Question: We want to live in one of the popular NW Washington neighborhoods and are having no luck. There doesn't seem to much for sale, and anything decent flies off the shelf. Any ideas?
Answer: Right now, inventory in the Big Four zip codes (20007,20008,20015 and 20015) is pretty scant. And the good ones don't last long. But if you're looking for a search strategy, here are some of the things that have worked for my clients:
- If you're serious about these neighborhoods, which include Cleveland Park, Woodley Park, Chevy Chase, Spring Valley, Wesley Heights, Georgetown, Palisades and AU Park, you need to prepare for sticker shock and lowered expectations. Of the 92 homes currently for sale in these neighborhoods, only 7 are priced below $1million.
- Get your financing pre-approved. That means the lender has all of your employment and credit information and have run it through their underwriters. All you need is the house.
- My clients can go to my website (www.housepat.com) and set up a search with their criteria and look through the listings that fit. Or I can set up a search that sends daily emails with the homes that meet their criteria.
- I spend part of each day running out to see new listings as they come on the market - sometimes before they are actually listed for sale. If I see one that might be The One, I get my buyers in fast.
- If you like a house, you need to act quickly. And while not all of these homes will attract multiple offers, many will. You need to go in with your ducks in a row.
- While most listing agents encourage their sellers to wait until after the first weekend Open House to consider offers, an attractive pre-emptive offer could get you the house.
- It's good to remember that there are many other wonderful neighborhoods in the DC area where demand is not so intense. In the District, consider neighborhoods east of Rock Creek Park, including Crestwood, Colonial Village and Shepherd Park. There are also interesting homes in Bloomingdale and Ledroit Park, both west of Georgia Avenue, and Capitol Hill is a neighborhood that is high on my list.
So the basics? Have all of your ducks in a row, be flexible about making yourself available to run out to see a house, maybe on your lunch hour. And keep an open mind when it comes to location.
If you need help with your DC home search, let's talk! Call me at 202-549-5167 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org