Grocery Stores Drive New Urbanism

Supermarket - Jacob Lawrence 1994

Check out your local market and compare the price of housing where a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s exist.  In a 2014 real estate review, homes that were within a mile of these grocery stores were usually worth twice as much as the median price of homes in the country.  An article by Real Estate Advisor, a publication of Long and Foster emphasizes that grocery stores have become sought after amenities just like coffee shops, restaurants and public transportation.  It’s about how people want to live…convenience, walkability, organic, community…what is now being called the “new urbanism”.

I know when I trek down 14th Street NW in DC heading in all directions are people with their re-usable Trader Joe’s bags.  This area (Columbia Heights meshed with the U District) has added Streets Market, Yes Organic and if you walk just a little bit further Whole Foods.  True to form homes here come at a premium price, even the small ones.  Check out your local community and the location of the grocery stores.  Not only will you find home prices higher, but if there is a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods you can bet you will be paying a premium.

Read the article Grocery Stores Help Homes Appreciate Faster and be sure to factor this in your home buying and selling experience.  Or give me a call at 202-823-9313 or send me an email at  I am happy to provide a home valuation for you and look at comparative sales in the neighborhood so you can determine what your home is worth and why!

Blogger: Cheryl Shaw is a Realtor with Long and Foster Real Estate licensed in Metro DC and Maryland and the braintrust of My Urban Nest focused on Buying, Selling and Investing in Urban Life

Image Credits:Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000)
signed and dated ‘Jacob Lawrence 1994’ (lower right)―inscribed with title (on the reverse)
gouache and pencil on paper

Making Sense of the DC Housing Heat

hot%20housing%20market%20for%20sale%20sign_1439488440909_22691202_ver1.0_640_480I am currently working with several clients navigating through the DC housing market to find the best home at the best price at the right time.

For a first time homebuyer there may be a mystery that accompanies the challenges to secure their first home.  After all, I like it, I’m prequalified, I made a reasonable offer so why are my offers not accepted?  For those moving up or investing, selection is limited and is not exactly what they are looking for.

DC communities are a mixed bag and several are in high demand, pushing prices beyond asking, offering few choices and being swept off the market in a few days.  But with patience and perseverance that right property at the right price is still available.  Proceed with caution and consider the following:

  1. Shop below financing–Just because you are prequalified up to a certain dollar amount doesn’t mean you should find a property at that price.  Shop at the low end of your budget and allow yourself some negotiating room if you need to extend an offer beyond asking.  Just make sure you don’t offer too much.  The property still has to appraise at the sales price or you could be stuck coming out of pocket additional funds.
  2. Appraisal is still king–Although properties are selling above asking, they should appraise at the sales price or more.  What sense does it make to pay more for a house than what it is currently worth?  Really would you give your doctor an extra $100 bucks for a procedure just because you really wanted it?  Perhaps not a good example but bottom line don’t let your competitive spirit overtake you.
  3. Don’t get complicated–Try to make your offer as simple as possible with few contingencies.  Don’t give up an inspection and of course if it is not an all cash offer be sure you include the financing contingency.  Appraisal is a must as well.  But that really should be the top three.  Other contingencies could be deal killers.
  4. It’s not always about cash–Although cash speaks volumes and eliminates the appraisal and financing contingency it really depends on how much cash you bring to the table.  The Seller will want to know how much cash they are walking away with once the deal is done.  In other words the best offer can be cash or financing…the net settlement statement will be the determining factor.
  5. Escalation is an option with caution–An escalation clause allows you to put your counter offer up front up to a certain point.  Be aware that it does share with the Seller that you are able and willing to pay a certain price for the property.  Sellers can use strategies to counter your offer and absorb all your wiggle room.  They do this at a risk so just be aware and let your realtor advise you and negotiate on your behalf when an escalation clause is used.
  6. Keep Looking–If you have not been successful in finding the right home or your offer being accepted–keep looking.  Look everywhere all the time.  Not only should you be looking, but your agent should be looking also.  You might also want to engage your friends in the search.  The more eyes and ears on the process, the more opportunities may be revealed.
  7. Prepare to offer more than list–Fortunately for the Seller the price listed can be a starting point for negotiations.  Houses are selling for more than they are listed for because more than one person wants the house.  Again be careful not to over extend the offer to the point where the property will not appraise at the offer price.  Be fair, be aggressive and by all means stay within your budget.
  8. Present your best first–In this market don’t hold back.  If you really want a property put your best offer forward.  There is just too much competition to nickel and dime.  Do your homework in advance and know how much the property is worth to you and what you can really afford.
  9. Make the offer – don’t waste time.  Waiting an extra day and in some cases a few extra hours could mean the option is off the table.  You have already made a decision to buy a home, you’ve done your homework about the market, you know what you can afford and you know what feels right.  Move on it and put the offer in writing asap.
  10. Consider accepting the back up role–Being second is never a good thing, but, you do have the option to let a Seller know that you are still interested if their first offer falls through.  In the meantime, keep shopping and be sure to notify the Seller if something else comes up.  Your agent should make sure to keep you apprised of your options throughout the process.

It is a lot to remember and can be frustrating but in the end you will have the property that you want at the price that you want, when it is yours to have.  Throughout you need an agent who is working in your best interest, is ready to move quickly and is scouring the market 24/7.  I personally love the DC market with its ups and downs.  It is a must that I am aware of the inventory at all times and can move quickly when the time is right.  If you or someone you know needs assistance or advice give me a call at 202-823-9313.  Happy to help make sense of it all!


2016 Housing Market Mystery Unveiled

When people discover I am a Realtor the first question I am usually asked is “how is the real estate market?”, followed by “should I buy now?”, then “can you find me a cheap house in DC?”  I am always looking for information about the market and am glad there is an annual housing market poll that Trulia recently published that can answer all of the above questions and more.  But let me take a moment to provide the top five insights from my perspective:th3DC438DD

–It will be better to buy than to rent (Interests rates are still low….rent is still high with no return on investment)

–Homeownership is still the American dream (Return on investment for future financial security can’t be beat)

–Nearly 1/3 of millennials plan to buy a home in the next two years (Millennials understand that home investment is the best route–the obstacles of more money combined with improved credit will be essential and therefore the focus in 2016)

–Renters may get some relief because of the many new developments that are popping up all over the city.  (It’s Econ 101–more supply, less demand, lower prices)

–Saving for a down payment remains the number one obstacle to home ownership (Budgeting and sacrificing will be key – or a family member with cash to spare or a house to sell)

To read the entire article with graphs and data please go to 2016 Housing Predictions and thanks to Trulia for publishing this information every year!

Veterans $2,100+ Home Buying Bonus

As the daughter of a career military officer, I know the sacrifice our veterans make to serve us and in result our country.  We acknowledge them with a day of recognition but realize that they not only serve on one day, they serve for a lifetime.  That is why it is so important to provide special support for the security of their future and the future of their family.
I am pleased to share that my Long and Foster Bethesda brokerage office in partnership with Prosperity Home Mortgage LLC are working together to provide a VA home loan advantage with additional incentives to help lower the cost of purchasing a home.  In addition to excellent service all eligible VA Home Loan Borrowers will receive:
Cheryl Shaw-REALTOR
Cheryl Shaw-REALTOR
     No Loan Origination Fee ($995) value through Prosperity Home Mortgage LLC
     $300 off settlement fees through any participating settlement services company
     FREE 1-Year warranty with a qualifying property ($450 value)
     Complimentary appraisal (up to $450 value)
     10% discount off home inspection fee through US inspect (Purchase only)


We are offering these incentives with completed loan applications through 12/31/2015.
Call Cheryl Shaw your Metro DC Realtor at 202-823-9313 to find out more and get started.

Prosperity Home Loans-Up To $500 off Closing Costs

LONG AND FOSTER BETHESDA BROKER’S OFFICE knows when buying a home every dollar counts.  So through the end of the year Propserity Home Mortgage, LLC. is now offering a special closing cost discount along with their unsurpassed service when working with a Long and Foster Bethesda Office Realtor like me!

Qualified borrowers can receive up to $500 off closing costs when closing a mortgage loan with Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC and using either RGS Title, Sage Title Group or Settlement Pros for your settlement services.  This offer is valid on all complete applications received on or before 12/31/2015.  The loan must close by 3/30/2016.


Jonathan Okun

NMLSR ID:221383

Senior Mortgage Consultant

Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC

7700 Old Georgetown Road #120

Bethesda, MD  20814

Office 443-610-8371


J. Ryan Dailey

NMLSR ID:193608

Senior Mortgage Consultant

Prosperity Home Mortgage, LLC

7700 Old Georgetown Road #120

Bethesda, MD  20814

Office 301-580-8236



Townhome Glory on 5 Levels

Offered at $1,050,000 this beautiful townhome located at 2734 Unicorn Lane NW in DC was open for the Long and Foster’s broker’s open today.  With a total of 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms and 2-1/2 baths, elegance, sophistication, & amazing flow! Designed for grand entertainment! Perfect synergy connects private patio, expansive LR, banquet size DR, & butler’s pantry. Custom built library w/wet bar & wood-burning FP. MBR suite w/sitting area, closets galore, en-suite MBA. 2 addt’l BRs & 2FBA upstairs + main level BR/FBA. Wood flrs thru-out, except LL. Garage! Minutes to downtown DC.O  The owner is a licensed Realtor motivated to sale.






Veterans Shape DC Landscape

Many would argue that a good portion of Washington DC is shaped by its military presence.  It is true that there are over fourteen military installations located in the Metro DC area, but the number of statutes and memorials that grace our landscape truly tell the story of our countries rich heritage and how the military brought this country through significant challenges over many years.  As I walk freely through the District acknowledging our veterans on November 11, it is a reminder of not only the significant history of this great nation, but of those who are a major part of ensuring we remain a free nation.

As the daughter of a military officer, born in Walter Reed General Hospital right here in the District, I am honored to have had the opportunity to live in what appeared to be a protected environment (on base).  Further the military took me through health challenges, education and still has a significant impact on the way I view life and live life.  Remembering how my Dad would wake us up (not brothers) at dawn thirty to start yard work with a simulated bugle blow.  Remembering wherever you were on base, when the flag was lowered and the bugle was heard you stopped what you were doing to face the direction of the flag with your hand on your heart.  Remembering when the military school principal would call your father’s platoon officer to make sure he would share with your Dad that his kids needed to be checked.  Remembering being able to explore the bunkers at closed bases and shop at the commissary on the first of the month.  To this day, remembering if you are on time…you are late.  On time is being early.  Military life was safe, was fun, was family.

To my brother who served in Vietnam THANK YOU, to my father who served 25 years in the Army THANK YOU and to all who have served and are still serving THANK YOU.

Many Blessings to our Veterans and their families on this day and always.  There are many activities in the District on November 11 to acknowledge you and share our gratitude, below are just a few:

SFC CB Garner (My father-25years of service
SFC CB Garner-25years of service

Arlington National Cemetery – November 11, 2015, 11 a.m. Across the Potomac from Washington at the west end of the Memorial Bridge, Arlington, Virginia. (703) 607-8000 This is the national Veterans day service with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Seating in the amphitheater is limited, so visitors should plan to arrive at least a half hour before the ceremony.

Women In Military Service For America Memorial – November 11, 2015,  3:00 p.m. Located at the Gateway to Arlington National Cemetery.  The ceremony is free and open to the public and will include formal military honors, a keynote address, veterans’ remarks, and a wreath laying.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial – November 11, 2015, 1 p.m. Constitution Avenue and Henry Bacon Dr. NW, Washington, DC. Color guard, speakers and a wreath-laying ceremony pay tribute to all who served and sacrificed during the Vietnam War America’s other conflicts.

Vietnam Women’s Memorial – November 11, 2015, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.and 2-4 p.m. Constitution Avenue and Henry Bacon Drive, NW Washington, DC. (301) 314-8505. Vietnam-era veterans and the children of veterans tell stories “in their own voices” about their experiences. There will also be stories featuring soldiers of the current struggles in Iraq and Afghanistan and other locations around the world.

World War II Memorial – November 11, 2015, 9 a.m. 17th Street, between Constitution and Independence Avenues, NW Washington, DC. (202) 619-7222. Wreath laying ceremony.

Navy Memorial – November 11, 2015. 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC. (202)737-2300. The Naval District of Washington will lay a wreath, at the Lone Sailor Statue in commemoration of Veterans Day.

Air Force Memorial – November 11, 2015, 11 a.m. One Air Force Memorial Drive, Arlington, VA. Wreath laying ceremony and a two-minute moment of silence will be observed to commemorate those members of the U.S. armed forces who were killed during war.

National Cathedral Veterans Day Tribute Concert – November 15, 2015, 4:00 p.m. 3101 Wisconsin Ave NW Washington, DC. Washington National Cathedral will honor the service of the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, veterans and their families with a concert tribute, featuring the U.S. Marine Corps Orchestra, Washington National Cathedral Singers and selections from American War Letters. The event is free and open to the public with no ticketing required.

Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens – November 11, 2015. Mount Vernon, Virginia. Special activities include a patriotic community concert by the all-veteran barbershop chorus at 11 a.m., at 2 p.m. wreathlaying at the tomb of our first commander-in-chief, George Washington. Active duty military personnel and veterans are admitted free-of-charge. The wreathlaying is included with regular Mount Vernon admission. The barbershop concert and Martha Washington program are free.

Manassas Veterans Day Parade – November 7, 2015, 11 a.m. Manassas, Virginia. The community parade includes military and high school bands, pipe and drum corps teams, military units from the various Armed Services, military vehicles, and members from local veteran organizations.

National Marine Corps Museum – November 10, 2015, noon. 18900 Jefferson Davis Highway, Triangle, Virginia. (800) 397-7585. Celebrate the Marine Corps Birthday and Veterans Day with a ceremonial sword cake cutting.

Visiting DC on Veterans Day? See a guide to Military and Veterans Discounts in Washington DC.

Real Estate Retirement Investment-Good Idea or Not?

th5LI910X3I have always been a firm believer that you can’t go wrong investing in real estate.  Regardless of the market, I still believe with patience and knowledge it is the best way to invest hands down.  This was further supported by a recent article in Forbes magazine by Are Rastegar who states that real estate is a good way to generate a strong return for retirement.  He continues to  indicate the return is reasonably steady, and a mostly predictable, income stream for retirees.  That’s why I encourage buyers to consider their investment for short and long term returns.

I personally invested in property knowing that my grandchildren will benefit in the future.  Whether they choose to live In it or rent it out…totally up to them, the principal is more likely to be secure and they will earn more than if I stash cash away under my mattress or in a savings account.  I encourage you to read the Forbes article and then give me a call at 202-823-9313 to start searching for your investment property and focus on future financial security.  The Forbes article can be found by clicking this link .  Read it, share it and then choose to invest!

Roy Hibbert Jr. Foundation Supports Metro DC Youth

Los Angeles Lakers Center Roy Hibbert was born to Paddy and Roy Hibbert, Sr., in Queens, New York, on December 11, 1986. At age two, the family moved to Adelphi, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC

Realtor Cheryl Shaw with LA Lakers Roy Hibbert Jr. at DC Friendraiser
Realtor Cheryl Shaw with LA Lakers Roy Hibbert Jr. at DC Friendraiser

. Growing up as an only child, Roy engaged in a variety of activities, including video games, piano lessons and tennis. However, significant annual growth spurts during his adolescence would lead him to basketball. Roy honed his skills at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington. More importantly, it was there that he learned the importance of giving back to his community and serving as a role model for young people.

The goal of the Roy Hibbert Jr. Foundation is to help organizations in the greater Washington area have a positive impact on youth and fulfill their mission to bring critical services to children in need in the areas of education and health and wellness. To learn more about the Foundation visit their website.