Blog :: 2017

Welcome to Our Real Estate Blog!

Read our latest insights into the Greater Washington real estate market, including Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Our team of expert real estate professionals at RE/MAX Realty Group/100 have a finger on the pulse of the local market. Stay tuned for news and analysis on all the most important topics pertaining to real estate and home ownership in Maryland and Northern Virginia.

 

 

 

It's Back to School Time: Top Tips to Stay Sane

(RE/MAX Blog)- Going back to school is an exciting time. Kids get to see their friends, have a new year of field trips to look forward to and, with any luck, get the teachers your neighbors rave about. However, with homework and extracurricular activities, going back to school can be stress-inducing for both parents and children. Here are some tips to keep calm, cool, and collected.

Parents:

  • Consolidate school-related items: Have a space in your home, such as a section in your mudroom or home office, that is just for hanging backpacks and storing school supplies. This will help you and your kids know where everything is during the morning scramble to catch the bus.
  • Keep a calendar handy: Between soccer practices, ballet lessons and art classes, it can be hard to keep a schedule straight. Keep a monthly desk calendar with your children's activities in a central area so that you are all on the same page. The fridge or a bulletin board are great options. A magnetic dry-erase version makes it easy to update when plans change.
  • Have low-stress mornings: Helping your kids get ready for school while you're getting ready for work can be a challenge. Formulate a routine that both you and your children are comfortable with to take the chaos out of mornings.

And a few tips to share with your kids:

  • Write things down: During the school day, a million things can happen. Recording due dates and taking notes on the specifics of an assignment will help you forego the stress of forgetfulness and earn a higher grade. On the bright side? Doodling in your notes has been shown to help with memory and focus. Sharpen your pencil!
  • Do the reading: Pop quizzes are the worst. Avoid anxiety by staying current on your reading assignments. Reading a couple chapters at a time, as your teacher assigns, is much easier than trying to tackle the Odyssey the night before a test.
  • Keep everything together: Stay organized with a folder or binder for each class with all of your notes and the handouts given. Adding a date to the top of your pages and keeping them in order will be helpful when it comes time to prepare for a test.
  • Don't accept bullying: Bullying can occur at any age but is never acceptable and should not be tolerated. Let your teacher or an adult you trust know if you are being mistreated or teased by your classmates. This will definitely save you stress, and will help you focus and feel safe in school.

Questions about the school district in the area you live in? Contact us for assistance today. 

8 Tips for First-Time Sellers

(RE/MAX Blog)- If you're selling a home for the first time, it's quite a different ballgame from what you experienced as a first-time buyer.


Ultimately, you're in control of the process. You call the shots on prepping your home for sale, deciding on a listing price, accepting (or rejecting) offers, and a host of other factors. 

But you might want to heed the following tips:

1. Hire an experienced real estate agent
A real estate transaction is filled with complexities and nuances that a professional, skilled agent can help you navigate. Ask friends and family to recommend an agent they've used and were pleased with, or search for a local RE/MAX agent.

2. Detach yourself from the process
You've made memories to last a lifetime in your first home, and saying goodbye is hard. But be careful not to let your emotional attachment get in the way of making sound decisions, particularly when it comes to staging and pricing your home. Try to see your home as a potential buyer would. Pretend you're a potential buyer and walk through your home. Make a list of what you like about each room – and the things you'd change.

3. Don't overprice
Some sellers might think that in today's low-inventory market they can overprice their home and get top dollar. In reality, if you price it competitively, you'll create a flurry of activity and (possibly) get in a situation where multiple offers are rolling in. Overpricing at the start hurts your chances of getting a quick sale, especially if numerous price reductions are needed.

4. Declutter and stage for a quick sale
Buyers who tour your home will have a hard time picturing themselves living in it if they only see paint colors or décor that fits your own unique style. Repaint the walls with neutral, earth-tone colors, and remove excess decorations from walls. Consider renting a storage unit to store large furniture that overpowers your main living areas; rooms should appear as spacious as possible.

5. Make the necessary repairs/upgrades
Ensure that all systems and appliances are functioning properly, as these items will come up in a home inspection that might cost you more money and, possibly, the whole sale down the road. The rule of thumb is to make improvements to your home that will help the property show well, but don't put a ton of money into capital investments such as a basement refinish or high-end flooring, particularly if such upgrades aren't consistent for your neighborhood. You likely won't get that money back in the sale.

6. Give your home curb appeal
Your home's front exterior is the first thing potential buyers will see when they drive by, and it's likely the first photo that will appear in an online search. Give your front door a fresh coat of paint, add some bright flowers to your entryway, and make sure that any cracks or major cement damage is fixed. Consider renting a pressure washer to get rid of the grime and buildup on the outside of your house, and definitely keep the yard mowed and tidy. A little elbow grease goes a long way to making a positive first impression on buyers.

7. Keep an open mind for negotiations
What's more important to you: Walking away with your asking price (or more)? A quick closing time? Putting out as little up front cash in closing costs as possible? All of these are considerations you'll need to make as you evaluate offers. Also, keep in mind that you have the ability to negotiate with counter-offers. Sometimes, you can sweeten the deal by offering to pay a buyer's closing costs (if feasible), or leaving some appliances behind. A few concessions can go a long way in the negotiation process, and your Realtor can work with you to carefully evaluate and respond to each offer.

8. Get ready for closing
Once you've accepted an offer and signed a sales agreement, you'll start prepping for a closing. Also called “escrow" or “settlement," closing is the final meeting between the buyer, seller, their agents and a loan officer (or an attorney, in some states) where the buyer pays their portion of the costs to the seller and the buyer's new title and any mortgage liens are properly recorded. The closing agent will calculate what monies are due to the owner and what credits need to be applied to the transaction, such as taxes, title fees and other closing costs.

Ready to sell your home? Begin the process today. 

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    Own It: 5 Tips for Staging Your Home Yourself

    (RE/MAX Blog)- By Carriann Johnson, interior designer and TV personality

    So you've decided to sell your home. While you're preparing for this next chapter in life, keep some of your attention and energy on the importance of preparing your home to outshine all others on the market. Selling your home in the shortest amount of time, receiving your asking price and having an all-around flawless sale can be achievable if you properly prepare this (very large) item you're about to sell. Here are my tips to ensure that success. 

    1. Emphasize the idea of move-in ready
    A neutral palette (regardless of how boring you may think it is) will always be a timeless choice when it comes to paint, furniture and window coverings. And you don't need to be a professional interior designer to arrange things within your home – visit some model homes in your area and take note of how they're staged. Simple DIY projects go a long way. 

    2. Declutter and depersonalize
    Potential buyers want to see themselves in your home; need to envision how they can make it theirs. Simplify spaces (including entryways) by removing everyday items such as TV remotes, schoolwork, piles of laundry, to-do lists on the fridge, personal photos and excessive amounts of pet toys. Clean out closets and begin boxing up items. If you know you're moving, why not get a head start on your packing anyway? Clean, well-organized and minimal closets showcase space potential, not your personal items. And adding fresh flowers, plug-in air fresheners, a foyer table, simple décor and a nice rug can give buyers that well-needed hug when they enter your home!

    3. Appeal to the senses
    Walk your home and ask yourself (or others), "What do you see, smell, touch and hear?" Deep clean your home or hire a professional cleaning company to make it sparkle – it gives buyers the impression the home has been well cared for. Remember, sticky floors and filthy light switches appeal to no one. If you have pets, consider confining them to one area of the house while your home is on the market. Barking dogs (or chirping smoke detectors) can hurry a potential buyer along during a showing. Consider leaving on some instrumental music during showings to appeal to your buyers' ears.

    4. Remove the eyesores 
    Look around your home and ask yourself these questions: "Would I purchase this home today? Do I like the overall style? Is my home dated? Is my backyard a sanctuary for a family?" The answers to these questions will help you identify the eyesores. Look for items in your home that are dated, have harsh patterns or edgy colors, are too small to fill a wall or are too large on a small one. Styles that clash with one another, aged wallpaper, broken items you can't repair, rusted car parts or clutter in your yard or patios all create eyesores. It's better to have an empty wall, an empty room or nothing at all than something that doesn't work for the space or is unappealing. Mirror your space after current styles and trends found in design magazines.

    5. Consider using my checklist
    Here is my checklist when I am staging a home. This list has never failed me and keeps me accountable – and sets my Realtor up for success!

    • Exterior: 
      - Grass is cut, edged and looks healthy.
      - Weeds are pulled.
      - Any dead bushes or trees have been removed.
      - Simple flowers or wild grasses are added on patios and porches.
      - House itself is cleaned and/or power washed. 
      - Toys, yard hoses, dog leashes, dog waste, yard statues are all cleaned up and put away. 
      - Back patio and yard are "lightly staged" with plants, cushions on chairs, and rugs under seating areas 
      and patio table. Add outdoor lanterns and candles. 
      - Patio or deck is cleaned. 
      - DIY projects are completed. To include: freshly stained deck, repaired broken floorboards, loose 
      banister railings, exterior lights, sheds or outbuildings organized and cleaned. Any landscaping 
      projects are not left incomplete. Large cracks in driveways or sidewalks are repaired. 
    • Interior: 
      - Home smells clean, looks clean, is decluttered and appeals to the senses. 
      - Eyesores are removed. 
      - Personal photos and items are put away. 
      - Daily messes and countertop items (in both the kitchen and bathroom) are put away.
      - Toiletries, perfumes and jewelry are not left on vanity counters. 
      - Small appliances, dishes and kitchen needs are not cluttered on kitchen counters
      - Fresh flowers or artificial plants are placed throughout the home to add life
      to spaces. 
      - Color palettes and themes in each space are transformed to a more neutral palette. Bold patterns in décor or too many colors are minimized. 
      - Themes and prominent styles in home are minimized as to not assume the home is exclusively Santa Fe style, Tuscan style, Western, etc.
      - DIY projects are completed. To include: replacing dated textures, fixtures, wallpaper, window coverings, faucets, general household repairs, etc. 

    Keep these items in mind when staging your home for resale, and you'll enter the selling process with the confidence your home deserves!

    Jane Sells Her First Home! We Create & Support Top Producers.

     

    RE/MAX Realty Group 100 creates and supports Top Producers.

    We put our agents first! We provide them with the services, support and training they need for a successful career in the real estate industry.

    Learn more about the benefits of joining our team.

    RE/MAX Realty Group 100 crea y apoya a los mejores productores.

    ¡Ponemos a nuestros agentes primero! Les proporcionamos los servicios, el apoyo y la formación que necesitan para una carrera exitosa en el sector inmobiliario.

    Conozca más sobre los beneficios de unirse a nuestro equipo.

     

    6 Decisions to Make Before Your Home Search

    (RE/MAX Blog)- In the market for a new home but have no idea where to start? There are several decisions you should begin to make before you even start your home search. By asking yourself the right questions, you can quickly pinpoint what you want – and can afford – in your next home.

    1. What's your budget? See how your finances stand up to the 28/36 rule, which lenders use to see what you can afford to pay each month. A financial adviser or your real estate agent also can help you crunch the numbers. Going through the mortgage pre-approval process lets you know how much lenders will allow you to borrow – plus it helps you show sellers that you have the funds to backup your offer.

    2. What do you need in your new home? How many bedrooms or bathrooms do you need? What about a large kitchen, a home office or a playroom for the kids? How many cars need covered parking? It's critically important to ensure the home you select meets your family and lifestyle needs.

    3. Do you want a condo or single-family home? Condos come with much less maintenance. You typically won't be shoveling snow in the winter or replacing the roof, but you'll likely pay monthly association fees to cover services and repairs in the community. Houses, on the other hand, come with more privacy and freedom to customize. They also come with full responsibility for maintenance.

    4. How do you feel about living under covenants? Depending on where you buy, you may have to pay homeowner association (HOA) fees in addition to your mortgage. There are benefits to HOAs, such as maintenance, community centers, and maybe even a pool or gym. But you also could be faced with more restrictive rules about the look of the outside of your home, down to the color of your front door, types of window coverings, and whether you can plant flowers in your yard.

    5. What school district do you want to be near? Even if you don't have children in the house, local schools will affect your property value. Prospective homebuyers tend to search with education in mind. Do your research on the schools in the areas you'd like to live in.

    6. Should the home be move-in ready? Ask yourself how much elbow grease you're willing to put into a home – or how much you'll pay someone else to do the work. Fixer-upper homes can be great after the work is done, but you'll want to figure out your renovation budget before you start your home search. A203k home-renovation loan might be the right resource for you. If you're not ready for the extra financial commitment of rehabbing a home, or you can't or don't want to wait for remodeling projects to finish up, then a home that's move-in ready might be right for you.

    After considering all these factors, you'll be ready to start the home search with a clearer picture of where you're headed. 

    Top 5 Home Maintenance Tips

    (RE/MAX Blog)- Trying to save money? Home maintenance is so much more affordable than emergency repairs. Here are five routine maintenance projects that can help prevent unexpected costs and save you money year round.

    1. Clear out gutters

    Water from clogged gutters can overflow and leak into your home. Heavy, ice-packed gutters can tear away from your house in the winter. Grab a ladder, gloves and hose and clear them out while the weather is still warm.

    2. Re-caulk windows

    Drafty windows and doors can suck money right out of your budget from high energy bills. Check the caulk and weatherproofing strips around doors and windows to make sure they're not dried and crumbling. If they are, they're easy (and cheap) to replace.

    3. Clean the fireplaces

    Have your chimney professionally inspected and potentially cleaned annually to prevent creosote, a flammable byproduct of wood burning, from building up. It can create a fire hazard and elevate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Before each use, make sure your damper closes tightly and clear remaining ashes from the bottom of your fireplace.

    4. Check your filters

    Clogged furnace and air conditioning filters not only make your HVAC system less efficient, they also can spread unhealthy pollutants and allergies in your home. Dark and mucky filters should be replaced. You don't even need tools.

    5. Flush the water heater

    Neglected water heaters have a way of getting back at you when you least expect it (and that way is usually soggy and expensive.) Clear out sediment particles that collect over time by regularly flushing out water through the drain valve.

    Looking for your own home you can maintain with tender-loving care? Start your search today!

    Drastically Improve Your Home With These DIY Projects

    (RE/MAX Blog)- Looking for some dramatic home improvement inspiration? Here are a few suggestions for projects that won't break the bank or steal more than a weekend or two.

    1. Make an entrance

    The entrance to your home is a focal point and a few simple changes can leverage its impact. Sand and repaint your front door or invest in a brand new one. Add some bling with new address numbers, knobs, doorbells or knockers. Frame the door with planters to help complete the picture.

    2. Class up your cabinets

    You don't need to buy new cabinets to give your kitchen a new look. Add a fresh coat of paint, or try out new cabinet hardware (buy knobs and pulls that are the same size as the ones you have to save installation time) for details that give the upgrade an added level of elegance.

    3. Make a splash

    You don't need to be a pro to install a new kitchen backsplash. Many home stores offer quick classes, or you can cruise YouTube for "how-to" videos. Customize your kitchen with ceiling tiles, glass or ceramic tiles, wood or stainless steel.

    4. Crown yourself

    Crown molding around your walls is a simple addition that can add a ton of character. If you don't have woodworking tools, don't panic. Home improvement stores can cut strips of molding to your measurements.

    5. Look to the little things

    You'll be surprised at how much of a difference swapping out old switch plates, outlet covers and doorknobs can make.

    Do your ambitions extend beyond a few small projects? Maybe you'd like to tackle an entire fixer-upper. Start your search for one today.

    We'll give you the key to your dream home!

    We'll give you the key to your dream home!

    We have eight office locations in the greater Washington area and over 420 real estate agents to assist you with all your real estate needs. 

    Nosotros le daremos la llave de la casa de sus sueños. Tenemos ocho oficinas localizadas in el área de Washington y más de 420 agentes de propiedades inmuebles que le puede ayudar.

    13 Agents and Teams from RE/MAX Realty Group 100 Named Top Producers by Washingtonian Magazine

    GAITHERSBURG, MD- Washingtonian Magazine named 13 agents and teams from RE/MAX Realty Group 100 as Top Producers in the magazine’s July 2017 issue. The eight individual agents and five teams, part of the combined RE/MAX Realty Group and RE/MAX 100 brokerage, were honored for being among the REALTORS with the highest sales volume in the Washington Metro area.

    Real Estate Agents Melissa Bernstein, Klaus Breitsameter, Shari Hodges, Ava Kennedy, Lisa Plushnick, Melissa Raffa, John Wang and Kathy Xu were ranked as Top Producing individual agents. The Carol Schantz Team, Phil Kelley Team, Herbert Riggs, Andy Werner Team, and the Prigal Brothers were among the Top Producing teams.

    “Our agents are experienced, knowledgeable and the hardest working professionals in the real estate industry,” said Ken Crowley, Owner of RE/MAX Realty Group/100. “The dedication they have for their careers and clients is unmatched. This recognition is truly well-deserved.”

    Bernstein, who was among the list of Top Producing agents, was also named one of Washington’s Best Agents by the Washingtonian Magazine for her market knowledge, integrity, communication skills, closing preparations and more. Bernstein, who has over 10 years of experience as a premier real estate agent and a real estate attorney, has a perfect five star rating on Zillow and is highly recommended in all her client reviews.

    The agents and teams honored were from RE/MAX Realty Group 100’s offices in Gaithersburg, North Potomac, MD and Springfield, VA. The brokerage also operates four offices in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s, and Howard counties in Maryland which were not considered part of the DC Metro area by the magazine.

    Learn more about RE/MAX Realty Group 100.