Close It!™ House of the Week: Beautiful blend of row home, condo living

This week we're going across town to check out a top-unit condo unit situated west of RFK Stadium and just a block or so from Lincoln Park in Capitol Hill East. It's listed at $475,000.

It's a 2 bedroom / 2 bathroom condo with private deck and two off-street parking spots. Plenty of sunlight streams in from three exposures. All together, it's about 1,100 square feet and just steps from Eastern Market, H Street, Barrack's Row and Capitol Hill. 

Assuming a homebuyer puts down 20 percent on a conventional loan, her cash to close number will be approximately $109,485.10. Monthly payments with carrying charges would then be around $2,253.33 per month. For a complete picture of the cash to close, or for a run-down of the seller's side of the deal, plug the numbers into the Web version of Close It™ or download the free iOS app.

Headlines: Rents on the rise; 45% of homes deemed 'affordable' to DC metro middle class

Here's a look at what's happening in real estate in the District of Columbia and beyond.

Report: 45% of DC homes are affordable to middle class

Statistics refer to the DC metro area as a whole — a very large statistical area — not to DC proper. -Urban Turf

Rents skyrocket well beyond wages 

Rents are rising most in the local housing markets where renters are already stretched thinnest. In the five least affordable markets, rents are now 7.8 percent higher than they were a year ago. -CNBC

What buyers and sellers can do in a slow market

Buyers have more leverage in the negotiations, including price, earnest money deposits and contingencies. The longer a home sits on the market, the more control buyers will enjoy. -Washington Post

Inside the Atlantic Plumbing Building (Photos)

Developer JBG Cos. recently announced prices for its Atlantic Plumbing condos at Eighth and V streets, Northwest, with junior one-bedrooms starting in the high $300,000s to penthouses for $1.9 million. - Washingtonian Magazine

Md. regulation discourages referrals by real estate agents

Real estate agents making referrals to service providers in Maryland can now be fined up to $5,000 if they violate a new state Real Estate Commission regulation. -Washington Post

DC's historic buildings can anchor a neighborhood; some in jeopardy

Lists such as the National Register of Historic Places and the D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites were formed to preserve landmark buildings. Properties on the list are acknowledged and protected from being completely demolished because of their cultural significance. -Elevation DC

New thresholds for DC Tax Abatement

Purchase price and income thresholds to qualify for the popular DC Tax Abatement Program have increased, hopefully making it easier for more homebuyers to become homeowners.
The numbers in this article may be out of date. Visit our guide how to qualify for DC Tax Abatement for the most current information.

The District of Columbia Office of Tax and Revenue upped the purchase price threshold to $375,200 from $367,200.

At the same time, the income threshold for a single buyer increased to $57,540 from $56,100 while the income threshold for a two-person household increased to $65,760 from $64,080.

In "Economic Development Zones," the income limits are higher. For a single buyer, it's $65,890 and for a couple it's $75,350.

For more on income limitations and the DC Tax Abatement Program, please visit our page on the DC Tax Abatement Program.

The most recent data, which is for October, shows a $400,000 median sales price in the District, the highest October-level in nine years. The October median sales price was 2.6 percent higher than September and 5.3 percent higher than the previous year.

The DC Tax Abatement Program provides an exemption from the DC 1.1% Recordation Tax and an allowable credit from your seller(s) of 1.1% equal to the DC Transfer Tax. Additionally, the program provides a five-year real estate tax abatement that begins October 1 following your date of closing.

5 marketing ideas for real estate agents from Close It!™

The best real estate agents are constantly on the look-out for ways to better market themselves to their home buyers.

And while the latest report shows it's 34% more affordable to buy versus rent in the DC metro area, many would-be homebuyers remain on the fence

How can you get these homebuyers off the fence – and then convince them to buy the fence along with the house that comes with it? Here are 5 ways Close It!™ can help you market your real estate business:

1. Follow up with clients by sharing Close It!™ in your email, social media or blogging campaigns. 

You've already got a database of email addresses, Facebook page likes and Twitter followers. Perhaps some of those contacts are would-be homebuyers who aren't quite sure if they can really afford to buy a house. Reach out to them about the only app in the region that calculates a homebuyer's total cash to close. It's a fun and useful tool that lets them crunch the numbers any way they want. 

2. Customize your Close It!™ reports with photo and contact info.

You're already working with several prospective homebuyers who no doubt have lots of questions about how much everything is going to cost in the end. Follow up on last weekend's house tour with a set of HUD-1s custom branded with your professional photo and contact information. Your homebuyers will be impressed when you outline every cost for them down to the penny.

3. Appeal to the foreign investor market.

If you're working in neighborhoods like Georgetown, Foggy Bottom and the West End, it's quite possible you've worked with foreign investors or that you will at some point. Did you know that sellers who do not participate in the U.S. tax system must pay the IRS a tax of 10% of the sales price for all properties over $300,000? A surprise like that at closing could cost you a client, or worse yet, merit you a negative online review. Close It!™ helps you better serve foreign clients by accounting for FIRPTA withholding along with every other nuance of real estate law and tax code for each jurisdiction.

4. Appeal to the first-time homebuyer market.

The first-time homebuyer demographic may make up a smaller share of homebuyers now compared to historic levels, but it's only a matter of time before an influx of millennial homebuyers causes it to explode. And the millennials, more than previous generations, are more likely to look to technology to help them gather information about the process. Be their guide. Keep up with real estate technology, including mobile apps, and share your favorite findings with your millennial homebuyers. Close It!™ is one app homebuyers in the DC metro region in particular will appreciate, but there are many more apps, tools and resources to discover. 

5. Appeal to the move-up buyer market with seller's calculator. 

For buyers in the move-up market, how much house they can afford often depends on how much money they can net from their existing home sale. Introduce those clients to the app that toggles between a net proceeds calculator for the seller side and a cash-to-close calculator for the buyer side. 

Close It!™ is a free iOS and Web app that helps real estate agents, buyers and sellers drill down the costs of buying and selling real estate.

Close It!™ House of the Week: Cleveland Park charmer

This week we're heading over to Cleveland Park to have a look at an adorable two-bedroom coop that's fully renovated and two blocks from Metro. It's listed at $369,000.

Built-in bookshelves, sliding barn doors and a smartly designed kitchen with gas range help this unit make the most out of its 700 square feet. It has hardwood floors throughout and is filled with natural light. It's a second-floor unit with a view onto a tree-lined street.

Assuming a homebuyer puts down 20 percent on a conventional loan, her cash to close number will be approximately $85,565.91. Monthly payments with carrying charges would then be around $2,121.26 per month. For a complete picture of the cash to close, or for a run-down of the seller's side of the deal, plug the numbers into the Web version of Close It™ or download the free iOS app.

  • Ways to save at closing

    Title charges are the largest chunk of closing costs and can vary by hundreds of dollars.

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  • What are closing costs?

    The real estate closing process involves loan steps, legal steps and title steps.

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  • What's title insurance?

    Insure your legal ownership just like you'd insure the building, but for lots cheaper.

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Our blog contains general information only, not intended to be relied upon as, nor a substitute for, specific professional advice. Rate tables and figures that appear on our blog are deemed reliable but not guaranteed. For current rates & policies, refer to our Quick Quote and Consumer Guide. We accept no responsibility for loss occasioned to any purpose acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material on our blog.