Sunday, April 15, 2012

"Bidding Wars" are Rising

The adrenaline rush of "bidding wars" has returned, and not only have bidding wars returned, they are on the rise, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

Here are a couple of selections from the text that seem to stand out according to me:

  • the slow yet steady increase of jobs combined with record low mortgage rates satiate buyers' appetites.  
  • Between February 2011 and February 2012, the number of contracts to purchase previously-owned-homes increased 14%
  • There is a hope that banks will further foreclosures while sellers regain an interest in listing their property
  • Buying is such an attractive option (for those who feel comfortable to do so) that buying seems to be a better deal than renting.
  • Approximately half of offers in Washington D.C. from January 2012 to March 15th, 2012 encountered multiple bids.
  • From March 2011 to March 2012, the median value of a home in Washington D.C. rose 6.6%
  • Homes listed from March 2011 to March 2012 sold after an average of only 38 days once listed.
To view the original, complete version of this article, see the link here: 

D.C. ranks second in annual Environmental Protection Agency Study

On April 11th, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled this year's Top 25 cities which were spearheading the race to save the most money and reduce the most pollution in their neighborhoods.  ENERGY STAR, the program spearheading this initiative, "is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices."

With approximately 16,500 buildings in America hosting the ENERGY STAR technology, certified users saved America $2.3 billion, preventing the annual greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.5 million homes.

Washington D.C. took second place, second to Los Angeles.  The top ten cities are listed here:

1.  Los Angeles
2.  Washington D.C.
3.  Atlanta
4.  Chicago
5.  San Fransisco
6.  New York
7.  Houston
8.  Dallas-Fort Worth
9.  Riverside, Ca.
10.  Boston

Since 2009 Washington D.C. has held the runner up ranking with 404 buildings ENERGY STAR certified, computing to 104.3 million square feet of ENERGY STAR space, resulting in $118.6 million dollars saved.  The District of Columbia's energy saved is equivalent to 12,500 homes' electric use.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

14th and U Street: Rise of JBG

JBG begins to make way for their 267-unit apartment and retail complex in the southwest side of 14th and U Street.  Just yet another example further illustrating the rise of the U Street/Shaw area. 

The apartments, stated by reporter Sarah Krouse from the Washington Business Journal, are said to be "a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units with interiors designed by Toronto-based Cecconi Simone."

Krouse's article, posted last July of 2011, revived its content when a U Street Neighborhood Association meeting occurred the beginning of March 2012.  During the meeting, many speaking points addressed the 14th and U Street project:

  • The McDonald's on the corner still has 20 years on its lease
  • Looks to be a "'limited service grocer' coming into the ground floor" though no name was given
  • Studios will begin at $1,500

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Travel Agents Gone Missing... Do We Need Realtors Anymore? Of Course.

Years have gone by without travel agents doing the bulk of our vacation planning for a majority of  us.  Those of us comfortable using Orbitz, TripAdvisor, and Expedia are prone to complete our vacation plans without the help of a third party.

Does the same apply to Residential Real Estate Agents?

With the emergence of sites such as Zillow, the question inherently begs to ask:  What will become of the Real Estate Agent?  Will they have the same fate as the the Travel Agent?  Do they still serve a significant purpose in the current marketplace?  

Well, the answer is obvious:  Yes.  A $6,000 vacation is leagues different from the sale and purchase of a $999,900 house in North Cleveland Park.  Most real estate transactions cost more than $100,000 today.  Could you imagine if you had, for example, a $100,000 tax issue and attempted to solve it without a CPA?  

A few serious reasons why anyone looking to buy or sell should hire a Real Estate Agent are as follows:

1)   They have been educated to thoroughly do the job.  Would you represent yourself in court without an attorney?  Obviously not!  So why would you think about handling such a large monetary transaction by oneself?  Best to find a Realtor who has certifications on top of the initial licensing that every Realtor must by law maintain.  Ask to see if a Realtor has their GRI designation (Graduate Realtors Institute), which is a distinction committing a Realtor to an exception level of service for their client.

2)  A good Realtor will save you time and money, conducting a ton of behind the scenes work--especially when it comes time help you understand lengthy, verbose contracts.

3)  You will need a skilled, experienced negotiator by your side, and a good guide to help you through the process.  When emotions begin to run high, and you only have a few weeks/months to move, and you need to put a timeline on making sure everything that gets done needs to get done, a Realtor will be your light at the end of the tunnel, ensuring the process goes as seamlessly as possible!