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Archive for August, 2012

Should I Offer a “Decorating Allowance” when selling my Silver Spring House?

paintbrush“Should I offer a “paint and carpet (or insert update) ” allowance instead of actually doing the work on my Silver Spring or Takoma Park House?”

Silver Spring Homesellers- When you’re getting your home ready for the market, the list of things that need to be done can seem overwhelming.

Would’nt it be much easier to just offer the buyer a “credit” or an “allowance”?  The buyers probably would prefer to pick out their own carpet or paint color.

The problem with offering a decorating allowance or Home Selling Silver Spring Neutral Paint Colorscredit instead of actually doing the painting, refinishing or carpeting is that these two items are the strongest emotional triggers for buyers. When buyers walk into a home, they form an impression right
away.  If the buyer’s impression is that the home has worn carpet, floors or dirty, nicked up walls, no allowance is going change that initial impression.

It’s the first impression that is most important, so if you’re on a limited budget, just make sure that the flooring in every room the buyer can see from the front door is in the best condition it can be. Same with the paint. A buyer will be more likely to overlook bad carpet or not-so-fresh paint in secondary rooms that don’t contribute to that critical first impression in their hardwood Floors Selling a Silver Spring Takoma Park Homesight line.

*NOTE – Many of the homes in Silver Spring and Takoma Park have original hardwood flooring.  Hardwood floors are one of the most desired ammenites of today’s buyers.  If your hardwood floors are covered with wall to wall carpet, one of the best things you can do to make your home very attractive to buyers is uncover those hardwoods.
Pull up that carpet and show off the hardwood flooring you have.
If you’ve got them, flaunt them!

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: 1 Comment »

North Hills of Sligo Creek Park Neighborhood Homes

Old Brunett House in Silver Spring North Hills of Sligo is a beautiful neighborhood of some of the finest older single family homes in Silver Spring. Set into the heavily wooded hills of  Sligo Creek Park (thus the name) this subdivision of Single Family Homes built during the early 1930’s to late 1940’s is located “inside the Capitol Beltway”, close to Downtown Silver Spring and Washington, DC. The subdivision of North Hills was originally sold as a suburban Neighborhood with large lots “overlooking 2 golf courses”.  The two golf courses were at Argyle Country Club (what’s left of the Argyle Golf Course is now the Public MNCPPC – Sligo Golf Course) and Indian Spring Country Club (what’s left of Indian Spring is now the YMCA property) Considered a Landmark – The old original Brunett Farmhouse (circa 1864) that preceded the development of North Hills, still stands today on an impressive 3/4 acre lot at the top of a Entrance to North Hills - Silver Springhill in the North Hills Subdivision.

A detailed book about the history of North Hills of Sligo Creek was written by Sally Gagne in 2003.  This 190 page book titled “North Hills of Sligo Creek – History, People and Surroundings”, is not only about the history of the North Hills area, but everything you’d really like to know about Silver Spring from it’s development right down to the people that lived here before and that live here now.  Sally is also an expert on Sligo Creek Park., from how it began up to current wild inhabitants and vegetation.

The Parkside Headquarters are just at the edge of the Community in the park.  There are miles and miles of Trails for Hiking, Biking, Fitness, Dog walking and just nature watching!  The park also offers picnic areas, ball fields, tennis courts, basketball courts and many playgounds. Sligo Creek Golf Course Schools Montgomery County public school system is well known as one of the best in the nation. Public schools serving the North Hills Subdivision: Sligo Creek Elementary School Silver Spring International Middle School, Northwood High School, At the high school level the Downcounty consortium is available givingstudents a choice regarding their academic area of study. The five high schools in the Downcounty cluster include Montgomery Blair, Albert Einstein, John F. Kennedy and Wheaton. There is the the ACORN HILL Waldorf Kindergarten and Nursery School just steps from the edge of this neighborhood nestled in Sligo Creek Park. Private Schools convenient to the North Hills Neighborhood are: St. Bernadette’s fondly called “ST B’s” Grace Episcopal Day

North Hills & Argyle Park Real Estate There are 356 Single Family Houses in the Legal Subdivisions of North Hills of Sligo Creek and Argyle Park

14 Homes Sold in 2014
Prices are up and Days on Market are Down in this Neighborhood

Average List Price – $581,317
(UP from $500,413 in 2013)
Average Sold Price – $580,835
(UP from $498,367 in 2013)

Highest Sale Price – $1,124,185
For a 6 Bedroom 4 1/2 Bath 4 level Newly Constructed Arts and Crafts Style House with luxury finishes.
Lowest Sale Price – $349,999
For a 2 Bedroom 1 Bath Brick, 3 Level Cape Cod, built in 1945 in need of some updating.

Average Days on Market – 21
(DOWN from 33 Days in 2013)

Curious about your Silver Spring or Takoma Park Home’s Value or what’s happening in the Real Estate Market right NOW?

Get a computerized Market Analysis of your Silver Spring Home at: Want to Live in North Hills of Sligo Creek?
Check out all Homes for Sale in North Hills of Sligo Creek Silver Spring, Md 20901

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

Kefa Cafe – Silver Spring Neighborhood Coffee Shop

Inside Kefa Cafe - Silver Spring MarylandOne of the funky, warm, cozy independent business’s that has been a fixture in Downtown Silver Spring for over 15 years.  Want to go to a place with the happy vibe?  The sisters who own and work the counter at Kefa Cafe are beloved by the neighborhood.  Kefa Cafe is small, or as we say in the Real Estate Business, Adorable, Cute and Cozy.

This little nook definitely has a neighborhood feel, with photos and flyers on the walls and there are cheery touches everywhere.  There are no couches or Wi-Fi.  The menu is on a few hanging chalkboards and is comprised of hot and iced coffees/lattes

and teas, breakfast sandwiches on croissant or bagel, and lunch soups &
sandwiches  They also have some awesome gelato and pastry trays.

Space 7:10 at Kefa Cafe is an “organic art space exhibiting an evolving mix of Alley Mural outside of Kefa Cafe Silver Springlocal, outsider, visionary and world cultural artwork.

If you go to Kefa Cafe you may run into George Pelecanos, a well known author and producer, who lives just a few blocks away.  Pelecanos rates Kefa Cafe as one of  his favorite spots in Silver Spring.

Kefa Cafe

963 Bonifant Street
Silver Spring, Maryland 20190
Walking Distance from Silver Spring Metro Station.

Check out the mural painted on the brick wall along the alley side of Kefa Cafe (Don’t worry you can’t/won’t be able to miss it!)

Open Monday thru Thursday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Friday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
(301) 589-9337

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

Leather Repair Shop – Convenient Little Gem in Downtown Silver Spring

Arina's Shoe Leather Repair Shop - Downtown Silver SpringArina’s Shoe Repair has been around since the 1960’s.  This one of a kind shop repairs shoes, purses, belts,  jackets, luggage and just about anything made of leather.

You might not think this is a big deal, until you need this service.  There are not a lot of these little specialty shops around anymore.  If you need new heels on a pair of nice leather shoes or a leather briefcase or purse repaired, where would you go?  If you live or work around Silver Spring this is the place to go.

The man that works at the Silver Spring Arina’s is a native of Armenia and is a master of his craft! Watergate.  After a few “insults and run-in’s” with a prominent Senator and a media person from NBC, he returned to the Silver Spring location and has been back here since about 1982.
Arina's Shoe Repair Shop - Fenton Street - Downtown Silver Spring

He has been working at the shop since the early 70’s.  He left for a couple years to work at the Arina’s location in the

They make keys too, that really WORK (better than any hardware store or locksmith I’ve used before).

Arina’s Shoes and Leather Repair
8207 Fenton Street
Downtown Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone (301) 587-4477

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

104 Year Old Farmhouse Still Standing in Downtown Silver Spring

Deerfield 40sThe Farmhouse built in the early 1900’s still sits at the edge of  McNeills Subdivision in Silver Spring, Md 20910.  This old farmhouse has had many transformations over the last century.

First owned by John McNeill and then his brother Robert H McNeill (namesake of the subdivsion platted in 1925) Robert H McNeill’s Addition to Silver Spring Park.

During the time that Robert McNeill lived here in the early 1900’s it was known as the McNeill Farm and was adjacent to the Henry Nolte Farm (namesake for Nolte Park)

This photo was from the 1940’s when the house was owned by a widow named Margurite Burke.  Burke once worked at the hospital/rest home that was located on the site that is now Bullis Park before it was the site of the Bullis School.

(1940’s Photo courtesy of Marguerite Burke’s grandaughter Toni Wilson)

In 1959 Margurite Burke sold the house to the Oaks Family.  Mr Oaks enclosed some parts of the house. He expanded and added to the house in the 1960’s, adding more bedrooms upstairs and a 2nd kitchen.

The Oaks Family occupied the house until Alma Oaks died in 2003.  The house was Sold to Alan Alder, of Arbor Homes, a builder who has an incredible knack for the restoration of old houses.

In 2006 Alan Alder renovated and restored the house to the beautiful gem it is now.

In the meantime, he subdivided the original 15,682 square foot lot and sold the new 7,366 sq ft adjacent lot, where a brick garage was located, to Overton Homes.

Overton Homes razed the garage on the new side lot and built a large brand new home there.

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

The Best Time to Sell a Silver Spring or Takoma Park House is …. August ??

Is the month of August really useless and dismal? – Not for Silver Spring and Takoma Park Real Estate sellers!

Why would you want to list a house for sale in the lazy hazy heat of August, when people are uninterested and out of town on vacation? Heres why:

August is one of the biggest transfer months for relocating buyers.
Buyers want to secure a home now before school starts in the fall.
The inventory of houses for sale is very low – meaning your property has less competition for buyers.
When inventory goes down sale prices tend to go UP.

Check out these Silver Spring/Takoma Park Market Stat Charts:
They show iventory and prices for all zip codes of Silver Spring and Takoma Park in real time ove the last year.  (Notice how the prices have gone up as the inventory has gone down)

There may not be a lot of buyers out looking, but the buyers that are out there are super-serious about buying NOW. these buyer are not the many many “tire kickers” looking at houses in the Spring.

Even though you may have little traffic at your home, the buyers that do look at your home are much more motivated and because of low inventory have limited choices in homes right now.

If you are on vacation yourself, you won’t be bothered or inconvienced by any showings of your house.  You can relax and leave it up to us.

There will be a seasonal uptick in inventory in the weeks after Labor Day and therefore more properties competing with your house.

Let your house be one of the few good choices buyers have this August.

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

Saved a Tree in Downtown Silver Spring

TREE 014I have been dreading this day for years.  The (once) beautiful colorado blue spruce by my front door had to come down.  When I first bought the house this tree looked like the perfect Christmas tree, like the one you would see on a Christmas scene or a pretty card.  The shape and bluish color of the tree looked beautiful right by the front door. Not to mention it smelled wonderful!

Over the past 20 years, the tree has grown taller than the house, developed a double top (not the best for the Christmas tree shape) and a wild overgrown look.  I have had many tree people try to trim it back into that gorgeous shape – but the last few years, nobody could really do much with it.  Everyone was recommending it come down.

It was overwhelming the house.  You couldn’t see the front door from the street or see out into the street from the front porch.  It was blocking the sunlight from the front porch and part of the walkway.  In the winter it blocked the sun so much that the front porch always iced up and took such a long time to melt.  In the summer and spring wet seasons I’d have moldy areas on the porch and walkway because the sun couldn’t get to it.

They came today to take it down, with a heavy heart I watched as they started to cut the bottom limbs off.  I hate it when any tree has to come down.  When they got about 6 feet up on the bottom branches, I said stop!

Hey – It didn’t look so bad with just the bottom cut up about 6 feet.  We walked around and took a look at it from the front and sides.  They all thought it looked nice just like this.  It solved the sunlight problem. I could see the street from my front porch again. I could see the front door and the window it was blocking from the street again. The walkway was clear now too. They cleaned it up, planted some hostas underneath and added some mulch.

It looks sooo much better and I feel like I saved the life of a tree today!

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

Olympic Medalist’s Childhood House – Dominique Dawes

During this Summer Olympic Season . . .

Dominique Dawes Childhood Home Silver Spring TakomaDo you remember when Dominique Dawescaused a lot of excitement, got our attention and made us swell with pride in the USA, the state of Maryland and especially in Silver Spring and Takoma Park?

Dominique Dawes was a member of the 1996 Gold Medal Olympic Team, The Magnificent 7, where she also became the first African-American to win an individual event medal with her bronze on floor. Her coach and teammates called her “Awesome Dawesome.”

Dominique was born in 1976 in Silver Spring, Maryland.  She grew up in this brick, Colonial Style house, circa early 1940’s in Silver Spring, MD 20910.  The house sits on the border of Silver Spring and Takoma Park.

She attended Blair High School at the original Old Blair Campus in Silver Spring on Wayne Avenue.

Her father, Don Dawes sold this house in the Fall of 2006 for 415,000

Dominique purchased a home in the Tivoli Neighborhood of Silver Spring in 1997, according to Public Records she is still the owner.

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

Chompie Returns to Downtown Silver Spring!

sharkThe Giant Inflatable Shark that seems to swim right through the Discovery Headquarters Building in Downtown Silver Spring is BACK!

Nick named “Chompie”, the beloved attraction first appeared in 2006 during Shark Week.  The shark was missing until Chompie Returned in 2010 !

Today he is back for Shark Week 2012, the 25th Aniversary of discovery’s first showing of Shark Week in 1987. Shark week – 25 yrs premires on August 12th at 9pm on the Discovery Channel

I saw Chompie today, he’s a little beat up – but as cool as ever!

The best place to view Chompie is from Silver Spring’s Red Line Metro Platform, looking up Colesville Road.  You would be staring right into his huge open mouth.

This is a great attraction to see in Downtown Silver Spring, whether you view Chompie after dark (he’s lit up) or during the day.  Kids love seeing this.  It is definitely worth the drive or a trip on the Metro, if you don’t live nearby

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: 2 Comments »

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