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There’s a new tenant in the White House

Lovely property offers 18 acres, 132 rooms, and 35 bathrooms

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White House, gay news, Washington Blade
There’s a new tenant coming to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, after fumigation.

As the New Year begins, I invite you to check out my new rental listing coming up next week. I’m still getting it ready for occupancy, but I thought I’d give you a little preview. There are no photographs yet as I’m waiting for my cleaning crew to finish up at the Capitol. The interior will be readied for the new occupants by fumigating for bugs, sterilizing for COVID-19, and burning sage to ward off evil spirits.

This lovely property is available to rent for $1,700,000 per month (see Zestimate) with a four-year lease and an optional extension for an additional four years. It conveys with a staff of 90 people and pets are permitted. There is an HOA to be paid by the tenant that includes meals, special events, dry cleaning, and hair and cosmetology services. 

As the 34th largest home in the United States, this spacious, neoclassical, 55,000-square-foot executive mansion in downtown D.C. is perfect for a family compound. The original home was completed in 1800 and was rebuilt between 1812 and 1817 after it was burned to the ground by a cadre of anti-Brexit British citizens. 

The south and north porticoes were added in 1824 and 1829, respectively. In 1833, basic plumbing was installed and 20 years later, hot and cold water ran throughout the house. Electricity was added in 1891. The property was expanded with a two-story wing to the west in 1902 and an east wing of the same height in 1942. 

This gorgeous home is filled with antiques, artwork, and fine china that convey. It features 132 rooms, including 16 guest suites, 35 bathrooms and three chef’s kitchens. Ascend one of the eight staircases or three elevators to reach the accessory apartment on the second floor. It’s easy to isolate or quarantine on the third floor, where you will find a billiard room, a home gym, a music room, and a sunroom. 

With 412 doors you can have a wonderful game of hide and seek with family and friends; 147 windows flood each level with natural light, and you can curl up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate in front of one of 28 fireplaces. I highly recommend “What Unites Us” by Dan Rather as an excellent read.

The basement offers a mall-like experience with a florist, a candy shop, and offices for a carpenter, an engineer, and a dentist. You will also find a one-lane bowling alley there to take out your daily stress on a set of pins, as well as a bunker with a private exit if you want to escape for a little privacy or to go out for ice cream.

Like to entertain? The formal dining room seats 120 people and there is also a reception hall for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Your personal chef can prepare nibbles for up to 1,000 guests. For a quiet family dinner, you can assemble in the family dining room.

The West Wing has a large, elegant, oval-shaped home office, a conference room for executive staff meetings, and a room filled with electronics, televisions, and a large table with a great vantage point when reviewing or discussing any situation that may come up.

There is plenty of space in the East Wing to create lesson plans and a calligrapher available for designing invitations and helping students with their penmanship. For a little diversion, you can enjoy a movie in the family theater. Currently playing are “Dave,” “The American President,” and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

The compound sits on 18 acres of plush landscaping, with a rose garden (roses not included), a tennis court, an in-ground pool, a jogging track, and plenty of room for garden parties, weddings, and special events. The lot is fully fenced and comes with a private security system. 

There is off-site parking that would rival Jay Leno’s garage and additional paid parking is available nearby for visitors. The house is only a short stroll to McPherson Square or Farragut North Metro Stations and your choice of two WaWas. The owners will also allow the tenant to make periodic visits to their campsite in northern Maryland.

If all this appeals to you, please contact me quickly. I have an application in hand and just need to check references. The prospective tenants have requested a lease beginning on Jan. 20, 2021 and I’d hate to lose the business.

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

How to prepare yourself in this seller’s market

Millennials are putting down the avocado toast and picking up mortgages

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Just because it’s a seller’s market, doesn’t mean it’s not a good time to buy.

For the first time, Millennials are cutting back on spending money on multiple streaming subscriptions, $10 drinks, and avocado toast. They are dipping their feet into purchasing their first home. The current market conditions can be tough for some buyers though, so being prepared is more important now than ever. 

The first step in the home buying process is finding the right real estate agent. Your agent should be trustworthy and someone who is knowledgeable about the area, sales contract, and local programs that may be able to save you money. Once you find the perfect agent, ask them to refer you to their preferred local lenders. When talking with lenders, not only should you focus on interest rates, but also ask about their in-house processing and underwriting. This may be able to give you a competitive advantage against other offers. 

Once you’ve decided on your lender, they will need several documents to help them determine your eligible purchase price. Now is the perfect time to get your documents in order, including 30 days of pay stubs, two years of tax returns and/or W2s and 1099s, and two consecutive bank statements. Providing these documents in a timely manner can help expedite the pre-approval process and prevent delays once you’re under contract. The lender will also look at your median credit score from the three major credit bureaus. Since your credit score has a direct effect on your interest rate, it’s important to pay close attention to your score. If your credit score needs a little help, talk to your Realtor and lender to see if they have recommendations on how to boost your score or programs that may be able to help.

After you’ve been pre-approved, it’s time to look at properties. With these current market conditions, properties typically don’t stay on the market for very long. Depending on the type of property, some may only be on the market for a few days. Doing your due diligence at the beginning of your home search can help save you time and focus on the properties that really fit your criteria. Now is the time to make that wish list, visit neighborhoods, research schools, and get a really good idea of what you’re looking for. In this market, it’s very important to see a property as soon as it hits the market. By fully understanding your search criteria in advance and making sure you’re available to see properties after work or on a lunch break, you will be better prepared to make an offer when “the one” hits the market. 

The most common question I get now is, “should I wait?” In most cases, the cost of waiting can cost you. With historically low interest rates and housing prices continuing to increase, now is still a great time to purchase real estate. Being prepared, patient and having an informed Realtor and lender on your side will definitely help in this market.

Teddy Rojanadit is a licensed Realtor in D.C., Virginia, and Maryland with Bediz Group at Keller Williams Capital Properties. Follow him at @teddydcrealtor on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook. He can be reached at [email protected] or 202-664-3736.

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Real Estate

The five-step downsizing plan

Set goals and a budget — then de-clutter

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Before you downsize, you’ll need to de-clutter your home.

Are you considering downsizing? For any number of reasons, this might be a decision that makes sense at this point in your life. 

Perhaps you have children that are now grown and have moved out, or you entertained large parties and those days have passed, now having more space than you can use. Maybe you simply want less home to take care of and fewer chores on your to-do list. Perhaps you’d like a smaller mortgage, so you can put the extra money toward other things. Or possibly, you’re willing to pay a slightly higher mortgage so that you can have a smaller home in an area where you’ve always wanted to live. Whatever your reasons, if you’re thinking of downsizing, having a plan can be extremely valuable. Those preparing to downsize may find that following this helpful five-step plan can make the process a smooth and successful experience:

Think through your goals: This may seem like an obvious step, but it is one that people often overlook. As you think about downsizing, take the time to sit down and come up with a detailed list of your goals. Ask yourself the necessary questions that will help you to narrow and focus your search. These are questions like: What’s important to you in life — being close to family and friends? Living in a place you love? Having easy access to medical care? Access to an international airport? Spend some time thinking through your priorities and desires. How much of a mortgage will you be able to pay, particularly if you are retiring or anticipating increased health care costs as you age? Maybe you’re able to live mortgage free with the sale of your larger home.

How much square footage would you feel comfortable caring for? How will you prepare for the move? Thinking carefully about your future by working through important questions like these can help you move closer toward a concrete vision of your ideal downsizing situation and provide peace of mind and confidence during the process. 

• Look for a location you love: Location is an important aspect of any real estate transaction, but this can be especially true when downsizing. What are your reasons for downsizing? Thinking this through may help you to choose a location that is ideal for your needs. Are you downsizing because you are getting older and health issues are a concern? If so, choosing a location close to a city center where you can easily access medical care might be important. Are you downsizing because you’re tired of living in a large home in a suburban area and want easier access to amenities that a more urban environment may offer? If so, looking for more walkable neighborhoods closer to a larger metropolitan area might be important for you. Are you retiring and downsizing because you want to live in that gay-friendly city that you’ve always loved? Focus your home search there. 

• Be sure to budget: After you’ve thought through your goals and decided on a desirable location, you’ll want to spend time closely looking at your financial situation and coming up with a realistic budget to achieve your goals. Meeting with a financial professional to review your assets and debts, what you might make from the sale of your current home, and what the total costs of downsizing might be can be tremendously helpful, and can ensure that you make your move with financial confidence and security.

Don’t forget to declutter: Certainly, downsizing means you’ll have less space – and this means less room for extra stuff. Before your move, take advantage of the downsizing process as an opportunity to let go of items you no longer truly need or use and to make space for new things and experiences. It is important to get started on this process early. Often, when people are downsizing, they still overestimate the amount of room they will have for extra items. Don’t make this mistake. Taking the time to sit down and think about what will fit within your new space removes the stress of later having to dispose of those belongings after you move.

Find the right agent: The importance of this step in your downsizing plan should not be overlooked. Whether you are staying relatively close to home or moving across the country, you will need an agent who knows the community you’re interested in and can help direct you to neighborhoods and homes that will best fit your needs. This can particularly be true when you are an LGBTQ home buyer or seller and you want to ensure that you find not only a house that you love, but also a community where you can feel truly at home. Working with the right agent can reduce your stress, save time, and greatly increase your overall satisfaction with your real estate experience. Wondering how to find exactly the right agent for your needs? At GayRealEstate.com, that’s where we come in.

Whatever your real estate needs – whether you are looking to buy, sell, upgrade, or downsize, at www.GayRealEstate.com, we are here for you. We are passionate about connecting LGBTQ home buyers and sellers across the country with agents who are talented, experienced, and committed to helping their clients achieve their real estate dreams. In any real estate experience, having an agent who knows and loves their community and who values each client, and understands that client’s unique needs can be invaluable. We are dedicated to delivering that experience every time. You deserve nothing less. We look forward to helping you soon.

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

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Real Estate

Interest rates are down, even in this seller’s market

That shouldn’t discourage buyers

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Don't be scared off by this seller's market.

While it is true that in the last year, home sellers have been attracting multiple offers, as homes with more space, outdoor space, located close to parks, water features, and convenient transportation became highly desirable after most of the world stayed home in a global pandemic, home buyers still have reasons to look for a new home. 

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell four basis points from the week prior to 2.98%, according to Freddie Mac‘s PMMS. Within the past almost three months, mortgage rates have only peaked above 3% one time.

Even as recently as a few years ago, many buyers were finding rates closer to 3.75%, 4%, or 4.25% depending on their credit and income. Even a change by one percentage point can alter the monthly payment for a home by up to a few hundred bucks a month. The benefit to having a mortgage is that you can lock in your monthly payment, known as PITI (Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance) and the only variables are the condo fees or HOA fees (if there are any) and other utilities.  

If buying a home has been on your radar lately, it might be worth talking to a reputable lender who has a good knowledge of the DMV market. Even if it’s not part of your plan for the year, speaking with a lender sooner rather than later can help you devise an action plan to increase your savings toward a down payment, paying off certain bills or debts to help increase your credit score, and just in general do a financing “clean up” to position yourself for purchasing when the right time comes.  

I have no crystal ball, but my suspicion is that as the world opens back up, and people have more options to travel, attend concerts, go to weddings, etc., the pent up demand for housing might relax a little, and buyers might be able to squeeze into the market with a little more ease. 

I will be offering a home buyer seminar on Tuesday, July 13 with a local lender on Zoom.  If you want more information please contact me and I can send you the link to access.

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

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