Saturday, February 28, 2009

10401 Garden Way - Williamsburg Gardens - $1,135,000

Listed by Long and Foster

Google Map Here

This is a lovely community about a third of a mile from the Village. This large (1.25ac) lot will attract both home buyers and builders looking for land to build a larger home.

I love the location of this home. With easy access to the village, the beltway and McArthur Boulevard, it is a commuters dream. The community has access to a small park around the corner, a lively swim and tennis club within a few blocks and Great Falls a bit over a mile away.

The home seems to be in decent shape for a 1965 build. It has decent curb appeal. The home sits back on this large lot with an expansive front yard. The home has been recently painted - albeit all beige including trim. It looks a bit washed out without any contrasting trim or Shutter color. This is easily solved with a bit of paint in the spring.

The foyer is tiled in a brown color. Most of the other rooms are hardwood. The kitchen has been updated, and looks very nice. Pickled oak makes me think that it is about 10 years old. There is a nice bright "garden room" in the area between the 2 car garage and house. Although unheated, it seems like a great spot to read the paper and enjoy your coffee in the morning.

The upstairs has four good sized bedrooms and 2 full baths. There is an additional bedroom and full bath in the basement. A large recreation room and exterior exit provides plenty of space for entertaining.

The value of this property has a lot to do with the lot size. The home, although in good condition, will need some updating. The home has been well prepared for sale, without clutter and is squeaky clean. This would get more traffic below $1.1mm. This should sell between $1,075,000 to $1.1mm when all is said and done.

Are you interested in Chevy Chase homes?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

9621 Falls Road - Potomac Outside - $735,000

Google Map Here

Just about a third of a mile from the village, this darling cape cod is going to steal someone's heart. Although small, this home is a perfect refuge for a buyer more concerned about location then square footage.

This beautifully maintained and upgraded cape cod is a must see. Beautifully renovated, and tastefully decorated, it will please the most critical of buyers. It is small and only has one bath, but if you can get around this fact, this home is a winner.

You enter the front door and have a view of the entire home. Living room right, dining room left, kitchen back left, screened porch back right. The home is beautifully furnished and decorated. Colors are fabulous, finishes are high and the "comfy" factor is off the charts.

The kitchen is completely modern. White cabinetry, beautiful granite and a nice flow make this kitchen beautiful and functional. It is only a few steps to the serving area and the open shelving in the kitchen is a great place for cookbooks and prized china pieces.

The stairway up is filled with light. A large oblong picture window brings the outside in, and bathes the area with light. Someone with vision designed this feature. The bedrooms upstairs are small, but comfortable. The hall bath serves both rooms and is is nicely done.

The basement has the laundry, storage area, and currently is set up as a bedroom in pleasant pink shades. This would be great as a guest room or kids bedroom for those single or divorced parents.

The back yard is an oasis. Nicely groomed, it would be a great setting for a cocktail party. An adjacent garage is currently used for storage, but might be worth closing the space in to create a studio or guesthouse. The circular drive and fenced front yard keep the road noise down, and provide space for 3 cars.

This is a lovely home and a great price point for this side of Potomac. I see this one settling around $699,000 when all is said and done.

Are you interested in Chevy Chase homes?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

CONTRACT - 415 Watts Branch Parkway - Fallswood - $686,900

Listed by Long and Foster

Google Map Here

This is a completely renovated 4 bedroom colonial in Fallswood. Priced to sell, this one shows beautifully, and won't last long at this price.

I am tired of hearing the real estate market is slow. The homes that are priced correctly and prepared properly before listing are selling quickly. The sellers of this home did a great job of renovating this home and making it look its best for the spring market.

Although this home was built in 1977, it looks almost new. With 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths, this home has plenty of room for a young family. With finished space of about 2000 square feet, great schools and good proximity to 270, this is a great entry home in the Potomac zip code.

The only down side to this home is it fronts on Watts Branch Parkway, which can be busy. There is also significant road noise from I-270 which is a few hundred yards away. With this said, the list price takes all of this into consideration. This is a great value and I feel will sell quickly. I see this one settling for $675K when all is said and done.

Are you interested in Chevy Chase homes?

Monday, February 23, 2009

11309 Rouen Drive - Lake Normandy Estates - $938,500

Listed by Long and Foster

Google Map Here

I have seen quite a few homes in this community in the last few weeks. This home is one of the nicer homes I have seen. Completely refinished, a buyer would not need to do anything but move in their furnishings once they settle.

What is not to like about this brick colonial? All the work has been done. The home has also been properly prepared for sale. No clutter, clean and perfectly groomed. Kudos to the listing agent.

This is not a big house. Built by Pulte in the late 1960's this is probably 2500 square feet above ground. The living room and dining room are decent size and furnished sparsely. The galley kitchen along the back of the home has been completely redone with quality maple cabinets and stainless appliances. The breakfast area is adequate with a view of the back yard and decent light. The laundry room is adjacent in a passage that leads to the garage. Stacked washer and dryer once again makes best use of the space available.

Upstairs has 4 bedrooms with redone baths. There is wise use of built in cabinetry in the master to make more efficient use of available space. The other bedrooms are teen sized and nicely maintained.

The basement is a nice surprise. Completely finished there is a great home theatre set up with projection TV. There are built in cabinets along the back wall with wet bar that look great. An door with area way lead from the basement space to the back yard. A bedroom and full bath finish off this level which is impressive. The space will allow a family to live in this home and not crowd each other.

I think this home is priced at a premium. There are other homes in this range that offer more space and more potential. What this house has going for it is it is DONE. Someone can just move their stuff in and live well without the aggravation of needing to remodel. Although this is priced richly, they just may get the asking price. This home is a great example of how a home should be properly staged for sale.

This should fetch at least $890,000 in its current pristine condition.

Are you interested in Chevy Chase homes?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

10840 Stanmore Drive - Great Falls Estates - $4,795,000

Listed by Stuart & Maury

Google Map Here

Great Falls Estates is one of my favorite communities in Potomac. About a half mile from the village, this neighborhood is a mix of old and new. What all the homes have in common is large 2 acre lots and classic architecture.

I have been watching this home being built over the past year. It is beautiful from the outside, and I have been excited to see the interior. With stone exterior and wonderfully symmetric lines, from the outside this home is a stunner.

The home once you enter is unusual. It is a mix of designs that somehow falls flat. Exposed timber in the home was brought in from Utah. It is dark wood and lends a ski lodge feel to the property. High vaulted ceilings bring some drama to the space, but something is missing. There is no consistency to design. Mouldings are painted dark Williamsburg Colonial colors which seem out of place. It is confusing and confounding to see such high quality materials used in a bastardized design.

I asked a colleague how he would classify the style and they suggested rustic craftsman. So we have ski lodge, rustic and craftsman combined in one package. While I like them all individually, for me, they to not work together.

Although I am critical of what I feel is wrong with the design, I have to give equal time to what was done well. The stone work is beautiful. The exterior veneer, fireplaces and accents done with stone are stunning.

My favorite feature in this home, and best I have seen anywhere in some time, is the basement entry. The builder created a very wide welled entrance from the exterior of the home to the basement level. Rather then use a narrow area way or stair, they dug out an extra wide welled area that has been finished in stone. This area is large enough for a table and chairs (Think small cocktail party!) and has decorative tile work on the walls. The builder transformed a boring basement entry into a fabulous hidden grotto. I love the idea. I think if other builders saw this space, it would become a standard feature in luxury homes.

The master bath on the first floor is also beautiful. All glass shower area and windows on all sides the amount of light in the room is stunning. The pitfall is the bath is located on the front of the home. The windows would all have to be covered to maintain any privacy which defeats the beauty of this space. If only we could transport this space to the back of the home to allow the beauty of this open space be utilized.

The basement is set up for entertaining. Large fireplace, lots of open space, access to the above mentioned grotto, this would be a great spot for a party. You step up to a second tier of this floor with bar and bathrooms. There is also a lovely room for a home theatre tucked away in the corner of this level.

Upstairs houses the remaining bedrooms, baths and laundry room. Although the rooms were all large with plenty of storage, the space seemed awkward. A central hallway takes you from one side of the home to the other. Parts of the hall are open to below, but the space just seemed cut up.

Although I may be ripped apart for my opinion of value, I feel this home is grossly overpriced. I have no doubt this home cost a pretty penny to build, but the money spent may not be recouped upon sale. This design will appeal to a small percentage of potential buyers in this price range. This translates to very long marketing time unless the right buyer walks through the door, or the home is made more attractive by lowering the price. I tend to think the price will have to be lowered.

How long this stays on the market for sale will depend upon how quickly the price comes down. The neighborhood is blue chip. This home will get viewed because of the quality and location of the neighborhood. This one settles for at least $1mm less when it finally gets sold.

Are you interested in Chevy Chase homes?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

10835 Lockland Road - Potomac Glen - $4,500,000

Google Map Here

This community is located between South Glen Road and the back side of Falls Road Golf course. Mostly 2 acre lots, this community is a mix of custom homes of different styles and sizes.

This is a beautiful home. Located at the end of Lockland Road, it directly backs to the Falls Road Golf course. The exterior features of the home: prominent turret, slate roof and stucco are beautifully coordinated.

Inside of this home is stunning. A lovely open foyer has enough space for a cocktail party. The dining room adjacent is also open and lends to the spacious feel of the home.

The master bedroom and 2 additional bedrooms are located on the main floor. All rooms are good size, but none too large or out of scale. All of the main level bedrooms are located on the left side of the home. The family room, kitchen and breakfast area fill the balance of the first level. All of the rooms are beautifully decorated and furnished.

The upstairs is not a large space. It houses two additional bedrooms and baths which are large with plenty of light. It almost has the feel of a loft, as it takes up such a small percentage of the homes footprint.

The turret on the left side of the home is where the wide circular stairs takes you to the lower level. A large family room with home theater and entertainment space is fabulous. An additional bedroom and bath for Nanny or domestic is also located on this level. Plenty of storage rounds out the space.

The surprising feature on this level is the glass wall that allows you to view a full size basketball court below. Yes, I said full size, regulation court. It is housed in a sub-basement level a floor or more deeper then the main basement adjacent. Picture your high school gym complete with lights, scoreboard and sound system. You head down the circular stair to the gym level to find a full locker room, scorer table and trophy case. Very impressive.

One of the things that I found so attractive about this home is its masculine feel. The decorating throughout the home lacked frill. The furnishing, art and colors were all warm and inviting. You felt as though you could sit anywhere and even put your feet up on the furnishings. For me, this is the highest complement I can pay to a home.

This home also comes with some challenges. Although this may be the owners dream home replete with full size basketball court, will this appeal to others? More importantly, will others be willing to pay a premium for this owners dream? This is a tough call.

I think that the price of $4.5mm is not realistic. There are so many beautiful homes in this price range that offer a lot more finished space and features for the same price. I believe the seller will have to lower the price considerably to get this home sold. I see this one selling in the middle $3mm range.

Are you interested in Chevy Chase homes?

Friday, February 20, 2009

11004 Piney Meetinghouse Road - Saddle Ridge - $1,594,000

Listed By Long and Foster

Google Map Here

Saddle Ridge is one of the more prestigious Potomac Communities. These homes sit along a ridge (or saddle) along Piney Meetinghouse Road. It is a lovely property with fabulous views from the rear of the home.

Piney Meetinghouse can be very busy during commuting hours. When I saw the address of this property, I assumed I was dealing with a road front lot with lots of traffic noise. What a pleasant surprise when I found this group of homes located on a "service road" separate from Piney Meetinghouse. The service road puts some distance between the main road and this property taking road noise out of the equation.

This home is well sited. It sits on a knoll that gently slopes in the back to the rear of the 2 acre lot. There is a beautiful vista from the back of the home to green rolling fields in the distance. This view is Potomac hunt country at its finest.

The home has a contemporary look from the exterior. From the white brick and circular drive, you know there is something modern inside. The front door is very cool. It is a commercial steel door with etched glass. Very artsy, certainly custom and I am sure expensive.

When you walk through the door you notice the home is all white. White walls, white wool carpet and white tile. Modern and clean, the home shows beautifully. This is a custom design with a modern feel that will even appeal to those that may usually like traditional. What is not to like about high ceilings, lots of light and perfect maintenance?

For a home this expensive, it is not super large. With 4 bedrooms and 3.5 baths, the sleeping space throughout this home is modest in size. The bedrooms and baths are exquisitely done and nicely proportioned. Most of the square footage of this home is in the public space. The family room is bright and spacious. The kitchen is sleek and modern. All of the public spaces are beautifully designed and finished.

The 2 car garage is side loaded and over sized. The floor is finished with a synthetic flooring system (think expensive) with an area way in the rear of the garage leading to a full basement. The basement is huge with high ceilings. It is the entire footprint of the home above. Lots of space for wine cellar, family room, home theatre and darkroom. All of this and still plenty of room for storage. It is that big. The current owners are currently finishing the family room portion of the basement. The rest will be left up to the new owners.

With all that this home has going for it, there are also some problems. Currently, it is impossible to access the basement without going through the garage. This is a very unattractive reality with this home. A solution would be to find a spot in the public space that a stairway of some kind can be put through the floor. It would be smart to find a potential solution to this problem to present to potential buyers before they allow this issue to erase this property from their short list. Chapter One in every salesperson's book of tricks is to be able to overcome objections. This is one of the few problems with this home, but it is a significant one. A solution in advance could procure a sale.

The beauty of a custom built home is you can design it to fit your individual lifestyle. The potential pitfall is that your lifestyle and design may not be suited to the public in general. This home and design, although lovely, is flawed. Unless a solution is found to make the basement accessible from the inside, the home will not find a buyer at asking price. For now, I see a 10% discount to attract a buyer and get this home to settlement.

Are you interested in Chevy Chase homes?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

CONTRACT - 10233 Sundance Court - Inverness Forest - $849,000

Listed by Long and Foster

Google Map Here

This well kept community is near the intersection of Seven Locks Road and Democracy Boulevard. These 25 year old homes still look great and the location is a winner.

The home has great curb appeal. The yard is well maintained and the exterior of the home looks fantastic for its age. It is just foreshadowing for what you are about to see inside.

You enter into a nice foyer with the stairs up on your immediate left. The decor is lovely, paint perfect and detail attractive. You cannot help but be drawn into the home to see more. The kitchen is to the right. I believe it is original, but in great shape. If you had the Formica counters replaced with granite and stainless sink replaced with a nice under mount enamel sink, you would think it was newly refinished.

The dining room and family room are nice size and well decorated and inviting. There is a sun room on the back of the home with a winter view to a pond. It is like being on Walden pond...just a nice, relaxing view. The powder room on this level has been recently remodeled. They did a nice job with new vanity and granite sink tops.

The upstairs has a nice master bedroom and two additional bedrooms. The baths are original but in nice condition. The bedrooms are adult sized and all get plenty of natural light.

The basement is finished and has an additional bedroom and full bath. There is also a nice area for TV and wood burning fireplace. The basement has a sliding glass door in the rear that opens below the deck on to a brick patio. The only complaint I had in viewing the home is the basement toilet was filthy. The baths should always be checked carefully while the home is available to show.

This home has been well priced by the listing agent. I would not expect it to last long at this price, and would expect a sale within 30 days. It should settle somewhere around $830,000 which would be a bargain for anyone smart enough to grab this home.

Are you interested in Chevy Chase homes?

CONTRACT - 11901 Ledgerock Ct. - Glen Oaks - $949,000

Listed by WFP

Google Map Here

Glen Oaks is a beautiful community located off Glen Road. Built in the late 1960's, this community of solidly built brick homes has stood the test of time.

This corner lot is 1/3 acre with mature landscaping and a low maintenance back yard. Good curb appeal, the home has been obviously well maintained. The slate walk brings you to a double door entry. The foyer is large and comfortable and floored with dark wood parquet. The living room on your right is good size, with nice fireplace and shag like carpet. The dining room is to the left and has a door that passes through to the kitchen. The kitchen has been updated at some point since the home was built, but will be on the short list for re-do. The family room is lovely and comfortable in the back center of the home.

The laundry room is located off the back side of the kitchen. When you pass through, a door will take you to a nice screened porch on the back of the home. While not huge, it is plenty large for cocktails and conversations on cooler evenings in Potomac. Nice touch, and beautiful view of the back yard and nature. The library is also on the back side of the home and can be used as an office. It is panelled and has built in bookshelves similar to many homes from this era.

The upstairs has 4 bedrooms in addition to the master suite. The baths have been partially redone though lots of original parts remain. The rose color carpet seems to be from the Miami Vice era, but still has some life remaining. The master bedroom is very nice though still has original bath.

The basement of this home is unfinished. It is a "half-basement" with a crawl space for storage. It seems clean and dry which holds promise for those that want to finish this space.

This is one of the rare communities that has a distinct sense of community spirit. Because of this cohesive sense of community, these homes do not turnover often. When you take into consideration the market conditions, this home is priced correctly. I think it should settle somewhere around $900,000 when the deed is transferred.

Are you interested in Chevy Chase homes?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

SOLD - 10019 Gable Manor Court - Potomac Village - $1,050,000

Listed By WFP

Google Map Here

SOLD for $955,000 on 3/23/09

There is a lovely community of homes between Counselman Road and Falls Road in Potomac Village. Initially developed for empty nest Potomac folk, all of these units have first floor master bedrooms and many have elevators.

It is difficult to try and place a value on these properties as there has not been much turnover. These well kept attached properties have community maintenance that is covered by the $300 a month homeowners association fee. This is very attractive to those that are not longer willing or able to do yard work on their own. Because of the convenience to shopping, the library, post office and main roads, this area is always in demand.

This 3 bedroom and 3 full bath home is built on slab and has a first level master. The home has many Victorian design features that are attractive on the inside and out. The home is set up as a center foyer with small living room and dining room in the front of the home and kitchen and breakfast area in the back. An attractive feature for the older set is an elevator that takes you upstairs.

The kitchen is original and a little dated, but cozy and efficient for a couple or very small family. Upstairs has two additional bedroom suites with full baths, one currently being used as an art studio. The decor is nice with light colored wallpaper in the foyer. The art throughout the home is very pretty and adds to the viewing experience.

This home is priced at $1,050,000. It is tough to determine a value in this market. There are not any recent comps to go by over the past few years. It is hard to imagine that a home this size would warrant more then a million dollars. I suspect it may sell at less, maybe as much as 10% less then list once a buyer is found. I will keep an eye on this one to learn a bit about this segment of the market. I will keep everyone informed of final price.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

10100 Norton Road - River Oaks Farm - $3,195,000

Listed by WC & AN Miller

Google Map Here

This is an impressive estate home on a gated 2 acre lot. Near the corner of River Road and Norton Road, this home is securely fenced and has extensive screening from trees in the front of the home.

This home was sold in September of last year. The new owner put a lot of work in this home whose décor had become a bit stale. A job relocation for the new owner brings this stately beauty back to the market.

This home is impressive in stature. The all white brick structure has a columned front and high roof. The circular drive is barren of any landscape making the grounds look a bit antiseptic but allows the clean lines of the home to shine.

The Porch and surround of the home have been done in marble. This touch seems a bit out of place with this architecture, but is not unattractive. I am guessing the owners found the marble would get slippery when wet, so they installed adhesive traction strips to mark the path and secure footing. These DO detract from the entry but safety does come first.

The front marble foyer is impressive. Beautiful marble floors and high ceilings greet you. The Spartan decorating allows the beauty of the mouldings and architecture to shine through. The stairs lead you up to an open walkway above. The open space is breathtaking.

This home has embassy sized rooms. All of them are large enough to be impressive but remain balanced and in scale with the structure. This balance is difficult to find in homes of this type. The décor lends a great deal to the attractive nature of this home. This is a great example of “less is more”. Quality finish work, quality woodwork and quality furnishings and art make a rich impression.

The library impressed me. Located in the right wing of the home it is beautifully finished in wood with built-ins and pre-wiring for TV and stereo. The owner obviously shares my love of music with ultra high end stereo and speakers in this room. The 26 x 19 foot room is large enough to live in. A fireplace, access to outside, TV, music and books….what more would you need (besides direct access to the wine cellar?)

The kitchen and baths have been nicely renovated with quality materials. Quality faux finishes and Trompe L'Oeil are nicely done and must have cost a pretty penny. The breakfast area is bright and lovely. There is something impressive at every glance.

The 6 bedrooms upstairs are all embassy sized, and the master bedroom and bath would not disappoint even the most critical of buyers. There is a door from the master suite that takes you out to a balcony that wraps around the entire left side of the home. From this vantage point you can see the pool and pool house that would be a cool oasis for entertaining in the humid Potomac summers.

The basement is finished and impressive in size.. A large entertainment area, a sauna, wine room; all of the features you would expect in a home of this size. Once again, the finishes are top notch and the build quality excellent.

This home is one of the more impressive I have seen in this price range. It is in a great location, close to the village and within 30 minutes of the White House. This is a tough price range in this market. This would get much better exposure if the price was below the $3mm mark. It should sell, but I would doubt the seller will be able to get all of the money they spent on improvements out of this beauty. It may take a while to find the right person to fall in love with this home that can afford it. This should go in the high $2mm range.

Are you interested in Chevy Chase homes?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

7700 Mary Cassatt Drive - Willerburn Acres- $869,900

Listed By Long & Foster

Google Map

Willerburn Acres is a very nice community of well kept homes built in the late 1960's. Many of these homes have gone through renovation, and the care put into the upkeep of the community makes it an attractive place to live.

The exterior on this Dutch colonial is pretty. The boxwood lined walk takes you to the entrance of this home. A red front door takes you into a formal foyer with marble tile. The living room and dining room are to the right and both have pretty hardwood floors.

The kitchen has been recently renovated and looks great with Maple cabinets and granite. A view of the pool and manicured backyard from the breakfast area makes for a pleasant morning meal.

The family room is adjacent to the kitchen and is family sized. Great for TV and a cozy fire this room is large for a 1960's era home. An office or library finished off the main level. While it is currently being used as a bedroom, it is not large enough for a formal bedroom but will do in a pinch. This could be a spot for a daybed and desk. The room can be used for guests if needed.

The upstairs has a master and 3 additional bedrooms. The master is decent size, with an updated master bath. The other 3 bedrooms are decent size and share the additional hall bathroom. The hall bath has been redone at some point, but is showing its age. It will be on the short list of things to do for the new owners.

The basement is large and finished. There is a bar in the corner that looks like it was built in the 1970's. There is potential down here for some great parties. A half bath in the basement is convenient and limits traffic up and down the stairs.

The home in general is lovely. It has been cared for and well maintained. The yard and lot are in good condition and Willerburn Acres is convenient to shopping and part of the Churchill HS cluster. The home shows well, but is priced a bit high. This should settle at around $825,000 once sold.

Are you interested in seeing some Chevy Chase homes?

9227 Cherbourg Drive - Lake Normandy Estates - $1,099,000

Listed By Long & Foster

Google Map Here

This is a very pretty home in the Lake Normandy Estates community. Well kept and updated, this home has a contemporary feel. Those with a penchant for contemporary homes will love what this home has to offer.

The lot is a beautiful corner lot with a large front lawn. The landscaping is minimal with a few lovely specimen trees. The front door and porch is covered, providing shelter for arriving guests and the FedEx man.

The large double door bring you into a large central foyer. The ceiling is cathedral here, giving volume to the space and adding to its contemporary feel. The tile floor is a bit antiseptic, but works well with the contemporary design. There is a decent size dining room to your left with an open wall to the foyer. If you are looking for formality in a home, this one is not your style.

The kitchen is recently re-done and is quality work. Very modern, there is not a lot of ornamentation. The appliances are high end, and the counters beautifully done. I cannot imagine anyone not liking what the kitchen has to offer.

There is a large laundry room and storage adjacent to the kitchen. The space is bright and clean with an exterior exit. The ceilings are high which add to the spacious and comfortable feel to this room.

There is a large deck on the back of the home off the kitchen. Made with TREX style decking, the owners of this home have quality materials in all improvements. I suspect that this home will not have too many problems on home inspection. Too much care is taken on a day to day basis to keep this home clean and up to date.

The master bedroom is on the first floor and includes a large bedroom, a sitting area and a nice sized master bath with soaking tub. Once again, clean lines and quality materials. Very nicely done. There are 2 additional bedrooms on this level which share an additional full bath.

To get to the lower level you travel back to the foyer. An open stair, wide with a natural wood banister take you down to the basement. The space is large, it looks to be the entire footprint of the home. There is a large family room with fireplace here. There are also 2 additional bedrooms and 2 full baths. There is an exercise area and a room used for music by the kids. The basement is walk-out and allows decent light.

This is a very nice home in a nice community on a nice lot. It will appeal to those that like simple modern design and clean lines. The price is a bit steep for this neighborhood. New to the market, the sellers may be feeling things out or hoping someone falls in love with it. It is attractive and will sell, but at what price. Look for $975k to $1mm when settlement day comes.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

11513 Karen Drive - Lake Normandy - $675,000

Google Map

This is a very pretty split level home in the Lake Normandy Community. Partially updated, this home has good promise for someone that wants Potomac schools.

This 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath split has been well maintained and has been properly prepared for sale. Cleaned and spit polished, this home shows well and will get a great response from the Potomac buyers.

Much of the main level is hardwood. The kitchen has gone through a partial remodel, and although it looks nice, it will not be long before a new update needs to be done. The lower level has a large family room with a large half bath. The fireplace has a copper shield on it that looks great. I am not sure if it is anything more then decorative.

The lowest level has storage and a walkout to the back yard. There is a bit of a musty odor there, I suspect there is dampness from the basement walls.

The bedrooms upstairs are typical for a 40 year old split. Decent sized, but not large, they will be fine for teens and smaller kids. The master is a bit larger with its own full bath. The upstairs baths need some help, but that can come in time.

This is a case where the seller took the time to prepare the home before listing. It looks great, and will not last too long in this market. Look for this one to go around $645K when sold.

Monday, February 9, 2009

12279 Greenleaf Avenue - Watkins Glen - $459,000

Google Map Here

Watkins Glen is one of the few communities remaining in Potomac to buy a home for under $500K.

Watkins Glen is tucked in between Montrose Road Cabin John Regional Park and I-270. A community of attached townhomes, this community is tucked away in the woods. Winding around the border of the Cabin John Park, many of the homes have pretty views of heavy woods and a meandering stream.

This home is towards the very back of the community. With 4 bedrooms and 3.5 baths, this home is deceptively large. With an updated kitchen and partially updated baths, this home has good potential.

Although much of the community is well maintained, the last grouping of townhomes is a bit unkempt. I am not sure if a raccoon got to a neighbors trash can, or maybe this group of residents are sloppy. Something should be done to clean the place up a bit to make it look presentable.

The inside of the unit has Pergo style laminate floors throughout the first floor. The kitchen is in decent shape, obviously redone within the last 10 years or so. The powder room on the first level is small but clean.

The stairs going to the third level are hardwood with an open bannister. The walls are a bit beat up from the owner or tenant moving their stuff out. Other then the wall marks from moving, the home was recently painted. The painter was not a pro, and the base mouldings are a mess. The home should be repainted as soon as the new owners move their stuff in. The baths upstairs are partially redone. New tile in the shower areas but original tubs. New exhaust fans are a must here, as you can see damage from the moisture on the ceilings.

The basement is finished with decent light colored panelling. The carpet should be cleaned, but is presentable. There is a full bath, and a large stone fireplace. There is also a small room that I cannot imagine was a bedroom, but it may have been.

The basement has a sliding glass door that gives you access to a slate patio. Stairs from this patio go up a level to allow access to the kitchen slider and additional patio space. Currently the upper patio has a grill and great views of the park.

Although the inside of the home has been cleaned and put in order, it would be smart to clean the exterior windows on this unit. There are leaves and dirt and spider webs galore. Cleaning the outside will make this home show much better. The listing expressly states this home is "as is". Any potential buyer should have an inspector come in and check the floors on the first lever before putting in a contract. Although they look pretty good with the laminate flooring, something is not right. There seems to be some spots that are not level. An inspector can quickly tell you if there is a larger problem.

The Price? Well, it is currently the lowest in Potomac. This is priced reasonably and should sell close to the list price.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

1219 Fallsmead Way - A Difference in Opinion...

"1219 Fallsmead Way - Fallsmead - $795,000"

2 Comments - Show Original Post

I received a great comment today from a reader and wanted to share it with the audience. The original post for 1219 Fallsmead Way can be read by clicking on the address above. It will link you directly to the December 2008 post regarding this property in Fallsmead.

Kristin Buchanan said...

I have to comment on your assessment of this home and the fact that you think it will go for under $725,000 (granted, between the time you posted this and now the price has been dropped to compete with a listing 2 doors down that's the same model in the same basic shape). $725,000 is stealing the house from the current owners. Yes, the kitchen of this home needs updating, as do the baths. But for 50k or less you can update everything and have a lovely home in Fallsmead.

Also, you compare this house to one on Bettstrail and while they are in close proximity to each other, Bettstrail is NOT in the Fallsmead community, and that's a big point you have missed. In Fallsmead we enjoy ammenities such as a 17 acre private park (owned and maintained by the neighborhood), a private pool, tennis courts and walking trails thru our park. Bettstrail, while perfectly nice, has none of these ammenities. Because of our strong community ties, Fallsmead is a very desirable for families with kids.

I appreciate your assessment here, but I think that throwing out a random price (that's VERY low) in a crummy real estate market is a HUGE disservice. Instead of telling people that everything will go for less than the list price, why don't you provide a helpful service to sellers and tell them what they need to do to make their homes sell for MORE than they originally thought. In this market, nothing is moving, so suggesting price reductions and that people make low ball offers is totally misguided.
February 8, 2009 3:24 PM

PotomacSecretAgent said...


We are in a very difficult market. We all are in agreement on this point.

There ARE homes selling in this market. The homes that are priced properly are selling quickly, and is isolated cases, for more than asking price.

To say that I am assigning "RANDOM" prices to these homes is not true. Although there is not an exact science to setting price, I can tell you that I have been right on target over the past year with most of my predictions. To prove my point, you should re-visit some of the reviews that I have done in the past and see what the final settlement prices were. I have them listed in the reviews when the information becomes public. In almost all cases my predictions are within one percent of the actual settlement price. The statistical possibility that my assessments are random is near zero.

A home is worth only what someone is willing to pay for it. I too live in Potomac. At the height of the market my home was worth $1.4mm. I would be lucky to get $1.1mm for it today. Am I happy about this? No, I am not.

I will concede that the property on Bettstrail was NOT in the Fallsmead community. It was though, BY FAR, a nicer home and better value then the homes in Fallsmead at that time. The homes are within a few blocks of each other and WERE competing in the same marketplace for the same purchasers. Bettstrail was the first of all these homes to sell. This fact supports my opinion that it was a better value. Do you agree?

In many of my reviews I make it a point to comment on what can be done to make a home more appealing and to sell more quickly at the best price. Some sellers take my advice, others do not. I do my best to be honest and objective in my analysis on homes reviewed. That is the reason I do not review my own listings.

I know you live in Fallsmead and are defending a community you love. Fallsmead is a WONDERFUL community. This market correction is normal and part of the cyclical nature of the real estate market. Anyone buying today IS stealing a home. That is the definition of a BUYERS MARKET. The market will eventually swing back the other way, and homes will again increase in value. (It cannot happen soon enough!)

For now, we are stuck in the unpleasant end of a normal real estate cycle. Until the tide turns, we have to accept that prices will trend lower. For those that do not need to sell, there should be no worries. For those that must sell and get less for their home, we can only hope that they STEAL a home in the market where they are moving.

Thanks so much for your comments. Please continue to share your opinions on the blog. I still learn from my readers every day.

February 8, 2009 4:25 PM

Thursday, February 5, 2009

SOLD - 7817 Heatherton Lane - Inverness Knolls - $510,000

Listed by Long and Foster

Google Map Here

This is a townhome in the Inverness Knoll community which is adjacent to the Cabin John Shopping Center.This is a nice community of townhomes with reasonable homeowner fees and part of the Churchill High School cluster.

This home is clean, shows well and is priced well. Although it still has the original kitchen and baths, they are in good shape and the home is in move in condition. The flooring throughout the first level is a light colored PERGO which is a nice touch.

There is nothing exciting about this townhome, but it is also priced low enough so a home buyer could make some of their own choices in upgrades. Priced at $510,000, this home is the least expensive currently in Inverness Knolls. Although the competition has been upgraded and shows better, it is also priced $35,000 higher. I suspect $10,000 can re-do the kitchen and buy enough paint to make this a star.

I see this home as the best value currently in Inverness Knolls. A smart buyer can probably pick this one up at $490,000.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

SOLD - 12204 Seline Way - Fallsreach - $949,000

Listed By Long and Foster

Google Map Here

SOLD on 2/26 for $925,000 (net subsidy)

This is a nice brick home on a 1/3 acre lot in Fallsreach. On a quiet street, this treed lot provides plenty of shade and backs to Watts Branch Stream Park.

Although traditional colonial on the outside, this home is decorated in a modern style inside. You will get a whole different perspective on how a colonial can look with different decor. You will see lots of mirrors and built in laminate furniture.

The home is clean and bright and shows well. The kitchen is updated and done in white. The breakfast area is adjacent to the windows and provides a beautiful vista to the large backyard and park.

The upstairs bedrooms are all good size. There are laminate built-ins in these rooms, this style may not be to everyone's taste. There is a full bath, a half bath and a laundry room all bunched together in one corner of the house. I have never seen this design, and don't quite understand the reason for bunching the baths in one spot.

The basement is fully finished and open. Plenty of light from the walk-out, this is a great place for a home office, home theatre or playroom for the kids.

This home is priced well at $949,000. It directly competes with the home on Reach Way in Fallsmead, and at least for now is a more compelling value. I see this one going under contract for $925,000

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

CONTRACT - 12113 Reach Way - Fallsreach - $949,999

Listed by ReMax

Google Map Here

Fallsreach is located on the west side of Falls Road near Montrose. As you travel south along Falls Road from Rockville, the home prices on the West side of Falls escalate as you get closer to Potomac Village.

This Mitchell and Best home was built in 1981. Located on a nice corner lot, the brick front gives it nice curb appeal. The driveway faces on the cul-de-sac which makes for safe entry in and out of the garage.

This home has a "modern" feel. The foyer is open and spacious. The light colored tile floor makes the open space seem larger. The family room has a stone fireplace and wet bar and the kitchen has been redone within the past few years. According to the listing agent, many of the major systems have also been upgraded.

The bedrooms upstairs are all adult sized. The Master bedroom is large with an original step up bathroom and sunken tub.

The home would show better without the furniture. All of the furniture is very large and makes the rooms look cramped. There is also a funky smell in the master bath. It could be bad cologne, or maybe some must.

The price seems fair based upon the space and condition of the home. It seems that most homes are settling at 5% less then list. This one should settle at $915K.

Monday, February 2, 2009

10 Hearthstone Court - Horizon Hill - $720,000

Listed By Coldwell Banker

Google Map Here

Horizon Hill is a family community on the Rockville side of Potomac. This community feeds into the Richard Montgomery HS cluster.

This home is at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac. With a Tudor front elevation, this home has some unusual design features that may not be to everyones taste.

This is a good sized home. With 4 bedrooms upstairs and a possible 5th BR or office on the first level, this home can house a large family. The basement is finished with a full bath and has plenty of room for kids

The kitchen is updated in the last 10 years and is in decent shape. The powder room on the main level is mirrored with black fixtures....groovy 1980 style.

The back of the home is bumped out with a bar and breakfast area. This unexpected space has great potential. A former owner must have been a brick mason, or tile installer. From stone floors, to updated tile and granite in baths to a stucco finish on all interior walls...this decor will not be to attractive to the majority of buyers. These finishes will be very expensive to change, so you have to love it. I feel this finishing job will prevent the home selling near the list price.

The home is clean, large with lots of potential. Any offer will probably reflect the cost to redesign the walls and stucco finishes. I see this one finally selling around $640,000.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

2507 Chilham Place - Montgomery Square - $619,000

Listed by Long and Foster

Google Map Here

This is a nice Kettler built colonial with great curb appeal in Montgomery Square.

Montgomery Square is a neighborhood under renovation. A new generation is moving in and updating the homes. The schools and affordable homes are a big draw to those who want the 20854 zip code on budget.

This home has been brought up to date with nice upgrades to the baths and kitchen. The bath tile and creative colors are going to be attractive to those with kids. Based upon the traffic at open houses these past few weekends, it seems like ALL the buyers were families with kids.

The basement has been finished and has a full bath. The newer carpet makes the area look bright, but the storage room is narrow and scary and should be decluttered.

The location of this home is only about 100 yards from Falls Road. The backyard is fenced to keep the kiddies in, and safe. Although these is some noise associated with Falls Road, I did not hear any while inside the home.

This home seems to be priced a bit high. It is new to the market, so sometimes the initial price may be a bit high while testing the waters. The home immediately across the street is a bit smaller and not as nice. It was sold about 3 weeks ago and just settled for a net price of $525,000.

This last sale may make it tough to get above $600K for this home. Although this house is a bit nicer and maybe a bit larger, it is not $94,000 better. Either the buyer of the recent sale stole the home, or these folks will have to settle for $560K.