Close

“Daren and Randy always had thoughtful, fresh and creative proposals – truly impressed.”

“I listed my property on Riggs Place with Daren and Randy. They staged it, inside and out, and then marketed it with videos, social media, and who knows how many other ways. I was very impressed. But where I was most impressed were their skills in negotiating. I think far too many times today, people are afraid to think outside the box. Daren and Randy always had thoughtful, fresh and creative proposals – truly impressed.”

Jesse Hauer

“They work hard at it. They made me feel completely at ease throughout the whole buying process.”

“I’m a pretty competitive person. I do Ironman competitions, plus a whole host of other races and fitness challenges. I work hard at it. Randy and Daren are the Iron-men of real estate. They work hard at it. They made me
feel completely at ease throughout the whole buying process. I was a first time home buyer and pretty nervous. But they seem to just have a way about them that put my mind at ease. But the best thing is just smart they work.
The strategy they implemented got me the home I wanted, and I went up against 6 other offers. I’m truly grateful. And so is Hannah, my 2 year old lab. We now live in my dream two bedroom condo in the heart of Bloomingdale!”

Jack Tisne

“If you’re looking to buy or sell your home I highly recommend that you choose Molly Branson as your agent”

“If you’re looking to buy or sell your home I highly recommend that you choose Molly Branson as your agent. First, Molly is friendly and easy to work with. She always made time to answer our questions and was very clear about where we were in the process of selling our condo. Molly also did a great job showing our condo. She used everything from advertising on social media, phone calls with her network of agents, and two open houses. Our condo was on the market for two days and sold over list price. We plan to use her as an agent again and will definitely recommend her to our friends.”

Jason Trentacoste

“Thank you to all of the team.”

“The team made our transition to finding the right tenants and property management easy and a welcoming experience. We know our home while being rented will be in good hands! Thank you to all of the team.”

Steven and Beth Fabbri

“He’s fun to work with, and smart as a whip.”

“James did marketing work for some of my real estate development properties, and was consistently energetic, focused, and creative. He’s fun to work with, and smart as a whip. No hesitation giving him a strong recommendation.”

Joel M. Karr

“They were there every step of the way”

“District Residential made the journey of finding a perfect apartment seamless. Flexible, timely, agile, and all around a wonderful people to work with, their style of customer relationship had no time-limits — from the weekends calls to late evenings emails, while I was different time-zones, they were there every step of the way — consummate professionals who facilitated exactly what I was looking for in an apartment. I believe I’ve found my real estate broker as long as I’m in the DC area for the years to come.”

David

“He has tried-and-true recommendations that he is more than willing to share”

“My husband and I worked with James to find our new home in DC. We were new to the market and had lots of different thoughts about what we were looking for. James was incredibly patient as we traveled from neighborhood to neighborhood, from free-standing houses with yards to condos with street parking! James continues to be very helpful with brainstorming renovation ideas, giving recommendations for contractors/painters/glass workers. He has tried-and-true recommendations that he is more than willing to share. During the negotiation and settlement process, James was 100% present the whole time, keeping us up-to-date and running every decision past us. He took the time to explain each aspect of the bidding process, each point on the contract, and every step of the settlement process. We never felt pressured to increase our number or establish an escalation clause before the offer was submitted. James has a fabulous understanding of the bidding process and was able to predict (I sweat he has a crystal ball) how the seller would respond to different bids, inspection reports, etc. My husband and I would wholeheartedly recommend James to anyone looking to buy in the DMV area. When we are ready to move to another place we will definitely be using James to help us sell and buy somewhere else. We cant wait to have him over for dinner in our new place! Thanks for everything, James!”

Erin P.B. Katz

“Highly recommended and we would plan on using her as our agent again in the future!”

“We used Molly as our agent for both selling/buying, upgrading from a condo in DC to a house in Maryland. We first met Molly at an open house and were impressed by how much she remembered from our short conversation in the follow-up email she sent to us later that day. Throughout everything we appreciated Molly’s honesty and how she listened to our thoughts and concerns — she never came across as condescending or as if our concerns didn’t matter to her. When it came time to put an offer in on the house she was very aggressive in beating out a competing offer, which we appreciated since we had never been in that situation before. Molly also communicated with us constantly throughout the process and responded instantly whenever an issue came up. Highly recommended and we would plan on using her as our agent again in the future!”

David Garber

“I’m grateful for his positive spirit, can-do attitude, creative genius and OCD-level work.”

“Being a real estate agent requires the ability to juggle many things at once. Agents need to focus on their clients’ needs, and should delegate what they can as soon as they can. I simply cannot provide great customer attention if I’m preoccupied with my website or social media. Enter James Kastner. James not only unburdened me but he took my website and social media sites and ran with them. His elegant and creative design propelled my site into something more than I hoped for. And social media? Forget about it! I’m all over the place – key in this short-attention-span society. James has given me what I feel is priceless: peace of mind. I’m grateful for his positive spirit, can-do attitude, creative genius and OCD-level work. It’s always perfect, error-free and on point. Thank you, James!”

Mary Macpherson

“We found all that and more with District Residential.”

“As first time homebuyers, we were intimidated by the market and unfamiliar with the process, but we love DC and were open to living in a variety of neighborhoods. We were looking for someone who would be patient while we learned the ropes and who would help us feel confident in a highly competitive market.
We found all that and more with them. They helped guide us through many properties around the District to more fully understand what we were looking for in a house and a neighborhood. At each step of the process, we never felt pressured to make an offer or any other decision with which we were not completely comfortable. They were able to educate and empower us with their knowledge of the market, and their engaging personalities helped us thoroughly enjoy the experience from start to finish. After looking for just about a month and putting in two offers, we were under contract for an amazing house in Petworth. We’re so thankful they were in our corner advocating for us every step of the way (including pushing back on settlement and personally climbing on the roof to show the seller that inspection items were not addressed correctly and made sure they were fixed!).”
Adam & Rebecca

“He improves everything that he touches!”

“I employed James to manage and deliver my real estate print, social media and online marketing. James is a brilliant, savvy idea generator, brimming with creativity and energy. His excellent editing and writing skills result in marketing copy that is direct and full of impact! James delivers visually appealing results and he improves everything that he touches!”

John Solaegui

“James’ mind works at another level from the rest of us humans”

“James’ mind works at another level from the rest of us humans. Because of his creativity, my sales material was unique, compelling and always impressive.”

Shelly Sutherland

“Randy and Daren are fantastic; they’ve exceeded my expectations and then some!”

“Randy and Daren are fantastic; they’ve exceeded my expectations and then some! They guided this first time homebuyer beautifully through the process. I felt that my concerns were their concerns; emails and phone calls were answered very quickly and I was never left wondering what was happening. Every step from online listings, viewings, finances, bid/offer letters, and plenty of things I would not know to ask. They are extremely patient, professional and made me feel like I was their only client! I do not have enough words to explain my gratitude for their help in finding my perfect “castle” condo!”

Irina Royter

“He is passionate, creative, out of the box thinker, with a can-do attitude”

“We hired James and Intersect to build our website and on line presence for our real estate business. He is passionate, creative, out of the box thinker, with a can-do attitude!”

Alla Gershberg

“Flexible, timely, agile, and all around a wonderful person to work with”

“District Residential made the journey of finding a perfect apartment seamless. Flexible, timely, agile, and all around a wonderful people to work with, their style of customer relationship had no time-limits — from the weekends calls to late evenings emails, while I was different time-zones, they were there every step of the way — consummate professionals who facilitated exactly what I was looking for in an apartment. I believe I’ve found my real estate broker as long as I’m in the DC area for the years to come.”

David Mazaheri

“Thank you to all of the team”

“District Residential made our transition to finding the right tenants and property management easy and a welcoming experience. We know our home while being rented will be in good hands! Thank you to all of the team.”

Steven

“Molly has been an outstanding Realtor throughout the whole process of helping me buy a new place.”

“Molly has been an outstanding Realtor throughout the whole process of helping me buy a new place. It was my first time buying and I had so many clueless questions but Molly made all of my questions important and addressed them immediately. The process of buying a place could be a little frustrating but she makes it all easy and fun and fast forward 5 months, I have a condo that I really like. She is patient and never pushy, this is very important because no one wants to be pushed and buy a place that they will end up not liking. I really had a great experience of buying a place with Molly and she went above and beyond every time. I couldn’t wish for a better Realtor and experience. You would be lucky to have her as your agent.”

Kali Ferede

“Randy and Daren are an incredible team!”

“Randy and Daren are an incredible team! They thoughtfully walked us through the listing process and staged our Capitol Hill home beautifully — and completed the sale in just five days! Now that we’re looking for a home, we’ve been impressed with their diligence, consideration, and honesty at every step of the process.”

David White

“Molly was patient and flexible, and stepped in when she needed to in order to make the transaction happen”

“Molly was patient and flexible, and stepped in when she needed to in order to make the transaction happen. She had great ideas which totally worked out, and was never upset or put out…even when we had to contact her with an emergency while she was on vacation.”

Vickie Drake

“At each step of the process, we never felt pressured”

“As first time homebuyers, we were intimidated by the market and unfamiliar with the process, but we love DC and were open to living in a variety of neighborhoods. We were looking for someone who would be patient while we learned the ropes and who would help us feel confident in a highly competitive market.

We found all that and more. They helped guide us through many properties around the District to more fully understand what we were looking for in a house and a neighborhood.

At each step of the process, we never felt pressured to make an offer or any other decision with which we were not completely comfortable.

They were able to educate and empower us with his knowledge of the market, and his engaging personality helped us thoroughly enjoy the experience from start to finish.

After looking for just about a month and putting in two offers, we were under contract for an amazing house in Petworth. We’re so thankful they were in our corner advocating for us every step of the way.”

Adam & Rebecca Evans

“James is a real go-getter with genius ideas!”

“James is a real go-getter with genius ideas! He has helped me advance my real estate business in numerous ways. He is always ready to jump in and help with anything from marketing to social media to prospecting and lead generation. He is a delight to work with – fun, smart, professional and did I say fun?”

Deborah Lopez

“He created some of the best marketing pieces I’ve seen in my 25 years”

“I worked with James for years as he provided marketing, design and social media services for our real estate brokerage and directly to our agents. He created some of the best marketing pieces I’ve seen in my 25 years in the business and added much value to our endeavors during our collaboration.”

Patrick Carlisle

“Not only did James do a fantastic job for us we will always be thankful for the lesson he taught us.”

“James showed us how to let go of the part of the real estate business that was just taking up our time. By trusting his vision and putting his strong, extremely competent and creative talents to work for us, we finally learned to hire others who were better than us to do things that were using up our time. Not only did James do a fantastic job for us we will always be thankful for the lesson he taught us.”

Eric Weaver

“They got us into the exactly right property for us.”

“We lucked out meeting Daren and Randy at a new home buyer’s seminar. They explained the process and when we were finally ready to look seriously, we called them and asked them to be our buyers agents. It was the best decision we made! We told them what we were looking for and they targeted neighborhoods and properties in our price range. Our wish list was crazy for what we wanted to spend, but we managed to pull it off in the end. When we toured each property, they provided their honest assessment. Their eye for detail and ability to identify problems steered us away from shoddy flips and lurking problems. They negotiated hard and when we lost the bidding war on a house we liked, they provided encouragement and convinced us we would find the house for us. While we couldn’t see it at the time, they were right. When we did find the perfect place (and we did find it!), we were able to move quickly and put together the winning offer. They worked hard behind the scenes, sometimes very late into the night to put together offers quickly and accurately. They even helped us with financial documents to quickly get the financing secured. Even when we were traveling we worked with them to make sure we could submit offers quickly. Now that the sale is done, they continue to be helpful finding resources to make home ownership easier. Aside from their knowledge, research and understanding of the market, Randy and Daren are just great guys who we always enjoyed talking to and being around them. There’s so much more I can say about how much we enjoyed working with them and how they got us into the exactly right property for us. The bottom line is this: great agents, great guys, we were so lucky to have found them and I’d work with them again in a heartbeat!”

Candace Archer & Jenn Nichols

Improve before a move? Projects that produce the best ROI

July 25, 2017

Improve before a move? Projects that produce the best ROI

Thanks to shows like HGTV’s Flip or Flop, wrecking balls and sledgehammers often jump to mind when someone says the word remodel. But if a seller is thinking of making upgrades for the market alone, is it worth their investment of time and money? It’s difficult to find a one-size-fits-all answer, but there are several factors that it helps to consider in guiding sellers to the best answer for their individual situation.

First, consider timing. If a seller has a deadline in mind, it’s wise to avoid any home improvement projects that risk stretching into their desired listing timeframe. Small upgrades like replacing a front door are easy to manage on a tight schedule; larger projects like remodeling a kitchen are prone to unpredictable delays accompanied by unwelcome stress.

Second, consider the competition. Compare the home in question to similar options already on the market in the same neighborhood. Do they offer more up-to-date amenities or a more modern visual appeal? Are they able to set a higher asking price as a result?

Understanding the competition is as crucial in real estate as it is in any industry. To best position a home on its local market, a refreshing facelift might not be a bad idea. On the flip side, a little research might show that homes are selling without the need for that bathroom upgrade on the seller’s agenda. Comparing a home’s current value to the value of comparable properties in the area can help give owners an idea of how much they should realistically budget for remodeling projects without winding up on the losing end.

Third, consider the buyers. The idea of remodeling to increase a home’s appeal among buyers can backfire in more ways than one. The obvious of course, is stylistic differences. No matter how neutral the paint tones are, there’s a good chance they’ll be painted over once the new owners move in. In fact, many homebuyers undertake a variety of renovations and personalizations upon taking possession – everything from changing wall colors to renovating or upgrading a bathroom to adding a deck.

Stylistic differences aside, some buyers might actually be looking for a fixer-upper – something to make their own. Others will be on the market for a move-in ready residence without so much as a lightbulb in need of replacement.

Translated into the DC landscape, a couple looking for their first home in the Eastern Market neighborhood might be excited by the prospect of a rip-and-replace remodeling project. Meanwhile, a young professional looking for both a home and an investment might be more drawn to a move-in ready condo in Navy Yard or NoMA. If a seller is remodeling to impress the buyers, they need to have a clear understanding of just who their potential buyers are.

Lastly, consider the ROI. After accounting for the above factors, the potential return on investment for remodeling projects in a particular home will be easier to assess. But if you want hard data to back up your estimates, be sure the seller is familiar with Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value statistics for the DC area. The report’s numbers suggest that the majority of midrange and upscale remodeling projects do not typically result in a positive ROI come sale time. Only a few projects do stand out for their bang-for-the-buck returns.

Remodeling Done ROI-ght

When chosen wisely, even the smallest projects can deliver outsize ROI.

Many buyers will form their first impression of a property based on the very first photo they see: an exterior shot. So improving a property’s curb appeal is often a profitable investment, as confirmed in this report from the National Association of Realtors. Fresh mulch, pruned shrubs, dedicated lawn care, and a new coat of paint on exterior trim and shutters can go along way to best stage a home on the outside without breaking the bank.

But what about more sizeable “facelift” investments?

For the DC area, according to the statistics from Remodeling Magazine, replacing a garage door or installing a new steel front entry door both generate positive returns on investment on average. Other projects like replacing vinyl with manufactured stone veneer is a trend that’s not yielding a positive ROI nationally, but is in the DMV making it another great project to recommend to local owners. On the other hand, new patios and decks, and even new roofing and siding do not typically pay for themselves when their homes sell.

Indoors, the one improvement that consistently produces positive returns both locally and nationally, is not that shiny new kitchen or bathroom that some sellers might think. In fact, it’s the least glamorous upgrade of all: replacing attic insulationSellers throughout the country who upgrade their attic insulation usually see their home’s resale price increase by more than the cost of the project. They also save on utilities from the day the project is done, getting a second return on their investment. It might not be the first thing one thinks of when considering remodeling options, but it’s a great project to suggest to a seller and to then point out to buyers when showing a house.

So what about that shiny new kitchen or bathroom? As the numbers from Remodeling Magazine suggest, major remodeling projects usually only return 50-60% of their cost in resale value. The true benefit is to be had in the long-term enjoyment of such renovations. If a seller is planning to put their house on the market in a few years’ time, these upgrades make sense. If the upgrades are only being made to be sold, they’re unlikely to yield the desired returns. Simpler, cosmetic updates to existing kitchens or baths can be a better investment than a costlier rip-and-replace.

Quick and Easy Profitable Upgrades

Much like the home’s exterior, there are several quick nips and tucks that can be done on the interior to best position any house on the market while maintaining a positive ROI. These include repainting wallstrim, and staircases, and replacing carpets or refinishing hardwood floors. Wallpaper, in particular, is much like art: it is subject to subjective tastes. So it’s often a good idea to have it removed in exchange for a fresh coat of paint in a neutral tone. Consider suggesting an accent wall to complement the room’s existing design, without draining the walls of character entirely or lending too much power to their visual impact.

Lastly, given the DMV market, the competition, and the habit today’s consumers have of clicking through photos as their primary mode of passing judgement on a product, now more than ever it is a good idea to recommend investing in home staging. It can make all the difference in whether a potential buyer asks to visit a home or not, and research shows that staged homes ultimately sell faster and catch higher prices. Even the most up-to-date kitchen can get lost behind the magnets and calendars and recipe holders. Sure, these items make a house a home, but buyers aren’t looking to buy someone else’s home; they’re looking for a place in which to create their own.

Perhaps There is a One-Size-Fits-All Answer After All

When it comes to remodeling before going to market, it’s the little things that make all the difference. Most sellers would be best advised to save that dream kitchen or patio as a project to be installed in their new home, instead of leaving it behind in the old. But every property can benefit from putting on its best face. Think refresh rather than rebuild, and the returns are all but guaranteed.

Source: prime-settlement.com