THE AREA: McLean is an upscale residential community with world-class shopping, very good restaurants, and superior office space just minutes from downtown Washington. The community has easy access to Metro and is conveniently located close to the Beltway, George Washington Memorial Parkway, Ronald Reagan and Dulles International airports, and major areas of employment. The village has a small-town feel and offers popular meeting places for residents who actively participate in community organizations. The citizen’s association is active in the affairs of the community, especially on the town’s annual McLean Day where local vendors showcase their goods, services, and activities for children and adults of all ages.
THE REAL ESTATE: Properties in McLean are quite remarkable, ranging from large estates down county lanes and older residences on mature streets to fashionable new homes with every imaginable luxury. Being in the Fairfax County public high schools are nationally ranked among the best in the country with high graduation rates and college admission percentages as well as abundant sports programs and extra-curricular activities.
THE AREA: Bethesda has matured into one of Washington’s most popular suburban destinations, bordering the northwest side of the city with easy access to the White House and Capitol Hill. What was once merely a residential community of single-family homes is now the focal point of biomedical research and a center of global healing. It is ranked by Fortune magazine as one of the top 10 metro areas blending business and pleasure. Bethesda has also been ranked as one of the top walking towns in the nation.
THE REAL ESTATE: Bethesda offers an eclectic mix of vintage churches, high-rise and historic buildings, and fine restaurants. The housing options include palatial estates, elegant apartments and condominiums, cozy bungalows, and older single-family residences. Downtown Bethesda is a lively urban community filled with exciting retail stores, art galleries, and apartments and condominiums which offer convenient and luxurious living. The suburb has traditionally enjoyed strong home sales and has been home to Cabinet members and other top federal officials. Prices range from $200,000 for a one-bedroom condominium to $10 million for a single-family home.
THE AREA: Known throughout the world at the mere mention of its name, Georgetown sits on the Potomac River near famed national monuments and museums, and is considered one of Washington’s toniest residential areas. The “village” is famed for it’s historic homes, shopping along Wisconsin and M Streets, lively college nightlife, fine restaurants, and beautiful tree-lined streets. It’s brick sidewalks stretch across a neighborhood of diverse individuals who appreciate the sense of community. Residents know their neighbors and enjoy the convenience of being able to walk everywhere. The White House and downtown are a mere 10-15 minute stroll away.
THE REAL ESTATE: One of the magnificent aspects of Georgetown is how much of the original architecture remains from when it was an early port town in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Sensitive restorations allow the village to retain the look and feel of a past time. Prices vary widely, from several hundred thousand dollars for an apartment to an estate piced near $50 million. Georgetown offers many great options for those who want all the conveniences of urban living and a small village atmosphere.
THE AREA: Capitol Hill is perfect for those looking for instant access to Washington’s political center. The historic area is the city’s largest neighborhood and offers close proximity to Capitol Hill and some of the nation’s best museums. Added benefits include living within walking distance of many fine restaurants and shops.
THE REAL ESTATE: For those looking for a modern take on this historic area, there’s a perfect new residence available. Landmark Lofts, a brand new Capitol Hill urban resort where 19th century style meets 21st century luxury, is walking distance to Union Station and its multiplex cinemas, restaurants, and upscale retail stores. The 130-year-old historic building was designed into luxury loft condos with soaring ceilings and dramatic open interiors. The historic common areas feature brick and granite courtyards, fountains and abundant trees contained within a private gated community. Distinctive, abundant outdoor space with private yards, terraces, and roof decks accompany most homes. Unquestionably, Landmark Lofts is one of the premiere locations within steps of the Capitol.
THE AREA: Steeped in the history and traditions of the late 19th century, Chevy Chase was founded by Senator Francis G. Newlands of Nevada in 1890, when it was developed as the first “streetcar” suburb of Washington. The income and education levels of Chevy Chase are among the highest in the country, while the schools are rated some of the best in the state. Chevy Chase offers easy access to downtown Washington, the White House, and Capitol Hill.
THE REAL ESTATE: The opportunity to live in this community is one that many Cabinet members, Supreme Court justices, senators, and representatives have shared in the past century. Located between Connecticut and Wisconsin avenues, just one-half mile from the District line, the neighborhood includes some of the most sought after residential real estate in the area. Some of the properties are passed on to younger generations without being sold; others sell very quickly, despite questionable markets. The village of Friendship Heights offers some of the most luxurious new condominium projects in the metropolitan area with shopping to match.
With the recent economic downturn, it’s true that your credit profile and score have to be above average and you have to put money down, but if you follow these five general rules, your move to Washington can be a breeze.
• ?Don’t get your credit score online. This is usually a teaser to another product. You will also more than likely get a score which won’t be the one your bank will use.
• ?Don’t get caught up in your score. As a general rule, everyone above 680 pays their bills. A higher score is not an indicator of status or wealth. Your credit is a complex formula and if you go about your business in the right way, your score will take care of itself.
• ?Get your income documentation in order. You have to be able to show you can afford it. Be prepared by gathering your tax returns and W-2’s from the last two years. You will also be asked for recent paystubs and bank statements to show where your downpayment is coming from.
• ?Get approved for a loan before you find a real estate agent. Do not settle for a pre-approval letter. Instead, go through the entire income documentation and approval process before you start looking for a home or agent. You might have to pay a small fee, but with guidelines and the industry changing so rapidly, you want this protection.
• ?Stay on top of your deadlines. Your mortgage approval will have expiration and contingency dates. Letting these lapse could void the contract and you could risk forfeiting your earnest money deposit.