Slate welcomes Randy LiVorsi and Daren Phillips to the firm

We are pleased to announce that Randy LiVorsi and Daren Phillips have joined the firm and will be working along the District Residential Team at Slate Properties.

Originally from Philadelphia, Randy is a graduate of Penn State University and moved to DC where he worked as a senior manager with Pottery Barn, Bank of America, and Apple – before is career in real estate.  Randy obtained his Masters in Organizational Management and received his Project Management Professional (PMP) certification.

When not negotiating an offer for a client, chances are you will find Randy touring potential properties for clients or conducting a first-time home-buyer seminar.  A strong advocate for animal rescue efforts, Randy and his partner, Daren, adopted Sadie from Oklahoma and you can find them at many of the dog parks throughout the District.

Daren grew up in Charlotte, NC and is an avid athlete by nature. He has completed four marathons, including one along The Great Wall of China. Before real estate, Daren worked on various political campaigns and has lived in Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Austin.  As a boot camp fitness trainer for 12 years, he strengthened not just other peoples’ bodies but his desire to improve the lives of his clients – from government to fitness to real estate.  Daren holds a BA from Winthrop University.


Slate Welcomes Molly Branson to the Firm

Molly Branson, Licensed in DC and MD

Slate Properties is pleased to announce that Molly Branson has joined the firm and will be working along with James Kastner and the District Residential Team.

A life-long resident of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Molly’s fascination with real estate from a young age turned into a full-time career. Growing up in Silver Spring, Maryland she spent her childhood going to open houses in her neighborhood. When others were playing house, she was touring them.

Licensed in multiple jurisdictions to serve the needs of her clients, Molly represents all clients, in all price points, in every part of the residential market from Maryland to the District of Columbia. Her knowledge of Maryland towns and District neighborhoods has proven invaluable in helping clients identify areas to consider, as well as challenging clients to consider areas that are similar to the ones they present.

Upon graduating from High Point University with a degree in Psychology, Molly knew exactly what field to go into. Real estate. Little did she know how valuable that degree would be in her day-to-day life as a Realtor.

When she isn’t hosting a cocktail party at one of District Residential’s newest listings or breaking down an agent using her psychology degree super powers, she likes to jump in the pool – sometimes to teach young kids how to swim, other times at a hotel pool somewhere in the world.  Molly can be reached at or 301-814-9925.


District Residential Team at Slate Properties


Slate Properties Welcomes James Kastner and Ryan Rigazzi to the Firm

Slate Properties is pleased to announce that James Kastner and Ryan Rigazzi have joined the firm and have created the District Residential Team.

Real estate veteran, James Kastner, brings over 14 years of real estate sales and marketing experience to the firm. As a top-producing agent in both San Francisco, CA as well as Washington, DC, James has participated in deals resulting in over $180 million in sales.

In addition to his sales career, James founded and sold Intersect Marketing Group, a San Francisco Bay Area real estate marketing consulting and services company. There he handled both online and offline marketing, developing strategies for direct mail, email, and social media marketing campaigns at the brokerage, property, and agent levels.Ryanweb-6

An eight-year Navy Veteran, James was born in Singapore, lived in Cork, Ireland, and then moved to Cody, Wyoming before joining the military. He has also lived in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. James received his B.S. in Applied Economics from the University of San Francisco.

James can be reached at or 202.531.9918. He is licensed in Washington, DC and California.

Ryan Rigazzi has worked in real estate since 2010, spanning residential and commercial real estate marketing and operations from San Francisco to DC, MD and VA. Having worked together at Intersect Marketing Group with James Kastner, Ryan has developed a solid foundation for his career with an acuity for unique and creative marketing. His understanding of the need to push the proverbial envelope of marketing, coupled with his experience in both residential and commercial real estate, has given him an uncommon voice in today’s real estate market.

Prior to real estate, Ryan was an accomplished musical theatre professional, performing for thirteen years in San Francisco’s Beach Blanket Babylon. The son of an Air Force Band bass player, Ryan has lived around the U.S. as well as Naples, Italy and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. His education comes from the University of Wyoming and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

Ryan can be reached at or 202.802.8014. He is licensed in Washington, DC.

“We are thrilled to have James and Ryan join our firm”, said Andrew Turczyn, the broker of Slate Properties. “Their commitment to providing an exceptional client experience and second-to-none marketing strategies is completely aligned with the principles of our brokerage”, Turczyn added.

Five Ways to Strengthen Your Offer

Given the competitive real estate market and possibility of a multiple-offer situation, Buyers are encouraged to consider all their options in preparing and presenting the strongest offer possible. Naturally, every real estate transaction is unique but there are five general ways you can put your best foot forward.  Of course, your Slate Properties’ Buyer’s Agent will walk you through these strategies and discuss the pros and cons: bigstock-Real-Estate-Contract-And-Lock-67261691

1. Loan Approval: Having your financing as secure as possible is one of the most important strategies.  If you have been approved for the loan and simply waiting for title logistics, there is much less risk involved for the seller.  Our market experiences a significant number of cash transactions and this is one way you are able to stay in the game.

2. Flexible Settlement Terms:  If you are able to be flexible with the settlement date, this might be an advantageous term for the seller – especially if they are in the process of finding their new home.  Some buyers offer a “Rent-Back” to the seller to accommodate their personal situation. Although the contract allows the buyer to select the settlement company, sometimes the seller has a strong preference and it might be worth inquiring.

3. Closing Costs: As with most things in real estate – closing costs are negotiable. Are you willing to pay some or all of the closing costs that the seller is responsible for?  You would want to agree upon a “capped” amount so you are not stuck paying more than you anticipated.

4. Minimize Contingencies:  After sale price, sellers will find an offer with limited contingencies the most attractive.  Common contingencies include: Home Inspection, Appraisal, and Financing.

5. Escalation Clause:  This tool is used when buyers are very serious about a property and want to prevent being out-bid from the beginning. The Escalation Clause states that your sale price will increase a certain amount above other offers not to exceed a certain point. The important consideration is that you are comfortable moving forward if the contract price escalates to your maximum.

Take a deep breathe…and good luck with your offer!

3 Financial Questions to Ask BEFORE Buying a Condo

Many first-time homebuyers in our market look to Condominiums for their first purchase and in most cases they aren’t familiar with the financial implications of buying into a condominium.  Given the common-ownership structure of a condominium, there are some key financial considerations to keep in mind: Question Mark

1.  Is the association budget current?   Managing expenses is one of the primary roles of the management company and the association should be following a detailed budget that is reviewed and updated annually. Is there a deficit? Does it appear the monthly dues are sufficient to cover current and future expenditures? Good questions to ask…

2. How many delinquent accounts?  Unit owners who fall behind on their condo fees not only impact the financial stability of the association but can also impact the financing options for the building. For example, a lender may not be willing to lend in a building with a significant delinquency percentage.  Definitely worth investigating….

3. Is the Reserve Fund Adequate?  The Reserve Fund should be funded monthly through a portion of the condo fees. The recommended amount for the Reserve Fund depends on the building size but every building should plan for future capital expenditures – – many times related to roofs, elevators, parking garage maintenance, etc.  If available, ask to see the Association Reserve Study that will outline some of the future expenditures and how to properly budget to limit negative implications such as a special assessment.

Brookland Real Estate: A Historical Perspective (1995-2015)

Once referred to as “Little Rome” for the many religious institutions near Brookland, this residential neighborhood in NW Washington is centered along 12th Street NE. Technically, is is bordered by 9th St the west, Rhode Island Ave to the south, and South Dakota Ave to the east. IMG_0199

The name comes from Colonel Jehiel Brooks who married Ann Margaret Queen, the daughter of the 150 acre estate where the neighborhood sits today.  The area remained farmland for its early history of the 19th century.  After the civil war, the population of Washington grew and so did people looking for land out in the country.  Homes were eventually marketed as providing a “small town atmosphere”.  The introduction and expansion of DC streetcar helped shape a middle-class suburb of Washington.

Over the last decade, Brookland continues to evolve with redevelopment, new housing options, retail, and restaurants. Most notably, Monroe Street Market was developed by Abdo Development in 2010. It was finished in 2014 and is a mixed-use development with retail, housing, and restaurants.



Tax Benefits of Home Ownership

With Tax Day quickly approaching, we thought we would review the primary tax benefits of owning your home. Disclosure… this is not tax advice but rather general information about possible tax savings. Please consult your tax professional for specific advice about your circumstances.Tax Photo

1. Mortgage Interest Deduction:   The most common tax benefit for homeowners is the mortgage interest deduction. In most cases, the interest you pay on your mortgage is completely tax-deductible.  If you are a recent homebuyer, you will see the most benefit from this deduction as the majority of your payments early in the mortgage term is interest.

2. Property Tax Deduction:  The local and state property taxes you pay are generally tax-deductible.

3. Energy-Efficient Improvements:  In some cases (and depending on your tax situation) renovations to your home with energy efficient systems may be a tax deduction. Things such as solar panels and geo-thermal heaters are examples of such improvements.

Click here to learn more about the common Home Ownership Deductions. 

Cleveland Park Real Estate: A Historical Perspective 1995-2015

The residential neighborhood in Northwest Washington, Cleveland Park, is bounded by Rock Creek Park to the east, Wisconsin Ave to the west, Klingle Rd to the south, and Rodman St to the north. The two main commercial corridors in the neighborhood are Connecticut Ave and Wisconsin Ave.

The neighborhood was named Cleveland Park in 1886 when President Grover Cleveland bought a farmhouse that was used as a summer estate which he named, Oak View. The higher elevation of Cleveland Park provided cooler temperatures from the hot summers in downtown Washington. Many of the original houses in the area were originally built as summer homes – many built with large porches and expansive windows.  The creation of the streetcar along Wisconsin Ave spurred the commercial development to serve the nearby residents.

Numerous associations serve the residents of Cleveland Park including The Cleveland Park Citizens Association, Cleveland Park Historical Society, and the Cleveland Park Club.



Cleveland Park


Mount Pleasant Real Estate: A Historical Perspective 1995-2015

Mount Pleasant, the residential neighborhood in Northwest Washington, is bordered by Rock Creek Park to the north and west, Harvard Street to the south, and 16th Street the east.Mount_pleasant_farmers_market

Originally part of the Pleasant Plains neighborhood of DC, Mount Pleasant Village (as it was called) came about during the Civil War when Samuel P. Brown bought approximately 73 acres of land.  Although a part of The District, it was considered very rural and the designed street grid of Mt Pleasant is different than other parts of the District.

The majority of houses and apartment houses in Mount Pleasant were built between 1900-1925. Accordingly, the Mount Pleasant Library was built in 1925 with funds from the philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie.

Mount Pleasant was marketed to middle to upper class people and was the home of such celebrities as Helen Hayes, Walter Johnson, and Robert LaFollette.  In the 1960’s, the neighborhood underwent transition with an influx of Central American immigrants. Many of the new residents opened businesses that catered to Hispanics with a thriving commercial corridor.

Today, Mount Pleasant is a active vibrant neighborhood with diverse cultures and a true sense of community. You can learn more about the Mount Pleasant Neighborhood and the community by clicking here.


Mount Pleasant


SW Waterfront Real Estate: A Historical Perspective (1995-2015)

The residential neighborhood of Southwest Washington (the smallest quadrant in The District) has an interesting past and is currently undergoing a major revitalization. The neighborhood is bounded by 395 to the north, the Washington Channel to the west, the Anacostia River to the south, and the South Capitol Street to the east. IMG_5083

The SW Waterfront was part of Pierre L’Enfant original master plan for DC and includes historical sites such as Fort McNair that was established in 1791.  After the civil war, the area became home of poorer residents with a mix of eastern European immigrants and freed slaves. The commercial area was located at the waterfront and became a thriving waterfront with stores and shops – although most of the neighborhood was tenement housing.

The 1950’s brought the controversial “urban renewal” which permitted the city to essentially start from scratch with a new master plan – only a few buildings remained after urban renewal. Most notably, the fish market, Wheat Row, Thomas Law House, and the St Dominic’s Catholic Church.

Today the SW Waterfront is comprised of many large condominiums, cooperatives, and apartment buildings – many include both townhouses and apartment buildings. Many of the existing properties are from the modernist period of the 1950’s and 1960’s.  Since the early 2000’s the SW Waterfront has begun gentrifying with major renovations at many of the large apartment and condominium communities.

The waterfront itself is undergoing a multi-billion dollar revitalization with the new Wharf Development by PN Hoffman and Madison Marquette. The mixed-use project will include office, residential , hotels, entertainment, and outdoor public spaces.

The learn more about the SW Waterfront and it’s history, visit a neighborhood blog – SW The Little Quadrant That Could. 

SW Waterfront 20 Year