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Moving forward and giving back

Philanthropy thriving among real estate brokers

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philanthropy, gay news, Washington Blade
philanthropy, gay news, Washington Blade

RED Day (renew, energize and donate) is a Keller Williams extravaganza of charity work in which offices throughout the nation participate each year on the second Thursday of May. (Photo courtesy of Valerie Blake)

You see our signs in the community all the time. Shades of red, black, blue, yellow, green and purple tell potential customers which firm we are associated with and how to reach us, but what they don’t tell people is who we are when the real estate workday is done.

This past week I got to wear a red T-shirt with a Keller Williams logo on it twice. For the time being, I’ll wash, dry and fold it and keep it in a safe place until next year. But let there be no doubt: Philanthropy is alive and well on a daily basis in the real estate community.

Take, for example, RED Day (translation: renew, energize and donate), a Keller Williams extravaganza of charity work in which offices throughout the nation participate each year on the second Thursday of May.

This year, our local events included a gardening and beautification project and a cutthroat game of Pictionary at So Others Might Eat (SOME) in Southeast D.C. and building play sets for terminally ill children alongside the Roc Solid Foundation in Bethesda, Fairfax and Rockville.

Other real estate firms have their favorite charities and routinely donate to medical research, participate in special outings for children stricken with debilitating diseases, volunteer to foster and re-home animals, provide assistance to the elderly and infirm and contribute to the arts.

And while we may be competitors in many ways, our companies often pull together to sponsor area-wide events, the most recent of which was last Sunday’s Capitol Hill Classic. The Classic, comprised of a 10K run, a 3K run and a “fun run” for those who are short of breath or short of legs, took place along Stanton Park and was sponsored by Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Compass and Keller Williams Capital Properties.

Sweat and tears were major players and thankfully, blood was nowhere to be found, at least while I was there. While the fittest among us ran, the rest of us boogied to the beat of the DJ while handing out water and directing people to the Atlas Fitness yoga station to cool down and to the fruit station to fill up with bananas and oranges.

The National Association of Realtors also supports giving back to the community and presents an annual Good Neighbor Award to those who are active in providing resources and support for many local initiatives.

For example, last year’s winners, representing five firms across the country, were involved in securing affordable, temporary housing for people awaiting organ transplants, fundraising for children with birth defects and terminal illnesses, providing low-cost child care so parents can work or attend school to break the cycle of poverty and organizing free mobile health and dental clinics.

Humbling, isn’t it?

In the District and surrounding area, where the nightly news is filled with violence, it’s refreshing to see individuals and groups working tirelessly to better themselves and their communities.

Even the little things we do have significance. When I moved to Northeast in 2007, nine neighbors knocked on my door to welcome me to the neighborhood within the first week and nearly two-dozen others attended my very loud backyard party a month later. Recently half a dozen friends helped care for my dogs while I dealt with a family emergency.

The incident that has stayed with me the longest, however, was a simple gesture that occurred during the first week after my move, when I drove to the hardware store located on the only commercial strip where parking meters needed to be fed on an hourly basis.

As I was congratulating myself on a fine job of parallel parking, there came a rap at the glass. Startled, I turned to see another woman standing there and cautiously rolled down my window.

“Excuse me,” she said, “Are you going to park here?” My first instinct was to reply in my best New York snarl, “What’s it look like, lady?” Instead I simply answered yes.

“Well,” she said, “I’m pulling out ahead of you and there’s still some time left on my meter, so you’re welcome to pull up.” I’ve been paying it forward ever since.

 

Valerie M. Blake can be reached at (202) 246-8602 or at [email protected]. Each Keller Williams Realty office is independently owned and operated. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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Real Estate

Can you buy a home with Bitcoin?

Buyer, seller must agree to terms before using cryptocurrency

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Bitcoin. Most of us have heard of it. Increasingly, many are looking to invest in it. For many, cryptocurrency has now gone beyond being somewhat of an exclusive province for the more adventurous and risk inclined investors and is becoming far more mainstream, as more than 100,000 vendors worldwide accept it as a valid currency. All of this leads to an important question – can you purchase a home with Bitcoin?

For those hoping to do so, the good news is that it is a possibility. In fact, it is a possibility that may not be as distinct or far-fetched as many might have expected. First and foremost, both buyer and seller must agree on the exchange of Bitcoin for the property. As opposed to situations where more traditional forms of payment are utilized, a Bitcoin transaction requires the agreement of all parties up front.

Although you can buy a home with Bitcoin, this doesn’t mean that most buyers are in a place yet where they actually do. Certainly, using virtual currency to purchase real estate is still a very new and novel idea, so of course, there is still some hesitation in certain sectors of the market. Often, these concerns center around a lack of regulation and understanding of cryptocurrency. Others have concerns about how Bitcoin transactions will be taxed. All of these questions and concerns are understandable, and it is expected that as cryptocurrency continues to become more mainstream these concerns will lessen, and purchasing a home in this manner may be an option for an increasing number of buyers.

There are also definite pros and cons to a bitcoin home sale. One of the advantages, for many, is that the transaction can be completed very quickly. Often, after everything is signed, the transaction can be completed in as little as 10 minutes, depending on network congestion. On the other side of the coin, however, it’s important to be sure that you trust the other party if you’re making a real estate purchase. Bitcoin transactions are often not reversible, so it’s important to be certain about your choices ahead of time.

Ultimately, while there are many ways to finance the purchase of a home, there’s only one way to ensure that you have a smooth and successful real estate experience – and that’s by getting connected with the Realtor who knows and loves the community that you’re interested in.

As an LGBTQ home buyer or seller, you want someone who values you for who you are, who understands your needs and real estate goals, and who will be committed to helping you achieve them. At GayRealEstate.com, that’s where we come in. It is our passion and our purpose to connect LGBTQ homebuyers and sellers, with agents across the country who have the talent, experience, and dedication necessary to make your real estate experience the best it can be. You deserve nothing less. We would be honored to help you get started on your next real estate journey today. Contact us anytime.

Jeff Hammerberg is founding CEO of Hammerberg & Associates, Inc. Reach him at 303-378-5526 or [email protected].

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Real Estate

The trendiest paint colors of 2021

Ultimate Gray, Illuminating, Urbane Bronze among year’s hues.

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Pantone’s two colors of the year are Ultimate Gray and Illuminating. (Image courtesy of Pantone)

Last year, I decided to forego writing about the paint colors of the year, since many people in our vibrant community were out of work. Buying Farrow and Ball paint for $125 a gallon, it would seem, was not the first thing on their to-do lists.

So here we are in 2021 where the Pantone color of the year is…wait for it…Ultimate Gray. 

Aren’t we tired of gray yet? Sure, Pantone pairs it with an outrageously bright yellow called Illuminating, which I would have guessed was a blue-toned white had I not seen it online. The combination of gray and yellow has been used in linens and fabrics for several years, albeit in softer hues, so while the stronger hues have been updated for 2021, I don’t find them fresh or exciting anymore.

There is an array of colors in the lineup this year that are reminiscent of dirt. Dulux has Brave Ground, a neutral earth tone that “creates a feeling of stability, growth and potential, and provides a firm foundation for change and creativity.” That sounds like a color I need to have in my paint collection just to write articles, negotiate real estate contracts, and watch the news.

Sherwin Williams brings us Urbane Bronze, which they describe as “sophisticated” and “rooted in nature.” Harvard naturalist Dr. Edward Wilson would have likened it to biophilia, a term he coined for humankind’s desire to search for “a connection to nature and other forms of life.” I think it would accent cicadas nicely.

Contemplative, the 2021 choice from Pratt and Lambert paints, is a color to think about. It’s a deep moss like that found in the rainforest or on the front of my house. I guess it’s time for a power-wash. 

Teal has been around for decades, but it became so over-used that 20 years ago, Crayola removed Teal Blue from its crayon collection. Now it’s back in Benjamin Moore’s Aegean Teal, a deep, muted blue-green-gray combination, the ocean’s equivalent of mossy Contemplative.

Southwestern dirt is represented by Behr’s Canyon Dusk, which looks a little like a New Mexico landscape on a hot, dry day, without the cacti interspersed or the mountains on the horizon. Or try it on the exterior of your organic adobe home.

Glidden suggests using its 2021 choice, Aqua Fiesta, a softer, muted turquoise-aqua blend that won’t overpower your bedroom, bathroom and kitchen walls, and will promote a feeling of calm where used.

Dutch Boy has selected Earth’s Harmony for 2021. While the name implies a brown tone, this color is actually a cheerful blue that takes you to the moon and back. (Well, to the sky anyway.) Check out how it looks on kitchen cabinets on Dutch Boy’s website. Forget the gray-on-the-bottom and white-on-the-top cabinet theme and liven up your kitchen with this vibrant color.

Now, if you’re not already on overload, Valspar gives us 12 new colors to select from. Many are neutral and all are muted. 

The brown and tan tones include Maple Leaf (think Vermont maple syrup candy), Unforgettable (a perfectly forgettable beige), Arizona Dust (refer to Behr’s Canyon Dusk above), and Gallery Gray (gray is possibly a misnomer – it looks tan to me). 

The blues and greens are Lucy Blue (teal by another name), Blissful Blue (a mid-toned blue gray), Granite Dust (a very light blend of green and gray), Garden Flower (a happy green with only a touch of gray), and Academy Gray (more akin to teal than gray and the darkest of their 2021 choices).

In addition, Valspar gives us Soft Candlelight (a not-too-bright yellow), Cherry Taupe (a neutral with slightly pink tones), and my favorite, Dusty Lavender (true to its name, although anything called Dusty makes me want to go and take a shower).

Clark and Kensington paint combines its colors into three collections of six colors each: Understated Impact, Mindful Living, and Creative Escape, which sound like things to ruminate about while doing goat yoga. 

Each collection features hues that are like the blues, greens, tans, and grays created by every other paint company. The one exception is Red Tulip, found in the Understated Impact collection. It’s more of a ruby or garnet than a true red, but it’s nice to see someone paint outside the box. 

This month, I hope to see more decorating in gem colors: Garnet, Amber, Citrine, Emerald, Sapphire, and Amethyst, with accents of Smoky Quartz and Tiger Eye, and a smattering of Sky-Blue Topaz, Rose Quartz, and Pearls. 

Now, wouldn’t that make a nice flag?  Stay colorful, my friends.

Valerie M. Blake is a licensed Associate Broker in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia with RLAH Real Estate. Call or text her at 202-246-8602, email her via DCHomeQuest.com, or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.

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Real Estate

Multiple offers? Multiple headaches? Here’s some medicine

Tips for navigating our hot seller’s market

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With low interest rates and lots of people on the move, many homes in our area are drawing multiple offers.

As a seller’s agent, multiple offers can be great. Who doesn’t love options? Does my seller want to take offer A, B, or C? (Or even D, E, or F?).

As a buyer’s agent, multiple offers can mean more stress, headaches, nail biting, and taking on more risk. Lately it has been described as a seller’s market. With the combination of low interest rates and a global pandemic that led thousands of people to decide to look for a bigger house with more rooms, outdoor space, and a more desirable location than their last residence, the result has been multiple offer bidding wars on homes that buyers find desirable. So, what are some suggestions for handling this multiple offer laden market? Here are a few tactics I have learned over the years:

  1. Do a pre-inspection so that the home purchase is not contingent on a home inspection. If you find too many red flags, you can just skip making the offer and keep looking.
  2. Ask your lender to approve you beyond just a pre-approval. This might take more energy on the front end so that you can have the bank give you a solid approval letter, but it might mean that you can close on the house in less time and seem like a more solid choice than the other offers.
  3. Be willing to ask the sellers what they need. Some sellers want a high price, while other sellers are OK with a decent price, but with features such as a rent-back for a month or so while they coordinate closing on their new home, or even begin looking for their new home. Being flexible can be crucial to winning the offer.
  4. If you are a seller, and need to sell before buying the new home, you might just want to move out, get a six-month or a one-year rental and put the house up for sale. You might find that the profit you make in a multiple offer situation could be enough to cover the cost of the rental and make the search for the next house less frantic and stressful.

These are just a few ideas a good Realtor can help their clients to decide on. Find a trusted Realtor to help you. Oh, and happy Pride month everyone!

Joseph Hudson is a Realtor with The Rutstein Group at Compass. Reach him at 703-587-0597 or  [email protected].

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