Mythbusting DC, The Features

DC Mythbusting: To Rent or To Own

Photo courtesy of
‘Real Estate For Sale Signs’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

Welcome to another edition of Mythbusting!  A while back, we tackled the myth of DC being home to a transient population, and found out that the District doesn’t really deserve its reputation for no one being from here.  But this month, as I’m moving out of the home that I own and into a larger house that I will rent, it got me thinking: does DC have more renters than the average American city?  Can people just not afford the high property values here?  And which neighborhoods have the most renters?

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The Daily Feed

Today is World Habitat Day

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘SWP Moblog’

Did you know that half the world’s population lives in cities?  Or that within the next generation, more than two-thirds of the population will be urban? The United Nations designates the first Monday of October as World Habitat Day, a day to reflect on the state of our urban environments and reaffirm a commitment to providing decent, affordable housing worldwide.  There are three great ways to celebrate World Habitat Day: advocate for housing to Congress, educate yourself on current urban housing issues, or donate time or money to an organization that focuses on housing issues.

There are a number of events here in DC to mark the occasion, including a forum on Livable Communities today at Howard University at 3 PM.  The forum is entitled “Planning our Urban Future” and features the Director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs, the HUD Deputy Secretary, the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, and DC’s very own deputy mayor.  There are also several events happening throughout the week that focus on housing and urban environments.

Where We Live

When did housing turn into Freddie Kreuger?

Photo courtesy of
‘Foreclosed House 3-21-08 IMG_7996’
courtesy of ‘stevendepolo’

Actually, the housing market may be more Jekyll & Hyde than straight-up slasher villain, given the way it’s seemed to flip between everyone’s financial salvation and the eventual ruin of our economy. Unfortunately the odds are that if I’m writing about it here it’s for frightening reasons, not happy ones. Even more unfortunate, it seems that we’re getting little of this news in the mid-Atlantic region because the big scare lines specify areas far from here. That doesn’t mean it’s not going to impact us, though.

The big scary news hasn’t hit the Washington Post yet, though a lot of west coast papers have been running it. The tip of this iceburg is named “option ARMs” and is about a type of loan that let people pick how much they’d repay. Not surprisingly, many opted to make the smallest possible payment – an amount that, in many cases, didn’t even cover the interest being applied to the loan. The result being that the total amount of the loan grew rather than shrank over time, which would be troubling enough even if home prices rose. Which, as we all know, they didn’t.

Presumably our region is not getting the same amount of coverage on this issue as the west because of the big quote out of the reporting agency, Fitch. “75% percent of Option ARM loans are secured by properties located in California, Florida, Nevada, and Arizona” seems to be the info line that journalists are noticing and using as a reason to write this up, or possibly not. You’ll find fresh entries on option ARMs on SFGate but not in the WaPo.

Which is too bad, because this is going to bite us in the ass too.

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The Daily Feed

Inauguration: Rental Woes

by NCinDC

by NCinDC

For the last three weeks my roommates and I have been trying to rent our 3 bedroom apartment for inauguration week.  Our marketing plan has employed two tactics: 1) emailing friends from all over about the rental opportunity and asking them to advertise it (via an attached poster) to anyone who might be interested.  And 2) posting to DC’s craigslist.

We’ve had a 0% return on investment.  Not one lead, bite or even nibble.

Yesterday, I checked craigslist and found that the entire sublet section was over run with inauguration rental opportunities.  If anyone is looking for a non-inauguration subletting opportunity, good luck, because you’re going to have to sort through a list of every DC, MD and VA residence.

Are there success stories out there?  If so, how did you do it?  Or are these $30,000 stories, the stuff of urban legends?

Life in the Capital

Completing the Trifecta

Four letter word
Originally uploaded by Justin Shearer

I know my news will be overshadowed by the coffee war currently swinging through the blogging community (which I find utterly hysterical), but I need to share!

Last night, my wife and I ended our six-month quest to find a home in the DC Metro area. We’d put out two other offers over the course of the last two months; both were foreclosures. The first one was beaten by another offer that came in right after ours, the second one the bank was countering with miniscule changes of which we got tired of and backed out.

Saturday, we hit square one again and went looking with our awesome Realtor. First house of the day was it. You know what I mean – that feeling you get when you see something and you just know. We put the offer in Sunday and yesterday we got the fabulous news that it was 100% accepted. This wasn’t a foreclosure, short sale or desperate buyer. Just a nice older lady looking to move after being in that house since the 1970s.

We still have to go through the hoops – inpsections, finalizing the loan, etc. But at this point, it’s all gravy. By the end of August, we will finally return to home ownership in the good ol’ U.S.A. I’m just happy we’ve returned to John Locke’s trifecta of rights: life, liberty and property!

Man, do I love this town.