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

Capital BikeShare Rolls into Bethesda

Capital Bikeshare Bethesda

Capital Bikeshare Bethesda

It’s a new year and like many, you may have resolved to “get fit.”  Thankfully, in Bethesda it has now become just a litter easier to meet that goal with Capital Bikeshare.  Recently the company installed stations in many convenient locations around town.  Also, there are bike stations situated all over DC, Montgomery County and Virginia.  If you’re so inclined, you can virtually get around “car-free” almost anywhere in the greater DMV region.  Here is the station map of current Capital Bikeshare locations where you can grab a bike and go.

The price is pretty good too.  You have four payment options: rent for one day (or by the hour), for a 3-day period, for a month or even for a year.  The first thirty minutes of any rental is free.  As of  January, 2014, the 24-hour daily rate is $7, the 3-day rate is $15, monthly is $25 and the annual rental rate is $75 (or you can pay $7 per month with an annual agreement).  Here are the current Pricing Options.

For safety, I guess a little planning ahead is advisable though because they do not rent helmets.  However, there are many convenient shops around Bethesda where you can pick one up including Griffin Cycle Bethesda (4949 Bethesda Ave), Big Wheel Bikes (6917 Arlington Rd), Freshbikes Cycling (7626 Old Georgetown Rd), City Sports (7121 Arlington Rd), Modell’s Sporting Goods (7201 Wisconsin Ave) and RnJ Sports (4945 Elm St).  Also advisable, while planning ahead, consider skinny jeans vs. bell-bottoms – always a better bet while biking!  Happy Cycling Bethesda!

Bikeshare kiosk

Bikeshare kiosk

Smashburger…Honestly a Better Burger

BBQ, Bacon and Cheddar Burger...to die for!

BBQ, Bacon and Cheddar Burger…to die for!

My mother always said to me, “Anything worth doing, is worth doing well.”  Smashburger is Bethesda’s newest burger joint and I must say, they are doing burgers well!

They offer all the things you’ve come to love in a burger place, juicy burgers, great fries, milkshakes and even beer!  But this burger joint is something different as well.  They are truly smashing the notion of the same old traditional burger experience we have all come to accept, if not love.  Smashburger offers some inventive burger and side-dish creations and has really thought about what the customer wants.  For example, they offer moist vegetarian burgers (with a serious kick!), juicy chicken burgers, great salads and quality ingredients such as the 100% fresh, never frozen Angus beef patties smashed on a 400 degree grill to sear in the flavor.  Their sides are decidedly fun too including rosemary-garlic “Smashfries”, Haystack Onions, Sweet Potato Fries and Veggie Frites.  And the fact that they offer root beer floats with Haagen Dazs ice cream is reason enough for a visit!

For those “in the know” Smashburger has a few Secret Menu items you can order anytime!  We suggest the fried pickles – a tasty surprise but I warn you!  They are addicting!

Seth Goldman, Co-founder and TeaEO, Honest Tea

Seth Goldman, Co-founder and TeaEO, Honest Tea

In addition to all that yummy goodness, they are smashing the convention of consuming burgers with sugary soft drinks by partnering with Honest Tea, the nation’s top-selling organic bottled tea company headquartered in Bethesda, MD.  Honest Tea will be brewed on-location at Smashburger restaurants and pairing suggestions will be offered for the various burgers.  Admittedly, I confess to some skepticism towards the idea of tea with burgers but was pleasantly surprised at the experience!

Bethesda resident, Seth Goldman, Honest Tea’s co-founder and TeaEO states, “We are thrilled to have Smashburger as our first national partner for our freshly brewed organic teas.  Both companies view high-quality ingredients as an integral part of the tasting experience….”  While he may deny having a favorite, I hear that Seth’s secret favorite is the Lemon Herbal Tea offered at Smashburger – a caffeine-free blend of organic Indian tulsi (a unique kind of basil) with lemongrass, lemon peel and lemon myrtle.

While Smashburger definitely offers a tasty Classic burger what I found most exciting were the innovative creations such as the Capital Burger (our Regional Burger with baby arugula among other ingredients) and the unbelievable Truffle Mushroom Swiss Burger…a must-have for any truffle enthusiast.  HINT: order some truffle mayo on the side for your fries!  The BBQ Bacon & Cheddar Burger was another favorite with its applewood-smoked bacon and haystack onions!  Try pairing with the Honest Tea 1/2 and 1/2.

Truffle Mushroom Swiss Burger

Truffle Mushroom Swiss Burger

Smashburger Bethesda opens today, December 11, 2013 and is located at 4903 Cordell Ave.  Hours are 10 AM – 10 PM although they really should consider longer weekend hours for those crawling out of Caddies in need of a late-night binge!

 

Deck Your Pet and Visit Santa at Bethesda Lane

This weekend pack up your pets, head to Bethesda Lane and grab an adorable photo with Santa for only $10.  No reservation needed.  The event is going on from 12 PM – 2 PM on Saturday, December 7th and Sunday, December Spotty8th, 2013.  All of the proceeds from this event go to the Montgomery County Humane Society.  Costumes are encouraged! For details, visit BethesdaRow.com

They will be accepting supply donations as well so be sure to grab any gently used bedding or towels as well as unopened food, treats of toys to help out pets in need.  They will also have a few furry friends on site that are looking for warm homes this holiday season.  Grab the whole family and head down to Bethesda Lane to create a fun memory this holiday season.  Ho Ho Ho…Yip Yip Yip!

 

 

A Taste of Latin Fusion in Bethesda

If you are looking for a unique place to grab lunch in Bethesda you should check out Panas Gourmet Empanadas.  They have 14 different flavors of empanadas to choose from including a nice selection of vegetarian options.  These tasty pastries are served nice and hot along with a collection of sauces and plantain chips (which I couldn’t get enough of!).  We ordered the Parranda combo for two for $14. You can pick a selection of eight Empanadas along with four of their sauces and those irresistible chips all served on a fun wooden ‘boat’.

empanada tray

Parranda Combo

They have an afternoon happy hour with half price carafes of Sangria and cheap beer as well as live music on Thursday and Saturday nights from 6 PM – 9 PM.  The dining area’s comfy chairs seated at low tables allow you to really sink in and relax.

If you are looking for something sweet to finish of your meal a Jamundi looks delicious.  It’s a mix of fruit, syrup and condensed milk and looks irresistible!

Panas Gourmet Empanadasis located at 4731-A Elm St in Bethesda right near The Barking Dog.  If you are looking for a break from the monotony of sandwiches and bagels that fill your work week, stop in for a delectable treat.

cholados-jamundi

Jamundi – Photo from panasgourmet.com

Top 5 Things to do in Bethesda in October

Capital Crescent Trail

Capital Crescent Trail

October is, in my opinion, the most wonderful time of the year.  It started at a young age for me…my birthday is in October.  At my current age however, that is no longer a good thing.  Yet the month remains my favorite of the year!  Football season is in full swing, the weather is wonderful, the leaves are changing color, Oktoberfests abound, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie and all things pumpkin are aplenty.  What’s not to love?!

Bethesda has some great October fun to offer as well.  Here is our TOP 5 things to do in Bethesda in October:

1.  Taste of Bethesda is usually the first Saturday of the month; this year it’s Saturday, October 5th from 11 AM – 4 PM.  Ticket sales end at 3:30 PM.  Over 60 restaurants will offer samples of some of their best treats while music lovers can enjoy live performances on five stages.  Kids have face painting and art & crafts to look forward to as well.  The event is held across several streets at the Woodmont Triangle area.

2. The Bethesda Row Arts Festival is being held this year from October 19-20th, 2013.  With over 190 artists from around the world featuring works ranging from the sublime to the surprising, you can’t beat a stroll through the streets of Bethesda for this amazing show.  Of course, no event in Bethesda is complete without food, music and fun, and this Festival is no exception!  Admission is free; however, bring your checkbook or credit card.  It’s awfully tough to leave empty handed when you can find some fantastic art to fill your hallowed halls.

3.  A walk on the Capital Crescent Trail in the month of October is different every week as the leaves change color and alight upon your path.  Walk, run, bike or stroll and enjoy the fresh, fall air as you appreciate one of the great features our town has to offer!  One of our personal favorite spots ranges from Little Falls Parkway (mile marker 4.0) down through the Dalecarlia Tunnel at Mile marker 6.5 just before the DC line.

4.  Bethesda abounds with cuisines from around the world!  One of our favorite activities in October is eating lunch or dinner outdoors at one of the 180+ restaurants in downtown Bethesda.  Bethesda Row offers an array of outdoor eating establishments including Mon Ami Gabi, The Mussel Bar, Assagi, Redwood, American Tap Room, Raku and many others!  And if you don’t want to eat outdoors, you can always just enjoy a nice drink at happy hour!

5. Halloween in Bethesda is an event!  From school festivals to neighborhood parties to late-night parties for the big kids, there is something spooky around every corner!  If you want to dress up and let off some steam, try a bar crawl to Union Jack’s, The Barking Dog, Tommy Joe’s or any of the other dozens of sports bars and pubs who are sure to be offering some freaky fun. Hitch a FREE ride around town on the Bethesda Circulator!

October in Bethesda is definitely the most wonderful time of the year!  What do you enjoy most?

~Amy

 

Sold with multiple offers! 5216 Carlton Street, Bethesda, MD 20816

  • 5216 Carlton Street

    5216 Carlton Street

    List Price $1,249,000

  • Builder’s personal residence
  • Sweeping Contemporary style home
  • 3,500 sq. ft. on 3 levels
  • 2 Car Garage
  • 9’+ ceilings
  • 4 gas fireplaces
  • Floating wood and glass staircase
  • Open floor plan with kitchen to family room
  • Screened porch and flagstone patio
  • Upper floor balcony
  • Master suite with sumptuous master bath
  • Private fenced backyard
  • Estimated FY15 Property Taxes: $7,905

Click here for virtual tour!

This is a one of a kind home!

Brian Maury, Broker

(301) 325-4914

Maury Real Estate (301) 229-3652

 

Bethesda Real Estate – Home Prices Climb

Prices

MRIS: Detached Average Home Prices

I ran into an old client of ours recently and, after sharing the status and accomplishments of our children (and marveling at where the time has gone), she asked, “The real estate market must be pretty good for you right now, . . . right?” I replied with a wry smile “Yes . . and . . . no.” 

Yes it’s true the real estate market has recovered locally -and quite dramatically so.  Statistically our market peaked in late 2007 with the average selling price of a detached home in Bethesda reaching $1,052,368.  As of the end of July 2013 the average price of a detached home in Bethesda was $1,026,709, just $25,000 below the highest peak ever in the history of mankind!  By way of comparison the interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate conforming loan in late 2007 was just over 6% back then, almost 2% higher than today’s mortgage interest rate.  Is the market “good” right now?  If you are selling your home it sure is.  Home prices are up over 11% from the bottom of the market in 2009.

How about if you are buying a home?  The decline in mortgage interest rate from 2007 to 2013 translates into a savings of over $278,000 in interest costs on a $625,500 mortgage (that’s the “agency jumbo” limit for high cost areas like ours) over 30 years.  That’s some serious money and for us the single most enticing factor for people considering buying a home right now. So how could I possibly qualify my answer with a “No” about the real estate market?

The market is tough in our area for trade-up and first-time home buyers.  Inventory, the amount of available homes for sale, is extremely tight.  Competitive bidding wars are common on well-priced property, especially at or below the median price (middle point) of the market.  Interestingly the median price is $889,000 for a detached home in Bethesda, UP 2.3% since 2007.  There is “compression” in the market.  Demand at the mid point and below is higher than the upper ranges of the market (say homes listed over $1.5M+) and competition can be fierce.

We’ve been working with buyers across all price ranges in the Bethesda area and recently a home one of our clients was interested in had 16 offers come in!  We recently helped a couple secure another home that had multiple offers but it required them to bid nearly $60,000 over the asking price to secure it.  Is that a good market for a buyer?  The answer is “no”, given the competition so often experienced, but the “prize” in this market remains securing a historically low interest rate so that helps mitigate the pricing escalations we are seeing.  Buyers however are doing the math and realizing that long-term interest rates may have a much more severe impact on them financially (see chart below for the recent trend in conforming loan rates, loans amounts below $417,000, for 30 year fixed-rate loans).

FreddieMac: 30-Year Fixed-Rate Conforming Loans

For example, we are helping a couple look for a home right now and as their buyer’s agents we have been using creative strategies to find homes that are not on the market yet. We found such a property and helped our clients make what we believed was a great offer.  However, the owners were not quite motivated to move and delayed responding to the offer for over a month.  In the meantime interest rates climbed sharply, especially after the Fed Reserve Chairman announced that the Fed may begin tapering off the stimulus the Fed has been injecting into the economy since the financial crisis began.  The net result was an increase in interest rates from around 3% to 4.375% since the time we started looking for a home.  That increase in rates, in our client’s case, translates into an additional $175,000 in interest costs over 30 years!  Given the financial impact,  these prospective buyers have begun to question whether the offer they made a month ago was still appropriate.  More over they have begun to wonder if they shouldn’t consider a lower price point.

This is why interest rates are such a big deal and why a rise of just 1% can have a big impact on our market and overall pricing.  As rates rise the cost of owning a home skyrockets and the number of people that can afford our expensive Bethesda homes begins to contract.  Interest rates will be a good barometer for the strength of housing in our area in the coming months.  Rising rates will have a dampening effect on pricing and should increase the overall level of inventory (we are already seeing this in outer Montgomery County where inventory has climbed steeply).  While the general media focuses on the positive news around the country on housing (and to be sure there’s a lot of good news), Amy and I have our pulse on the market and are feeling the frustration and fatigue many of our prospective home purchasers are having right now trying to secure a home in our market.  The business of real estate is hard right now in many respects.

Bottom-line:  It’s a great time to sell and still a very good time to buy…IF you can find and compete for the right home!

We are here to help so please think of us if you know of anyone considering the sale or purchase of a home.  We can help guide them through a successful transaction.

 

Date Night at Whole Foods Bethesda

Have you ever tried to find a parking spot in Bethesda at 7 PM on a Friday night?  You may have better luck with the lottery!  After an unsuccessful double pass around the garage on Bethesda Ave and a precarious pass up and down a few streets weaving around pedestrians, we decided this evening to set out for less dense surroundings and an alternative plan for dinner.

Date Night at Whole Foods Bethesda

Date Night at Whole Foods Bethesda

We found ourselves on River Road and on a lark decided to share a meal at Whole Foods Market in Bethesda!  They have many freshly prepared options available: pizzas by the slice, a sushi bar, an extensive soup and salad bar and of course fresh fruits and veggies.

We opted for sushi, selecting some of our favorites including spicy tuna crunch roll and salmon nigiri roll combo.  The picture only shows the last few bites!  We dove in before the picture idea came to mind.  For accompaniments we selected shrimp summer rolls with sweet chili sauce (so fresh and tasty!) and edamame.  The sushi bar even offers free chopsticks and small packets of organic soy souce and wasabi – a must-have for any sushi excursion!  As chocoholics we finished with chewy mini chocolate chip cookies. Ahhh!  After making our purchase ($41) we camped out at the tables up front and chowed down.  Who knew that a Friday night date at Whole Foods could be so much fun?!  And the free parking was the bomb!

Belly Up to the Chocolate Bar in Bethesda

Store front of the new Max Brenner Chocolate Bar

Store front of the new Max Brenner Chocolate Bar

Looking for a fun date night idea or a unique venue for a birthday party?  A new and original bar coming to Bethesda Row has the solution.  Unlike Max Brenner’s other restaurants in Philadelphia and New York, this new location has been dubbed a chocolate bar and will be serving just dessert all day long.  A little piece of heaven may have just arrived in our town!

The menu includes everything from cocktails topped with marshmallows to a chocolate chunks pizza.  The french fries come dusted in cocoa and they even have a chocolate syringe if you are in need of a quick fix.  As a chocoholic, I am intrigued!

Located at 7263 Woodmont Avenue it was originally planned to open in mid to late June, but has hit a few delays and as of early July we are still waiting..and drooling in anticipation.  We could see doors opening as early as next week. Open! Open! Open! Open!

POST SCRIPT: Max Brenner Bethesda is open as of July 31, 2013!  Check out pictures of some of their delectable treats on this recent article from the Washington Post: Max Brenner Chocolate Bar Opens….

Top 5 Reasons to BowlMor Bethesda!

Bowlmor Bethesda is a great place to enjoy some family time or a ladies night out!  We recently brought our son (a kindergartener at the time) for his first bowling experience!   When he heard that we were going bowling, you would have thought he won the lottery!  He was so excited he nearly cried.

Bowlmor Bethesda

Bowlmor Bethesda

We rolled into the parking lot at 5353 Westbard Ave and embarked upon on an evening of lights and sounds like he could never have imagined.  And of course it didn’t hurt that Bowlmor offers tasty treats too – sliders, nachos, mozzarella sticks and more.  For the grown ups, they have some nice drinks options as well!  Bowlmor Bethesda was named “Best Place to Hold a Kid’s Birthday Party” by Bethesda Magazine.  With it’s glow-in-dark bowling and 12-foot flat screen TV’s you can see why the kiddos are enthralled!  We will be sure to return soon with our new little bowling fan.

Here are our TOP 5 reasons to Bowlmor Bethesda!

1. You can’t help but smile just putting those silly bowling shoes on and watching your friends and family act like a kid!

2. You can drink and eat to your hearts delight! Leave your calorie-counting friends at home!  (Just kidding of course – Bowlmor offers water too.)

3.  Parking is FREE!  Now that is refreshing in Bethesda!

4.  You can bowl (of course) but there are lots of other games to play too like air hockey and arcade games.

5.  It’s a great way to beat the heat in the summer!

Insiders Tip:

Thursday nights from 9 – Close get unlimited bowling and shoe rentals for $16, plus drink and appetizer specials.  Get your Bowl on Bethesda!

Bowlmor Bethesda can be reached at 301-652-0955.

Mid-Year Bethesda Real Estate Update

WebBriAmy2

Brian and Amy Maury
Maury Real Estate
Contact: 301-229-3652

Our local real estate market has improved significantly this year following the same trend that been occurring around the country.  Here are some of the statistical highlights for the period ending June 30, 2013 in Bethesda (zip codes 20814, 20816, and 20817):

Detached Homes:

  • 414 detached homes have sold so far this year
  • Average detached home price in Bethesda is $1,031,359
  • Average detached home price increase in 2013 = +8.93%

Townhomes:

  • 47 townhomes have sold so far this year
  • Average townhome price in Bethesda is $729,769
  • Average townhome price increase in 2013 = +5.82%

Condominiums:

  • 108 Condominiums have sold so far this year
  • Average condo price in Bethesda is $384,807
  • Average condo price increase in 2013 = +5.51%

The average detached home price is now just $20,000 below the all-time average price set in 2007 before the “great recession” started.  If you are considering the sale of your home now is an excellent time to do so.  The supply of available housing is down significantly which sometimes results in a competitive bidding situation for well priced homes (similar to the market we experienced from 2004-2006).  Interest rates have been climbing recently but are still at historically low levels making home purchases still very affordable (even at higher prices).  The Federal Reserve has indicated that as the economy continues to improve it will begin to wind down the economic stimulus it has been providing to the mortgage market and further increases in interest rates will likely result.  Again, if you are considering selling or buying, NOW is an excellent time to enter or exit the market.

If you are ever in need of assistance and advice regarding your home and the current real estate market, please do not hesitate to call us. You can be assured that your needs will be met with the utmost integrity and professionalism.

Free Concerts Every Thursday This Summer

In need of a relaxing outing for your family this summer?  Enjoy the FREE concert series, produced by Bethesda Urban Partnership, happening each Thursday evening from 6 PM – 8 PM featuring a wide variety of music from swing to reggae.  The concerts are held at Veteran’s Park located at the corner of Woodmont and Norfolk Avenues. As the weather heats up this summer take advantage of a perfect excuse to get out and play!

On July 11th, Bethesda Urban Partnership will be featuring a favorite of Bethesda365, The 19th Street Band!  Check out our earlier post featuring The 19th Street Band here.  We won’t be missing the chance to get out and see a great show.

Here is a link to the summer line-up: http://www.bethesda.org/bethesda/summer-concert-series

The concerts will begin Thursday, June 6th and continue through July 25th so rally your friends and family and head out to Veteran’s Park.

Photo courtesy of Bethesda Urban Partnership

Photo courtesy of Bethesda Urban Partnership

Imagination Bethesda 2013

The 19th Annual Imagination Bethesda will be held this Saturday, June 1st, 2013 from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM.  Imagination Bethesda is designed especially for kids 12 and under with face painting, dancing, art stations and places to play music and hear stories.

June 1, 2013 - Bethesda Urban Partnership

June 1, 2013 – Bethesda Urban Partnership

Performances will include:

11am – The Funny Guy

12pm – Rockin’ Railroad

1pm – Silly Bus

2pm – The Culkin School of Traditional Irish Dance

2:45pm – Dansez! Dansez!

3pm – The Diggity Dudes

Event tents will line the streets of Auburn & Norfolk Avenues and street performers will be roving around. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself dancing, singing and playing like a kid!  Imagination Bethesda is produced by Bethesda Urban Partnership and is sponsored by MIX 107.3 FMWashington Parent and Bethesda Magazine.

40th Annual Strawberry Festival and Silent Auction

June 8th, 2013 Festival  Photo from redeemerbethesda.org

June 8th, 2013 Festival Photo from redeemerbethesda.org

Mark your calendar for Saturday, June 8, 2013 to enjoy some good eats and fun and games at the 40th Annual Strawberry Festival at Glen Echo.  The event will be held from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM.  In addition to all the freshly-picked strawberries that can be had, the event includes grilled lunch, a book and plant sale and kids can enjoy the moon bounce and face painting.  Plus, the exciting silent auction will feature artwork, business services and even vacation packages, among other great items.

This event is the largest annual fundraiser for The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer and they welcome visitors from the community to attend and enjoy the food and festivities. Personally, I am looking forward to some amazing homemade strawberry shortcake!

SOLD! 5314 Yorktown Rd., Bethesda

5314 Yorktown Rd, Green Acres Neighborhood, Bethesda

5314 Yorktown Rd, Green Acres Neighborhood, Bethesda, Listed by MAURY REAL ESTATE

We recently helped our clients sell this charming home in the popular Green Acres community of Bethesda.  Situated within about a 1 mile radius of Friendship Heights METRO and shops, walking distance to the Capital Crescent Trail, Whole Foods and Westbrook Elementary, the home is ideally located!

  • List price: $799,000 (multiple offers received!)
  • Two-story addition with family room and master suite
  • Three bedrooms, 2.5 baths
  • Screened porch and nice fenced yard
  • Awesome location!

Check out pictures and the floorplan on the Virtual Tour.