Next Tuesday, many of us will have the opportunity to elect government officials who we feel will represent our interests and ideologies. Across the nation, there are congressional races, gubernatorial contests, local competitions and a variety of special initiatives on the ballots.
We in D.C. are not permitted to elect a voting member of Congress, but that doesn’t mean we have no say in how we want to shape the House. In fact, I see how people shape their houses all the time.
One popular way to shape a house is to relocate or remove an interior wall to open the floorplan. Kitchens now adjoin living rooms so that people can cook and chat with their guests at the same time. Bathrooms are added or enlarged, and luxury finishes are installed.
We have basements being excavated to obtain the appropriate ceiling height for in-law suites and auxiliary apartments. Patios and decks bring indoor and outdoor areas together. Rowhouses are being turned into condominiums. New glass structures with river views dot the Southwest waterfront. And who hasn’t seen someone bump out the back or pop up the top of a building to add a third story?
Since the votes of D.C. residents have limited impact on mid-term elections, I thought there should be other parties on the ballot for us to consider when we go to vote next week. Here are some suggestions that you might find relevant.
The Renter Party – You might vote Renter if you’re new in town, planning on being here less than three years, or are saddled with humongous student loan debt. The current market will allow you to search for rental apartments near a Metro stop, so you may not need to add a car to your monthly budget. With more than 550 available D.C. rental properties priced between $1,000 to $3,500, you’re sure to find some that offer a free month’s rent, reduced fees for use of building amenities, or other inducements to sign a lease.
The Owner Party – Vote Owner if you have reasonably good credit and a desire to imprint your personal style on where you live while building equity. Members of the Owner Party may qualify for low down payment loans, closing cost assistance, and reduced property taxes through government grants and first-time buyer programs. The Owner Party platform promotes access to mortgage lenders, inspectors, title companies and, of course, your choice of real estate agents.
The Condominium Party – The Condo Party will appeal to those who prefer communal ownership where portions of the building, its amenities, and often its utilities are distributed among the individual residents. Members live in cooperation with one another, elect their own council for self-government, and create and follow a series of self-imposed guidelines for the good of all.
The House Party – House Party doctrine favors non-intervention, where each household maintains its own government structure and pursuit of civil liberties. In D.C., the freedom enjoyed by members can often come at a high cost. True House Party members will shun associations that restrict the look, feel and management of their homes.
There actually is a Realtor Party, made up of Realtor associations that work to protect and promote homeownership and property investment through support of political candidates and public policies on the national and local levels. Since membership in the Realtor Party is limited, here are a few others that may appeal to you.
The Block Party is known for its summer gatherings where neighbors barbecue, consume beverages, play games and sometimes dance in a communal environment. Gossip often plays a large role and children are welcome to join.
The Birthday Party is made up of independents who meet on short notice and sometimes as a complete surprise. Unlike other political parties, participants often bring gifts with no expectation of favors or influence in exchange.
The Wedding Party is a homogenous group with a single purpose. Its members dress in uniform, march down aisles and take vows of allegiance.
Valerie M. Blake is a licensed Associate Broker in D.C., Maryland and Virginia and Director of Education & Mentorship at Real Living| At Home. Call or text her at 202-246-8602, email her via DCHomeQuest.com, or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.