April 19, 2017

How to Walk Your Neighborhood Like a Pro

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In my past life as a real estate marketing professional, I learned to keep a lot of information at the top of my head: square footage of each apartment available in each building I managed? Carpeted or hardwood? When was the kitchen updated? Are utilities included? Are we running any specials?

But I didn’t close any leases answering those questions – or at least not many! In time, I learned that I needed a deep, personal understanding of the surrounding area. Off-site amenities are the key to the old chestnut: location, location, location. It was better to be able to reel off answers to these questions: where can you get a good cup of coffee around here? What’s the deal with the local grocery stores? Is there a hardware store nearby? Which Metro is really closest? Do you have a favorite neighborhood restaurant? These questions all tend to the same theme – why should I live here?

So I walked my own neighborhood, Kalorama, to offer examples of what drew me to the neighborhood – and why a canny real estate marketing professional should know it all, too!

The Initial Draw

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For the uninitiated, Kalorama is a leafy, quiet section of town in Northwest D.C. It is bordered by Dupont to the south, Rock Creek to the north and west, and by Adams Morgan on the east. While the neighborhood mainly contains palatial single-family homes and stately condominium/co-op buildings, there are also many embassies, with some non-profits and rental buildings sprinkled in. What drew me in initially were the beautiful parks: Kalorama Park, Mitchell Park, the Spanish Steps – and its proximity to Rock Creek Park. While Kalorama is bisected by busy Connecticut Avenue, it is otherwise a quiet, peaceful area of the city.

The Practical Take

While not populated by many retail establishments, it’s still very easy to get what you need to quickly. For dinner, it’s super-easy to head to the deli at Glen’s Garden Market in north Dupont, where you can also pick up necessities, or stay for a beer. For a hardware store, a pharmacy, and even my doctor’s office, I just need to cross the bridge over to Woodley Park. There is even some good shopping and dining there: Via Gypset is a consignment store that is always worth a look and Bar Civita is a total gem. (That patio.)

Among the few businesses in Kalorama proper, I must mention Sushi Ogawa. This restaurant isn’t an incredible sushi restaurant: it is a superlative restaurant. And last, but not least, I have to give some love to Open Market, which is a grocery store with an excellent wine selection, and which even offers dry cleaning: but most importantly, it has some of the friendliest staff I’ve ever met.

What’s Made Me Stay

Once, one of my friends told me that she was defecting to another quadrant because “Dupont and Kalorama will always be Dupont and Kalorama: you’re not going to get new stuff here.” But I didn’t take this as a drawback – in an established neighborhood, we won’t get a big, new grocery store. But we also won’t get a ton of construction. I have stability and neighbors I actually know. For me, it’s worth the walk to the grocery store if I also get to hear the rustle of leaves at night. Walking (and ultimately knowing) my neighborhood was what drew me in and has ultimately kept me there for almost a decade.