Close It™ House of the Week: Stunning historic Victorian row home

This week we trek into the District's booming Shaw neighborhood for a glimpse at a truly stunning Victorian row home with legal ground floor apartment, plus landscaped gardens, a roof deck, 3 bedrooms each with a walk-in closet and bathroom, beautiful chef's kitchen and parking for 2 cars.

The house was built 149 years ago and is walking distance to the recently opened O Street Market as well as the luxury shops at newly built City Center.

Assuming a homebuyer puts down 20 percent on a conventional loan, her cash to close number will be approximately $538,130.85. The monthly payments would then be around $11,102.57 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.

Marketing Service Agreements face more scrutiny

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is actively seeking enforcement actions against Marketing Service Agreement (MSA) participants. 

Their latest enforcement action occurred last week against Lighthouse Title, a Michigan title company,  resulting in a $200,000 civil penalty,  forcing Lighthouse Title to cancel all existing MSAs and prohibiting them from entering into future MSAs. 

If your brokerage currently participates in MSAs, your broker would be well served to carefully review the findings issued by the CFPB in this order

Perhaps the most weighted finding by the CFPB stated that Lighthouse Title violated federal law by entering into MSAs with the understanding that, in exchange, the brokerages would refer closings and title insurance business to the title company and, further, by paying those brokerages fees with the understanding that in exchange the brokerages would refer business. 

It’s important to note that the CFPB didn’t state that the "understanding" to refer business had to be in the written agreement. 

One of the key factors to identifying an "understanding for the referral of business" was a determination that brokerages referred significantly more transactions to the title company when they had an MSA with the title company than when they did not.

Why else would a title company enter into an MSA and pay fees to a brokerage if not for the referral of business?  Otherwise, the title company would simply hire a marketing/advertising firm to "market" its services — right?

By its ruling and findings, the CFPB is effectively saying that if MSAs are premised on an understanding that the brokerage will refer business to the paying title company, then the MSA is in violation of federal law.

Headlines: Bizarre story of missing real estate agent ends in tragedy

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

Body of missing Arkansas Realtor found in shallow grave

The body of missing Arkansas realtor Beverly Carter has been located north of the Little Rock area in a shallow grave, the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office said early Tuesday. — CNN

Realtor goes to show house, disappears, deputies say

The agent's husband found her brown Cadillac sport utility vehicle parked in the driveway with her purse inside it and saw the door to the home standing open, deputies said. — Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Market heats up in DC, Prince George's County but cools in Northern Virginia

Almost every major indicator is down compared to last year — there are fewer new contracts, homes are taking a bit longer to sell and they aren’t selling as close to list price as last year. — Washington Post

Take a look at the new shipping container apartments in Brookland

Check out how they welded the cargo doors open to create privacy barriers between adjoining units and replaced some panels with see-through material to allow light in. Still, it is most certainly an open-plan design. — MRIS Blog

Where are DC residents moving to, and coming from?

The gist: D.C. is, for the most part, where people either want to, or have to, move. It's reflected in the city's population surge, from roughly 600,000 in 2010 to nearly 650,000 in 2013, in the recent apartment building boom, and in the explosive growth of certain neighborhoods — from Capitol Riverfront to NoMa to Petworth. — Washington Business Journal

Close It!™ House of the Week: Hidden gem near Downtown Bethesda

This week we head up the street from the District and over to Wilson Avenue near Downtown Bethesda to check out a 4-bedroom, 3.5 bath detached single family home with lots of yard and a deep driveway. 

Hardwood floors, walk-in closets and lots of sunlight are just some of the features this house has to offer. The chef's kitchen has custom cabinets and an 8-foot kitchen island plus two ovens and a pantry. 

Assuming a homebuyer puts down 20 percent on a conventional loan, her cash to close number will be approximately $248.348.16. The monthly payments would then be around $5,083.30 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: An elevated park in DC? Wardman Tower to become condos

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

Wardman Tower to become swanky DC condos

The prices will run from $2 million to up to $8 million or more, targeting the international crowd and the upscale — obviously — suburban Potomac and Great Falls contingent who are looking to reestablish their primary residence in a city location with lots of services. — Washington Post

DC's elevated park may be best yet

Washington, D.C. plans to transform its abandoned rail infrastructure into a vibrant recreational destination, following the lead of so many other metropolises. — Fast Company

Jumbo mortgages now cheaper

For the last several months, interest rates on jumbo loans --mortgages that are $417,000 or more (or $625,000 or more in high-priced markets -- have been lower than what average borrowers pay. — Realtor Magazine

More DC residents let strangers into their homes, happily

For some homeowners and travelers, the social aspect is a huge perk of short-term rentals. The hosts agree that the service attracts highly sociable renters with adventurous spirits. — Washington Post

First-time homebuyer tax credit introduced in DC

Councilmember David Grosso introduced legislation on Tuesday that would reduce the recordation tax rate for first-time homebuyers in DC from 1.45 percent to .725 percent of the property sales price. The recordation tax is collected by the city on all home purchases and goes to help fund the Housing Production Trust Fund. — DC Urban Turf

  • 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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