First Time Homebuyers Credit – The Sequel

And when’s the last time you saw a sequel better than the original?  Well, if the New York Time’s has its facts straight, many more homebuyers’ may be enjoying this second iteration of the Homebuyers’ Tax Credit.

There was a tentative deal a couple days ago, as reported by Jolenta Averill, a prominent Madison, WI real estate agent has been doing a wonderful job keeping tabs on the latests news and notes with the proposed tax credit.  You can read many of the proposed details in her tax credit update post from Saturday.

Some of the newest proposed conditions can also  be found at this >> Real Estate News network if you’re interested in the details.  But before you leave me (or if you’re tired of reading!), three of the most notable changes to the Tax Credit would include:

  1. Extended to April 30, 2010 (slated to end in a few weeks)
  2. No longer limited to only first time buyers and
  3. Applies to people with higher income limits.
Edgemoor, Bethesda Home
Beautiful home on a tree lined in Bethesda's Edgemoor subdivision

Better For Bethesda Real Estate & Beyond?

As many have argued, the “First Time” buyer home credit needed to be more inclusive, both in regards to income and prior home ownership status.  $8,000 on an $825,000 Bethesda property wasn’t going as far as an equivalent in most other cities.  With fewer new Greater Bethesda property listings coming on the market (seasonal), this “Homebuyer Tax Credit 2.0” may be a catalyst to help  lower the current absorption rate.  There are other variables that will weigh heavily into a potential home purchase, of course — but “Credit 2.0″certainly wouldn’t hurt.


Haunted Houses of Maryland & The Trillium Bethesda

Haunted Houses of Maryland, from Potomac to Annapolis, to Baltimore, and…The Trillium Bethesda Condos?

In a region so filled with history, it should hardly come as a surprise that Maryland is also home to many haunted houses and other structures. From the ghostly principal who roams the halls of George Fox Middle School in Anne Arundel County to unexplainable happenings and ghostly apparitions at the Middleton Tavern in Annapolis, to phantom luxury Bethesda Condos in the Downtown Bethesda area, there are literally dozens of haunted properties throughout the state. Here is a look at just a few of Maryland’s famous hauntings.

The Haunted Marwood Mansion in Potomac Maryland

Since the early 1920s, there have been several sightings of an old man standing in the middle of the Potomac River, but it is the Marwood Mansion that is the creepiest Potomac, Maryland home. Here, there have been numerous reports of strange things happening, such as the toilet flushing on its own, the bathroom window being raised and steam mysteriously emitting from the bathtub. Strange sounds are regularly heard coming from the basement, which cannot be used because every time something is stored in the basement it is ruined the next morning. There are also reports of the cracks in the marble disappearing and then reappearing and a ghostly butler has been spotted walking throughout the property.

Haunted Houses in Potomac?
Haunted Houses in Potomac? 

Baltimore’s Many Hauntings

Baltimore is home to more than two dozen different haunted sites. Todd’s far, which dates back to the early 1800s, is haunted by a woman who sits at the attic window with a candle as she waits for her soldier to return from the war. Slaves can also be seen hanging from the trees late at night and the lights in the home are said to turn on when an intruder enters, despite the fact that there is no electricity in the home.

The Haunted Catonsville Mansion

An old abandoned mansion is said to be found on Asylum Road in Catonsville. Although the mansion is closed to the public, there have been many reports of mysterious banging sounds, tapping noises and whispers coming from the inside. Many have also reporting seeing people walking on the property, but the people disappear when they are approached.

The Trillium, Bethesda – A Ghost Bethesda Luxury condo development

I’ve seen advertisements in The Post, The Washingtonian, The Bethesda Magazine to name just a few — I’ve witnessed the bulldozers level the Old Clarion hotel to prepare for this 173 unit edifice of opulence.  I’ve even seen a model unit set fabricated in The Old Clarion for an electric opening night.  But as time has passes, I start to wonder whether the ghosts of “Economy’s crash” created these illusions in my mind.

In all seriousness, I kindly ask construction to commence because in my humble opinion, The Trillium should be an extraordinary addition to close-in Bethesda development.  But more thoughts are for later.  For now, I wish The Trillium and all of Greater Bethesda area safe and happy Halloween….

Downsides To A Real Estate Uptick?

Is there any downside to any signs of real estate market recovery? — or any other business that relies on financial institutions to operate?   Is there a such thing as a “bad economic or real estate recovery”?  Unfortunately yes — At least that’s my humble opinion.   The concept seems like a paradox or trick question, doesn’t it?  But think about interest rates…the fed is basically borrowing money to give us the ability to acquire “cheap money”.   But once there are signs the economy is “on the mend”, I propose that the fed will begin to get tighter with their money quickly — because they simply have too much compounding dept from too many other sources to do anything else.   I wrote a post over at a premier Austin real estate blog owned by a good friend.  There, I elaborated on the concept of of “Bad Financial Recoveries”.

Beyhesda - Nope - Austin Skyline

From What I’ve learned from an authority on the subject (in my family no less); to conversations with other economists, it seems Washington already has too much of its plate to delay much longer with interest rate inflation.  My one fear (that I didn’t articulate well in my post) was the “taking of cheap money” before enough can be used “to absorb enough area inventory”.  And where would that put us?  My guess…back to where we started.

Even in the case of a close-in Bethesda homes for sale, I know many potential buyers who are just a couple points (if that) away from renting or looking elsewhere.   It’s the volatility and complexity of different real estate markets that makes me a little uneasy about my own speculations — and again, this is just speaking strickly from the real side of the crisis.  It’s a quandary that is far more complicated than I pretend to fully grasp.

Regardless, I think you’ll enjoy the read >> “Why Interest Rates May Rocket and How You Can Protect Yourself”

I go into some details about other variables that will inevitably push interest rates considerably (again, just my humble opinion).  Hopefully you’ll draw your own conclusions or engage in conversation with me over there if you wish. I’d love to chat through the issues.

And oh yes, you’ll be happy to know (as the title indicates) that I also give some general advise about how to take advantage of today’s distressed yet “incentivized market” –  for better or worse, it may be a fun read!


11 Most Expensive Bethesda Property Listings in Bethesda

According To My Bethesda Property Listing Sitemap Results…

The most expensive houses in Bethesda Maryland 2009 - Seen Here 10 Wissioming Court

The 11 Most Expensive Bethesda Property Listings Currently For Sale

Thanks for indulging me as I test my XML feed from my website. I spend a lot of time de-bugging programing errors like: correcting mislabeling of property addresses in this “MRIS IDX Property Feed”. Yes, programmers have funny names for stuff.   Okay, enough of this terribly boring post — thanks again for indulging me. It’s late and I’m tired :- ) — here we go with data that will link directly to my website. Not trying to sell you anything (but if you’d like to buy any of these below , I’d be happy the represent :- )  Actually this is a great list of properties…enjoy taking a look at a few or them all.  Of course to see do much of my work in Bethesda), just trying to making sure everything is in check in a “fun” way. So here we go! The 11 Most Expensive Property Listings in Bethesda”


7530 Hampden Lane , Bethesda Maryland Maryland 20814


9007 Burdette , Road, Bethesda, Maryland 20814


5327 Goldsboro Road, Bethesda, Maryland, 20817


5200 Burning Tree Road, Bethesda MD 20817


511 Country Club Road , Bethesda MD 20817


8800 Saunders Lane, Bethesda, Maryland 20817


5215 Moorland Lane, Bethesda, Maryland 20814


9101 Burning Tree Road, Maryland 20817


10 Wissioming Road , Bethesda MD 209816


7013 Natelli Woods Lane, Bethesda, Maryland 20817


5124 Wissioming Court, Bethesda, Maryland 20816

Here’s The legal stuff I am required to say in this overly litigious city :- ) Ready…

The listing content relating to real estate for sale on this web site is courtesy of MRIS. Listing information comes from various brokers who participate in the MRIS IDX. Properties listed with brokerage firms other than Long & Foster Real Estate Inc. are marked with the MRIS Logo and detailed information about them includes the name of the listing brokers. The properties displayed may not be all the properties available. All information provided is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified. All listing information copyright MRIS 2009. Last updated: 2009-06-03 02:57:17

New Housing Credit Falls Short…In My Opinion

You can’t please all the people all the time…and who am I to second guess some of the brightest minds in the country….but I do think the House and Senate fell short in the housing credit in the recently enacted stimulus plan.

According to reports, the final bill reported out of conference contains an $8,000 tax credit for “first time” buyers. “First time” is defined as anyone who has not bought a house in the past three years. The credit will apply to all home purchases from January 1, 2009 to December 1, 2009 (so it is retroactive to the beginning of January) but it does have an income cap. The $8,000 begins to phase out for single persons after $75,000 of annual income and for couples with annual incomes of $150,000. The credit totally disappears at $95,000 for singles and $170,000 for joint returns.

Sound good? Not for real estate in Bethesda or the rest of the DC Metro Area. I don’t want to sound like the New York Times writer who suggested that it was impossible for bank executives to live on the $500,000 proposed by President Obama, but the $8,000 credit and the income limits just won’t go far in our metropolitan area. And why limit the credit to first time buyers?

I know that our legislators had to consider a lot of ways to structure a plan which would have an immediate and positive impact on the economy. But I think everyone agrees that a strong and stable housing market is key to this recovery. All of a sudden, the same people who dolled out billions to banks with no strings attached are worried about spending money to encourage people to buy houses.

At one point, the Senate bill contained a $15,000 tax credit. I don’t know if this credit was limited to first time buyers and whether it was means tested, but I’d argue that this is a “better” number. Maybe there should be a range, based on local housing markets, that goes between $8,000 and $15,000 – much like the FHA and conforming loan limits (which, in this legislation, will go back to the higher levels we saw in 2008). A similar range could apply to income limits. It actually seems quite simple to draft legislation that authorizes an $8,000 credit for buyers in areas where the FHA loan limit is $271,050 and raises incrementally to a maximum of $15,000 in areas where the FHA limit goes to $729,750. If the FHA recognizes this tremendous differential throughout the country in housing costs, why didn’t Congress?

No one asked me….but since we’re throwing so much Monopoly money around, I would have liked to have seen more go to housing incentives.