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Best of Gay D.C. 2012: Community

Readers pick the winners in 11th annual poll

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Foundry United Methodist Church, Washington Blade, gay news, Best of Gay D.C.

Best Place of Worship: Foundry United Methodist Church (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best House of Worship: Foundry United Methodist Church
1500 16th Street, NW

Bang Salon, Aura Spa, Washington Blade, gay news, Best of Gay D.C.

Best Spa/Salon: Aura Spa/Bang Salon (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best Spa/Salon: Bang Salon/Aura Spa
1519 15th Street, NW

Aura Spa/Bang Salon Metropole
1517 15th Street, NW
auraspa.net

Universal Gear, gay news, Washington Blade, Best of Gay D.C.

Best Men’s Clothing Store: Universal Gear (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best Men’s Clothing Store: Universal Gear
1529 14th Street, NW
202-319-0136

VIDA Fitness, gay news, Washington Blade, Best of Gay D.C.

Best Gym: VIDA (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best Gym: Vida Fitness
Various locations

Arena Stage, theater, Washington Blade, gay news, Best of Gay D.C.

Best Theater: Arena Stage (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best Theater: Arena Stage
1101 6th Street, SW
202-488-3300

Hank's Oyster Bar, Washington Blade, gay news, Best of Gay D.C.

Best LGBT-Owned Business: Hank’s Oyster Bar (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best LGBT-owned Business: Hank’s Oyster Bar

Various locations

Burgundy Crescent, Jonathan Blumenthal, Washington Blade, gay news, Best of Gay D.C.

Best LGBT Social Group: Burgundy Crescent (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best LGBT Social Group: Burgundy Crescent Volunteers

Just the Tip, Stonewall Kickball, sports, JR's, Cobalt, Washington Blade, gay news, Best of Gay D.C.

Best Sports Team: Just the Tip of Stonewall Kickball. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best Sports Team: Just the Tip Stonewall Kickball

Just the Tip is one of many hilariously named teams in the Stonewall Kickball league.

Stonewall Kickball, led by Martin Espinoza and Mark Gustafson, gives about 470 participants a chance to play and raise money for the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community. The league was started after Espinoza and Gustafson were turned off by other leagues because of their competitiveness and homophobia.

Games are played on Sunday afternoons in Stead Park with drinks before at JR.’s (1519 17th St., N.W.), and afterward at Cobalt (1639 R St., N.W.). Wednesday nights are devoted to Open Bar and Penny Wars, a fund-raising competition between teams.

Stonewall Kickball is holding an All-Starts Game on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. between JR.’s Bar and Cobalt. The teams’ rosters are posted on the Facebook event page. One of the refs will be from Just the Tip and JR.’s will feature two Just the Tip players.

For more information on Stonewall Kickball, visit the league’s page, stonewallsports.com/kickball or their Facebook group. (JE)

Stonewall Kickball

Best Art Gallery: Phillips Collection

Originally called the Phillips Memorial Art Gallery, The Phillips Collection was opened to the public in 1921 by Duncan Phillips and his mother Eliza, in memory of his father and brother.

Phillips served as the museum’s director until he died in 1966. His wife, Marjorie, an artist herself, took over as director after his death and their son, Laughlin, succeeded her.

The museum’s permanent collection features more than 3,000 works ranging from masterpieces of French impressionism and American modernism to contemporary art from artists such as Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse and Georgia O’Keeffe. The Phillips has the world’s largest, most significant collection of works by Arthur Dove and the largest American collection of works by Pierre Bonnard. (JE)

Phillips Collection
1600 21st Street, N.W.

Best Comedy Club: D.C. Improv

D.C. Improv hasn’t changed a lot since it opened its doors 20 years ago. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s the place you go if you’re looking for the old school comedy club experience. The venue is tight, the bar food is unremarkable and the drinks are fine. Luckily the talent can be amazing. Of course, there’s always the chance that a comic will bomb. But that’s part of the fun, right?

Located on Connecticut Avenue below Dupont Circle, D.C. Improv has drawn big names over the years (Ellen DeGeneres, Dave Chappelle), and continues to book established and emerging comics. Upcoming acts include Chris Coccia and Ari Shaffir.  It also consistently promotes gay acts and gay-themed shows.

Note to the bashful: The place is small, so sit as far from the stage as possible. These comics will make you part of their act (reporter speaks from experience). (PF)

D.C. Improv
1140 Connecticut Ave. NW

Miss Pixies, Washington Blade, gay news, Best of Gay D.C.

Best Home Furnishings: Miss Pixie’s (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best Home Furnishings: Miss Pixie’s

Pixie Windsor opened Miss Pixie’s in Adams Morgan in 1997; in 2005 she settled into the current location and just finished a renovation after signing a new five-year lease.

The renovation, among other things, opened up the sightlines in the store allowing customers to more easily see and shop the treasures she brings into the store.

“The back room no longer looks like a place to put the tables, instead it is welcoming and encourages the customer to continue shopping,” she says.

The one thing that hasn’t changed is the bright pink storefront. And while the contents of the store always change, it will always be filled with off-the-beaten-path items that appeal to 20-40 something Washingtonians who don’t necessarily want the same old same old in every room of the house.

Windsor recommends keeping an eye on the Miss Pixie’s website (misspixies.com) for fun and exciting things, like design seminars, a chance to decorate the store bathroom and she may have let it slip that HGTV may have emailed recently. (JH)

Miss Pixie’s
1626 14th Street NW
202-232- 8171

Best Second-Hand Shop: Buffalo Exchange

Buffalo Exchange offers a distinctly New Age slant to the traditional used clothing store.

Buyers and sellers get a fair price for a wide variety of vintage and contemporary fashions. But founders Kerstin and Rebecca Block also emphasize the environmental advantages of the resale fashion industry. Buffalo Exchange promotes itself as a sustainable business that protects the environment by reusing and recycling clothing.

LGBT customers also value Buffalo Exchange for its sense of fun and are staggering to the store to be part of the Celebrity Zombie Invasion now underway at the store. (BTC)

Buffalo Exchange
1318 14th Street Northwest
202-299-9148

Whitman-Walker Health, Elizabeth Taylor Center, HIV, AIDS, gay news, Washington Blade, Best of Gay D.C.

Best Nonprofit: Whitman-Walker Health (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best Nonprofit: Whitman-Walker Health

Since 1973, Whitman-Walker Health has been providing high-quality and culturally sensitive care to Washington’s LGBT and HIV/AIDS community. It began operations as an offshoot of the Washington Free Clinic and offered services in the basement of the Georgetown Lutheran Church. Today, it offers medical and legal services to thousands of clients from state-of-the-art medical facilities in the District.

The clinic gets its name from two queer Civil War-era health activists — celebrated gay 19th century poet Walt Whitman who came to Washington in December 1862 to care for his wounded brother George and remained for several years to tend to injured soldiers and veterans and Dr. Mary Edwards Walker who graduated from Syracuse Medical College in 1855, the only woman in her class. Denied an officer’s commission because of her gender, Walker volunteered her services as a surgeon and worked in a variety of Army hospitals. She wore a modified military uniform that included trousers, a man’s coat and two pistols. (BTC)

Whitman-Walker Health
1701 14th St., NW
202-745-7000

Proud Bookstore, Rehoboth, Washington Blade, gay news, Best of Gay D.C.

Best Rehoboth Business: Proud Bookstore (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best Rehoboth Business: Proud Bookstore

Opening and operating a small business is never easy — especially in recent years with the economic downturn — so congratulations to all of this year’s nominees in this category: Annie’s Bananies, Frogg Pond, Royal Treat and Stingray Sushi.

And hats off to winner Jacques LeClair, owner of Rehoboth’s Proud Bookstore, for opening a gay bookstore and not only surviving the recession, but thriving. Not long after opening, the store moved into a larger space and is filled with LGBT-themed books, gifts, cards, T-shirts and more. Jacques himself is usually behind the counter ready with a friendly welcome for visitors and locals alike. The store has quickly become a gathering place for locals to grab a newspaper and catch up on the latest happenings. (KN)

Proud Bookstore
149 Rehoboth Ave.
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

Best Local Blog: DCist

Everybody loves DCist.com. Or so it seems. The local blog has won readers’ favorite from Washington City Paper, the Washingtonian and now the Blade.

“Generally speaking, I’m incredibly flattered,” says DCist editor-in-chief Martin Austermuhle. “As simple as it sounds, I like it when people read what we do and enjoy it. It’s very nice coming from the Blade too — it’s a paper I’ve always liked a lot.”

Around since 2005, DCist gets about 50,000 unique hits a day. With two full-time employees and about 30 contributors, the blog covers everything from news to food to the arts. Its staff supported same-sex marriage in D.C.

“As much as D.C. is seen as a center of influence, at heart it’s a small town,” says Austermuele. “That said, there’s never a day that we’re not learning something about a city that we’re convinced we’ve already figured out. (PF)

DCist

Donovan House, Kimpton, Washington Blade, gay news, Best of Gay D.C.

Best Hotel: Donovan House (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Best Hotel: Donovan House

Located on Thomas Circle, Donovan House projects sophistication and urban panache in a sea of more style-challenged accommodations.

But Donovan House is more than a pretty face. As a Kimpton Hotel, the gay-friendly Donovan House enjoys a longstanding relationship with the LGBT community, and can boast a 100 percent score on the Human Rights Campaign Equality Index for the last 10 years.

Founded in San Francisco in 1981 at the height of the gay Mecca’s AIDS crisis, Kimpton Hotels lost a lot of employees to the disease, prompting the company to support LGBT organizations prior to other corporations, says Donovan House General Manager Mark Jennings. Kimpton Hotels regularly partners with the Red Ribbon Campaign in raising money to help nonprofit groups nationwide promote HIV awareness and prevention. (PF)

Donovan House
1155 14th Street, NW
202-737-1200

The Normal Heart, Arena Stage, Luke McFarlane, gay news, Washington Blade, Best of Gay D.C.

Best Theater Production: The Normal Heart (Photo courtesy of Arena Stage)

Best Theater Production: ‘The Normal Heart’

“The Normal Heart” by playwright-cum-activist Larry Kramer came to Arena Stage this summer. To see a faultless production of Kramer’s very political account of the harrowing early days of the AIDS crisis performed so close to the Capital building was thrilling.

Staged by New York director George C. Wolfe, it featured inspired performances by Patrick Breen as Ned Weeks (a slightly less angry onstage version of Kramer) and handsome Luke Macfarlane as Felix, Ned’s beatific dying lover. TV’s Patricia Wettig was frustration incarnate as the dying men’s doctor, furious with the establishment’s refusal to fund those on the front line. Chris Dinolfo, a local actor who is gay, made an impact as young David, the first character in the play to die from AIDS.

Almost three decades after its premiere, Kramer’s beautiful protest/memorial conjures up the terror and devastation surrounding the onset of what was then informally called the gay plague. Today Kramer’s play feels less angry. Mostly it’s heartbreakingly sad. (PF)

Best Yoga Studio: Yoga District

Whether you’re looking to do the downward dog for the first time or hone already considerable yogi skills, there’s something for you at Yoga District. With numerous classes focusing on everything from toning to alignment to flexibility, Yoga District promises practices that are relevant to your needs whatever your experience level.

Founded by Jasmine Chehrazi, Yoga District is a local cooperative of yoga studios located in Dupont Circle; H Street, NE; Bloomingdale; 14th Street Corridor and downtown. The studios are famously no frills and their classes respect both the needs of the individuals as well as the group.

Popular with vast swathes of yoga loving locals, Yoga District offers affordable and by-donation classes in community-run yoga centers committed to eco-friendly practices led by knowledgeable instructors. Since its inception, Yoga District’s mission has been that every being deserves the holistic benefits of yoga as a practical tool of empowerment, health and physical fitness. (PF)

Yoga District
1635 Connecticut Ave., NW
(and other locations)
202-265-9642

Proud Threads, Washington Blade, gay news, Best of Gay D.C.

Best Women’s Clothing Store: Proud Threads (Photo courtesy of Proud Threads)

Best Women’s Clothing Store: Proud Threads

Misty Branch says she and her girlfriend, Sarah Moecker, saw a need for high-quality, non-rainbow-themed LGBT clothing.

“So we decided to do something about it,” the owner of online women’s clothing store Proud Threads says.

For now, Proud Threads primarily sells T-shirts mostly for gay women online and at Pride festivals. Their website (proudthreads.com) shows a selection of cute T-shirts and baseball shirts featuring clever slogans and graphics, playfully celebrating LGBT pride in a hip, quirky way.

Up and running since May, Proud Threads is still in its early days. Branch says getting started has had its bumps. “We began with a lot of designs that we’ll never, never show anyone. Sarah is the designer and I’m her ruthless critic. At first she didn’t like it but later she stopped taking it personally and the product has improved.” (PF)

Proud Threads

 

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Autos

Sport haulers: Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mercedes GLE-Class

Updated cabins, adept handling, and more

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Jeep Grand Cherokee

Now that March Madness and the Masters are over, it’s time for, well, everything else. For my husband and me, this means water sports, as in kayaks and rowing sculls, which is why we trekked to the Potomac for the George Washington Invitational regatta last weekend. 

Alas, high winds splashed cold water on the event, canceling much of it. But there was still plenty of spirited camaraderie to rival “The Boys in the Boat.” 

And I was reminded of my time years ago as a rower with D.C. Strokes, ferrying teammates to races up and down the East Coast. Back then my ride was a dated, rather cramped four-door sedan. 

If only we could have paddled around in a sporty SUV like the two reviewed here. Now that would have been some smooth sailing (wink-wink). 

JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE 

$40,000

MPG: 19 city/26 highway

0 to 60 mph: 7.5 seconds

Maximum cargo room: 37.7 cu. ft. 

PROS: Updated cabin, adept handling, strong towing 

CONS: So-so gas mileage, no third row, pricey trim levels

IN A NUTSHELL: Rough, tough and buff. It’s doesn’t get much more butch than a Jeep. This year’s Grand Cherokee is no exception, with rugged looks, expert off-road capability and better-than-average towing capacity of 6,200 pounds. 

There are a dizzying number of trim levels—more than a dozen—starting with the barebones base-model Laredo at an affordable $40,000. The lineup tops out with the Summit Reserve 4xe PHEV, which is almost twice the price at $76,000 and one of various plug-in hybrid versions available. Those plug-in hybrids can drive up to 25 miles on all-electric power before the four-cylinder gas engine kicks in. Otherwise, you can choose from a standard V6 or V8. Gas mileage on all trim levels is basically the same as the competition. 

Where the Grand Cherokee really shines is in the handling. More refined than a Wrangler but less lavish than a Land Rover, this Jeep maneuvers just as well on city streets and highways as it does on bumpier terrain.    

I tested the mid-range and mid-priced Overland, which comes standard with four-wheel drive and large 20-inch wheels. It also boasts a slew of niceties, such as quilted upholstery, panoramic sunroof and high-tech digital displays. These include a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen and rear-seat entertainment system. 

The nine-speaker Alpine stereo, designed specifically for the Grand Cherokee, is pleasing. But I really wanted to hear the boffo 19-speaker McIntosh surround-sound system that Jeep also offers. Sigh, it’s only available on the premium Summit trim level. 

MERCEDES GLE-CLASS

$64,000 

MPG: 20 city/25 highway

0 to 60 mph: 6.6 seconds

Maximum cargo room: 33.3 cu. ft. 

PROS: Lush interior, silky-smooth suspension, speedy 

CONS: Some confusing electronics, tight third row, many competitors

IN A NUTSHELL: For a more high-class hauler, there’s the Mercedes GLE-Class. This midsize SUV is similar in size to the Jeep Grand Cherokee. But instead of seating five passengers, the GLE can carry up to seven. Sure, legroom in the optional third row may be tight for taller travelers, but it’s perfect for a cocky cockswain or two. 

Six trim levels, ranging from the base-model GLE 350 to two high-performance AMG models. For eco-conscious buyers, the GLE 450e plug-in hybrid arrived earlier this year and can run on battery power alone for almost 60 miles. 

My test car was the top-of-the-line AMG 63 S 4Matic, a head-turner in every way. Priced at a whopping $127,000, this GLE looks best in glossy black with the Night Package, which includes tasteful jet-black exterior accents and matte-black wheels. To complete the Darth Vader effect, there’s a deep, menacing exhaust rumble that’s downright threatening.

You expect such a ride to be wicked fast, and it is: 0 to 60 mph in a blistering 3.7 seconds. Yet the carbon ceramic brakes with their devil-red calipers are equally impressive in slowing things down quickly. 

Inside, each GLE comes with two large digital displays on the elegantly sculpted dashboard. My favorite feature is the “Hey Mercedes” digital assistant, which responds to voice commands such as opening or closing the sunroof, operating the infotainment system or activating the climate controls. 

It’s hard to find sport seats that are more comfortable, especially with the heavenly massage function (though those massage controls could be a bit more user-friendly.) For AMG models, the seats come with red-contrasting stitching and red seatbelts—a nod to the devilish demeanor under the hood.

Considering all the SUVs available in showrooms, few make quite the splash of a GLE.

Mercedes GLE-Class
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Real Estate

Boosting your rental property’s curb appeal

Affordable upgrades to attract and keep tenants happy

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Spruce up your curb appeal with new plants and trees.

In the District of Columbia, the rental market tends to open up significantly during the springtime for several reasons. First, spring brings about a sense of renewal and change, prompting many individuals and families to seek new living arrangements or embark on relocations. Additionally, the warmer weather and longer daylight hours make it more conducive for people to explore housing options, attend viewings, and make decisions about moving. Furthermore, spring often coincides with the end of academic terms, leading to an influx of students and young professionals entering the rental market. 

Landlords and property managers also tend to schedule lease renewals or list new vacancies during this time, capitalizing on the increased demand and ensuring a steady turnover of tenants. In the competitive world of rental properties, attracting and retaining quality tenants can be challenging. However, with some strategic upgrades, property owners can significantly enhance their units’ appeal without breaking the bank. From enhancing curb appeal to interior upgrades, here are some practical and cost-effective ideas to make your rental property stand out in the market.

Curb appeal

First impressions matter, and curb appeal plays a crucial role in attracting potential tenants. Simple enhancements like freshening up the exterior paint, adding potted plants or flowers, and ensuring a well-maintained lawn can instantly elevate the property’s appearance. Installing outdoor lighting not only adds charm but also enhances safety and security.

Interior upgrades

Upgrade the kitchen and bathroom fixtures to modern, energy-efficient options. Consider replacing outdated appliances with newer models, which not only appeal to tenants but also contribute to energy savings. Fresh paint and updated flooring can transform the look of a space without a hefty investment. Additionally, replacing worn-out carpets with hardwood or laminate flooring can make the unit more attractive and easier to maintain.

Enhance storage

Maximize storage options by installing built-in shelves, cabinets, or closet organizers. Tenants appreciate ample storage space to keep their belongings organized, contributing to a clutter-free living environment.

Improve lighting

Brighten up the interiors by adding more lighting fixtures or replacing old bulbs with energy-efficient LED lights. Well-lit spaces appear more inviting and spacious, enhancing the overall ambiance of the rental unit.

Upgrade window treatments

Replace outdated curtains or blinds with modern window treatments that allow natural light to filter in while offering privacy. Opt for neutral colors and versatile styles that appeal to a wide range of tastes.

Focus on security

Invest in security features such as deadbolts, window locks, and a reliable alarm system to ensure the safety of your tenants. Feeling secure in their home is a top priority for renters, and these upgrades can provide meaningful, genuine peace of mind.

Enhance outdoor spaces

If your rental property includes outdoor areas like a patio or balcony, consider sprucing them up with comfortable seating, outdoor rugs, and potted plants. Creating inviting outdoor spaces expands the living area and adds value to the rental property.

As landlords, investing in the enhancement of your rental properties is not merely about improving aesthetics; it’s about investing in the satisfaction and well-being of your tenants, and ultimately, in the success of your investment. By implementing these practical and affordable upgrades, you’re not only increasing the desirability of your units but also demonstrating your commitment to providing a high-quality living experience. 

These efforts translate into higher tenant retention rates, reduced vacancy periods, and ultimately, a healthier bottom line. Moreover, by prioritizing the comfort, safety, and happiness of your tenants, you’re fostering a sense of community and trust that can lead to long-term relationships and positive referrals. So, let’s embark on this journey of transformation together, turning rental properties into cherished homes and landlords into valued partners in creating exceptional living spaces.

Scott Bloom is owner and Senior Property Manager of Columbia Property Management. For more information and resources, visit ColumbiaPM.com.

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Real Estate

Real estate agents work hard for that commission

Despite recent headlines, buyers and sellers benefit from our expertise

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Realtors work hard for that rare six percent commission.

With there being a lot of noise in the media lately as I am sure you have read and heard headlines like “Gone are the days of the 6% commission” and “End of the good days of Realtors,” etc., I wanted to re-run a very short article of the long laundry list of things that well versed real estate agents bring to the table to earn that seldom 6% commission. It’s typically split in half and it has always been negotiable).

As a real estate professional you will go on listing appointments and buyer meetings to not only attempt to gain business but in doing so you also educate the general public on what it is that we as real estate professionals do. I know what you’re thinking – and if you’ve seen my photo before you wouldn’t be wrong to assume that I am cast in “Selling DC” as the lead villain. I am just waiting for that phone call! But in all seriousness, when I sit down to come up with a list of things to prove to prospective clients the value in working with me as their real estate professional, I am pretty blown away at the items and qualities that a trusted professional representing you in a real estate transaction is responsible for managing a myriad of tasks, including but not limiting to the following:

• Have a pulse on the marketplace to truly understand exactly what is happening from a buying and selling standpoint while also understanding the economic side of things – not just looking at interest rates. Why are rates where they are? What employers are laying off and could cause an influx of inventory? What are the trends for individuals moving IN or OUT of an area looking like? Forecasting the marketplace of all things that truly affect real estate is vital.

• Soft Skills – these are the skills often considered as customer service skills. The ability to be approachable by all types of people and ensure that you are open to receive information. Also – when telling you bad news – it’s important to ensure that it is done in a manner in which you, the receiver, will be pleasantly receptive.

• Pre-market vendors – not only are real estate professionals expected to market your home for sale or locate a home for you to purchase, we are also expected to have a list of pre-market vendors to which you can use for your lending needs, home inspection, title work, any fluffing and buffing needed pre market for the sale of your home such as a contractor, painter, landscaper etc. We have a book of extremely well vetted vendors that either I personally have used or past clients have used that can assist with your needs. This beats Googling for hours and accidentally choosing the wrong contractor. Section A of the pre-market vendor list includes those in which we real estate professionals use for marketing materials for your property – we will use the best photographers, have floor plans drawn for your property, video, staging, catering for brokers opens and the list goes on. Again – this is a well vetted list that we have worked on for years and done all of the heavy lifting and had those uncomfortable conversations when things are not properly executed – so you don’t have to.

• On Market Tasks – these are the tasks that most clients are unaware that we do. Oftentimes when a listing is on market – folks think that I am just cruising around in my convertible buying nice things. However I am in fact going around checking each listing on market to ensure that they are clean, the booties are replaced, marketing materials are stocked, light bulbs are all working, staging looks crisp and the list truly goes on. That of course, doesn’t include the tasks we do to properly market the property such as weekly email blasts, reaching out several times to follow up with showing agents to get their feedback, check the market to see what our competition looks like, what’s under contract and why, and again…..I could go on. Needless to say the most important and time consuming tasks are those that are done when the property is on market.

• “Contract to close” management – the term contract to close is pretty much what it sounds like – it’s what happens from the time we go under contract until we reach the closing finish line and you have those keys. Once a trusted real estate professional has fiercely negotiated on your behalf as a buyer, the fun starts. Again pops up this vendor list – helping guide you though selection of a home inspector, termite inspector, etc. for the inspections. A title attorney is needed (depending on your jurisdiction) and any other vendors for quotes like renovations, etc., that you might want done to the property. Once the inspection is completed and we go through possible re-negotiations then we must ensure that the lender has the documents needed from you completed in order to have the appraisal done to prove the value of the home you are under contract for. Now we are getting into the weeds – but once we are on the other side of things and the appraisal comes back at value and the loan is clear to close then we are at the finish line to your new home.

A similar story can be told if you are selling your home. The appraisal is a very important part of the checklist as that is the value in which your home is worth. The appraiser is a third party that neither the buyer, seller, lender or myself have any allegiance to. I do, however, have the duty to educate said appraiser on why I chose the listing price and how I came up with that value. 

• Post-market vendors. As mentioned before, a real estate professional should have a book of well vetted vendors from which to choose. Looking at the list of vendors now that we are on the other side of the table – I can provide a cleaning person, HVAC contractor, someone to repair the sprinkler system, a dog walker, the best caterers and bakery in town. Further down the road I am able to provide a wonderful wealth manager who can tell you what to do with that piece of real estate you purchased some time ago and we could go on for days.

While you are fully entitled to not use a real estate agent during your real estate transaction, I do believe that it is well within the realm of possibilities to say that without one there would be loose ends not completely tied up, things mismanaged and possible delays that could cost real cash. All of that aside, it is also such a truly wonderful experience to work alongside a trusted professional that at the end of the transaction becomes a new friend and family member. Real estate professionals love what they do, they love real estate and people and sheepherding you through the home buying or selling process is what it’s all about to us.

Justin Noble is a Realtor with Sotheby’s international Realty licensed in D.C., Maryland, and Delaware for your DMV and Delaware Beach needs. Specializing in first-time homebuyers, development and new construction as well as estate sales, Justin is a well-versed agent, highly regarded, and provides white glove service at every price point. Reach him at 202-503-4243,  [email protected] or BurnsandNoble.com.

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