Please upgrade your browser for the best Refinery29 experience. Read more.

First-Timer's Guide: How To Buy Your Own Place In D.C.

  1. Begin Slideshow
    opener

    312

    SHARES

    13 comments
    See All Slides

    UPDATE: It's time to start working on your New Year's resolution, so why not look into your very own abode? This story was originally published on November 28.

    It’s no secret that D.C. is sorely lacking when it comes to reasonable housing options — this is a town where a Craigslist post for a tiny studio for under $1,600/month generates lines around the block, and where desperate renters are more than happy to turn a roomy (albeit windowless) closet into a second bedroom. Because really, what choice do we have?

    Turns out, you've got more options than you might think. Meet Kira Neal, a Smithsonian employee and longtime D.C. renter who bought her first place after getting sick of U-Hauling her stuff around the city. Weighing the pros and cons and doing the math made the commitment easy, even for a transplant with dreams of returning to California. Neal not only owns one of the coolest downtown digs we've ever seen, but she's also a pro at explaining how to invest the thousands you're paying in rent into a place of your own (and how to recoup that moolah when it’s time to move on).

    We took a tour of her inspiring, artsy pad, then sat down with her and local realtor Lindsay Dreyer (who owns CityChic Real Estate, where 80% of her clients are first-timers), and asked all our pressing questions. The result? A crash course on what it really takes to buy a place, and how to know if you’re ready — financially, emotionally, and otherwise. Call it the CliffsNotes on first-time home ownership. Click through to read, but beware: It'll make it that much harder to write that December rent check.

    Photographed by

    Begin Slideshow

MORE SLIDESHOWS

Shopping

Halloween Finds For The Girl Who Hates Costumes

There are so many reasons we love October. The leaves start turning, the temperatures cool (but aren't yet frigid), and it's acceptable to count pumpkin spice as part of our daily vegetable intake. And, on the last day of the month, we get to put on disguises and gallivant about town. It's a time to let our imaginations read

Weddings

Take A Break With This Dreamy Destination Wedding

Sometimes wedding plans change — one moment there's a plan to have a shindig in the state, and the next, there's a Positano, Italy wedding in the works. We wouldn’t expect anything less from these two, though. Shelli and Chris are self-declared traveling fools, and we love them for that. If not for them, and the read