Luxury Portfolio International® Award

http://www.luxuryportfolio.com/

Clarksville, MD – March 28, 2014 – The Creig Northrop Team of Long & Foster Real Estate was the recipient of a prestigious Luxury Portfolio International® Award presented during the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® Conference Week, February 23-27 at Wynn Las Vegas. The event was hosted by the parent company of Luxury Portfolio International®, which drew a record audience of 2,500 top real estate professionals from nearly 20 countries.

The Creig Northrop Team of Long & Foster Real Estate received the award for being the team with the Most New Listings featured on LuxuryPortfolio.com among international companies over the prior year, signifying strong activity in the high-end market and effective utilization of this award-winning website.

“In a network of luxury market leaders, earning distinction with a Luxury Portfolio International® Award is a prestigious achievement. We commend The Creig Northrop Team of Long & Foster Real Estate for its expertise in the luxury market segment and for its strategic utilization of the global resources available through Luxury Portfolio.”

The Northrop Team was built on the foundation of extraordinary service and values, combined with maximizing new technology and marketing mediums to create a more effective real estate sales process. The team started with a special focus on Howard County – and has now expanded to serve the greater Baltimore/Washington Metropolitan area with five office locations across Maryland.

Affiliates of Luxury Portfolio market high-end homes to affluent consumers worldwide
through the network’s strategic marketing program, including the award-winning website
www.LuxuryPortfolio.com, which markets over 25,000 luxury homes to over three million high-net-worth visitors annually and features a total inventory of available properties totaling over $44 billion.

Year after year, the Creig Northrop Team of Long & Foster Real Estate is proud to rank #1 in homes sold by Long & Foster. Recognized as the #1 Maryland Real Estate Team for all brokerages, and the #1 Team in the Nation,* the Team is committed to excellence with a focus on one goal: serving the customer, and in turn, getting that customer the desired results. This has led to a proven record of success. In 2013, The Creig Northrop Team sold more than 1,050 homes totaling more than $480 million dollars.

 

For more information about The Creig Northrop Team of Long & Foster Real Estate, please visit www.northropteam.com.


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7 Great Things About Living In Maryland

This year the Creig Northrop Team of Long & Foster Real Estate introduced a new logo embracing the colors of the Maryland flag. The Creig Northrop Team has been the #1 Team out of all brokerages in Maryland for the past ten years and there’s a reason for that. We just love Maryland!

Since Maryland was the 7th state in the Union, here are 7 great things about living in The Free State:

1)   The great mix of urban and rural areas

Maryland accommodates both the nature lover and the city slicker.

Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County.

Deep Creek Lake in Garrett County.

Baltimore is the largest city in Maryland and is the 26th largest in the U.S.

Baltimore is the largest city in Maryland and is the 26th largest in the U.S.

2)  The climate

It’s hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and beautiful in the spring and fall. Year round, Maryland is a great place to live.

Cherry Blossom trees in Bethesda blooming in springtime.

Cherry Blossom trees in Bethesda blooming in springtime.

3)  Proximity to other major cities

Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City are all just a short drive away on I-95.

Aerial view of The U.S. Capital, the national mall and the Washington Monument.

Aerial view of The U.S. Capital, the national mall and the Washington Monument.

4)   Sports

The Orioles, Ravens, and Redskins call Maryland home while the Wizards, Capitals and Nationals all carry large fan bases within the state.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

5)   Schools

There are 55 colleges and universities in the state of Maryland as well as many public and private K-12 schools.

Aerial view of The University of Maryland, College Park Campus.

Aerial view of The University of Maryland, College Park Campus.

6)   Great vacation spots

Want to get away? Ocean City and Deep Creek Lake can help with that.

The boardwalk in Ocean City.

The boardwalk in Ocean City.

7)  Maryland culture

From crab cakes and sailing to “Hairspray” and HonFest, many things contribute to the quirky culture of Maryland.

3 smiling Hons at HonFest in Baltimore.

3 smiling Hons at HonFest in Baltimore.

We’re proud to say that we’ve been the #1 Real Estate Team in Maryland of all brokerages for the past 10 years, but we’re even prouder to say that we’re from Maryland!

Happy Maryland Day!

 


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6 THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND WHILE STAGING YOUR HOME

staging brochure

6 Things to Keep In Mind While Staging Your Home

1) Simple Color Schemes

Painting is one of the least expensive ways to improve the look of your home. Create simple color schemes within each room, and create cohesion throughout your entire home. Try warm tans, honeys or soft grays to give it a clean and fresh look.

2) Bright & Light

A home that’s bright looks larger. Turn on all lights and lamps and open all curtains and blinds. By setting a mood, buyers will feel more comfortable in your home.

3) Curb Appeal

This is essentially the first impression buyers have of your home. Repaint the front door and trim; sweep all decks, walkways and porches; power-wash siding; reduce the amount of planters you have; clean gutters and landscape your gardens. If the buyer gets a positive impression from the outside, the buyer will associate that with your home throughout the entire showing.

4) Less is More

The way you live in your house is different from the way you sell it. Remove personal knick knacks, excess furniture and family photos. Remember, you are selling the space, not your things.

5) Create Vignettes

Decide what furniture should stay. Keep the basics and remove the extras. Reposition sofas and chairs into cozy conversational groups and place pieces purposefully to create an obvious traffic flow. This will help each room feel more spacious and open.

6) Sparse & Clean

Ask most people which room is the most important room in their house and they will probably say the kitchen. Keep kitchens sparse and clean to maximize the space. Pack up small appliances, remove magnets and photos, and leave nothing on the counters but a cookbook, a fruit bowl or a small decorative item.

 

Create Wow, Sell it Now

-Staged homes sell an average of 88% faster than non-staged homes.

-On average, staged homes will sell for 17% more than non-staged homes.

 

Let us stage your home for you

At The Creig Northrop Team of Long & Foster Real Estate, we understand the importance of staging a home. We want your home to look as beautiful as possible so that when the right buyer comes in, they immediately fall in love with your house. Since our goal is to help you sell your home, we provide home staging at no extra cost.

To find out more about how we can help you sell your house, please visit http://northropteam.com/selling


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Savor Sip Style Ticket Giveaway

Savor Sip Style Luxury Home Show

Saturday, February 22 10am-6pm and Sunday, February 23 11am-5pm

Savor Sip Style

 

 

 

 

 

The Creig Northrop Team of Long & Foster Real Estate is a proud sponsor of the Savor Sip Style Luxury Home Show

Join us at the Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City for a plethora of exhibits and seminars to help spruce up your lifestyle! From food, health & wellness, home, and kitchen, to landscape & lawn, libations, and style, Savor Sip Style has it all!

Follow the link below and fill out the form for a chance to win FREE TICKETS to Maryland’s premier luxury home show!

http://marketing.northropteam.com/SavorSipStyle


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Historic Home Inspection Checklist

While every home has its own quirks, many of which may only be visible to a professional home inspector, below are a few issues to watch for that are common to historic homes:

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Steel pipes

Old homes can have galvanized steel pipes, which inevitably flake and rust from the inside out. Don’t assume steel pipes are in good condition just because they look that way at a glance.

Knob and tube wiring

This wiring system was common in the late 1800s through the mid-1900s. You’ll know the home has it because the wires are affixed to the joists of the house by ceramic insulating knobs. This type of exposed wiring system can be a safety hazard due to hot wires and lack of grounding.

Foundation

Historic homes can pre-date many building regulations and rest on substandard foundations. Obvious signs can be a tilted appearance to the home, sloping floors, and humps in doorways. Walk around the home and head down into the basement to look for cracks.

Roof

You should always find out when the last time a roof was repaired or replaced. If you don’t know, look for nails and metal flashings that are worn out. A sagging roof is a larger concern. Also, an historic home may have a roofing material like slate, which often has life left in it.

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Lead paint

Most homes built before the mid-1970s have paint with varying levels of lead. When lead paint peels and flakes, the dust created is highly toxic and poses a serious health risk. If your paint is peeling, you should opt for complete abatement. If your windows frames are also painted with the same paint, you should replace your windows. This is because a small amount of toxic dust is created from the window sliding open and closed in the frame. If your paint doesn’t show signs of damage, encapsulation with special paint products is an option. Remember to never scrape or sand lead paint without health precautions.

Asbestos

These silicate minerals were present in numerous construction materials from the early 1900s to the 1970s. They are dangerous when they become airborne, so if you plan on renovating or remodeling your historic home, you’ll need to have it tested.

Mold

Mold is something to look out for in any home. If you don’t smell mold, look for visible signs. If mold spots aren’t obvious, look for surface discolorations, bubbling paint, bowed walls or doorways, and other signs that moisture has infiltrated the structure of the home.

Blueprints

Check to see if any blueprints or other existing info on the house is available. This will help you learn more about the home’s history. Plus, it can help you find out what the home previously looked like before any modifications may have been made if you plan to restore the home to its original glory.

Historical landmark status

Find out if the home currently has or may qualify for historical landmark status This may help establish tax breaks or even grant money and other funding for rehabilitation projects. However, the downside is this designation will restrict what you can and cannot do when remodeling the home.

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This checklist is certainly no substitute for hiring a professional home inspector, and there are more issues beyond those listed that may arise. However, it can help you get a head start on evaluating a home and determining if it’s right for you and your family. For more information or to get in touch with one of the experienced Maryland realtors at the Creig Northrop Team of Long & Foster, contact one of our area offices:

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Guide to Buying an Historic Home

Historic homes all have their own unique stories, written from their gently groaning floorboards up their embellished banisters to their lofty beams.  They wear the architectural styles of their ages and breathe the personal tastes of their many inhabitants. From homes with the grandiose Georgian architecture of the 1700s to brick Federal-style homes built in the 1800s to elegant, turn-of-the-century Victorians, Maryland has a diverse array of these livable time capsules that reflect its rich history.

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While owning an historic home is a romantic, longtime dream for some, the reality is these homes are, well, old. And sometimes along with the classic design sensibilities and craftsmanship comes a myriad of potentially costly issues. While it’s easy to become emotionally attached to a charming Colonial the moment you walk inside, it’s important to dig deeper and find out as much as you can about the home before you buy.

When buying an historic home, you will want to first hire an inspector licensed by the state. They will examine the plumbing, electrical, and other crucial elements of the home and recommend you speak to a professional if a troublesome discovery requires a more detailed review. Hiring an inspector is also a great investment because they can provide you expert insight not just on the condition of the home, but also any peculiarities about the home that you may not have noticed during the initial walk-through with the realtor.

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If you’d like to grab a magnifying glass and step into the role of inspector yourself, here are some things to look out for:

Steel pipes – Old homes can have galvanized steel pipes, which inevitably flake and rust from the inside out. Don’t assume steel pipes are in good condition just because they look that way at a glance.

Knob and tube wiring – This wiring system was common in the late 1800s through the mid-1900s. You’ll know the home has it because the wires are affixed to the joists of the house by ceramic insulating knobs. This type of exposed wiring system can be a safety hazard due to hot wires and lack of grounding.

Foundation – Historic homes can pre-date many building regulations and rest on substandard foundations. Obvious signs can be a tilted appearance to the home, sloping floors, and humps in doorways. Walk around the home and head down into the basement to look for cracks.

Roof – You should always find out when the last time a roof was repaired or replaced. If you don’t know, look for nails and metal flashings that are worn out. A sagging roof is a larger concern. Also, an historic home may have a roofing material like slate, which often has life left in it. Just because a roof is old, doesn’t mean it can’t be repaired and the historic look of the home retained.

Lead paint – Most homes built before the mid-1970s have paint with varying levels of lead. When lead paint peels and flakes, the dust created is highly toxic and poses a serious health risk. If your paint is peeling, you should opt for complete abatement. If your windows frames are also painted with the same paint, you should replace your windows. This is because a small amount of toxic dust is created from the window sliding open and closed in the frame. If your paint doesn’t show signs of damage, encapsulation with special paint products is an option. Remember to never scrape or sand lead paint without health precautions.

Asbestos – These silicate minerals were present in numerous construction materials from the early 1900s to the 1970s. They are dangerous when they become airborne, so if you plan on renovating or remodeling your historic home, you’ll need to have it tested.

Mold – Mold is something to look out for in any home. If you don’t smell mold, look for visible signs. If mold spots aren’t obvious, look for surface discolorations, bubbling paint, bowed walls or doorways, and other signs that moisture has infiltrated the structure of the home.

12407_Wilson_Green_68003_HFR

Along with inspection, check to see if any blueprints or other existing info on the house is available. This will help you learn more about the home’s history. Plus, it can help you find out what the home previously looked like before any modifications may have been made if you plan to restore the home to its original glory.

It’s also very important to find out if the home may qualify for historical landmark status. This may help establish tax breaks or even grant money and other funding for rehabilitation projects. However, the downside is this designation will restrict what you can and cannot do when remodeling the home.

In Baltimore, Catonsville, Gaithersburg, Westminster, Charlotte Hall, Hagerstown, and all over Maryland, you can find historic homes from the quaint to the majestic.  Using the above tips as a guide, you’ll better ensure that when you step into your piece of Maryland’s past, you also make a sound investment for the future.

For more information or to get in touch with one of the experienced Maryland realtors at the Creig Northrop Team of Long & Foster, contact one of our area offices:

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Selling Your Home During the Holidays

santa-sold

While it may not seem so, the holiday season is a great time to put your home on the market. It is true that most people take their homes off the market near the end of the year to not disrupt their family’s holiday routine, whether due to hosting out-of-town family, traveling, or simply a desire to fully immerse in this cheerful, festive time. It is also true that many buyers tend to be busy during this time for exactly the same reasons. However, if you are able to maintain your holiday cheer while also scaling back on the travel, entertaining, and decorating for the holidays , your patience and restraint is likely to be rewarded with a sold home. Not only are the options on the market fewer during this time allowing your home to stand out, but buyers who are looking during the holidays tend to be more serious because it is likely they are looking out of necessity. It’s a holiday win-win.

So, what does it really take to sell your home during this time that is so busy for so many?

First, find an real estate agent who will be around.  Check with your agent to see if they will be around during the holiday season. Agents are people too and likely have some sort of plans. If yours has plans that involve a Thanksgiving/ski getaway for half a month, it may be time to seek the help of a partner of theirs in the same office or another agency altogether.

Get professional photos taken of your home. The winter months are full of days that are wet, cold, and downright miserable, making potential buyers simply want to cozy up to their own fireplace with their favorite blanket and a cup of hot cocoa. And what better way for them to use that warm, quiet, relaxing time than searching for a new home? Make sure buyers who don’t want to bundle up and make the icy trek outdoors find sharp, professionals photos of your home when they come across it online. Some companies will even create a virtual tour video for an even more engaging way to capture the imagination and interest of a buyer.

Outdoor-Christmas-Decorations-Ideas-Pictures

Practice restraint with your holiday decorating. If you are the type of person who goes all out for the holidays, try to practice a little restraint while your home is on the market. If your home looks like a true winter wonderland or Santa’s busy workshop, you could be distracting potential buyers from seeing your home’s best qualities. Make sure the home remains spacious and uncluttered, and only place decorations that complement the home’s usual look and feel. We all have tacky or poorly aged decorations that we keep out of pure sentiment and nostalgia, but this may be the time to leave them in that box in the attic.

Use seasonal decorations to accentuate your home’s best features.  Use holiday decorations to your advantage, and they may help make the sale. Hang holiday bells, silver ornamental balls on elegant string, or even mistletoe in a unique doorway or arch. Wrap garland or soft holiday lights up a dramatic stairway or along the rail of a stylish loft. Place festive candles in bay windows. These are simple ways to ensure no sellable feature goes unseen.

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Play up the emotions of the seasons with your décor.  The holiday season evokes strong feelings of family and togetherness like no other time of year. When staging your home, create scenes that help the buyer envision making their own lovely holiday memories in each room.  In the living room, have the fireplace going, decorate the coffee table with pine cones and holly, and a set cup of warm cider next to a book. If you have a Christmas tree, place tastefully wrapped gifts underneath.  Set the dining room table as if you were about to serve a lavish holiday meal for a large family.  Place a plate of holiday cookies on the kitchen counter. In the bedroom, drape a festive  blanket over the bed  and place some fuzzy slippers at the bed’s edge. Buying a home shouldn’t be a completely emotional decision, but during the holidays your carefully staged home may strike an emotional chord that a buyer just can’t resist.

Don’t forget curb appeal. In the winter, barren trees expose the home more than other times of year. So, make sure your exterior is in top condition. Make sure gutters are clean, any unsightly siding is taken care of, and aged window frames painted. Since there are fewer daylight hours in the winter months, the holidays also provide the perfect opportunity to light up the outside of your home for buyers who will view it after the sun goes down. Use festive lights to accentuate porches, the shape of your roof, and to call attention to any unique architectural features  your home may have. However, just like when decorating the inside of your home – don’t overdo it. The buyer, your neighbors, and the power company will thank you.

Selling your home during the holidays is a good idea. In January, the real estate market explodes with new homes for sale and your home could get lost in the bunch. Use the additional exposure and the emotions of the season to sell that home and have a truly happy New Year.

You don't have to sell your house to enter our home decorating contest! Click here to enter to win $100 to your favorite home store!
You don’t have to sell your house to enter our home decorating contest! Click here to enter to win $100 to your favorite home store!

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Staging Your Home During the Holidays

The end of the year is a busy time for many, which makes the holiday season a slower time for real estate, at least compared to spring. So, when a potential buyer shows up to view your home, you know they are truly looking to buy.  The holidays are great time to stage a home because it is the time of year that evokes feelings of family, friendship, and togetherness. There are many decorative touches you can add to the home during the holiday season that can help the buyer envision themselves in your home making their own warm memories.

Staging your home during the holidays can be tricky. Although you may have the best intentions with your holiday decorations, it can be easy to overdo it. You could distract the homebuyer with your winter wonderland and detract from your home’s best, most sellable features. This is why the word for holiday home staging is restraint. Your idea of the perfect holiday home may not be someone else’s.

Restraint is the name of the game

Restraint is the name of the game.

While staging a home during any time of year, you should always remember to keep the home clean and free of clutter, but here are some additional things to consider during the holidays:

Beware of clashing styles.  Remember, your holiday decorating should complement the current look and feel of your home, not stick out like a sore thumb and take away from your home’s usual charms. If your regular décor has a rustic feel,  go with pine cone and holly centerpieces, handmade wreaths, and other natural touches. If your home is modern in style, glass ornaments, white candles, and even that softly glowing LED reindeer should fit in just fine.

The gold tones in the tree decorations complement the color scheme of this home.

The gold tones in the tree decorations complement the color scheme of this home.

Use decorations to accentuate unique features. Holiday time provides the perfect excuse to call attention to a unique selling feature in your home. If you have a loft, decorate the railing with soft holiday lights and really showcase it. Hang decorative bells or even mistletoe from a stylish archway. String garland along the top of an elegant French door.  Take the opportunity to make the most interesting aspects of your home really stand out. 

Make each room alive with the season. There are subtle ways to get the home buyer to place themselves in each room during holiday time. In the living room, have the fireplace going. You can even place a blanket on the couch with a book and glass of cider on the table in front of it. In the kitchen, set the table the way you would for a holiday family meal. Put slippers at the edge of the bed in the bedroom. These simple touches will have your potential buyers imagining themselves inhabiting these little scenes.

Beautifully wrapped & presents add a nice touch to this holiday scene and complement the colors in the tree and mantle decorations.

Leave out some of the personal nostalgia. Holiday decorations can become a hodgepodge of mixed and matched tsotchkes collected over many years.  So, there tend to be many things we place or hang during the holidays out of sheer nostalgia, no matter how tacky or poor the condition. Great grandma’s old, yellowed, chipped Snowman that twirls and plays music when you wind it up may bring you back to your childhood, but to the unfamiliar, it may look like junk.  (No offense, Grammy! We’ll put it right back up in the new house!) So, when staging your home at holiday time, sometimes it is best to leave personal emotions out, and only put out your best looking pieces.

Get festive outside too. In the winter, there are fewer daylight hours. So, your potential buyer will likely see your home in low light or darkness. Regular outdoor lights should be kept on to help buyers see the lay of the land. Festive holiday lights lining the roof will really help a buyer envision the shape of the home. If your roof has an exaggerated pitch, lights are an outstanding way to show off this desirable feature. Remember to just use enough lights to accentuate your home’s architecture. You want a buyer to see the home’s appeal, which they can’t do if blinded by a million watts of holiday cheer.

    String lights can create a beautiful atmosphere and emphasize your home's best architectural elements.

String lights can create a beautiful atmosphere and emphasize your home’s best architectural elements.

Consider non-religious decorations. The end of the year is an important time for many religions, so religious iconography and symbols are unavoidable. A Christmas tree and menorah are common sights for most of us, but there is a fine line that can be crossed where a potential buyer could feel put off by an overload of religious decorations.  It is a good idea to stage a home with plenty of non-religious décor to create balance. Remember, the easier a potential buyer can envision themselves in your home, the better your chances are for a sale.

Staging a home during the holiday season is a way to really grab a potential buyer in a personal, emotional way that simply can’t be done in other parts of the year. Take advantage of the loving, giving spirit of the season, make sure to practice a little decorative restraint, and you just may receive the biggest gift of the year – a sold home.

You don't have to sell your house to enter our home decorating contest! Click here to enter to win $100 to your favorite home store!

You don’t have to sell your house to enter our home decorating contest! Click here to enter to win $100 to your favorite home store!


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#CNTeam Holiday Decoration Giveaway

 

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Get ready for the #CNTeam Holiday Decorating Giveaway! We’re giving away $100 worth of prizes every week to your favorite home store beginning NOVEMBER 25th! Post an image of your home decorated for the holidays for a chance to win prizes to Williams & Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel and Pier 1 Imports. http://bit.ly/cntholiday

 


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Green Open House Event – Buy Green to Save!

 

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Please join The Creig Northrop Team of Long & Foster Real Estate and Ryan Homes for an open house event Saturday, November 16, from 1:00-3:00pm. The Greens at Locust Chapel is Howard County’s first official “GREEN NEIGHBORHOOD” based on the principals of environmentally sustainable design. Get additional information at http://bit.ly/HN2b4v


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