First-Time Buyers in DC in-line for reduced settlement costs:


As a result of recent legislation, the recordation tax rate payable on residential properties acquired by first-time District of Columbia homebuyers will be a reduced rate of 0.725%.  The rate reduction will apply to deeds recorded on or after October 1, 2017, and all grantees named in a deed must be a first-time District of Columbia homebuyer to qualify for the reduced tax rate.  In order to obtain the first-time homebuyer tax rate, an application for the reduced rate must be submitted with the deed at the time the deed is submitted for recordation.  The Recorder of Deeds has indicated that the application form will be form number ROD 11 which will be available on the forms section of the ROD website.


Note:  Some restrictions apply, but this will save most DC first-time buyers thousands of dollars in settlement costs.


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Client Care vs. Client Development

Cullen P. Watson, Esq.

Client Care or Client Development?  Important Distinctions when Choosing a Real Estate Broker.

I tend to be forward-thinking in terms of business models, technology, and innovation; however, I am very “old school” when it comes to obtaining more clients for a real estate brokerage, a practice commonly referred to as business or client development. I heed the advice of my father, owner of a real estate brokerage for 40+ years in Maryland.

#1 – Be honest.

#2 – Do a good job.

#3 – Collect referrals.

In my opinion, too many large real estate brokerages are hyper-focused on client development rather than client care. When a brokerage forces its agents to focus on client development, the agents become over-extended. These agents cannot possibly give their existing clients the time and care necessary to help them make good decisions. Clearly, this is not good for clients, nor the agents associated with the brokerage. Existing clients receive lackluster ...

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What is Real Property?

Cullen P. Watson, Esq.

What is Real Property?  A Legal Definition.


Real Property, Black's Law Dictionary (10th ed. 2014). 


real property (18c) Land and anything growing on, attached to, or erected on it, excluding anything that may be severed without injury to the land. • Real property can be either corporeal (soil and buildings) or incorporeal (easements). — Also termed realty; real estate. Cf. personal property (1).

“Real estate — or, to use the more formal term, real property — means primarily land, and everything which is naturally a part of the land, or is more or less permanently added to it. Trees, mineral deposits, gas and oil wells are all classed as real property so long as they remain a part of the land, but if the trees are cut down or the minerals extracted they cease to be real property and become personalty. Buildings and improvements of all kinds, which are permanent additions to the land upon which they stand, are a part of the real estate.” ...

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Buying a House? Hiring a Home Inspector? This is what you need to know.

I. Avoid the Rubber Stamp Inspector.

The main thing you want to avoid is a “rubber stamp” home inspector. Normally, this is an inspector referred by a buyer-agent that doesn’t want any problems found and the transaction to close (and get paid). An agent may recommend an inspector that (cough, cough) might not be as detail-oriented as they should be. Typically, a rubber stamp inspector will conduct an inspection, issue a report citing a few minor issues (they always have to find SOMETHING), and offer a thumbs up. As a listing agent, I’ve dealt with too many inspectors recommended by buyer-agents that seem to avoid looking for problems. Don’t make this simple mistake. Take the time to find a reliable, thorough, inspector.

II. An informative report is just as important as a good inspection.

A detailed and in-depth inspection is paramount, but a well-written report can be just as important. ...

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How Valuable is Buyer-Agent Feedback to Sellers? It Depends.

In my opinion, many sellers overvalue feedback they receive from buyers and their agents. With many sellers placing so great an emphasis on this feedback, the question begs to be asked, “is this kind of feedback actually valuable?” The answer, as you may have read before on this website is, “it depends.” Specifically, it depends on when and how the feedback from a buyer’s agent is requested. Let’s run through some different scenarios to help determine what value to place on buyer-agent feedback.


A. Feedback Received Early in the Listing Period: Be Confident and Play it Cool.

1. For Sellers: If a listing agent has conducted proper research on the market and comparable sales, then the listed home should be properly priced, and there should be no need to seek feedback from a buyer or their agent. If a listing agent seeks feedback early in the process, it sends the signal that they ...

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