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Crofton Area Homebuyers Say the Darndest Things

Candid comments from actual home buyers in the greater Crofton area (including Bowie, Crofton, Davidsonville, Gambrills and Odenton)…

 

Home sellers don’t always listen to good advice offered by their agents.  Perhaps they would if they had half our experience working with buyers who can sometimes be brutally honest about the condition of homes we show them.

Sellers always ask for feedback, but do they really want the truth?  I sometimes wonder what their reactions might be if they had a Nanny-Cam spying on us as we walk around their homes.  They might hear prospective buyers say something like this:

Pointing

 

“What were they thinking? was the first reaction of my client when we opened the door from the foyer to the dining room and discovered a closet had been built behind the door.  She almost walked right into it!  “That’s the smallest dining room I ever saw,”  laughed the buyer.  “I don’t think my table would fit in there.”  Of course, I pointed out she could always restore the opening if she didn’t want or need that extra closet. (And you could still access the dining room from the kitchen… just not from the foyer.) – Bowie

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“No wonder it’s been on the market so long!” was my client’s reaction when I opened the door to one home and the buyers observed the color scheme.  “I feel like I’m being sucked into a strawberry soda,”  she added.  My suggestion?  “Paint is cheap… it would probably make that sucking sensation completely disappear.” – Crofton Meadows

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“There’s a window behind that bookcase?  I wonder what’s outside they don’t want us to see?”, said the buyer.  The sellers weren’t hiding anything, of course.  They just didn’t have enough wall space for that big bookcase. – Crofton

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“I wouldn’t have the nerve to try those colors together in the same room…” is a well-deserved comment by one of my clients about the orange, purple, and lime green in one room.  “They’ve been watching too much HGTV” said the spouse, and I added, “I guess they didn’t believe their agent when he told them buyers prefer boring beige.” – Piney Orchard in Odenton

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“I guess this decor is what they call Early Goodwill”, said the client.  “Vintage” said the spouse.  I had to remind them that the furnishings and accessories all move out when the seller does, but it was hard for the prospective buyers to imagine themselves living here.  “This home really makes the case for professional staging!” they said as they left.  – Crofton

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“Oh my God, I can’t breathe… don’t bring the children in here…” was the buyer’s reaction when I unlocked and opened the front door of one home.  Take a deep breath before you go in and tell us what the house is like,” said the spouse, as he backed away from the door.  (Within minutes, I had a terrible allergy attack and almost couldn’t breathe or swallow – and all I did was open the door.  It really didn’t matter that I hadn’t gone inside or that this was recently new carpet because it was obviously a pet toilet.  Fortunately, I had Benydryl and an inhaler in my purse.) Man Pointing – Four Seasons in Gambrills

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When I pointed out the beautiful landscaping in the back yard of one home, the buyer said “Obviously the seller has no life, since they must work in their yard all the time.  These plants would all have to come out so the dogs and kids would have a usable yard.”  No doubt the seller feels their landscaping will be the feature to sell their home, and they couldn’t imagine it’s actually a liability to the likely buyer for their home – a big family with lots of kids. – Crofton

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“This feels like a giant toy box, not a living room” the buyer said about a condo we looked at over the weekend.  Apparently the sellers had forgotten that the target market for their condo is empty-nesters.  Whether those empty-nesters are young people starting out or older people moving down, they’ll be very intimidated by all those toys.   “Get me outta here!” my clients said. “Let’s look at another unit.”  They were un-phased by my reminder that all the toys would move out with the sellers.  – Habitat Condo in Crofton Meadows

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And the most frequent… “How do people LIVE like this? “  No home seller wants to hear these words, but any real estate agent will tell you it’s a spontaneous reaction of prospective homebuyers for anything from clutter to odor.  This comment is not limited by neighborhood or price range, but I heard it most recently in… – Davidsonville

 

When your agent suggests that you de-clutter your home to get it ready for sale, it’s not a personal commentary on your house-keeping.  It’s a recommendation made to ALL home sellers, based on our experience from showing homes to buyers!  The same can be said for the suggestion that you clean, repair and neutralize your home.

And, when you ask for feedback, be careful what you wish for.  You might not like what you hear.  That’s because Home Buyers Say the Darndest Things.

Copyright 2010.  All rights reserved
Posted originally by Margaret Woda at MarylandRealEstateBlog.com

Posted by Margaret Woda | Discussion: Comments Off on Crofton Area Homebuyers Say the Darndest Things

Maryland Gets Rental Assistance for Homeless Veterans

At a time when homelessness is on the rise in the United States, due to the current housing crisis, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced last week that nearly 8,000 homeless veterans nationwide will get permanent housing assistance through a program that connects local housing agencies and Veterans Affairs Medical Centers. 

Flag-MDMaryland’s share of the $58.6 million program known as the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH) is $1,388,997.  It’s been awarded only to the Democratic strongholds of Baltimore City, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County, Maryland. 

One can only assume that the Eastern Shore, Western Maryland, Southern Maryland and Anne Arundel County either (1) take care of their own homeless and don’t need Federal Assistance or (2) don’t have a serious problem with homelessness.  Surely these veterans assistance funds wouldn’t be allotted based on political considerations, would they?

Foreclosure signAnd…

While I applaud the use of Federal tax dollars for this worthwhile cause, I can’t help wondering if the higher taxes making this and so many other federal expenditures possible might help to make even more veterans and their families homeless – especially in the current housing market where 3 out of 4 homes in some nearby neighborhoods are either short sales or bank-owned properties.  

 

If you know a homeless veteran, in Maryland or anywhere – regardless whether you or they are Democrat, Republican or Independent – please check out the HUD website for more information and help them get in touch with the appropriate agency in their state to find out if they qualify for this or any other housing assistance program.  For resources specific to Maryland, please visit the Maryland Department of Human Resources, where you will find a link to each county office.

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FocusOnCrofton.com is your one-stop source for information about Crofton, Maryland, and the surrounding area.  It’s my way of keeping current residents informed about their community and real estate matters while also attracting relocating home buyers to the Crofton area (including Bowie, Crownsville, Davidsonville, Fort Meade, Gambrills, Millersville and Odenton).  Please feel free to contact me any time for more information about these communities.

 Homes in Crofton MarylandHome Values in Crofton MarylandRelocating to Maryland

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Memorial Day Tribute to Unsung Heroes

American FlagWhen Memorial Day rolls around each year, I can’t help thinking about my dad’s experience as a World War II POW at Stalagluft III.  (Yes, that was the site of the famous “Great Escape” and it occurred while he was there, but he didn’t participate in it directly.)  We didn’t talk much about those two years, but he never let us forget that five crew members on his B-17 bomber didn’t live to become POWs.  In that sense, he felt he was one of the “lucky” ones.

I embarked on a mission, a few years ago, to assemble into albums the correspondence my grandmother saved from those days after her 22-year old son was shot down about 40 miles south-east of Paris.  It was a fascinating lesson in history and heroism on the home-front in both America and in France.

 

The cigar-box full of yellowed and brittle paper included several hand-written letters from mothers of those missing crew members, as well as my dad’s letters and postcards to his mother after he was captured by the Germans.  As a mother myself, I could barely read those letters through my tears as I realized that none of these other moms had any idea of their sons’ fate for months after the plane went down.  As weeks and months passed, you could feel their fear, pain and desperation growing with each new letter.   I noted they received no official word of their sons fate for nearly eLetteright months…

“Just a few lines to tell you we got a telegram Sunday at ten to six that my boy S/Sgt. Ray Scwabenbauer was killed Sept. 6 over France.  Mr. Morrison of Altoona got a telegram Sunday at 2 o’clock saying his son was killed on Sept. 6.  So far we have not heard about the Lawrence boy or the Lincoln boy… No one will ever know how broken-hearted I am over my boy’s death…” (May 1, 1944)

As I went through these letters, it did seem that my grandmother was indeed a “lucky” mom because she at least knew that her son was alive – even though the circumstances were not ideal. 

 

Additionally, the box contained letters from a woman in France, the matriarch of a family who initially rescued and hid my dad from the Germans after his plane was shot down.  Unfortunately, he was injured and could not escape eventual capture by the enemy, but the family who helped him was very active in the French underground.  The woman’s letters speak of amazing courage on the part of French villagers who risked their own lives to help Americans shot down over France. 

In fact, her 8-year old son was able to travel with one American soldier at a time, pretending to be the son (or brother, depending on the age of the American) of a deaf and mute farmer going to purchase supplies.  When Germans stopped them, the boy (often riding on the shoulders of the American) would explain that his papa couldn’t hear or speak.  The boy would accompany an American from Paris to England by hitch-hiking or walking the entire way and then travel back to France alone to begin the dangerous journey again with another American – a scared young man hidden in the attic of a villager’s home to await safe transport.  One of those he helped in this way was a member of my dad’s flight crew.  Another member of the crew was picked up by a nearby motorist and driven straight to England.

When my grandmother learned about the bravery of this family and their neighbors, she tasked her older son – another member of the Army Air Corp – with helping to deliver supplies to the French Underground for the remainder of the war – many of these items were sent to Europe by her for this purpose at a time when rationing was in place for Americans.  She had to rely on the generosity of her own friends and family to give up their limited supply of staples to help the French Resistance.

The two women became great friends, united in their common desire to help the American servicemen avoid capture and imprisonment or firing squad, and they worked together again after the war to do something quite incredible:

 

Monument - Champigny sur YonneThey each convinced their own government to find the remains of the five members of my dad’s crew who didn’t survive and to move them to the French village where the plane had gone down.  In order to accomplish this, my grandmother had to obtain permission from the boys’ survivors and the French woman had to persuade local people to donate grave sites and markers.  With these tasks accomplished, they pressed both governments to co-operate, and the burial of these American boys in their permanent place of rest at Champigny sur Yonne took place in 1948 on the 5th anniversary of their deaths.

Two of my children and I attended the memorial ceremonies held there on the 50th anniversary, in 1993.  We discovered that September 6 is a local holiday when schools and businesses are closed, a delegation of American military officers stationed in Europe joins the locals, and the entire village celebrates their own very personal Memorial Day to honor the sacrifice of these five young men and all the other Americans who gave their lives to liberate France from Hitler.

The pilot of that plane attended with his wife, as well as my mother and father, and both couples laid wreathes at a monument in the church yard honoring the French Resistance, at the grave sites of the five crew members, and at a sculpture carved into the side of the hill where the plane hit the ground (photo on the right).  My daughter sang the National Anthem at the close of the Mass that preceded the all-day event, and villagers traveled in a caravan with the dignitaries to each of these locations, ending in a courtyard at the Town Hall where the Mayor and others spoke.

The speeches were in French, so we listened politely without understanding, and I noticed that the man standing next to me held tightly in his hand a very old photograph of a young man.  He tried to ask me a question, also speaking in French, so I took him to meet the family who had helped my dad.  We watched as they spoke in French, embraced in tears and began laughing.

They excitedly explained to me that this man had come every year to the ceremonies, hoping to see a face in the crowd that resembled the man in this photo – an American he had hidden from the Germans five decades earlier.  He never knew if the American had made it to safety until this day, when he learned from our French friends that the little boy described earlier in this story (now a man in his seventies) had, in fact, traveled with that young American to England and freedom.

While we honor our nation’s fallen heroes on Memorial Day, think of their families and the many unsung heroes like my grandmother and these members of the French underground.  Think of the Americans whose final resting place may be a little village in a far away country. 

Say a little word of prayer and thanks for them, too.

 __________________

First published by Margaret Woda at www.MarylandRealEstateBlog.com

 

Posted by Margaret Woda | Discussion: Comments Off on Memorial Day Tribute to Unsung Heroes

Memorial Day Tribute to Unsung Heroes

FlagWhen Memorial Day rolls around each year, I can’t help thinking about my dad’s experience as a World War II POW at Stalagluft III.  (Yes, that was the site of the famous “Great Escape” and it occurred while he was there, but he didn’t participate in it directly.)  We didn’t talk much about those two years, but he never let us forget that five crew members on his B-17 bomber didn’t live to become POWs.  In that sense, he felt he was one of the “lucky” ones.

I embarked on a mission, a few years ago, to assemble into albums the correspondence my grandmother saved from those days after her 22-year old son was shot down about 40 miles south-east of Paris.  It was a fascinating lesson in history and heroism on the home-front in both America and in France.

The cigar-box full of yellowed and brittle paper included several hand-written letters from mothers of those missing crew members, as well as my dad’s letters and postcards to his mother after he was captured by the Germans.  As a mother myself, I could barely read those letters through my tears as I realized that none of these other moms had any idea of their sons’ fate for months after the plane went down.  As weeks and months passed, you could feel their fear, pain and desperation growing with each new letter.   I noted they received no official word of their sons fate for nearly eight months…

“Just a few lines to tell you we got a telegram Sunday at ten to six that my boy S/Sgt. Ray Scwabenbauer was killed Sept. 6 over France.  Mr. Morrison of Altoona got a telegram Sunday at 2 o’clock saying his son was killed on Sept. 6.  So far we have not heard about the Lawrence boy or the Lincoln boy… No one will ever know how broken-hearted I am over my boy’s death…” (May 1, 1944)

As I went through these letters, it did seem that my grandmother was indeed a “lucky” mom because she at least knew that her son was alive – even though the circumstances were not ideal.

________________________________________

WWII LetterAdditionally, the box contained letters from a woman in France, the matriarch of a family who initially rescued and hid my dad from the Germans after his plane was shot down.  Unfortunately, he was injured and could not escape eventual capture by the enemy, but the family who helped him was very active in the French underground.  The woman’s letters speak of amazing courage on the part of French villagers who risked their own lives to help Americans shot down over France.

In fact, her 8-year old son was able to travel with one American soldier at a time, pretending to be the son (or brother, depending on the age of the American) of a deaf and mute farmer going to purchase supplies.  When Germans stopped them, the boy (often riding on the shoulders of the American) would explain that his papa couldn’t hear or speak.  The boy would accompany an American from Paris to England by hitch-hiking or walking the entire way and then travel back to France alone to begin the dangerous journey again with another American – a scared young man hidden in the attic of a villager’s home to await safe transport.  One of those he helped in this way was a member of my dad’s flight crew.  Another member of the crew was picked up by a nearby motorist and driven straight to England.

When my grandmother learned about the bravery of this family and their neighbors, she tasked her older son – another member of the Army Air Corp – with helping to deliver supplies to the French Underground for the remainder of the war – many of these items were sent to Europe by her for this purpose at a time when rationing was in place for Americans.  She had to rely on the generosity of her own friends and family to give up their limited supply of staples to help the French Resistance.

The two women became great friends, united in their common desire to help the American servicemen avoid capture and imprisonment or firing squad, and they worked together again after the war to do something quite incredible:

_____________________________

WWII MemorialThey each convinced their own government to find the remains of the five members of my dad’s crew who didn’t survive and to move them to the French village where the plane had gone down.  In order to accomplish this, my grandmother had to obtain permission from the boys’ survivors and the French woman had to persuade local people to donate grave sites and markers.  With these tasks accomplished, they pressed both governments to co-operate, and the burial of these American boys in their permanent place of rest at Champigny sur Yonne took place in 1948 on the 5th anniversary of their deaths.

Two of my children and I attended the memorial ceremonies held there on the 50th anniversary, in 1993.  We discovered that September 6 is a local holiday when schools and businesses are closed, a delegation of American military officers stationed in Europe joins the locals, and the entire village celebrates their own very personal Memorial Day to honor the sacrifice of these five young men and all the other Americans who gave their lives to liberate France from Hitler.

The pilot of that plane attended with his wife, as well as my mother and father, and both couples laid wreathes at a monument in the church yard honoring the French Resistance, at the grave sites of the five crew members, and at a sculpture carved into the side of the hill where the plane hit the ground (photo on the left).  My daughter sang the National Anthem at the close of the Mass that preceded the all-day event, and villagers traveled in a caravan with the dignitaries to each of these locations, ending in a courtyard at the Town Hall where the Mayor and others spoke.

The speeches were in French, so we listened politely without understanding, and I noticed that the man standing next to me held tightly in his hand a very old photograph of a young man.  He tried to ask me a question, also speaking in French, so I took him to meet the family who had helped my dad.  We watched as they spoke in French, embraced in tears and began laughing.

They excitedly explained to me that this man had come every year to the ceremonies, hoping to see a face in the crowd that resembled the man in this photo – an American he had hidden from the Germans five decades earlier.  He never knew if the American had made it to safety until this day, when he learned from our French friends that the little boy described earlier in this story (now a man in his seventies) had, in fact, traveled with that young American to England and freedom.

While we honor our nation’s fallen heroes on Memorial Day, think of their families and the many unsung heroes like my grandmother and these members of the French underground.  Think of the Americans whose final resting place may be a little village in a far away country.

Say a little word of prayer and thanks for them, too.

__________________

First published by Margaret Woda at www.MarylandRealEstateBlog.com

Posted by Margaret Woda | Discussion: Comments Off on Memorial Day Tribute to Unsung Heroes

Vacation in Crofton, Vancouver Island BC

The Crofton Maryland area is a great place to call home, but it’s not the only Crofton in North America.

Crofton Vancouver BCI came across a blog posted last week by Canadians Dave and Ginny Harbour, who recently visited the Osborne Bay Resort in Crofton on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. This is one of their photos, but you’ll want to click through to c2c (their blog) to view others.  Crofton looks like a beautiful place, although quite different from Crofton MD, so why not add it to your list of places to visit someday.

If you’re new to Focus On Crofton, you might enjoy reading more about this area in a post I wrote about a year ago, Crofton – a Lumber, Mining and Mill Town in Canada, or my series on Crofton, Kentucky, written after a visit there in 2008:

Crofton, Nebraska – I guess you’re next.

 

In the meantime, if you’re looking for a home in Crofton, Maryland, just click on Search for Homes at the top of this page to see every home on the market in the 21114 zipcode or to create a customized home search that matches your own unique criteria.

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