Saturday, August 29, 2015

Exciting New Listing in Luxmanor, North Bethesda - 1/2 Acre Near Grosvenor Metro

$899,000, 3Bd/3Ba Single Family House, 1968 sqft.

Emily Mintz | Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. | 301-704-2913 |
11101 Ralston Rd, Rockville, MD 20852
Remodeled Rambler on Quiet, Tree-Lined Street, Near Metro
3Bd/3Ba Single Family House
Year Built 1955
Sq Footage 1968 sqft.
Bedrooms 3 Beds
Bathrooms 3 Baths
Floors 2
Parking 2 Garage
Lot Size 0.5 Acres
Virtual Tour


Open and spacious living areas, great flow for entertaining, sunshine, views of the private garden, and a beautiful kitchen make living in this one-level home a delight. Bonus lower level family room adds flexibility. All this is located between Montgomery Mall and the Grosvenor Metro station.

This well maintained and renovated rambler is on a quiet, tree-lined cul-de-sac in the Luxmanor community of North Bethesda. A flagstone walkway leads past lovely landscaping to a covered porch and lead glass-accented front door.

The foyer opens to a stunning view, through the living room, of the deck and private yard. The living room includes a wood-burning fireplace which is faced with neutral porcelain tile. Hardwood floors extend throughout the main level. The dining room has a vaulted ceiling and large bow window, with doors to the deck and to the two-car garage.

And then, there’s the kitchen…renovated in 2010,  the eat-in kitchen features granite counters and backsplash, skylight & recessed lighting, custom bamboo soft-close cabinetry, and a two-level island with contrasting granite top on the table-height seating area. Appliances include a wine cooler, Wolf electric cooktop, Faber pull-out range hood, KitchenAid stainless steel side-by-side refrigerator with ice and water dispenser, Bosch stainless dishwasher, and 28” Elkay stainless sink. Cabinetry includes a pantry, pot drawers, lazy-susan, undercabinet lighting, and low open shelves ideal for cookbooks or a pet station.

A hallway with coat and linen closets leads to the three bedrooms. The large master bedroom has recessed lighting and two windows. Of the two closets, one is a walk-in with closet stretchers. The master bath includes a tub/shower. The other two bedrooms have two windows each, ceiling lights, and one has a built-in bookcase. The hall bath includes a window, tub, and toilet alcove.

The open stairs to the lower level lead to the large family room. This finished room has a diagonal ceramic floor and another fireplace, with hearth and mantel; three windows provide lots of afternoon light. A laundry room with washer/dryer/laundry tub, storage, utilities, two windows, and a door to the back yard is also downstairs. There is a third full bathroom with stall shower and window.

The view of the private backyard from the living room, dining room, and deck are spectacular.  Landscaped largely with perennials and ground cover for easy maintenance, the backyard features a brick patio, wood pergola, and mature trees.

This home is offered with a buyers Home Warranty. It features a security alarm, Thermopane windows, extensive hardwood floors, FIOS, 2012 HVAC system with humidifier and natural gas forced air heat, 200 amp electrical panel, 2015 attic fan, whole house fan, newer gutters, downspouts, and exterior drainage. The exterior is primarily brick, with siding and trim painted in 2015. The property is a half acre (21,781 square feet).

Luxmanor is a community of over 500 homes sited on primarily half-acre lots with a vibrant civic association. It is located roughly between Westfield Montgomery Mall and the Grosvenor Metro Station, both accessible via Ride-On bus. The Tilden Woods Swim Club is open to Luxmanor residents, and is next to a creek-bed park with paths, recreation center, basketball & baseball, and a lighted tennis court. Directly east of Luxmanor is the emerging North Bethesda town center. With extensive transit, retail, restaurant, and entertainment amenities, it is being developed as a walkable community with pocket parks and bike paths. Cabin John Regional Park is to the west. This park includes an ice skating rink, miniature train, outdoor amphitheater, group picnic areas, hiking paths, soccer fields, and the Shirley Povich baseball field.


see additional photos below

Unit Features

- Living room- Dining room- Walk-in closet
- Master bath- Family room- Storage space
- Breakfast nook- Attic- Range / Oven
- Refrigerator- Dishwasher- Microwave
- Garbage disposal- Stainless steel appliances- Balcony, Deck, or Patio
- Yard- Lawn- Porch
- Garden- Heat: forced air- Central A/C
- Ceiling fans- Double pane / Storm windows- Hardwood floor
- Tile floor- Granite countertop- Fireplace
- Skylights


1/2 acre near Metro

Approach on Ralston Road

Flagstone walkway

Front porch

Open entry

Living room open plan

Living room fireplace

Living room view to deck

Deck from living and dining rooms

Renovated kitchen

Granite table

Breakfast area

Kitchen with skylight

Kitchen island with wine cooler

Dining room bow window

Dining room vaulted ceiling

Sunlit family room

Family room fireplace

Master bedroom

2nd bedroom

3rd bedroom

Master bath

Hall bath

3rd full bath

Brick patio & pergola

Private yard

Mature plantings

View from patio

Floor plan main level

Floor plan lower level

Contact info:
Emily Mintz
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
For sale by Agent/Broker


Posted: Aug 29, 2015, 9:11am EDT

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Planning Begins for White Flint/North Bethesda Areas Surrounding the Approved White Flint 1 Sector Plan

Now that the Sector Plan for White Flint 1 was approved in the past few years, construction is complete in some parcels (such as North Bethesda Market) and underway in others. The largest areas under construction inclued the 32 acre parcel from Rockville Pike at the White Flint metro station to Nebel Street and Pike & Rose, at Old Georgetown Road and the Pike. Other developers are in approval stages. The county is working on funding and scheduling for publicly-financed infrastructure changes, and negotiations continue regarding the privately-held land that will see the realignment of Executive Boulevard just south of Old Georgetown Road so that the Shriver Aquatic Center site can be developed in to a larger Wall Park and center parking can be built to the north of the pool building. See or

White Flint 2 is now being opened for future planning. This area includes the Executive Boulevard/Montrose Parkway area to the west of White Flint 1, Montrose Crossing to the north, and the Nicholson Lane/Boiling Brook Parkway area to the east. Montgomery County planners made a presentation to community members at the Luxmanor Elementary School on June 25, asking for priorities and suggestions from area residents.

The new website for this newly opened planning area is:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Deconstructing An Old Kitchen So That it Can Be Recycled

A few years ago, we remodeled the master bathroom, recycling as much as possible of what came out, using recycled or reclaimed materials for nearly all of the interior finishes, choosing tile & counters from carbon-responsible sources, and using energy-conserving fixtures.

Now it was time for the big project, the kitchen! This project presented a number of challenges, sustainability-wise. With the project completed not too long ago, here's what we were able to do and what we learned about sustainability in kitchen remodeling. In this post, I will start with the demolition.

The house is over 50 years old, so the cabinets, while solid wood, were not up to today's standards. Countertops were laminate. Some of the appliances were older (none were original), but several were nearly new. All were quite servicable, and it was evident that the existing kitchen, which functioned fine, should be made available for reuse. We made sure our contract with the contractor doing the renovation/remodeling included a statement that we intended to save as much as possible of the existing kitchen and construction materials. They had to instruct their staff to be careful in removal so that items were not damaged.

At the suggestion of our designer, we contacted Second Chance, Inc., a non-profit building materials recycler in Baltimore, as well as an independent deconstruction appraisal company from Virginia, NoVaStar Appraisals.

NoVaStar sent an appraiser to the house, took detailed information on all of the contents of the kitchen and building parts that would be donated, along with photos.

Second Chance, Inc. scheduled a pickup, and our contractor removed the entire kitchen, putting it on tarps on the front lawn and covering it all with huge sheets of plastic until the pickup date. This included not only the cabinets and appliances, but windows, back door, storm door, lighting fixtures, wood flooring, and anything else that came out of the space being renovated.

The company receiving the donations, Second Chance, coordinated with the appraiser so that the appraiser had the complete inventory of what had been donated. During the next few months, they worked up a professional appraisal of all of the items that had been donated. This is required, if you want a tax deduction for the donation. NoVaStar emailed the full appraisal document along with a signed tax form 8283.

There is a substantial cost for the appraisal, but it is compensated by the deduction, and, there is more value in keeping the removed items out of a landfill and knowing that it can all be repurposed for someone else.

Next post, I'll discuss eco-friendly materials for the new kitchen.

It's Possible to Buy a House that Needs Complete Renovation When You Don't Have the Cash to Renovate

Many houses are on the market that need major updating (usually kitchens and baths) or haven't been maintained in years. I come across properties that have structural issues, have needed a roof for a long time, the cosmetics are not up to date, and innumerable other issues. Most buyers can finance their purchase, but then don't have the funds left over to do the repairs and updates.

A renovation loan can be the answer to this dilemma. The interest rate may be slightly higher than a standard purchase loan, and there are hoops to jump through, but it may mean the difference between a transaction or none. The basics are:

  • Start with your real estate agent, who can help you coordinate and navigate through the process
  • Find a property that needs a lot of work and start setting up the financing
  • Get a renovation coordinator
  • Obtain construction proposals from reputable contractors
  • A specialized appraiser prepares an appraisal of the current value and the value after approved contruction is completed
  • The coordinator assists in finalizing a construction contract and approving a loan that includes the original purchase cost and the construction cost.
  • Settlement can occur with the unrenovated value, according to the sales contract with the seller
  • Additional funds are released from the lender to the contractor as the work is completed and inspected for approval
You are left with a loan that is larger than the original purchase price, but includes your renovation costs. Your house is now a home with the updates and repairs that you want. 

This is a specialized area of the lending field. I have a licensed loan officer at Prosperity Home Mortgage who handles these loans exclusively. Let me know if you want to be connected with him.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Save the Date: The Montgomery County GreenFest is March 28th!

Bring the whole family to Silver Spring on March 28th and help make the first Montgomery County GreenFest a day to remember. On Saturday, March 28th, join hundreds of your neighbors and local organizations at the Montgomery County GreenFest on the campus of Montgomery College Takoma Park/Silver Spring. Celebrate our amazing local environment and learn about the key role YOU play in keeping it healthy. The Montgomery County GreenFest is a free event with something for everyone to enjoy. Hear from national and local experts, explore the exhibits and talk to non-profit organizations, listen to music or watch an environmental film as a part of the Environmental Film Festival. There will even be a kids activity area and space to run around in Jesup Blair Park! 

Join your friends and neighbors and be a part of the largest environmental festival focused on Montgomery County, MD.

Learn more at

Check out our promotional video 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Montgomery County Recycles Rigid Plastics and Recycling News

This week, the county opened a new recycling station at the Shady Grove Transfer Station. County residents can drop off rigid plastic items such as pet crates or carriers, milk crates, toys, wading pools, laundry baskets, step stools, or any hard plastic item that wasn't authorized for the curbside bins.

When making a "dump run," as we call it in our house, take along other recyclables that may be hanging around and don't need to end up in the landfill...

hazardous materials and car oil
scrap metal (anything metal)
good bikes
paper of every type (magazines, cardboard, junk mail)

Other big news- there is now a push to distribute excess food from grocery stores, restaurants, and banquet events to feed the hungry. This is an expanded program.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Great news for North Bethesda performance arts

Yesterday's Style section in the Washington Post included an article describing an innovative approach to public-private promotion of the performance arts. Strathmore Music and Arts Center, with its main center on Rockville Pike at Tuckerman Lane, will be partnering with Federal Realty Investment Trust's (FRIT) Pike & Rose development, now under construction at the old Mid-Pike Plaza location (Rockville Pike/Montrose Parkway/Old Georgetown Road). Currently, Strathmore has a large auditorium/concert hall and a small venue for 100 people in the historic mansion. Once constructed, Pike & Rose will offer a mid-sized Strathmore venue, offering concerts three days per week. This venue will be within walking distance of the new North Bethesda town center, close to The Sterling, Gallery, The Forum, The Wisconsin, The Fallswood, Miramont Villas, Midtown, White Flint Station, and Georgetown Village condominiums, to name a few. It will be in the same development as the new Pike & Rose low-rise and high-rise residential blocks, practically across the street from Chase Crossing and Miramont rental apartments. Nearby are the rental apartment towers on the LCOR site at Nebel Street and Old Georgetown Road.

This is not a complete list of the residential condominiums and rental buildings that are within or steps from the north end of the new town center. Can you see how vibrant this area is becoming, as the walkable streets and interconnections are created? Many of the residents of these building complexes use Metro, walk to shopping (or will, when the shopping is complete), and own fewer vehicles than comparable households that are further from the town center.

Back to the performing would be terrific if this cooperative effort could incorporate some community theater, such as classes for children and teen, or even an occasional venue for local amateur productions. I applaud FRIT and Strathmore for coming up with a new concept that will enhance the neighborhood experience, as well as the partners in this endeavor.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Appraisals: A Limiting Factor

As prices rise in the area and multiple offers are made on new listings, it's important to remember that, unless the transaction is for cash (meaning that there is no outside financing for the purchase), there will be an appraisal done before the lender will approve a loan. The appraisal is paid for by the buyers, but it is really for the benefit of the lender to ensure that the amount advanced to the borrower is covered by the security of the property value.

Appraisers are licensed and must follow strict guidelines in valuing properties. So, even if the seller receives offers that are far above and beyond the price they asked for the property (or even hoped to obtain), there will be no settlement without an appraiser agreeing that the price agreed upon by the sellers and buyers is a fair market value. Real estate agents are taught that the test of market value (and its definition) is the price a seller will take and a buyer will pay in a fair and open market and an arm's length transaction (arm's length means that there is no reason for the price to be other than market value, such as selling a property to a relative and not under any duress). Under this definition, the contract price, however high it may be, could be considered to have set the market value for that property at that time in that market.

However, appraisers can't see it that way. They must use closed comparable sales, nearby (usually, within one mile) and recent. If there aren't comparable sales for your contract sales price, the appraiser may not agree with the price. In the event of a low appraisal (the appraisal is lower than the contract price), the buyers and sellers will have to try to negotiate a new price or the contract will fall apart if the buyer can't get a loan commitment based on the low appraisal.

Sellers, be aware of this concern. It's better to get the best price you can that is supportable to an appraiser than to agree to a possibly fairy-tale price that could cause then entire transaction to fail.

Why Should Sellers Jump into This Market?

It's been a long haul for the real estate market these past five years, but things are looking up for sellers this year. The entire DC Metro region is experiencing price appreciation, listing inventory is at historic lows, and buyers are out looking for their new home. So, why are sellers failing to put their houses on the market? The answers I get to this question generally come down to, "I'm not in a hurry and want to wait until there is more appreciation."

Here are the reasons this may not be the wisest choice:

What Do You Gain From Waiting?

1. We are all hoping that prices will appreciate during the next few years as the economy recovers and housing supply (especially in our area of North Bethesda) doesn't keep up with the population increases, but waiting to sell a property that has equity in it removes the potential to invest the funds in another appreciating property or in some other investment vehicle entirely. If you are familiar with the stock market, you understand the old adage that it often doesn't pay to be a "market timer" to try to capture the top or bottom of a market trend. Calculate what your proceeds will do for you today vs. what you think they can do for you in a future market.

2. If other sellers take the same position, there will be more houses on the market next year, which could dampen appreciation next year. If that happens, you would have lost a year for little increase in value.

3. Do you have some other place you'd rather be living? If so, what is the value in your life to waiting for a future event rather than proceeding with your goals and aspirations sooner?

Buyers Are Motivated Now

1. Interest rates are at historic lows, meaning that your buyers can afford more on their income. It is widely posited by economists that the time for these rates is limited. As the economy strengthens, banks will raise their rates. They are itching to do this, since none of them likes making 3.25% loans for 30 years. Higher interest rates are strongly correlated to pressure on price appreciation.

2. With few houses from which to choose, buyers are finding themselves competing when they make their offers. This forces them to make the best offer they possibly can (and quickly, too!) if they want to find a house they would like to buy. Their willingness to negotiate to better terms for the sellers is enhanced. 

Each person's circumstances are different, and all of the factors need to be weighed based on that person's priorities, be it financial or based on lifestyle choices or, as is usually the case, a combination of the two. Sometimes, it's helpful to examine motivations to act now or to wait with a trusted adviser. I hope that the options and conditions that I have outlined above are useful in your decision-making process. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A New North Bethesda Civic Association

The Greater Farmland Civic Association (GFCA) is now up and running, having had two general meetings, adopted bylaws, and poised to elect officers at the general meeting on March 13. It creates a community out of four defunct associations...Old Farm, Tilden Woods, Walnut Woods, and Hickory Woods. These neighborhoods are geographically located west of the Luxmanor Civic Association (LCA), east of I-270, and south of Montrose Road (which is also the boundary with the City of Rockville). The entire area is served by Farmland Elementary School and is in North Bethesda. GFCA now encompasses 971 properties, and the association is actively seeking input from residents for an upcoming directory and for membership. Dues for membership are $25 annually, which will entitle the member to a vote at meetings and access to the directory.

Committees have been formed and are still growing, with involvement from members being encouraged and solicited. Information about the community can be found at

Historically, Tilden Woods was built by Community Builders between 1962 and 1964 as a "country-style" home in the woods just north of Bethesda. Most of the homes are split levels, bi-levels, and ramblers, with some colonial style homes, all in the 2000-2500 square foot range. Some of the homes have carports (which, over the years, have often been converted to 1-car garages or sunrooms), with many having off-street parking. Lot sizes range from around 9,000 sq. ft. to 13,000 sq. ft. There are approximately 260 homes in this neighborhood.

Old Farm was built between 1963 and 1966 by Kettler Brothers. There are over a dozen home styles, most of them colonials of varying sizes and layouts. Most of the homes have garages, predominantly 1-car. The lot sizes tend to be around 8,000 to 11,000 sq. ft. There are nearly 500 homes in Old Farm.

Much of Walnut Woods was built around the same time as Old Farm, but there were several builders and many building styles. Most are colonials, but there are a few ramblers. A number of these homes were built by the builder Groover-Cooley, which is renowned for quality construction and plaster walls. The "newer" (it's all relative) homes have 2-car garages. In the 1980s, Hickory Woods was built on lots closest to I-270. The neighborhood names of Walnut Woods and Hickory Woods, advertised by the builders and known by the residents, are not recognized in the legal descriptions, so the legal subdivision name for both of these neighborhoods is Montrose Woods. It is not too uncommon in Montgomery County for the developer/builders to name a subdivision with a different name than that in the public records. For instance, the community we all know as Windermere is in the public records as Heritage Walk.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Great News! Friends of White Flint have a new, updated site!

Go to to see the latest in designs, approvals, submissions, and plans for the White Flint/North Bethesda business area. Friends of White Flint is an organization with members including local residents, county employees (planning staff and others), business owners, and developers, all interested in growing a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly, consumer and resident-friendly North Bethesda. The site is the most comprehensive compilation of all of the current projects.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Energy Efficiency Mortgages

Energy-efficiency mortgage products are relatively in the financing and conservation world. It is not easy to develop new mortgage products, since they generally have to conform to new FannieMae or FreddieMac underwriting guidelines to be eligible for sale on the secondary mortgage market. Without having special programs like these approved for Fannie/Freddie underwriting, the number of lenders willing to create such loans would be ridiculously small.

These loans have been available for a few years, but are becoming more common. For a property that has energy savings built-in (replacement windows, extra insulation, solar or geothermal systems, etc.), an energy assessor will determine the amount of savings created by the improvements, which allows the borrower to take a larger loan (since the extra money isn't needed for utility bills). It may also be possible to take a larger loan for a property that needs the improvements, giving the borrower extra funds to improve the property.

A better description of this type of loan can be found on the blog of an Envoy Mortgage loan officer, who is specializing in loans tailored for energy efficient properties.

Planning Department Publishes a New Site for N. Bethesda Development Information

Go to this new page to see a map of the White Flint Sector along with the new developments that have been applied for or are under construction. Clicking on a project gives you the approval process status as well as the size of the project. It will not give you the Application Number that you need to find more information about a specific project on the Montgomery County Planning site. You can click on the Locator Wizard from the planning site to find the project and obtain its Application Number, but it's cumbersome. Hopefully, the creator of the new map page will add application numbers in the future.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Groundbreaking for Pike and Rose - July 16, 2012

The ceremony on 7/16 was a happy event, with attendees including Gov. O'Malley, Lt. Gov. Brown, the comptroller, many other state officials, Cty. Exec. Ike Leggett, Council Pres. Roger Berliner, Councilmembers George Leventhal & Hans Reimer, the CEO and other officials of Federal Realty Investment Trust, including Evan Goldman, who has shepharded this project and met with community members many times. Other developers were invited, as well as community members who've been active all along. It was hot, but a beautiful day. The speeches included discussion of the unique public/private financing arrangements that could be models for future development financing, the scale of the economic impact, and the commitment of the gov't and developers to create a transit-oriented community that is a benefit to the county and the surrounding neighborhoods. It was great fun to see the project begin.

Our old Mid-Pike Plaza will be the new Pike & Rose development. Currently 24 acres of asphalt, it will be 8-9 blocks of "green" buildings with ground-level retail, bike and pedestrian pathways, pocket parks, apartments and commercial space.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Here's Help in Figuring out Which Products are Healthy

Many items that we install in our houses can make us sick, from carpeting to paint to our new furniture (and, yes, our new cars). That new car is "off-gassing," which means that some of the chemicals used in the manufacture of the plastics and fabrics are escaping into the air we breathe. If you are interested in checking out  products before you buy them and in evaluating the air quality in your home, take a look at Greenguard's website.