Discover Bethesda, Maryland...365 Days a Year!

Author Archive

Day 350: The North Face of Bethesda

The North Face at Bethesda Row

When my daughter was getting ready for her first day of high school some years ago, the most absolute of all necessities on her school supply list was not paper, pens, or binders but a backpack from The North Face store!  At the time, we lived in Seattle and The North Face was all the rage.  Coats and backpacks emblazoned with the logo were paraded around by every teen.  Interestingly, it was not just the teens who got hooked on the look – adults of all ages could be seen with their coat of choice around town too.  With plenty of color and style options, it became something of a personality statement to don your apparel of choice and “be seen” wearing The North Face.

C’mon, if I looked in your closet right now, wouldn’t I find at least ONE item with The North Face logo stitched on it? But why not, their stuff is great!  Plus, the store appeals to the “greenie” in me with their efforts to strive towards environmental responsibility and sustainability in all their business practices.  Their written commitment “to protecting and preserving our outdoor playground” speaks to any nature lover or outdoor sports enthusiast.  In fact, the November 29th post on their official blog site includes their first public sustainability report and some other interesting material.  Check it out at NeverStopExploring.com.

The North Face has now brought their technical, innovative gear and apparel to our very own Bethesda Row with a brand spanking new store located at 4848 Bethesda Ave.  So if you or your honey have a wish list that includes a little something with that well-recognized logo neatly stitched upon it, you can just head on down to the heart of Bethesda.  The store is larger than it appears from the street and I love the fitness gear section in the back (I have a few items on my wish list  from that part of the store).  My now college-age daughter who wanted the school backpack all those years ago (and by the way continued getting a new one each year of high school) is getting a pair of gloves this year with special tips on the fingers so you can still use a Smart phone while wearing them.  Innovation baby.

Clothes4Souls Coat Donation

If you plan to pop into the Bethesda Row store by December 24th, bring your gently-used coat for Clothes4Souls and replace it with a great new puffy, fluffy or shiny one!  If you plan instead to shop on-line, today happens to be their last day for ground shipping before Christmas.  You can always ship to the store for pickup there at no charge though.  I’m glad to see that Bethesda has a new face – The North Face!     ~Amy

Day 345: The Sunday Snapshot, Bethesda Real Estate

It’s Sunday, December 11, 2011 and exactly 2 weeks before Christmas.  It appears that many real estate agents have decided to take the rare Sunday off as there are only 36 open houses scheduled for today in Bethesda and Chevy Chase.  Here is a link to a site where you can find them all: www.HomesDatabase.com.

RE/MAX Real Estate Professionals www.KeystoBethesda.com

If you’re looking to put the keys to a new home under your tree this year, you might need to work with a Buyer’s Agent instead of trying to find your dream home by simply visiting open houses.  Today, you will find less than 1% of the available inventory is open for viewing.

There are plenty of advantages to hiring a Buyer’s Agent other than the obvious one of easier access to ALL the homes on the market.  Choose wisely and your Buyer’s Agent will provide helpful (often money-saving) advice.  Choose a professional with many years of local real estate experience and you will gain insights into neighborhood amenities and/or negative factors to consider, school information and negotiation advice.

The professional Buyer’s Agent is your advocate and your link to professional mortgage lenders, inspectors, contractors, settlement attorneys and others you will need as you proceed with a home purchase.  Look for someone who is experienced, proactive, communicative and a good listener!  This may not always be the area “top producer.”

Also, make sure your agent really knows the local market.  If someone works very broad geographic areas but has no particular specific market emphasis, they may not have the detailed insights that you need, especially in a town like ours.  Bethesda and Chevy Chase can vary drastically from street-to-street in terms of the value proposition of the land and homes – take for example Edgemoor versus any surrounding neighborhood.  Edgemoor demands a pretty significant premium.  These things are not advertised but experienced local agents, similar to local appraisers, know the financial implications of location!

There is essentially no cost to you to work with a Buyer’s Agent so take advantage of this built-in perk in real estate.  Would you represent yourself in court?  Probably not.  So why represent yourself in what may be the single largest financial investment of your life?

If a new home is on your Christmas list or one of your New Year’s resolutions, look to a professional local Buyer’s Agent to guide you through the process – and if you just want to browse at some interesting homes today, here are a few that caught my eye:

8215 Custer Rd - Photo by MRIS

8215 Custer Rd in the Greenwich Forest Neighborhood – List Price $2,195,000 – Architecturally interesting and in a great location close to downtown. Listed by Long and Foster.

5506 Hoover St in the Huntington Terrace neighborhood of Bethesda – List Price $899,000 (Recently reduced!) – Looks much smaller from the street than it is.  New addition on the back side of the home is stunning.  Convenient location and Whitman schools! Listed by Long and Foster.

8007 Park Ln in the Battery Park neighborhood of Bethesda – List price $650,000.  Ooo La La!  Walk to Bethesda for that price?  Yes, the home needs work but the Battery Park neighborhood is hard to get into – especially at this price point.  This home is an interesting proposition for the investor or renovator.  Listed by Prudential PenFed Realty.

I will be visiting these today too.  Maybe I will see you there?  Happy Sunday.     ~Amy

Day 341: Gifts That Warm the Heart but Don't Burn the Wallet

It’s that time of year again – time for the holiday gift-giving frenzy.  I don’t know about you but one of my pet peeves is gift cards.  I mean really, why not just give someone the gift of cold hard cash?  You know it will get spent, not lost and it will likely be appreciated more than a gift card for a restaurant or shop that may not be a favorite anyway.  But when you want something more meaningful than cash or its plastic equivalent, here are a few ideas we like from some local shops in Bethesda.

All Fired Up Painted Pottery

ALL FIRED UP, POTTERY PAINTED BY YOU

Release your inner artist and create a truly personalized gift of pottery for your Mom, your buddy or even your four-legged friends!  They have some adorable pet dishes and you can even bring in your pet and make a paw imprint to really personalize the item.  Painted pottery is also a great way for your child to feel truly involved and excited about the giving experience while creating a piece that will no doubt be considered priceless by its recipient.

All Fired Up is located at 4923 Elm Street in Bethesda.  Plan on roughly 1-1/2 hours to complete your masterpiece, although you are welcome to have unlimited studio time.  If you are artistically impaired like me, don’t worry.  They have stencils and friendly people to help guide you through the creative process.  The paint is all non-toxic and washes out of your clothes so you could even plan to stop by on your way home from work.  Weekends are busy so perhaps call ahead but weekday walk-ins are usually fine.  Ladies’ Night is offered on Thursday from 6 – 9 PM giving you & your BFF both 15% off.  (P.S.  BYOB or BYOW is fine with them!  I love that!  Why not spice things up with a little glass of something yummy while you work?)  For more information, you can call All Fired Up at 301-654-3206.

Women Basket from Uganda

GIVE TO YOUR FRIEND and GIVE TO THE WORLD

I can’t tell you how much I enjoy strolling through Ten Thousand Villages located at 4959 Elm Street in Bethesda.  Their store is chock-a-block full of interesting, beautiful and unique pieces crafted by artisans around the world.

All the items come with an explanation about the country of origin and how your purchase helps to keep the artisan who would otherwise be under or unemployed provide food, healthcare, education and housing to their families.  On Day 31 of Bethesda365, we shared information about the background of Ten Thousand Villages and how the organization supports equity in fair trade for and works in long-term partnerships with disadvantaged people from developing countries.  The items in the shop are usually very well-priced, are unique and offer the added meaning of a gift that helps those in need.  It will surely bring a smile to the face of anyone who receives it.   The only problem with this shop is that I can’t seem to leave there without buying something for myself too!  Last time I popped in,  I purchased a woven fruit basket from Uganda.

Happy Holidays Bethesda and let us know if you have unique gift ideas you would like to share.     ~Amy

Day 338: The Sunday Snapshot, Bethesda Real Estate

It’s another beautiful fall day in Bethesda.  Fresh air, football, home-cooked meals, soccer games and leaf-raking may be on your agenda…and perhaps visits to open houses too.  If so, here are some up-to-the-minute statistics and information you might want to keep in mind.

Bethesda Colonial Home in the Sumner Neighborhood

First of all, a great resource to find open house listings is www.HomesDataBase.com.  As of 12:30 PM, there are 63 open houses scheduled for today in Bethesda and Chevy Chase – most from 1-4 PM, but check the listings if you have a certain house in mind.  Sometimes you will find that homes are open from 2 PM – 4 PM.

Here is a quick snapshot of our local real estate statistics recently:

  • Currently there are 341 homes, townhomes, condos, etc. actively listed for sale in Bethesda and Chevy Chase.
  • Of those, 240 are detached homes at a whopping average price of $1,443,542! (Median: $1,152,500)
  • Right now there are 112 detached homes in Bethesda and Chevy Chase that are under contract awaiting settlement.  Interestingly, the average price of those is $999,490 but the median price is only $839,450.  That’s quite a contrast.
  • In NOVEMBER 2011, according to MRIS*, there were 69 detached homes sold in Bethesda and Chevy Chase.  The median price: $850,000.  The average price $965,312.  These homes took an average of 69 days to sell.

    www.KeystoBethesda.com

Our market is not back to its peak, but it is certainly showing some strong indications that we have a healthy balanced market, unlike many other regions throughout the nation.  With interest rates remaining low and year-over-year price improvements evident for the last 2 years, our real estate market offers a great long-term investment opportunity.   Happy house-hunting!     ~Amy

(*All data cited in this article is from the MRIS, Metropolitan Regional Information System.)

Day 337: Bethesda's Winter Wonderland – Dec 2-3, 2011

Student Concert 2010 Photo from Bethesda Urban Partnership

Black Friday is already a distant memory and winter is just around the corner!  It’s time again to get into the holiday spirit and if you’re looking for a great way to do just that, check out the Winter Wonderland Festival in downtown Bethesda today, Dec. 3rd, 2011.

Most of the activities will take place at Veteran’s Park located at the corner of Norfolk and Woodmont Avenues and at Imagination Stage located at 4908 Auburn Avenue.  All the events are FREE, including the concert performances held today.

The a capella and gospel performers will begin today at 1 PM and include the Capital Blend, American University Gospel Choir, The Capital Hearings and Vox Pop DC.

Icy guys from 2010...photo from BUP

Santa's grand entrance in 2010 - photo from BUP

From 1-2 PM there will be a live ice sculpture event at Veteran’s Park.  Using tools like picks and even chainsaws, the sculptor will craft his works of icy art right before your eyes!

Following the ice sculpting event, the afternoon will wrap up with a student choral concert from several local schools and a visit from Santa Claus!  Last year santa showed up in a cute red convertible.  I wonder how he will make his grand entrance this year!

So come on out and get into the holiday spirit.  Meet Santa, sing songs, and have a happy holiday!     ~Amy

Day 333: There's a new Chicken IN town – Nando's Peri-Peri

The Cockerel - symbol of faith, justice & good luck

As the cold days of winter soon head to Bethesda, keep in mind there is one place in town guaranteed to heat you up any time of year – the new Nando’s Peri-Peri on Bethesda Ave, the new chicken IN town!  Nando’s Peri-Peri has moved into the retail space previously occupied by Chicken Out Rotisserie.

Nando’s began in the late 1980’s in South Africa and has since expanded to over 35 countries around the globe.  There are over 500 restaurants in the Afro-Portuguese grilled-chicken chain that features the famous Peri-Peri sauce.

What exactly is Peri-Peri sauce?  This is really something that is better experienced than explained – but let me warn you it’s HOT!  Peri-Peri sauce gets its hot punch from the Bird’s Eye Chili.  All chilis owe their origin to Central and South America where the Spanish and the Portuguese first colonized.  The legend of Peri-Peri begins with the Portuguese travels to the southern tip of Africa in present day Mozambique.  Using the Bird’s Eye Chili (called Pilli Pilli by the Africans and pronounced Peri-Peri by the Portuguese) to season their meats, the popularity of Peri-Peri sauce and the flavorful taste grew.

When hot just isn't HOT enough!

Amy's Order

Our visit will be burned into our minds and tongues for some time to come.  I tried the Chicken Breast Sandwich with grilled pineapple for lunch served on a Portuguese roll with lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise.  You order your sandwich and then indicate how hot you want it.  Here’s where you need to be careful.  Your choices on the “Peri-ometer” are:

  • Extra Hot – described as “A real throat-scorcher.”  Their warning is “Spice savvy (or reckless bravado) required.”
  • HOT – described as “Eye-wateringly fiery. For serious chili fiends only.”
  • Medium – “Tolerable heat. Think typical summer day – without the rain.”
  • Lemon +Herb
  • Plain (for the kids)

I ordered it medium and was still drinking water to remove the heat by dinner.  Amy, being the more adventurous foody between us, went straight for an order of HOT Butternut Squash & Couscous Salad with oven-roasted chicken, red onion, olives and grilled corn.   She still isn’t sure whether it is a winner because the fire in her mouth overran the flavors!  “Wow! Next time, I’m going with the MEDIUM spice,” she lamented.

As if the chicken was not seasoned enough there are Peri-Peri sauces on the side that can be liberally added to any dish.  If it’s a hot spicy meal you’re after this is the place.

There is no shortage of humor throughout your dining experience at Nando’s Peri-Peri.  The guys in the back working the grill wear shirts that say, “Licensed to Grill” and “Hot Chick Lover.”  The salt and pepper shaker is shaped like an egg and the napkins are printed with,“Face it, you’re a messy eater”.

Nando’s is serious about one thing though – art!  They commission original works from South African artists and currently have a collection of over 3,000 pieces.  Their flare for the artistic even spills outside the restaurant to the exterior walls.  Anyone who drives down Bethesda Ave can’t help but notice.  The edgey and unique art that decorates the walls outside has been described in a previous blog.

Exterior Graffiti Art

I’ve also mentioned the really cool new Coca Cola Freestyle machine – what I call the iCoke machine with over 100 flavors available.  God forbid if the hi-tech machine ever breaks down because it’s the only way to cool the burn in this place!

Check OUT the new Chicken IN town (sometimes I make myself chuckle) and find out why this restaurant is one of the hottest food chains around – for real. ~ Brian

Day 327: Chase that Turkey!

Turkey Chase 10K Start

Several years ago a past real estate client of mine asked me if I’d be interested in running with him and his young children in the YMCA Bethesda-Chevy Chase Turkey Chase.  I had heard about the annual YMCA sponsored event but had never participated.  We arrived early in the morning at the YMCA Bethesda-Chevy Chase campus on Old Georgetown Road.  Our breath curled from our lips as we warmed up that frosty Thanksgiving morning in preparation for the race.  I was surprised by the large crowd of people, numbering in the thousands, that had turned out for the race.  We “competed” in the 10K that morning and although I finished the race I was embarrassed that my client’s 10 year old son not only finished the race, but also doubled back to catch up with his father and me after he finished and find us lagging more than a mile behind.  Ahhhh youth!  It was a great time (in spite of the uphill climbs along Wisconsin Avenue!) (see race route).

Tot Trot

This year’s 29th Annual Turkey Chase has over 8,000 already registered to run and has three events scheduled: a 10 kilometer race (10K or about 6.2 miles), a 2 miler, and a 50 Meter “Tot Trot” run for the really little ones ages 8 and under.  The kids get to chase a Turkey Mascot around the YMCA track and it’s a lot of fun with prizes for ALL the kids.  The USATF 10K is serious business with IPICO Tag System for scoring.  This is an electronic microchip you wear on your shoe that records your time from start to finish.  The race is run in “wave” style whereby the runners are grouped in waves.  The first Wave is runners who can complete the race in under a 7 min mile (are you kidding me?!) and the last wave is for runners who complete the race in an average of 10 minute miles or more – my kinda group – but at least keep pace with a 14 minute mile minimum.  This year you can wear headphones!  The start time is 8:30 a.m. at 9401 Old Georgetown Roadand you can register at the event (arrive early if that’s your plan).

Turkeys

The Turkeys!

The cost to enter the races is $48 for the 10K, $25 for the 2 mile, and $18 for the 50 Meter Trot.  Ticket proceeds fund the “signature charity event” sponsored by the Bethesda Rotary Club and the YMCA Bethesda-Chevy Chase.  The whole event is a lot of fun so lace up those sneakers and burn off that Thanksgiving meal you’ll be eating later in the day and get out to the Turkey Chase! (and try not to let too many 10 year olds lap you!) ~ Brian 

All photos courtesy of Bethesda Rotary.

Day 325: Fresh EATS for Thanksgiving: SPECIAL Bethesda Central Farm Market

BCFM on Bethesda Lane

This Wednesday, November 23rd from 10:00 AM – 2 :00 PM the Bethesda Central Farm Market will hold a SPECIAL THANKSGIVING MARKET on Bethesda Lane!  What a wonderful place to pick up some last-minute fresh additions to your big meal.

The market is located on Bethesda Lane between Elm Street and Bethesda Ave.  The whole area is decorated for the holidays and even the most ardent Scrooge can’t help but feel a tinge of the holiday spirit walking past it’s lavishly decorated boughs of holly.

Fresh Bread! Yum!

The special market on Wednesday will feature vendors offering salamis, organic beef jerky, sausage for your stuffing, dressings for your salads, honey-sweetened cranberry-orange relish, fresh breads and of course pies!  The vendor Wollam Gardens will also offer beautiful pumpkin centerpieces and bouquets many around $30.

If you’re like me and often wait until the last minute to buy for the big day, the Bethesda Central Farm Market on Wednesday just might save your turkey butt!  Let’s get into the holiday spirit and support our local farmers.    ~Amy

Day 324: The Sunday Snapshot, Bethesda Real Estate

Bethesda in Fall Bloom

It’s Sunday, November 20th and despite the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, the Bethesda-Chevy Chase real estate market is still open for business.  There are 47 detached homes scheduled to be open today and 13 condos or attached units.  To find the details and properties of interest to you, we suggest a visit to www.HomesDatabase.com.

REAL ESTATE NEWSFLASH:  There were some important changes to our real estate market this past Friday when President Obama signed into law a bill reinstating higher limits for FHA loans in higher-cost markets such as our Metro DC area.  The ruling partially repeals the decreased limits that came into effect on October 1st of this year which lowered the conforming loan limits from $729,750 to $625,500 – a change which essentially knocked some purchasers right out of the market and severely increased the costs of homeownership to others.  The lower limits required buyers to put more money down and/or reduce the price of the home they would buy in order to afford the costs of the loan.

With the average home in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase area hovering near $900,000, the pickin’s are slim when a buyer only has $625,500 of mortgage money available for financing.  This new law, effective on Friday, re-instated the $729,750 limit and re-opened the higher priced market again to purchasers using FHA mortgages, allowing them to put as little as 3.5% down and finance up to the new loan limit.

www.KeystoBethesda.com

While the re-instated FHA loan limit is terrific news for our area, the ruling did not apply to Fannie-Mae or Freddie-Mac insured loans, leaving those who would prefer conventional financing versus FHA still facing higher costs of financing since anything above the $625,500 mortgage loan limit (as of October 1st) still requires the purchaser to obtain a Jumbo Loan.  Jumbos go hand-in-hand with higher fees and higher interest rates.

As our economy still struggles with its rehabilitation after the Great Recession, I think we can all agree that the health of our real estate market nation-wide is a critical piece of our economic recovery and that homeownership is not only still a great American Dream, but it’s still a great long-term investment too.

~Amy

Day 319: iCoke – The New Coca Cola Freestyle Vending Machine

New Coca Cola Freestyle Machine

There have been several sightings of the latest and greatest in Coca Cola vending technology in Bethesda.  The latest is at the new Nando’s Peri Peri on Bethesda Avenue (the other is at California Tortilla).  The new Coca Cola Freestyle® vending machine is a sleek piece of machinery indeed.  Like an iPhone for soda this modern marvel dispenses over 100 different sodas from a single machine – all using a touch screen.  Have you ever heard of Peach Fanta?

Over 100+ flavors to choose from

There are custom flavors for all the traditional Coca Cola products.  How about a Cherry Vanilla Coke or a Sprite with Raspberry?  Here’s a YouTube video to give you a flavor of what I’m talking about (get it flavor? LOL).  My understanding is the Five Guys Burger chain is the first national chain to roll-out the new machine companywide so look for the new machine next door at Five Guys soon. ~Brian

Day 318: The Sights and Sounds of the Capital Crescent Trail

The approach to the Tunnel

The approach to the Tunnel

“Ting!” goes the bell as the biker passes by and announces, “On your left.”  Thump, thump, thump, thump as the runner jogs past on the other side of the trail.  Shhhhhh…the wind whispers through the trees as the dry fall leaves rustle and float down to alight upon the path.  Crunch! as I step on a dry brown leaf that crumbles underfoot.

As I round the soft bend approaching Mile Marker 6.0, the Dalecarlia Tunnel comes into view in the distance.  A woman is walking her dog toward the tunnel.  It looks like a golden retriever perhaps as its tail swishes from side-to-side.

The Ghost of the Last Train

As they enter the tunnel with its yellowish light bulbs all in a row lining the ceiling like bread crumbs to lead the way out, an airplane rumbles overhead as it zips toward Reagan Airport in Washington, D.C.  As I soon enter the tunnel behind her, I can almost hear the echo of the last train to run through it in 1985.  “Whoo! Whoo!” goes the whistle and I hear the distant clack, clack, clack of the wheels that once rolled over the track where now only the ghost of it remains.

The Light at the end of the Tunnel

The Light at the end of the Tunnel

The last vestiges of fall color the landscape as I emerge from the Tunnel and take in this perfect autumn 73 degree day – a rare and wonderful treat!  It may perhaps be the last warm day of the year and I am so glad to be able to carve out some time to walk the Capital Crescent Trail – one of my favorite treasures of Bethesda.

For those who are not familiar with the trail, it was formerly known as the Georgetown Branch of the B&O Railroad, created in 1910 and then converted to a trail 78 years later thanks to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C.

The Capital Crescent Trail spans a 10-mile distance from Silver Spring, MD to Georgetown in Washington, D.C.  It’s a favorite of 2-wheeled commuters, athletes and people who just stay fit while enjoying the outdoors.  One of the spots I appreciate most on the trail is the Dalecarlia Tunnel which was constructed in 1910.  If you look closely when walking through it, you will notice 4 “duck ins” – carved areas that were made for people who were stuck in the tunnel when a train would come; the train was probably shipping coal from Cumberland, MD to Georgetown in D.C.  The Roman arch brick tunnel is 18′ wide and 341′ long.  You can find the Tunnel between mile marker and 6.0 and 6.5.  It sits almost right at the Bethesda-D.C. line.

Mile Marker 4.5 near River Rd

Mile Marker 4.5 near River Rd

There are many places to access the Capital Crescent Trail.  A popular spot is on Bethesda Ave., across the street from Barnes and Noble.  Take some time to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Trail.  At any time of year you will enjoy a beautiful and relaxing experience.  You may come across deer, a fox or even one of your neighbors also taking in this special place.  ~Amy

Capital Crescent Trail Map, Bethesda

Capital Crescent Trail Map, Bethesda

Day 317: The Sunday Snapshot, Bethesda Real Estate

www.KeystoBethesda.com

It’s Sunday, November 13th and time for another Sunday Snapshot of our local Bethesda Real Estate market.  As usual, there are quite  a lot of homes available to visit at open houses today – most of which are open from 1-4 PM.  To check all the listings available visit: www.HomesDatabase.com provided by our local Multiple Listing Service, MRIS.

According to MRIS, there are 83 single family homes open today in Bethesda and Chevy Chase and 14 condos and townhomes.  Here are some of our picks for the best walk-to-downtown-Bethesda locations that are open today:

  • 7819 Custer Rd., Bethesda for $839,900
  • 5506 Hoover St., Bethesda $930,000
  • 7612 Glenbrook Rd., Bethesda for $1,049,000
  • 4436 Ridge St., Chevy Chase for $1,675,000
  • 4400 Elm St., Chevy Chase for 1,795,000

and our favorite walk-to-Bethesda selection is:

A Tuscan Villa in Bethesda - 5306 Bradley Blvd

5306 Bradley Blvd., for $1,695,000 a beautifully updated and charming Tuscan villa that sits on a 20,319 sq. ft. lot – that’s almost a 1/2 acre.  The original home was built in the 1930’s and there have been additions and beautiful updates to it, yet its original charm is still preserved.  The yard is amazing!  There is plenty of off-street parking with a big circular driveway and a detached 2-car garage that offers a private bedroom or office space above.  It’s a must-see home!

There are a couple of townhomes we recommend as well if you’re looking for a good investment opportunity or convenient and less-expensive option for commuting on the METRO Red Line.  One of our favorite Bethesda condominiums, Hampden Square, has a 2-story condo available for $799,500 with three balconies, nice updates, a garage, 2 bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths.  Beautifully located to enjoy all the Bethesda has to offer just outside your front door.  Condo dues are high in the building but the perks are pretty terrific!  The unit address is 4801 Hampden Ln #103 and please note that it’s open only from 1 – 3 PM.

5127 King Charles Way

Another great option near the Grosvenor Metro stop is the Grosvenor Mews community.  The large 3-story townhomes are convenient, offer very low dues (~$110/month) and a ton of space!  There are two townhomes on the market and both will be open today.

Of course, here comes our shameless plug!  Brian Maury will be available to show you the unit at 5127 King Charles Way today from 1 – 4 PM.  It’s priced at $509,000 and offers two large master suites, a very large deck off the kitchen and a spacious lower-level family room.  Stop by and check it out!     ~Amy

Day 316: Lunch in Bethesda….in a Jiffy!

Jiffy Shoppes Chicken Sub!

Jiffy Shoppes Subs and Pizza

We’ve all been there.  We get so hungry we just have to eat and eat NOW.  A friend of mine is fond of saying “I’m so hungry my stomach is gnawing on my liver!” The visual of that always helps keep my appetite in check but I digress.  My moment came this week after dropping our dog off at Bone Jour for a spa treatment (a superwash and cut).  Across the street is a new subs and pizza joint to the Bethesda scene – Jiffy Shoppes Subs and Pizza at 4924 St. Elmo Avenue.  The original Jiffy’s is located in Suitland, MD and was started by the Bethesda location owner’s father and uncle more than 30 years ago.  The two-family Greek tradition continues in fine fashion here with great pizza, gyros, and subs being some of the main attractions. I ordered a chicken breast sub that was tender and juicy.  It was complimented with fries that gave McDonald’s a run for their money, cooked to perfection – crispy and hot!     ~Brian

Day 312: Graffiti Art on Bethesda Avenue

Kilmany-Jo Liversage Street Art

If you’ve been down Bethesda Avenue lately you know that one Chicken is OUT and another is IN –Nando’s Peri~Peri!  OK I admit the Chicken Out reference was pretty bad but today Amy and I enjoyed our first visit to Nando’s Peri~Peri restaurant.  We’ll talk more about that visit in the days to come but I wanted to pass along some cool photos of the outside Grafitti (a.k.a. Street) artwork that adorns the new location.

Kilmany-Jo Liversage Street Art

Created by South African artist, Kilmany-Jo Liversage – aka Orda, the murals are a bit edgy (just what some of the 1% in Bethesda go for!) and beautiful all at the same time. Kilmany-Jo Liversage uses aerosol spray paint to create large colorful paintings that are clearly part of the “street art” genre but are also sophisticated and highly artistic. For more on her amazing work check out her blogspot at http://kilmany.blogspot.com.  Nando’s Peri~Peri has a corporate tradition of infusing their locations with artwork form artists around the globe and it’s really what gives the restaurants their signature style.  Enjoy the new street scape (and the artwork within) and look for our blog on Nando’s soon.  ~Brian

Day 310: The Sunday Snapshot, Bethesda Real Estate

It’s Sunday, November 6th, 2011 and a great day to check out open houses in our Bethesda and Chevy Chase communities.  Most homes are open from 1-4 PM.  This Sunday there are 97 open houses scheduled, according to MRIS (Metropolitan Regional Information System)!  That’s quite a selection! To see them all, an excellent website to visit is www.HomesDatabase.com, powered directly by our local MLS (Multiple Listing System), MRIS.

Of those 97 open houses today, 73 of them are single family homes ranging in price from $515,000- $2,450,000.  The lowest price home is located at 8417 Donneybrook Dr., Chevy Chase in the neighborhood of Rock Creek Forest just off of East-West Highway.   At $2,450,000, the highest price home open today is located at 6017 Cairn Terrace in Bethesda, near Mass Ave.  It’s a sleek, interesting contemporary with a sauna, a built-in aquarium and many unique architectural features that only a contemporary home can embody!

There are 20+ condos that will be open ranging in price from $199,000  – $1,499,000.  The lowest price condo is located at 7400 Lakeview Dr. in a community called West Spring which is close to Montgomery Mall.  The highest priced condo open today is located in the sleek Lionsgate building in Bethesda at 7710 Woodmont Ave.  It will absolutely knock your socks off!  Don’t miss the rooftop terrace!  When comparing condos, keep in mind that in order to compare apples to apples on price, you should consider the not only the purchase price but also review the monthly condo fee and what it includes.  Some condo fees include all utilities and many amenities while others include only selected utilities and/or perhaps none at all.

Brian & Amy: www.KeystoBethesda.com

The Bethesda Real Estate market has managed to remain fairly healthy as compared to rest of the country even throughout the toughest times in the recession.  Great schools, higher employment rates and fewer foreclosures and short sales than most cities have all helped to buoy our real estate market above national averages.

As of September 30th of this year, the average price of a detached home in Bethesda was roughly $985,000, an increase of 3.6% over 2010.  The median price was $849,000 representing an increase of 3.4% over 2010 figures.  The average number of days it is taking a single family home to sell is 59 days in that same period – a slight improvement over 2010.  With our area showing year-over-year improvements and interest rates at record lows, this is a great time to consider buying or investing in real estate in our area.  Enjoy house hunting and give us a call if we can be of service.

For more Bethesda Real Estate market updates, follow #BethesdaBrian on Twitter and check back here, Bethesda365.com every Sunday for our new weekly Bethesda Real Estate – Sunday Snapshot.    ~Brian & Amy