When Meg and Serge came to us, the kind of home they described wanting was what we like to call the “good bones” home. The kind of home with great historical details – original wood trim, doors and bannisters, transom windows, pocket doors, original hardwood floors, chicken wire tile in the bathroom, French doors – we could go on, but you get the idea. The kind of home that is perfectly livable and preferably very clean, just a little on the dated and worn side. Not newly renovated but clearly loved and cared for.
This kind of home is perfect for many buyers because there is so much opportunity to do things like upgrade kitchens and baths, add central air, replace some old windows or finish the basement and not only add tremendous value but choose the exact finishes that you want in your home. Assuming you don’t do the Cadillac version of renovations or your taste isn’t, shall we say, extremely unique, you should get more value than what you invest in the kinds of renovations listed above – that is to say, renovations that are must-haves for many buyers. Together with the stable real estate market in DC and especially if one is buying in a developing neighborhood, these kinds of homes are the best investment opportunities one can find and still have a move-in ready home with tons of charm.
Now that’s not to say that these homes are easy to find. Agents will need to clue in pretty quickly to what the right amount of work is for that particular buyer. There are many homes on the market now that while not technically distressed, have a laundry list of to-do’s and some leaking pipes and peeling paint that need attention immediately. If you’ve got the extra cash and love the house, that’s great. But another great feature of the “good bones” home is that you can live there perfectly comfortably without doing a whole lot for a year or two and save money for the bigger projects down the road.
Meg and Serge found properties that needed quite a bit of work and they saw properties that were newly renovated, but nothing that perfectly fit the bill. Eventually, however, they stumbled upon a textbook “good bones” home that was the perfect size for them and in a fantastic location. They’ve got lots of plans for the future, but for now, they are mostly thinking about where to put their furniture and how much fun they are going to have in their new neighborhood of North Columbia Heights. They are just a stone’s throw from the metro - good news since they rely on public transportation to get to work. They are a few blocks from fabulous coffee at Qualia and a swanky new restaurant called Chez Billy that harkens to the highbrow culinary future of Georgia Avenue. They are a short walk to the booming 14th Street corridor with neighborhood bars like the Red Derby, the unlikely rennaissance of 11th Street with romantic, date night spots like Room 11 and the soon to arrive Maple, and of course they can always check out the old standbys that Columbia Heights proper offers – two of our favorites being Pete’s Pizza for the best pizza in town and a fried goat cheese salad to die for and Los Hermanos for real deal, homemade Dominican food. In fact, judging by the rate that fun, new places are popping up around them, they’ll be very busy exploring and will need to exercise immense restraint to save all that money for house projects!