Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Foreclosures and Short Sales in Frederick County, MD

Here are the market stats for Frederick county this week. As of Sunday evening, there were 1,194 properties for sale.  Almost 30% of homes priced below $170K were foreclosures and short sales. Just over 21% of homes in the $175-$399 price range were foreclosures and shorts sales, and homes over $400 had less than 9% in that category. That is a lot of short sales and foreclosures in the market.  By the way, these numbers come out of the regional multiple listing system for realtors and do not reflect private sales which are not  entered into the MLS.

These "distressed" properties can be great bargains, but buyers do need to be careful about what they are getting.  Distressed properties have often been vacant for months or even years, and their condition can have deteriorated dramatically. The cost of repairs  has to be factored into these  sales. Banks selling foreclosed properties are not required to offer the standard disclosure/disclaimer addendum that a homeowner would offer a prospective buyer.  Together these factors mean that you need to have a very thorough inspection. 

The settlement company will need to investigate any outstanding liens or judgments against the property. In calculating your costs, be aware that foreclosures, which are owned by banks, may cost a little more in closing costs because banks tend to contribute less in closing costs than a homeowner-seller.  

Frederick County overall home prices have been holding steady for about two years, as shown by the graph by RBI below. Again, these are conglomerate stats, and trends can vary at different pricing levels. 
Frederick County Average Sold Price - RBI Statistics
This next graph shows the inventory for Frederick County, as well as total sales.   After a steep climb in 2006 through 2008, inventory began to fall in 2009 and is holding steady, with seasonal variations  through  the end of this year.  Current inventory is around 5 months.

Frederick County Housing Inventory and Closed Sales - RBI Statistics

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Frederick Festival of Greens - Wreaths of the People

A Magical Christmas Wreath - Debbie Morton
The fourth annual Festival of Greens is now open to the public in the Cultural Arts Center downtown at 15 West Patrick Street in Frederick, MD. The Festival is an exhibit of wreaths donated by individuals, schools, clubs, businesses, and other organizations that will auctioned off via silent auction. The wreaths are hand made out of both traditional materials and very creative and clever use of ordinary or decorative objects.
Leslie Ruby, co-chair for the festival, described the process of selling the wreath auction as a fundraiser for the Frederick Arts Council. Each wreath has a title and the name of the donating organization or person. Some of the wreaths come with bonus items such as gift cards, books, music, theater tickets donated by individuals, Frederick Arts Council members and local businesses.
The Festival Puzzle Art - Ellen Byrne
Leslie Ruby and Sue Stanczyk, event co-chairs for the last four years, commented that the Festival is getting established as a notable holiday event. Last year they took in and sold 86 wreaths. This year they have 125 to auction. There are a few side activities associated with the festival. The "Do You Have the Missing Piece" puzzle drawing offers anyone the chance to select a puzzle piece and see if it matches a holiday puzzle created from a graphic by local artist Ellen Byrne (see photo). If it matches, you get a gift. Another activity, the "People's Choice" ballot, gives an  opportunity for those viewing the wreaths to vote for their favorite.

47 Zippers - Julie Amegashi
This year, a few folks who wanted to donate a wreath participated in the "Mystery Box" wreath making kit. The Arts Council gave these participants a box containing objects from which they had to create their wreath. An example shown in the photo at right. If you get the chance, come downtown and take a few minutes to view the wreaths and be sure to bid on one or two. A small sample of the collection is shown below. If you like these, there are 89 others on display!

The exhibit runs from November 25 - December 4, 2011. Free to the public. Contact the Frederick Arts Council for further information: 301-662-4190

Icy Magnolia - Sue Stanczyk

Lots & Lots of Ribbon - Monica Spillis

Charming Frederick - Lou & Suzanne DiPasquale

A Very Merry Cocktail - Amanda Jarboe and Danny Stanczyk

Framed for the Holiday - Gallery 322

Snow Glam - St. John's Regional Catholic School

Cheers for Sully - Frederick Alliance for Youth

Wreath of Light -The Dining and Happy Hour Guide

Hood College - Karen Nalley

Let it Snow - The Banner School

Family Fun - The YMCA

'Tis the Season - Beverly Reidinger & Eric McComas

Whimsical Joy - Frederick Ski Club / Debra O'Brien

Holiday Wishes With Strings Attached - Urbana High School Orchestra

Christmas In Narnia - Thurmont Thespians

An Ostentation of Peacocks - Karen Peacock

Eat My Wreath - Beverly Reidinger

Cross Country Around Frederick - Ski Club / Susan Chapman

Wine Your Way Into The Holiday - Lousanne Welgoss

Christmas Pinecones -
Emily Stull, FCC Landscaping Student

Dog-Gone Christmas - Dale Dowling

Service - Fredericktowne Rotary

Gone to the Dogs in Jefferson - H.C. Summers Feed and Supply

Downtown Celebration - Downtown Partnership

Heart Felt Holiday - Regina Lewis

Red & White Christmas - Cherly Concannon

Under the Sea - Arts Club of Walkersville High School

Peanuts Christmas - Donita Garrett
Sugar Plum Wreath - Footlights

Helping Hands - Thomas Johnson Middle School Learn for Life Class

Santa Climbs - The Trail House

Advent Wreath - MD Shakespeare Festival
Happy Holidays Sweetie - Leslie Ruby

Monkey Business - Tammy O'Connor

If you have questions, corrections, or suggestions for a future blog post, e-mail me at darcy@thebuyersbest.com or call 301/524-3676.  I am an Exclusive Buyer Agent working for the Buyer's Best Realtors. If you are looking to buy a home in Frederick County in the next few months, and you want excellent service, complete representation, and support in getting the best price in all negotiations, call me. My job is to get the best for you! Office: 301/874-5100. Daily: 9 am -  9 pm.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Local Photographer Stalks the Great Blue Heron

Blue Heron are among the most magnificent birds in the country.  Frederick is lucky enough to have one or two that hang out in Baker Park year round. Lilypons, another local attraction, is also home to the Blue Heron.  I saw this amazing shot on photographer Dan Scenna's Facebook page and persuaded him to allow me to show it to you. He stalked this bird for over an hour before getting this shot. He even got the drops of water flying off the heron's legs. Click on the photo for a slightly larger image. Thanks Dan!!
Photograph by Dan Scenna. Location: Lilypons, Water Gardens Adamstown, MD USA 2011.

Prints of Dan's photo can be purchased.  11x14 prints are $65. Contact Dan Scenna directly for other sizes and prices.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Frederick's 212 Year Old Ginko, Oldest and Largest in the U.S.

The first block of West 2nd street in Frederick is the home of the oldest and largest ginko tree in the U.S. It has it's own plaque from USDA certifying it. In 1983 it was 92 ft high. In fall, there is nothing more magnificent than this tree. It is incredible to look at any day in summer, but in fall it lights up the sky.

To suggest additional topics for the Talk About Frederick blog, to share your photos, or if you have questions, or corrections, e-mail me at darcyrichards01@gmail.com or call my direct line: 240/215-0381. I am a Realtor at RE/MAX Results working in Frederick and Washington Counties, Maryland. To find a home in Frederick, MD or if you need a Frederick Realtor to sell your home, call on me to be your trusted agent.  Darcy Richards at REMAX Results, 7210 Corporate Ct, Frederick MD 21703 Direct: 240/215-0381 Main: 301/698-5005. Call me if you want to buy or sell in Frederick.  www.darcyrichards.com

Monday, November 14, 2011

Frederick Photo of the Week: Bridge Across Carroll Creek

I came across this photo of the "swinging" bridge across Carroll Creek. It went from Baker Park to Carroll Parkway. It was taken on a beautiful fall day and I am so glad I got a photo then because the bridge was taken down over a year ago. The replacement will look like the original, but the project has been slow.  This bridge was a rarity and kids loved to jump on it while crossing to make it move up and down. Some people refused to cross it because it swayed a little with each step. It's very much missed. Can't wait to see the revitalized bridge and be able to cross the creek again! Click on  the photo to see a larger version.
Baker Park "Swinging" Bridge 2005 - No Longer There

The Friends of Baker Park website  describes the bridge as being built in 1875 as a pedestrian bridge over Carroll Creek at Bentz Street. It was later replaced by a larger bridge for vehicles and the original relocated to the spot near Parkway.

To suggest additional topics for this blog, if you have questions, or you want to buy a house in Frederick County after seeing these great photos, call Darcy Richards at The Buyer's Best, Direct: 301/524-3676. General Office: 301/874-5100, email darcy@thebuyersbest.com

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What is a FAM tour? A Walk Through Local Civil War History

FAM tour stop at White's Ferry, VA
A few months ago I sat in on a client meeting while the broker of the Buyer's Best, Mary Richeimer, talked with a client about the Civil War. This client was a history buff and he was fascinated with our area. She took local history a step further with dates, places, relationships, events and tidbits he hadn't heard before. I've lived here 20 years and can tell you where many of the battlefields are, but didn’t know much about the Civil War events in the county. Does a buyer's agent need to know about the Civil War? Apparently so. Enter, the FAM tour.
Monocacy Battlefield, Frederick MD
Twice a year the Tourism Council of Frederick County sponsors an all day, familiarization (FAM) tour of nearby Civil War battlefields, museums and towns. The purpose of the tour is to give people in "front line" jobs, those involving interaction with visitors and locals who want to know more about our part in the Civil War, a broad overview of the region's historical sites.  The tour began at 9:00 am in Frederick and ended at 4:30 pm. Tourism provided a box lunch at a picnic site at the Washington Monument State Park on South Mountain.
Participants board a comfortable coach and receive a packet of information and maps which out line the day. The tour begins at White's Ferry and ends at Harper's Ferry. Participants alight at several Civil War sites for a brief talk. The main purpose of the tour is to give an overview of historical events, point out where and when the events occurred, and give participants a better idea of the locations, activities, museums, and events available to visitors.
Pry House Field Hospital Museum, Keedysville, MD 

The tour was lead by John Fieseler, executive director of the Tourism Council. At day's end, I conclude that what John doesn't know about the Civil War in this region is probably not worth knowing. He provided commentary on the many sites, battles, intrigues, and details of the progress of the Civil War- especially as it relates to the counties surrounding Frederick. John's talk was supplemented by key guests on the tour who provided interesting details about historical events and museums in their particular areas including Peggy Erickson for Heritage Tourism Alliance of Montgomery County,  and Betsy DeVore from the Washington County Convention &Visitors Bureau.
Newcomer House Museum, Sharpsburg, MD
Frederick County played a key role in the Civil War and the details of the history draw you in. Several people on the tour encouraged me to see the Memorial Illumination at Antietam National Battlefield on the first Saturday of December each year.  I may have to watch the Ken Burn's Civil War again.

To suggest additional topics for this blog, have questions, or if you want to buy a house in Frederick County, e-mail darcy@thebuyersbest.com or call 301/524-3676. Have fun in Frederick!