Saturday, January 31, 2009

1215 Fallsmead Way - Fallsmead - $739,000

Listed By Weichert

Google Map Here

This is one of two homes on Fallsmead Way for sale. I reviewed the home at 1219 Fallsmead on December 12th. I will provide a link at the end of this review.

This is a pretty home. With great curb appeal, the seller has properly prepared this home for sale.

This 4 bedroom 2.5 Bath colonial shows nicely and has an updated kitchen with small breakfast area. The kitchen has a nice delft tile back splash and windows let in plenty of light.

These colonials were built with a large family room and fireplace just beyond the breakfast area. The room only has one entrance which isolates is from the rest of the home. I do not like this feature, but some do like the privacy.

The bedrooms upstairs are all good sized. The hall bath is original, but the master bath has been updated.

All of the homes on this side of the street have the 2 car garage under the home. You drive behind the home to get your car in. This can be awkward, but is consistent in this part of Fallsmead. The basements in these models are small as half of the basement area are allocated to this garage.

The lots on these homes pose a challenge to homeowners. Because of the slope and rear garage retaining walls are a necessity. This home has very nice stone retaining walls in the backyard that work beautifully. This is a nice (and expensive) touch that separates this home from others.

This home entered the market last week priced at $739,000. Immediately the competition 2 doors down matched the price. This home shows better and should sell first. It should sell at $725,000.

See the review on the competition by clicking on the following link: 1219 Fallsmead Way Review.

Friday, January 30, 2009

2416 Stratton Drive - Montgomery Square - $585,000

Listed by Long and Foster / Google Map

Montgomery Woods was built out in the late 1960s.

This 4 bedroom 2.5 bath home is the Cherry Grove model and does not have a garage.

This home shows well and is in good condition. It is owned by an artist or art lover, and the walls are filled with interesting art.

The kitchen has been recently redone. Maple cabinets in a country design with Corian counters. The kitchen is cozy and clean.

The bedrooms upstairs are decent size. The master has an adjoining sitting room that houses a couch and a tv. The baths seem to be original, but in good condition. Eventually refinishing the baths will greatly enhance the livability of the home.

The basement is unfinished. It is clean and dry and houses the laundry and shelved storage.

The yard is well kept and gives the house good curb appeal. The home is built on a knoll and drops off steeply about 15 feet from the back of the home. There are plenty of trees and I am sure the shade is a welcome respite in the D.C. area summers.

This home has been priced well. Although small, it is very reasonably priced for a single family home in Potomac. A slighly smaller home just settled on Chilham Place in the same community for $525,000 after subsidy. The location is much better on this home and should warrant a premium. I see this selling in the $555K range.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

8524 Fox Run - Fox Hills - $749,900

Listed By Long and Foster / Google Map

Fox Run is a lovely street in the Fox Hills development.

This corner lot has great curb appeal. Nicely maintained, this home does not look 40 years old. The inviting full length porch seems like a lovely place for a glass of wine in better weather.

This center foyer colonial will make you feel immediately at home. A generous foyer leads you to a large family room and brick hearth fireplace. The kitchen is adjacent, and has been redone a few years back with new maple cabinets and granite counter tops. No need for updates here.

The upstairs is nicely appointed with adult sized bedrooms and updated baths. The master bedroom is nice size with good storage space.

The basement is finished with a full bath. Although the painted panelling is not to my taste, it is clean and dry and can be redesigned at the whim of the new owners.

The back yard is very nice. Set into a hill, the yard is bulkheaded with nice brick retaining walls. This bulkheading provides privacy and a nice flat yard.

I think this one is priced fairly. Unfortunately that does not mean much in this buyers market. I see this one going to settlement at $730K.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

SOLD - 7859 Heatherton Lane - Inverness Knolls - $545,000

Listed By Llewellyn / Google Map

Inverness Knolls is a community of town homes adjacent to the Cabin John Shopping Center off Seven Locks Road.

In this market it is nice to see a home that has been thoroughly prepared for the market before listing.

This is a nice 3 bedroom 2 full bath town home in good condition. The home shows beautifully. Hardwood floors look great, the kitchen has been nicely upgraded and there are some nice built-in cabinets in the Dining room that look great. The basement is finished with new carpet and features a half bath and fireplace. There is also a walkout to the yard which keeps the room bright.

This home is the most expensive currently in the neighborhood. It is also in the best condition, ready to move in. This will probably sell at $525K when all said and done. Kudos to the listing agent and sellers for preparing this home properly before sale.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

8810 Stonehaven Court - Highland Stone - $699,900

Listed by Weichert / Google Map

This is a 4 bedroom 2.5 bath Dutch Colonial in convenient "Highland Stone."

This home was purchased by the current owners at the height of the market in 2006. They paid $670K for this property, and unfortunately it is now worth quite a bit less.

The home does not show well. The yard is a mess, the home was never cleaned after the family moved, and there was never any real updating done to the property. This one will languish on the market for a long time.

I would suggest having a landscaping contractor come in and really clean the yard. Rake, tend the beds and trim bushes and trees. This will make the home look a bit more inviting. Once inside, the home needs to be scrubbed top to bottom. The floors and bathrooms need to be swept and washed to at least make it look presentable.

The price on this one is really not even close to market. I am wondering if the sellers are holding fast to the price because they may now be underwater. This is almost 100K overpriced.

Unless some work is done to have this home looking its best, it would not surprise me to see this sell at $590. Only time will tell.

Monday, January 26, 2009

12849 Huntsman Way - Fox Hills West - $916,000

Listed by Weichert

Google Map Here

This has to be one of the nicest lots I have seen in Fox Hills West.

Located at the end of a cul-de-sac with parkland behind it, this is a great spot to raise a family. Just ask the original owners. They have been there over 39 years.

This model was extended when originally built in the front and back of the home. The rooms are more spacious, the traffic flow fabulous and the square footage tremendous. With 5 bedrooms and 3 full baths, this has plenty of room for a large family. The home seems to go on forever.

Although this is one of the larger homes in Fox Hills West on one of the nicest lots....the home is ALL original. This place has been well maintained, but I do not believe ever renovated. The carpet, wallpaper, kitchen, baths, basement...all need to be updated.

The buyer of this home would be taking on a long term project or spending $100K to get this home up to speed. The major expense will be the kitchen and baths. Wallpaper removal and painting will be costly too. The hardwood seems to be in pretty good shape, it should probably be sanded and refinished.

It may seem like I am picking on this home but I am not. It is a great home. It unfortunately does not show very well.

I have few helpful suggestions that may assist in gaining an offer. The home is filled with "stuff". Much of the personal and decorative item in the home should be packed away. This will help the home to look less cluttered. Secondly, get a estimate for complete wallpaper removal. The paper is old and design is dated. Wallpaper scares the heck out of buyers. If it was not properly installed it can be difficult and costly to remove. Lastly, reduce the price a bit. Although $916K may seem like a magic number, $899K is much more attractive to buyers. Most will be searching at 900K and below.

How much will this home sell for? Hard to tell. This home has potential to be great. It will take money and time to bring it into the 21st century. Any offers made will take into consideration the cost to bring up to date. I see this one going to settlement in the $825K to $850K range.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

10820 Gainsborough Road - Fox Hills - $675,000

Listed By Weichert

Google Map Here

This was one of the original homes built by Pulte in the Fox Hills community of Potomac.

In the 70's this community was one of the more sought after on the Rockville side of Potomac. With 4 Bedrooms and 2.5 baths this was a perfect home for raising a family with kids. The neighborhood is very cohesive with good schools and a great location. The neighborhood has aged gracefully and is still attractive for all of the same reasons.

This home is mostly original. The kitchen has had an update and is certainly functional. The parquet floor in the kitchen has been well maintained but is out of style. The bathrooms are mostly original as is the slate in the foyer.

This home is old with good bones. Although perfectly functional, a buyer could put some money into it and have a very nice home in a great community. Those on a budget can slowly make improvements and get almost all of their money back when the market picks up.

This home is pretty and has nice curb appeal. Although Gainsborough Road has become much busier over the years, this section of Gainsborough is not as heavily travelled as other parts.

This one is priced a bit high at $675K. It will probably need to be below $650K to get a serious look and more realistically will sell in the $635K range.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

8914 Bells Mill Road - Kentsdale Estates - $2,045,000

Beacon Crest Homes

Google Map Here

Kentsdale Estates is an infill development of NEW CONSTRUCTION located on Bells Mill Road between Falls Road and Seven Locks Road in Potomac.

I have been previewing many homes in the $1.5 to $2.2mm this past week for a client that may be relocating from the NYC area. Surprisingly, this range is one of the more competitive in Potomac. Only the best of the best will sell at list price, and those homes that have sold lately are priced right.

This community is located on Bells Mill Road. What was once a sleepy cut through road 20 years ago has become much more heavily used. Widened a few years back, this road carries significant traffic, especially during rush hour in the morning and evening. Weekend traffic is mostly in the morning with families bringing their kids to soccer and football practices at one of the many schools and parks along this road.

Although this home has a Bells Mill Road address, it is actually not directly fronting the road. These homes are on a private cul-de-sac and the lots are far enough off the road that they will not contend with traffic noise.

This home has been a model home for the past year or so. It is beautifully decorated and maintained, and will really impress buyers walking through. With 4 finished levels, elevator, upgrades galore...this home is dressed to impress. With 5 bedrooms and 5 full baths there is plenty of room for family and a Nanny. Two half baths on the main floor are in addition to the other!

This is a pretty house with very nice lines. This is one of the few homes I have seen that is built to Energy Star standards. Supposedly this type of construction will save the homeowner up to 30% on energy costs. This is significant when you think of the expense of heating and cooling a 7,300 square foot home.

This home is lovely and will certainly appraise for the asking price. The builder seems motivated to sell and may have to take a bit of a cut on this home. I see this settling at $1,975,000.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

9540 Purcell Drive - McAuley Park - $2,469,000

Listed By Craftstar Homes

Google Map Here

This area of McAuley park has seen an influx of new construction. The location is fantastic, and it is hard not to like the up to date design and polish of new construction.

This home is built by Craftmark. With 5 large bedrooms and 6.5 baths, there is plenty of room for the family and domestic help. The design is open, bright and beautifully finished. It is hard not to like what you see.

The home is built into a hill which gives it great curb appeal. It looks HUGE, towering over the cul-de-sac. There are 2 fights of stairs going up to the stately entry in addition to a non-staired entry next to the garage. For those that have difficulty with stairs, there is an elevator that serves the 4 levels.

The foyer is bright, nicely appointed with shiny light oak floors throughout. The main foyer looks through the house to the backyard, a nice architectural feature. There are 2 gas fireplaces on the first floor with a VIKING appointed kitchen. This is a very nice floor plan.

In order to bring in the light, there are windows everywhere. There are 2 rooms that have full windows on 3 sides of the room. I call this the fishbowl effect. It looks great when the house is empty, and can sometimes cause problems when looking to place furniture. How are you supposed to feel comfortable lounging around in your pajamas at night when everyone can see in?

The upstairs has Five bedrooms. Four are on the second level and one is on the third level. The master is well appointed with an especially nice shower. The other bedrooms are large and will fit even the bulkiest of bedroom sets.

The basement is perfectly set up for a home theatre. 12+ foot ceilings allow plenty of room for a large wall screen. Space for in-wall speakers give great potential for those Videophiles. A full wet bar will tend the largest parties, and leaves plenty of room for the popcorn machine.

Although a beautiful home, this is a very competitive price range. There are better values to be had in the neighborhood in this challenging market. This will appeal to the person that wants new construction, but they will pay a premium to realize their dream. This competes with homes in the $2mm range. I see this selling at a 15% discount to list price once sold.

Monday, January 19, 2009

11804 Centurion Way - Palatine - $4,900,000

Listed by WFP

Google Map Here

Palatine is a community of estate homes approximately 4 miles from Potomac Village.

To give you the scale of this home, I had to venture half way up the neighbors driveway to get the entire home in frame while taking this photo.

This is a mansion in the truest sense of the word. With 5 large bedrooms upstairs plus an entire wing dedicated to the Master Suite this is LARGE. In addition, a servant apartment with separate entrance on the 2nd floor would be the envy of many condo owners. An additional large bedroom suite with full bath is in the basement for the au-pair. Total of eight bedrooms and 8 full baths. WOW!.

This is a builders personal residence. There has been no expense spared with mouldings and interior finish. The beautiful 2 story foyer has picture framed mouldings to the 3 story ceiling. The floors are exquisite and varied. Marble tile, hardwood, slate....a material for every taste. The transition between rooms is seamless. He used the flooring material as an accent to lend a flavor and feel to each room.

I could go on about this home at length. It is very well built. The only critique I have is the large open space in the basement should be furnished. Even if it is a staged, it will give a better feel on how the large space may be used. A wine cellar should also be an option in this type of home. There is plenty of room, and anyone spending this amount of money see this as a standard feature. The kitchen should be detailed. Counters cleared, floors cleaned and buffed and a shine put on any stainless. A home of this size needs to be spotless. There is only one opportunity to make a first impression.

This is a beautiful home that is reasonably priced on a square foot basis. The question is, do people want this much space? I think it is priced a bit high and will settle in the mid 4 million range.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

11516 Morning Ride Drive - Merry Go Round Farms - $1,895,000

Listed By Long and Foster

Google Map Here

It is hard to believe that Merry Go Round Farm is almost 10 years old. This is a lovely community of custom homes located off River Road in Potomac. This community seems like is way out in the country...yet just 7.5 miles from the beltway.

This home is located on a nice corner lot off the main road into the community. Purposely understated, this farmhouse design is pretty with nice lines. The gravel drive and flagstone path set the scene to the space inside.

The wide open porch provides plenty of space for chairs and shelter from the elements. The stone and wood lend an organic look to this home which is warm and a bit rustic.

The entry is dramatic. The front door opens to a view of a 2 story family room and fireplace. Lots of windows and light show off the family room and breakfast area. The kitchen is nicely done and is perfectly sized for the space. Granite and high end appliances are at home in the space as will the home chef that loves to cook.

The Master Bedroom is on the first floor which will be attractive to empty nesters. Although not large, it has nice space and a decent sized office or sitting area off the main room. A full bath completes the space and is modest in size and finish.

Up an open stairway you land on along open balcony that stretches all along the family room below. The railing in this space is open and covered with wire mesh. This feature really opens up the balcony space and adds greatly to the spacious feel. The bedrooms are adequate sized. One bedroom has a full bath en-suite and the other shares a "buddy bath".

The basement is mostly finished with high ceilings. There is a fireplace with an unusual unfinished cinder block wall. This seems out of place in this otherwise comfortable space. There is a bedroom and full bath in the basement which is usual in homes in this price range. There is an additional unfinished room in the basement that is being used as an exercise area and additional storage space at the garage end of the basement.

This is a nice home with a rustic farmhouse feel. It is not a small home, but one of the smallest in this community. It is not unusual to see homes here up to $3.5mm, especially those with river views. For someone that likes the neighborhood and is looking to downsize, this may be just the ticket. The home has the feel of a country home, and would also be a great second home for some of the Washington, DC elite. The home is priced right, but may take a while to sell.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

9115 Fox Meadow Lane - Bradley Farms - $3,950,000

Listed By WC & AN Miller

Google Map Here

This home can be a case study on the value of "LOCATION" in real estate. This home is located on one of the most beautiful streets in Potomac.

When I moved to Potomac 25 years ago, I worked for a local Real Estate Broker that lived about a mile from this Bradley Farms enclave. He drove me through the community and described it as his favorite group of homes in Potomac. He made a believer out of me that day. It is still a favorite for me.

Over the years the community has evolved with the rest of Potomac. New homes have been built and old ones remodeled. What has remained consistent is the cache and reputation of the neighborhood. One home is nicer then the next.

This home on Fox Meadow is lovely. It is of understated design and quality build. Some would say it is "Old Money" design. While so many homes in Potomac are built to show off their money, this one is comfortable in its own skin. The designer had nothing to prove. After all, the lot IS in Bradley Farms.

This home has the feel of a farmhouse. Although every detail is exquisite, each room is comfortable and almost cozy. All of the public rooms are beautifully decorated and perfectly sized. The kitchen is recently re-done and will satisfy the most critical of cooks.

The upstairs has 4bedrooms and 3 full baths. The rooms all are good sized and have great closet space. The windows provide plenty of light and the hardwood floors gleam.

The master suite is not too large, although it is plenty big. This may not make sense until you see the space. It is perfectly proportioned. There is also a large family room upstairs for the kids. Very comfortable and spacious, I am envious of the space and wish I had half of this room in my home.

The basement is fully finished with space for an au-pair or domestic. The only downside to the space is low ceilings which make the basemet feel a bit smaller then it actually is.

The Lot is 3.83 acres and the home is beautifully sited at the high point on the lot. The pool is fenced with a concrete surround with plenty of space to lounge or entertain.

The home has a 2 car garage, but also has a separate garage building with 3 car bays. Upstairs is an additional 3 bedroom and 2 bath apartment with plenty of additional living space.

Is this home worth 3.95mm? Maybe the home is not, but on this lot and in this neighborhood it is. The fascinating fact is that this home is probably one of the smaller and more understated homes in this community. If you or anyone you know is looking in this price range, this is a "must see".

Friday, January 16, 2009

9504 Hemswell Place - McAuley Park - $1,789,000

Listed by Long and Foster

Google Map Here

McAuley Park is a large neighborhood of upscale homes that borders Bethesda.

It's close in location, and well kept homes make this a very popular destination for those looking for homes in the $1.5 to $2.5mm price range.

Someone once described the McAuley Park community as "Neat as a Pin". In retrospect it was a very apt description. The neighborhood is nicely kept with beautiful homes and manicured lawns. This community has remained ever-popular because of the highly rated schools and its close proximity to D.C., Virginia and transportation.

This home is lovely. About 12 years old and just hitting its stride, this .82 acre lot sits at the end of a culdesac. There are mature trees and the landscaping has had time to mature and develop some character of its own. The brick front on the home has coined details which add interest to the look of the home. None of this comes cheap, and the home certainly looks like quality work.

The foyer of this home is probably its best design feature. Wide open and spacious, the cathedral space makes the home seem huge. A dramatic stair leads you up to a large upstairs open hall. The decor and paint is beautiful. The owners spent some time and money to apply a faux finish in the foyer and dining area. While often these finishes can be overdone, in this case the work was of good quality and the design works wonderfully.

The 5 bedrooms upstairs are all of good size. The master suite would satisfy even the most critical of home buyers and the 4 additional bedrooms are all large enough for even the most spoiled of children. While the paint in a few of the rooms is a bit bright, it will certainly appeal to the kids. Having 2 tween girls, I know.

The basement has a bedroom for an au-pair, a large TV and recreation area and a walk out to the yard. Plenty of light, this space is large enough for any family.

This is a beautiful home that should be on the list of anyone in the sub $2mm market. It shows beautifully, and would satisfy Mom, Dad and kids (A rare feat). Although the home is certainly worth the asking price, in this difficult market it may settle at 5% less.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

SOLD - 10959 Deborah Drive - Inverness Forest Towns - $495,000

Listed by Long and Foster

Google Map Here

Sold on 2/27 for $495,000 (With $7,500 Subsidy)

These surprisingly spacious homes are tucked away in a lovely enclave off Deborah Drive in Potomac.

Whenever you see a new listing in Potomac for under $500,000 you wonder what you may be getting. Sometimes it is a bank-owned property that is in horrible shape. Although the price of a bank-owned property MAY be below $500K, you would need $150K to bring it back into shape.

I was encouraged when I saw this property come on the market this week. A home in this price range is rare in Potomac and a reason to reach out to first time buyers that are hoping to find premiere schools. There are no lack of buyers that are looking to stretch their budgets to live in the 20854 zip code. Potomac, at under an easy sale.

These townhomes from the outside were pretty, but also looked a bit dated. When you see a community that was built in the early 70's you are sometime in for a psychedelic experience. Loud wallpaper, avocado and harvest gold appliances, old shag never know what you may get. When I arrived at this home I was instantly intrigued and anxious to see what was in store.

This is an end unit townhome with a beautifully groomed garden on the side of the home. The stairs to the side entrance were field stone, and ivy decorated the wall next to the front door. So far, so good. The entry brings you into a foyer with ceramic tile. Possibly original, it was interesting, and may even be back in style. The tile upon entry was the last vestige of the 1970's I would see.

This is a lovely home. While compact, it is by no means small. 3 levels of living space surprise you at every turn. The main level has a recently remodeled kitchen, a light and spacious living room, and access to an outdoor deck that wraps around the 2nd floor of the home. The views from the side of the home overlook the garden and woods. A surprising idyllic setting for a home in this price range.

The top floor has 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths. The master suite is larger then you would expect with a small sitting area off of the main bedroom space. A full bath in the master is fitted with black fixtures which somehow work well from a design standpoint. It looks modern and has been kept in good condition. Very hip and retro. The hall bath is pink, a bit dated but works. The 2 additional upstairs bedrooms are adequate size. One is more practical then the other. The smallest bedroom would be better suited as an office.

The basement is a fully finished space with direct walkout to the exterior. The slate patio and garden are accessible from here, and makes this space very attractive. This is the best spot for the TV, and leaves plenty of space to relax after a long day.

This home is a fantastic value. Kudos to the agent that listed this home for pricing it correctly and providing an environment to receive multiple offers. I don't see this one lasting on the market for more then a week, and I would expect to see it sell for close to full price and potentially more.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

12038 Coldstream Drive - Beverly Farms - $1,100,000

Listed by ReMax

Hmmm....Ever see a home that seems out of place? This home is a renovation located in the Beverly Farms subdivision off Falls Road. This is a split level originally built in 1966 and renovated top to bottom in 2008.

This neighborhood is a nice one. Not many homes turn over in the community. I credit the schools and neighbors for the cohesiveness. Split levels generally sell in the $700K range when they are available.

This home is at the end of a culdesac backing to Falls Road. The lot is a bit over a half acre, and rises toward the back. Falls Road is directly behind the property and the noise from traffic is loud from the outside. Once inside the new windows and insulation keep the traffic noise out.

The foyer in this home soars 2 levels and is a nice feature. New hardwood floor with cherry stain are also a nice touch. The kitchen in this home is immediately on your right side. This may not be for those who do not keep their kitchen spotless. Nothing you can do to keep the mess out of view.

The kitchen has been nicely done with dark cabinets and ceramic floor tile. The appliances are Sears Elite...for this money they should have gone with a higher end name. The kitchen leads to a dining room along the back of the home. The room is huge. The way the dining room light is centered, you could fit a banquet table of 20 people.

The living room is a step down to the left. The living room is sort of narrow, but should serve its purpose. The Family room is another 3 steps down on the left side of the home. A nice Large room with fireplace and wet bar. This is the nicest room in the home. The lower basement is completely finished and carpeted. The smell is a bit musty, and a humidifier running full speed leads me to believe this area is damp.

The home has 2 master bedrooms. One on upper level one, and another on the top level. The room sizes are good, and the level of finish is decent as well.

This home is an over improvement for the neighborhood. A split level with a one car garage will not fetch $1.1mm in this area. The Mediterranean finish on the exterior of this home is also out of place and will be pleasing to a small percentage of the market. The final nail in the coffin is it's proximity to Falls Road. Although I feel bad for the seller, they will have a difficult time selling at this price.

I see this home selling in the low to mid $900K range.

Monday, January 12, 2009

SOLD - 934 Willowleaf Way - Orchard Ridge - $775,000

Listed By Weichert

SOLD on 2/27 for $775,000

This home is in the Orchard Ridge subdivision located jut off Wootton Parkway in Potomac.

This beauty has 4 bedrooms and 2 bath on the upper level and an additional 2 bedrooms and full bath in the basement. All of the space has been recently renovated and will please the most critical of buyers.

The kitchen is fabulous Completely remodeled, the owner did a great job in choosing high end cabinets and appliances. Granite counters perfectly match the cabinets and will be coveted by all that visit. A six burner gas stove finishes off the space and will be a fabulous tool for the serious home cook.

The Family room is located in the rear-center of the house. A step down to this area really defines the space. There are two sets of French doors that flank the fireplace that give great access to the deck. This would be a fine house to entertain. The traffic flow in this home is wonderful.

The floors are all light hardwood and look almost new. Good quality carpet seems new throughout the house, including the basement. The home has been recently painted, the only gripe is the painter only did a mediocre job. This small gripe will only be noticed by the most anal retentive of consumers. Other then this small complaint, this house is a stunner.

For the wine lovers out there this home as a separate room in the basement for wine. There is "Diamond" racking in this room for about 2000 bottles of wine. A small air conditioner keeps the space cool in the summer. The winter temperatures and basement location should not require 12 month conditioning. This was obviously the cellar of a true wine lover. Not super expensive, but efficiently done. The money is better spent on quality wine, right?

I think this home is priced right. The comps support the value, and the home is in fantastic shape. This is a good example of a seller doing he prep work FIRST before putting your home on the market. The seller should reap the rewards of a quick sale at full price.

This home has earned the Potomac Secret Agent "VALUE OF THE WEEK"

Saturday, January 10, 2009

10609 Alloway Drive - Potomac Ranch - 3,295,000

Listed by WFP

Every once in a while even a real estate professional can be WOW'ed by a property. This property and home in close-in Potomac is a stunner!

The community of Potomac Ranch is on the south side of Falls Road about a mile from the Potomac Village center. It is a lovely community with spectacular homes and estates. This two acre lot is manicured from front to back and will impress even the most critical of agents.

The driveway is done with pavers and extends from the street over a small bridge (a creek traverses the property) to a circular drive. The pavers extend all the way around to the three car garage that you may share with deer (as I did) when you visit.

The grounds are obviously professionally maintained. There are beds galore and specimen trees and shrubs that would satisfy anyone with a green thumb. The entire 2 acres is manicured. It is not often you see this level of yard maintenance in Potomac.

The custom iron and glass double doors bring you into a foyer with cathedral ceilings. Immediately you notice the level of finish in this home. It is stunning. Filled with French inspired design the art and furnishings blend beautifully with the architecture. I felt like I was on a movie set. Not one thing was out of place. Everything seemed to fit within the space provided....kudos to the homeowner and interior designer.

When you see a house of this calibre, it is difficult to review it without sounding saccharine. The main level of this home is as close to perfect as I have seen in a long time. My favorite room is on the Right side of the home and is used as the family room. An entire wall of built-in cabinets house a large TV and home theater. The built-ins are like fine furniture. They blend into the room so well that you admire the engineering and design. Windows surround you on three sides in this room bathing the room in natural light that peeks in from the treed yard. FANTASTIC!

The 5 bedrooms upstairs are all wonderful. Plenty large, two of the bedrooms are en-suite and two share a bath. The master is decorated in French style and will not be to everyones taste. With that said, everyone will be amazed at the level of detail in the custom cabinetry and built-ins. Not one detail was overlooked.

The basement is filled with built in storage. It has a Nanny Suite complete with full bath. A large community room is comfortable and spacious. A wine room complete with fireplace and wine cellar would make any oenophile envious. A cozy room and fireplace with comfortable chairs in close proximity to your favorite aged Bordeaux? WOW, that is a wine lovers dream.

At $3.29 million this home is priced right. Some may consider this a bargain. Any buyers in this price range that view this home will love it. If they are into French Country design it is a slam dunk. This will be the first to go in the Spring market. See it now before it sells. It is not often a home this pretty comes on the market.

Friday, January 9, 2009

13 Lawngate Court - Saddebrook - $569,900

Listed By Long and Foster

Saddlebrook is a community built in the early 1970's. Predominantly modest single family homes, this community has held up well.

When Saddlebrook was built, Interstate 270 was a 2 lane offshoot of the Washington Beltway. Now, I-270 is a major thoroughfare - 6 lanes in some spots. The noise from the highway is certainly a factor in this area. Although this home is on a cul-de-sac, it is adjacent to I-270 and the noise it generates. Any buyers will weigh this factor when making an offer

For a home of the '70's era, it has been kept in pretty good shape. With 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths the home flows well, and has good sized rooms on the main level. The kitchen has a convenient pass through to the dining room and makes the smaller galley style kitchen seem bigger.

Upstairs there are 3 decent sized bedrooms that share a full bath. The baths are original but functional. Someone may want to bring them up to date at some point in the future. The master bedroom is decent sized, and has an attached master bath. Small but functional, this bath also needs to be brought up to date.

The basement is finished and has a direct entry to the one car garage. The basement also has a room being used as a bedroom of decent size.

This home is a good value for the money. I think the list price reflects the homes proximity to I-270 and is inexpensive for the Potomac address. The schools feed into the Wootton school cluster and will be attractive to many potential buyers for that reason. I see this one selling in the $550K area reasonably quickly.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fox Hunt Lane - Potomac Outside - $1,150,000

Listed By WFP

What a nice piece of properly! This home is walking distance to Potomac Village, backing to multi-million dollar properties on a level 2 acre lot.

This split level was built in the late 50's and never truly updated. The original kitchen, baths and tile make this home a blast from the past. There were probably some great parties here over the years. The pool would be a great setting during the hot D.C. summers when homes did not have air conditioning.

It is really not worth saying too much about this home, as the value of this property is in the land. One block off River Road the home is surrounded by much larger properties. Its proximity to the village makes it an attractive knock down and the 2 acre lot would allow a larger home or McMansion. The only problem is the economy. Developers are finding it difficult to find the construction and development money for the upper bracket properties.

This home would be a great value for someone at $1,000,000. The lot could easily support a much larger home and as an owner occupied property, construction money is more easily available.

I see this one selling at between 1mm and $1,050,000.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Canal Vista Court - Rivers Edge - $1,799,000

Listed by Maryland Home Realty

The name Canal Vista says it all. This 20 year old custom home has a birds eye view of the canal and Potomac River.

A few months ago I reviewed another home on Canal Vista Court. I like the community, and this court within the River Edge community has great charm. The homes here are in the $1.5mm to $2.5mm range and all sit on lots of at least one acre.

This home is at the end of a private driveway just before the end of Canal Vista Court. The 6 homes on this private drive are all custom homes and very well maintained. The homes are all perched at the most advantageous point on the lot to get the most out of the river and canal views. The lot for this property is anything but flat. In any other review I would list this as a disadvantage. In this case the home was engineered to get the most out of the lot providing spectacular views and innovative design.

The home is all brick and seems somewhat traditional from the exterior. The garage is two stories and is connected by an exterior "breezeway". A three car garage fills the lower half of the structure and the upper floor has a guest suite providing complete privacy for those that visit. The connection between the two structures is covered to allow you to go back and forth out of the weather and was a very nice touch from a design standpoint.

The main house is more modern then traditional. The expansive open space in the foyer and main level provide drama and will thrill those that like contemporary design. While the home shows beautifully, the potential for someone with design skills is tremendous. I can envision this space in a House Beautiful layout with the proper paint and furnishing.

Windows and light are the real story in this home. Everywhere you turn is a vista to the outside. The dramatic staircase in the main foyer to the upper level is a focal point on entry. You turn right to see a step down living room and fireplace with soaring ceilings. A large dining area is in the center of the home with the kitchen and family room in the rear to take advantage of the views from the back of the home. The kitchen is not huge, but more then adequate. For a 20 year old home the space has aged well and would not need any work.

The upper level has 2 modest bedrooms and a stunning master suite. The bedrooms are small compared with other homes in this price range, but space was cut in these 2 bedrooms to allocate more space where it counted; the master suite. The master bedroom is more like an eagle perch providing fabulous views of the trees and canal. The master bath has large windows and a "step up" platform to an open shower stall which would have to feel like you are showering "au-natural". What a nice touch!

The basement has very high ceilings providing drama to the space. Lots of light on the back end of the basement make you feel like you are above ground. A nanny or housekeeper suite in the corner of the basement has views that would make other Nannies jealous. Additional rooms in the back of the basement space provide a home for exercise equipment and another for a wine cellar if the new owner has a need. There is no lack of space in this home.

This home started on the market six months ago at $1.95mm. At the current price of $1.79 it is still priced a bit high. Someone with the right personality that sees this home may be happy to snap it up at this price. With the market in a funk and Jumbo mortgages still expensive (7.125%), it is going to limit the borrowers able to purchase in this range. I would advise a power wash and a good interior cleaning to make this gem shine. Anyone looking for views should be sure to put this home on their short list.

There is a great virtual tour of this property that can be reached via the following link: .

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

SOLD - Tanager Court - Glen Mill Knolls - $845,900

SOLD on 3/3 at $827,000

This home is a foreclosed property and needs a lot of work. Close to $200,000 below other properties in the area, it is generating a lot of interest. When you get to see the property close up, you understand why the price is so low.

The original home was built in 1976. It was at one time a beautiful home with 4 bedrooms and 3.5 baths sitting high upon a two acre lot. Over the years some improvements have been made. Some of them made sense, others seemed cheaply done and has taken away from the value of the property.

The problem with foreclosed property is they remain vacant for long periods of time. This property has been vandalized during this time. A professional stove has been taken from the kitchen, many shrubs have been dug out and taken away and some valuable specimen trees have disappeared.

As you go through the home you realize that even with a price $200K below market, his home is not necessarily a value. It really needs to be completely gutted and redone.

With that said, there is opportunity here. A good neighborhood, a Potomac address and 2 acre lot are attractive. A contractor that can afford to live here while performing the work could ultimately do well. Sweat equity would allow this home to be completed for a reasonable amount of money over time.

Currently, this home will need $100K in work to make it somewhat livable. I see this home selling for $100K below its list price. At that price point it will be worthwhile for someone to do the work and take on this large project. I think the lender that currently owns the home should be tickled to death to get the offer. I will revisit this home over the next few months.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

SOLD - Wetherfield Lane - Lake Potomac - $1,195,000

Settled for $1,070,000 on 2-19

Listed By Long and Foster

The picture I took for this posting really does not do this home justice. It is much larger then it looks and sits on a beautiful two acre lot.

This home is perfectly sited and looks the way an "estate home" is supposed to look. The lot is flat with broad lawn with pretty neighboring homes. What is not to like?

The dramatic 2 story foyer sets the stage in this home. With plenty of light and neutral colors, this home is inviting and comfortable.

The kitchen adjoins the family room along the back of the home. Windows along the back wall allow you to see the expansive back yard while having breakfast. The kitchen has 42" cabinetry, and is in good condition. At some point in time a killer kitchen can replace this adequate one. For now, the space works just fine.

The master bedroom is in the wing adjacent to the family room. It is large and bright and features a large loft area open to the bedroom below. This can be a office, sitting area or can be walled off to attain more privacy. The other bedrooms in the home are good size too. A buddy bath adjoins two of the bedrooms, and an additional full bath serves the third.

The basement is fully finished and has a bedroom area that would be perfect for an nanny or au-pair. With older kids, be prepared for a fight to see who gets the room downstairs.

There is pre-wiring in a large theatre area for stereo and TV. Speakers are already in the wall, and you only have to connect your equipment to be up and running.

This is a nice home and is priced right. The only concern I have is a neighboring home is listed as a short sale at around one million dollars. While not on a lot nearly as nice, this may affect values in the neighborhood for a short time. If you could get this home for 1.1mm it would be a value.

Friday, January 2, 2009

6 Travilah Terrace - Darnstown Outside - $1,099,999

Listed by ReMax

This is a large contemporary home in Potomac near the intersection of River and Travilah Roads.

When you drive into this small community you can see the home sitting up on a knoll on the left side of the street. The 2 acre lot is pretty and the home looks huge. It is a long house with some great modern windows and architectural features.

When you enter the foyer of the home you immediately realize that the first impression of size was decieving. The home is long and very narrow. In some spots only one room deep.

There are some dramatic elements to this home. Anyone with a love of contemporary design will find it interesting. They will ultimately have to weigh its practicality when determining its value.

It is certainly worth seeing if you are a fan of modern design. Lots of step ups and step downs define the spaces without the need for formal walls. The master bedroom is a whole wing of the home and features a loft and fireplace. The other 4 bedrooms are all decent size and are strung across the front of the home.

The finish level in this home is not what I would expect from a Million plus listing. Some of the materials and craftmanship seem to be "builder grade" and you don't get a feeling that this is built to custom home specifications.

Currently this home is bank owned. Suntrust is requiring the potential purchaser get "pre-approved" with them before negotiating. This does not mean that it is mandatory to use them, just qualify with them. This step assures the bank that the potential purchaser is qualifed and has the ability to buy.

While this home will not be to everyones taste, it will be super attractive to some. I think the list price has lots of room for negotiation. I wouldn't be surprised to see this one go at just above a million.