Famous DC: Famous 5

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Famous DC: Famous 5

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Meet Jamie Grigg.

Grigg founded and runs the “window shopping” DC real-estate blog Exposed Brick DC, which features best-of-the-best style DC Craigslist rentals, design inspiration and a community of renters hunting for their next cool pad. Grigg’s blog is a fast growing resource for first time renters and seasoned veterans of the rental process who feel overwhelmed and discouraged. When we caught up with her, she revealed some trade rental hunting secrets and how she developed her keen eye for design.

What is the story, or moment, that made you decide, “I have to make this process easier for DC renters?

The real turning point for me was when I was looking to make my first move within DC. DC transplants go into the hunt blind and usually end up settling. After being in DC for a year I felt that I was more prepared to make an informed decision. I scoured Craigslist for a new apartment for my roommate and me. Turns out the best deal was next door, literally. We moved down the hall into a larger apartment, with another bathroom for almost $200 less than what we were currently paying. When I made that discovery, I just thought to myself that this is madness and there has to be a better way.

Craigslist gets a bad reputation for being overrun with spam but in reality it is the ultimate resource. The trick is manipulating it. My motivation was the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to experience DC.  I am a firm believer that there are good deals out there and you shouldn’t compromise on quality of living.

Exposed Brick DC promotes design inspiration and living space aspiration. How do these qualities resonate with you?

Many people who live in DC complain about the cost per square foot. Renters tend to feel limited by the lack of space synonymous with urban living but I see it as a unique opportunity. I like the challenge of a small space and I try to convey that on the site.

Every time I find a listing, I consider the design aspect and functionality. Is this a good layout for a studio? Is this floor plan realistic for roommates? Would my favorite pieces compliment this space? Especially for young people starting out, a small space is perfect because there is less pressure to fill it. You need less in a small space so you can really focus on acquiring piece with true emotional value.

How have your past experiences lead you here?

I didn’t realize it when I started Exposed Brick DC, but the site is really a culmination of all of my passions. I grew up around real estate and design. My father is an accomplished architect in Charlottesville, Virginia and my mother is flea market junkie with an unbelievably keen eye. Between the two of them, I have been exposed to design and how to organize spaces my entire life. I went on college and spent four years refining my writing as an English major. From all of these passions, EBDC was born.

What has surprised you about the DC and its rental market?

How small DC becomes. The prospect of moving to a city for many people can feel overwhelming and I was no exception. After spending a few years here, it is incredible how intimate the city has become. Granted there are parts of the city I seldom visit, DC has become very manageable. This translates to one my biggest pieces of advice when it comes to renting in DC. Pick a neighborhood. Don’t say, “I want to move to DC,” say, “I want to move to Adams Morgan.” By limiting yourself to a neighborhood you love, the search becomes much easier.

What’s your next goal in keeping DC rental hunters glued to Exposed Brick DC?

The appeal of EBDC is two-fold. For those looking for an apartment, the work is done for you. Great apartments are displayed in a way that is fun and aesthetically pleasing. For those not in the market, I call it “window shopping.” There is a  universal interest in the way that people live that draws people in. People are drawn to the fact that they are seeing something behind closed doors and there is a thrill in thinking about how you to make a place yours.

I try and refresh the site everyday. This process includes marking properties that have been leased, searching for new properties, and writing about each one.  I have a lot of ideas about how to grow EBDC and make it the ultimate resource for renters. For now, I am enjoying building the brand and keeping its authenticity sacred. My ultimate goal is that EBDC becomes every DC renter’s first stop and that those people like what I do enough to stick around.

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