Fabulous New Bethesda Home – Backs to Country Club Fairway

This new contemporary colonial is of note because it backs to fairway of Bethesda Country Club (Country Club membership is NOT Included in sale).

The interior features an open functional floorplan that utilize natural lighting for accent and dramatic lighting depending on time of day. All the amenities one expects from a new home: Gourmet kitchen, 3 car garage, finished lower level, soaring ceilings, lots of natural light, energy efficient features, nice size lot in sought after Bethesda neighborhood.

MC7270829 Sold!

Fabulous New Home
Did you know that the Bethesda Country Club was a top rated Maryland golf course by Golf Digest magazine (2005-2006). The club also hosted the LPGA Championship from 1990-1993.

Interested in more information about Bethesda, MD? Here is a great article about the history and other information Bethesda. More information about Bethesda, MD


Bethesda street scenes

by Dan Krell © 2009

As a diversion from the business of real estate, here are a few street scenes of Downtown Bethesda; these photos were taken late morning Friday around Woodmont Ave.
( If you like to see more Bethesda, Chevy Chase, or other local areas, let me know! -Dan)

Facing North on Woodmont Ave. (south of Old Georgetown Rd).
Click photo to see larger view

Facing South on Woodmont Ave. (south of Old Georgetown Rd).
Click photo to see larger view

Facing North on Woodmont Ave. (in front of “The Chase”).
Click photo to see larger view

Buying vs. Renting

by Dan Krell

Is buying a home right for you?

A home owner recently told me that he had no idea that he would be able to sell his home for more than double his purchase price. When he purchased his home eighteen years ago, he recalls having kept to a strict budget so he could afford his mortgage payments and other related housing costs. Now, he will have a sizeable profit from the sale to purchase his dream home. This home owner’s story is like many other home owners’ stories of wealth building through home ownership.

Unfortunately, due to recent market fluctuations, some home buyers have questioned the value of home ownership. Decreased consumer confidence along with almost daily stories of foreclosure might make you wonder if any homes are selling.

Additionally, some renters feel that home prices continue to be too expensive for them to make the jump into home ownership. Economic commentator, Barry Ritholtz (bigpicture.typepad.com), believes that too; although the rent to buy cost ratio for the Washington area has dropped significantly from an all time high of 21.4 to around 16.6 (according to Moody’s economy.com), he feels that home prices are still too high nationwide as compared to the rent to buy cost ratios of the 1980’s and 1990’s (when the average ratio ranged from 10-14). However, even with a decreased consumer confidence, many understand the benefits to home ownership.

Many analysts and commentators agree that owning a home is typically better than renting. For example, Suze Orman has stated in a Yahoo Finance exclusive (biz.yahoo.com/pfg/e10buyrent) that “there’s no better investment.” Although Ms. Orman does strongly suggest having your financial matters in order as well as making certain that you can afford all the housing related costs before you make a move, she does state that “home ownership is a great achievement and a terrific investment.”

Although the benefits of home ownership are touted by many in the industry, owning a home is not for everyone. Renting does offer limited maintenance and the flexibility if you need to move, but home ownership offers tax incentives (tax breaks and deductions) as well as a chance to build equity.

Before you buy your first home, you might consider how long you intend to live in it before selling. For example, the National Association of Realtors reports that the typical home owner intends to stay in their home for ten years (although the actual time of ownership varies). Financial and affordability factors to consider before buying a home include interest rates and market conditions. However, some considerations are not financial but emotional; for example, some renters are concerned about their security deposit as well as dealing with an obnoxious landlord or management company.

Freddie Mac (FreddieMac.com) offers the following benefits to homeownership: Owning a home can facilitate your participation within a community, the home can be passed through many generations as a source of security, the tax benefits typically offset the amount you might otherwise pay for rent, your monthly payment won’t increase if you have a fixed rate mortgage, and building equity through home ownership “is the single greatest source of financial security and independence for the majority of people who’ve taken this step.”

This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. This article was originally published in the Montgomery County Sentinel the week of June 16, 2008. Copyright © 2008 Dan Krell.

Todays Luxury Home Trends are Tomorrow’s Home Standards

by Dan Krell

What comes to mind when you think of a luxury home? When asked, many people first think a luxury home is a very large and expensive home. However, a luxury home does not have to be the largest or the most expensive home in the area; in fact a luxury home could be a townhome or condominium.

Although price alone does not signify a luxury home, luxury homes are more expensive than the average home. Regardless of price, luxury home ownership is on the rise. Consider the Joint Center for Housing Studies (Harvard University) report from 2004 indicating that homes costing over one million dollars are the fastest growing market segment in the country such that the United States Census Bureau had to change the top census category of home value from “$500,000 or more” in 1990 census to “$1,000,000 or more” in the 2000 census.

So what makes a home a “luxury home?” It is mostly about the home owner’s lifestyle, which is typically a combination of: personal expression, house amenities, construction quality, and physical location. A typical luxury home buyer will pay the price to create their perfect home and to make it express their lifestyle.

Lifestyles and homes have changed a lot over the years; consider that in the United States, the average home in the 1950’s was about 980 square feet while today the average home is over 2,400 square feet! As lifestyles change, trends in luxury home building will change to fit the luxury home buyers’ personality and routine. Most luxury home buyers are willing to pay more for a home in the perfect location with customized amenities.

Luxury homes usually have many state of the art amenities including the latest in appliances and recreation facilities. State of the art kitchens are usually standard in a luxury home. Current trends in high end kitchens include prep-kitchens inside the main kitchen so as to keep the main kitchen clean, as well as high tech appliances connected to the internet so you can either order groceries from your fridge or cook a turkey while at work (via phone commands). Additional luxury amenities include walk in closets (closet sizes rival the average bedroom) that are well appointed with center islands and dressing areas. Other amenities depend on the owner’s personal interests and hobbies. You might find these indoor facilities in a luxury home: theatre, basketball court, bowling alley, or swimming pool.

Luxury home construction is distinct from other construction because of the customization and materials used (such as exotic woods, imported marble, and custom fixtures). Luxury homes are now being designed for room flexibility and continuous room flow. The price of a luxury home is higher than the average home because of these design and construction features.

Do you like what you see in some of today’s “dream homes?” Today’s luxury home trends tend to become tomorrow’s norm. For example, the washer/dryer, dishwasher, air conditioning, microwave oven, granite counters, and stainless steel appliances (the list goes on) were once considered to be a luxury- but are now the norm in many homes: So, who knows? Maybe your next home will have that indoor basketball court!

This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. This article was originally published in the Montgomery County Sentinel the week of April 21, 2008. Copyright © 2008 Dan Krell.

Single Family Home vs. Townhome?

by Dan Krell

As list prices of many single family homes have been reduced, many home buyers find themselves weighing the option of purchasing a townhome versus purchasing a single family home. The numerous options create a dilemma for home buyers, requiring them to think twice about their home requirements, lifestyle and long term goals. When faced with such a decision, home buyers often need to clarify their beliefs and misconceptions between townhomes and single family homes.

Given the selection between a single family detached home versus a townhome, what would you choose? The answer may not be as easy as you may think. There are reasons why a single family home may be competing with a townhome. Often times, the single family homes may be in fair to poor condition, needing obvious repairs or requiring immediate attention from the home buyer. Sometimes the homes may be a pre-foreclosure or short sale requiring third party approval, which has its own subset of considerations (dealing with a third party and trying to keep your interest rate lock through the lengthy wait). However, some single family homes may be well cared for but have prices reduced because of an atypical floor plan or style that does not fit the typical home buyer’s lifestyle.

Is it about the size? One misconception that home buyers have is that townhomes are inherently smaller than single family homes. However, many townhomes have living areas that are comparable or superior to that of single family homes; many townhomes are built with over 2,000sf gross living area and have a 1 or 2 car garage! Of course, depending on your lifestyle, the size may be secondary to the floor plan or layout of the rooms and amenities. Although townhome living has been described as vertical living, larger townhome interiors have high ceilings and open floor plans making it feel like a single family home.

Another misconception that home buyers have is that single family homes are not bound by a Home Owners Association (HOA). Although the chances are very good that the townhome you are considering is governed by the rules, restrictions, and covenants of a Home Owners Association (HOA); however, many single family homes are also under the authority of a HOA. Additionally, there may be restrictions even if there is no HOA. A home that is located within a protection area, which is imposed by the county or locality, has land use restrictions that may prohibit building, additions and/or tree removal. If you would like to research land usage for a specific home, you can visit the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission in Silver Spring (the staff is friendly, helpful and knowledgeable).

A common belief is that maintenance costs are higher for singe family homes than townhomes; when comparing homes, it is important to examine costs for upgrades as well as monthly operation costs. Repairs and maintenance vary on the home’s materials and systems. Additional maintenance considerations include painting, roof replacement, landscaping as well as daily expenses that include heating and cooling.

Home buyers will be surprised this spring as homes come to market; they will be surprised by their home buying options as well as prices.

This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. This article was originally published in the Montgomery County Sentinel the week of January 7, 2008. Copyright © 2008 Dan Krell.