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Invest in Crofton Real Estate – The Timing Couldn’t be Better!

Crofton’s real estate market is one of the few in our nation to benefit from changes to our nation’s defense strategy. While 70,000 service members will be cut from our armed forces in the $75 million leaner military budget, nearby Fort George G. Meade will welcome 4,000 more military men and women over the next few years.

They will support the information, intelligence, and cyber security missions of the National Security Agency, Defense Informaton Systems Agency, Defense Media Activity, and Cyber Command, which are located at Fort Meade. In fact, 13 major construction projects are currently in progress to house this expansion. But these folks also need a place to live.

Crofton’s location in the middle of a triangle formed by Fort Meade, the U.S. Naval Academy and Joint Base Andrews is often the first factor in attracting military personnel to our community. The easy 20-minute commute is often overshadowed as a priority, however, when buyers and renters see American flags flying over Crofton Parkway, learn about the annual Armed Forces Day Parade, and discover the Blue Star Memorial in front of Crofton Library. No wonder that so many retired military, DOD civilians, and active duty military personnel choose to live here… it’s convenient to work, the houses and townhouses are affordable, and the community just feels like home.

This military factor has provided stability and potential to the Crofton real estate market for decades. With this latest expansion at Fort Meade, the timing couldn’t be better to purchase a home or rental property. There are more than 80 properties on the market in Crofton now that are priced under $500,000. One of the best investent opportunities in Crofton is 1615 Dryden Way.  Call me for an appointment to see this and several other homes.

Crofton Homes for Sale

Posted originally on Activerain.com 7/23/14.

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Posted by Margaret Woda | | Discussion: No Comments »

Crofton Real Estate Update for May 2014

Real Estate Update for Crofton, Maryland – May 2014

Good news for Crofton home buyers! May was a busy month for listings in Crofton, with 72 properties added to the inventory of available homes for sale. Today, June 15, there are 99 listings on the market for sale in the 21114 zip code, ranging from $109,000 (2-BR condo in The Tiers at Walden) to $800,000 (detached home on nearly 2 acres). This is the largest inventory of homes for sale in Crofton since November 2011.

I love CroftonBy contrast, only 20 homes went under contract in the entire zip code during May. Even if you count the 24 contingent contracts (I’ll buy your house if and after my house sells), that’s only 44 offers accepted – definitely NOT in the same ballpark as 72 new listings, but it is an increase over May 2013.

What does this mean to you? When new contracts don’t keep pace with new listings, market conditions favor buyers over sellers. This usually translates into more days on market and more competitive pricing, as well. Disappointing to current Crofton home owners, but a great opportunity for home buyers.

Mixed news in “sold” statistics: Closings in May (37) were the highest we’ve seen in 2014, and an increase of nearly 6% over May 2013. The average days on market for the homes closed last month was 47, however, a 161% increase over the 18 days on market in May 2013. Average sold price to original list price was down approximately 2% from last year, but it was still a respectable 96.4%. The breakdown of attached vs. detached homes closed in May 2014 was nearly even at 18/19, compared to last year when it was 23/12.

This increase in sales of detached homes contributed to the nearly 4% increase in average sold price overall, but the average sold price of detached homes in Crofton dropped 5.6% from last year to $453,958 and the average sold price of attached homes dropped 7.05% to $251,564 from 2013.

Real estate statistics are only a small part of the story for Crofton home buyers and sellers, but they do help provide some perspective. Crofton homes are selling, but sellers and real estate agents should not be surprised if their property is on the market longer than it might have been at this time last year. Home buyers, this is an opportunity for you to take advantage of the relatively large inventory of homes on the market in Crofton while rates are hovering around 4%… chances are good that your monthly payment to own will be lower than rent on a comparable property.

View Crofton Homes for Sale

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Posted by Margaret Woda | | Discussion: No Comments »

Beware electric hedge clippers…

Crofton home owners are busily grooming their yards, and you’ll see us throughout the neighborhood on summertime weekends. We tend to be educated people who know to “Beware of power tools,” but accidents can and do happen.

Trimming the BushesAccording to a 2004 Consumer Reports article, nearly 4,000 trimmer related injuries involved lacerated fingers. I couldn’t find more recent stats, but suffice it to say that I became a participant for the next set of statistics when someone updates that article again. Fortunately, I didn’t lose my finger, but there’s a lot of blood and pain when that happens, and my finger looks pretty darn ugly a week into recovery.

Even though you probably already know and practice these safety tips from that same Consumer Reports article, it can’t hurt to share these reminders with you:

1. Never use electric trimmers in the rain, on wet grass or shrubs, or near water.
2. Use an undamaged extension cord rated for outdoor use, and plug it into an outlet with a ground fault circuit interrupter (or use a GFCI-equipped cord).
3. Keep cords safely looped behind you.
4. Wear safety goggles, ear protection, work gloves, nonslip shoes, and clothing that won’t get caught in the blades.
5. Don’t overreach, especially on a ladder.
6. Keep both hands on the trimmer, and fingers and other parts of your body away from the blades when trimming.
7. Turn off the power and wait for the blades to stop before adding fuel or removing debris.

My accident happened so quickly that I don’t know exactly what happened, but obviously I failed to keep both hands on the trimmer (#6).

Let me add one more suggestion, in case you ever do have an accident like this: Call 911. The EMT performed initial triage, so I arrived at the Emergency Room with the bleeding controlled and the pieces more or less held together by sterile gauze. The inevitable wait to see a doctor was much less frustrating and stressful than it would have been if someone else had taken me.

No matter how many times you’ve safely used electric tools in the past, remember that’s no guarantee against an accident in the future. Take care!

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Posted by Margaret Woda | | Discussion: No Comments »

Another Source for Down Payment on a Home

How much down payment will I need for a Crofton townhouse?

The average sold price for an attached home in Crofton in May 2014 was approximately $251,500. Using an FHA loan, the 3.5% down payment would be $8,803.00. Using a 95% conventional loan, the down payment would  be $12,575.  In both cases, sellers are allowed to pay some of the buyers’ closing costs if they’re willing.

In other words, you’d be a lot closer to buying a home if you just had an extra $10,000. Right?  

Check out this excerpt from an article by real estate columnist, Pat Zaby:

Another Source for a Down Payment

IRA 250.jpg

Most taxpayers know they will pay a 10% penalty for withdrawing funds from their IRA before they turn 59.5 years old.  BUT… There is an exception for first-time home buyers that allows a penalty-free withdrawal up to $10,000 per person if they haven’t owned a home in the previous two years.

This would allow a married couple who each have an IRA to withdraw a lifetime maximum of $10,000 each - $20,000 total, penalty-free for a home purchase. In many cases, the money would be used for a down payment or closing costs.  However, some buyers might consider this source to increase their down payment so they could qualify for a loan without mortgage insurance or a lower interest rate.

Another interesting fact about this provision is that the taxpayer making the withdrawal can use it to help a qualified relative which includes children, grandchildren, parents and grandparents.

I am not an accountant or attorney, so before using IRA funds for a home purchase you should get expert advice from your own tax professional concerning your situation.

Let’s Get Started!

Contact me today or visit my website for information about the home-buying process. No cost or obligation, just information to help you decide if you’re ready.  The payoff for you will be huge: you can have the option to fire your landlord and enjoy the tax benefits of home ownership, not to mention all the other benefits of home ownership.

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Posted by Margaret Woda | | Discussion: No Comments »

Real Estate Sales UP in April 2014

Real Estate Market Update for Crofton, MD – April 2014

Crofton home owners will be happy to learn that sales were up more than 34% last month over last month (March 2014) and last year (April 2013), with 31 closed sales.

There were 57 new listings last month but, fortunately, the new pending sales exceeded that number with 64 new pending contracts, up 45% over last year. About half of these were contingent contracts, so let’s hope the market continues with its annual Spring rebound to convert those contingent contracts to firm “under contract” status.

It’s interesting to note that the majority of buyers who closed in April used Conventional financing (15), in spite of the tighter restrictions in place for Conventional loans. Thirteen buyers used VA or FHA, two paid cash (probably investors), and one used “other” – perhaps an assumption or owner financing.

Average and median home prices for the properties that closed last month were down, but I wouldn’t lose sleep over that. It doesn’t mean that any one property dropped in value, just that more lower priced homes sold last month than a year ago. This is reflected in the ratio of attached/detached homes, which was 22/9 this year compared to 15/8 in 2013.

Overall, I think Crofton residents can feel good about the real estate market in Spring 2014. If you’re a prospective buyer, however, it’s time to get off the fence. When the market is good for sellers, it’s less favorable for home buyers.

This home is currently for sale in Crofton. Please contact me at 410-451-6245 for more information.

Dryden 1615 Exterior1

Posted by Margaret Woda | | Discussion: No Comments »

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