Bitch Biz: This post is sponsored by Melanie Hayes of TTR Sotheby’s.
We’re at that age, Bitches. It seems like everyone is getting married and buying a house. Then comes the dog and children. While you might still spend your nights at the bar or scrolling through memes on Instagram, you, too, can get there. Or you can just tell societal expectations to go to Hell and by on your own.
As you know, we Bitches are big fans of girl bosses—we love any woman who is out there hustlin’, whether in a killer gig or as her own boss. We recently connected with Melanie Hayes, an agent at TTR Sotheby’s in Georgetown, to get her scoop on the housing market in Washington, D.C., her favorite neighborhood spots, and what first-time home buyers in Washington should know.
Melanie studied economics and began her career in financial services before focusing on residential real estate. She was recently quoted in the Wall Street Journal discussing one of her current co-listings on Woodland Drive, which belonged to a well-known Washingtonian.
When Melanie isn’t working or spending time with family, she enjoys a good Netlfix series like Narcos, House of Cards and The Crown, a SoulCycle class in the West End, planning her next trip to the Big Island, and—of course— trying D.C.’s new restaurants with friends.
What is the first thing someone should do to prepare to buy a property?
The best first step is to speak with a lender and work on getting pre-approved. Generally, a prospective buyer knows about how much they want to spend each month on housing and a lender can help determine the appropriate price range in which to be looking based on that amount.
What else is important for buyers to be aware of?
Closing costs. For buyers in D.C., closing costs are approximately 2.5 to 3 percent of the sales price. The closing costs are comprised of a 1.45 percent D.C. transfer tax as well as fees associated with the mortgage loan origination and settlement costs. For example, someone buying a $500,000 property will need approximately $12,500 to $15,000 for closing costs, and this is in addition to the down payment. It is a sizable amount of cash, which is why I like to talk with clients about it as soon as they begin the process.
What are you seeing in the market now?
Right now the market favors sellers, as there are more buyers than properties for purchase. That said, buyers in D.C. are sophisticated and demand quality. Just because it is a sellers’ market doesn’t mean sellers can list a property at any price. For a property to attract multiple buyers and a strong offer it must be in excellent condition, priced correctly, and properly marketed. As an agent, it means I need to move quickly and make sure a client sees a property that matches their criteria as soon as it hits the market, gather all the relevant information and be ready to craft a strategy to beat other offers if necessary. Usually a seller wants the highest price and the highest degree of certainty the transaction will be completed and a competitive offer reflects that.
Where do you live?
I live in Georgetown and work in the Georgetown TTR Sotheby’s office located near 30th and M Street. My favorite part of D.C. is between Wisconsin Avenue and Dupont Circle sometimes known as the East Village of Georgetown. This section is a few blocks to the water, has beautiful tree-lined streets, brick sidewalks and is walkable to Dupont and Logan Circle. It is a great combination of neighborhood and proximity to downtown.
Brunch in or out?
What are your favorite brunch spots?
I love going to Café Bonaparte on Wisconsin Avenue. It is really cozy, so there is often a wait but the coffee is incredible and so is the crab Benedict. It is great if you can get a seat near the window along the sidewalk, which is fun for people watching. I drink a lot of coffee, and if you need a latte after brunch, Patisserie Poupon, another favorite, is just a couple blocks up.
I also love Chez Billy Sud, another French-inspired restaurant on 31st Street in Georgetown. It is a beautiful space and the service is impeccable. It is a bonus if you can sit on the patio on a nice day.
Of course, Le Diplomate is an all-time favorite. I’ve been countless times and it is always a treat. The pastry basket, mushroom tart, Eggs Norwegian, foie gras parfait … it can get out of control quickly. Coming back to the coffee, they also have an incredible espresso martini that works well with brunch, truly.
And one sleeper hit is the Washington Plaza Hotel pool brunch. It is a hidden gem in D.C. The food is great, the price is reasonable, and you can stay for a day lounging by the pool.
Bloody Marys or Mimosas?
What’s your go-to brunch order?
If you could invite five people to brunch, who would they be?
Michelle Obama. I am a huge fan of Michelle Obama and have been hoping to meet her in person for over eight years.
Amal Clooney. I first took note of Amal Clooney as a sartorial inspiration and later realized the serious work she is doing pursuing war crimes against ISIS. It would be cool to get her thoughts on things.
Stephen Colbert. His humor is my favorite; he is so clever and shrewd and his facial expressions alone should have won an Emmy.
Melanie Simons. She is very talented at brunch and also my dearest friend.
I think I might forgo a fifth invite so the other guests have enough time to talk.
If you would like to learn more about Melanie or speak with her about real estate you can email her at [email protected] and see her profile on the TTR Sotheby’s International Realty website at Melanie Hayes: TTR Sotheby’s International Realty.