Thursday, March 10, 2016

This is the End: #3

After 13+ years living in Mount Pleasant and 8+ years writing this website, this is the end

Until I get The X2 site is really up and running, I wanted to look back at some of the most memorable posts from the last eight years of writing The 42. 

Post #3 is from 2008. By mid-November that year, Obama-mania had swept DC, and the prospect of a record breaking Inauguration was becoming more real. One byproduct was the explosion of people attempting to rent out essentially any property they owned, or even leased. This was really before the proliferation of Airbnb, so most of the listings were on Craigslist. Many people thought hey could get a king's ransom for a bed (or often, floor), access to a bathroom, and a mile walk to the Metro. I wish I could have saves a database full of the actual listings because they were just golden. Folks were a little bit more reasonable in 2013, but not by much!

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Inauguration Rental Shenanigans

Among the phenomena related to last week's Presidential election is this: Washington area condo and home owners are now somehow convinced that the world is ready to shell out tens of thousands to be in DC for the Inauguration. Yes, I know, I know--its historic, there are limited hotel rooms and money is no object to some people. However, will even a small percentage of these people really get the thousands of dollars of which they are asking?

I wanted to see what was being offered and how ridiculous people could get in the name of providing a room for a fee. Here are some of the most interesting inauguration rental offers I have found. I based my listing on how loudly and long I laughed after first reading the posts.:...

$40000 / 1br - Loft Style Luxury Condo for Rent during Inauguration week (Jan. 17-22) (DuPont Circle): This inauguration rental requires a $10,000 deposit. Its in the DeSoto, a newish building across from Whole Foods on P Street, near Dupont. One bedrooms here normally rent for about $2,500 a month. At $10,000 per night this a 12,000% increase over the normal rent. Ouch.

$75000 / 2br - Inauguration Special - Entire Week - First Come (Bethesda): This entry amused me for a few reasons. 1.) So little information is offered: I'd like to know a lot more before I called about a $75,000 one week investment. 2.) Apparently its in a "building primarily used for low-income housing." Gives new meaning to the term buy low sell high. And 3.) Like many other entries the author takes liberties with lines like "a stone's throw away from all the DC action," when this place is adjacent to NIH-Medical Center.

$250 1 Bedroom plus Den for Inauguration Week (Mt. Pleasant): This one was is one of several offers out of Mt Pleasant. Its really not that remarkable. Some listings for Mt Pleasant were vastly overpriced and stretched some of the facts, but this one actually seems reasonable, relative to the rest. Still more than I would normally pay for a night at a decent hotel.

$2200 / 3br - Luxury condo during Inauguration week -- walk to balls, dining, Metro (Dupont/Kalorama)I'm sorry, but there is no house or apartment which is both "a block from the Washington Hilton" and "a 10-minute walk from the Omni Shoreham Hotel." Equally questionable is the statement that this house is "a 5-minute walk to both the Dupont Circle Metro and the Woodley Park/Adams-Morgan Metro;" maybe one, but not the other. Many of the posts have little white lies similar to this one. On the face, not that egregious of an exaggeration, but the little things matter at such high prices. This place is $2200 per night.

$5000 / 4br -Inauguration Rental Just 2 Stoplights to DC! (McLean): Again, this is one of the misleading entries. I mapped the route out, and its true! One could get to DC, stopping at only two traffic lights, both on Glebe Road. The author forgets to mention that you'd then have to travel an additional 7+ miles from Chain Bridge to downtown DC. That includes the countless traffic lights in Kent, the Palisades, Burleith, Georgetown, Foggy Bottom, West End, GWU, the National Mall and SW/Federal Center on the way to the Capitol Building.

$10000 Upscale Apartment for Inaugural Week (Wash DC (5 mins from)): This is one of the many entries which promises accommodations that are "5 minutes from..." everything. This apartment is even 5 minutes from "Regan" Airport and the Convention Center, which I learned is "on both blue and yellow metro lines..."

$188000 / 3br - Quaint, Luxurious Inauguration House - Early Bird Special -Furnished (Damascus, MD): OK, I wasn't sure if this price was for buying the house outright, or for renting it during the inauguration. It features amenities such as "dial-up internet service" (hello, 1992? dial up!?), a "quaint" gravel driveway, but no refrigerator (its "down"). And its 25 miles outside the beltway! Perhaps there was a typo and the owner meant to offer it at $188 for the week.

Oh goodness, I could go on and on and on. This is fascinating! Its like a dam broke and all these want-to-be capitalist entrepreneurs spilled out. Don't believe the hype people! No one is paying ten grand to rent your worn out townhouse in Bowie! A $3,000 security deposit on a five night rental is absurd! I don't even smoke, but for $2,000 a night you bet I want to light up in your house and do whatever else makes me happy.

I love it, all these fools saw some news story and thought they could get a piece of the action. Fantastic. More comedy for me I guess. Keep it coming DC home owners, keep it coming.