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Filed under: Buying, Celebrity Homes, Selling
The Corcoran Group
UPDATE: Late comedian Joan Rivers' glitzy New York home has sold for its asking price of $28 million to unnamed "Middle East royalty," CNBC reports.
ORIGINAL POST 2/9/2015: Can we talk real estate? Joan Rivers' Versailles-esque condo on Manhattan's Upper East Side has hit the market for $28 million.
Rivers, who received a posthumous Grammy award earlier this year (see the video about daughter Melissa's acceptance below) lived in high style in the palatial penthouse just off Fifth Avenue at 1 E. 62nd Street. She used to quip it was a condo fit for Marie Antoinette -- if Antoinette were a rich New Yorker.
attan skyline views.
Huge master suite.
Separate two-bedroom guest apartment with living room and kitchen.
This is the third time Rivers' condo has been on the market: In 2012 and 2013, it was listed for $29.5 million.
Rivers is gone but was not forgotten when she won a Grammy for best spoken word album for her 2014 memoir, "Diary of a Mad Diva." Permalink | Email this | Comments
Filed under: Buying, Financing, Investing
Alex Kalina/Getty Images
By Bob Sullivan
In many parts of the country, housing prices gave returned to pre-recession levels. That's good news for sellers, bad news for buyers. But buried within the latest housing data is some good news for everyone -- everyone on Main Street, anyway.
All-cash buyers seem to be finally retreating. The percent of homes purchased by all-cash buyers in May was close to its long-term average going back to January 2000 of 24.8 percent, and well below its recent peak of 42.2 percent in February 2011, according to data released Thursday by RealtyTrac. It's one sign that the housing market is on the road back to a normal, "how do we find a place to live?" market, and away from the "how do I make a quick buck?" market.
What's an all-cash buyer? Someone -- or something -- with a lot of money. All-cash buyers don't need mortgages. They just show up with a check and buy a home. Generally, they are big investors such as hedge funds and foreign entities, buyers with no intention of living in the homes. They skew the market by soaking up inventory that could be purchased by a young family looking for a first-time home purchase. They also make such buyers look bad. If you were a seller and had two offers -- one all-cash, and one that still required financing to be arranged -- which would you choose?
"As housing transitions from an investor-driven, cash-is-king market to one more dependent on traditional buyers, sales volume has been increasing over the last few months and is on track in 2015 to hit the highest level we've seen since 2006," said RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist.
The out-of-whack housing market has been suffering from a record level of all-cash buyers for the past several years -- well above historical norms, according to mortgage expert Logan Mohtashami. He says the retreat of cash buyers is a positive development.
"This is a positive as total sales are rising with less cash buyers as a part of the market place.... Less cash means more traditional buyers in the system, which means the supply and demand balance is more correlated to Main Street economics," Mohtashami said. "[This year] is trending between 24-27 percent, which is still very high, but this is the first time it's under 30 percent in every report."
Of course, the shrinking number of cash buyers doesn't mean prices are going down. In Manhattan, for example, the average sales price for an apartment just hit a record high -- $1.87 million. And it's not just New York. Home prices in Dallas, Denver, and San Francisco are positively bubble-icious, rising about 10 percent last year, soaring past pre-recession levels.
But with more first-time homebuyers and less inventory, at least the dynamics of home buying might change a bit.
"The competition in the marketplace is ... different," said Craig King, chief operating officer at Chase International brokerage, covering the Nevada markets of Lake Tahoe and Reno. "While inventory is tight, many investors have dropped out of the market and cash deals are not as prevalent as they were. Even in multi-offer situations, much has been equalized. This is great news for first-time buyers."
If you're looking to buy a home this year, make sure you know how much home you can afford (here's a calculator). And be sure to check your credit, since improving your credit scores can save you thousands of dollars in interest over the life of your mortgage. You can get a free credit report summary every month on Credit.com to see where you stand. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Filed under: Buying, Celebrity Homes, Selling
Riskin Associates via ZillowThe house features 6,000 feet in a beautiful cottage-style white but the real selling point is the 63 feet of beachfront.
By Melissa Allison
UPDATE: Comedian Dennis Miller and his wife sold their oceanside California mansion south of Santa Barbara for $19 million -- $3.5 million less than they were asking for the stylish estate.
ORIGINAL POST 1/4/2015: The beach retreat Dennis Miller and wife Carolyn Espley-Miller are listing for $22.5 million has an office -- but the buyers should expect to accomplish very little there, she warned.
"We joke that no work ever gets done, because we're either staring at the view or talking on the phone about how beautiful the view is," Espley-Miller told House Beautiful. "I had such a strong vision of a serene, whitewashed house on the sea. So I just gave the whole place a big dollop of white, from floors to ceiling."
Associated PressDennis Miller
The 6,063-square-foot home has views of the Pacific Ocean and the mountains. It sits a little back from the beach on a half acre along Padaro Lane in Santa Barbara County, with five bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms and 63 feet of beachfront.
"Besides it being right on the sand, the Padaro location is the crème de la crème of beach locations for this area," said Dina Landi, who listed the property at Riskin Associates.
"One of the things that makes that particular house on Padaro Lane special is its very open floor plan, the incredible amount of natural light that comes into the house and the privacy you get" from it being set a little back from the beach, Landi said.
The light extends all the way to the master suite, where the bathroom is "very white and very simple," Espley-Miller told House Beautiful. "I wanted nothing to detract from the incredible view and the light."
Miller, perhaps still best known for his roles on "Saturday Night Live," appeared in the television series "House of Cards" in 2013 and narrated the reality series "Forever Young."
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Filed under: How To, Selling
By Laura Agadoni
You're almost ready to put your house on the market when you realize it: The neighborhood eyesore is going to pose a problem.
Sure, we know some people might view any attempts to hide an eyesore from view as being underhanded, sneaky, and designed to fool unsuspecting buyers. They might envision unscrupulous sellers and agents who keep their fingers crossed, just hoping no one spots the eyesore next door.
If you feel that way, by all means, point out the junkyard behind you that's worthy of "American Pickers," the yard next door that looks more like a prairie than a lawn, or the bail bonds sign spray-painted on the wall across the street.
For the rest of us, here are five ways to resolve these eyesore neighbor issues so would-be buyers won't be scared off. And who knows? Maybe if you tackle these unsavory sights, you'll decide not to sell your home after all.
1. Ask your neighbor to fix the problem.
This solution can be tricky. There's really no easy way to tell someone that his or her house is the neighborhood eyesore. But there are some methods that might help.
"Just writing a friendly note (dropped off with a bottle of wine or another small gift) can sometimes do the trick," says Ross Anthony, a San Diego real estate agent.
It also can't hurt to mention to your neighbor that the more your home sells for, the more his or her home will be worth.
2. Be neighborly.
You know how people can become desensitized to certain smells? ("How did you know I had a cat?") Well, people can become so accustomed to the condition of their house that they don't notice when it looks run-down.
This sometimes happens with elderly homeowners: Either they haven't realized the condition of their home or they simply can't manage the upkeep. You might think a condo or townhouse situation might better suit your overwhelmed neighbor, but steer clear of that suggestion.
Instead, offer to spruce up the house yourself. "If it is an elderly person, I offer to help," says Sarah Bentley Pearson, an Atlanta real estate agent.
But it's not just elderly neighbors with houses that could benefit from a little TLC -- just think of all the work you did to get your house in selling shape.
Alexander Ruggie of 911 Restoration in Los Angeles says that if the next-door neighbor has a poor paint job, a wobbly fence, or a caved-in garage, there's no reason you can't offer to help fix the problem. "Most people would be surprised how much they can convince people to do when they offer to help do it."
3. Notify your HOA.
If you live in a community with a homeowners association (HOA), let it know about the unkempt house near you. One of the main reasons HOAs exist is to prevent homes in the neighborhood from becoming eyesores that could drive down the value of other homes.
Your HOA might send a letter to the offending neighbor warning him or her to fix the problem or face fines. Or the HOA might take care of the problem and then bill the homeowner.
4. Call the city.
If your neighbor won't mow his or her lawn, get rid of the junk outside, or let you help tidy up, you can always call your local government.
"If there is a really bad problem, like the grass is a foot tall and there are junk cars on the front lawn, your neighbors are probably in violation of local codes and can be forced to clean up," says John Z. Wetmore, producer of the TV show "Perils for Pedestrians."
Do this well in advance of putting your house on the market. The city could give your neighbor up to 90 days to meet housing codes.
Wetmore also suggests that you "walk around the block and pick up any litter along the public streets and sidewalks."
If the house is a bank-owned foreclosure, find out which bank owns the property by checking county title records. Insist the bank maintain the property.
5. Plant view-blocking trees or install a fence.
It might be worth the investment to block an unsavory view. If you plant trees, choose ones that are at least six feet tall to give you an immediate sense of privacy. Privacy fences should also be six feet high.
If your neighbors are noisy, putting in a small water feature can drown out the racket.
"You only have one first impression," says Anthony, the San Diego real estate agent. "You want potential buyers to fall in love with your home before writing it off due to an unkempt neighboring property."
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Filed under: Celebrity Homes, Selling
ZillowThe Greenwich Village townhouse features six bedrooms and seven fireplaces, including this one in a bathroom.
By Melissa Allison
Maybe Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick should stick with flipping their hair.
The savvy New Yorkers bought this Greenwich Village townhouse in 2011 for nearly $19 million. They put it on the market the next year, and after almost three years of trying to unload it, have finally found a buyer -- at $18.25 million, as first reported by Curbed.
The couple and their children reportedly never lived in the 6,800-square-foot home, which is 25 feet wide and has six bedrooms and seven -- count 'em, seven -- fireplaces.
There are twin fireplaces on the "parlor" floor, a marble fireplace near the kitchen, a Victorian fireplace in a guest suite and a stone fireplace -- plus a hand-carved stone tub -- in the master suite. Photos indicate a couple more fireplaces in bedrooms.
The ground floor opens onto a split-level, landscaped garden that is also visible from a Juliet balcony off the second floor, and the master suite boasts a large, private terrace.
The listing agent for the home was Fredrik Eklund of Douglas Elliman.
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