With bidding wars and quick sales continuing in Greater Washington’s real estate market, the winter home buying season promises to be interesting. And some of our area’s most prominent athletes are seizing the opportunity and taking a shot at the real estate game.
“A lot of times when [athletes] come to the area, before they buy, they rent because they can be traded…. Once they lock into a contract, that’s when they look into something to buy,” says Angela Bowman, a realtor and relocation specialist in Coldwell Banker’s Georgetown Office. When they do purchase, “they don’t want to do a lot of driving: they want to go to practice, go to the airport [for away games], and shopping,” she adds. High-end areas in Virginia that have easy access to practice fields and Dulles International Airport are good bets, as are areas in DC. And Montgomery County, Maryland, including Potomac, is also “appealing to them,” she says, since incoming athletes often want to live in locales where executive staff and other players have lived.
Earlier this fall, the Washington Wizards’ John Wall bought an eight-bedroom home in the Potomac area (8929 Harvest Square Court; Robert Epstein, listing agent; paradiserealtyinc.net). The $4.9 million property is 17,350 square feet and features a six-car garage, a basketball court, and a gym along with an outdoor pool and a spacious grilling area.
4920 Indian Lane NW.
But athletes are not only buying. They’re selling, too. Former Washington Wizards player Gilbert Arenas is selling his 9,042-square-foot home in Great Falls, Virginia (10919 Georgetown Pike; Joan Karpa, listing agent; extraordinaryproperties.com), as he has gone to play for the Chinese Basketball Association. He lowered the price to just under $3 million.
Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis recently put his four-bedroom home (3 Foxcreek Court; Nicole Nichols, listing agent; kw.com) in Owings Mills on the market for $1.1 million. The home set on two acres features an Olympic-size pool, a sauna, and a built-in living room aquarium.
“A house might get looks because someone popular lived in it,” Bowman says, but that’s not ultimately why people buy. “There’s still price competition—that’s what the smart consumer is looking for.”
And there is much to find: A lovely colonial in Spring Valley (4920 Indian Lane NW; Ellen Morrell, listing agent; wfp.com) sits on one-third of an acre with a lush landscape. The five-bedroom, four-bathroom property is 4,770 square feet and listed for just under $3 million.
2130 Bancroft Place NW.
On the market for $2.2 million, charming townhouse (2130 Bancroft Place NW; Cecelia Leake, listing agent; wfp.com), originally constructed in 1907 as a ballroom for the neighboring property is now a three-story home with two bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, a two-car garage, and a rear garden.
The area’s high-end market offers nearly 300 properties. Local architect David Jones designed a new, awardwinning, 8,265-square-foot home (2167 Dunmore Lane NW; Marc Fleisher, listing agent; marcfleisher.com) in the city. The asking price is just under $5.7 million.
Also new to market is Wexford, an estate built by John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy in 1963 in Fauquier County (1666 Hatchers Mill Road, Marshall, VA; Patricia Burns, listing agent; middleburgrealestate.com). The nearly $11 million 5,050-square-foot home is set on 166 acres of land.
If you think the market will slow down this winter, think again. “I’ve seen a steady trend of a strong seller’s market,” Bowman says, “and people getting a lot of offers…. We’re only looking [ahead] to good times.”