Modern Luxury Bethesda Home - The Video

Bethesda Real Estate Video Series - Modern Style... "The Hampden House" - A luxury Bethesda Modern home at 5104 Hampden Lane. If a pictures worth 1000 words, what's a video worth? Even one produced by me :-) Enjoy!

5104 Hampden Lane / Downtown Bethesda Maryland - (Edgemoor) - 20814

Downtown bethesda Maryland luxury modern home from Kevin Koitz on Vimeo.


Is Washington DC Seduction City USA For International Real Estate Investors?

...Actually even Better!...

DC Noted as 2nd Best Places in The World For International Real Estate Investment

More good news for some segments of the DC real estate market? Yep!

DC joins NYC (who nudged us out of the number 1) in being identified as two of the very best places in the world for international real estate investment opportunities. These two US cities topped the list in a survey taken among members of the Association of Foreign Investors In Real Estate.

Quick context:  The Association of Foreign Investors In Real Estate or AFIRE "hold more than $627 billion of real estate globally, including $265 billion in the U.S." So while I normally harp on showing me the raw data, I'm just going to take this study (now in it's 10th year) and $265 billion as "enough" :-)

The 5 Most Seductive US Cities For International Real Estate Investment?

  • 1. New York (#2 in 2010) 
  • 2. Washington, D.C. (#1 in 2010)
  • 3. Boston (#4 in 2010)
  • 4. San Francisco(#3 in 2010)
  • 5. Los Angeles (#5 in 2010)

The International Focus?

According to the members of this group, the US market presents a very strong opportunity for foreign real estate investors, with China coming in second place.

The survey also showed that these international investors are feeling more optimistic about the real estate market in the US, with over 70% of them indicating that they planned on investing more in the US this year than they did in 2010.  And this is in large part why DC and New York to 1 & 2 on the internationally.

  • 1. New York (#3 in 2010)
  • 2. Washington, DC (#2 in 2010)
  • 3. London (#1 in 2010)

DC Real Estate Market Rises Above Doom & Gloom

Washington DC Metro Real Estate Market Shows Growth While National Housing Prices Continue to Slip.

I think it's safe to say, as a WHOLE, the national housing market is still "hurting". In fact yesterday's S&P/Case-Shiller Composite study put numbers to this truth.

In summary, home prices nationally dropped by 1.3% in October when compared to the previous month. And year-to-year-data? Home prices fell 0.8% when comparing October 2010 to October 2009.
Real estate as a "WHOLE" -- it's is contradiction when studying the health of a real estate market. As many of you know, I feel housing statistics are best studied on an even more micro level. But good news is good here ya go!

Washington DC Real Estate Rise?

While the S&P/Case-Shiller Composite is a bit disheartening when looking at stats from a national perspective, things are up (literally) in Washington DC!
DC Metro Real Estate Looking Good

According to the recent report, which is based on a composite of the home price index of 20 different cities, DC is one of only four areas to actually post year-over-year gains.

The other three cities to show gains are all found on "left side": Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco.  The Denver real estate market fared well in the report too. 

Feel free to explore the Cas-Shiller Composite study in greater depth in related links!

Thoughts on this data?


Guess What DC? We're Rich...And Smart!

DC Metro Area Is "Money / Education Central"

Guess what? We’re rich and smart! That is, according to the Census data and reported in the post this morning, The DC Metro area is among the nations richest and most educated.Although kudos in the “educated department” are spread out among many counties, the rich factor clearly points to both Fairfax and Loudon. According the the data, these are the only two counties in the US where the median house-hold income surpasses $100,000. Of course, an honorable mention, must go to Bethesda as Money Magazine’s Top Earning Town in the country with a median household income $170,000.

Washington DC


Anyone else surprised there isn’t another county in the United States with a six figure household income. San Francisco is a “county”, and adjacent Marin County(Tiburon and the likes...) is one of the most affluent in the US. I would’ve thought more so than both Fairfax and Loudon.

Belvedere in Marin County

If I were a little more caffeinated right now, I’d find the census report and let you know how other metro areas across counties fared. But there’s always time for follow up.

Until then, I hope this was somewhat interesting (even to one person!).

Have great days, and for those of you living anywhere east...

Potomac MD Real Estate Profie: Avenel

Potomac, MD Real estate profile: Avenel in Potomac, MD (and a little piece of Bethesda, MD too):  Avenel, MD is one of the more special communities in the close in the Greater Bethesda area.  This luxury Potomac neighborhood is probably best known for its TPC Golf course but there's a lot more to the Avenel lifestyle and its real estate offerings.  Please  use the resources below if you'd like to learn more. 

Avenel, MD - A Luxury neighborhood in Potomac Maryland ...

Updated & Renovated NW DC Charmer - Just Reduced!

Washington DC Real Estate Listings Update: 1351 Jefferson Street NW

1351 Jefferson Street NW / Washington DC

Sometimes a picture's worth 1000 words, isn't it?  This 16th Street Heights charmer has gone through a total transformation - from "shell", to showpiece.  I'll highlight some of these changes below but just a couple more pictures before I do.  Also, be sure to catch the interactive virtual tour below under the related links tabs.

Living Room

Dining Room

Improvements since 2005 include:
  • new kitchen
  • new baths
  • new heating
  • new dual zone central air conditioning
  • entire house re-wired by master electrician
  • new plumbing, new whole house water filter
  • new washer dryer
Lot Size: 5574 sq. ft.
Taxes: $4521
Year Built: 1922
Update Now Offered at $669,000!


The Sullyfication of America

Pardon this "aside" from DC Metro Area real estate but just wanted to share some quick thoughts. You were getting tired of the market reports anyway!

The "Sullyfication" Started Here

In the 11th grade I was taught one of my favorite terms – the “Hardyism” – named after poet Thomas Hardy who had a knack of creating his own “iterations” of words that just seemed to fit perfectly into his prose. I thought about that class when Gretchen came up with her own Hardyism last week…“Sullyfication”. No, not a reference to dirt, or corruption, or the worst of America…rather, the best.

I can’t even remember the exact context of the conversation but we started talking about the “the Sullyfication” of America in reference to the extraordinarily talented, and exceedingly humble pilot, Capt. Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger III, who so skillfully landed the broken plane into the Hudson River.

As a nation, we’re telling ourselves that we’re in a new time. The fact that almost 2 million people attended the inauguration of President Obama in an atmosphere of caring and acceptance and optimism (even when people were crowded and cold and short on basic services) is hopefully just a precursor of things to come. But in this “new era of shared responsibility” wouldn’t it also be great if we achieved without expecting congratulations or even recognition?

As a society, we seem to be set up to “reward” success. Lately, you can’t turn on the TV without tuning into an “all star” game or an award show. And there’s nothing wrong with recognizing excellence. But we have become...

Google's Most Meaningful Results

My Father, Merrill "Brit" Englund
I think it’s probably happened to all of us…at least if you’re over 30 years old. You go thru your daily life and then every once in a while, you have that “aha” moment when you recognize the importance and convenience of the internet in your life. It’s so easy to find answers to practically anything using this great tool. It’s simple…you just “Google” any term, phrase or name and you have instant knowledge literally at your fingertips.

Although I know this intellectually, and use it often, I don’t always apply this technology to my every day life…and a great example of this occurred this week. I got an email from my younger brother who lives in Montana, sharing some information that he’d found about our father on the internet. In helping his own son do some internet research, my brother had (basically on a lark, I think) Googled our dad’s name, Merrill Englund. One of the search results was for the Navy Patrol Bombing Squadrons 102/14 Association (our dad was in a bombing squadron in World War II) and the site includes a photo of our father, with his squadron members, in front of a Navy bomber. Seems as though he was a member of the “D. Butler Crew”, and since Don Butler is one of the guys in the photo I assume that he (Don) was the squadron commander (if that’s even the correct term).

My dad would be 90 years old if he were still alive, but since he died before his 60th birthday, this discovery is even more meaningful to us. If you haven’t already tried to Google your parents, or grandparents, I recommend that you give it a try.

*a very special thanks to the "Navy Patrol Bombing Squadrons 102/14 Association" for the photo...

Telluride Film Festival 2008

(NOTE:  I wrote this shortly after returning from The Telluride Film Festival this past September…don’t know why it’s taken me so long to post it…but there’s still plenty of time to enjoy these movies)

Many of you already know that my husband and I have become addicted to The Telluride Film Festival.  We were introduced to this wonderful event five years ago by our good friend, Margaret Hennessey, and we have made it a point to go every year since then.  Telluride is truly a special place and if you haven't been and have a chance to go, I recommend that you make it a priority.  If you have a chance to go over Labor Day and you enjoy movies, then you'll have the best of both worlds.  When we have the flexibility, we go out on a Wednesday and spend a couple of days getting acclimated to the altitude and taking advantage of the wonderful hiking opportunities. 

The films begin on Friday evening and go thru Monday.  During that time, we usually manage to see over a dozen movies.  One of the hardest things to explain to people who have never been is that half of the fun is standing in line.  Although we buy a pass that basically lets us into every movie, it really only gives us the right to line up for that movie.

Once you figure out the size of the venue and the popularity of the show, you determine how far in advance you need to get there in order to get in.  As you plan your day, you "schedule" this waiting time....and it's great fun!  It's the time to meet people and talk about what they've seen, what you've seen, what you liked, what you didn't like, what's happening in the "outside" world (if anyone cares), where you'll go for dinner (perhaps a hot dog as you wait in another line), what "stars"...

Joining the Move Towards Locally Grown Organic Foods

A cousin from Massachusetts spent the night with us last weekend.  She was in Washington for a conference and it was a fun excuse to catch up.  We talked about family, politics, movies and literature, and good wine and food.

One of the things we discussed was the trend toward eating local foods.  I expressed the opinion that this wonderful idea makes great sense in certain parts of the country (i.e., California) but perhaps didn’t work really well in the Washington Metropolitan Area.  She suggested that I search the web for an organization called Local Harvest.  So I did.

If you go to, you’ll have an opportunity to identify where you live and how far you’re willing to travel to obtain local foods.  I was shocked by the number of farms, dairies and produce stands within 25 miles of Bethesda and Chevy Chase.  After the initial list, I get a daily update. 

Today, for instance, there was information about purchasing organic, free range turkeys (not local, in this case) and also rave reviews for a farm in Buckeystown, Maryland  (Hedgeapple Farm) that fans say has the “best beef in town.”  It sounds like it would be well worth the drive (probably less than an hour) to check out this place…I’ll let you know....

Happy Birthday Esme!

Regular readers will know how grateful we are that clients sometimes turn into wonderful friends. We definitely feel that Esme (and her parents) are in this category.

Esme turns five years old today…so let’s make sure that we recognize that achievement and wish her a very happy day. We first met her when she was three and her parents were thinking that they’d like to sell their Capitol Hill rowhouse and move to the close in Montgomery County suburbs. We “met” them through the internet and quickly decided that we were a good match.

Visiting homes is not every three year old’s favorite pastime…but Esme was a trooper. She often showed up with her parents in “dress up” clothes and I remember a hot summer day when her bathing suit was the favorite (and appropriate in the 90 degree heat) attire. It was fun to visit homes where there were obviously children in residence and she could admire their toys…and pretty boring when that wasn’t the case. Of course, vacant houses are always the exception to that rule. There’s something about young children and the “freedom” they feel in vacant houses…it’s fun to watch.

Esme and her parents only took a few months to find the “perfect” home in Bethesda. It wasn’t the totally updated house that they had first described that they wanted, but it has a wonderful yard and is conveniently located to jobs and schools. Next fall, Esme will be able to go to the local public school…..which will make life especially easy for the entire family.

Happy Birthday, Esme! Give your parents a big hug and let’s try to meet soon for dinner!...

Do you Freecycle?

Last February, my son/partner and I were invited to have dinner with some clients. They had just moved into a wonderful Bethesda Maryland home from their Capitol Hill Townhome and we were privileged to have been involved in both transactions. Originally “found” thru the internet, they have become not only favorite past clients, but also friends.

So, back to the story…on this February evening, we met at their Bethesda home and were headed to a nearby restaurant when another car pulled into their driveway. “Oh,” Elizabeth said, “I forgot to leave the Valentines.”   She jumped out of the car and ran into the house where she retrieved a small paper bag and handed it to the person who had driven up in the car. When she joined us, she explained that she belonged to an online group called “freecycle” where people posted things that they wanted to give away. In this case, she had some Valentine cards left from the ones that she’d already addressed for her 4 year old’s nursery class. What do you do with a few leftover Valentines the night before Valentine’s Day? You “freecycle” them.

I immediately joined the group and am amazed at both the things that people give away (anything from furniture to old nuts and bolts), as well as the number of people who are interested in obtaining the give-always. In addition, you can post something that you “need” that others may have to give away. If you have sellers who need to do some “de-cluttering” prior to selling their house, it’s great to let them know about freecycle.

Now that “green” is in, it feels great to freecycle.  We’ve also “met” some wonderful people thru this site. When someone’s junk becomes someone else’s treasure, it’s a good thing. The freecyles in our area are...

Maryland Homestead Tax Credit | New Process for Eligibility

As most homeowners are aware, in the State of Maryland property taxes cannot go up more than 10% per year for owners in homes that are their primary residence. When you buy a house, you indicate whether or not you intend to occupy the house you’re buying as your primary residence and that kicks in the “homestead exemption.” In the past, no further action has been necessary.

The problem that arises from this process is that some homeowners over the years keep their Maryland residences, but buy another home outside of the area and claim that new home as their “primary” residence. Many of these people “forget” to let the State of Maryland know that they are no longer Maryland residents and their Maryland home continues to carry the homestead tax credit.

This will now change. For all current homeowners, a form will be provided when you get your next assessment (remember, this is done every three years – so some owners may not be notified until 2010) and you will need to fill it out and return it in order to continue to get the homestead credit (assuming you qualify). In purchasing a new property, a form will be provided by the State of Maryland within 180 days of the purchase.

For current homeowners it is extremely important to LOOK FOR THE FORM IN YOUR NEXT ASSESSMENT STATEMENT. Since this is new, it’s not something that most people are going to be looking for. If you’ve already received your assessment and didn’t see the form, you can call the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation at 410-767-2165 or 1-966-650-8783.

This credit is a substantial savings for homeowners, so don’t unintentionally give it up!


5th Birthdays & The Dramatic Kensington, MD Home

I’d like to take a moment to wish a very happy 5th birthday to our friend and one of our all-time favorite clients, Henry. I had the pleasure of marketing Henry’s (and his wonderful parent’s – and, actually, at that time a brand new brother’s) house in August of 2005. It was a wonderfully updated split level with a fantastic, open new kitchen and it sold in less than two weeks for slightly over full price. 

Just a little over 2 years removed from that quick sale, I wonder how well that magnificent house would fair in this buyer friendly market. It was located in the sought after Byeford sub-division in Kensington, MD (north of Connecticut avenue, just outside the beltway). Issues? It actually cornered on Connecticut Avenue (although the side yard was quite deep), the owners had combined two of the upstairs bedrooms into a large master (so now there were only 2 bedrooms up) and it had a pool (a wonderful pool, with a firepit and a built-in grill - but pools are normally more of a negative than a positive in the D.C. area). I think these three “negatives” in today’s market and would have yielded a longer marketing period and a lower price. What is “forgiven” by buyers in a seller’s market become real issues in a buyer’s market.

So Henry, have a wonderful birthday, we miss you, and we’re glad the timing worked out on your old house in Kensington. Now, go open some presents! 

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