Month: August 2013

Multifamily Project Revived in Shaw

The site of multifamily development Flats at Blagden Alley (that charming side street in Shaw where Rogue 24 is tucked away) has a new owner – which likely means the development will be underway soon. The Shaw area is hot as can be, so more inventory is great news for potential buyers. Washington Business Journal has more: 


Aug 28, 2013, 11:21am EDT UPDATED: Aug 28, 2013, 12:42pm EDT

Flats at Blagden Alley to get new life under new owners


Saul Investment Group LLC has purchased the site of the planned Flats at Blagden Alley.
Courtesy of MAC Realty Advisors

Saul Investment Group LLC has purchased the site of the planned Flats at Blagden Alley.

Staff Reporter-Washington Business Journal
Saul Investment Group LLC, the real estate firm launched by former Saul Centers President B. Francis Saul III, has acquired the site of a planned condo development in Shaw known as the Flats at Blagden Alley.

An Update on the H Street Streetcar!

The folks behind the streetcar are still sticking to their promises of delivering this winter! Bisnow has more:


Streetcar: Where Is the Darn Thing?

We’re not trying to rush anyone, it’s just that we’ve been standing outside on H Street since 1997—the year we first heard whispers about streetcar. Our train still hasn’t come, and it’s starting to rain.



DDOT’s Dara Ward tells us the streetcar is still on schedule to begin operations on the H Street Corridor in late 2013. How will one of the nation’s hippest neighborhoods (as confirmed by Forbes in 2012) handle this new addition—especially with 5% annual population growth? Dara’s not worried and thinks the streetcar will continue to transform H Street into a hot DC destination…

Why Do I Need a Realtor? I Have Redfin/Zillow/Trulia!


It may seem to you as though sites like Redfin, Zillow, Trulia, etc. have made the modern-day Realtor obsolete. Au contraire, my friends. Those sites may be helpful for the house-hunting process (though the number of expired listings on those sites is kind of silly), but that’s really just one small piece of the home-buying puzzle. Here are just a few of the many pieces that a good Realtor will help you put in place:

  • Once you find the perfect home, do you know what documents you’re required to submit in order to put in an offer?
  • Are you familiar with the various contingency options, and do you understand the implications that adding or leaving out a particular contingency may have re: the likelihood of your offer being accepted?
  • Do you know how to best craft your offer to protect yourself from accidentally buying a lemon or overpaying for a property?
  • Once your offer is accepted, do you know what needs to be done before you can get to the settlement table?
  • Who’s going to do your home inspection? Termite Inspection? Appraisal? Provide your Home Warranty? Do you even need to get all of these things done?

And, in my humble opinion, the most important point of all: sure, you’re most likely smart enough to figure this stuff out yourself. But do you really have the time to figure it all out yourself? 

The bottom line is, a good realtor has more time, experience, and expertise than you do to get  you through what is unquestionably a complex process and one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make. Being able to sift through listings and open houses with an iPhone app doesn’t change any of that. Trust me, the house hunt – while important – is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Washington Post agrees, though I felt like their analysis really just scratched the surface of the issue. There’s  some interesting input in the comments section though. (No, seriously!)

Why do real estate agents still exist?

By Lydia DePillis, Published: August 22 at 10:52 amE-mail the writer

On Tuesday, the quintessentially mainstream American real estate brokerage–Re/Max–went public. The housing market is hot enough, its initial filing explained, that raising investor cash could launch it into markets around the country it hadn’t yet reached.

But wait–real estate agents? Wasn’t the internet supposed to drive them out of business?…

No Reservations? No Problem.

Ok. You want to check out that hot new restaurant down the street, but there isn’t a reservation available at a decent hour for weeks. And if you attempt to walk-in at dinnertime, you can expect at least an hour wait. Neither option is particularly appealing, but how much time can you really spend trolling OpenTable for cancelled reservations? to the rescue! The website allows you to set up alerts when a table comes available at your restaurant of choice (as long as it’s on OpenTable) at your time and date of choice. The site is still working out a couple of bugs (case in point – the “my reservation time is flexible” option is a bit unclear), but the idea is a solid one.


Yes, You CAN Just Pay Someone to Do That.

Pretty much every busy professional has, at some point, wished they could just hire someone to do [insert errand here]. Assemble that annoying IKEA Smorglebob desk, run to the grocery/hardware/anything store, pick up your prescription, drop off your dry cleaning, swing by the cobbler to get that broken heel re-attached, whatever. Now you can!

TaskRabbit is an intriguing new service that allows you to request bids from pre-screened folks for just about any (legal) task. Describe your task, name your price or request bids, pick your “TaskRabbit” (aka choose from the list of willing helpers), and pay when the task is completed. Check out the video below or click here to explore their website.

Have you tried TaskRabbit before?  Share your experience in the comments!

Deal or No Deal?

The folks at Curbed dug up the only five properties currently on the market that have the audacity to claim to be a “deal” in the current sellers’ market. What do you think? Deal or no deal?

Our Unscientific Guide to D.C.’s Real Estate “Deals”

Monday, August 19, 2013, by Valerie Paschall

↑ Address:2250 11th Street NW Apt. 106
Price: $699,000
Square Feet: 1,367
Bed/Bath: 2/2
The Broker Says: “50k Reduction! A DEAL! Maple Flooring, stainless steel and glass line this 2 level masterpiece. Snaidero cabinetry, open kitchen, European appliances. An atrium style run-of-glass floods this unit with light all the way downstairs to the master bedroom. Here you will find 2br and 2 luxurious ba with walk-in showers and travertine tile.Parking avail for sale in bldg. VA Approved. EZ-2-SHOW -call/go”
Our Observations: A $50K price reduction is nothing to sniff at. In fact, this apartment has gone down $30K since we last profiled it in our Real Estate Death Match a few weeks ago. It just barely lost that match, but perhaps the price reduction would give people pause for an additional look. This is still a pretty luxe spot (two stories! modern design!) in a nightlife hotspot, so it’s hardly the most inexpensive listing in the city. Is it even one of the more inexpensive listings in the neighborhood?

↑ Address:1200 23rd St NW Apt. 809
Price: $329,000
Square Feet: 910
Bed/Bath: 1/1.5
The Broker Says: “BEST DEAL IN WEST END! Open living space w/ sliding glass door to PRVT BALCONY. Raised Dining area steps down to lg Living Rm. Great potential to open Kit. to rest of living area! Convenient Guest Bath and AMPLE STORAGE. Lg bi-level Master Suite w/ W/D. Walk to G’town, TJ’s, Whole Foods and Foggy Btm Metro! Kit. and Mast. Bath need updating. SUBTRACT $68K UNDERLYING MORTGAGE BAL. FROM PRICE!”
Our Observations: Actually, at this price for these specs, it really might be the best deal in West End. A large one bedroom with a balcony at this price? Of course if the kitchen and master bathroom need updating, that will drive up the price considerably and it’s telling that the master bathroom is notably not showcased the listing photos. We noticed it had light pink tile on the walls which is never a good idea.

↑ Address: 1365 Kennedy St NW Apt. 101
Price: $145,000
Square Feet: 637
Bed/Bath: 1/1
The Broker Says: “Amazing deal for this large Sunny one bedroom on tree lined street. Apartment has gleaming hardwood floors and large walk in closets and nice built-ins. Sunny dining room with two large windows and kitchen also w/large window. Coop fee includes utilities and taxes Building has a roof deck and meeting room located in new DC Arts district”
Our Observations: Funny, we’ve looked at this one before as well. Although Zillow hasn’t updated this information yet, the price went down on this one over the weekend according to Redfin. The vast majority of those who voted in our poll said that this actually was a very good deal on a residence but a few readers were a little iffy regarding the co-op fee which appears to be $382 per month.

↑ Address: 1240 18th Street NE Apt. 4
Price: $120,000
Square Feet: 701
Bed/Bath: 2/1
The Broker Says: “Contract fell through; in Atlas Flats District; walking distance to H Street corridor, new Denny’s, Aldi’s, Ross and streetcars coming soon! New Costco just up the road in Ft. Lincoln. Unit shows well and backs to US Arboretum; watch the deer come out and play at night. Investor alert; motivated seller; bank will consider offers at or close to asking price. This deal will not last long!”
Our Observations: Well, one could walk from this spot on the edge of Trinidad to H Street NE but it’s debatable whether being that close to an area noted for deer is a plus or a minus when heading out for the night. Still, there is a nice neighborhood feel to that particular block.

↑ Address: 5253 Banks Pl NE
Price: $169,500
Square Feet: 1,296
Bed/Bath: 4/1
The Broker Says: “Single Family Home for sale by owner in Washington, DC 20019. REALLY CUTE Starter Home for a STEAL OF A DEAL!!! Newly renovated with hardwood floors throughout. Brand New kitchen including NEW STAINLESS STEEL APPLIANCES. New paint throughout. Finished Basement. High efficiency furnace and new sump pump. New gutters and down spouts. Washer and Dryer. Huge, over-sized, fenced-in yard space for kids to play. Directly across the street from the Arts and Technology Academy and minutes from East Capitol, Benning Road Metro Station and the Capitol Heights Metro Station (all walking distance). Serious Buyers Only. Must be PREQUALIFIED and able to close within 30-days. Call Robin to schedule an appointment at 240.347.6742. Buying Agents welcome at 3.0 comm.”
Our Observations: The only option on this list that’s not an apartment isn’t in a neighborhood known for its amenities (Lincoln Heights), especially if Wal-Mart pulls out if the location nearby. It is close to several metro stations and has the best square foot/dollar ratio of the group.