Coldwell Banker Innovations, the #1 Independently Owned Coldwell Banker Franchise in Maryland and the leading residential brokerage team for the Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania regions. With offices in Frederick County and Washington County, we look forward to assisting you as you navigate the wide palette of stunning properties that make these areas such exceptional places to call home.

Feb. 1, 2018

4 Reasons It'll Pay To Sell Your Home Early In 2018

4 Reasons It'll Pay to Sell Your Home Early in 2018


It has been almost a decade since the Great Recession delivered the worst housing crash in modern memory. But it’s 20818 and homes are flying off the market at record prices all across the country and buyers are still clamouring to get in the game.  Now one thing is for sure it is a great time to be a seller! 

In other words: Today’s buyers are exhausted and tired which means in many cases they are willing to make a sacrifice to get a toehold in the market. Although to have the most advantage as a seller your window of opportunity could be narrowing here is why you should get moving ASAP.


Rates are historically low, and drawing buyers into the market - We may not be enjoying rock bottom interest rates but by historical standards todays 30-year mortgage rate hovering just above 4% are still very low. This means the going is good for buyers, enticing them into the housing market and consequently fantastic for sellers especially where inventory is low.

That said, mortgage rates are on the rise and buyers are starting to understand the longer they wait the more expensive it will be to borrow. In a nutshell, it would be wiser to market your home earlier on in the year while mortgage rates are low and they are accessible by more people. Take advantage of low interest rates and low inventory! 


Inventory remains tight and demand is high - To put it simply there are more buyers than available homes, and the supply problem is likely to get worse before it gets better looking at Washington County statistics for inventory in December 2017 (the latest month we have statistics for) total number of homes available is lower by 153 units or 22% which is a total of 553 compared to 706 in December 2016. The average days on the market was also down by 8%


Home Prices Are Still Increasing - Home prices continue to rise which translates to more money in your pocket although more moderate than in the past years data suggests a 3.2% increase year over year compared to ending 2017 with a 5.5% year over year.


People have more money in their pocket - Record levels of consumer confidence, low unemployment, and stock market surges are setting the stage for high home buyer turnout in 2018. Or the first time since the 1960’s , the Fed has projected that the unemployment rate will drop below 4%, and the stock market is having somewhat of an unprecedented rally. 

The housing market is already reflecting this boom: Existing-home sales soared 5.6% n November and reached their strongest pace in almost 11 years according to NAR (National Association Of Realtors)

So if you are looking for a stress free move reach out to one of our agents today.


Posted in Home Selling Tips
Dec. 18, 2017

Christmas Can Be A Great Time To Buy A Home, And Here Is Why!



Less Competition – Moving over the holidays can be a challenge, it can prove to be somewhat of a headache not forgetting the cold and unpleasant weather in many areas. This can work in your favor if you are motivated enough to find your perfect home for a great price. While taking that into account, this tends to mean less competition when submitting an offer, whilst people are still looking at homes fewer are taking action. So you stand a better chance of getting a great deal. The median home value in Hagerstown MD is: $155,171 so why not take a look and see what you can get you may surprised!


Lower Prices – Due to the reasons listed above December tends to have lower home prices. In Washington County, MD the number of homes sold fell 3.2 percent, from 154 in November of last year to 149 this year. This is great for a buyer as it shows that there is less competition currently on the market, whether that trend is set to continue throughout and to the end of December is still yet to be known, why not ask one of our Coldwell Banker Realtors about the current market trend in your area of interest?


Motivated Agents – With fewer properties on the market real estate agents are dealing with fewer clients, this means that they will have even more time to devote to you. Plus, they can help you negotiate a great price on a home just at the right time. Take a look at a previous blog about how to pick the perfect agent here


Better Interest Rates – Interest rates are still at historical lows, the average rate on a 30- year fixed mortgage has been under 4% for the majority of the last five months. This time last year analysts were calling for interest rates in the mid 4’s or even 5% and they were ‘dead wrong’ according to the mortgage report website. The question is will this rate hold through December and beyond? The Fed just raised rates and is likely to d so again in early 2018.


Seasonal Sales – Seasonal sales could be a great time to furnish your newly found property, grab some great bargains that will help provide you with a personal touch! Be careful not to spend yourself into debt that you may struggle to repay especially when buying a new home. 


Motivated Sellers – Sellers do not enjoy moving over the festive period anymore than buyers do, but it is possible that they are highly motivated to move. As an agent I see a lot of expired listings in December, so if you are looking at buying a property this time of year why not ask your agent to take a look at some expired listings for you. That seller will generally be motivated to sell their property and a good chance of opening up negotiation talks if you find a home that did not previously sell. There are hundreds of expired listings across Hagerstown and Frederick so make sure to explore all your options.


Posted in Home Buying Tips
Nov. 15, 2017

Make Money Where You Eat!


For many people looking to buy a home, the kitchen is their first priority. People often have a vision of their “ideal” kitchen, and even if the rest of the house is perfect, the lack of that “perfect kitchen” could result in the loss of a sale. A kitchen can have such a wow factor if completed well. You want buyers to imagine themselves in rooms and the house, this is what can help sell your home! 


When looking to refurbish your kitchen for a potential home buyer, think of upgrades that appeal to the masses and take the personal out of it. Just because you may like the art deco drawers that cost $65 a piece, doesn’t mean a potential home buyer will too.  Think about how much your home is worth or could be worth. If your house is valued at $300,000 it wouldn’t make sense to spend $65,000 on remodelling the kitchen! It would make more sense to think logically and determine how to spend the least amount to get the greatest return from a potential buyer!

If you aren’t sure where to start or even wondering if your kitchen does need a remodel, here are a few hints to help you get started with turning YOUR kitchen into a DREAM kitchen. 


Speak to agents 

The first place to look when trying to decipher the trends in real estate is a certified agent! If anyone knows the housing market in your area, it should be a local real estate professional so why not ask them? This does not mean taking their opinion as gospel, but use it as a piece of information that you can use to make an informed decision. They look at houses and talk to potential buyers ever day so they probably have a great idea as to what people in the area and within your price range are looking for!


Keep it simple

Try and keep it neutral throughout. Do not try to over complicate the kitchen with textures and patterns. That doesn’t mean ‘white,’ just go natural and subdued. Make sure counter tops and surfaces are not busy and loud as that can be a distraction. No need to splash out on the ‘highest end extremes,’ but don’t cheap out! 



Open Plan

People tend to warm to open concept kitchens. If the budget allows and your kitchen does not air out and flow into other living spaces, consider knocking some walls down to make room do so. An open floor plan can really pay off and maximize the worth of your home.




When renovating a kitchen, buyers want to see granite counter tops. If you decide not to opt for granite and choose something like quartz instead, pick a granite looking “pattern”. Shop around for the best prices you can find for granite worktops. Companies regularly offer specials. Granite is granite, so do not worry too much about the tier as you will just be splitting hairs, and would rarely come down to a make or break sell. 


Posted in Home Selling Tips
Nov. 11, 2017

Salute To Service


An incredibly proud Coldwell Banker Innovations would like to say a HUGE thank you to the following agents for serving their country. Another big thank you to other veterans past and present.







David Yoder


Sam Burke


Steve Davis


Preston Fouke


Frank Getz


David Winkelman


Roland Low


Mike Fitzgerald

Posted in Other
Oct. 30, 2017

Optimism For Renters

Buying your first home should be one of the most exciting times of your life! You have the image of the "perfect home" in your head and you've set your budget but when you actually take a look at the market, you wonder if now is actually the time to buy! How do you navigate the tedious world between renting and home ownership and what resources are there to help you?


The last year has been one of surmounting frustration for those looking at buying their first home. Low inventory across the board caused home prices to rise as competition for buying homes maintained fierce. However, as many trends, the patterns of lows and highs are predictable and ever changing.


Finally, a glimmer of hope for those looking to enter the housing market has surfaced; Optimism for first time homebuyers from the monthly sentiment survey from Fannie Mae shows increased optimism amongst renters and first home buyers alike.


Housing confidence in September hit an all time high and that confidence is expected to continue. This sudden excitement to buy stemmed from a large group of renters whom were surveyed saying that now would be a good time to buy. The opinion that home prices would increase dramatically over the next year had dropped significantly. Confidence is key. This was all said even acknowledging that the biggest bar to entry into the housing market was home prices.


Sarah Shada from the Economic & Strategic Research Group further confirmed these results by saying, "They may be able to take advantage of low down payment mortgages that require significantly less upfront than the traditional 20 percent, as well as programs offering grants towards down payment and closing costs. Our past research demonstrates that most people remain unaware of these types of programs and tend to overestimate the size of the down payment needed in order to buy a home.” 


Deciding on the right time to buy a home can seem daunting and as with anything, it is crucial to explore your options throughout the home buying process. Decisions will need to be made, but there are options available to help you reach your ultimate goal of buying your dream home. Check out our article about financial preparation for your first home 


Posted in Home Buying Tips
Oct. 27, 2017

Make Sure You’re Financially Prepared to Purchase Your First Home.

You’re excited, ready to make that huge investment and purchase your first home. There’s so much to think about… credit scores, down payments, and mortgages. The following are steps you can take to make sure you’re ready for the wonderful world of homeownership:

Determine what you can afford.

It’s crucial to know how much house you can afford before you start your new home search. When you find the perfect home, you want to make sure it’s in your price range. A good rule of thumb is to make sure your total monthly mortgage payment is under 30% of your gross income. But, your best bet is to talk with your lender.

Prepare your finances.

  • Check your credit score: Your credit score will affect your interest rate. Poor credit scores lead to higher mortgage rates and higher monthly payments. You want your credit score to be at least 620. Generally, any score under 620 is considered a weak credit score. Many lending institutions consider a 700 credit score as good.
  • Save cash for your down payment and other expenses: Typically, a down payment is between 3.5% and 20% of the purchase price. Keep in mind, you will have other expenses such as property taxes, insurance, moving costs, etc.
  • Collect documents you will need to verify your finances:  Once you’re ready to put an offer on a home, you will want to collect the documents you’ll need to verify your finances on your mortgage application. You will need: paystubs, W-2’s, bank statements, and copies of your last two tax returns.

Begin mortgage shopping.

When making an offer on your first home, a free mortgage pre-approval portrays you as a serious and qualified buyer. You will want to compare rates. You can do this with the leading online mortgage lenders or you use LendingTree to quickly get four or five competing rates from different banks.

Taking these steps before you search for your first home will help you be prepared for one of the biggest purchases of your life. Coldwell Banker Innovations has experienced Realtors who would love to assist you search for houses for sale. We have offices in Hagerstown, Frederick and Greencastle.

Posted in Home Buying Tips
Oct. 17, 2017

7 Tips to Help Your Agent Sell Your Home


When selling your home, the key to making it happen is having a great listing agent. Coldwell Banker Innovations has knowledgeable, dedicated agents that are committed to stellar customer service. But, the agents can’t do it all. You can help your agent help you.

You need to have an open, honest relationship with your listing agent. But there may be some things your agent might be reluctant to tell you. The following are some things your listing agent wishes you knew:

1.   Less is more

You may have a beautifully decorated home, but it’s your home not the buyer’s. Take time to declutter and remove personalized items from your home. Go ahead start packing and put some of your belongings in storage. You want to make a great first impression and decluttering can help do that.

2.   Don’t hide things from your agent

You need to share your home’s flaws with your agent.  Your listing agent is on your side and knows what must be fixed and what doesn’t. So, go ahead and share the good, the bad, and the ugly. Whatever you hide from an agent now could rear its head as a nasty surprise later.

3.    Some things may need to be fixed

You might have to spend a few bucks to make your house look its best. You may think your home looks totally normal since you’ve lived with some of the issues for years. But, to buyers they may look like expensive repairs. So, take the time to clean the scuff marks off the walls, replace trim that is scratched up, power-wash siding and decks, etc. It is the kind of investment that will pay dividends.

4.    Your remodeling might not pay off as much as you hoped

You may have put a lot of cash into remodeling projects, but that doesn’t guarantee a return on investment or increased value. Essentially, it depends on what kind of improvements you’ve made. The following are a few examples of remodeling projects that will add value: garage door replacement, minor kitchen remodel, replacement windows, basement remodel, and bathroom remodel.

5.    Don't overprice your home

While it seems like a good idea to list high and then come down as necessary, you could be making a huge mistake. Buyers may not realize your home is overpriced but the buyer’s agent will. They may use it as an example to sell another property based on how much nicer it was for the price. Price your home right the first time.

6.    Cleanliness really does matter

When selling your home, the goal is to make it as attractive as possible for potential buyers. People may get distracted by a dirty and messy home. They may get the sense that they will have a lot of work to do before moving in.  It’s very important to keep the kitchen and bathrooms clean. They’re the rooms that dirt and grime are most noticeable to buyers.

7.    Selling your home is a team effort

Hiring a real estate agent to list your home doesn’t mean you can sit back and watch the sale unfold. It really is a team effort. If you do your part and keep your home clean and tidy, your Realtor® can be focused on selling your home for the best price.

For more tips on selling your home, contact Coldwell Banker Innovations, the #1 Independently Owned Coldwell Banker Franchise since 2009. We have offices in Hagerstown, Frederick and Greencastle, PA. Our Real Estate Agents welcome and appreciate the opportunity to make your home selling process a fun and enjoyable experience.

Please call 301-745-1500 or visit

Posted in Home Selling Tips
Sept. 21, 2017

Home Staging Tips for Fall

Less Is More: 

Fall Table Setting

Having too many fall decorations will take the focus off of your home and its best features. But, a few tasteful accents can create an inviting setting. Adding vases of fall foliage or bowls of seasonal fruit throughout will make your home feel fresh. 

Let the Light In

Adequate lighting is essential to highlight your home’s best features. Since the days are getting shorter during the fall season, let in as much natural light as possible. Open your blinds, and place plenty of lamps throughout your home for additional illumination.

Accentuate Comfort

To create a warm and cozy atmosphere as the weather cools down, accentuate your sofas and chairs with autumn-colored pillows and throws. This type of atmosphere will encourage potential homebuyers to slow down, giving them more time to admire your home.

Use Seasonal Scents 

Pleasing aromas of apples and cinnamon say fall. Before a showing, burn a cinnamon-scented candle or simmer a pot of apple cider with a stick of cinnamon on the stove to fill your home with the delightful scents of autumn.

Focus on the Fireplace

During the fall, a cozy fireplace is a fantastic feature to highlight. Make sure you arrange your furniture so that the fireplace is the focal point of the room. Decorate the mantel with tasteful artwork or accessories to draw attention.

Add a Touch of Elegance

Enhance your home’s comfort by adding a touch of elegance. Layer beds with luxurious, silky fabrics. Plenty of inexpensive bedding options that look high-end are available at discount stores. Display plush towels in the bathroom and drape a stylish table cloth over your dining room table.

Are you ready to sell your home? Call the dedicated agents of Coldwell Banker Innovations. We have offices in Hagerstown, MD, Frederick, MD and Greencastle, PA.

Posted in Home Selling Tips
Sept. 14, 2017

Tips for a Smooth and Easy Move

You’ve finally found the perfect home. Your loan has been approved and your settlement is getting close. Now it’s time for the move. The following are some tips that make the moving process as smooth and easy as possible.

Do any repairs and painting before moving in.

Go through your new home and decide what repairs and painting needs to be done. Before your movers start bringing in boxes and furniture, take the time to get those items done. It’s so much easier to do repairs and paint walls without having things in your way. You’ll be glad you did.

Hire a professional cleaner to do a thorough cleaning before moving in.

Before moving in, hire a professional cleaner to do a complete once-over of your home. There’s no better time for a thorough cleaning than when your home is empty. It’s an additional expense, but moving into a clean home is guaranteed to make the move easier and you happier.  

Hire a locksmith to change all the locks on the house.

As soon as possible after you settle on your home, hire a locksmith to change all of the locks on the house. Even though the seller is trustworthy, you never know who else may have keys. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Take care of setting up your utilities.

With so much focus on your move, don’t forget to get in touch with all the new providers to switch the services over to your name. You can check with the former owners to determine what you need to set-up. 

Make a detailed inventory list of your belongings.

Moving can be stressful. When you get to your new home and have a detailed list of what is in each labeled box, you will be so grateful. Plus, as an added bonus, the list will come in handy if you ever have an accident such a fire or natural disaster. 

Find the best nearby takeout.

Now’s the best part. Once the boxes and furniture are in place and the movers are gone, it’s time to celebrate with some takeout and wine. Do your research ahead of time so you’re not scrambling to find a place before closing time.

Are you ready to find your perfect home? Call the dedicated agents of Coldwell Banker Innovations to help you find houses for sale. We have offices in Hagerstown, MD, Frederick, MD and Greencastle, PA.

Sept. 7, 2017

6 Things you should expect from a good agent

Buying or selling a house is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make, but have you ever considered what you should actually expect from your real estate agent?

The thought may seem daunting because it isn’t a relationship you deal with on a day to day basis, but I can tell you one thing for certain and that is: A good agent owes it to you! There is no reason to settle for sub-par when it comes to your dream home. At the end of the day, they will be working for YOU so make sure you take the time to ensure that you find the right agent who is willing to dedicate their time and energy into making the home buying process exactly what it should be for you: fun! 

If you’re sitting there scratching your head wondering exactly what you should be looking for in a great agent, then let me get you started with just a few things a great agent will do for you!


Fight for you - A great agent will be like a best friend; available no matter what. They must be willing to go far beyond the call of duty for you and fight in your corner to make sure you’re getting a great deal and the house of your dreams. Contracts and agreements can get complicated and messy sometimes, and you shouldn’t be the one worrying about it. You want an agent who knows your budget, knows your bottom line, and will get keep you happy with the least amount of work on your end! A great agent will work hard!


Market your home using the best tools – This is important. No longer are we in the days where you can run an ad simply by printing it in the paper. There are a plethora of ways to market a house. An agent should know which is best and how best to go about it. Take a look at their previous sales and see if you can find anything on how they sold the property. Research their statistics including how long their previous properties were on the market, photos, and what avenues they prefer to use to sell houses. 


Have a great reputation – Here at Coldwell Banker Innovations we have an incredible reputation with the local community and this is a reflection of our agents and their desire to work with you. Understanding the heritage of Coldwell Banker is something that is carried forward while representing the company. From real estate in Greencastle PA and Frederick Md, to commercial property in Hagerstown we know property and with a great skill set to match, including a wealth of experience. We pride ourselves on our drive to never stop learning, growing, and staying on top of the market trends. 


They will be punctual –  Imagine finding your dream home and then losing the sale because your agent didn’t contact the buyer in a timely manner. In a world where things are moving a million miles an hour, and contracts are coming back and forth, punctuality is key. If an agent isn’t punctual, problems can arise with contract agreements and even settlements. This may seem incredibly obvious, but it is also incredibly important! When interviewing agents, shoot them an email or call them (on a weekend) and see how long it takes them to respond. You may be surprised!


They will listen – Buying a home is a huge decision and everyone has a picture of what they want in their mind. From budgets to interior design, agents should listen and be available. We are here to solve problems and help you move forward. We need to know what YOU want and need, so unless you find an agent who carries the ability to be psychic, listening is of the upmost importance.


They’ll have negotiation skills – You do not want to find the perfect home just to lose it due to weak negotiations. Good negotiation skills are a must and a great agent must be incredibly tactful in how they conduct negotiations. You want an agent that will get the best deal for you while keeping all parties happy. Sometimes this is easier said than done, which further evidences why this is so important.


Looking for your dream home shouldn’t be hard work! It should be an exciting time in your life! With the right real estate agent, it will be just that. Hop down to Coldwell Banker Innovations today to meet with a few of our agents and decide which is best for you!


Take a look at our agents here.

Posted in Home Buying Tips