Summer 2010 | Step One, of how many?
Because I work full-time and spend most of my off-time focused in one way or another on my new home, I feel like I have been involved in the homeownership and renovation process for ages. Just so you know, I really only have 6 months of house hunting, 4 months of homeownership, and 1 month of renovations under my belt. I like to think of the famous Confucius quote, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” and apply it to homeowners: “Single-steppin’ it or not, a thousand miles is no short distance.”
What was Step One for me?
I turned to Google to find properties.
It was through these real estate websites that I first found properties to visit on my own (e.g. Capitol Hill Tower), properties to visit through realtors, and real estate agents who could show me them. Michelle Rios of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage showed me co-ops in the Waterfront SEU area; Diana Korkor of UrbanLand Company introduced me to the Floridian on U Street, condos in Chinatown, and several units in the Foggy Bottom area; and, Leslie White, a Field Agent for Redfin, first brought me to Anacostia, showing me HGTV’s first DC home featured on “My First Sale” as well as other properties available through Anacostia Realty.
Though none of these realtors led me to my home today, they each offered me a fresh perspective, a wealth of useful information, and helped me to narrow my property searching focus. I learned that a co-op imposes many restrictions on owners; condominiums are great, but condo fees are not; and that—at best, at the high-end of my budget I could afford a condo in disrepair in Foggy Bottom, and at the very, very high-end, a property near U Street or the up-and-coming Bloomingdale neighborhood.
In the end, a 30-year commitment to a property that would need fixing and was already more than what I wanted to spend turned me away from traditional homeownership. I also realized something else about my home-buying preferences: I liked Anacostia. And, if I needed to fix, I wanted to fix everything.