Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pebble Ridge Court - Horizon Hill - $665,000

Horizon Hill is a nice community on the border of Rockville and Potomac. Built in the mid 1970s, these homes are an assortment of split level and split foyer homes typical of what was hot and affordable in that era. Although the style is no longer the rage, the location and schools are excellent.

This home is on a pretty street just off Wooten Parkway. The home is neat and uncluttered with mostly white walls and light colored tile on the main level. The upstairs is all hardwood, and the master bath has a whirlpool tub. The kitchen is dated, but not obsolete and is centrally located on the main level.

The downside to this home is it has a very small backyard. A retaining wall takes up most of your view, so if you were looking at a nice back yard for the kids and a future swing set, you may be disappointed. If you are an empty nester looking for a great location, limited yard work and a Potomac address, this may be for you. Someone with a little vision and a good color palate could make this house pop. Some chair rail and crown mouldings painted semi-gloss white against a taupe wall would be fabulous.
The price at $665,000 is a bit high. I say this will go for $625,000 when all is said and done.

10800 Nantucket Terrace - Kentsdale Estates - $1,595,000

Every once in a while you walk into a home where it is all done right. The colors are appealing, the furnishings are tasteful and the rooms are arranged in a fashion that reminds you of a model home. In this difficult market, sellers must put their best foot forward to make a good first impression. A home that is marketed before it is cleaned and dressed up is destined to languish on the market, and sell at a price below market.

Nantucket Terrace is part of the Kentsdale Estates community. The neighborhood is less then a mile from Potomac Village, and has the requisite "Good Schools" and convenience factor so prized by the Potomac demographic. This community is a little over 20 years old, and many of the homes are starting to get major renovations. Although the comparables of other sales in this community will not support the $1,595,000 that is being asked, one look at this home will make you forget about the comps.

Cheryl Smith of Staged Interior did a great job in staging this home. Once you see her work, you may want to call her for assistance with getting your home ready for market. You cannot believe the difference this step can make. Kudos too for the owner/agent Richard Jones who truly understands how important it is to put your best foot forward in this market.

This is the first home in a very long time I will give a perfect score. I could not have done a better job on making this home right. Do yourself a favor and go see this one. Do your buyers a favor and take them to see this home. I am sure there is a little wiggle room in the price, and this neighborhood is blue chip. It should settle in the $1.4mm range. Once the other homes really start renovations (Which they will), the improvements made to this home will easily be worth the price.

I have made this home my Potomac Secret Agent Home Of the Month


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Canal Vista - Rivers Edge - $1,595,000

Canal Vista is about 4.5 miles outside Potomac Village. The home is about 20 years old and is nicely appointed.

With 5 bedrooms and 4 full baths, this home has great potential. High ceilings, nice mouldings and good floor plan make this home very attractive. A large deck all across the back of the home is accessible from most rooms on the main level. This would be a super party house with the proper seating and furniture for this large outside area. The basement has beautiful (albeit dirty) maple floors and is finished out with a wet bar and plenty of space for the kids. One of the 5 bedrooms is down on this level along with a full bath.

When you are selling a home in this price range you want to do your best to prepare it well before marketing. This home needs a lot of TLC. The home certainly needs a thorough cleaning. It does not look like it has had a good cleaning since before the last occupants moved out. There are many ceiling lights burnt out in the upstairs hall which need to be replaced to show off the high ceilings and wide mouldings. The outside landscaping has been allowed to overgrow a bit which really takes away from a nice lot on a pretty cul-de-sac. There were some water leaks in a few locations that have caused the drywall to stain and the drywall tape to bubble an pull away from the wall.

This home needs about $5000 of cleaning, minor repair, painting and yard work to make it look nice again. The competition in this $1,500,000 price range is fierce in Potomac. This home does not stand a chance of selling unless it looks like a shiny penny, or the price is brought down to true bargain level. The owners need to take a look at the home on Nantucket Terrace to truly understand their competition. It is no longer high times for real estate; even in Potomac. To sell in a reasonable time, you have to work hard to make a great first impression.

10605 Stapleford Hall - Kentsdale Estates - $2,000,000

Why $2,000,000? Why Not $1,999,999? Silly how the difference of one dollar can make a huge difference in generating traffic. Kentsdale Estates is a fabulous community with a good selection of luxury homes. Most are about 9,000 finished square feet, and the appointments and level of finish is usually high.

This home is nice but worn. The rooms are spacious in the living areas downstairs and it seems the home has good bones. There have been some nice updates in the kitchen consistant with homes in this neighborhood but there are also some problems. There is an unfinished wet bar in a small closet that is in open view adjacent to the kitchen. The wet bar looks out of place and the unfinished cabinetry is an eyesore. The ceilings in the home are all textured, which went out of style many years ago. The open wrought iron rails on the WIDE staircases are actually back in vogue. The home has a nice flow once you get the hang of it.

There is nothing wrong with this home that some money and time cannot take care of. The price is out of whack too. It is at least $200,000 overpriced in its present condition. The owners should consider some minor work to make this home show better.

First, fix the wet bar in the kitchen area. A simple cabinet front hiding the sink will be fine for now. Replace or steam clean the carpet going to the basement. Obviously the home has boys and the dirt trail on the carpet going downstairs to the weight room is pretty pronounced. Speaking of the weight room, how about a something to mask the odor from the weight mats and sweat.

Unfortunately, this home is "Subject to 3rd party approval" for all contracts submitted. Usually this means a short sale, which are very difficult to work with. If you like the floor plan and location, I would say wait this one out. You may be able to get it for $1,6000,000 later this year at the courthouse steps.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

SOLD - 10425 Glen Road - Glen Mill Village - $999,000

Glen Road always elicits a sense of "Old Money" for me. There are some beautiful homes on Glen Road. As you travel Glen from Falls Road, the road narrows and the trees canopy your travels. Lots of curves and no shoulders, so don't be traveling this road after a happy hour.

This home was built in the 1890's. A typical victorian style of the era, it has been lovingly restored and brought up to date. The kitchen and baths have been redone and the outside landscaping is beautiful. This home was obviously owned by someone with a green thumb and lots of time in the garden.

The home is on a bit less then an acre. Although the lot slopes down from the road, the backyard is flat and well laid out. This would be great for kids or dogs (Did I say that?), and the home has a built in playstructure as part of a multi level deck in the back. Some time and money was spent in the back, and it would be well suited for those who like to live in the outdoor space.

An addition has been added to the home on the lower level. It looks like it was used as a family area or home theatre. The room soars 2 stories with windows and light galore. There is an exit to a sitting area outside and lots of hardscaping. For a homeowner that loves the outdoors, this may be a great fit.

This home needs some paint on the inside. Some of the upstairs bedrooms are painted in garish colors. Why someone would leave the home without painting them is a mystery to me. Also, the home obviously has some extensive wiring for Home Theatre and stereo. I am an audiophile, and could not find where the wires lead to. The prewiring could be a real asset if there was a sign or some explanation as to what they were, and where they lead. Currently, there are wires coming out of the wall in 3 rooms, all of which will intimidate a potential buyer.

This is a nice home, and after being reduced to $999,000 is reasonably priced. In a locale where lots can go for a million dollars, this seems to be in the right neighborhood. The 3 car garage is nice, it is insulated and plumbed for a half bath. There is also a large prep sink and laundry facilities in the garage. It looks as though there could have been a home catering business at some point in this spot. I think this home sells for $940,000 once settled. It may take some time to find the right person to buy it. Older victorians with small rooms in the Potomac area are not in high demand.

Falls Bridge Lane - Heritage Farm - $1,049,000

This home is located in one of my favorite neighborhoods in Potomac. May not be the most glamorous, but it is modest, family friendly and in a great location.

There are 3 models in this community that were built around 1971. This is one of the smaller models, but nicely laid out. There has been a good amount of renovation, with the kitchen and the baths re-done in the past few years. The home has a finished basement as well. Laundry facilities and storage galore in a large section of the basement that can double as a butlers pantry during a party.

The home shows well, with nice colors throughout. The kitchen has maple cabinets and tile floor. They did not go with granite counters, staying with a Corian top. This was the only mistake they made in the kitchen redo. They saved $1000, but the granite would have showed sooo much better.

There are not many things to complain about with this home. There has been a leak in the upstairs bathroom that came through the ceiling in the powder room downstairs. They did a great job tiling the powder room, it is a shame to sully such a nice bath with a stained ceiling. The landscaping in the backyard should be trimmed back. At some point there were flagstone paths installed, and since then the bushes have become overgrown. A landscaper can make this look lots better in an hour or so at little expense. There is a mix of doors in this home. Although not a big issue, it is certainly noticeable. The closet doors should be switched out to six panel doors to match the rest of the home. There is also a heating vent in front of the back door that is not attached. Someone is going to twist their ankle and file a suit if it is not repaired. The outside paint on the home is badly "alligatored" on the side. Expect to need a paint job, or reside in the near future.

This home is looking for top dollar at $1,049,000. In order to get it, all of these issue should be addressed. It is a decent value at a million, and without the work, I expect it will go in the $975,000 range. Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Iron Gate Road - Camotop - $5,950,000

This is a gorgeous home. Beautifully crafted, highly appointed, and flawless aesthetically. At $5,950,000, it should be.

This builder has put a great deal of thought into the floor plan and amenities. The lot is beautiful, the location superb and the convenience in being off of Democracy Boulevard is fabulous. At $5,950,000 it should be.

The pool and pool house is a wonderful feature. The full apartment on the lower level for Au Pair or housekeeper is larger then some Montgomery county town homes. (Certainly much better appointed).

Do I have any complaints about this home? Can I make suggestions on how to better market or increase the chances of this selling? I wish I could be catty and say I had some suggestions. The 2 times I toured the home the salesperson was impeccably dressed and extremely knowledgeable about the home and its construction. It is immaculate. Congrats to the agents and builder.

Will it sell for $5,950,000. No. Could it with the right person coming into to see it? Yes.

I think this is a beautiful home for around $5,000,000. It has the appointments and convenience for any busy CEO that needs something close to the D.C. with some Potomac country charms.

This should be on the "Must See" list for all agents wanting to see how a $5,950,000 home should look.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hall Road - Potomac Outside - $1,595,000

This may be one of the better values in Potomac. What? Value at 1.6 million? Read on....

This home is HUGE. From the outside it looks to be normal size. The exterior view is deceiving. Inside it has large rooms, lots of space and BIG potential. Seven Bedrooms and 4 full baths. That is enough for most extended families and even for a big Irish family like mine.

The home seems to be in good condition but needs some polish. There is stained carpet at the bottom of the basement stairs, paint looks old and seems to be generic "egg shell" white. Tres boring.

I will bet that a $7000 paint job with some decent colors will get a $50K return in final sales price. It is hard for me to believe that a homeowner in this price range would not invest the money to make this "Cinderella" the Belle of the Ball.

The master suite has his and her baths. Nice touch. The baths may need some updating, but not much. A small investment will yield big results. Color is what is missing from this one.

Landscaping is nice. Bones of the home seen good. GREAT neighborhood near the village. Located at the end of a dead end street, so you have limited traffic. I would love to own this home....

Without any dressing up, this home will sell for 1.45mm. With some money put into it, it should sell for full price. We are talking a difference of $150K here. My advice? Clear out the furniture. Replace carpet where necessary. Hire a designer to choose some soft neutral colors and paint the place. Paint the crown and trim a bright white semi-gloss and the walls some shade of ecru to make the beautiful mouldings pop.

This one is going to make some new homeowner very happy....and a good investment.

9608 Hall Road - Heritage Farm - $964,500

I am a big fan of the Heritage Farm subdivision in Potomac. Within walking distance to Potomac Village, this beautiful community is the shortest commute from Potomac to anywhere.

The community has great public schools, with Potomac Elementary offering immersion Chinese from grade K through 5. The community also has access to the Potomac Swim and Tennis Club which is 10 minute walk down Logan Drive.

This home is in good shape, on a nice half acre lot. There has not been any renovation done on this home, so you can expect to put about $75,000 into upgrades to bring it up to date.

This has a nice neghborhood, good bones and a nice lot. This is a great home for someone ready to take on the work. I think this one sells for $899,000 when a contract is finally signed.