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Actually, truth be told, this has been in the back of our minds for quite some time. The housing market bottomed out (in DC, at least) in November of 2006, and is on the way back up. Interest rates are low, but climbing. Personally, our current lease expires in August, we are expecting another lease hike, and our building punishes you if you don’t renew for a full year ($300/month to go month-to-month).
So, basically, the economic gods seem to be telling us something. Not wanting to anger said gods (Alan Greenspan?), ten days ago we found a real estate agent (Brandon Green) and a mortgage broker (Rob Riggins), both of whom came VERY strongly recommended and both very kindly gave us a crash course in home buying. After a weekend of getting oriented, and half a week of getting pre-approved, we hit about 20-25 different places this weekend.
The primary goals were a 2 bedroom condo in DC (in the Circles area — Logan, Scott, Dupont, Thomas) or in Virginia (either near where we live now in Court House, or near were The Lady Sparkler used to live in Del Ray/Alexandria). Given our budget, Brandon chuckled warmly at his naive little charges, and politely showed us some places we could actually afford.
The winning neighborhood by far was Mt. Pleasant, which is due north of downtown (16th street runs along the western edge of the neighborhood) and is nestled up against the back door to the National Zoo. The neighborhood has a fantastic diverse, family-friendly, funky vibe — those who know me know I don’t use the words “funky” or “vibe” lightly … darn hippie words! — and it seems to be one of the last true communities in the District.
The place we are bidding on is 1661 Park Road, #206 and is located at the corners of 17th street and Mt. Pleasant Avenue. It’s about 2 blocks from the Columbia Heights metro (where a Target, Best Buy, Marshall’s, Starbucks/Caribu Coffee and Carvel are all opening), 3 blocks from Rock Creek Park, and 6 blocks from the zoo.
(If you look on the Google Map above, the place we are looking at isn’t marked correctly … 1661 is actually well to the left of the green arrow, on the other side of the 5 townhouses you see on Park. It’s the building with 2 big trees between it and the street.)
The apartment has a ton of windows, and gorgeous, dark hardwood floors. Two bedrooms, brand new kitchen. The pictures attached to the listing were so bad, that we almost didn’t look at the place.
Anyway, we will obviously keep you posted as we keep moving towards the exciting conclusion of this very special episode of Extreme Makeover: Life Edition.