RSVP to our software demo of Create.io

Create is a Web-based application we recently discovered that is helping us improve how we do business. It occurred to me that other real estate pros might like to see how they can also benefit from this useful tool.

We have organized a live demonstration of Create and invite you to join us at our Friendship Heights office on Tuesday, March 1 at 10 a.m. to learn clever ways you can leverage this software to improve your real estate business. Click here to RSVP.

The application provides excellent insight into the District’s inventory of real property – residential and commercial. It's essentially a clickable 3D map of the city. Click on any building to get a highly detailed report of the property, including such things as ownership, zoning and permits.

Beyond the property itself, Create offers a snapshot of current market conditions and the people currently living in the neighborhood: average household income, educational attainment, cars per household, average commute times and more. We've found this information to be useful for tailoring marketing strategies to the specific audiences and neighborhoods where we work.

I reached out to the developer of this nifty tool, Stefan Martinovic – who told me Create is generating buzz with nearly every active brokerage, developer and investment company in town – and asked him to present a live demonstration at our Friendship Heights office on Tuesday, March 1 at 10 a.m. Click here to RSVP.

In the meantime, you can test the application for free by heading over to Create.io from your desktop browser. Stefan is also offering a 40% discount on the premium subscription with the promo code "CreateLove."

Close It! House of the Week: Completely transformed in Glover Park

Close It! House of the Week: Completely transformed in Glover Park

This week we're looking at a 4-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom attached row house in the Colonial style with a fully finished basement that can be used as an in-law suite or a rental to help offset the mortgage. It's near the Naval Observatory in Glover Park, and it's listed at $975,000.

This house features two massive decks, a fantastic kitchen with pantry and a beautiful exposed brick wall in the entry way. It includes two parking spaces, and there's a Whole Foods and Starbucks nearby.

Click here for more photos.

Assuming a homebuyer puts down 20 percent on a conventional loan, her cash to close number will be approximately $$223,117.96. Monthly payments will then be around $4,219.40 per month.

For a complete picture of the cash to close on any property in the D.C. metro area, including the seller's side of the transaction, try the Close It™ Web app or download the free Close It™ iOS app.

FIRPTA withholding rate to increase to 15% for sales exceeding $1 million

FIRPTA withholding rate to increase to 15% for sales exceeding $1 million

Starting February 16, 2016, there will be changes to the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act ("FIRPTA").

FIRPTA is a tax law passed in 1981 that requires foreign persons to pay U.S. income tax on the gains they make from selling U.S. real estate.

The duty is on the U.S. national buyer to deduct and withhold a portion of the sales price and report the sale to the IRS. Buyers can withhold less than the statutory amount if they obtain a determination of the specific amount of tax owed by the foreign national using IRS Form 8288-B.

In most cases, the settlement agent is the party that actually remits the funds to the IRS, but the buyer is held legally responsible. Additionally, until the tax is paid in full, the government obtains a security interest in the real property.

The 10% rate will still apply for those transactions in which the property is to be used by the Buyer as a residence, provided the sales price does not exceed $1,000,000, and the existing $300,000 “exemption” remains unaffected. So here are the new guidelines:

  • If the sales price is $300,000 or less, AND the property will be used by the Buyer as a residence (as provided for in the current regulations), no sums need be withheld or remitted.
  • If the sales price exceeds $300,000 but does not exceed $1,000,000, AND the property will be used by the Buyer as a residence, then the withholding rate is 10% on the full amount realized.
  • If the sales price exceeds $1,000,000, then the withholding rate is 15% on the entire amount, regardless of use by the Transferee.
  • Under the law, the Buyer is the withholding agent and is responsible for withholding and remitting the proper amount to the IRS and could be liable for any additional withholding tax, penalty, and interest if their intent is ever challenged by the IRS.

    The current FAR/BAR contract form contains language specifically referring to a 10% withholding. An amendment to the contract for closings scheduled on or after February 16, 2016 should be added to change the potential rate of withholding to 15%.

Realtor Day at DC Design House

Realtor Day at DC Design House is happening Wednesday, April 22 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with light bites and beverages being served at noon, provided by Federal Title.

Tickets are $30 and may be purchased at the door. Realtors who present a business card will receive a $5 discount, courtesy of DC Living Real Estate. 

This year's canvas is a McLean country estate. Twenty-four design firms have been selected to reimagine 28 spaces spanning three levels. This is the 8th Annual DC Design House to benefit Children's National Health System. In its first 7 years, DC Design House has donated over $1.25M to Children’s National.  

REALTOR DAY at DC Design House
Wednesday, April 22
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
9526 Mackall Farms Lane
McLean, VA 22101

Tickets will be sold at the door and can also be purchased in advance here. The $5 Realtor discount is only available at the door. We hope you enjoy this special Realtor Day, all for a worthy cause of transforming children’s healthcare in our nation’s capital. 

Headlines: Title problems can snag your closing; pre-printed real estate contracts can get you fined

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

Title problems can snag your closing

The unexpected unreleased mortgage lien rears its ugly head all too often, according to those of us charged with shepherding consumers through the last stages of home buying. -Washington Post

Pre-printed real estate contracts could get you fined

It’s a seemingly innocuous practice, some say a convenience, but many real estate agents are steering their brokerages toward enormous fines and unwanted attention from state and federal regulators — and they don’t even realize it. -Inman News

Dying to see the luxury condos on 14th Street built on the site of a funeral home?

In addition to having been developed on the site of a former funeral home, Lionshead has the distinction of being the first new building to pass the District's Green Area Ratio inspection. -Washington Business Journal

Best architectural addition of the year for 2014

The home is essentially a series of glass cubes set onto a hilltop in Rappahannock County, Virginia with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. -Urban Scrawl

A different kind of pop-up

The homes are meant for one occupant, and have a kitchen, bathroom, living room, a separate bedroom and a front door with an outside patio. The one thing that the homes need: a vacant plot of land to sit on. -Urban Turf

The cost of living everywhere in the world in one index

This is an infographic on the cost of living all around the world. When you look at the data, presented in this way, the results are a bit staggering. -Business Insider

  • Ways to save at closing

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

    Learn more

  • What are closing costs?

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

    Learn more

  • What's title insurance?

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

    Learn more

Connect with us


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.