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Archive for May, 2008

Cool Radio for your computer

We just found this really neat website for music. It is http://www.pandora.com/ . You sign up, it is free, it feeds through your computer. The really fun thing about it is if you want to listen to a certain genre, then it play music from different artists of that genre. So if you are in the mood for Jack Johnson, then you will get a mix of Donavan Frankerieter, or Matt Costa. If you like Country, that is what it plays. No commercials that I heard? Really cool.

I know you youngsters have known about this, but for me this is really great. Thought I would share it with the rest of you that have not heard of it.

Have a good evening.

Check it out!

Spoken by Audrey Forshey | Discussion: No Comments »

Choosing your first REALTOR®

rowofhouses11.jpgSo you are thinking about buying your first home and you are not sure where to start? The first thing you should consider is the agent. This is the person that is going to be your advocate and will represent and guide you through the transaction. Get referrals from friends and family that have purchased and sold real estate. Look on the internet; see if anyone appeals to you.

When you make your initial call to the agent ask them if they do a buyer consultation prior to looking at houses. You will want to work with an agent who does this. It will prepare you for the transaction. You will be a more confident buyer and have a smoother transaction.

You should have a list of question that are important to you and make sure you get clear answers from the agent. These are some of the basic items you should expect to cover in a buyer consultation appointment.

I give my potential clients a buyer packet. It has local area information, information about me, and a blank copy of the forms we will go over and that you will be asked to sign. I also include a home buyer’s guide that has a copy of the contract that you will sign, a HUD-1 and a glossary of terms.

I wish you luck in your endeavor in buying your first home. Being prepared by an experienced, capable agent will be the key to smooth transaction. No matter where you are, if you have questions, shoot me an email and I will answer your questions to the best of my ability!

Spoken by Audrey Forshey | Discussion: No Comments »

Best Dentist Ever Award!

Look Mom, no cavities! Remember the dreaded trip to the dentist as a kid? I went to the dentist yesterday for my twice a year cleaning and routine maintenance. I have a GREAT Dentist. DR Fran Watson, in Rockville Maryland. If you are looking for a dentist, run to her.

Again, yesterday no cavities! I know my dentist is different than most dentists. It is an experience to go and see her. A good experience.

Dr Watson’s office is not like other dental offices. When you arrive, you are greeted by Nicole, one of the best receptionists ever. The waiting room is a soothing sage green color with lamps, not over head florescent lights. There is a fancy one cup coffee maker for you to help yourself too. Comfortable seating, scented candles lit and the good magazines make waiting a pleasure.

When you are on your way back to the dreaded dentist chair, the soothing green walls are continued through the entire office. Another scented candle in the back too. There are the things on the ceiling to look at and a TV mounted up on the wall if you like. You can have head phones to listen to music while Dr Watson does her work if you like. One thing that struck me yesterday that I have not paid attention to before is the large basket with a rolled up fleece blanket in case you get cold there in the office.

Dr Watson not only has the best office, but her work is superior as well. The entire staff is happy to see you and make you feel at home when you are there. The best part is that all of the stuff I have had done, it never seems to hurt? Maybe it is because I feel more relaxed when I get there and while I am in the chair?

When you are finished, she has a grab basket of toothpaste, mouth wash. You get a new tooth brush and floss everytime you visit.

My trip to Dr Watson’s office yesterday made me think that I try to make my client’s have a soothing real estate experience as well. My broker’s provide one of the best and most professional offices so when clients come to see us they are comfortable. I give my clients access to all of the online information they need. I also give my buyer package with file folder for their convenience too. I am going to stretch my creativity to see if I can come up with another experience they can benefit from while working with me. I am their advocate and sounding board through their transaction.

Some people are anxious for their trip to the dentist, some are anxious when they make a trip to see the real estate agent? Maybe we need to work on the great experience the public gets when they deal with us. I want my clients to have the same kind of soothing experience when buying or selling real estate as I have when visiting Dr Watson.

Let’s all strive to set ourselves apart from the norm and give our clients a “Dr Watson experience”

Spoken by Audrey Forshey | Discussion: No Comments »

Buying your First Home, Making Sound Price Decisions

Buying your first home, making sound price decisions

When you are thinking about buying your first home, it can be intimidating. All of the questions you have racing through your head. How much should we spend? What is it like to apply for a loan? What will our payment be like? Then, the fun thoughts; what kind of house will I have? What you want in a home and how you will fix it up to make it your home.

 As you look at homes, you may decide that you want to be conservative in the amount of money that you spend when purchasing your first home. This might not be as financially sound as you may think? Typically cheaper homes are smaller and you may find that you will grow out of the home quicker than you think? Five years from now may seem like a long time from now, but it will be here before you know it.

Things will change for you in time; you may have children, maybe a different job, and promotions? Who knows? I think it is smarter for a purchaser in today’s market to spend a bit more, as long as you qualify, so you can live in the home longer and be comfortable in your home.

What I am saying is, if you qualify for a $400,000 mortgage, you certainly should not stretch yourself to where you will struggle. Not suggesting that in anyway. However, I do not think it is prudent to purchase a $200,000 home either. You will grow out of the $200K home sooner and will start to want to move into something larger. At that point, you will probably want to sell your home to have the down payment and closing costs to purchase your new home.

Here is where you are going to cost yourself money. Right now, buying your first home, you will have closing fees, down payment and inspection fees. If you purchase too small of a home, and decide you want to move, you will then have to spend money to pay the fees associated with selling your home and buying your next home. The fees can run into tens of thousands of dollars.

By making a compromise in the above comparison, maybe investigate how much the payment would be around a $300,000 price range? The home should be larger, therefore hopefully giving you a “longer shelf life” in your home. If your home is larger you should have more space and be more comfortable for longer in the middle sized home. As homes appreciate over time, the more expensive home will be worth more exponentially than the smaller, cheaper home.

Whatever type of home you decide to purchase, make sure you talk to 3 mortgage lenders to compare interest rates to ensure you get the best rate possible. Maybe speak to a couple of REALTORS® and get a feel for their style, make sure your agent is knowledgeable and your best interests are their priority. This is an important relationship and decision in your life.


Spoken by Audrey Forshey | Discussion: No Comments »

Something Fun to Do in Bethesda

If you like to meet new people and cook, I have a great suggestion.

L’Academie de Cuisine Culinary school

located in Bethesda Maryland. LAC is an accredited culinary school. If becoming a professional chef is of interest to you, I have included a link to the school.

This link will provide you with all the information you will need. It has a complete class schedule, descriptions of the classes and recipes. If you have someone special that really enjoys cooking, LAC has gift certificates available too. I got some of these for Christmas. This is a great gift for everyone. I got to learn some fun recipes, I made them for my friends and family so they got to enjoy my class as well. Kinda neat!

For the novice, LAC also has a recreational school. The recreational school is broken down into to two areas. One is the demonstration classes. This is where you can come and watch Chef Francois Dionotcook for you and watch as he shows you how to prepare the recipe. The second is the participation classes. These are the ones that I like best. You get to get in there and actually make all of the recipes. You can register for everything from baking bread to making soufflés. They also teach knife skills, making candy and cake decorating classes.

There are single session classes. These classes are 3 hours long, you will watch a demonstration of the items to be prepared and then you will actually make the recipes right there in the classroom. You may also sign up for classes that are a series. They are usually 3 classes that meet once a week. There are intense weekend classes for real cooking junkies.

There are usually several recipes for each class. It is usually two or three main dishes and several side dishes. All of your ingredients are all measured and set out for you in your station. Just don’t mix up the salt for the sugar like I did when I was making English Toffee! We had to start that one over. There are also helpers there to assist you and the teaching chef.

The reward is when you are finished cooking, grilling, or baking you sit down with everyone and have a meal and a glass of wine to experience your cooking abilities. The recipes are printed and yours to take home and try again.

So next time you are trying to think of something new to do, think L’Academie de Cuisine. It is a lot of fun and a great place to meet new people!!

Spoken by Audrey Forshey | Discussion: No Comments »

Darnestown Neighborhood Softball Wants Women

Next time I am Wearing a Crown Instead of a Cap!

It is Sunday afternoon in Darnestown Maryland. As my husband and I walk together all the guys are so glad to see me. “Hi, Audrey, we are so glad to see you.” “Hey look everyone look, Audrey is here.” My husband and I just grin. You see, it is Spring and Coed Neighborhood Softball has started in Darnestown and the women are a must. It is not because I am so good, they just need 3 breathing females on the team to play!

Then Linda and her husband show up, and the same thing happens. Hey, everyone, Linda is here and so on. We girls laugh and say we have not been this popular since our wedding days. The guys make us feel like queens because they need at least 3 of us in order to play!

In our town we have six softball teams that are made up of from different neighborhood combinations. You must own/ live in the Darnestown area of Gaithersburg to be able to play. Each team must have three women playing at all times. There are several rules that have been put into place for safety purposes. There is no sliding into home plate. The men have to bat opposite until they are 50, then they can bat normal. For some of the guys, it doesn’t matter – they still knock it out of the park. The women use a smaller ball than the men. There are all kinds of little rules to keep it safe and fair for the girls.

There is a six foot circle drawn around the home plate so there is no pushing the catcher out of the way in order to score. That is good news to me seeing how I am the catcher for my team.

My husband, Mike, is the pitcher. He does a pretty good job. However, when he is not on his game and I sigh, not having anything to do with the fact that he is about to walk another person and we might lose the game because their best hitter is on deck kind of sigh. No, it would have anything to do with that, and Mike can still hear my sigh only like a husband can. It can be amusing to say the least.

The games have umpires, strikes are called, and batters are walked. It can be pretty exciting. Scores, wins and losses are kept and there is even a trophy at the end of the year. Neighbors bring their lawn chairs and cheer their neighbors on. After the game is over, we sit and visit, watch the next game if there is one, have a beer. It is a great way to know your neighbors in a small town way that is not normal in the DC suburbs.

It is neighborhood softball and is a lot of fun, there are those that you have to remind them that they are not in the World Series, but I guess that is just how some folks are. All I know is next week when I need a boost in morale; all I have to do is show up to the ball field.

Spoken by Audrey Forshey | Discussion: No Comments »

Rudy and the Kindness of Strangers

rudy21.jpgEveryday is an adventure no matter what you do or where you live. It doesn’t have to be newsworthy, little things that happen change people’s attitudes.

This morning, after my husband left for work, the phone rang and it was him. He says to me, “Guess what I got in the back of the car?” Me, “I don’t know, what?” He says, “a soaking wet – I am waiting for racoon, deer, fox, you name it some wild animal- Golden Retriever.”

He went on to tell me that he found her wandering in the middle of Rt 118 in Germantown Soaking wet. He stopped his car in the middle of the road with flashers and coaxed her into his car with little trouble. He said she hopped right in. She didn’t have any tags on her, so he turned around and brought her home so we could figure out who she belonged to.

Once she got to our house, I don’t think she was so sure of where she was it took a few minutes to get her out of the car. Finally she came out and we took her inside and dried her off. She was soaked to the bone. I figured she must have been out all day yesterday and last night. After we got her a bit dryer, I checked her collar for information and found her name, Rudy, and phone number sewn onto the collar. We called her owner and they headed right over to get her.

We fed her and gave her a treat. She was very happy about that. She was a bit timid about where she was, our dog was checking her out too. They were fine together and both sat for me as I gave them their treat.

When her owner came to get her, he was most thankful and told us that they had contractors at their house doing work and they left the gate open and the dogs ran out of the yard. They still had two other dogs they were looking for. I sure hope they find them or the dogs find their way home.

It struck me funny when the owner said he was so thankful for our kindness and happy to get his dog back? I guess I think most folks would reach out and help a dog, child, cat that was in obvious trouble? But I guess that is not the case. My husband said that people were just swerving around the dog and honking at it? I just don’t get that? Maybe it is because I am a dog owner I am more sensitive to such things? You see, for you folks that are not pet owners, to us it is the same thing as if your child was out wandering down the middle of Rt 118 soaking wet. You would certainly hope someone would stop to help. I am not scolding anyone, just explaining how most pet owners feel about their pets.

So next time, you see a dog wandering down the road and it is safe for you to approach, try getting the information off of the collar and call the owner. The owner will probably come right away to get the pet.

You will make their day and in turn you will make yourself feel really good for “being the kindness of a stranger.”

Spoken by Audrey Forshey | Discussion: No Comments »

Let’s Start Thinking of Our House As Home Again

travener.jpgWhen I talk to my husband in the evening and we exchange the happenings of our day, sometimes he says the most profound things.

He works in the Biotech industry. Yes, HE is finding a cure to save lives – real life and death stuff – even though I think that is my department.

I told him I had a settlement the next day and my client is really excited about her new home. The client and I feel that she got a really good deal on her new place, even if the market went down more, she feels like she has a really good cushion. I told my husband that she and I discussed the fact that she should plan to stay in the home for awhile and ride the market.

Then my husband said the most profound thing, “well, isn’t that what you buy a home for anyway? To live in it, enjoy it, spend time there?” That just smacks of Hellooo?

Of course that is what we buy a home for. To live, grow, and enjoy as our safety haven from the world.

It made me think of how in 20 years of selling homes what the perception of home selling and home buying has been. In the early years through the 90s we sold homes and havens. We sold the features, location and comfort of the home. Maybe it was the way the house made the buyer “feel” or a certain school district was the buyer’s hot button?

Then, in the early 2000’s, it seems we sold the investment – not the haven. When we discussed homeownership it was about appreciation in dollars. Almost always homes were sold with amenities, but the dollar signs outweighed the haven. The biggest question from consumers would be “how much do you think this home will be worth in ____ years?” I always joked and said, “If I knew that, I would not sell real estate.”

Today, I feel we are back to selling what is important; Lifestyle as well the haven and the investment that homeownership can provide to consumers.

Whether it is a convenient location for a commuter or gated community with all of the recreational amenities for people of all ages enjoy? Lifestyle and comfort are the benefit of homeownership.

Yes, the investment factor is still strong. Heck, investors with plenty of cash are out getting bargains, but for our homeowner consumer, we have to remember that there is more to a home than a giant dollar sign! Well, until the next big upswing market!


Spoken by Audrey Forshey | Discussion: No Comments »

Why I Might Not Be Your REALTOR®

robot11.jpgReal Estate is my passion. I am one of the lucky ones, I love my job. It is important to me to help, educate and guide my clients to buy their first home or buy their dream home. I work this passion daily and it means a lot to me, but more importantly it must mean a lot to you, the consumer.

I want you to have the same passion about finding your home as I do. I am a very hands on personal REALTOR® . I am all about the experience you will go through when you work with me as your agent. I am a firm believer in doing a steady business of high quality real estate transactions rather than a high quantity of mediocre transactions. Most of my clients are friends, or become my friends after the transaction.

The experience is very important to me. I want you to be very clear and happy with the entire process. I will provide you with as much consumer information as possible so you can make educated decisions. Customer service is paramount to me and your satisfaction is my main goal.

So, if you are a person who doesn’t really care about how your real estate transaction goes, or doesn’t really need a high quality transaction, maybe I am not for you?

Spoken by Audrey Forshey | Discussion: No Comments »

South Germantown Soccer and Sports Complex

You will never want for something to do if you live in Montgomery County Maryland. There are several Cultural venues, world renowned restaurants, and sports facilities to keep everyone in the family happy and entertained.

One of the best facilities we have access to is The Germantown Pool and Soccer complex, located on 695 acres located off of Shaeffer Road in Germantown, Maryland.

The pool complex has three indoor pools. Two large pools, one is Olympic size, with dive platforms and one is a lap pool. There is also a smaller kiddie pool located indoors. During the summer months there is an outdoor pool and a splash pool that is open as well.

In the same complex is the Discovery Zone soccer field. This features indoor soccer/volleyball/basketball and lacrosse indoor fields and an outdoor lighted field with stadium seating for 3200. There are 24 other soccer fields there at the complex that are always full on the weekends with soccer games being played by all different leagues and age groups. The complex also has a golf driving range, an Archery range and a pond to launch your remote control model boats. There are hiking trails, softball fields and two miniture golf courses too! Fun for everyone. It is really a great facility.

I think the county thought of just about everyone, and all you have to do is be a resident of Montgomery County Maryland!!

Spoken by Audrey Forshey | Discussion: No Comments »

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