia said now is a
good time to buy for one big reason
aside from price: The slow
market means the process has
slowed down, too. When the market
was hot and people had to
jump on a decision on the spot, “I
know so many people who
bought houses that didn’t meet
their requirements,” said Garcia.
No house is a good deal if it turns
out it’s the wrong house, so that’s
a big advantage of this market:
“You are going to get time to


  1. Yay Suzanne! Definitely the #1 real estate agent in DC and more than that, a great person.

  2. Ha! Thanks! Usually I don't like Anonymous comments, but I'll take that one. (I swear I did not write it myself!)