CONDOS In and Around Georgetown

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83 GEORGETOWN CONDO SALES OVER THE PAST YEAR

AVERAGE: $991,591 

MEDIAN: $639,000

Many Georgetowners want a luxurious home on one level with amenities. Condos like this include 1055 High Street, the Georgetown Ritz, Harborside on the Potomac, Water Street and the much-publicized Georgetown Hillside, which will be built at the current Exxon station location.

The immediate sell out in 2014 of 1055 High, with prices ranging from a low of $4.1 million to a high of $5.6, shows the demand of this carefree living in one of our favorite neighborhoods.

Due to the limited number of larger condos mentioned above, some have opted for the West End, just three blocks from the Four Seasons, since finding space for new construction in Georgetown is nearly impossible.

Luxury living is more about a lifestyle than it is about the size of the home or the lot. Many buyers are finding the luxurious condos attractive because they are turnkey and require less maintenance while still offering the charm and community of Georgetown — and they are willing to pay for it.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT AND QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF REGARDING CONDO LIVING:

Most questions regarding the purchase of a home are loaded with personal preferences; therefore the answers are subjective. However, research remains necessary on behalf of the buyer. One real estate expert once told me: “When the real estate market gets a cold, the condo market gets pneumonia.” Here’s a list, compiled with the assistance of local real estate experts, to get you started on your condo research. Thank you Malanie Hayes of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty, Daryl Judy of Washington Fine Properties, Margaret Heimbold, and Salley Widmayer of Long & Foster Real Estate.

New up-and-coming vs. established neighborhoods such as Georgetown — which is the better investment? Up-and-coming neighborhoods can be less expensive with the possibility of a great payoff, but they are a riskier investment. Think the Wharf, Penn Quarter, Capital River Front, U Street or 14th Street.

In recent years, we’ve had a wealth of options of which D.C. neighborhood to buy new-construction condos in. If you are looking for a turnkey lifestyle, prioritize the items that are important for you. Do you like to cook? Is there a good farmer’s market or grocery store close by? Do you like theater or the arts? With so many free museums in Washington, what is your proximity to them? Do you like to walk? What about safety? Do you know taekwondo?

Large vs. small buildings? Are you diversified enough? This is personal preference. It is more important that the building is being properly managed, all the structural elements are being maintained and the finances are in order — meaning the association has the proper amount in reserves and residents are paying their condo fees on time. The better the building is maintained, the less likelihood there is of a special assessment.

Investor-owned to owner-occupied ratios can be limiting and can create problems when trying to sell your condo. How much of an issue is this regarding the condo market in D.C.? Is there some sort of a clearinghouse? Before buying a condo, it is important to know the investor ratio and the rental restrictions.

Sometimes a buyer cannot qualify for a conventional Fannie Mae mortgage on a property if the condo is in a building that is more than 50-percent investor-owned or has too much retail space. Check the facts before you buy.

Condo fees and the average cost? Buildings with concierge service will cost more. If you don’t have a private secretary, a home manager or an urban Sherpa, what are you to do? Go condo! How to get the most out of your concierge and still have him or her love you? Is it all in the gifts or kindness, combined with good management skills?

When evaluating the condo fee, it is important to research what is included, so a prospective buyer can make an informed decision when comparing costs. The condo fee usually includes: common-area maintenance, a master insurance policy for the building, management-company costs, sewer, trash and snow removal. If utilities such as electricity and gas are included, the condo fee reflects that. Condos fees then go up in proportion to additional amenities and services that are provided, such as front-desk staff, an onsite property manager, porter service, pool, gym, concierge, landscaping, etc.

Understanding escrow accounts — is your condo management company performing? This can be difficult to determine. The best thing to do is attend the condo board meetings and read the minutes. Pay attention to what the overall yearly budget is for the building and then compare that to what is in reserves. Ultimately, prospective buyers will need to make a judgment call as to what they are comfortable with regarding the finances.

Also of note: Building finances are private and only accessible once the condo is under contract for purchase. When a buyer is under contract to purchase a condo, the seller will order what is called a resale package (aka condo documents) for the buyer from the management company for a fee, usually $250 and up. In the sales contract, the seller must deliver the condo documents to the buyer within 10 days of the contract being ratified. The buyer has three business days to review the documents. The resale package/condo documents will contain the budget, by-laws and insurance certificate.

What about restrictions and rules, moving rules, parking rules, etc.? Condo association covenants can be tricky. Pay close attention here.

NEW CONDOS COMING TO AND AROUND GEORGETOWN

The Westlight

Completed and located in the West End. New construction with 60 percent sold.

2501 M

Completed and located in West End with 31 units.

Valero Gas Station Site, 2715 Pennsylvania Ave. NW

Coming soon and located at the former gas station in front of Four Seasons, this EastBanc project has not broken ground yet.

West Heating Plant

Coming behind the Four Seasons Hotel, with concierge services provided by the hotel. Developed by Richard Levy of the Levy Group with architect David Adjaye, this project has not broken ground yet.

Hillside Condos at Key Bridge Exxon Site

EastBanc sold its Key Bridge Exxon project to Altus Realty Partners, which plans to redevelop the site, adjacent to the Exorcist Steps, as condos. Washington Business Journal reported that the project is a joint venture with Altus and DYNC Atlantic Property and Investment. The property, located at 3607 M St. NW, was purchased for $14 million.

3401 Water St. NW

IBG Partners and Wilco Residential plan to develop the warehouses below the Whitehurst Freeway at 3401 Water St. NW. D.C. Urban Turf is reporting that the warehouses on the site would be partially demolished. Malmaison restaurant and live-music venue Gypsy Sally’s currently reside there. The plans call for a 60-foot-tall building with approximately 50 residences.

AVAILABLE CONDOS IN GEORGETOWN

Currently Zillow shows 54 units on the market *

* The Dumbarton ($550,000)

* 1657 31st St. NW

* 1613 30th St. NW

* 1517 30thSt. NW #CO2

* 1517 30th St. NW #C21

* 2500 Q St. NW

* 2735 Olive St. NW #2

* 3100 N St. NW #1

* 1045 31st St. NW #506

* 1633 33rd St. NW

* 3251 Prospect St. NW #301

* 1226 Eton Court NW #T22

* Flour Mill, 1015 33rdSt. NW

* 3303 Water St. NW #30

* Swedish Embassy, 2900 K St. NW #607 ($5,500,000)

Georgetown Park Mall

Paper Mill

Ritz-Carlton

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