At Home in Annapolis

  • Ringing in the New Loan Limits for 2023

    We are well into 2023, yet there are still some questions as to what the real estate market will look like in the months ahead, how much inflation will subside, and what mortgage rates will do. Something we know for sure are the new loan limits for our region, and I am happy to report that they have been expanded considerably.

    The conforming loan limits are required by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) to reflect the percentage change in the average U.S. home price during the most recent 12-month or four-quarter period ending before the time of determining the annual adjustment. In 2023, the conforming loan limit will rise 12.21% because FHFA has determined that the average U.S. home value increased by that amount between the third quarters of 2021 and 2022.

    Let’s break this down for the Maryland counties in the Baltimore and DC regions, as there are some differences.

    Baltimore Region

    Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard

    Conventional Loan Limit                              $726,200            

    FHA Loan Limit                                                $632,500

    VA Loan Limit                                                $2,000,000 (No down payment for fully eligible Veteran)

    DC Region

    Calvert, Frederick, Montgomery, Prince Georges

    Conventional Loan Limit                             $1,089,300

    FHA Loan Limit                                              $1,089,300

    VA Loan Limit                                                $2,000,000 (No down payment for fully eligible Veteran)

    One other reminder, it does not take 20% down to buy a home. Standard conventional loans allow for as little as a 3% down payment, FHA loans only require a 3.5% down payment, and VA loans, for eligible Veterans, are available with no down payment using a VA Loan.

    If you are interested in learning more about the options you have for buying a home in 2023, let’s schedule a call! Contact me today! I would be happy to refer you to a great local Annapolis lender with GRA!

  • What To Expect From The Annapolis Housing Market in 2023

    Before we look at 2023, let’s start off with a recap of 2022. The real estate market in Annapolis ended with a pause in activity. It’s normal to see home sales trend lower during winter months as home buyers and sellers shift their focus to the upcoming holiday season. However, we know that seasonality wasn’t the only reason the market slowed.

    • Interest rates reaching 7% changed the game around affordability, making mortgages for Annapolis homes slightly more expensive.
    • Home buyers also confronted the stark reality that their dream home suddenly felt slightly out of reach.

    Buyer enthusiasm dropped as they took a step back to assess if owning a home was still their best move or if waiting to “see what happens” in Annapolis real estate was the better play.

    The homebuyer pause also caused home sellers to tackle a slowdown in showings and offers, and adjusted home sale prices became a selling strategy we hadn’t seen in years.

    WELCOME 2023

    2023 kicked off with a more balanced approach to the market. Homebuyers and sellers alike selected to settle into the new reality that increased interest rates will be with us for the foreseeable future.

    The good news is that rates have leveled off, (mortgage rates are expected to plateau at about 6.4%) allowing for some planning and less volatility when buying or selling a home.

    Buyers have regained a more optimistic viewpoint about buying homes once again, as they’ve started to see more homes reduce their prices in order to combat interest rate increases. The increased days on market has also offered breathing room for buyers to make more sound investing decisions.

    Home sellers in Annapolis are less frantic too. They understand their home will need to spend a little more time on the market than before, and they’re working hard to put their best foot forward by providing the market with well-cared-for homes (something that’s desperately needed in any market.)

    Home sellers in Annapolis are leaning in once again to hire an experienced real estate agent in the area; as they seek time-tested advice around go-to-market pricing decisions.


    As the Anne Arundel County housing market returns to normal, there are three things home buyers and sellers should expect in the upcoming year:

    1. Buyers will regain their confidence to afford a home.

    Mortgage lenders are tackling the new spike in interest rates by opening up their toolbox with proven loan programs to enable sellers to buy down these rates for homebuyers.

    Over the last few years, sellers were unwilling to offer any kind of buyer concessions. In our current market, buyers can expect to ask their agents to negotiate closing cost assistance so lenders can reduce their interest rates and help improve their monthly mortgage payments.

    2. The lack of inventory will continue.

    The lack of housing inventory, and particularly affordable homes, will continue to be a pressing issue for Annapolis home buyers and sellers. There still need to be more houses on the market to support the number of people who need them; especially at the most economically affordable price points.

    3. Home prices will adjust but not how you think

    While some experts like to lead with fear, projecting home price drops as high as 7.6%, we don’t expect that will be the case. For example, The National Association of Realtors is taking an opposing stand, with projections that home prices will increase in 2023 by 1.2%.

    In our experience, the real estate market in our area should expect to see homes going to market at prices that align with actual, current market value instead of previously inflated prices due to the insane demand.

    Owning a home is always a good idea as it allows you to control your monthly expenses and create long-term wealth by building equity. If you are planning on buying or selling in 2023, let’s talk now. Contact me today!

  • Upsize or Downsize: What’s Your Best Move

    Deciding if it is time for your family to upsize or downsize is not always a clear choice. There are factors to consider that might push you to take the leap or stay put for a while longer. Whether you are thinking about upsizing so your family can spread out or purging possessions so you can downsize, here are some questions to ponder.

    1. How are you using your current space?

    Do your family members feel like they don’t have adequate privacy or space to do their own thing?  Are you tired of working at the dining table and really need an office or workshop? Is having the kids share bedrooms just not working out? Maybe an upsize is warranted. On the other hand, do you have rooms that aren’t being used, or are you tired of paying property taxes on more house than you need? Check for the downsize column!

    2. Have you considered the maintenance costs?

    If upsizing is on your mind, consider the added costs for maintaining a larger home and property, whether in money or time. Will you be able to keep up with cleaning, lawn care, and general maintenance issues that come with owning a home? If you are ready to cross maintenance off your to-do list, perhaps you are ready to downsize to a more manageable property or one where the HOA handles part of the job.

    3. What are your outdoor space needs?

    Are you ready to give up having a yard or garden to downsize to a maintenance-free space? Do you have pets that need outdoor space? Do you need more outdoor space for your children to play or your dog to run around in? The size of the house is one thing, but the property is important also.

    4. Have you looked to the future?

    What do you expect your needs to be in the next five, ten, or twenty years? Do you want a large home where your children and grandchildren will come for vacations and holidays, or will you be spending those times at their homes? Will you want to entertain groups of friends, or do you foresee going out for your entertainment? What will happen if your spouse passes; will you want to stay in the home on your own?

    5. Do the financial implications add up in your favor?

    Can you handle the higher costs involved with a larger home, or are you ready to cut costs with a downsize? Consider where you stand on your current mortgage. Are you alright with starting a new mortgage at this point in your life, or are you in a position to purchase in cash? What are the tax implications for your move?  

    6. Is it the right market to upsize or downsize?

    A seller’s market is hot for those looking to sell a larger home and downsize. Upsizing may be riskier in a big seller’s market, but if your family would be happier in a larger home, it might be worth the leap.

    Whatever questions you have about purchasing your next home, I’d be honored to assist you. So let’s work together to make sure your next move is the right one.

  • Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

    Serves 6

    – 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed

    – ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

    – 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

    – 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

    – ½ teaspoon salt

    – ¼ teaspoon black pepper

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place Brussels sprouts in a single layer in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup; toss to coat. Sprinkle with bacon; season with salt and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven until bacon is crispy and Brussels sprouts are caramelized, about 45 minutes, stirring halfway through.

    Enjoy — and Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Top 4 Ways To Improve Your Home’s Value

    As a listing agent, clients are always asking which updates and renovations offer the biggest
    return on investment when they go to sell their house. Although it varies from client to client, typically I suggest 4 things.

    Increase Your Curb Appeal
    The outdoor presentation says a lot about the care of the home. Chipped paint, rusted shutters,
    broken gutters, and wild bushes imply that there isn’t a lot of care being put into the property.
    Walking up the driveway, down the sidewalk, and up to the front door, your mind almost
    anticipates opening the door to find something frightening.

    Freshen up the exterior paint job of the home. Get the front door, garage door, trim, address
    numbers, and even some of the accents like gutters, mailboxes, and birdhouses. Make those
    colors pop both in the photography and in person. If your home is susceptible to dirt, grime, and
    mold, give it a good pressure washing. You want potential buyers to be excited to see your
    home and first impressions not only matter, but set the tone for the showing.

    Update Your Kitchen
    It’s been said that kitchens sell houses. It’s true. It’s the most common gathering place in the

    Your kitchen being up-to-date and functional is an important aspect of getting top dollar for your
    home. How does your kitchen look and feel? Is it clean, bright, and spacious? Does it flow well?
    Make sure the appliances are relatively new and in working order. Clean them inside and out.
    Believe it or not, some buyers will actually open the appliances. Make sure that your secondary
    kitchen items work such as your Lazy Susan, your rolling beverage cart, or your countertop
    butcher blocks.

    Replace or update any countertops that need it. Replacing the countertops and kitchen island
    tops add value and present well. Make sure the backsplashes, lighting and fixtures compliment
    the space as well. Consider painting the kitchen to give it that bright and airy look and feel.

    Update Your Bathroom
    Kitchen and bathroom updates can offer upwards of 70% return on investment. Home buyers
    are looking for relaxing owner’s suites. A big part of that is a nice, cozy and welcoming

    Consider how the bathrooms present themselves to potential buyers. Are they nice and clean?
    Are the bathrooms dark and dingy looking or do they feel fresh and clean? Make sure to tackle
    that dirty grout.

    How do the countertops and cabinets look in the bathroom? Make sure all the hardware looks
    sleek and modern and don’t forget to complete the space with new or clean mirrors and towel
    racks, toothbrush holders and other complimentary accessories.

    Improve Your Outdoor Living Area
    Buyers love to visualize themselves in the backyard entertaining company. Adding a sitting area
    or fire pit in the backyard is easy, affordable and a great return on investment.
    If you don’t already have a focal point in the backyard, consider adding a deck and putting up a
    gazebo or canopy. An outdoor fireplace can also be a wonderful addition.

    If you already have a nice outdoor space, be sure to clean and spruce it up.
    Getting a great return on investment and maximizing the value of your home doesn’t have to be
    particularly hard or expensive and using these tips is a great place to start!