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Kimberley, Home Buyer in hotel near dulles ai...

my husband and i are moving to the greater washington/maryland/virginia area very soon. however, we are not

Asked by Kimberley, hotel near dulles airport Wed Oct 24, 2007

liking what we see and are at a loss as to where to live as nothing we see appeals to us. maximum sale price is $500,000. we have been living overseas for seven years-england and france and have been in southern calif for the past year. we were looking for something historical, eclectic or unique. we have found none of these. so any suggestions on eclectic communities, international commiunities, great places to live here and of course, affordable. is it even possible here? we have no children so we are flexible.

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One more thing, the houses in the area I sold in are close to 15% lower than when I sold. And guess what? People with homes on the market are begging for buyers. If you do decide to buy, just low ball everyone as DC metro area sellers have unreasonable expectations. Don't go by the comps. try and get your real estate agent to show you prices on the property or nearby properties from 2002-2003.

Also, look at the Washington Post 's website's real estate tab. Through it you can get historical prices that properties sold for. For example, 2 BR condos in Pentagon City (22202) that sold in the high 100s in 2001 went for double in 2003 and by 2005-2006, they were in the mid 500s and more. Now, i may not know a bubble when I see one, but Washington DC metro prices would appear to have been in a bubble and probably still are. I'd say that they have another 10-15% drop left as a general rule of thumb although some locations may be exempt (such as West End DC).
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 25, 2008
I moved out of the DC area, and the US, at the end of 2005 and sold my house in March 2006 (right at the peak!).

My suggestion to you is, rent, don't buy. Lets use your figures. You are looking for a property of about 500,000. Put 20% down and you have a mortgage of 6% on 400,000. Add tax of about 1.5% annually on 500,000. That's 31,500 annually just in interest and tax. In addition, you'll probably need to put in 10,000 in improvements (as you probably won't get a perfectly pristine property). Now lets say you have to sell in 3-5 years because you are moving again. If you sell for 500,000 you'll have to pay the broker 30,000 based on 6%.

So, instead of spending 38,000 annually (forget the tax break, the tax break is for best you'll save about 10% from your interest and tax payments), spend the same amount or less on rent. That way you don't need to worry about the continuing to fall real estate market which will stay low through 2010.

Look at this way. If you were buying last year and you had bought, your home today would be worth less. The DC area real estate market shot up by 50% + from 2002 through 2005. The recent drop has not expunged the excessive gains yet. You are better off renting, watching prices fall further and buying in a year or two. You could end up recouping all your rent payments for the two years through lower prices later.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 25, 2008
How about Annapolis, MD? It's a great town with lots of shops, restaurants, beautiful architecture, and of course, the Chesapeake. I don't know prices there, but it's worth checking into.
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 24, 2007
There are many great places to live in the DC metro area. Middletown, Kensington, Rockville, Ellicott City , to name a few. Your maximum price point will detemine what you are able to buy in any of these areas. Are you looking for a townhome, single family home or condo?
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 24, 2007
First, welcome to DC Metro, Kimberley! It's a fantastic place to live and work. Are you touring with a realtor? I would think a realtor who works in DC and NVA would be essential to your search.
I specialize in the under 750k price range in DC and Alexandria. There are certainly interesting and eclectic properties throughout the region in your price range. If you'd like to email me more details on your criteria, my address is Check out my profile page here on Trulia for more information. Best of luck!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 27, 2010
Around dupont logan and shaw in DC are great historic areas you will find some great condos in historic homes that will fit into your budget. Also Alexandria on the VA side wich is right across the river from DC and has Metro availability too has alot of great properties and historic homes wich are going to be price in the area that your are looking and alot of these are real charmers so make sure to keep alexandria on your list. There are also some condos in Georgetown that come up that will be in your range too. But Alexandria is a charmer!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 10, 2008
You may be able to find something in Mount Pleasant/ Columbia Heights. There are currently 2--- 2 bedroom/ 2 full bathroom townhomes right around $500K on 18th Street. Very diverse and historic area.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jul 1, 2008
Takoma Park, Maryland which borders the District Line is a great neighborhood. It has a farmers market, metro and a hippy California vibe w/ lots of culture as well. The housing prices seem to always be lower than the rest of Montgomery Co. and D.C.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 25, 2008
The Washington area has all that: historic, eclectic, unique, great places to live, and affordable. Unfortunately, they may not all be found in the same place.

A couple of areas to strongly consider are the town of Clifton and Occoquan.

Here's the Wikipedia link for Clifton:,_Virginia And here's a link to the town's website: Basically, Clifton is a small, historic town 25 miles from Washington. It's definitely historic, eclectic, unique, and a great place to live. (Well, as far as I can go as a Realtor in saying that!) It's not overpriced, but it's not super-cheap, either. It's not international, though being only 25 miles from DC, there's no problem picking up as much international elements as you want.

Occoquan is a little bit further out in Virginia. In some ways, it's similar to Clifton--a small town feel, nice place to live. It's maybe a bit stronger in the "eclectic" element. Here's a link to Occoquan: And here's the Wikipedia link:,_Virginia

Both of those would be good places to start looking.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 25, 2008
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Burke, VA
Bloomingdale has beautiful, 4-level century-old Victorian townhouses with unique turrets going for the $420,000+ range. This neighborhood is free of chain stores. However, quirky coffee shops as well as a seasonal farmers market make this a very eclectic, diverse neighborhood. It is one-half mile from the yellow/green lines and a little less than 2 miles north of the Capitol in D.C.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jun 24, 2008
depending on where you will be working, you may want to consider the Fredericksburg, VA area. Very historical and when we lived there 4 years ago, there were quite a few nice neighborhoods.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 21, 2008
I have helped 3 couples this month move from California to D.C. I am very familiar with properties in this price range. When you have a moment, please visit my website and send me an email or give me a call 202-297-5760, so that we can get the process started! I look forward to hearing from you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 21, 2008

You may want to check out Southwest DC. This quadrant is unique in its abundance of mid-century modern architecture. Stunning barrel roof townhouses can be had in the upper-$300s to mid-$400s depending on renovation.

Check out a couple of virtual tours:

0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 21, 2008
Hi Kimberley,

The Washington Metro Area can be daunting if you do not have someone to guide you through the many neighborhoods! The good news is that with the change in the market, homes have become more affordable and sellers are more willing to negotiate and give concessions.

It must be tough moving here from Southern California, but this is a great city too! I would love to be the one to introduce you to it. Please feel free to contact me via email and please visit my team's website

I hope to hear from you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Feb 27, 2008
How soon do you plan to move? My husband and I currently have our home on the market for 498,000.00 if interested. Check it out on or just google 31 Bryant St. NE, Washington, DC. We are close to the capitol and Union Station. If you'd like to see the house, call my husband on 202-438-9972. There are 3 nice large bedrooms and one smaller one that I use for my 3 and 4 year olds. Kitchen completed gutted in 2005, granite countertops, ceramic tile, island, nickel plated hardware on cabinets, stainless steel appliances. A must see that is well below market value. Our family has outgrown this home and it's time to move to a larger space. No problem with crime or theft. House is located at dead end street, rear parking for 2 if necessary. Nice neighbors and neighborhood.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 24, 2008
I am glad to hear that you are moving to Washington,DC. According to a recent survey by the Association of Foreign Investors of Real Estate,Washington,DC is one of the hottest real estate market for foreign investors. Check out my blog on "Washington,DC"on It will give you more information that you are seeking to find out about Washington,DC. And if you need a realtor to help you find your next home,I would be more than willing to help you with your purchase.

HOME BUYERS/SELLERS: Use my services and receive up to $1000 in free gifts or receive a FREE CREDIT REPAIR ( Value up to $700 ) at closing.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Feb 17, 2008
Well, my home is historic and eclectic in spades, in the heart of Dupont Circle. And, we've moved out already, so we have priced it aggressively - we are motivated sellers! Visit http://WWW.DCBROWNSTONE.COM I know it's over your budget, but we've priced our 3250sf home sweeter than any other comps around us. Best wishes...
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 13, 2007
A neighborhood to check out is Takoma Park known as a very eclectic community with easy access to the city via Metro and transit. You can find a smaller home here for $500,000 or less. Another fun community is Forest Glen within Silver Spring, MD. It is just inside the beltway and has some historical and unique properties. Let me know if I can define this farther for you. I am an agent with Long and Foster Real Estate, the largest independent broker in the area. My email is
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 9, 2007
My first question to you is- where are your jobs located? Commuting is a big issue here. If you don't mind commuting- you would be able to find something. Fairlington in Arlington is historic, eclectic - but it is a townhome-condo community. Fredricksburg is also historic. But that increases your commute significantly if you are working in DC. There are also neighborhoods in DC that are going thru rejuvination right now where you might be able to find a home in your price range. Del Ray in Alexandria also fits into your description -but maybe not your price range.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Nov 28, 2007
I would look for something in the District. The suburbs are just so overcrowded. Takoma Park or Brightwood in DC or Petworth might be an option. As would be Brookland. I'd check out the DC blogs on these topics: Frozen Tropics, Prince of Petworth, Columbia Heights news. DC is finally seeing an immerging ethnic diversity that isn't just confined to the suburbs. You should be able to find something in a townhouse in your range in DC.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 9, 2007
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