Continuing to examine and hold a lively discussion of the Northern Virginia Real Estate market.
Please post your local house search updates, MLS finds, on-topic ideas, and links here.
"My personal residence in Wolf Trap Woods fell 25%, peak to trough, and I had a condo at The Rotonda that dropped 40%. I said, even back in 2005 that condo's would be hit the hardest.".Question.Are you talking about 1991/1992 or 2005-today?My place and this part of the immunozone fell about 10% in the early 1990's and very roughly that much from the recent peak to trough.It's really hard to detect as the variation is so small and there are numerous houses and neighborhoods that are "going against" the trend.I was concerned a couple years ago during the bubble mania but my focus has shifted to the disaster in the stock market and general economy. As a home owner, I can benefit in a small way. I did not McMansion my place during the bubble and am making repairs and upgrades using trusted local contractors who appreciate the business and discount their work.
I think the condo market today is going to take an immense beating. Condos can be built for $100-150/SF and they were selling at the peak for $450/SF.Things got so crazy that in 2005, there was almost 14 years of absorbition going up or planned in Arlington.Now i think some of those plans failed before ground breaking, but, if you drive wilson Blvd at night, you see lots of blacked out buildings SFH's will do better just because inside the beltway it's harder to build those.However the condo market is very elastic, and will snap and snap hard.I have a friend she has been doing MEW's and HELOCs on her condo in vienna. I think she's badly underwater.
@j@, if you've had a bathroom completely redone, what was the cost? I recently got a partial estimate (I would have to find and buy several fixtures, tile, etc.) and it seemed high. I thought it would have been lower post-bubble, but then I don't have a comparison estimate from 2006.
Ace: In some of my flips I just did a number of complete bathroom renovations with plumbing in place, but they were low ends. Like @J@, I used my trusted, local contractor I have worked with for many years. The price per bathroom was about $8,000. I used low end tile and plumbing fixtures from good supply shops my contractor has also used for years. The contractor wants to keep his best workers, so I got the "A" team in Jan & Feb and got incredibly good work. Contractor is busier now with homeowners, so I would not get the same workers, but all of his workers are better than most. As with so many professions related to housing, I am finding that the good people are still in business - contractors, builders (yes, builders are still building), mortgage loan officers, real estate agents, settlement lawyers. Washing the bad actors out of the system may have been the best side-effect of the bubble burst.Pat: it might cost $100/150 to build a condo, but you have to factor in the cost of land. I know you want the condo market in Arlington to crash badly and fast -- believe me so do I - I would love to pick up some more bargains. Where are the blacked out buildings on Wilson Blvd? Other than 1888 Wilson Blvd. which is almost sold out and Liberty Center in Ballston, the other buildings on Wilson which planned to open as condos are now renting briskly or will be when finished. If you really want to buy something now, get into the market at the lowest price you can afford even it is not next to the Orange Line. There are 3 or 4 buildings off Lee Hwy less than a mile to Courthouse or Clarendon Metros - Cardinal House, Adams House, The Circle, Cleveland House. All have 1 beds well under $300K. Get in, get some equity and leverage to the 1 block to metro location. I watch the kids walk from those Lee Hwy locations every morning through Lyon Village to the orange line.
Thanks, Anielarke, the contractors (plumbers who also do whole reno's) are good - have done a lot of other work in my house and want $14000+ for a very small bath; the only fixture they install is a moderate-high end tub (not a spa, no jets, etc.). I am not changing the configuration of the bath. I figure by the time I search for and buy tile, toilet, vanity, mirror, medicine cabinet and another cabinet for storage, that will be at least another $4K out of pocket plus my time, which like most people's here, is not cheap. I remember hearing a bubble-era quote of $17K for a moderate sized, modest bath, with the contractor doing everything. So your info is very helpful.Also, here's an unusual Arl. short sale - on frankly 0 days, under contract already. From the one photo it looks nice and from the 09 assessment, it's a good deal, right size and amenities, but who knows whether the interior is trashed?:http://franklymls.com/AR7071976Update Type: NEWAddress: 4732 25TH ST N ARLINGTON, VA 22207Current Price: $1,000,000DOM/P: 0/0Original Price: $1,000,000Date Last Updated: 5/31/2009 8:50:38 PM
Hi all,So, we looked at THs with Jeff Royce on Sunday. 2 are out of the question, 1 is possible, but not for a price they'd even consider at this point, and 1 is serious possibility.Which means I did not attempt to figure out how many people were priced out during the bubble and waiting ready to buy now in FFX county. What I can tell you is that given that the homeownership percentage amongst households in the DC region as a whole and all subareas within went up, not down in the bubble, that means there are more people who stretched to buy a house early than there are people who waited it out. DC went from 41.? to 44.? ownership, which is a serious jump, and gives reason to believe some will be shorts and REOs soon. FFX county was more moderate percentage-wise from 72.0 to 76.0?? ownership (these are 1998 versus 2007 comparisons). So as long as most of these people made good bets not losing ones, the REO stream may start to diminish.
Ace,(from the previous bucket)Thanks.We're not married to it, because it's not everything we might want, but (assuming those answers come back positive) it meets are short-term (5 year) needs quite well, and there's no obvious reason why it wouldn't work out for longer.I had a long conversation with a friend this weekend that really helped me hone in on what our needs really are, and what the purpose of buying now would be for us, which, combined with the deadline set by our lease renewal, has suddenly made the TH route way more appealing. I think I was getting led slowing off my gut instincts and my own needs/wants balance by all the SFH people on this blog. It's just not the right choice for us at this stage in our lives.
NY Times FDIC report on loan quality with another cool NY Times graphic.The possible good sign is the exponential growth of badness may be reaching the limit of it's unbounded growth stage.
And the stock market reaction to the increase of bad loans is....up 1.5%.
@J@,I am talking about the last downturn 1990-1994 or s0.Kevin,I did get my two best deals ever in 2004 and 2005. I 1031'd out of some lesser performing properties at some excellent prices into absolute "steals". One of those sales was the Wolftrap property (sold, after being a rental since 1993) in May '05. The other sale was a rental we had purchased in 1989.
Robert,I think the belief is that the stock market is reacting to the good news in manufacturing in both Asia and Europe, but I've given up trying to be the psychologist for stocks.(I don't think there was anything really unexpected in the loan article, it's just a really nice graphical representation of what's been happening)what, no bottom calls based on that I'm considering putting in an offer??
Cara, isn't it interesting how your own needs and wants can sometimes get lost in all the data about everyone else's? Glad you could talk this through with your friend. Just be sure to get a townhouse with a little room in the front or back for an azalea or two!
Ace,There's always room for an azalea!:)
http://www.novahomeguy.com/has a very interesting post up on the status of the Silver line. Basically on whether the landowners are willing to tax themselves to pay for it or not...
True, Cara! Also, if the TH association permitted it, you could even pull out any evergreens you didn't like, and replace them with evergreen rhododendrons and azaleas (careful, a lot of azaleas are deciduous)!
Optimist - There is always room for an Azalea.Pessimist - There is always a deer to eat the Azalea.At least in my neighborhood :-)
David,actually that's probably true in this neighborhood too, it backs to a wooded ravine. (like most of Burke)
Anyone else dealt with this question?We need to have either high-speed cable internet or a FIOS connection otherwise we can't work from home. I.e. not allowed to. But I can't figure out a way to find out if it's available other than if I were already the customer that lives there. Grrrr. I want a freaking map of availability of service. This is a do or die question, we have it now in our apartment, we're not moving without it. I want confirmation directly from the service provider not from the home-owner (unless they hand me the bill with that service already included on it). (I'm not so good on that whole trust thing).I've emailed the cable company, we'll see how that goes....
If you know the address of the place you're asking about, can you use the website:http://www22.verizon.com/residential/fiosinternet/checkavailability/checkavailability.htmI think Comcast has something similar; maybe Cox does as well.
Cara,I'm impressed, but I fear that you will be too aggressive with your offer and it will be rejected. I know you'll let us know how it turns out.I've said now is a good time to buy the type of housing your are looking considering. Three, six, and nine months from now are also good times to buy.Stimulus spending +Obama Health Care, Ed, Energy +Infrastructure spending +Low house prices +Cyclical economic recovery =Time to buy...but still wait if you are buying something over $800k. Inventory is still too high...and prices are still falling.
Cara,The silver line is going in come hell or high water. This is just a negotiating stance for higher density.
Robert,That is pretty likely, in order to convince my husband to put in an offer at all, I've had to agree with him to a lower reserve price than I might otherwise have. It's a well-priced place though, we don't need to low-ball it.the verizon and cox things at some point both require you to log in (or indicate which services you have) if there's already an account at that unit. Which there is in both instances. Which means I can't find out what the service is without guessing...
Robert,Maybe I've misread your comments (or one of the comments I think you made was lower case robert), but I feel like you've made contradictory guesses as to whether the $8k tax credit will be extended.For the record, I believe Congress will extend the $8k tax credit. I think it's possible they may even sweeten the pot (make it higher than $8k and/or raise or eliminate the AGI phaseout).One thing that was interesting was the 1975 $2,000 tax credit. That was enormous when you think about it. Back then, you could get an average single family home in Northern Virginia for $50-70k. And most of the country was even cheaper. I'm not defending the $8k tax credit but it's actually much more modest (as a percentage of the average home cost) than the 1975 tax credit.
"a bathroom completely redone, what was the cost?".Over $19K but this was complicated and a bigger job than most. The bathroom was completely rebuilt and expanded to twice the size, a wall relocated into the next room and another wall was extended. Electrical, duct work, windows, etc. The floor was replaced. Fixtures, tile, etc, were lower grade but the tub is large and deep with water jets, heater. The job took about a month working on and off. My place has only one bathroom so I had a toilet perched on plywood. No bathtub for a week, sponge baths only or showering at the office.Trade off, great inconvenience for $$$. Once the bathtub was plumbed, the work slowed. I lived with a tarp for walls, then unpainted walls, and temporary plywood floors as the contractor fit my job into his schedule. Again, time traded for money. The price was good but by agreement this was not a high-end, high priority, job. This was done to a budget and I got what I wanted, the soaking tub, the extra space, storage, a nice, presentable but not lavish bathroom.The contractor kept his team employed. Everyone did OK.
Va_Investor,The post that Cara links to is about Phase II of the Silver Line. Phase I (out to Wiehle Avenue) is a done deal. These people could stop Phase II. I'm not predicting it but I don't think it's a "done deal" as you claim.Given the article someone put up recently about the massive drop in customers after the Dulles Toll Road raised its toll (for the first time) in 2005, one wonders how many customers the DTR will lose as it keeps raising tolls to pay for the Silver Line. I'm not sure why rail to Dulles is so vital. There is a Metrobus that goes to the airport and plenty of private companies who offer that service. It will be interesting to see how long a ride from, say, Farragut West to Dulles Airport would take on Metro. Would you really take Metro if it's an hour or more (on a good day, let alone a day when there is congestion at the Rosslyn tunnel or some track malfunction).
tbw,You have your opinion, I have mine. Time will tell. I happen to know people on the various Boards involved.
TBW,RE: $8k tax credit or other homebuying incentives...I've said that you should look at home prices in California to get an idea as to whether the credit is extended or expanded. I'm not sure about the threshold that needs to be reached, but we are far from there in CA. 54 electoral votes, maybe more with the 2010 census. Obama & wife seem to be enjoying living in the White House. Without CA, there is no 2012 victory.
Great renovation info today, everybody. One perhaps naive question is, how do people without home equity lines or a bunch of cash on hand end up paying for these things? What kind of financing is available?For example, we just saw a house this weekend that was priced pretty well, but was desperately in need of new windows, an additional 1/2 bath at least, and some kitchen repositioning (really needed a whole addition, but I'm being realistic here). We could have put 20% down, and stayed above our cautious cash-on-hand limit. However, it would have taken quite a while to save up the cash for these things. Are there loans out there appropriate for this? Is it just better in this instance to put 15% down or so and deal with the PMI payments? (side note: we are not doing FHA)
VA_Investor,I just said it's not a done deal. I'm not saying it's never being built.My guess is that Phase II will eventually happen, just even further behind schedule.
tbw,Sorry, I don't really care about your guess. Others might.Whoever commented about hour train rides to DC, completely disregards Tysons and Reston/Herndon employment bases.
Robert,Sounds to me like you are afraid to go on record one way or the other on whether $8k will be extended. I think you basically already have backed away from your earlier claim that it will not be extended.Just a few quibbles: CA has 55 electoral votes. Obama has 365 electoral votes to McCain's 173. Swap CA and it's still a large win for Obama with 310 EV and McCain with 228. In reality though if Obama lost CA he's probably losing a lot of other states. Obama is not losing CA over a housing tax credit. The only thing stopping it is if Congress thinks there is no more housing crisis and a bottom is reached. I doubt they'll conclude that.
VA_Investor,Why are you posting on a board like this if you are going to be completely dismissive of everyone else's comments?I said it might take an hour or more to take Metro from downtown DC to Dulles Airport. The point was that few people will be interested in that and will instead take their own car, ride a taxi, or some bus service out to Dulles Airport. I don't think a large percentage of Dulles Airport riders will take Metro to Dulles if it's much longer than driving.Frankly, I don't care much about your opinion if you think people in Reston or Herndon offices are going to take Metro to Dulles Airport. People are not taking mass transit for something that is a 10 minute drive.
Robert,CA has it's own 10k credit (funded how??? anyway...) for buying new construction. And out there, other than the inland empire, for most people $8k is a pittance compared to current prices. As Tabitha's linked book the other day showed, CA had an affordability problem. If the administration waits until CA is finished with it's housing burst, it may have too many ugly unintended consequences for the bulk of the midwest/south which have a higher density of electoral votes per person and didn't have as big of bubbles.I personally think there's a real possibility that they'll make the $8k buyer credit "permanent".but, in case tbw wants a firm position from me too, I am firmly not making a prediction. This is the type of thing I'm usually wrong about.
Cara,I'm not demanding a firm prediction from anyone. Robert firmly predicted no extension a week ago and I was just confused because recent comments seem to hedge that bet.This board would be no fun if we were all VA_Investor and firmly believed we were 100% right about everything and had no interest in what others think might happen.
tbw,;)There was supposed to be levity in my "firm prediction" comment, it may not have conveyed.
Cara,Sorry. As is probably obvious, I was a little annoyed by VA_Investor's rude comment. Generally people on here are pretty civil and respective of opposing viewpoints so I was taken aback.
tbw,No reason to apologize. I'm kind of in a haze today myself. Now that we've decided that the TH route is the right one for us, we could actually buy.
TBW,The $8k credit WILL be extended because CA prices won't move up until after most, if not all, other markets. It will just be extra fuel for quickly recovering markets like ours.But you have me confused with someone else. I've countered the bear arguments with what I predict will be a slew of housing incentives until home prices start moving up. The $8k being on. But the much bigger housing incentive that isn't labeled as such is the $1.2T Fed facility to buy up mortgage-backed securities to drive down mortgage rates.
Fred: FHA has some programs which allow you to do rehabs, but I think the rates are higher and you would then have FHA insurance. For the windows, in particular, I would talk to the County in which the property is located to see if they have any "green" programs which allow you to get a credit/finance for improving energy efficiency. I think Washington Gas might also have a programs where you can have windows installed and finance it through Wash Gas. Not sure what the finance costs would be but worth checking. Might be better to do 15% down FHA or conventional and pay mortage insurance for a bit. The insurance might be less than the financing charges. You can get a pretty decent window for $500 per opening and a pretty decent half bath for about $8000 if there is not plumbing in place. When you buy your house, look at the Lowes and Home Depot websites. I think they are still offering a $500 gift card to new homeowners. that will buy some paint.Ace: For the house at 4732 25th St: it came on as a new listing but it is under contract. It was on the market last summer for a long time and did not sell. It is owned by one of the Washington Capitols who got traded -- maybe to LA?
TBW,One other reason to take metro vs. drive is to avoid very expensive parking fees over multiple days. Since many trips out of Dulles are international, trips may take weeks. Parking adds up.
@J@, thanks for sharing your story. A month of no bathroom? Wow... But your info about the cost also seems consistent with anielarke's in that you had a LOT of infrastructure change to pay for.
"Ace said... TBW,One other reason to take metro vs. drive is to avoid very expensive parking fees over multiple days. Since many trips out of Dulles are international, trips may take weeks. Parking adds up."Yep - thats the main reason I want to take it. Right now I will pay an extra $100-200 or more to fly out of Reagan (and metro) versus a cheaper flight out of Dulles plus a hefty parking fee.
Robert said... And the stock market reaction to the increase of bad loans is....up 1.5%.No. It’s up 1.5% due to the bankruptcy of one of the nation’s largest automakers.
The Anonymous,Do you live in walking distance of a Metro stop? If you have to drive to Metro then you cannot leave your car there overnight. Also there is a high theft rate at Metro car lots...If you live in Arlington or DC, why not take the Metrobus from Rosslyn? Or take Metro to West Falls Church and take Washington Flyer? http://www.washfly.com/coach.htmlParking is not cheap at Dulles but it is $10/day. I know you said you take some long flights but for those who have a 2-3 day trip it makes more sense to pay that Dulles parking fee than spend $100-200 more for Reagan.Another option would be to have a friend/family member drive you there and pick you up. You can even offer them some gas stipend since you are usually saving $30+.When Phase I is completed they can have a really quick Metrobus from the Wiehle Avenue stop to Dulles Airport. Obviously Phase II would be nice to have. But is it worth the cost? Not clear. I think I'd be more convinced if one of the Reston stops went a little closer to Reston Town Center. Currently it's going to be a hike to the Metro from RTC.
cara-just curious, what did your friend make you realize about TH's, that you no longer want a SFH?I agree completely about FIOS/hi speed cable compatibility. that should be a category in listings just as septic/public sewer is...
For the record though if it were up to me we would have Metro out to Dulles, extend Green Line to BWI, extend the blue line down to Woodbridge/Potomac Mills, extend the Orange Line along I-66 to Centreville. I'm certainly a fan of all of this. It's too bad the federal and state governments have gotten so cheap when it comes to expanded transportation and are using higher toll roads and special tax districts.
I fly out of Dulles all the time. If it is 2 days or less I park in the daily garage next to the terminal. More than 2 days I take a cab.Public transport is never an option. Lug your suitcase on Metro or a bus? No thanks.
Robert, you think housing is actually going to start moving up?Even in a best case scenario where we really are more or less at "bottom," we can still expect years of stagnation before any meaningful upward price movement begins.
TBW - yes Im walkable to the metro, so I can keep my car at home and get to the airport for $5. I agree it makes no sense to pay the premium for 2-3 days for Reagan. I was just reiterating what Ace said -- there are a good number of people who park there for 1 week or more.Incidentally, I have heard that you can rent a car at Reagan, and drop it off at Dulles (they share the same airport code) without extra charges. Thus, I think you could rent an econobox at one airport, and drop it off at the other an hour later for cheaper than the washington taxi. I need to look into that next time I travel.
"One other reason to take metro vs. drive is to avoid very expensive parking fees over multiple days. Since many trips out of Dulles are international, trips may take weeks. Parking adds up."Yes, but most business travelers don't need parking at the airport. Private companies will reimburse for taxis and I think even the Feds get reimbursed for taxis. Parking certainly matters for some people, but less than you might think.
Leroy, I agree, I'm simply talking about the driving vs. metro decision - leaving taxis, buses and any other modes of transport (e.g., a friend drops you off) out of it.
Leroy,Support you thesis of stagnating prices. I've seen that in other posts. This almost certain truth that prices will move sideways for a lengthy period of time.At the moment in NOVA, prices less than $500k are moving up. Prices somewhere around 500-800k are flat, and above $800k they are still falling. You can look directly at the inventory numbers and it will tell you with almost certainty.
Robert...Prices have been creeping up as you describe, but what about the Spring bounce that occurs every year? As well as people rushing to take advantage of the $8000 tax credit? It's a bit early to be declaring it all over. You may well be right (though I am more inclined to believe there will be flat-ish prices for a while), but, really, nobody knows. You just have to use your best judgement, preferably trying not to browbeat others to shore up your confidence.
Robert- I agree I think people assume that they will stagnate, because that is what happened for most of the 1990s. I am pretty sure that is because back then prices would have fallen, but people refused to sell for less than peak prices. This created a large number of sellers right around peak prices so prices couldn't move up for almost a decade.In the current situation prices did fall. People know they will not get peak prices so they will sell for what they can get. This makes it so there is no overhang of inventory at a certain price and thus no need to stagnate. I don't see housing going way higher, but that is because I think it is close to an equilibrium. So it will be back to ~3%/year growth, but mortgages rates will go up causing prices to fall a couple of percent a year leaving housing pretty flat.
housebuyer,I'm not arguing, I'm genuinely asking......what is different now than in the 1990's? Why or rather how couldn't people sell for less than peak? Buyers set the price, not sellers.Was the number of houses sold then much lower? Or were they just not appreciating (actually know they weren't appreciating - my Bro-in Law bought in PWC at the start of the flat period in the 90's and sold nearly ten years later for about $3000 more than he bought for.
I really have no idea why prices are moving up in the lower ranges. The usual suspects, low prices, low mortgage rates, $8k buyer credit, etc. Could be all of the above, but inventory is still low and that suggest further price movement higher.Above $1M sucks. Inventory is at records and each sale is lower than the last.And someone else reported on this board, and I agree with, some neighborhoods not as far in as Arlington, and not as far out as Loudoun/PWC are showing real strength. I'm talking about Fairfax, Burke, Annandale. That's totally strange.I have a firm belief that the fundamentals - aka jobs - are going to drive real estate higher over the foreseeable future. Stimulus, Obama with his huge budget, particularly for Education, Health Care, and Energy, and then all of the huge infrastructure projects -- Dulles Silver Line, HOT Lanes, Ft. Belvoir. Belvoir is building a $1B hospital, $1B NGA facility, + road construction.And, if we get even a modest cyclical recovery in the economy, accompanied by a strong stock market, we're going to move higher than 3% a year.
TBW,To be fair, as you posted about Hilton relocating to Tysons Corner, looks like we'll be losing some jobs with the closure of this Fredricksburg GM plant...GM Plant Closure in VA
Cara,This web site might help you with your broadband needs. Most people don't realize it, but you can get way faster internet connection at a lesser price by going with non-name brand providers. You just have to deal with multiple bills each month, which can be easily cured by setting up automatic payments.http://www.dslreports.com/find-broadbandI believe you can search based on an address across multiple providers.
Fred,If you are concerned with energy efficiency upgrades then you might find this of interest:Sales Tax Exemptions for Energy-Efficient Products Virginia allows a four-day sales tax exemption on Energy Star products of $2,500 or less per product, purchased for non-commercial home or personal use. Beginning in 2007, this exemption -- a 100% exemption from the state sales and use tax -- applies to sales occurring during the four-day period that begins each year on the Friday before the second Monday in October and ends at midnight on the second Monday in October. This incentive is available for any dishwasher, clothes washer, air conditioner, ceiling fan, compact fluorescent light bulb, dehumidifier, programmable thermostat or refrigerator designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as meeting or exceeding requirements under the federal Energy Star program. For taxable years beginning in 2007, individuals may also claim a deduction of 20%, up to $500, on their state income tax return for sales tax paid to purchase certain energy efficient products listed on this website. Contact: Taxpayer Assistance - VirginiaVirginia Department of TaxationPO Box 1880Richmond, VA 23218-1880Phone: (804) 367-8031E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgWeb Site: http://www.tax.virginia.gov/
Fred,Here is some more info on Federal incentives for energy efficiency upgrades. You have to weed through them to find the residential incentives. http://www.dsireusa.org/incentives/index.cfm?State=US&ee=1&re=0
"Support you thesis of stagnating prices. I've seen that in other posts. This almost certain truth that prices will move sideways for a lengthy period of time."This is a product of the "sticky" nature of housing markets.Housing corrections take a very very long time because in most cases a large portion of the total value lost is through inflation. Housing will bounce along more or less at the "bottom" of its nominal value while inflation eats away at its real value until affordability is restored.Take a look at the Case Shiller historical numbers for DC and other cities. Even in cities that saw a much more serious correction than DC did in the early 90s, houses remained stagnant for several years at more or less the nominal bottom.Right now with the current government intervention into the markets, a few segments of the market are near a level supportable by fundamentals, but most of the market has a ways to go. There is still a good chance prices will resume their fall later this summer depending on additional foreclosure inventory, interest rates, etc.
Jaime,thanks, I'm not entirely sure that site's not just dodgey, it has a dodgey feel... But it claims there's FIOS availibility (DSL itself is a no-go based on work regulations).GT,She pointed out that given our plan is for my husband to go to law school soon, having the option for him to go full time, rather than requiring his salary to pay for housing? Is key. And given the length of time he'll be in law school, and paying back time to his work for them paying his tuition if he stays working, or paying back the law-school debt if he's not, a 5-6 year ownership of an very inexpensive but extremely convenient and livable space? Is perfect. The less yard-work and house-work the better right now, since I'll be doing all of it. And then once he's done, we'd be moving up, not based on equity in the TH but just on the basis of our own salaries.
TBWYou can park long term at Huntington, Van Dorn, and a couple other metro stops (there's not a ton of long term parking but it's there). At Huntington long term parking was right next to a major Metro police station so theft seemed pretty rare.
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