In this new feature, UrbanTurf looks at buyers from various demographics and provides available housing options for them in the current D.C. market. After presenting some choices, we will ask readers to help them make their choice.
This week, we look at a single woman named Marie, 30, who works as a teacher in 16th Street Heights. Given her advanced degree and several years of experience, Marie makes $58,000 a year, and she has been aggressive about managing her debt, only carrying a $1,500 credit card balance and $10,000 in student loan debt. Marie’s careful management of her finances has earned her a FICO score of 715, and she has saved about $24,000 to put towards a down payment on her new home. She’s going to be looking for a home in the $225,000 to $250,000 range.
Marie is a first-time buyer who is interested in a one-bedroom condo. She likes the idea of new construction or renovated condos because she’s not very handy and doesn’t want to have to do extensive renovations or maintenance. In her free time, Marie likes heading to happy hour with her friends in Columbia Heights, hitting the museums downtown, and discovering new musicians on U Street.
The first property that we found that fits Marie’s criteria is a one-bedroom, one-bath condo on the corner of 14th and Randolph Streets in Columbia Heights. While not a luxury condo, this unit offers good space for the price ($237,500) and is convenient to public transportation (Columbia Heights Metro is about a 13-minute walk). The condo fee of $271 is reasonable, and the unit does feature wood floors and new appliances. The downside for Marie is that the only laundry in the building is in the basement, and she wants machines in her unit, if possible.
The condo is in a small 9-unit boutique building about ten blocks from NoMa’s new Harris Teeter grocery store. Aside from the large size of the unit, the kitchen is completely new, and it has its own washer/dryer. While it offers a lot of space for the money, the unit is fairly far from where Marie works and she estimates that her commute would be about 40 minutes.
Given these two choices, where should she put in her offer?
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