Real Estate Marketing Specialists

Category Archives: Miscellaneous

This includes all of the real estate topics that don’t readily fit in other categories.

Historic Home Renovations that Will Ruin Home Value

Historic Home Renovations that Will Ruin Home Value

Renovating an historic home takes careful consideration, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Historical and architectural accuracy can conflict with modern convenience, as well as local building code requirements and historic preservation standards. Here are the top six renovations to be careful of in your reno planning:

1. Windows:   If at all possible, find ways to address energy efficiency without compromising the home’s appearance. The windows in an historic house often convey the charm and distinction of older homes. Rebuilding the wooden sashes while using the original glass is often the best solution to the dual goal of energy efficiency and historic integrity. You’ll probably need to hire a contractor who specializes in historic homes.

If it’s absolutely necessary to replace windows, make sure to stay within the style of the era in which your home was built. If your home is within a historic district, you’ll have to consult the local historic guidelines for renovation. They will help you stay within guidelines as well as be a resource for possible replacements and contractors.

2.   Exterior Paint and Trim:  Most of the time the particular Historic District will have rules concerning outside features. They may require period-accurate colors and appointments. The details like lighting, trim and hardware should be in keeping with the historic period architecture.

Federal Architecture Details in Historic District Frederick3.   Landscaping:   Doing research regarding plants and garden design of the historic period of your home is worth the trouble. If you are planning hardscape of any kind you’ll want to stick with what was common during the period.   For example, adding a modern Zen garden to a Federal home can be a negative. Again, Historic Districts will have guidelines regarding permanent outdoor fixtures.

Visiting a public historic site will be a great way to research what is typical of the era in the way of landscaping. In Frederick County, you can visit the Schifferstadt for an historically accurate 18th Century garden. The Museum of Frederick County History also has a garden, located on Church Street. Other museums include Rose Hill Manor Park on North Market Street, and the Carriage House Inn in Emmitsburg. Oatlands Historic House and Gardens is located in nearby Leesburg VA.

If you own an historic house that isn’t in a Historic District, you may still find the publications from a Historic District useful for your own home, if the historic era is similar. See resources at the end of this article.

4.   Decks, Patios and Porches:   Adding or renovating these outdoor rooms in styles other than your home’s historic period and architecture can have a negative effect on its value. These things are permanent and harder to change for someone who might want historical integrity.

5.   Pools and water features:   Historic preservation guidelines can help in deciding what features are appropriate for your home’s architecture and historic period. These additions can be permanent, so you want them to be accurate.

6. Roof Materials:   As with most outside issues, local historic districts usually have guidelines that must be followed regarding roofing. There are modern fire resistant materials that resemble traditional materials that are often ok to use, but be sure to check.

Don’t forget the State and Federal Tax breaks for historic home renovations.   Sometimes they will dictate historic accuracy in order to receive the deduction. It’s best to research during the planning stage.

7. Inside Renovations: This is a topic that is debatable; you’ll find several different opinions on what keeps the value in a home and what ruins it. Sometimes modern, open floor plans on the inside of an historic home are perfectly acceptable, sometimes they’re a tragedy, depending on your neighborhood, your market, and the expectations of typical buyers in your area.

Most Historic Districts don’t address the inside of the home, just the exterior. There are so many variables, depending on when your home was built, what is typical for your neighborhood and era, and much more. You’ll need to do your research, and consult experts in the area.

If you want to be absolutely sure you maintain your home’s historic integrity, then you’ll want to keep the interior as close to the original design as possible. Reproductions in hardware, lighting, and inside architectural details are widely available, in many stores, specialty shops, and certainly, on the internet.

Renovating an historic home can be painstaking if you determine to do it correctly, but the work will be worth it when you have an end product that maintains the integrity and authenticity of the historic period. The Frederick Historic District guidelines for renovation can be found on the City of Frederick website.

Additional Articles:

Resources for Historic Home Owners or Buyers

Whether you already own an historic home or are considering a purchase, whether in the Frederick Historic District or other location, research is your friend. Historic homes are a labor of love. The following are some resources you might find helpful:

Preservation Nation
National Register of Historic Places
Maryland Historic Trust
Federal Historic Tax Credits
This Old House
Historic Preservation in the City of Frederick

The C.Burr Artz Branch of the Frederick County Public Library has records and books in the Maryland Room on the second floor. The Frederick County Historical Society also has a wealth of resources. You can find out a lot of information about a historic home by doing a title search in the records room at City Hall. Happy Researching!

Historic Frederick in Pictures

Historic Frederick in Pictures

Pictures of Historic Frederick in Animated Gif:

Historic Frederick Pics Gif

Historic Frederick via Animated Gif. I had a lot of fun putting together this “moving slide show” of historic Frederick sites.

Frederick History in Brief

Frederick Maryland is a beautiful historic city in central Maryland. The name of the city either came from Frederick Calvert, 6th Lord Baltimore, who offered free land to those who would settle the Monocacy River Valley, or possibly it was named after Frederick the Great, of Prussia. The earliest settlers of the area in the 1600’s were German, and the city was founded in 1745 by German settlers.

Daniel Dulany, land speculator, laid out “Fredericktowne” in 1745. To control the crossroads that was Fredericktowne during the American Revolution, the British garrisoned troops at the Hession Barracks, which still stand and have been used several times since.

Fredericktowne was the “jumping off” point for Lewis and Clark, who used the Hession Barracks to accumulate provisions for their trip.

One famous Civil War event that is celebrated is the ransoming of the city, when Frederick was held for ransom by Confederate forces under General Jubal Early. The local banks raised $200,000 to pay the ransom, and of course, never were repaid.
Frederick is the home of the legendary “Barbara Fritchie” of John Greenleaf Whittier’s famous poem.

Frederick also hosted several hospitals to nurse the wounded from the many Civil War battles fought around the area, as is related in the National Museum of Civil War Medicine on East Patrick Street.

Frederick has a rich history and it is kept very well in the Frederick Historic District. The Historic District has become a destination location for the region, where people come to shop in the unique shops and stores, eat in the fabulous restaurants and enjoy the Historic Architecture.

Frederick has a growing Theater District, and an artist’s community, with many unique Art Galleries. Frederick has been awarded many distinctions: One of the Beautiful Painted Cities, Top Ten Most Livable Cities, and one of the top Mainstreet Communities, as well as many others.

For more about Frederick Real Estate, contact the Highland Group for our personal “Four Corners Tour” of Frederick County. We love living, working and playing in Frederick Md and are happy to share it with you!

 

 

 

Let’s Keep the Drama Out of Real Estate, Shall We?

Let’s Keep the Drama Out of Real Estate, Shall We?

Real Estate Transactions Don’t Have to Be Full of Drama

Whether you’re buying a home or selling your home, the process can be stressful. After all, it’s the biggest investment most people make, both financially and in life. Although sometimes emotions can run high,  the process does not necessarily have to be full of drama. All involved can keep the transaction professional. That is a choice that buyers, sellers, and their agents can make…a choice that sure does make things go smoother.

We have dozens of stories about drama in real estate, unfortunately.
When buyers and sellers come to a difference in opinion,keep drama out of real estate
or when something unexpected occurs, it’s natural to have emotional responses. But, it’s really up to their agents to work towards a solution and minimize the drama that can accompany rising emotions.

After writing a guest post for my friend Bill Gassett (Read the post here: Home Sellers, Expect more from your Realtor) I thought this story needed a full blown spot light! Here’s a story of how drama almost stopped a home sale in it’s tracks, and in the process may have cost our seller needless thousands.

Adventures in Real Estate Sales

A previous client called us after 11 years to sell his home. He had purchased the home as a newly built home. The neighborhood was still very desirable, and the immaculate home sold in three days with two offers.

During the home inspection, the inspector became concerned about a crack in the foundation, and suggested an expensive repair. The agent became concerned, and so naturally, the buyers were concerned. All the concern was heightened to the point where the response to the home inspection included a $7,000 or more repair of the foundation.

We recalled that when the home was less than a year old, the settling produced a crack in the block foundation. The builder paid for an engineer to study the problem and he rendered the opinion that the crack was the usual type that comes with a home settling, and declared it inconsequential. We brought in another qualified engineer and he studied the issue and verified that yes, the crack was still inconsequential.

With his expert opinion, we were able to diffuse the situation before it escalated to a point of no return. This demand for an exorbitant dollar amount, for a fix of a problem that was still undetermined, was a negotiating tactic. But it turned out that once they were no longer full of fear, the buyers were still in very motivated to move forward.

Some observations:

  • That home inspector won’t be someone we ever use, or suggest someone else use. The suggestion of a fix to a problem that he thought he had uncovered, and a dollar amount, is out of his purview. He is a home inspector, not a contractor, not an engineer, not even a builder.
  • We’ve been to hundreds of home inspections after 22 years. We’ve seen foundation cracks. There are normal, inconsequential cracks due to the home settling, and there are serious cracks that warrant expensive foundation repair. We’ve seen one of those. When real estate agents participate in and encourage panic-driven responses at the first sign of a problem, it never helps. An experienced, professional real estate agent will approach problems with an appropriate solution, not with dramatic overtures.
  • Approaching problems with an overblown demand, especially when the problem needs more investigation by a licensed expert, does nothing toward reaching a solution. It blows the problem out of proportion, and makes the resolution that much more difficult. This only serves to minimize truly serious problems when they sometimes occur.
  • An agent who is experienced in negotiation will move the issue towards more understanding and clarity, which will result in real solutions. We have found that most problems that arise during a real estate transaction are really just hurdles, not road blocks.
  • Creating drama or heightened emotional responses is NOT the same thing as advocating for a client. It’s true that the buyer’s agent advocates for his buyer, and the seller’s agent, for the seller, however, advocating doesn’t have to lead to a brawl!

If the real estate agents involved can’t keep a cool head, then we’ve got real problems. If you find that your agent is an alarmist, you may want to consider a different agent. If you are exhausted from the emotional high’s and lows…of your agent, then you should consider a different agent.

Emotions Play A Part

There is no doubt that emotion plays a part in the process of buying and emotions have their placeselling a home. After all, you want to come home to a home that you love. You should make your home choice based somewhat on emotions, after you’ve made all the logical choices about financing, school districts, and all the other practical decisions. There is a definite place for emotions, they just don’t have the leading role. Certainly, the real estate agents should not be introducing drama, rather, they should be minimizing it.

A Neutral Color Palette in Home Staging

A Neutral Color Palette in Home Staging

Staging Your Home For Sale With Neutral Colors

“Paint Your Home in Neutrals” … Good advice for staging your home for  sale. What is a neutral color palette in home staging? Before you get a mental picture of your entire home painted like the desert sand, consider the idea that “neutral” isn’t limited to white and beige.

a neutral color palette in home staging
A Neutral Color Palette in Home Staging

After consulting with home stagers for several years, I’ve picked up some basics about decorating a home to appeal to buyers. The colors potential buyers see when they enter your home should be neutral so that they won’t be distracted by your personal style. They should be able to picture their own belongings in your home.

Using neutrals can mean more than white and beige, there are many subtle colors that can enhance the look of a room, and thereby enhance the buyers experience. Rich neutral hues can include many tinted soft colors, like these Benjamen Moore colors:neutral colors

A tinted neutral can add to the feel of a room in changing light. It can also play on the colors of your decorating themes.  A low-sheen paint will help hide imperfections in the drywall. The more glossy the paint, the more it stands out.

You can paint the moldings the same color as the wall to add to the illusion of height. Or, you can use color to highlight architectural details of your home. By painting the moldings a different shade, or a higher gloss, you can make them stand out.

Style and Color in Home Staging

Gray is the New Black

a neutral color palette in home staging

[Eclectic Living Room by San Juan Capistrano Closet & Home Storage Designers Tara Bussema]

Gray is a color that works well with modern decorating. Gray is clean, soothing, and appeals to both genders. According to color psychology, gray is the color of compromise and cooperation, an un-emotional color. It makes a great choice for a neutral shade when staging a contemporary space.

Gray walls are perfect to add a pop of accent color:

a neutral color palette in home staging

[Contemporary Bedroom by Other Metro Media and Bloggers Michelle Hinckley]

 

Sunshine Infused Neutrals

Colors infused with yellow, the color that evokes cheerfulness and hope, A Neutral color palette in home staginginclude:

  • Butter
  • Cream, Beiges and Barley
  • Lemon Sorbet – The Color of the Year for 2013 —->

Bringing Nature Inside

A Neutral color palette in home staging

[Traditional Kitchen by Odessa] 

Green hues are great for bringing a bit of the natural world inside. A blue-green shade can evoke a coastal or beach aura in a room. Blue and green hues are soothing and relaxing and are traditionally great for bedrooms.

Kitchens and Living Rooms can also benefit from a wash of green or blue. Sometimes a busy room can be calmed with the addition of blue or green tinted neutral walls.

a neutral color palette in home staging

[Traditional Dining Room by Little Rock Interior Designers & Decorators Cobblestone & Vine]

Playing with Energy

a neutral color palette in home staging

Red hues bring up the energy in a room. But painting in all-out fire-engine red is risky. Not very many rooms can handle this color, much less buyers. But you can use a tinted neutral to bring energy to a room. These rooms use a bit of the color, creating a peach hue that plays with the natural light, adding to the drama and energy:

 [Contemporary Bedroom by Other Metro Interior Designers & Decorators Mikel Irastorza]

The natural hues of wood features and stone fireplaces and walls can be enhanced by the subtle shades of neutrals painted on the walls.

a neutral color palette in home staging

[Traditional Living Room by Middletown Design-Build Firms Lancaster Craftsmen Builders Inc.]

Textured paint adds depth and richness to neutral paints that otherwise might appear flat. This textured paint is great in a small space, and goes a long way with a subtle paint shade.

a neutral color palette in home staging

[Traditional Bathroom by Silver Spring Interior Designers & Decorators Designing Solutions]

Additional Reading: Four Common Home Staging Mistakes


Frederick Md 21701

Frederick Md 21701

About Frederick Md 21701

The zip code of 21701 is located in northern City of Frederick, roughly bordered on the west by I-15, on the north by the Monocacy River and most of Liberty Road, on the east by Green Valley Road and around Lake Linganore, then on the south by I-70.

Homes for sale Frederick County

The neighborhoods that can be found in 21701 include:

Map of Frederick Md 21701

Several Historic Frederick Landmarks are found in zip code 21701: Children’s Museum, The Historic District with 50 square blocks of shops, restaurants and homes, The Civil War Medicine Museum, The Frederick County Museum of History, Prospect Hall, Barbara Fritchie Home and Museum, and other historic homes including the Schifferstadt and the Tyler Spite Home.

See more information about Frederick Md on the City of Frederick Website.

Frederick Md 21701 Demographic Information:

  • Population in 2010: 15,847
  • Average 2013 Home Value: $284,700
  • Median Home Value: $270,000
  • Cost of Living Index:  113.7 [more than U.S average of 100]
  • Average Real Estate Property Tax in 2010: $3,180
  • 43 Registered Sex Offenders as of July 2013
  • Median Resident Age: 38
  • Average Household Size: 2.6 people
  • Estimated Median Household Income in 2010: $80,500 [compared to Maryland, $70,000]

Shopping Centers:  Prospect Plaza Shopping Center, Patrick Shopping Center, Monocacy Village Shopping Center, Libertytown Shopping Center, Festival at Frederick Shopping Center, Eastgate Shopping Center, College Park Plaza Shopping Center, Everedy Square Shopping Center.

Public Elementary Schools in Frederick Md 21701:

Spring Ridge Elementary School, South Frederick Elementary, Parkway Elementary, Lewistown Elementary, Monocacy Valley Montessori School

Public Middle Schools in Frederick Md 21701:

Oakdale Middle School, Governor Thomas Johnson, Monocacy Middle, West Frederick

Public High Schools in Frederick Md 21701:

Oakdale, Governor Thomas Johnson, Frederick High, Walkersville High

Homes For Sale in Frederick Md 21701:

  1. 3 beds, 4 baths
    Lot size: 1,580 sqft
    Year built: 2015
    Days on market: 3
  2. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Lot size: 2,238 sqft
    Year built: 1999
    Days on market: 3
  3. 3 beds, 4 baths
    Lot size: 1,700 sqft
    Year built: 1997
    Days on market: 3
  4. 3 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,008 sq ft
    Lot size: 1,980 sqft
    Year built: 1910
    Days on market: 3
  5. 0 beds, 0 bath
    Home size: 198 sq ft
    Year built: 2011
    Days on market: 4
  6. 3 beds, 4 baths
    Lot size: 2,424 sqft
    Year built: 2012
    Days on market: 4
  7. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Year built: 1991
    Days on market: 6
  8. 5 beds, 3 baths
    Home size: 1,721 sq ft
    Lot size: 7,499 sqft
    Year built: 1946
    Days on market: 6
  9. 4 beds, 3 baths
    Lot size: 41,817 sqft
    Year built: 1976
    Days on market: 7
  10. 2 beds, 2 baths
    Home size: 1,100 sq ft
    Year built: 1994
    Days on market: 7
  11. 0 beds, 0 bath
    Home size: 195 sq ft
    Year built: 2011
    Days on market: 7
  12. 3 beds, 3 baths
    Lot size: 2,142 sqft
    Year built: 1874
    Days on market: 9

See all Real estate in the 21701 zip code.
(all data current as of 12/10/2017)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.

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