Why not tour a solar home this weekend?

Looking for plans this holiday weekend? Why not check out the DC Solar House Tour – read below for more details. And, just in time for Halloween, the author of “The Exorcist”, William Peter Blatty, has put his Bethesda home on the market. It is disappointingly normal and not spooky at all!

In design this week, it’s all about lacquered everything – from walls and ceilings to trim and doors – it creates a dramatic effect. We’ll also discuss some updates on the DC legislative front – from positive changes in taxes for first time home buyers, to the ongoing debate over how to handle AirBnB rentals. The Pew Research Center also has some interesting new analysis on Millennial household demographics.

DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY TRENDS:

Lacquered, high gloss walls are all the rage, but there are many ways to embrace this trend in your own home. At the bold end of the spectrum, go for bright green or blue and cover your walls, the trim, everything. Check out my Pinterest board for an amazing home library with blue lacquered shelves and walls. If you’re looking for a lower risk, more subtle way to incorporate some high shine in your home, try a lighter shade on the walls, or keep the gloss to just your trim and doors.

As I mentioned above, this weekend is the DC Solar House Tour. The free tour includes over forty homes that use a combination of solar and other sustainable energy sources, all located across the DC Metro area. Just download the free guide for a map of homes on the tour and some very useful information on the incentives offered for solar energy in DC, Maryland and Virginia. If you don’t feel like heading too far out of town, there is a townhouse in Georgetown at 3023 O St NW that gets more than half of its energy from solar panels.

In other home technology news, Sonos has introduced a new speaker that is integrated with Amazon’s Alexa system. Now, you can voice-control your music throughout the house with one unit. Sonos has also introduced a new app so that existing Sonos customers can operate their speakers using an Echo.

LOCAL REAL ESTATE & DEVELOPMENT:
If you are considering buying your first home in the District, you may be in for some good news. Effective October 1st, the recordation tax for first time buyers will be reduced to 0.725%, assuming you meet the necessary qualifications. Of course, you must have never owned property in DC before. What else? The purchase price of the property cannot exceed $625,000, it must be your primary residence, and the combined income of the household cannot be more than 180% of the area’s median income. For more on this, visit the DC Office of Tax and Revenue site here.

It seems every week there is something new on the Bethesda development front. This week, there is talk that Brookfield is looking to tear down the food court at Bethesda Metro Center and replace it with a 500,000 square foot mixed use building. Plans are in the very early stages, but a proposal will be presented to the community on October 11th.

REAL ESTATE, INTEREST RATES & MORTGAGE NEWS:
Millennials are often a topic of much interest in the real estate industry and for good reason. Not only do they represent the largest living generation, but their behavior and habits are unlike any generation thus far. The Pew Research Center published 5 Facts about Millennial Households and it’s a good quick read. Let’s boil it down for you – more millennial households are living in poverty than any other generation, they dominate the rental market (and not just because they are young), they are more likely to co-habitate, they represent the most households headed by single-mothers, and they are the most multi-racial generation. Why should you care about any of this? Well, you may be of this generation and so it is provides good context on your peer group. Or, at some point, you may be looking to trade up from your starter home… or looking to downsize when you’re an empty nester… and you’ll be wondering when that Millennial will walk through the door to buy your house. These are important dynamics for all of us to be following.

This week, 30-year mortgage rates rose from 3.83% to 3.85%, as 10-year US Treasury rates climbed higher.

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