Restaurant Week in Calvert County

Restaurant Week 2016
A Tour to Treat
the Taste Buds

It’s time to get hungry. Calvert County Restaurant Week is back for 2016. This local favorite, now in its fourth year, gives diners the opportunity to sample the county’s unique culinary contributions. www.choosecalvert.com

 

This year’s Restaurant Week is Feb. 19-28 and includes great food from Chesapeake Beach to Solomons and everywhere in between. Maryland is also celebrating FeBREWary in honor of local craft beers and many restaurants will showcase brews from Calvert County’s four breweries.

Restaurant Week patrons can enter a drawing for prizes by completing an online feedback form or filling out feedback cards at restaurants during their visit. A special section on the Calvert County tourism website features full event details including a list of participating restaurants, menus, frequently asked questions and more. Let’s eat!

What to do in Calvert County

Outing Ideas to
Beat the Chill

Keep warm this winter in Calvert County, where you can have a great time in the great indoors.

Close your eyes and imagine you are in the Caribbean as you float in the heated pools at the Edward T. Hall Aquatic Center. Relax in a hot tub, dive into the balmy blue and let the kids loose on all the play features. Check out the fitness room or book an event in the party room. Float on.

Take a strike at winter woes at Lord Calvert Bowling Center, where features like the full-service grill, sports bar and video entertainment area mean full-on family fun. Check out the theatrical light and music show every Friday and Saturday night.

The brew is cold but the welcome is warm at Calvert County’s four breweries: Scorpion Brewery, Mully’s Brewery, Calvert Brewing Company, and Ruddy Duck Brewery and Grill . Sample award-winning beers that emphasize quality and flavor through the use of local ingredients. Take a tour, sample some suds and salute the season.

Wine warms the soul, and the Patuxent Wine Trail is the perfect tour for oenophiles. The trail’s five wineries – Cove Point Winery, Fridays Creek Winery, Perigeaux Vineyards & Winery, Running Hare Vineyard, and Solomons Island Winery – offer a wide variety of wines that can be sampled in their tasting rooms. Put a cork in the winter blues.

Bring home sunny memories after a trip along the Patuxent Arts Trail. From Realism to Impressionism to abstract art, the seven galleries along the trail offer acclaimed works that take inspiration from the region’s natural beauty. Amble from the scenic bayside town of North Beach to Solomons Island and revel in the local aesthetic.

Bask in the glow of the creative process when Annmarie Sculpture Garden and & Arts Center transforms its main gallery Jan. 14 through March 2 into open artist studios. Watch artists at work as they demonstrate their techniques and peruse finished works for sale. You can even experiment with the artists’ materials or possibly help create a collaborative work.

Calvert County Holiday Events

Calendar of Events

Thursday-Saturday,
Dec. 3-5
Solomons Christmas Walk, Gala and Lighted Boat Parade
Throughout Solomons

Thursday, Dec. 3
(6:30-8 p.m.)
Friday, Dec.4
(10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.)
Holiday Wreath Making Workshop
American Chestnut Land Trust

Friday-Sunday, Dec. 4-6
Thursday-Sunday, Dec. 10-13
Wednesday-Wednesday,
Dec. 16-23
Saturday-Thursday,
Dec. 26-31
Annmarie Garden in Lights
6-9 p.m.
Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center

Now through Saturday,
Jan. 2
The 8th Annual Ornament Show & Sale
Open most days and late on Garden In Lights evenings
Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center

Saturday-Sunday, Dec. 5-6
Antique Christmas Festival
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Various antique shops throughout Calvert County

Saturday, Dec. 5
Holiday Wreath Making Workshop
10-11:30 a.m. and 12:30-
2 p.m.
Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum

Saturday, Dec. 5
Annual Greens Sale
11 a.m.-2 p.m.
American Chestnut Land Trust

Monday, Dec. 7, 14
Memories House and Garden Tours
10-11 a.m.
Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum

Friday, Dec. 11
The Gift Holiday Concert
7:30 p.m.
All Saints Church, Sunderland

Saturday, Dec.12
Holiday Craft Fair
9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Northern High School

Sunday, Dec. 13
Sunday Afternoon with the Pattersons Tour
2-3:30 p.m.
Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum

Friday, Dec. 18
The Maritime Performance Series present: EVA performing the Turning of the Year
7-9 p.m.
Calvert Marine Museum

Friday, Dec. 18
Dramatic Reading of The Polar Express
5:30-7:30 p.m.
Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum

Sunday, Dec. 20
14th Annual Solomons Tuba Christmas Concert
4-5 p.m.
Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church

Friday, Jan. 1
Polar Bear Plunge
1 p.m.
Waterfront
The Town of North Beach

Christmas Time in Calvert County

A Holiday to Remember
Celebrate the Season in Style

Solomons Boats Christmas Cheer the holidays with bayside flair in Calvert County. Watch a glimmering lighted boat parade and visit quaint shops in the historic riverside town of Solomons. See a Christmas tree made from crab pots in Chesapeake Beach. Wander a wooded path filled with a dazzling display of unique light sculptures at Annmarie Sculpture Garden.

Enjoy a traditional holiday parade in North Beach. Plan now and make treasured holiday memories.

While you are here, brighten the season for those you cherish with distinctive gifts inspired by the laid-back bay lifestyle.

Local museum gift shops are a great source for unique items including science kits, stuffed animals, art supplies, books, jewelry and more. How about a museum membership? It’s the gift that keeps giving with free or reduced-cost admission for special programs throughout the year.

For wine lovers, consider a gift certificate for a wine tasting, a bottle of wine or a tour of one of five wineries on the Patuxent Wine Trail. Calvert County’s burgeoning breweries offer beer connoisseurs tastings, tours and even growler-of-the-month clubs.

Give the gift of art. Visit a gallery or artisan along the Patuxent Arts Trail. Choose from award-winning work influenced by the region’s natural beauty or give a budding artist inspiration through classes or lessons.

Treat someone to Calvert County’s supreme cuisine with a gift card to a local restaurant. From seafood to sushi, there are choices for every palate.

For salty sailors or water lovers, think ahead to spring and charter a boat for fishing or a day of fun with the family. Give great experiences with rich history and heritage on a watermen’s tour or the serenity of sailing on sparkling waters.

There’s nothing better than a weekend getaway on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. From waterfront hotels and bed and breakfasts to vacation cottages or even a lighthouse, Calvert County offers truly unique destinations. Treat yourself to a stay. You deserve it after all that shopping.

Builder’s Warranty to Purchaser

What is a Structural Warranty?
August 24, 2015
By 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty

A structural warranty provides a written agreement between the home builder and the homeowner and clearly defines the builder’s work-product obligations related to construction quality and continuing obligations. Under the agreement, the builder is the insured and the homeowner is the beneficiary. Warranty insurance is different from liability insurance. In a typical structural warranty agreement, the home builder warrants that a new home will be free from qualified structural defects for 10 years. Additional coverage is available for workmanship and systems. For homes that require a HUD -approved warranty, the builder may purchase a structural warranty from a HUD-approved Plan issuer. A Plan issuer may be a state, warranty company, risk-retention group, HUD-approved builder, an insurance company or any other HUD-approved entity with the required insurance backing.

Read The Definitive Guide to Structural Warranties from 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty®, offering you a deeper look at what a structural warranty is, the benefits of using them and so much more.

Why You Should Use a Realtor

Why It’s a Smart Move to Use a Real Estate Agent

Buying or selling a home seems to be a way of life for a lot of people in today’s world. When you buy, you definitely want to get the most for your money. Many people think they can go it alone when it comes to buying or selling a house, and it’s definitely true that some people are able to handle all the details of buying and selling a home or property, but in reality the real estate process is intricate and requires a lot of knowledge about the local real estate market, contracts, escrow, appraisals and referrals. While some home owners and buyers are in a position to go it alone, for those intimidated by the market or those who don’t have the time or energy to sell or buy a home on their own, here are some reasons why it’s a smart move to use a real estate agent during your next real estate transaction.

Local Expertise

You’ve lived in an area for some time – but while you may know about local amenities and activities, do you have a lot of knowledge on the local real estate market? Real estate agents know their markets: they know how much homes are selling for, they know what areas are highly desirable and they know which ones are up-and-coming. You can trust an agent to know the local inventory and know how to get the best price for a home or property.
Access

Real estate agents have a number of access points that a regular buyer or seller doesn’t. They have access to listings before they are put in the MLS, and they have access to the homes! Many sellers are only willing to grant access to agents, which means that most buyers going it alone can only access homes during open houses. An agent working for the seller is only going to provide information with the seller’s best interest at heart, so when you go it alone you might be only getting partial information from any questions you may have. Working with an agent will help provide private access to homes, and an agent will be able to get more information from the seller’s agent.
Experience

Buying a home is an intimidating experience – you’re making one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. As a buyer, you want to make sure stress and emotions don’t get the better of you, especially when it comes to making important decisions. Real estate agents know what buyers and sellers go through – they’ve been there, as it’s more than likely they too have made a real estate purchase of their own. While they have personal experience, they also have an experienced rational eye when it comes to the business portion of a real estate transaction. They possess clear judgement, and agents are a seller and buyer’s biggest advocate for a successful negotiation. Real estate agents have the experience, knowledge and acumen to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Connections

The real estate transaction process requires a number of professionals and services. From a lender, home inspector, contractors and handymen for repairs, lawyers, and a number of other professionals and tradesmen, knowing the right people is beyond important when you want to have a smooth and successful transaction. Real estate agents are in the business, and their past experience has provided them with a number of respectable and dependable contacts and referrals than you’ll find asking friends and family. A ready agent will come prepared with connections and people they are willing to refer because they’ve worked with them in the past and they know their track record. When you choose to work without an agent, you sacrifice the networking that naturally comes with being a real estate agent.
No Cost When Buying

If you’re searching for a home or property to buy, having an agent is free. An agent’s commission is paid by the seller, but most buyers don’t realize this and entertain the idea of going without a Realtor during their home search. If a seller pays the commission, there is no loss to a buyer to take full advantage of all the services a real estate agent offers. It’s also important to understand that even if you choose to go it alone when buying a home, you do not receive the commission a buyer’s agent would. Commission rates are negotiated before the final sale and are included in the contract, meaning if you don’t use a buyer’s agent, the entire commission is paid to the listing agent.
Documents and Paperwork

Unless you’re working with a brand new agent, most agents know the ins and outs of all the documents and paperwork required for a home sale or purchase because they’ve been through a number of transactions. From finding the comps of your market and drafting a purchase agreement, to contacting any other agents and the title company, a real estate agent will be able to provide help in the forms of knowledge, time and resources during the real estate transaction process. Agents also know the important parts of an offer or contract, especially when it comes to line items that could cost a lot in the end or things that are negotiable. Having an agent that knows the process, the paperwork and the documentation is a valuable asset when it comes to making one of the biggest decisions of your life.

Millennials can Afford to Buy a Home

The big disconnect

The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies recently estimated that about 50 percent of the 25- to 34-year-old renters in the top 85 metropolitan areas have the income and credit scores to qualify for a mortgage today. That’s approximately 5.5 million renter households that are qualified for a mortgage today.

Approximately 5.5 million renter households that are qualified for a mortgage today.

So how come they’re not in the market? According to Freddie Mac’s Christina Boyle, the reason is that they are misinformed about the amount of the required down payment.

“Consumers persistently overestimate the size of a down payment they need in order to finance a home, and this lack of education is harming the housing market … Specifically, 38 percent of the 25-29 year olds, and 42 percent of the 30-34 year olds said lenders demand down payments of 15 percent.”

Moreover, “Roughly 60 to 72 percent of first-time homebuyers don’t believe they can get a mortgage and are underestimating their potential for qualifying for a conforming, conventional mortgage with a low down payment … The statistics for 2014 show that one in five borrowers who took out conforming, conventional mortgages put down 10 percent of less.”

The real reason millennials might not be buying

Rob Chrane, the founder and CEO of DownPaymentResource.com, recently hit on what might be the most important reason millennials are hanging back from purchasing their first home — their fear of rejection.

But they can afford it and should contact a Realtor to discuss the buying potential.

Update your Home to Sell

Fast and Easy Updates to Help a Home Sell

We are smack dab in the middle of home buying season, and while some properties are off the market before they’re even on it, others haven’t had such luck. A great way to boost your home’s selling power is to make small and affordable updates throughout the home. These quick updates and fixes won’t break the bank or a budget, and they will help make your home more inviting to potential buyers and a potential sale.

Spruce Up the Front Door

The front door is one of the first things potential buyers see when viewing your home. Spruce up the front door by touching up paint (either paint over chipped or fading paint, or change the color completely), adding a kick plate, changing out the hardware, or you can replace the door completely. A new front door can add energy efficiency and additional security if you choose a metal door. Making the front door pop not only adds a special touch to your curb appeal, but potential buyers definitely notice a door that’s been taken care of.
Freshen Up the Kitchen

Kitchens appeal to so many buyers. If you don’t have the budget or time to overhaul your kitchen, don’t panic. If you have nice wood cabinets and don’t have the budget to update them, consider adding a coat of paint to freshen them up. You can also add new hardware (knobs, handles or pulls) to help give cabinets a younger look. You can also change out any outdated countertops, and adding a new faucet to the sink is another way to give a kitchen a new vibe. If you have the time and the budget, consider changing any flooring that is chipped, cracked or broken. Vinyl flooring is economical and affordable, and it’s available in a number of types and styles to suit any kitchen design.
Update Porch Columns

Porch columns are another item buyers see immediately; if you have columns that have chipped paint, are decaying, or don’t match the style of the home, consider updating or replacing them completely. Sand and paint over chips, or update the look with vinyl wraps. If you have the budget to replace the columns, consider fiberglass, which is weather resistant and helps support the weight of the porch roof.
Tidy Up a Bathroom

Bathrooms are another large selling feature of properties, and outdated bathrooms are a top sale killer. Update within reason of your budget and time: replacing the vanity, counter, sink and faucet can be a quick fix that is also budget friendly (some home improvement stores have entire kits available for this). If this doesn’t fit your budget, consider painting the vanity and replacing the hardware and faucet. Other updates that can be done in the bathroom: change out a toilet (you can usually find energy efficient toilets at a local big box store for under $200), update a showerhead, and replace any vanity or overhead lighting for more modern and energy efficient options.
Update a Staircase

Many staircases are located just as you enter a home, which means they are a focal point and something buyers look at and judge the moment they walk into a property. If your staircase has seen better days, take the time to do some small updates. Fix any broken or loose steps and evaluate the railing; refinish a wood staircase, replace a broken railing, change outdated balusters, and, if the stairs are carpeted, clean or replace the carpet.
Jazz Up a Fireplace

Whether it’s gas or wood, many homes have fireplaces, and many buyers love them for their purpose and as focal points. An updated fireplace can say loads about your home, and a great looking fireplace can help a sale. You can paint and transform outdated brick or add ceramic tiles to add color. You also have the option of adding budget-friendly artificial stone veneer or natural stone (if you have the time and money). Mantels are a large part of fireplaces – add, update or replace a mantel with wood, stone or marble. An updated fireplace and mantel can help any home sale.
Light Up the Yard

Lighting can take the exterior of a home from drab to fab. Dark homes don’t pop to buyers, and outdoor lighting can add a ton of appeal. Update any outdated outdoor lighting fixtures, especially those that no longer work or are broken. If you have some extra money to put toward projects, consider adding additional outdoor lighting in the way of a lamppost or path lights, and if you live in a sunny climate you also have the option of solar lights.
Organize a Closet

Buyers will go through cupboards and closets, and a cramped bedroom closet can be an issue with some buyers. A quick and budget-friendly fix is a closet organizer. Organizers come in a variety of options, from wood and plastic-laminate to wire, and most are DIY, which cuts down any installation costs. If your closets are stuffed or poorly organized, buyers will see this and could potentially be turned off by it.
Make an Attic More Usable

Most homes have some kind of attic, whether it be a small crawlspace that’s barely accessible or a large attic area accessed by a staircase. Make sure your attic area is accessible: if it’s not, add a ladder and insulate the door for better energy efficiency. If your attic area is just studs, add a plywood floor to make it more accessible and ready for storage. By adding a couple extra things to an attic area, you’re adding usable space and making your home more marketable to potential buyers.
These fixes are relatively easy, and most shouldn’t break the bank. If you can afford to do some, go for it, but do what is in reason of your time and budget. You want to sell your house, and you don’t want to spend a fortune updating it. Small fixes can be the ticket to a quick sell, or they can help a home that’s been sitting for a while finally get some movement.

Boomerang Buyers are Back

In the years following the Great Recession, one of the key housing market trends was a rise in foreclosures. Many homeowners acquired financing, only to see the recession kick in and home values plummet. As a result, these homeowners owed more on their properties than they were worth.

Millions of Americans lost their homes at this time, forced into foreclosure by the bank or getting out via a short sale. Then, they entered the masses of renters waiting for an improvement in the housing market before jumping back in.

And, it seems that time has come.

Boomerang buyers are back
According to a real estate market report from the National Association of Realtors, millions of formerly distressed homeowners have either already returned to the market, or are poised to do so in the near future.

NAR’s numbers showed that out of the 9.3 million homeowners who ended up with a distressed property between 2006 and 2014, roughly 1 million have already bought again. Furthermore, at least 1.5 million could soon become eligible for homeownership once more in the coming five years.

From a real estate agent perspective, this means an uptick in demand – and an influx in seasoned, yet cautious, potential clients.

“While loose lending standards in the mid-2000’s led to the rise in subprime buyers who ultimately became distressed owners, falling home prices and rising unemployment resulted in a large share of prime borrowers also defaulting or going through a short sale,” explained NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. “Now fueled by a gradually improving economy and the strong rebound in home prices, some of these former distressed owners have returned to the market, and more will likely become eligible in coming years.”

Buyers find luck across country
The opportunity for a second chance in the housing market is striking across the country. NAR pointed to California, Florida and Arizona as three states that could have a significant share of repeat buyers.

In addition, property data firm RealtyTrac revealed that there are roughly 7.3 million former owners who could easily become boomerang buyers in the near future. One example is Joann and Robert Flores, who lost their home to foreclosure in 2008, but recently bought a new property only a few miles from their old residence.

In between, the family rented a townhome instead of a single-family home in order to save money. By this year, they were able to afford a new home with the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms as their old one – plus with the addition of a pool.

The Flores are one success story from the foreclosure crisis and the Great Recession. There are millions more like them, and hopefully there will be millions more joining them in the coming years.

– See more at: http://hmswarrantyrealestateblog.com/housing-market-trends-boomerang-buyers-returning/#sthash.vvvLi31v.dpuf

Kitchen Design and Update

Updating your kitchen? We asked designer Mick De Giulio – who designed his first kitchen when he was 19 and has 3,000 projects under his belt – to give a list of what he thinks are the essentials.

1. Natural Light
Look for ways to maximize light, from eliminating cabinets next to windows to using transparent or reflective materials like glass and stainless steel.

2. Comfort
I like to incorporate soft seating, a TV, and – when I can – a fireplace, to make the kitchen the coziest place in the house.

3. Visual Texture
It’s the mix of woods, countertop materials, and finishes that creates warmth, personality, and mood.

4. Stainless Steel
The consummate neutral, it looks great with everything and will never go out of style. I love its organic quality – it develops a well-worn patina over time.

5. An Island
If space allows, an island is essential. It’s the social center of the kitchen.

6. A Great Sink
Accessories such as an integrated colander and a sliding cutting board make working there more efficient.

7. Integrated Refrigeration
Creating cabinet facades to hide refrigeration units gives me a tremendous amount of design freedom. By eliminating a large, boxy element, I can make a kitchen feel more room-like.

8. High-Performance Appliances
Today, high-efficiency burners and ovens with convection and self-cleaning are really indispensable.

9. A Hook
Every great kitchen has a hook, that one unique element that just pulls you in. It could be a hood, a sink, a pot rack.

10. A Kitchen Designer
Kitchen design is complicated, and the landscape is constantly changing. Hiring a professional is perhaps the most valuable investment you will make.

11. Ice Cream
no kitchen is complete without it.