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    A Journey of Ups and Downs for First Time Buyers

    The journey of buying one’s first place sometimes requires equal measures of patience and flexibility. Meet Tania, a young professional who wisely decided that getting into the DC real estate market made great financial sense for her future. But Tania found out that it can be hard to find an affordable home in DC, even for a successful young professional with a stable job with the federal government.

    The Gorgeous New Kitchen

    Like so many other young professionals just coming out of college or grad school, Tania didn’t have a lot of money saved for down payment and closing costs. But her salary was just enough that she didn’t qualify for most of the programs that provide down payment assistance for first time buyers.  Apart from that, even though she was not unrealistic about what she wanted – a small, 1BR in decent shape that was close to the metro since she doesn’t have a car – it was hard to find. She investigated co-ops and condos in many different neighborhoods but ran into things like short sales, large down payment requirements, condo associations with high delinquency rates or simply competing offers!But Tania didn’t lose hope. She just got creative. When we came across a larger studio for sale in Randolph Towers on 14th Street in upper Columbia Heights, she decided to check it out with an open mind. What she discovered is that the layout and size of the unit enabled her to create a junior 1BR unit with the private bedroom space that was non-negotiable for her. Since units at Randolph Towers are newly renovated to the specs of the buyer, they were open to her installing a temporary wall in the space to create a private bedroom area.

    Tania with keys to her new place.

    And then another bit of good luck came her way. A new program called CityLift was announced that provides closing cost assistance of $20,000 to first time buyers in DC and MD. The income guidelines for the program were a bit more flexible than some other similar programs. Tania attended their event at the Convention Center and was qualified to receive the loan which is fully forgiven after just five years. CityLift funds were limited and once they ran out, they were gone. But Tania applied at just the right time and was able to take advantage of this rare opportunity. Tania didn’t give up and was creative and flexible and as of last week, she is proud to say that she is the new owner of a beautiful top floor junior 1BR condo with a beautiful view, parking, granite counters, stainless steel appliances and the biggest perk of all – a fancy, new Bosch washer and dryer in her unit. Congratulations Tania!!

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