Monthly Archives: March 2012

Eye Candy: NYC Penthouse!

Check out this NYC penthouse featured recently on Houzz!

They definitely pulled off a modern look while still making it look so warm and inviting, as the author points out.

Would love to watch some March Madness in that living room!

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Filed under Decorating, Eye Candy

Renovation Realtor(R): Deals for the $350k-$450k Buyer

Looking for a home in the $350k-$450k range in DC? Have you considered renovating a fixer upper? Today you can buy and renovate all in one loan.

Take a look at these potential deals in your price range.

Here’s how it would work. Say you bought a house for $250k. You did a $200k renovation. Your loan would be $450k (assuming appraisal supported the new value) – the same as if you had bought a finished house for $450k.

There are tremendous advantages to renovating, but also challenges. So make sure renovating is right for you.

I would love to show you any of these homes or help you find a fixer upper that meets your needs. Contact me today!

I am a licensed DC Realtor(R) with extensive renovation experience – your Renovation Realtor(R).   I am a full service shop — helping you find a fixer, identify financing, purchase it, and I can even provide renovation consult.

Note: I am not the listing agent for the featured houses, but I’d be happy to show them to you and represent you as a buyer agent should you choose.  I have not necessarily seen every house in person yet.

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Filed under Brookland, Fixer Uppers, Petworth, Real Estate, Renovation, Takoma / Brightwood

Decorating Dilemma: Where should I put my money?

When putting together a room, people often ask “where should I spend my money?”

It definitely differs by person, but here’s my quick list from a decorating perspective:

1) Seating:  I do believe with couches you get what you pay for.   Since you use it daily, I advise investing in a good couch.  Get it in a neutral fabric and pay the extra for the down-wrapped cushions.

2) Lighting:  It’s not that you need to spend a lot on a lamp, just don’t forget to invest some of your budget in lighting.   It makes a huge difference in a room.   Same when redoing a kitchen or bath – do the undercabinet lights in the kitchen or extra can light in the shower.

3) Hardware: In kitchens and baths, I think a few extra dollars on knobs and faucets go a long way.  I love polished nickel – it feels heavy and has just the right amount of shine.

4) Rugs:  I don’t think you have to spend a fortune, but I do think it’s worth a little more to get the natural fibers.

5) Fabrics:  Again, I always pay a little more for the linen or cotton option (exception: if you have young children and need to be able to clean it easily).

6) Window Treatments:  I don’t think the pre-made low-priced panels ever hang quite right.  Some of the more expensive ones in good fabrics can look nice. But there’s really no substitute for custom if you can afford it.

In a future post I’ll put on my real estate hat on and tell you where to put your money in terms of home improvements.  Stay tuned!

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Filed under Decorating, Renovation

Renovation Realtor(R): Deals for the $550k-$650k Buyer

Looking for a home in the $550k-$650k range in DC? Have you considered renovating a fixer upper? Today you can buy and renovate all in one loan.

Take a look at these potential deals in your price range.

Here’s how it would work. Say you bought a house for $450k. You did a $200k renovation. Your loan would be $650k (assuming appraisal supported the new value) – the same as if you had bought a finished house for $650k.

There are tremendous advantages to renovating, but also challenges. So make sure renovating is right for you.

I would love to show you any of these homes or help you find a fixer upper that meets your needs. Contact me today!

I am a licensed DC Realtor(R) with extensive renovation experience – your Renovation Realtor(R).   I am a full service shop — helping you find a fixer, identify financing, purchase it, and I can even provide renovation consult.

Note: I am not the listing agent for the featured houses, but I’d be happy to show them to you and represent you as a buyer agent should you choose.  I have not necessarily seen every house in person yet.

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Filed under Capitol Hill, Fixer Uppers, H Street, Petworth, Real Estate, Renovation

Renovation Realtor(R): Is Renovating Right for You?

Renovating is not for everyone.  Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect:

1) Money, money, money:  Always plan for and expect overages.  Have a contingency budget of at least 10%.   If your project costs $200,000 – plan to spend at least $220,000.

2) For the longest time:  Take the estimated time to completion and add a third.  If you’re told 3 months, plan for 4.   Know delays aren’t usually your contractor’s fault.  Contractors are at the mercy of subcontractors, inspectors, and city permitting processes.

3) Why’d you have to go and make things so complicated:  Expect daily calls and emails from your contractor with problems and questions.   At times you will feel like it’s never going to end and it’s just one problem after another – but it does end eventually.

4) You can’t always get what you want:  I believe in making your dream list and going for it, with the recognition that you’re not going to get everything.   When you have to trim, focus on what you need to live comfortably in the house.  Leave out things that can be easily done later without much disruption, like landscaping or decks.  I recommend prioritizing systems, kitchens, baths, painting, and refinishing floors.

5) Where did our love go:  Renovations can strain relationships – with your spouse/partner, children, and definitely with the various people directly involved.  At times you will feel very angry and frustrated.  Take a deep breath and remember everyone is doing their best.

So why would anyone do this?  I think most people are very satisfied with the end result – and there are many good reasons for renovating.  Just know what you’re getting into and if it’s right for you.  Contact me to learn more!

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Filed under Real Estate, Renovation

Renovation Realtor(R): The Case for the Fixer-Upper

Why do I think buying and renovating a fixer upper is such an exciting option for buyers?

1) Equity Opportunity:  Example – you buy a house in Petworth for $300,000 and do a $200,000 renovation.  You make good renovation decisions that help your resale.  There’s a good chance when you’re done, your property will be worth more than $500,000.

2) DC Housing Stock is Old: Many DC houses are over 70 years old – hence old wiring and plumbing.  They can have lead paint and asbestos.  A $200,000 – $250,000 renovation to an average size home (1600 sq feet) will usually allow you to gut and redo most plumbing, wiring, flooring, walls, and trim.

3) Build Your Dream House: What a great opportunity to make your home exactly as you want it – your style, your colors, your layout!

4) You Don’t Have to Sacrifice Character:  I am completely sympathetic to the concern that renovations wipe out the souls of old homes!  I love old homes.  I live in an old house.  But I do think new wiring, plumbing, and carefully managing lead and asbestos is important to health and safety – especially for children.  And I’ve spent enough time in home supply stores to know there are many options for returning character to rehabbed homes with nice materials.  Good carpentry and nice windows are half the battle!

4) Good Financing Options: The cost of the home and the renovation can be combined into single loan with one interest rate (see recent post)!

Convinced?  Well stay tuned tomorrow for a post on the challenges and what it takes to get through a renovation!

If you are interested in a buying a fixer upper and the renovation process, contact me to set up an initial consult!

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Filed under Real Estate, Renovation

Color Library: Platinum Gray (Exterior)

Benjamin Moore’s Platinum Gray (Exterior Ready Mix) makes for a stately exterior.

It’s a classic gray – not to dark, not too light.   I matched it with a dark brown door here, but I think it would look lovely with a black, yellow, red, or navy blue door.

The house (left) and in the slide show below is painted Platinum Gray.  Trim is Acadia White (OC-38).

If you have a house painted Platinum Gray or another color you love, snap a picture and email it to jennifer. macomber@gmail.com.  You’ll help the library grow! Continue reading

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Renovation Realtor(R): This Weekend’s Fixer Uppers 3/3/12

Great weekend for fixers on Capitol Hill. Also an interesting one in Brookland…

To receive the listings, contact me for my free “This Week’s Fixer-Uppers” email. See a sample of the types of listings you receive.

I am a licensed DC Realtor(R) with extensive renovation experience – your Renovation Realtor(R).   I am a full service shop — helping you find a fixer, identify financing, purchase it, and I can even provide renovation consult.

Find a great value & build your dream home today – contact me!

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Filed under Brookland, Capitol Hill, Real Estate, Renovation

Eye Candy: A Well-Loved Chicago Victorian

If you like original detail and natural woodwork, don’t miss this Chicago Victorian featured in the WSJ.

The house appears beautifully maintained – the floors!  And yet, it has many nicely integrated modern updates.

Stunning historic features – and a walk-in closet like that – what’s not to like?

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Filed under Decorating, Renovation

Market Update: Washington DC

Check out this video for the latest real estate market statistics for Washington DC.  A few highlights:

– Pending sales are up

– Inventory remains low

– Interest rates remain very low

It is a great time to be in the housing market.  I’d love to help you take advantage.  Contact me to set up an initial consultation!

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Filed under Real Estate