Featured Advertiser: Lenore Rubino, Realtor

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Lenore Rubino shares her views on the real estate outlook for Burleith and what buyers and sellers can look forward to in 2015.

Q: What are some of the biggest changes that you have seen in the Burleith real estate market over the past years?

A: When I first started in real estate, Burleith was not the go-to neighborhood of choice for many buyers. Those of us who have lived here know why it is a special place. Due to the Burleith Citizens Association’s hard work in solving the community’s noise issues and a combination of various market conditions, Burleith is finally coming into her own. We are all witnessing a dramatic change in the neighborhood where developers and buyers are willing to invest significantly with sale prices increasing.

Q: How do you envision Burleith’s 2015 housing market?

 This R Street house, which Lenore listed in 2014, was on the market for 3 days and sold for 5 percent more than offered.

This R Street house, which Lenore listed in 2014, was on the market for 3 days and sold for 5 percent more than offered.

A: I’ve been watching Burleith’s market for years. Burleith has experienced a steady increase in average sales price each year. Even in the worst years Burleith held steady. In 2011, Burleith’s average sales price was $762,860; in 2014 it was $937,422. That’s a 23 percent increase while the District averaged about 15 percent for the same period! Barring any major changes in interest rates and the economy, Burleith’s 2015 housing market should continue to do well.

Q: What are some of the recommendations you would make to Burleith homeowners looking to sell their house this year?

A: If the goal is to maximize your proceeds, it pays to have your property look its best on the interior and exterior. Bring your real estate agent in from the beginning so he or she can advise on what changes will bring the most value.

Q: What guidance would you offer buyers if they were looking to purchase a house in Burleith?

A: Due to a scarcity of inventory in northwest neighborhoods and increasing demand, buyers are submitting a number of offers before finally ratifying a purchase. If buyers are interested in purchasing in Burleith or any northwest neighborhood, they need to be prepared to pay higher than list in most circumstances. There’s incredible competition. I suggest looking at properties that might need some renovation. If you’re planning on staying in a neighborhood five or more years you should be able to recoup your renovation costs.

Q: As a local Realtor, where does your relationship with a client begin and end?

A: I take the responsibility of helping my clients purchase or sell a home very seriously. Most of the time, it is one of their biggest investments. The most satisfying part of being a realtor is the friendships I have developed over the years. Many of my clients have become dear friends, and of course friends have been clients.

Q: Open houses have the potential for introducing safety and security issues. What’s your experience and recommendations?

A: I tell all my clients to remove or hide valuables if at all possible. In some instances, a house should only be shown by appointment. I’ve only had one instance when towels and a few knick knacks were taken from the bathroom of a vacant house—go figure.

Q: What features of a home are coveted in today’s market?

A: Master suites, powder rooms, renovated kitchens and baths, and parking are most desirable. The internet and home reality shows have educated buyers, and there is an expectation for a property to be move-in ready. The more a seller can do to mitigate objections the better. Part of my role is to help sellers position their home properly for sale.

Q: Many successful Realtors have transitioned from other careers. What’s your story?

A: I like to say I was a “recovering certified public accountant” when I moved to DC from New York and married my husband. I started going to open houses and was fascinated by DC’s architecture. I realized I had the skills from my CPA days to handle the finance and contract aspects of being a Realtor. I also had the love of architecture, history, and people. It seemed, and still does today, a perfect marriage.