Thursday, December 25, 2008

Santa's House - Peace on Earth - Good Will to All !


I wish all my friends, family and readers a very happy holiday season. I look forward to writing about this wonderful place we live over the next year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ledgerock Court - Glen Oaks - $899,500

Listed by Long and Foster
Google Map Here

Glen Oaks is a beautiful community located off Glen Road in Potomac.

This traditional colonial is well maintained on a nice treed lot. The home has had some renovations in the kitchen and master bath which are a few years old and very well done.

With 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths, this home also has a nice step down family room and newer wood floors. The basement is fully finished and provides nice space for an exercise room or workshop.

This home shows well and will be attractive to anyone looking to move up to a larger home from the Rockville side of Potomac. The neighborhood is the draw. A real sense of community among neighbors is what keeps the inventory low in Glen Oaks. There is always someone waiting for the next home to come on the market.

This home is at the high end of its range. The neighborhood reputation will draw in enough potential buyers to get it sold. Look for this one to go 5-8% below list price.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Drews Court - Beallmount - $1,198,500

Listed By: Century 21
Google Map Here

This home is beautiful! Pretty on the outside and a knock out on the inside too.

It is not often I see two great homes in one day. This one is so very pretty on the outside and much larger then it appears. Although it needs some updating on the inside, it has fabulous balance.

With a great first floor master, there are high ceilings and plenty of space for your stuff. Although it needs to be updated, it is in good condition. Anyone stretching to buy this home can put off improvements or do them in affordable stages. The kitchen is this homes downfall. Small, dated and the only room that is out of balance in this home. It would be great to blow through the kitchen wall into the dining room to make a large open kitchen. It may be expensive, but you would get every penny back in resale.

The center hall in this home goes straight through to the back of the home. Your focus goes right through the home as your vista is the wide beautifully maintained grounds on this 2 acre lot. The french doors lead you out to a patio and then on to the kidney shaped in ground pool. The setting is idyllic

There are 2 additional bedrooms upstairs in the main part of the house. One on each side, both large and interesting spaces. The dormers bring in light and the roof pitch adds interesting perspective to both rooms. The bath is serviceable, but it too will need updating in the future.

There is a cool room over the garage too. Separate stairway, full bath and separate entrance make this a dream for a child fledging from the nest. They have privacy and space without Mom and Dad on their backs.

The basement is large with plenty of room. There is a bath, cedar closet, large storage room plus a great room for home theatre. The decor may be a bit dated, but whimsical.

This is a good value at the current price. It will just need a family to appreciate the space. Any price below 1.15mm is a steal. I am making this one my new home of the week.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

7001 Masters Drive - River Falls - $1,150,000

Listed By WFP
Google Map Here

This is one of the prettiest homes from the outside I have seen in a long time in Potomac. This is what the term "Curb Appeal" is all about.

This is a very nice home in the River Falls community in Potomac. This is the "Lowell" model with 5 bedrooms and 3 full baths upstairs and a very nice circular flow to the floor plan.

This home has been very well maintained, and it shows. There are beautiful hardwood floors, tile foyer and three season porch that has been added off the kitchen.

This house is livable as it is, but the new owners may want to plan to redo the kitchen. Although it looks like it was partially upgraded, the cabinets seem original and the dark bead-board dated. The basement too will need an update. Although finished, it needs some upgrading. The space was not well planed when the basement was originally finished so it should have the space there repartitioned. PLEASE save some of the red carpet going downstairs. It is classic, and will certainly get the attention of your guests.

This one is fairly priced for this marketplace. The home is vacant, so maybe an offer is in order. At 1.1mm this home is a good deal.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Logan Drive - Potomac Outside - $2,895,000

Listed By Long & Foster
Google Map Here

I love the location of this home. In the interest of full disclosure, I also live on this street.

This part of Logan Drive has been going through redevelopment. Many of the older ramblers originally built in this community are being purchased and razed. The one acre lots they sit on are worth more to a builder then the old homes.

This is a new home with wonderful curb appeal. The builder hired StudioZ to design this home. Anyone in the business knows that StudioZ currently is the red-hot architect du jour.

With 6 bedrooms and 7 baths, this home is plenty large. The beauty of StudioZ's design is the balance. The home has 8100 square feet of finished space, but all of it is in balance. All rooms are proper proportion and do not overwhelm the overall design.

The finish level in this home is what you would expect in this price range. There is not any one feature that will knock your socks off. The builder is willing to customize any feature of the home at an extra cost. All you have to do is ask.

It is certainly worth looking at this home. It is fairly priced but in my opinion not a bargain. Depending upon the strength of the market in the spring, this home can sell at full price, or sell at up to 10% less. Time will tell.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Paddock Lane - Fox Hills West - $798,000

Listed by WEICHERT, Potomac
Google Map Here

I have always liked the Fox Hills Community. Well maintained, good schools and a community that holds its value.

There are a mix of homes in this community. Some are original, and others have been expanded over the years. You really have to see each one to determine which category to place it.

This home has great curb appeal. Obviously well maintained, is also has manicured grounds and someone with a green thumb in its past history.

The home has been completely re-done. From the tile foyer, to kitchen, baths and are buying a finished package. The home does not seem large, but feels cozy. The family room is adjacent to the kitchen and boasts a masonry fireplace and step down. The kitchen is recently renovated with granite and higher end appliances. A slider to the deck provides convenient access to recreate in an average sized yard.

The upstairs has 3 decent sized bedrooms. The baths have been re-done, and the Master Bedroom has an expanded shower that sets this home apart from others in the neighborhood.

The basement is unfinished, and can potentially house a large recreation room in the future.

Although this home has all the bells and whistles, it is at the top of its price range. The bold colors may be attractive to some, but may turn off some potential buyers. The seller should remove the couch in the family room to make it look larger. Currently it is a bit cluttered.

This one will have to come down a bit in price to find a buyer. While there is certainly value to all of the upgrades in this home, the seller will only get back a portion of their money used to upgrade.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Victory Lane - Beverly Farms - $787,500

When searching for larger lots in Potomac, you rarely find a home on almost a full acre. This lot is .95 acres, elevated and would be perfect for a new McMansion.

The home on this lot is a 4BR and 2BA rambler. It was built in 1952, and looks like it is still 1952 when you walk inside. Although it has some charming features, it would be cost prohibitive to salvage it.

The kitchen is a hoot. It is straight out of the 1950's and still has the Formica and metal cabinets. If it were me, I would call the Smithsonian to see if they would like to take the kitchen for a historical display. The cabinets are in great shape, and truly a wonder to observe.

The real value in this home is the lot. At $787,500 this lot could be a bargain if it were one mile closer to Potomac. Unfortunately, at this price the lot is a bit too pricey. The economics of home building would dictate a sales price of close to $2mm for a new home. I don't think the community comps will support it. It may make more sense at $550K for a home builder for resale, or $650K for someone building for themselves. The estate will need to be more realistic when setting their sites on a sale. Look for this one to go in the $650K range.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Eaglebrook Court - Potomac Woods East - $795,000

Potomac Woods is a lovely community tucked between Falls Road and Seven Locks Road and Wooten Parkway.

Built in 1978, this home was way ahead of its time. Cathedral Ceilings, open space and good flow make this home very attractive. With 4 BR and 2.5 Baths, this home has an additional BR and full bath in the finished basement. Total square footage is just over 3700 on three levels.

With new carpet, updated baths and recent paint; this home shows very well. It has great curb appeal and sits on a nice lot that is just under a half acre. A two level deck from the kitchen and family room give nice room for summer entertaining.

The only down side to this home is it's proximity to Seven Locks Road. The home backs to the main road and although fenced, the traffic can be distracting. A city dweller would not even notice the noise. Someone looking for a quiet lot with privacy will be disappointed.

The home is priced at the top of the market. Although it shows very well, it will not get top dollar because of its location. This is about $50K too high. Look for this one to settle around $739K.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Brickyard Road - Potomac Ranch - $2,445,000

I really liked this home when I saw it. On a beautiful lot of almost 3 acres, this home has lots of potential.

Built in 1980, this home was probably state of the art when built. Although still super attractive, this home is quite dated. Although the first floor and public space is in pretty good shape, the upstairs and living quarters will need a good bit of work. When the home is this large, this upgrade can add up to big money.

The lot on this home is lovely. A beautiful pool and tennis court are perfectly situated for easy access from the home. The lighted tennis court also has a basketball standard, perfect for a home full of boys. A large deck looks out over the pool and tennis, and a covered porch is adjacent and provides shade and shelter from sun and rain during the summer.

The basement is not all that large. It will need a complete renovation, but is lovely space with a masonry fireplace. A door to the exterior provides access to the back yard, and is sheltered by the deck.

The front of the home has a circular driveway and is well hidden by trees in front. I would thin some of the vegetation in front. The home is too pretty to hide completely. A bonus feature of this home is a full apartment that can be used for an in-law suite, domestic help or maybe a legal rental. There is an entry from one of the 4 garage bays that goes to a private stairwell upstairs. This feature is tough to find on Potomac Homes.

While I see value in this home at its current list price of $2.445mm, it will be a lot of work to bring completely up to date. The bonus being offered for a contract make it clear that the owners are anxious to sell. I think this would be a great bargain at $1.995mm. I doubt someone can steal it for that price, but it would be a good spot to start the negotiation. This will leave some cash in the buyers pocket to update all of the areas that need attention.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

SOLD - Stable Lane - River Falls - $899,900

SETTLED 1/12/09 $865,000

For anyone wanting to live in the River Falls subdivision, this is a great value.

Anyone buying this home is taking on a project. Built in 1968, this home still has the avocado appliances in the original kitchen. This is going to be a complete re-do.

The good news for anyone buying this home is the neighborhood is "Blue Chip". A few hundred thousand invested in updating this home will come back in full. The location, schools and neighborhood will easily support the increase in value.

This home is already assessed at $1.25mm. The lot is a level and usable 1/3 acre. This home screams potential. How often do you get a chance to buy a home in a Potomac neighborhood of this pedigree for less then 1mm? I will answer for you...almost never.

The only issue I had with this home was the master bedroom suite. It will have to be reconfigured to better fit today's style. It is large and takes up at least a third of the upper level. My instincts tell me that a consult with an architect could deliver amazing results with this space.

This home is one of the few I have seen in the past few weeks priced correctly from the start. Although it may not sell at the $899K asking price, it will generate enough attention to get sold. I see this going for $860K. In this tough market, this is the first step in getting a home sold. Kudos to the listing agent. I see this one sold within 30 days.

Friday, December 12, 2008

1219 Fallsmead Way - Fallsmead - $795,000

There are some nice homes on the market in the Fallsmead subdivision. One is prettier then the next. This also means competition is fierce. Competition for buyers means the consumer is going to get a good deal.

This home is a well maintained colonial in the attractive Fallsmead subdivision.

This home was built in 1968 and has been through at least one update. The home is in good condition, but somewhat dated. The kitchen has held up well, and is certainly functional. It is due for an upgrade, and anyone buying will have this on their list of things to do.

The 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths are decent sized and appropriate for neighborhood. There is a 2 car garage in the back of the home, and may be a bit challenging to use.

With great location, great schools and Potomac address, this home has lots going for it. It also has lots of competition. At $795K it is a bit overpriced. There are homes on Bettstrail Way and Infield Lane that are superior to this home and cost less. This one will have to come in below $725K to sell before its competition. If not, expect to see Bettstrail and Infield sell before this one.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Copenhaver Drive - Copenhaver - $875,000

This is a nice looking colonial on a corner lot in the popular Copenhaver subdivision.

With good curb appeal, this home has been nicely kept. A newer slate walkway leads you into this center foyer home.

As you walk in the front door, cathedral ceilings make the foyer space look larger. The color scheme is colonial. Much of the trim in the home is painted colonial blue. This will either please, or turn off a buyer. It looks nice, but will not be to everyone's taste.

The home is in good shape. It has been well taken care of. It is a bit dated, but certainly livable as it is. The kitchen and all baths are due for an upgrade in the next few years, but are functional as they are. There is no rush to spend the money on upgrades.

The back yard has a stamped concrete patio and nice size deck. There is also a sun room off the family room that although not heated, looks to get some decent sun. You could probably use this room 3 seasons.

The basement is partially finished, and good sized. It looks to be very dry with no evidence of water issues. This would be a great space to finish completely in the age of home theatre.

The price is a bit aggressive at $875K. This may have been within reach 2 years ago, but is too high in this challenging market. This would be a nice value at $799,000. I think it will settle between there and $815K.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

SOLD - Lancashire Drive - Potomac Woods - $725,000

SOLD - $689,200 (After $3,300 Subsidy) on 1/30

This home is much larger then it appears from the exterior.

A nice colonial in the Potomac Woods neighborhood, this one should already be sold. The home is charming on the inside and in great condition. Unfortunately, it is packed with furnishings and looks much smaller then it really is.

A center hall colonial, this home has a large living room to the right and a nice sized dining room on the left. This home also has a hall that goes straight back to a sitting area and gives the home good flow.

Everything in this home is in beautiful condition. Built in 1969, this must have gone through a complete renovation over the past few years. Nice neutral paint, great trim and a spectacular kitchen make this home a winner. Why it is languishing on the market is a mystery to me.

The basement is fully finished, and is quite large. A full bath and bedroom in the back corner would be perfect for an au pair or teenage child. The basement is below ground, but has good light from the glass brick windows. This area too is packed with stuff. This home would look completely different if it were just a little bit less cluttered.

The price is right at $725K. It may be the upper end of the neighborhood, but it is also completely renovated and ready to move in. The kitchen is a beauty, and the fenced yard is filled with azalea and rhododendron. What would I do? I would repaint the shutters outside a less garish color. The current teal color is out of place and unattractive. Other then these small items, someone should scoop this one up soon.

This home should sell for somewhere close to $700,000. Anything less then that is a bargain for the buyers. The current owners paid $810K earlier this year. Their loss is your gain. Call me for an exclusive showing. I know this home inside out...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Purcell Court - McAuley Park - $1,975,000

Someone has to remind Potomac area sellers that we are in a "buyers market". It is no longer 2005 when you could put almost any price on a home and get attention.

McAuley Park is located off of Kentlands Drive in Potomac. A lovely community, this area has lots of home all $1mm and higher. This home is on a lovely cul-de-sac and beautifully sited on a 1/2 acre lot. Built in 2000, this home is in good condition and shows well.

With 6 bedrooms and 5.5 baths, this home has plenty of room for a family. With high ceilings and nice room sizes it is what you would expect from a 1mm+ home in the Potomac area. The colors are neutral, the home well decorated and it is easy to visualize what it would look like with YOUR furnishings inside.

So, what is the problem? The price. This home is 300K overpriced. There is so much competition in this price range. This home does not hold a candle to its competitors in the $2mm range.

Normally I would blame a mis-priced home on the agents. More and more I am finding that even the great agents in our area are not able to talk sense into homeowners. Unfortunately, when this happens, everyone loses.

This home will languish on the market at this price. It may stand a chance of selling at $1.695mm, $300k less then its current list price. With that said, it would probably settle at between $1.6mm and $1.65mm when the papers are finally signed.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Greenleaf Avenue - Willerburn Acres - $759,000

As you drive through Willerburn Estates you see new homes sprinkled among the original homes from the 1960's.

With large 1/2 acre lots, this community is attracting new money.

This home is a plain jane from the outside. Once you get into the home, the space is surprising. With a nice floor plan all this home needs is some cosmetic renovation.

The kitchen has been given an inexpensive face lift, and it shows. Although it does not look bad, it looks inexpensive. If the kitchen was completely re-done, it would have paid dividends in the final price.

The bedrooms are good sized, and all of the baths will need updating. The basement is paneled and smells a bit musty. The dehumidifier against the wall just reinforces the point.

The yard outside is large with huge potential.The half acre is reasonably level and would have great potential for a pool. With a little landscaping and TLC, this yard could be beautiful.

At this price it is difficult to justify knocking down this home and building a McMansion. The lot though, certainly is attractive for this purpose. With great schools (Churchill Cluster) and a great location, this home and lot is attractive. The sellers will have a tough time getting their asking price. I see this selling in the $718K range.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

11705 Charen Lane - Regency Estates - $620,000

This is a pretty split foyer with great curb appeal in Regency Estates.

This has three decent sized bedrooms on the upper level with 2 full baths. The home is in good condition and shows well.

The kitchen has been updated over the past few years and it looks as though the windows throughout have been replaced. The lower level has a nice sized family room and a half bath. There is a small bedroom on this level as well.

The lot is about a quarter acre, and is nicely tended. A deck and hot tub are off the kitchen, and all seem to be in good condition.

This is listed as having over 2100 square feet, but it does not seem that large. The split foyer style that was popular in the early 1960's is out of favor today. At $620,000 this home is priced too high. There are nicer homes with garages available at this price point.

I think this will take a long time to sell at this price. Unless the market changes, this home will sell in the $550K range.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

11808 Seven Locks Road - Regency Estates - $550,000

This is a small rambler on a VERY busy road.

With 3 small bedrooms and 2 full baths, this home is straight out of 1963. The home is functional, but will need a lot of TLC to bring it up to speed. The kitchen and baths are in need of renovation, and the basement too needs work.

The lot is about a quarter acre. The home sits up on a knoll, and gently slopes off in the back. The yard is fenced, and will need work to make it look decent.

This home may have potential for someone with a home business. The traffic on Seven Locks would be attractive for an accountant or insurance agent that may be able to pick up some business.

This is also a short sale. The bank that holds the mortgage will have to approve any contract written. The owner purchased this home in 2005 at the height of the market. They paid $635,000. I cannot imagine this home was ever worth that much.

This home is worth about $475,000. It may take the bank a while to understand that they are going to lose their shirt. The sooner they make a deal, the better it will be for them. The home is currently vacant, and still has boxes and personal possessions on the lower level. The sooner a deal is made, the better for all parties involved.

Friday, December 5, 2008

SOLD - 12817 Lamp Post Lane - Fox Hills West - $846,000

This is a big home that is going to need someone with vision to buy it.

This is a center foyer colonial decorated in a contemporary fashion. The wallpaper seems to be from the late seventies and will be a project to remove. The listing agents have wisely priced the cost of removal and repainting to discuss with any interested buyers.

The home itself has great potential. It has a wonderful and bright two story foyer with a lovely curved staircase going upstairs. The stair is open and guarded by a wrought iron rail. I would spend the money to fabricate a wood rail to replace it. It would look fabulous.

The rooms on the main level are large and light. The kitchen has been bumped out in the back, and has potential to be fantastic. Replacing the white cabinets with an updated style would make this kitchen rock.

The breakfast area is open to a good sized family room along the back of the home. The fireplace mantle and hearth is elaborately encased in light colored granite or marble. A powder room and utility room lead you on to the large 2 car garage.

The upstairs area is really broken into two halves. There is an elaborate master bedroom suite with his and hers baths on the right side of the home. The baths are functional, but the colors and wallpaper are out of style. A great feature is the walk through shower between the his and her baths. I have never seen one like this, and liked it a lot.

The bedroom area has cathedral ceilings and a sliding glass door out to a deck. Adjacent to the bedroom area is an adjoining sitting room. The amount of space in this master suite is astounding.

The other bedrooms in the home are all large. The available space is deceiving. This would be a great home for a family with lots of kids. There is plenty of space to house them, and great schools to educate them Isn't that what the Potomac lifestyle is all about?

The basement is finished, but very dated. The space has been carved up into a large bar area and a few other rooms. This would be a great space to gut and refinish. There is a full bath that can be kept and space around it made into a in-law or nanny suite.

The lot is 1/4 acre and reasonably flat. The landscaping is a bit overgrown, but once again, someone with vision can make the back beautiful.

On a pure square footage basis, this is the best value in Fox Hills and surrounding communities. The home is livable, but needs a full cosmetic makeover. Anyone with the time and vision to work on this home, will reap big rewards when they resell. This one should go for $820K once negotiations are complete.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Gainsborough Road - Fox Hills - $699,000

Does advertising a home as the "Lowest Price in Fox Hills" constitute a bargain?
Not necessarily.

When this home was built in 1965, who could have anticipated that Gainsborough Road would be this busy? Used as a cut through, there is significant traffic on Gainsborough that passes this home. Perched up on a hill, the noise can be heard in the home.

Built by Pulte, this home has been updated, but still needs some work. The kitchen has been nicely updated, and so have the baths. The wood floors are in good shape, so most of the work needed is cosmetic. It does not show all that well, but it seems to have good bones.

The basement is finished, but chopped up. The design stinks, but redoing the space may be a great investment. The Family room is small, so investing in the basement will provide space for a TV area and some room for the kids.

The pool in the back is nice. It is small, but fits the space. The landscape and retaining walls seem to be leaning and would worry me as a buyer. The seller should get a landscaper to come in and dress things up. Clean the leaves, plant some mums, and make the yard look nice.

This home may be the least expensive in Fox Hills, but it will have to come down in price. This will be more reasonable in the $650K range and has a chance of selling quickly.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

SOLD - Laurel Leaf - Fawsett Farms Manor - $1,143,000

This is a great home for anyone looking in this price range that works in D.C.

On the Cabin John side of Potomac, this neighborhood is a hop , skip and jump from MacArthur Boulevard and the Parkway for a quick commute into D.C.

Fawsett Farms Manor is a beautifully maintained community built in the late 1980's. This home is on a quiet street backing to woods. This home is perched on a 1/3 acre lot with a steep grade in the rear. The view from all windows is trees and will please the nature lover. Those that want to use the yard for recreation will be disappointed as much of the lot is unusable because of the slope.

This is a good looking home. The brick exterior is conservative and suits the neighborhood. The interior has high ceilings and high level of finish. I was told that this was a builders personal residence and many upgrades you see, are not found in other neighborhood homes.

Although nice, the home is a bit dated. I think the price reflects this fact and takes into consideration that some updates will need to be made. On a square footage basis the price is fair for the neighborhood. It is just a matter of time to find the right person or family that will appreciate it.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

SOLD - 11614 Deborah Drive - Regency Estates - $649,000

SOLD for $550,000 on 12-23

This is a nice looking home with good bones and decent curb appeal. A short sale with Countrywide, this one will take some time to negotiate, but a bargain may be at hand.

This is 4 bedroom split, with 2 full baths on the upper level. There is an additional half bath on the main level, and a full bath in the lower (basement) level.

The yard is pretty, with some specimen plants. Someone in the past was a gardener here and there is potential to shine. The current residents have not done much to maintain the gardens but should.

The home is in desperate need of a face lift. The home is badly dated, and there is going to be some time and effort invested to remove wallpaper from various rooms and hallways. This home looks its age. At 43 years, it is beyond just cosmetic improvements, it needs attention.

Although this home has already been assigned an attorney to negotiate the short sale, at $699K they are not being realistic. This home is at least 100K overpriced. It will need quite a bit of cash to update and the neighborhood does not warrant the investment at this price.

I predict that this home stays on the market until the bank considers an offer around $550K.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Stable House Court - Potomac Commons - $925,000

This well maintained Georgetown model has an extension in the rear to provide great space.

This home is a 5 bedroom colonial with great curb appeal in the Potomac Commons neighborhood. Built in 1971, this Georgetown model has been expanded. The owners added to the rear of the home to increase the space in the breakfast area and family room. The windows in the breakfast area flood the space with light and make the space seem open and airy. The family room addition is a step down and has high cielings and gas fireplace.

All of the bedrooms upstairs are a good size. The 5th bedroom upstairs was an add on with the addition, and the 3 full baths are plenty large to keep the family happy. All of the baths have been updated since the home was built in 1971. Although they are not new, they are functional and need not be updated right away.

The basement is good size and finished with beadboard. Somewhat dated, the space could be inexpensively upgraded to drywall with space for home theatre.

The only issue I have with this home is the traffic flow on the main level. With the Georgetown model, you have to go around through the family room or dining room to get to the back of the house. While for some folks this is an advantage, for those that like to entertain it is a problem. The kitchen and family room are needing to be updated. For less then 10K, you can take up the 8x8 tile and replace the whole thing with hardwood or Pergo. It would make a huge difference in the presentation.

This home is worth $925K. It won't get it because these updates were not completed in advance. To warrant top dollar, you need to take the time and spend the money to make these improvements to knock a buyer's socks off. Because the work was not done, this home will end up selling for less then it is worth. Look for a final sales price of $885K.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

SOLD - Infield Court - Fallsmead - $739,000

As soon as I pulled up to this home I was intrigued.

Great curb appeal, there is obviously someone with a green thumb living inside. Although the home was built in 1969, the effective age is a lot less. It is amazing the difference that regular maintenance and TLC can make.

When you walk into this home you fell as though you are walking into a model home. The colors are just right, the white paint on the trim against the darker wall color looks great. The contrast of colors makes the mouldings and trim stand out. This home was properly prepared before being put on the market.

This home has just gone through a complete renovation. All the baths have been updated, the kitchen is completely redone and the grounds are immaculate. A nice deck on the back and screened in porch allows you to enjoy the outside at least half the year free from pesky mosquitoes. Just reduced to $739K, this home is now priced right. I am sure there can be a bit more haggling in the price, but I see good value at this level.

The only down side to this home is the unfinished basement. Since I always like to see the glass as half full, there is a full basement that can be finished to your liking with home theatre and recreation room. With that said, this is serious competition to the previously review home on Betts Trail. I am making this home my value of the week.

Friday, November 28, 2008

South Glen Road - River Oaks Farm - $1,895,000

This home is at the end of a long private driveway just off South Glen Road, about a mile from Falls Road. All brick with traditional lines, this one will surprise you when you get inside.

The home has a traditional feel when you walk in the front door. When you look to the back of the home, there is a striking view up a main center stair and a large plate glass window to the blue sky above. What a beautiful architectural feature. There is some space wasted providing for this view, but is a larger home like this one, the wasted space is only a small percentage of the livable area.

The living room and dining rooms on the main level are good sized, but not huge. The diagonal hardwood planks are a nice touch and in fantastic shape. The family room is large and open, and has a full wet bar open to the space. Great for entertaining. A fully paneled library / office is filled with light, and opens to a smaller bedroom office upstairs. Very nice touch.

The basement is large, with a welcoming wide stairwell leading you downstairs from the main level. A full kitchen, bedroom and bath, and plenty of space in the fully finished and carpeted area. It leads out to pool and patio area in the backyard.

The upstairs layout is not to my taste, but certainly interesting. The master bedroom has one entire side of the home with separate stairwell. The other 3 bedrooms are good size and well located on the left side of the home. The master bedroom has great built ins, a separate Bedroom office and lots of closet space.

The back yard and pool are lovely. With extensive hardscaping, large deck and nice landscape, this is a great entertainment home. There is a large mansion being built directly behind this home that is actually an eyesore. They have built a large retaining wall (50+ feet) that is cinder block and very unattractive. If they brick this wall, it will be attractive and actually enhance the view from this home. If it is not bricked or finished in some way, it will be the only downside to this home.

This was reduced recently by $100k. It needs to be reduced by another 100K, and then it has a chance to sell.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Highland Farm Court - Saddle Ridge - $4,200,000


Can you say turkey?

To celebrate Thanksgiving Day, I am featuring a listing in Potomac that is $1mm overpriced.

Don't get me wrong, this is a beautiful contemporary home in one of the more exclusive communities in Potomac. Open and airy with lots of amenities, this home has it all for a luxury buyer. The problem is there are 20 other comparable homes on the market in Potomac at a significantly lower price tag.

This home has 5 bedrooms and 5 full baths on the upper level. The main level has a unusual design. The rooms are not palatial, and have good scale. I expected them to be a bit larger based upon the price. A small sun room and small sunken study off were the only rooms out of scale.

The basement is large, and finished. There are two additional bedrooms on this level that can be used for an au-pair or maid. There is also plenty of room for Billiards, Home Theater and exercise room.

The backyard has a pool and pool house, and is nicely landscaped. The lot is approximately two acres, and is completely fenced in the back.

Is the cache of the neighborhood worth a large enough premium to warrant this price? Only time will tell. If you based your guess on review of the competition for similarly appointed homes in the area, it would be a tough sell. The competition in this market is ferocious. It is my guess that this home will sell at between $3.0mm and $3.2mm when all is said and done.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

10408 Great Arbor Drive - East Gate of Potomac -

East Gate is one of the few communities in Potomac to find Contemporary homes. Located in the Churchill school cluster, this home will attract those with a love of contemporary architecture and a need for good public schools.

This home is sited on a 1/4 acre lot with decent size yard. Heavily wooded, this home has privacy and shade to keep the home cool in the summer. Contemporary design means large windows and lots of them. Although they bring in great light, they can be a liability to your utility costs. Some of these windows have been replaced to provide decent insulation. Others may need to be replaced to make this home energy efficient.

The main feature of this home is a Master Bedroom loft on the second floor. Open to the cathedral ceiling family room, the loft gives an open and modern feel to this home. A stand alone modern fireplace becomes a focal point as the flue rises dramatically from the first floor, past the loft thorough the roof.

This home will attract those with contemporary tastes. The home currently lacks color or flair and will need a buyer with vision to fall in love. This home has great potential. Unfortunately, is is priced as if the complete rehab has already been done. It needs to come down in price significantly to sell. I see this one selling at 25% less then the current $995,000 list price.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

SOLD - 8403 Buckhannon Drive - Highland Stone - $615,000

SOLD for $565,000 on 12-30

Do you want location? Do you want Churchill Cluster schools? Do you want a reasonably priced home in a nice established neighborhood? Take a look at this home.

I was not in the home 1 minute when the agent apologized for the decor. Stuck in the early 80's, this home is a case study for Miami Vice Turquoise and Pink. Wall paper is everywhere. Someone will have to understand that they are taking on a project with this home. Alternately, they can wait. Within a few years all of these colors and wallpaper may come back in vogue....what is old is new again?

The home was built in 1965. There may have been a renovation done in the early 80's, so the home is not functionally obsolete. If you can live with the colors and wallpaper for a while, you can slowly bring this home back into the 21st century decor. It seems like the home has good bones. The lot is nice, and some attempt has been made to clean up the outside. Fresh mulch, yard cleanup and a little TLC has gone a long way here. Kudos to the listing agent for encouraging this dress up.

With three bedrooms and two and one half baths, this home is typical for the neighborhood. The $615,000 price is taking into consideration the work that will have to be done inside to bring this home up to date. Although the basement is finished, it has very low ceilings that are a bit claustrophobic. I think if it was redone with drywall, it may improve the space.

Overall, at $615,000 it is priced a bit high. I say it goes for $570,000 before years end. The location and schools are too attractive to allow the home to linger at this price.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Beeman Woods Court - Avenel - $1,849,999

It is hard to believe that I almost sold this home to a friend in 1994.

It is interesting to see a home again after many years. Sometimes a home changes dramatically. Sometimes it does not change a bit. This one is pretty much the same as when it was built in 1994. My buyer dropped this home off his list because he felt the cobblestone driveway would fail. The builder swore it would not, and he was right. It still looks great.

This home is owned by the son of the late Michael Rose. It seems both his home and his Dad's went on the market at the same time. The only thing these two properties have in common is the price. They are both overpriced by about 20%.

This home is a good looking 2,400-square-foot colonial style with an additional 1200 finished feet in the basement. The home has an elevator and a first floor master suite. These are the two main selling features. The home is on the golf course, but the views are not great. The basement is nice, but a bit chopped up. The right side of the basement has a nice finished club style area with wet bar that would be great for watching football.

The owners bought this home in the height of the market for $1.52MM. I think that they will be lucky to get out with their money, and if I was asked to predict whether they would, or wouldn't, I would guess they will not. Stay tuned.

I see this home as a harbinger of the spring market.

If it sells in the first few months at anywhere near the list price, we have hit the bottom of this market and are on the way back up.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

14000 River Road - Potomac Outside - $2,975,000

Where does Potomac end? Driving out to this home on River Road will make you wonder. It is a long drive out River Road, past Travilah, past the Water Treatment Plant, Past Tobytown. This home is on the left side of the road, way up on a hill. The lot is surrounded by a high fence and electric gate, presumably to keep out the ever present (and destructive) deer. Immediately you wonder if along with the house you will need a four wheel drive vehicle when it snows.

The home from the outside is beautiful. It looks like an old southern estate with clean good looks, retro columns, and a big front porch. I immediately loved the look.

Once you scale the narrow, tree lined driveway you reach a level spot at the top of the hill where the home is sited. The three car garage is side load with individual doors. They seemed over sized, but then again everything looks oversize in this home.

The center foyer is open and spacious. A pair of large walk in closets guard the entry for coats and storage. A home this size needs the coat storage as it will often be used to entertain. Some thought was put into all aspects of design in this home. The dual stairwells stand like sentries along the foyer walls. They curve upward to a bridge that spans the center of the home with a enormous skylight that allows natural light to flood the main living space. Very nicely done.

The rooms are large, but seem huge because of the openness of the cathedral ceilings. The kitchen is well appointed, but not overdone. It may actually be a bit out of scale (on the small side) for a home of this size. The other rooms on this floor were proportional and well designed. You have to see this one.

Upstairs, all of the bedrooms have en-suite baths. The master bedroom is actually a whole wing of the home. The main feature is his and hers custom baths. One has a spa and the other a steam shower. Not my style, but you gotta love the creativity. People will be impressed with the attention to detail and flexibility of the space.

The basement is completely finished. There is plenty of room for entertainment and a dedicated spot for a home theatre, which is a hot button in this market. There is storage space and potential to build additional finished space in a large walk up attic. The builder will be happy to quote additional customizations including an elevator.

The lot is about 3.5 acres. Most of it is cleared and completely fenced. There is room for a stand alone 5-6 car garage if the existing 3 car does not house your entire car collection. The pool is nice, but small. It may just be the scale of this renovation makes the pool SEEM small.

For this home to show better some additional attention should be paid to the basement area. Many of the lights were burned out when I was there, and this extensive space can really be a selling point. Without light, many agents and buyers will avoid the basement all together. The driveway on a home this size should not be so narrow. An option to widen the driveway should be offered, including moving the trees that line the existing driveway.

This home will find a buyer near it's list price of $2,975,000. There are certainly better values on the market, but this has the curb appeal that will woo a buyer into signing a contract. Just because no one is paying full price, this will sell at $2,700,000.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

SOLD - 9 Meyer Point Court - Avenel - $1,595,000

SOLD for $1,410,000 on 12-15

Avenel is an upscale planned community between Falls Road and Persimmon Tree Road in Potomac. Developed by Natelli communities, it was built out by five or six builders through the 1990's. It is a lovely, well maintained community, with all of the amenities one would expect in a high end neighborhood. There is a mix of housing here. Town homes, patio homes, single family homes and mansions are all part of the mix. The grounds and lawns are all maintained by an outside company so the community always looks great. A strict association assures that homes are properly maintained which adds to the value of the community.

This home was built by Mitchell and Best in 1991. The house has nice curb appeal and is tucked into a cul de sac backing to the Avenel golf course. The grounds have great potential for a gardener with terraced walls around the side of the home filled with planting beds. With the home vacant, these beds are in disarray, but could be fabulous for a new owner with a green thumb

The center foyer is hardwood with a curved stairway leading upstairs. The rooms on the main level are decent size, but not large. The kitchen was certainly state of the art in 1991, but not today. The white cabinets are looking worn, and blue and yellow delft tile behind the stove will turn some folks off. The white Corian island has an integrated sink that is stained, but could be sanded to refresh its look.

The decor throughout the house was "French Country" with lots of blue and yellow paint. It matches the blue and yellow tile in the kitchen, and some of the window treatments that were left by the owners. It would be smart for them to repaint in somewhat neutral colors. I cannot emphasise this enough, there is too much competition for you to sell your home without dressing it up.

Some of the nice features in this home are the built in shelves in the upstairs hallway, the sitting room off the master bedroom and the full wall of built ins in the basement. The yard and lot are lovely, but need some TLC.

This home needs a paint job, a good cleaning, some laminate floor repair in the basement, and a haircut on the asking price. This home may be worth the asking price fully renovated, but not likely. It should sell in the $1,399,000 range if the market stays stable.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Avenel Farm Drive - Avenel - $4,599,999

This home was formerly owned by Michael Rose, a prominent developer and home builder in the D.C. area. He bought the lot in 1988 and build his own home on this lot, sparing no amenities. He passed away in February 2007, and the home has been quietly updated over the past year.

This home is striking.

Michael Rose' trademark was open floor plans and dramatic flair. This home has it all. The foyer has dramatic cathedral ceilings with a very expensive chandelier accenting the space. The open plan is perfect for entertaining. A front bar just off the foyer is a great place to pick up a drink during your housewarming as you greet guests throughout the light filled spacious kitchen and family room.

The home has views of the golf course from all windows. Mr. Rose certainly picked a winner when he bought this lot. Beautifully sited, this home is filled with light. Even on a blustery day the inside was bright and warm.

An avid collector of Southwestern Art, the Rose collection is displayed everywhere you look. This space is a perfect showcase for the big bold oil paintings that strategically grace the walls.

The powder room on the main level, and the home theater in the basement use fiber optics to simulate a star filled sky on the ceilings. The powder room especially is very cool. All black, the room has a space age feel that will elicit oohs and aahs from guests.

The upstairs has three bedrooms, all with full baths en suite. The master bedroom on the main level is palatial. High ceilings, great ceiling fan and plenty of space for closets, storage and stand alone shower.

The basement too is open space with walls of windows. The light pours over a large seating area, a billiard area, a home theatre, and a fully outfitted exercise room. A full bar, wine cellar and fur vault are on the back end of the bottom level next to a full service bar. Entertainment? This is a perfect home for those who love to entertain.

This home shows very well. It is not my style, and won't be the style for many, but someone will fall in love with this space. The home was built when pickled oak was popular. This lends to a slightly dated feel to the decor. I suspect that many of the upgrades done over the past few years attempted to get rid of this feel, but it still lingers.

When you get to this "one of a kind" custom home, it is hard to put a price on what it is worth. Although a premium lot, in my mind it is hard to justify the $4.6MM price tag. Kudos to the folks that prepared this home for sale. It is a beauty. I will be curious to see what the final price will be. Stay tuned, I will revisit this one when it does. I predict $3.6MM. I don't have a logical basis for that number, but I know at that price it compares to similarly priced custom homes in the area.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

SOLD - 11224 Broad Green - Bedfordshire - $884,000

Bedfordshire is located a few miles from Potomac Village on Falls Road. Tucked away on the western side of Falls near the Falls Road Golf Course, this community was built in the early 1970's. The homes are all around 2600 square feet, and the community is nicely maintained.

This home is sited on a nice lot with between a third and half acre of ground. Nice curb appeal, the brick center foyer is a traditional favorite. The lot slopes from front to back allowing for a walkout slider from the basement.

The home is generally in good shape. The floors are hardwood, but will have to be refinished. The finish is shot in some of the rooms, and fine in others. It makes you think there were dogs that had the run of some rooms, and were excluded from others. The family room is nice size with a beautiful stone fireplace. The current furniture in the room is too large and makes the room feel cramped. Moving the big entertainment center will make the room show much, much better.

The bedrooms upstairs are all good size. A perfect home to raise kids, this home has all the amenities to accommodate them. Hall bath upstairs is nice and big so the kids won't be fighting for space. There is plenty of room in the basement for kids to play with a bathroom as well. When company arrives you can lock the kids in the basement guilt free, and entertain in peace.

There is a nice deck and patio out back with pool and hot tub. This would be a great place to entertain in the summer months.

I think the sellers are reaching a bit asking $884,000. Bedfordshire is a nice neighborhood and feeds to great schools. Selling quickly and at their price is a matter of generating enough traffic to find the right buyer. The home can use a good "uncluttering", and in the fall season it is important to keep the yard raked and landscaping freshly mulched. I say this sells for $835K when all is said and done.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hidden Meadow Terrace - River Falls - $1,246,900

River Falls is a beautiful community on the Potomac, Cabin John border. It is a mix of single family and attached housing in a impeccably maintained setting. Similar to the nearby Avenel community, all of the yard and common maintenance are done as part of the homeowner association. Because of this, the lawns are always cut, leaves always raked and the neighborhood always looks well groomed.

Although this home is attached, I would hesitate to call it a townhome. Very deceiving from the exterior, this home is spacious and beautifully appointed. It is as wide as many single family homes in the area, and decorated very well. It shows beautifully.

The home was built in 1989 and is in good condition. An elevator was just added to allow access to all levels of this three level home. The living area is on the entry level with bedrooms upstairs. The walkout basement is light, roomy and completely finished. An additional bedroom and full bath are there for a live in au-pair, a teen that wants some independence, or with the elderly parent.

The bedrooms upstairs get lots of light. The master suite is spacious, well designed and has all of the amenities that you would look for in a home at one million plus. Although there is some wallpaper throughout the home, it is of timeless design. This home is in move in condition.

The back yard is small, but very nicely designed. There is a stamped concrete patio, a covered area for chairs, an arbor with Wisteria and some beautiful specimen plants. A perfect spot for a hot tub. Of course, there is a great hot tub tucked into the corner.

Will this sell for asking price? It could. It is certainly worth the price, especially for a busy couple that does not have the time for outside maintenance and yard work. The challenge will be to get traffic through the home. Once a potential buyer goes through, they will have a chance to fall in love. More likely an offer will be made and it will sell for $1,175,000 when the deal closes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

SOLD - Chilham Place - Montgomery Square - $549,000

SOLD for $530,000 on 1-26-09 ($525K Net after subsidy)

Montgomery Square is located just off Falls Road near the edge of Rockville. It was built by Kettler Brothers in the mid 1960's, and has seen 3 or more generations of kids raised and educated in the fabulous Churchill school cluster.

This home at $549,000 is a good value. It needs some help cosmetically, but most homes (And Agents) need a face lift after 40 years. The home has not really been updated except for some new Pergo style flooring in the family room and basement. Although dated, the kitchen and baths are functional. These can be updated as the new homeowner wishes.

With a bit of color and new paint, this home will look completely different. It has good bones, but needs some design help. A coordinated color palate and a paint job will update the look without breaking the budget.

This home is located right off Falls Road. I would be marketing this to a professional that can set up a home office. Accountant, CPA, Insurance....all of these professions can benefit from convenient access to the public. The flip side to this convenience is the traffic noise from Falls Road. I think this is a small price to pay for the good schools, convenience and price of this property. This should sell for $525,000 once ratified.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

10513 Rivers Bend Lane - Marwood - $2,750,000

As many of you know, I am not a fan of Marwood.

It is overpriced, sterile, and not at all a good value for Potomac. I must say though, this home was very nice with some super features.

The owners bought this home in July of 2005 for $2.37 million dollars. At that time, we were towards the end of our go-go market. Everyone felt as though their investment in a new home was going to rise by double digits each year. As we all know, those days are gone.

This home has wonderful curb appeal. It is on a cul-de-sac, and has beautiful balance. The professional landscaping shows well, and the entry is inviting. The front door leads you into a beautiful foyer with crystal chandelier. Crystal sconces line the walls of the dual staircase leading you upstairs. It took me a few minutes to realize that this was not a model home. It is so tastefully decorated that you may feel you are in a model.

The tile work in this home is extraordinary. The selection in all of the baths is spectacular, and obviously expensive. Porcelain tile in the kitchen, specialty tile in the baths, and a fabulous master bathroom entry with metallic tile of all colors.

This basement is finished, although dark. It has an exterior entry through a stairwell, but not much light gets in. The home has 5 bedrooms and 5 baths, but it is not large for the price point.

This home may sell for $2.1 million when all is done. It would be to someone that fell in love with the features, neighborhood, or some other intangible to lead them to an offer. There is so much more in Potomac at so much less money: Better neighborhood, more convenient and better value. Although I feel bad for the sellers, they will not get what they paid for this home. Even though it shows like a model, so do many others. I hope the sellers can make some money back in the next property they buy.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Piney Glen Lane - Piney Glen Farm - $3,350,000

Periodically you come across a property that has incredible potential.

This is one of those properties. Lets start off by saying this 5-acre lot is in the final stages of subdivision. The 2.5-acre lot that is spun off could net $1mmm to offset the $3.3mm purchase price. This makes this home all the more interesting. The driveway from Piney Glen Lane goes behind the home, and all the way out to a second entrance on Piney Meeting House Road. This is a really super feature.

The outer elevation of this home is super attractive. It is all stone, and crafted in a way that just looks very high quality. An old-fashioned, stone mason put the veneer on this home, not a layman.

There is stone used all over this home. Interior fireplaces, basement walls, backyard and retaining walls. rumor has it that the original owner was a partner in the Potomac stone quarry that used to be on River and Seven Locks Road. This would make sense, as some of this work would be cost-prohibitive for a normal consumer.

The negative aspect of this home is it seems to have been built in three stages. It has an unusual flow, and would take some getting used to for the new owners. With 12,000 square feet, you could literally get lost in this home. Although the home has been updated over the years, it would need between $300,000 and $500,000 to make it right.

The back yard has a beautiful heated pool and pool house. The pool house is large and has a full kitchen. Adjacent to the pool is a tennis court, that is in decent shape, but will soon need resurfacing.

Here is a novel idea. You could buy the house and lot for $3,000,000. Buy the house for $2,500,000 and buy the lot in a self-directed IRA for $500,000. Within 10 years the lot will be worth a minimum of $1,000,000 or more, which could be sold tax free with the proceeds going back into the IRA. The home, with improvements, will easily sell for whatever you have invested in it, and probably a lot more.

I say this goes for $3,000,000 when all is said and done. It may take a little while, but someone should buy this before the subdivision takes place. Once it is formalized, the value of this package goes up $300,000.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

River Bend Lane - Marwood - $3,750,000

Marwood is the community located at River Road and Piney Branch Road in Potomac. This community is new, and most homes are only a few years old. Toll Brothers is still building in this community, and this home has just been completed and is ready for occupancy.

They claim that this home is overlooking the Potomac River. To say this is a stretch is putting it mildly. You may be able to see a little bit of the river in the distance if you look very hard through the trees, but there is not much to see. You had better be looking in the winter to see this little bit, because in the summer, there is not a snowball's chance in Hades you will be able to see any water.

I always wondered what the allure of Marwood was to home buyers. The community is almost treeless, and because of this the community seems sterile. There are big homes on 1-acre lots, with zero charm. There is so much more value in other parts of Potomac. I could not in good conscience bring a buyer to this community unless they twisted my arm and promised they would not hold me accountable upon resale.

The interior of this home has about 10,000 finished feet. It has all the formulaic features, but is bland overall. Maybe with some decorating and color this home will show better. I think they will have to reduce the price by a cool million dollars to sell.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bells Mill Road - Bell Glen - $ 849,000

Bells Mill Road has become a main connector between Falls Road(Near the Falls Road Golf Course) and Seven Locks Road. Once a quaint Potomac Road, it has been widened over the years to accommodate the significant increase in Potomac area traffic.

Most of the homes in the communities along Bells Mill were built in the 1970's. This home was purchased by the current owners two years ago. They purchased it for $883,000 and currently have it on the market for $849,000.

This home was extensively renovated earlier this year. It shows beautifully, and is larger then it looks from the outside. The best attribute of this home is the fenced back yard. It is deep and reasonably flat, a wonderful and safe place for the kids to play. The basement in this home is finished and walks out to the yard. There is a bonus room under the garage, that has access to the outside. This could be a great place for a small home office.

The owners have taken the time to improve this home to make it very attractive to a young family looking for good schools and convenient location. Although they are selling it for less then they purchased it for 2 years ago, they may have a tough time getting full price. I would guess that this one will settle for $820,000 to $825,000 when the sale closes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

SOLD - 7905 River Falls Drive - River Falls - $1,075,000

SOLD for $1,035,000 on 12-18-2008

River Falls is one of my favorite communities in Potomac. It is one of the few communities near the village without the "excess" of many Potomac neighborhoods. Great schools, good location, great sense of community keep River Falls in demand.

This is not a large home. A center foyer colonial, it is about 2800 square feet. Nicely decorated and maintained, this home has been updated over the years, and would not need any immediate upgrades. Decor is tasteful, but not up to date. A new buyer could easily change the feel of the home with some painting and inexpensive upgrades.

The home is on the market for $1,075,000. This is in line with other properties in the neighborhood, but will not sell for this price. There are other neighborhoods such as Heritage Farms that have better proximity to the village, similar neighborhood attributes and slightly larger homes. When all is said and done, this one will go for $1,025,000.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

SOLD - 10209 Riverwood Drive - Alvermar Woods - $2,324,000

SOLD for $2,000,000 on 12-13

When you walk through homes for a living, it is rewarding to every once in a while find one to fall in love with. Although this home is WAY too big for me and my family, I am secretly hoping a best friend or family member buys it, so I can visit once in a while. It is that nice.

This street is tucked away about a mile from the Village just off River Road. The street is narrow and tree covered, you almost feel as though you are on a private road. Towards the end of the street, the tree canopy opens, and you find a handful of very beautiful homes. Most are about three years old, and all custom designs. The subject home is striking. The garage area is offset at an angle from the main home and really is makes a good impression. Landscaping is beautiful, and from what I can see deer proof, which would be important in this setting.

The interior is painted beautifully. The darker walls offset the bright white trim on Crown mouldings and coffered ceilings. Design is open with a floating stair in the center of the beautiful foyer. I can see the parties in this home being fabulous. What a floor plan for circulation and entertaining! There are floor to ceiling windows in both the family room and kitchen. With the high elevation and walk-out basement, the vista from these rooms is wonderful. If you can afford this home, be prepared to keep a window washing firm on retainer. It may be expensive, but very worthwhile.

With 6 bedrooms and 6 full baths this home has room for everyone. 3 half baths round out the home, with 2 half baths strategically located on the main level.

There are two possible locations to house an au pair or in laws. First one is in the wing above the garage. Second is in the basement. Both locations are out of the way, and would offer plenty of privacy.

This home started on the market at $2.9 million dollars. It has been reduced to $2,324,000 and is worth every penny. The difficulty at this price point is not someone being able to afford this home, it is finding acceptable financing. Most lenders want at least 40% down at this level. That is a lot of cash and can really cull the group that may make an offer.

I saw a whole lot of traffic at the open house this weekend. All of the folks that came through seemed to love the home as I did. Unfortunately for the seller, this is definitely a buyers market. Because of this, I feel this home will sell at $2,100,000 when it finally closes. Hopefully the Relocation company takes the hit, and not the sellers. I am sure they were broken hearted when they had to leave this beauty in Potomac.

Friday, November 7, 2008

10705 Stapleford Hall Road - Kentsdale Estates - $1,899,000

The more homes I see in this community, the more I like the community. It has so much going for it. Superb location, tasteful designs, price stability; all of which adds to the value of the community as a whole. Even with the downturn in the economy, Potomac has not suffered from depreciation to the extent of many surrounding areas.

This home is a center foyer colonial design. Although a bit dated, the home has held up well over the years. The decoration, besides a little bit of out of favor wallpaper, is tasteful and functional.

This home has 5 good size bedrooms. Plenty of space for the family and some very lucky kids. Room sized are generous, and some have baths en suite, and 2 bedrooms share a "Brady Bunch" bathroom (Shared - in between rooms). The bathrooms have not been updated, but are clean, in good condition and can wait a while for renovation should money be tight. The basement is the nicest surprise of all. Recently renovated, there are lots of built ins, a bar, exercise room and a large bedroom and full bath. The room would be great as a party room, with space for a home theater for the Audio Visual nuts out there.

There is a sliding door in the basement leading to a screened porch. A great place for a glass of wine on a warm summer day where you can hide from the mosquito's.

How can this home be spruced up? Generally in good condition, a landscaper can prune some of the shrubbery and power wash the extensive brick paths and porches. This would really make a difference in the home visually, which as we all know, is important. Otherwise, the home is in good condition and shows rather well. I don't think they are going to get the $1,899,000 for this one. I see it going at between $1,525,000 and $1,575,000 when all is done.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Barn Wood Lane - River Oaks Farm - $1,795,000

River Oaks Farm is located only a short walk to Potomac Village. The homes are all nicely kept, with large lawns and tasteful landscapes. The community is well respected and in demand because of its proximity to the village and main roads.

This home is listed as a contemporary. From the exterior, it does not look contemporary, but once you enter, you start to understand. The home was built in 1977 and the interior finishes are showing their age. The foyer is open and somewhat dated. The open stairway has wide white wooden rails going upstairs. The walls are textured plaster. This was probably very Mod and very expensive when the home was built. All I could think of is the expense and mess involved in getting rid of it.

This home was held open and most of the lights were left turned off. I am not sure if it was just an inexperienced agent holding it open, or they were intentionally trying to hide some of the finishes. This home will require extensive renovation for anyone wanting to live in this upscale community.

What is good about this home? This lot is one of the nicest I have seen in Potomac in a long time. Great back yard, nice pool, tennis court and good elevation. I can see folks buying this home at $1,600,000 just to tear it down and take advantage of this wonderful piece of property. In order to sell, this home will have to be reduced quite a bit to lure in a buyer. The basement will have to be thoroughly cleaned, and the carpet should be replaced throughout. I have never seen such wild carpet. Animal prints, psychedelic patterns...very interesting tastes. Someone is going to have to have at least $250,000 in reserves to update this home to keep up with the neighbors in this well to do enclave.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Turning Creek Court - Turning Creek - $619,999

This small community of homes is directly across from the "Heights School" on Falls Road. It is a well kept community, well located and very seldom come on the market.

I was amazed at how large these units are. Although compact, there are 3 good size bedrooms, 2.5 baths and a full finished basement. The kitchen has been tastefully upgraded with granite and stainless appliances and the home is well appointed with pretty colors and nice mouldings throughout.

This home backs up to the Cabin John Regional Park. It has a small yard that is fenced with a adequate slate patio for a table and chairs. The neighborhood is on a terrace well above the park which give you a beautiful and private view into the park. Someone looking for privacy, very little maintenance and location will be pleased.

This is on the market at $619,999. I think it is price right, but it will be tough to find good comps because of the lack of turnover in the community. Because of that, this will probably sell in the $590,000 range. The home shows beautifully so whomever does buy it will do well when the market comes back.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tibron Court - Mass Ave Highlands - $1,649,000

This community is located within walking distance to Potomac Village just off River and Hall Road. The homes are generally in the 1.4 to 2.4 million dollar range, and sell reasonably well because of location, good schools and proximity to the beltway. This home is at the end of a pretty cul-de-sac with nice curb appeal. The homes in this neighborhood were built in the mid 1980's and it seems as though there is always a renovation project underway to bring these homes up to date.

This home show beautifully. The main floor is perfect for entertaining, and the colors and lighting are well done. Someone spent some money on a designer and listened. It looks good. The oak panel office is a beauty. Those that love the arts and crafts look will love the paneling and integrated desk and bookshelves in this large space. Frank Lloyd Wright would give two thumbs up. An outside screen porch and beautiful pool and sports court make the backyard a kids paradise. The basement is finished with a nice bar and corian top. Although it could use an update, it is practical and can wait till the funds are available for a re-do.

The open stairwell is very attractive. Upstairs though is a disappointment. The hallway is dark, and there is a bunch of wasted space at the top of the stairwell. The center hall is long and narrow, dimly lit by wall sconces. All I could think of is SKYLIGHT, SKYLIGHT! A outside light source in this space would make a world of difference in the perception of this property.

I was sad to see that the owners of this property purchased it at the height of the market in 2005 for $1,995,000. They are being realistic at $1,649,000, but the lack of light upstairs is going to turn people off. They stand a shot at getting this sold at $1,595,000. It may take a while though. There are some beautiful homes on the market in this range, and they do not need the fixes that this one does. The location though can't be beat.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bells Mill Road - Pine Knolls - $1,895,000

This home has been on the market for a few years now. A local builder bought these two lots at the corner of Bells Mill and Falls Road in November of 2003. They started this home well before the real estate market turned and are now stuck with it in a difficult market. The corner lot has not been developed yet, and remains filled with construction debris much to the chagrin of the neighbors.

The house itself is not bad looking. It is not quite finished, but the interior is very well appointed. Very beautiful mouldings, lovely floors and high ceilings are striking upon entry. Although the appointments are "mansion like" the interior square footage, especially on the second floor, is not very expansive. The bedrooms upstairs are decent size, but the attached baths are tiny. For the price, this home does not offer much value. The only saving grace in this home is the Master Bedroom and bath. It is very nicely designed. The bathroom has dual sinks, dual commodes and multiple walk-in closets.

To sell this home, the builder needs to take some time to clean up the adjacent lot. It is a mess, with weeds, construction materials and other debris. Why not spend the time and a few dollars to grade and hydro-seed the lot to make it much more attractive. It will be a much better reflection on the home for sale, and will also provide a much more attractive look for the lot which is also for sale.

The builders should invest in some brass house numbers to install above the front door to identify the home. Do you really think someone will consider paying almost two million dollars for a property that has the house number sloppily painted above the entry? Just a thought....

This home will sit on the market for a long time at this price. It is on a busy road next to an eyesore of a lot. If someone was to make an offer, it will be at a few hundred thousand less then list price. To be honest, even at $300,000 less, the home on Nantucket Terrace, just up the street blows this home out of the water. My instincts tell me I will be seeing this home on the market for some time to come.