Experience…the difference; Experience the difference!

I believe that anyone seriously interested in buying a home possesses an attention span greater than 140 characters.  If you fall outside of those parameters, you need to slow down.

One of the largest purchases of your life is important enough that you set aside 5 or 10 minutes to read information. Maybe a good rule of thumb should be that you devote one minute of reading for every thousand dollars you plan to spend.

After all, it’s your money, your house, your life.

Consider this a job application.

I want to work for you.

You may not realize it, but you need to hire me.

My name is John MacArthur and I am a Realtor in the DC area (Maryland and the District of Columbia).

c21nm  Century 21 New Millennium

The first thing most people consider is the broker. My broker is the number one Century 21 franchise in the world. I don’t work for some cute little boutique firm.  I don’t work for one of those “mom and pop” companies that are still locked into the way things were done before Al Gore invented the internet.  I don’t work for some local firm trading off the name of their forefathers. Nope, I work for Century 21 New Millennium and I have all the resources necessary to assist you.  My broker has been heralded as being ahead of the curve and creating a real estate experience based on today and tomorrow.  Having those resources behind you will give you the support you need to find the right home.

Reputation

When seeking someone to represent you in your undertaking, you have to have more than a gut feeling about your decision.  Certainly, you can ask for references.  The downside of getting a list of references is that they will all be stacked in the favor of the person offering the list. Only an idiot would give you the name and number of a disgruntled past client.  The other hiccup involves the people on the list. Some people do not want their name and number given out.  I always like to offer a recommendation I am very proud to have received a JD Powers award for customer satisfaction.

“John is a true real estate professional who combines passion, integrity, and a deep knowledge of real estate to produce outstanding results”
                                                                                                                                                      David H. Stevens, Assistant Secretary – former, FHA Commissioner at HUD
Results
Your comfort level during the process is a number one priority.  Too often, consumers feel like they are talking to a wall when purchasing a home.  Too often, consumers are being shown homes that are not even remotely close to what they are seeking and often priced no where near what they would be comfortable spending.  While working together, you have my focus on the task at hand.  I listen to you. I hear what you are saying .  I provide feedback. The truth. There is no need to go seeking dreams. Home buyers need to be working in real terms with attainable goals.
I will share the truth with you. It is important for  you to have complete information about neighborhoods, traffic, schools and value. Understand, the asking price on any home is just a number. Your offer has to be rooted in value to you. It is my job to prepare you.
John MacArthur
This is my profession.  I do this on a full time basis. When I am not working with clients, I am staying up to date on market changes, changes in the laws, changes in financing and changes in real estate.  It is not secret that the market has changed a great deal. I make sure that I keep my finger on the pulse of the market.  I have negotiated million dollar contracts and made sure that an $18,900 purchase transpired correctly. I have served on advisory committees to the Montgomery County Council and represented the Montgomery County Contingent at the National Head Start Meetings. I have worked with the County Council on services for Clarksburg.  I have lived in this area my entire life. I have raised a family here.  I know the I-270 corridor and the brand new ICC and more importantly, I know where all the pot holes are and how to avoid them.  This is my home and I look forward to helping you make it yours.
I can be reached at 301-509-5111.  Experience … the difference; Experience the difference !

Home buying stress? You are not alone!

It is not easy being YOU

          It is another day in your quest to buy a home.  Depending on the length of your current journey, at times you are feeling like that tiny bit of dust caught between a very solid rock and hard spot.  You know all the things that are bothering you and nobody else seems to get it.  You are not alone.

          There is a very old saying “an apple does not fall far from the tree”.  You hear it when folks are describing how children seem to have many of the characteristics of their parents.  People chuckle and give a knowing nod and the moment passes. Most of us do have some characteristics that seem awfully similar to our parents.  Oh sure, we strive to be better.  We secretly fear that we are becoming our mother or father. We all want to be in individual, viewed on our own merits.  But still, we are all slaves to our up bringing and the world that formed us.

          You may be wondering, what does this have to do with your current stress level?  Everything.  You see, the world that you grew up in was as large as the universe you understood and as small as the invisible barriers you did not realize existed.  Your world was shaped at your dining room table.  Dining room table worlds are like snow flakes, no two of them are exactly alike.   Your experience and understanding are what you bring to the home buying process. It may be the biggest piece of the puzzle (after all, you are buying the home), but yours is just one piece that has to some how smoothly interact with all the other pieces.

        

They all apples and none of them are exactly alike.

          Your real estate agent, your lender, your home inspector, your appraiser, your spouse or co-buyer (if any) are all apples in their own right.  They all have fallen close to their own tree.  They bring their background, belief system and personal style to your journey.  Just like you, every single one of them believes what they are saying and doing is the right thing.  Often, they use language from their industry that is comfortable to them but entirely foreign to you. You have to add to the mix that they are interpreting every thing you say based on their understanding of the words and phrases you use.  In the effort  to make sure everyone is on the same page, at the same time, the process may seem to slow down or come to a screeching halt.  It is still moving forward, but it sure can feel like progress is not part of the equation.

          Your stress is a direct result of the difference between your expectations and your perception of the reality of the moment.  Whether anyone wants to accept it or not, perception is your reality.  How well your expectations are being managed will directly impact your stress level.  Something that may be overlooked is the fact that everyone else involved is dealing with perceptions, expectations and stress.  You are not alone.

How do you take all these apples and make the best pie?

          You can’t.  Individually, your agent, your lender, your home inspector, your appraiser, your spouse or co-buyer can not do it alone either.  This is one case where too many cooks can not spoil the broth.  Everyone has to work to understand where each person is in the process.  Even if everyone has an understanding, stress will exist.  You can lower your stress level if you calmly express your concerns and make sure that your concerns are understood. Once your concerns are expressed and understood, you can get answers. If the answer is not understood, ask the question again, and again and again until you hear and understand the answer.  Knowledge can help alleviate the stress.

          Sure, you will get answers that compound your problem at times, but if you know the problem, you can search for a solution.  Seeking a solution will bring stress, but it should be eustress.  Feeling out of the loop only generates distress.

          One thing you can be sure of in your situation.  You are not alone.  If I can be of any help in your home buying journey, I promise you that I will do my part of focus on you and do my best to make sure you understand the process. My direct phone number is 301-509-5111 (I can also be reached via text message at that number)

Sandy Spring Maryland…city close but country quiet

Sandy Spring Maryland is located just east of Olney. The town center is located on route 108 a few miles past the intersection with Dr. Bird Road. Sandy Spring doesn’t have much of a town center, it is city close but country quiet.

SANDY SPRING AREA HOME SEARCH

Sandy Spring has a storied history that includes a prominent place in the “Underground railroad” used by slaves moving north during the 1860’s. Information about the history can be found at the Sandy Spring Museum. There is also information abut the “Underground Railroad” available at the Woodlawn Manor Museum, also located in Sandy Spring.

The area has several neighborhood developments and remains high on the list of those moving to the DC area while seeking the comforts of a community lifestyle not found closer to the city. Sandy Spring Meadow is a beautiful community located off Route 108 in Sandy Spring, Maryland within a short distance from Olney, Ashton, Cloverly, White Oak and Silver Spring.

The 52 unit community consists of 25 townhouses and 30 single family homes. All town homes have two bedrooms and a bath, and family homes have three or four bedrooms with 1.5 to 2 baths. The homes are spacious with wall-to-wall carpeting and washer and dryer.

Ashton Manor, Ashley Manor, Ashton Preserve, Ednor Highlands, Ednor Woods, Olney Estates, Sam Rice Manor, Timberland Estates and Quail Hill are other communities located in and around Sandy Spring Maryland. All of these neighborhoods feature beautifully designed single family homes.

Location and schools…schools and location; these are two large motivating factors when people are choosing a neighborhood. Sandy Spring may be a quiet community, but it does offer easy access to Washington DC, Baltimore MD, Columbia MD and Bethesda and Rockville MD as well. The new inter-county connector has access points within minutes of Sandy Spring.

Sandy Spring is home to the Sherwood High School Warriors. Friday nights in the fall find packed bleachers for the home football games. Sherwood High School is truly a community centerpiece. Their annual musical “Rock n’ Roll Revival” has been sold out annually for 40 years.

If you would prefer to avail yourself of the private schools, Our Lady of Good Counsel is right down the road on route 108. Sandy Spring Friends School is also nearby. Sandy Spring offers location and education.

Sandy Spring Maryland is also just minutes away from one of the county’s longest running summer stock programs. The Olney Theatre has been a landmark for years. I remember visiting there with my father back when Father Hartke from nearby Catholic University was involved with the theater. In addition to the summer stock, the theater offers shows year round. Patrons usually follow up the evening with dinner at the Olney Ale House or one of the fine dining establishments located in the Fair Hill area.

Speaking of food, Sandy Spring is located close to the full range of culinary delights. The downtown area has Urban Barbeque and delightful den of sinfully good pastries located at the French Confection. The shopping center just to the east of town has Dempseys and El Andariego. Dempseys will take you back to the days when neighbors met for coffee and breakfast and shared local news and gossip. El Andariego will delight the palate of anyone seeking true Mexican or Salvadoran cuisine.

Other choices with in reasonable driving distance include Lee’s Kitchen Chinese Restaurant, Rays the Classics, the Mannequin Pis and Ricciutis. There is really good food nearby.

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the recreational areas located near Sandy Spring. The Triadelphia Lake and Reservoir are close by. The area is a magnet for those that enjoy a day with nature. Amateur photographers, artists, wild life enthusiast, boaters and those just wanting to get away for a day find this area a Godsend.

If you enjoy a day on the links, there are courses that meet every ones skill level. Hampshire Greens is just down the road, Northwest Park is just around the corner, Blue Mash and Laytonsville and Lake Needwood are just minutes away. The Olney Golf Park is over on Georgia Avenue and offers a full pro shop as well as a heated and lit driving range. Courses within an hours drive include Whiskey Creek and PB Dye. The fact that Montgomery County is a golfer’s paradise is well known.

Sandy Spring Maryland is that rare place that combines the best of yesterday with the nuances of today. If you would like to find out more about the community or nearby areas, I work and live here and would love to share the information with you. You can use CONTACT ME or phone me at 301-509-5111

About the Author: Mr. MacArthur won the JD Power Award for customer service in 2011. Re/Max Chairman and Co-Founder Dave Liniger offered congratulations saying “It truly reflects your professional excellence, your enthusiasm for education, your commitment to distressed sellers, your individual drive and many other qualities that serve the interests of your clients. Your effort to change lives and those people have spoken.”

Mr. MacArthur is licensed in the District of Columbia and the State of Maryland. He is a member of the National Association of Realtors and the Maryland Association of Realtors. His broker is Century 21 New Millennium. His office is located at 1000 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20003.

Dave Stevens, the former Assistant Secretary-FHA Commissioner shared “John is a true real estate professional who combines passion, integrity, and deep knowledge of real estate to produce outstanding results.”

Is now a good time to buy a home?

Is now a good time to buy a home? This is another one of those questions that seems to be cropping up everywhere lately. It may be the result of the self serving advertisements run by the NAR and lenders and real estate agents. You have seen them. “Interest rates are at historically low levels”, “Home prices have leveled off”, and the real doozy “Real estate is the best investment you can make”.

I am reminded of an old rock n’ roll song “Don’t believe all those lies, darlin’ just believe your eyes”.  Can we begin with one basic fact.  You are an individual. While some statements above may be true in your case, that are not true for everyone.  You need to make a decision based on your circumstances. Ignore the hype and deal with the facts.

Your decision should not be as hard as it seems.  First, you have to decide if after careful review of all facts, you can buy a home…do you really want to buy a home.  If the answer to that question is no, don’t bother going through the exercise.  You have to want to own a home.  Owning just because you can is not enough. If you want to own a home, there is a good chance you will appreciate the home and you will take care of the home (and when times get rough, you won’t just walk away from the home).

So, you have decided, Yes you do want to own a home.  Let’s try and answer for you, is now a good time to buy a home?  Look at your current living situation.  It does not matter how much you are paying in rent right now. You have to decide how much you are comfortable paying for housing every month.  You have to decide upon a figure that you will pay every month.  The amount should not leave you broke.  You will need to save money from the day you move into the home until the day you retire. Things come up. Appliances wear out, plumbing springs leaks, lawns need maintenance, etc.  Owning is more than eating, sleeping and watching television.

Once you determine how much you are comfortable paying each month, you can do some basic math to see if you should proceed.  Just for general principles, divide the monthly figure you came up with by 6. (eg. 1800 per month divieded by 6 equals 300).  The figure you have now is just about the amount you would pay in principal and interest for a  $300,000  loan.  This is not exact, it is a ball park figure.  It is just to give you a general idea of what you might be able to afford.

Your next step is to sign on the internet and pull up real estate for sale in the price range you have determined. (In the example, you might pull up homes ranging from $275,000 to $300,000.)  Look at what your money might buy and look at what your money might buy in the area you would like to live.  Now you have some information that is useful in determining if now is a good time to buy a home.

Now, if there is nothing you would want to own at this point in your search, you have answered the question. Now is not a good time to buy a home.  If what you are comfortable paying will only cover rent in an area, then you should rent until your situation changes.

You see, it is always a good time to buy a home.  It just may not be the best time for you to buy a home.  All the advertising and slick talking salesmen can not change facts.  It is a good time for you to buy a home when you can comfortably afford to buy a home in the area you wish to live.

If you would like to have me help you analyze your personal situation, CONTACT ME.  I would rather point you in the right direction and help you in the future than lead you down the wrong path and destroy a relationship forever.

Top 10 Reasons … Why buy in Rockville, Md.

Rockville, Maryland is located north of Bethesda, Maryland on both sides of Rockville Pike.  The area of Rockville actually extends as far east as Georgia Avenue and as far west as Darnestown Road. The northern edge of Rockville ends at the intersection of  Shady Grove Road and Rockville Pike.

People that live here, rarely move and those that visit often return to make it their home. It is no mystery why that occurs. There are hundreds of reasons. Let me share the top 10.

  • 10.   Local produce on sale during Spring, Summer and Fall at Farmers Markets  held in two locations in downtown Rockville from May through November. Every Saturday, May 14 through November 19, the Farmers Market transforms itself as different fruits and vegetables become available throughout the season. Your pick of  farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, bedding plants, cut flowers, preserves, honey herbs, baked goods, and more. All items offered are picked fresh daily and available as supplies last.
  • 9.    Red Gate Golf Course is open year round. Red Gate Golf Course is a championship 18-hole par-71 golf course that has been ranked as one of the 10 finest facilities in the Washington metropolitan area by Washington Golf Magazine.
  • 8.    Rockville Town Square is bustling. Enjoy all that downtown offers by visiting our unique locally-owned shops and restaurants, a pedestrian-friendly Town Square, residences, and the seat of county and city government, Rockville’s Town Center is a dynamic and thriving neighborhood to visit and call home.
  • 7.    The F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre has it’s home here. Named for the celebrated author who often visited Rockville, this 446-seat facility for the performing arts is used by both community theatrical groups and professional touring companies. Besides stage performances, the theater and its Social Hall are available for conferences, seminars and other large meetings.
  • 6.    Discount weekend and free parking! There are no parking meters in Rockville. There are parking garages and parking lots as well as free lots.  Every retail location has plenty of parking. Most single family homes have driveways and/or garages.
  • 5.     Cherry blossoms and Azaleas. Local neighborhoods have hundreds upon hundreds of cherry trees.  Springtime in Rockville  is a wonderful, colorful  experience.  There is little need to drive to DC, you have the beauty all around you at home.
  • 4.    Neighborhoods. Town center is surrounded by neighborhoods. These neighborhoods usually have an association that promotes interaction between neighbors.  These are real neighborhoods where people get to know and care about one another.
  • 3.    FIOS. Most neighborhoods in Olney have access to fiber optic internet service.  Folks that work from home or those that need that gazillion baud rate will never be twiddling their thumbs here.
  • 2.    Montgomery College has it’s main campus here. Their mission states that “We are the community’s college.” A variety of activities, programs and facilities are available on each campus to county residents. Take a look at everything Montgomery College has to offer beyond a great education.
  • 1.    Community. Rockville offers community to those that live here. There are fine schools, public and private.  There are year round events where neighbors come together.  There are houses of worship open to all.  There is a sense of caring and community spirit that is very unique.

If you would like to hear more about Rockville, give us a call and we will be glad to share all the information we have on this great community.  If you would like to see what homes are available in Rockville,  just click on the link below.

LINK TO Rockville

Tudela-MacArthur

ReMax Realty Centre

301-509-5111

7601 Dew Wood Drive, Derwood, Md $515,000

Maybe you have a job with an office in downtown Washington DC. Maybe you work in Rockville or Bethesda. There’s a good chance that where ever you spend your day earning your hard earned pay, it is part of the giant urban concrete jungle that extends from Alexandria to Rockville. At the end of the day, you will face the same challenges everyone else faces in just getting home.

Wouldn’t it be nice if home made the daily grind worthwhile? There are so many things to consider when buying a home, wouldn’t it be nice to know that you have a chance at that elusive nightly nirvana. Well, I am here to tell you that you do… Welcome to 7601 Dew Wood Drive, Derwood, Maryland. Reasonably priced at $515,000, this King George model in Mill Creek Towne is available for purchase today.

Let’s get traffic and commuting and how do I get there from here out of the way. If the President of the United States invited you to dinner, it might take around 30 minutes to drive to his house. The rest of the offices located downtown are reachable within the same time frame. If you have to travel to Crystal City or Rosslyn, they are just over the bridge and minutes from downtown proper. Bethesda is about the same travel time from your door. Rockille? Why Rockville is but minutes away.

The important thing to know about commuting in this area concerns not how but how many. They say all roads lead to the city, how many are available to you in Derwood? Well, you have Muncaster Road that heads north and south. You are close to Shady Grove Road which will take you over to the new ICC or 355 or 270. You have a lot of choices and that becomes very important if traffic backs up on one of your roads home.

Home, that is 7601 Dew Wood Drive in a nutshell. Yes, there is a virtual tour. If you just have to see the pictures, you can click on this LINK.  There is a lot more to this area that you can’t see in a picture.  You pull into your circular driveway and get out of the car.  Before you open the door, turn around. You are surrounded by a mature, well landscaped neighborhood.  The noise of the city is far from your doorstep.

And from that front door, you are only about 5 minutes away from Lake Needwood.  Consider that. Five minutes from a lazy afternoon picnic by the lake.  If you would prefer a round of golf, Needwood Golf Course is next to the lake and it is just one of about a dozen public courses within that same 5-10 minutes away.  Montgomery County has no shortage of strip centers and there are a few within a short drive of your home.  McDonalds, Ledo’s Pizza, CVS, 7-11 and a couple gas stations are close enough to be convenient and far enough to be out of mind until needed.

We all find that we have to work (well most of us anyway).  Often, we just can’t decide where we want to work. We end up where we can earn the most and feel the most comfortable each day.  The stress of work usually increases from Monday to Friday. You deserve a home that will release the tension and offer you a chance to unwind and enjoy your family, your friends and your life.

You are looking for a new house.  Consider 7601 Dew Wood Drive. It may become your private haven from the hustle and bustle of the work day and your opportunity to slow down and enjoy the good things a great neighborhood has to offer.

If you would like to see this home, have your agent contact Centralized Showings. We represent the seller of the home and will not tiptoe into the gray area of writing an offer for someone that is willing to reject representation in hopes of getting a better deal. In Maryland, you have a right to have an agent represent you, since we represent the sellers, we can’t represent you. We will be glad to refer you to an agent. This could be home.

The Second Step in Home Buying

The second step in home buying is making a careful determination of your needs. This determination should include, but is not limited to the size, type and location of your new home.  As mention in my earlier article (The first step in Home Buying), you should have already spoken with a lender regarding how much money you are comfortable spending on your new home.  Don’t be surprised if the figure is impacted by other monthly costs associated with the home you choose.  You have a monthly payment amount that is in your comfort zone. In addition to the cost of your loan, you will have taxes, insurance and possibly Homeowner’s Association and/or Condominium Fees.

Let’s review the best way to answer the questions regarding a determination of  your needs. Each of the basic questions must be reviewed and clarified before going out and looking at homes. It is quite possible that after your first or second or third day viewing homes, you will revise your needs based on what is available for purchase. Just as the market is always in flux, your needs list should be adaptable. Let me be very clear, adaptable means that you do have a base line for “must be” or “must have”  but there are things that are not essential to the purchase. Your determination of needs should include both “must be” or “must have” as well as “like it to be” or “would be nice to have” items.

  • The first item on the list is size of the home.  Size is sometimes thought of  in square footage and others are referring to the number of various rooms in the new home.  It is probably a good idea to initially focus on how many bedrooms and bathrooms you will need.  If you narrow your selection in this fashion, you can then evaluate the square footage when viewing homes.  The square footage that shows in the multiple listing service is only a guide.  The use of the square footage can best be appreciated when viewing the home.  You have to visit the home and visualize your furniture in the new space.  You have to feel the home.  When considering the number of bedrooms and bathrooms in the home, do not overlook your need for a home office ( second bedroom ) and if you are buying a two bedroom (or more), it is better for future resale to have at least two bathrooms.
  • The second item on the list is the type of home you want to purchase.  There are many options. Your choice should include your comfort level with the various styles. There are “apartment-like” homes that are usually condominiums or co-ops, there are “piggy back” style homes (one unit over the other), there are row houses or town homes, there are duplex (two units side by side) and there are single family homes.  The amount of money that you are comfortable spending may limit your choices in type.  I have listed them in the general order of lowest price to highest price (there are always exceptions).  A good real estate agent will be able to go over the different styles available in your price range in your market.
  • The third item shared regarding things you need to evaluate is location. The location you choose will often determine the size and type of home you can afford.  It has often been shared that all real estate is about location, location, location.  Why?  Where you actually live impacts every aspect of your life.  It is the starting point and ending point of every work day. How you get to and from the locations is every bit as important as where the location is actually on the map.  The decision about location has to move beyond the usual questions about schools and safety.  In the DC area, the length of your commute will impact how you feel when you get to work and how you feel when you get home.  The ideal home never has a chance to live up to your expectations if you are exhausted by the time you get home every night.  The caveat here is that you have to accept the reality of the commuter time before you purchase (always picture the worst case scenario).  This is another area in which an experienced agent that has complete knowledge of the area is needed.  The longer someone has lived in an area, the more likely they know the alternative routes to get from your new home to your job.  Location is much more than where, location is one piece that needs to fit into the puzzle of your life comfortably.

The second step in home buying is making a careful determination of your needs. If you share your list with an experienced real estate agent, you will find your home search is more productive.  Finding “the” home for you will still feel like looking for a needle in a haystack, but at least you will know , pretty much, the type of needle you are seeking.

If you have any questions about preparing your list, you can always contact me directly.  Contact John.