Dear Michelle and Tom:
Welcome to Maryland! Tom's new job at the National Security Agency sounds like an amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I'm sure that's a very competitive position and a great honor for you to be selected. Congratulations!
It is an honor for me, as well, to help with your relocation to Maryland. Let's get started right away by focusing on the top three reasons Crofton is a good match for you, based on the priorities Michelle mentioned in her email - location, community, and availability of affordable 4-bedroom, 2 bath homes with 1200-2400 sq. ft., within walking distance of elementary school for your two children.
1. CROFTON IS 30 MINUTES TO EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO GO -
You know what they say about the most important things in real estate - Location, Location, and Location. When the traffic gods are smiling, Crofton is only about 30 minutes to NSA, Annapolis, Baltimore's I-695, D.C.'s I-495 and BWI Airport. As an Air Force retiree, Tom, you and your family will enjoy the resources of several nearby military bases within an hour of Crofton: The U.S. Naval Academy, Ft. Meade, Andrews AFB, National Naval Medical Center Bethesda, Walter Reed, and even the Pentagon. If you accept the job offer in D.C., Michelle, in addition to driving, you have the option of taking the MARC train from Odenton or METRO-Rail from New Carrollton.
Aside from commuting time, you'll appreciate Crofton's location for its convenience to the museums, monuments, professional sports teams, and arts venues in Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Annapolis, not to mention sailing on the Chesapeake Bay. Michelle, I know you're wondering about shopping - Annapolis Mall is just 15 minutes away, but groceries and other everyday shopping needs will be met without leaving Crofton. Your kids will probably be glad to learn that the Atlantic Ocean is only about 2 hours east of Crofton - close enough for a day trip or weekend. You'll find links to many of these in my Crofton Area Resource Guide.
2. LIVING IN CROFTON IS A LOT LIKE LIVING IN A SMALL TOWN -
It's no surprise to anyone in Crofton to see our community listed in Money Magazine's 2007 Top 100 Best Places to Live. You'll soon see why!
American flags fly over Crofton Parkway, mounted on light posts above the many walkers, joggers, runners and bikers that travel its 3.5 mile route. Flowering cherry trees line some of the streets, creating a spectacular splash of spring color. Holiday wreathes magically appear on windows, doors and light posts at the Crofton Village Green (with a little help from the Crofton Village Garden Club).
Crofton residents enjoy many annual traditions such as Spring and Fall crafts fairs, free summer concerts on the Village Green, the Tour de Crofton bike race, Santa's arrival and Christmas tree lighting, and parades for Halloween, Armed Forces Day, and Opening Day for the youth baseball season... There are ongoing community activities for every age and interest including organized athletics, scouts, garden clubs, civic organizations, service groups... Recreation facilities include two golf courses, tennis courts, parks, playgrounds... There are several places of worship, small businesses, medical offices, shopping centers, restaurants and a recently-built library... No chance of getting bored, when you live in Crofton!
And yes, your children will probably walk to elementary school from their Crofton home! There is a middle school in Crofton, as well, but your children will have a short school bus ride due to the school being on a busy street. (Link to Anne Arundel County Public Schools)
3. YES, YOU CAN AFFORD A CROFTON HOME -
While home prices are higher in the D.C. area than Little Rock, where you are now, Crofton is lower than the Travis AFB area, your duty station prior to retiring from the Air Force. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at how low Anne Arundel County property taxes are, too - as much as $100 less per month than other nearby Maryland and Virginia counties for a home in your price range. This difference enables you to spend more for your Crofton home while still keeping your monthly payments affordable.
I think many of those sticker-shock stories about the D.C. area are based on Northern Virginia home prices. Crofton is a place where you can still find a detached home in the $400 thousands. Given the nature of today's buyer's market, Michelle and Tom, it is highly likely that many of them are negotiable.
Here are three Crofton homes that I plan to show you, assuming they're still available when you arrive.
- BEST MATCH: 1736 Trent Street- $467,950. I think you will enjoy life in "Old Crofton", the heart of the community and its many activities, walking distance to Crofton Woods Elementary, Crofton Country Club, Crofton Swim and Tennis Club and Swann Park. This one-level home has everything you're looking for including 4 large bedrooms, 2 baths, a famiy room with fireplace, screened porch, updated baths and kitchen, and beautiful 11,482 sq. ft. treed corner lot.
- BEST VALUE: 1424 Knights Bridge Turn- $449,000. No mortgage payments for the first three months on this awesome designer-decorated home, just reduced $12,000. This colonial style 2-story home features 4 bedroom, 2.5 baths, wood floors, upgrades everywhere, tile flooring in baths, family room with brick fireplace and slider to the patio, and a large 9,957 sq. foot treed level lot. Crofton Woods Elementary, Crofton Country Club, Crofton Swim and Tennis Club and Swann Park are just a bike ride away.
- BEST PRICE: 1737 Linkwood Lane- $420,000. This split-foyer style 4-bedroom 2 bath home, situated on a 7,176 sq. ft. lot, features a beautiful 18x36 in-ground pool and Loi pond, but just one garage. There are lots of upgrades including recent HVAC, fireplace liner, and leafless gutters/downspouts. Other updates include ceramic tile throughout the lower level and updated kitchens/baths. Your children will walk to Crofton Meadows Elementary School and Crofton Library from this home.
Click on this link for a sneak preview of other homes for sale in Crofton, including photos, prices and brief descriptions.
CROFTON PHOTOS: Homes (An online tour of the neighborhood, but these homes are not for sale)
I look forward to introducing the Snyder family to some of your future neighbors when you visit next month. In the meantime, be sure to check out Focus on Crofton, for my blogs about Crofton News, Events, Businesses, People and Real Estate.
A list of other real estate professionals who may have a role in your home purchase is attached, in case you want to contact them before you arrive for house hunting. See you soon - I'm eager to meet you and get started!
Associate Broker, Long & Foster
P.S. I almost forgot to mention the "BRAC Factor" -
Thanks to the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Report, 22,000 new jobs are expected in the next five years at Ft. Meade. This is great news for your Crofton home's future property value, since there will be huge demand for a limited supply of nearby homes!
Relocating to the Baltimore-Washington area? Check out Your Relocation Package for Anne Arundel County, Maryland.
Since you're new to the area, I'm providing you some local contacts who have served my clients well in the past - mortgage lenders, real estate and title attorneys, insurance agents and home inspectors. Maryland law is very clear that the choice cannot be dictated by me or any home seller, including builders. Therefore, this list is provided as a service for your convenience, and is not intended as a referral to or recommendation of these companies or individuals.
- FNMC Mortgage, Chris Washburn
- Wells Fargo Mortgage, David Wilhelm
- 1st Metropolitan Mortgage, Lou Colletti
Real Estate and Title Attorneys:
- Capitol Title, Kim Williams
- Village Green Title, Ed White
- Vintage Settlement Services, Barry DesRoches
- Amerispec, Chris Hanson
- The Home Biz, Jim Schreiber
- Showalter Property Consultants, Stephen Showalter
WINNERS IN THE ACTIVE RAIN BUYER'S CHALLENGE: