Ruxton

Lutherville, Real Estate, Home & Garden, Ruxton, Sponsored Post

Gorgeous Listings and Advice from The Whit Harvey Group: Should You Buy That Fixer Upper?

0 Written by: | Thursday, Aug 21, 2014 10:30am

Check out these gorgeous listings from the Whit Harvey Group.

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from the Whit Harvey Group Blog:

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Should You Buy that Fixer-Upper?

While watching a recent episode of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper”, I was struck by how surprised buyers are when they uncover problems that they never suspected, such as outdated wiring, mold and pest infestations. Really?

If the exterior of the run-down exterior is covered with ivy, the floor is uneven, and the home was built in the 1920s, why would you not expect to find issues that go beyond old paint and linoleum floors when tearing out a wall to create a dream kitchen?

I am speaking from experience.

When my husband and I purchased a fixer-upper several years ago, we had no idea that major problems existed, such as a rotted sill plate at the front of the house that involved thousands of dollars to repair, and jury-rigged headers along the back of the house the necessitated a complete rebuilding of that wall when we decided to install new windows and a new door.

When we first found the house, we were excited about the vaulted ceiling addition to the 1930s home, which created an open floor plan, loft, and opportunity for a dream kitchen. We brought in a contractor and interior designer to help us come up with an estimate of $60,000 for updating the bathrooms, tearing out the wall-to-wall carpet, refinishing the existing hardwood floors and a kitchen with custom cabinetry, stainless steel appliances and granite countertops.

New kitchen, windows, hardwood floors...totally worth it.

We subtracted that from the home’s likely market value after renovation, and what decided what would work within our budget. What we SHOULD have done was to then deduct at least another 5 to 10 percent for unforeseen problems.

Four and a half years and $145,000 dollars later, with 2 kids in college, and potential upgrades still to do, we decided that we were done with the house and would turn it over to a younger couple to finish what we had started. Luckily the homes in our area had retained their value, and we were able to get our money back out of the house when we sold it, and the new buyer got a home where all of the major problems had been solved and they needed only to do a few finishing touches.

So how DO you know if a fixer-upper in a great neighborhood IS something you want to undertake? I did a little research and came up with 6 tips that I had considered before purchasing our home.

1. Include an inspection clause in your contract. 
At best, the inspection will assure you that the house is a good investment; at worst, it will help you back out of the deal. Often with fixer-uppers, it’s something in between. The inspector will document a serious problem or two, (if they can see them) and you can use the findings to get the seller to pay for repairs or negotiate the sale price downward. Accompany your inspector and ask questions about anything you are unsure about.

2. Avoid a house that needs significant structural improvements. 
Major repairs — plumbing and electrical system overhauls, foundation upgrades, and extensive roof and wall work — are usually “invisible” and hardly ever raise the value of the house enough to offset the cost of the renovation.

3. Pick Projects That Pay
The ideal fixer-uppers are those that require mostly cosmetic improvements — paint touchups, drywall repairs, floor refinishing — which generally cost much less than what they return in market value. New lighting fixtures, doors, window shutters, and siding, as well as updated kitchens and bathrooms, are also lucrative improvements.

4. Don’t over improve. 
For maximum resale value, remodeling investments should not raise the value of your house more than 10 to15 percent above the median sale price of other houses in your area, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

5. Line Up The Money
One of the most challenging aspects of purchasing a fixer-upper is paying for the renovation. Understandably, most people don’t have much extra cash after making the down payment and paying closing costs, so coming up with additional money to cover repairs or remodeling can be difficult.

By far the most popular funding choice for a fixer-upper is a renovation loan, either through a home equity line of credit or a mortgage. Even more advantageous is a renovation loan tied to the first mortgage. Similar to equity lines, these loans can be borrowed against the house’s value after the work is finished, but like any mortgage, the interest is tax deductible up to $1 million.

6. Add at least 10% to what you think you will spend.
Even if you don’t encounter major problems, knowing that you have allowed 10% more in your budget will give you peace of mind when those unexpected expenses crop up, whether it is minor electrical work, or upgrading to better appliances.

When all is said and done, my husband and I are not sorry that we renovated our last home. It was rewarding being able to restore some of the 1930s details in the older part of the house, and satisfying to fix all of the structural damage, because we were able to install beautiful new walls of windows that filled the house with light. The kitchen was indeed my dream and we had many a great party centered around the granite island.

We were also delighted to move into a smaller home that only needed a little bit of paint to make it perfect. Now, of course, five years later, I am eyeing up the kitchen wall that I would like to take down, and thinking about creating a workshop in our garage.

Would I ever take on another fixer-upper? Ask my husband.

By Cathy Evans

Read More →

Gibson Island, Greenspring Valley, Lutherville, Real Estate, Home & Garden, Ruxton, Sponsored Post

A Peek Inside the Whit Harvey Group’s Featured Properties & Great Summertime Home Deals

0 Written by: | Wednesday, Aug 06, 2014 1:00pm

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A Peek Inside the Whit Harvey Group’s Featured Properties & Great Summertime Home Deals

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Great Summertime Home Deals

The end of spring and beginning of summer show the most home buying and selling activity. According to seasonal statistics, about 60 percent of all homes are sold during these prime months. But as the temperature heats up near the end of summer, home selling activity slows down. There are many reasons for this: uncomfortable temperatures, vacations, and not a lot of new inventory. But for those willing it sweat it out, this a great time to find bargains.

Here are a few tips for snagging those end-of-summer deals:

Look For a Long History

Check out homes that were listed in the spring and have been on the market for 60 days or more. If the property has only just been listed and put on the market, the seller will likely want to receive a full-price offer. If it’s been on the market for a few months, the owners might be ready to make a deal.

Vacation Every Day on Gibson Island
719 Skywater Road

This delightfully Open Contemporary Ranch exemplifies the ease of one floor living! Completely gutted and rehabbed in 2006 with exposed beamed ceilings, red oak hardwood floors, granite counter tops, walk in jetted shower, dipping pool with deck, and so much more! New Price Reduction!

 

 

Featured Hot Listing, Gibson Island, Greenspring Valley, Real Estate, Home & Garden, Ruxton, Sponsored Post

Whit Harvey Group’s Featured Properties – Garden Delights

0 Written by: | Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014 11:00am

The latest of the Whit Harvey Group’s Featured Properties – Garden Delights

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from the Whit Harvey Group Blog:

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Enchanting Cottage on Private Island

Everyone knows Gibson Island for its waterfront. It has 7 miles of shoreline, which includes frontage on the Chesapeake Bay and Magothy River. The sheltered harbor is filled with boats, and the Yacht Club hosts the Junior Fleet and sailboat racing. Admittedly, the beaches are lovely, the lakes are peaceful, and there is nothing quite like a day on the water. But there is another side of the island – the inside. Let’s go there.

About two-thirds of Gibson Island is set aside for recreation, forestry and wildlife conservation. The interior of the island is filled with sun-dappled woods, meadows and rolling hills. Paved roads feel more like meandering pathways, and there is a quiet solitude that is most apparent at 624 Cotterill Road.

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Nestled at the end of a tree-lined drive is an extraordinary custom-built cottage just up the hill from the clubhouse – close to all that Gibson Island has to offer, yet very private and off the beaten path. From the cobblestone driveway surrounded by landscaped gardens, to the cedar siding and French board and batten shutters, this Cape Cod was designed to enchant from the start.

Soaring ceilings, lofted spaces, skylights, French doors, and walls of windows fill the house with light. The river recovery heart of pine floors, carved antique wood mantel, window seats, dry bar and other custom details will fill you with delight. You can be master of all you survey from the second story loft.

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Curl up on one of the built-in window seats flanking the wood-burning fireplace in the living room and watch fireflies dance on the sweeping back lawn from […]

 

Featured, Hot House, Real Estate, Home & Garden, Ruxton

Psst… Contemporary House And 10 Acres For Sale, Quietly, In Ruxton

0 Written by: | Tuesday, Jul 01, 2014 12:30pm

Hot House: 8 Bowen Mill Road, Ruxton, MD 21212

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Contemporary-style, Charles Richter designed house in painted brick, circa 1989. Three bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms over 5,572 square feet and three levels, with gourmet kitchen, breakfast room, family room, multiple fireplaces, master bedroom suite w/walk in closet, built-ins, home office/in-law suite w/separate entrance, custom designed wine cellar in finished basement, attached garage. Forced air heat, central a/c.  Bluestone patios, swimming pool, on 9.5 + landscaped acres: $2,100,000 Read More →

Greenspring Valley, Real Estate, Home & Garden, Ruxton, Sponsored Post

GORGEOUS HOMES IN GREAT NEIGHBORHOODS: THE LATEST LISTINGS BY THE WHIT HARVEY GROUP

0 Written by: | Friday, May 23, 2014 10:00am

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Phoenix, Real Estate, Home & Garden, Ruxton, Sponsored Post

GORGEOUS HOMES IN GREAT NEIGHBORHOODS: THE LATEST LISTINGS BY THE WHIT HARVEY GROUP

0 Written by: | Friday, May 16, 2014 2:00pm

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From The Whit Harvey Group Blog:

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A Home for Keeps in Homeland

If you are looking for a classic 4 bedroom Georgian with a garage, in Homeland, look no further. A professionally landscaped front yard and flagstone path lead you to the front door of 108 St. Albans Way.

Large enough for a family yet intimate in feel, it is perfect for a couple or a couple of kids. The tree-lined streets encourage evening strolls, and the property is within walking distance of several area schools including Friends, The School of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, and Gilman.

Tastefully updated by the interior designer owner, the house is beautifully appointed throughout with wainscoting, fluted molding with rosette corners and hardwood floors. New plantation shutters were recently installed providing privacy, while letting in the sunlight.

The grand front entrance, formal dining room, living room with fireplace and cook’s kitchen, come together to make this home perfect for entertaining. Designed with cooks in mind, the eat-in kitchen, features a stainless steel Wolf range with a pot-filler faucet above, granite countertops and custom cabinetry.

Two walls of windows in the slate-floored sunroom addition let the outside in, and provide a view of the flagstone patio and private backyard. A powder room is adjacent to the kitchen and sunroom.

The upstairs offers four generously sized bedrooms, including the master suite, with luxurious bath, double closets and window seat. Two of the bedrooms share a buddy bath, and one bedroom at […]

 

Gibson Island, Homeland, Real Estate, Home & Garden, Ruxton

GORGEOUS HOMES IN GREAT NEIGHBORHOODS: THE LATEST LISTINGS BY THE WHIT HARVEY GROUP

0 Written by: | Friday, May 02, 2014 9:00am

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From The Whit Harvey Group Blog:

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Goose-Farm Cove: Private Sanctuary just North of Towson

This custom-built home overlooking Loch Raven Reservoir is one-of-a-kind and beyond move-in ready – it is phenomenal. The view alone is worth a thousand words, and the interior details are too numerous to mention. But we’ll try. Read More →

Featured, Hot House, Real Estate, Home & Garden, Ruxton

Thunder Hill: 9 Private Acres, Glorious Views, And All of Ruxton At Your Feet

2 Written by: | Tuesday, Apr 29, 2014 12:39pm

 

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Hot House: 1811 Circle Road, Ruxton,  21204

Single-style colonial, circa 1883, with L-shaped later addition. Slate roof over main house, asphalt shingle roof on addition. Six bedrooms, 5.5 baths over 6,033 sq. ft., with entrance hall, formal living and dining rooms, eat-in kitchen, butler’s pantry, multiple fireplaces, original architectural details, hot tub, 3 car garage, partial a/c. 9.27 acre hilltop property: $1,585,000 

What: The John Wayne of houses — big, simple and a little creaky —  with an innate dignity and an incorrigible aspect. It’s a storybook setting, magical for children, but  perhaps best suited to owners with an easy-going, tolerant disposition. Built in 1886 by the Fisher family as a summer home, it has since been owned by assorted Finneys, Seilers, Cromwells and Tates, and lived in year-round since 1936.  There were once cows grazing on the hillside, horses, a pond, a tennis court and a vegetable garden. It  has been well-loved and well-maintained. You could live here happily for many years and never feel the need to improve  a thing. But after awhile (if not sooner), the lack of a master suite, the lemon yellow bathroom tile, the beige formica kitchen cabinets — or some other old-fashioned aspect of the house — is likely to set off a mania of home-improvement. There’s a risk that either the house, or a change-obsessed homeowner could lose their soul in the process, which would be a shame. Read More →

Gibson Island, Homeland, Phoenix, Real Estate, Home & Garden, Roland Park, Ruxton, Sponsored Post

GORGEOUS HOMES IN GREAT NEIGHBORHOODS: THE LATEST LISTINGS BY THE WHIT HARVEY GROUP

0 Written by: | Friday, Apr 25, 2014 10:00am

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From The Whit Harvey Group Blog:

 

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Homeowners: Don’t lose potential buyers! 5 things to remember:

Recent statistics show that 90% of homebuyers are searching for their next homes online. It used to be that a buyer would look at the Sunday paper filled with listing and upcoming open houses. They might drive by a listing, or go through an open house. If they were working with a buyer’s agent, that agent would keep them up to date on new listings as they became available, and take them to see potential properties. That was the only way to see the inside of the homes, unless there was a printed flyer in a box on the sign with a few badly smudge interior shots.

Things have changed, and homeowners need to remember these 5 things:

1. You need great photos.

A buyer searching online will pass over a listing that has no photos available. Pictures are interesting, pictures sell, and they all need to be good in order to snag the interest of a buyer. This means both interior and exterior shots. You may have the most fantastic house on the block, but if you have bad pictures, you may lose buyers that you never even knew about. If the photos don’t entice them to take the next step, there will be no next step and you’ve lost them.

2. 79% of buyers will drive by a house based on what they have seen online.
You’ve gotten a buyer’s interest, and they decide to get in the car and drive by the house. What will they see? Freshly mulched beautiful landscaping, or an overgrown garden with lackluster shrubs and bare patches in the grass? Is the front walk in good shape, and the door painted a bright color, or are there cracks in the sidewalk and empty planters. How many buyers may choose to keep driving because the front entry is not welcoming? Make sure the front of your home looks great all the time, not just for open houses and showings.

3. The number 1 most important room is the kitchen.
How does your kitchen stack up to those in other neighborhood listings? Walk through local open houses, or use the Internet to see the inside of your neighbor’s home for sale. Do they have stainless steel appliances and granite countertops? Do you? How can you make your kitchen more desirable to a potential buyer?

4. Highlight unique details in photos and listing information.
Have you done a lot of up upgrades? Are there custom features in your home that a buyer cannot find elsewhere? Is there a rich history to the house that makes it unique? Make sure that your realtor is aware of these things and can share them with potential buyers.

5. Outdoor living spaces.
Don’t forget the outdoor spaces when photographing your home. In Baltimore, we have three seasons we can spend outdoors, and if your home features a great view, awesome deck, or sparkling pool, brag about it. Porches can be staged with rocking chairs and potted plants. Highlight how decks and patios make outdoor entertaining a must with dining sets and comfortable seating.

What are the things about the house that excited you when you purchased it, and what do you hope house hunters will be excited about? Buyers tend to go with their emotions, make sure that your is up to the task of creating good ones.

Read about our staging services here.

Greenspring Valley, Real Estate, Home & Garden, Roland Park, Ruxton

GORGEOUS HOMES IN GREAT NEIGHBORHOODS: THE LATEST LISTINGS BY THE WHIT HARVEY GROUP

0 Written by: | Monday, Apr 21, 2014 10:30am

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From The Whit Harvey Group Blog:
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The Whys Behind the Blue Porch Ceiling

My neighbor just refinished his bead and board porch ceiling, spending hours sanding and staining. It looks great, but I’ve always been a fan of a blue ceiling on porches. I even took a photo of this beautiful porch ceiling at a house in Ruxton, (sold by Nina Tracey last year), so that I could remember the color.

I mentioned that to a friend at dinner last night, and she asked me if I knew how blue painted porch ceilings originated. I admitted that I had always thought it was just to mimic the sky. I was wrong. There is a whole history behind that blue. Read More →

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