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.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

SOLD - 8817 Harness Trail - Fox Hills - $775,000

SOLD for $729,000 on 12-23

It is hard to believe this community is 38 years old. The homes are pretty and well maintained. This size home tends to be a move up home for parents with kids that outgrow their first digs. The public schools are fabulous and this community is always on the must see list for these move up buyers.

This home shows well. The sellers put some time and money into this home to get it ready for market. The hardwood floors have been completely redone, and the carpet in the basement is fairly new. The kitchen redo is adequate. I would have been a bit bolder with the color and design, but who am I to judge.

This home has competition at the $775,000 price point. For the money, folks should look at the new listing on Bettstrail Way in Falls Bend. Although a bit further away from the village, this home makes a much better appearance for dollar spent. Be sure to have this one on the list if you are looking in this range.

This home is in a great community and it does show well. $775,000 is a bit high. This will sell at around $735,000, and it may take a little while before the right person comes along to fall in love with it.

SOLD - 1107 Bettstrail Way - Falls Bend - $785,000

Falls Bend is located at Falls Road and I-270 on the Potomac and Rockville border. It is a very nice community built in the early 80's and the community has aged gracefully. The homes for the most part are well kept, and the neighborhood is tightly knit.

This is a pretty split level with nice curb appeal. A 3 level split, it has 4BR and 2.5 baths on the main levels with an additional bedroom and bath in the finished basement. Although the bedrooms are not large, they are adequately sized especially for the kids.

This home has been recently updated in the past few years, and tastefully so. Not overdone, but wisely chosen, the upgrades in the kitchen go a long way to bring this home up to date. Granite, updated appliances and tasteful paint make this room comfortable to spend time in. You can also pop out on the screened deck in the back to lounge mosquito free while enjoying a cocktail.

Is the price right at $785,000? If it is high, it is not by much. When compared to other homes in the area with similar attributes, this one comes out on top. I say this one goes at $770,000.