Dear Prospective Condo Buyer...
If you’re spending hours each night – or more! – looking for properties online; if you’re doing the same searches over and over again without getting different results; If you’re scared you won’t be able to find a good home for your pet or your child that’s within your budget…
If you know the unit/building you want to be in but don’t know what to do next; if you’re from out of town and can’t get agents to call you back; if you’re afraid you’re going to miss out on that perfect property, this is the service you need right now.
As the only Rockville condo specialists in the area, we can maximize your return on investment, minimize your stress, and protect your interests throughout the condo buying process – a process that is far more convoluted and complicated than most people realize.
In addition to top-notch customer service, ALL of the following is included for every buyer we work with…
• First access to all Rockville/North Bethesda “hot properties” before they hit the market (our own listings or properties we have been made aware of through our personal networks and our heavily trafficked website, rockvillemdcondos.com).
• Your specific property request (if applicable) published in the Rockville Condo Newswire (our proprietary newsletter sent to thousands of Rockville/North Bethesda condo owners and stakeholders).
• A transparent, detailed price analysis on any property you make an offer on – conducted by a full-time professional REALTOR with extensive expertise in the Rockville/North Bethesda condo market – ensuring an offer in your best interest.
• The creation of clean, concise, complete, and visually attractive offers that will appeal to listing agents and maximize your competitiveness.
• Specialized knowledge on condo rules/regulations, including applicable contingencies and contract structuring needed to protect you throughout the buying process.
• Knowledge of ALL potential condo options and each building’s rules/regulations and amenities (pet policies, condo fee inclusions, parking structure, elevator and fireplace availability, etc.).
• Detailed understanding of commute times, school districts, access to public transportation, and more by those who live and work in the Rockville/North Bethesda area on a daily basis.
• Access to our full network of top-notch and trusted professional service providers, including lenders, title company, CPAs, lawyers, and any other service professional you could possibly need.
• Strict adherence to our core values: Good Faith, Accountability, Respect, Candor, Humility, Transparency, Excellence, and Community.
• “Service for Life” – our commitment to help on any real estate matters going forward once your transaction has closed, condo related or otherwise.
Because of our hyper-localized Rockville and North Bethesda expertise, as well as our access to sellers, we’re able to provide you first access to properties that – literally - no one else can.
How You'll Decide What Property to Buy
What property will you purchase?
Yes, price is phenomenally important, as is condition and other factors.
When you buy most anything, however – and especially real estate! - you’ll always do one thing: COMPARE.
That’s why when you buy your condo, you should know not only the great things about a particular unit and condo building, but also how those things COMPARE to other condo units and condo buildings in the same area.
This is the information that will make you feel most confident in your decision.
Here’s an example…
Suppose you’re looking to buy a condo near the metro and you’re leaning towards something near the Rockville Town Center – a garden-style building if possible.
You want utilities included in the condo fees. And you must have an in-unit washer and dryer.
Instead of randomly searching listings and hoping one works for you, a true expert might share the following…
“The Rockville metro has only four condos within walking distance….The Fitz, The Victoria, The Palladian, and Americana Centre….The Fitz does not include all utilities, The Victoria is a high-rise, and The Palladian misses on all points…the Americana Centre high-rise buildings, even if you would consider them, do not have washers and dryers in-unit; they are in the hallway…in fact, the only condos in 20850 and 20852 that include all utilities are The Forum (near White Flint metro), Bethesda Park, and the Grosvenor buildings….The Forum is a high-rise, Bethesda Park is not near the metro, Grosvenor Park I-III are high-rises, and Grosvenor Park IV (the Grosvenor condo with garden-style units) does not have washers and dryers in-unit...based on your initial input, the Americana Centre garden-style units are your only choice”
Start with the building, then work DOWN.
The specifics are always different, but the overarching point remains the same.
Condos are a special beast to tame.
There is a defined number of targets, the overwhelming majority of which can be eliminated with a quick five or ten-minute conversation.
Having a full command of all the condo buildings/options allows us to deeply understand its pros and cons and help buyers feel confident in their choices.
You’re Playing With Fire and Probably Don’t Even Know It
One of the many reasons condos are ignored by agents – other than their often-lower price point - is because there can be enormous hurdles for buyers to overcome when obtaining financing.
That’s why it’s so incredibly risky to have just any agent help you buy your unit; you MUST know what you are talking about to protect the buyer.
We’ll use an all-to-true, real-life horror story to highlight the issue…
A seller lists his condo for sale with an asking price of $300,000.
A buyer makes an offer for $300,000 with a 5% down payment; he’s decided to use his “friend” as his agent.
The buyer has a strong pre-approval from a local lender and everything looks good to close at the end of the month.
A week later the appraisal comes in from the buyer’s lender at a $300,000 value – the buyer is teeming with even more confidence the deal will close as scheduled.
A week after that (about 10 days before closing) the lender calls the buyer and tells him the condo questionnaire they just received from the management company shows the condominium’s investor concentration is over the limit for a mortgage loan where the buyer is making less than a 20% down payment.
The buyer tells his lender he does not have the other 10% to put toward the down payment.
The lender tells the buyer he cannot approve the loan and must find another condo to purchase.
Unfortunately, other properties that were previously available are now under contract.
Worse yet, the buyer has already given notice to his apartment complex of his move-out date and made plans for the move.
Desperation is setting in and with it, a need to find something ASAP – not the best position to be in when negotiating.
Had he – or his agent – fully understood the market, he would have known this was never a viable deal from the get-go.
Does this sound like the type of transaction you should entrust with an agent just because he or she is a friend or family member?
We’re Not Your Friends
Ok, that’s not exactly true.
Of course, we wind up being great friends with most, if not all our clients.
But that’s not our priority.
Our priority is offering you the PROFESSIONAL EXPERTISE you need to protect one of your most, if not THE most, valuable assets you will own.
Would you let your friend repair your new, $50,000 car because he was a part-time car enthusiast?
Would you let your primary care physician perform orthopedic surgery on you?
Of course you wouldn’t.
You’d insist on using someone who absolutely knew what he or she was talking about.
Then why on earth will so many people let a real estate agent help them buy/sell assets worth hundreds of thousands of dollars – if not more - with so little thought on the person’s qualifications and expertise, especially when the person stands to make thousands of dollars in commissions.
But we’ll tell you why it happens….
It’s because much of the public doesn’t see a difference between agents; they’re viewed as “all the same.”
They’re glorified door openers.
And if all agents are the same, why not use a friend or family member I can trust – or the guy/gal who sends me candy bars?
It’s not surprising so many people feel this way.
1) In 80 to 90% of cases, they may very well be correct.
2) The real estate industry itself has PROPOGATED this belief.
For the longest time, much of an agent’s “expertise” was simply tied to the fact they he or she had access to information no one else did (re: the MLS).
And the person who had the most coffee dates/handed out the most branded key chains got the most business.
To this day, in fact, that is how a large majority of older real estate professionals “teach” younger professionals how to be successful; trust us.
But as the curtain begins to get peeled back in the digital world, it’s information overload for the consumer.
More than ever, they need a true, trusted advisor to help them navigate the ins and outs of buying a home in this brave new world of technology, digital marketing, and specialization – using a friend who provides good customer service simply isn’t good enough anymore.
People who believe they “did all the work” because they located a property to purchase or use a discount brokerage to get a “rebate” are often putting themselves at huge risk.
They don’t understand markets.
They don’t understand contracts, laws, and procedures.
And they have an extremely minimal understanding of all that is involved in the process – again, very likely because they’ve worked with “agents” in the past who’ve added little, if any, expertise to the home-buying process.
That’s why we’re not your friends. And for everyone’s sake, we think that’s a good thing.
Who am I and Why Should You Listen to Me?
My name is Andy Detweiler. I’m a licensed REALTOR and the founder of rockvillemdcondos.com – I also currently live in Rockville, Maryland with my family.
When I entered the real estate field a few years back, I couldn’t believe how many people were reaching out with questions about condo pet policies, utility information, garage parking, and more…the same questions again and again.
I searched for a website that could give me an encompassing list of the condos in Rockville – just the names of the condos, nothing else.
I couldn’t believe it. There was nothing.
Within seconds, I could take almost any problem I was experiencing and find a YouTube video on how to fix it – but I couldn’t get a list of all the condos in a major metropolitan suburb.
I knew that was a huge problem. And I knew it was just the tip of the iceberg.
I wrote down all the common condo/apartment questions people had ever asked me – and spent the next six months building my website, tracking down the information (it was ridiculously hard), and organizing it in an easy-to-consume fashion.
Armed with all the knowledge I had gained, I started helping buyers.
Folks like Ross Bryant…
“I Didn’t Know What to Do Next”
By the time Ross Bryant was ready to seriously start the condo buying process, he already had a very specific price point and location in mind.
Because he was focused on such a tight area, there was a real sense of urgency that when the right property hit the market, he could act fast.
Ross reflected back…
“I wasn’t interested in many areas; I was very focused. I had a complicated set of personal finances making it clear I was not going to be able to get my purchase completed in a traditional manner.
If the right property arose, I didn’t know what to do next – at all.
I didn’t know who to call. I was lost.”
Ross’s circumstances got even more convoluted when the first property he was pursuing ended up being a VA foreclosure AND a condo…
“The day came when I could make a cash offer on a foreclosure I had been waiting to hit the market.
Andy got me out there right away, wrote up an offer, and expertly navigated the process. This was extremely important because I was having an enormously difficult time encountering unresponsive agents.”
Despite his best efforts, Ross lost the foreclosure deal to a higher bid from an investor (a bid he decided not to match based on my price analysis).
However, I suggested he keep his head up and stay ready – something else was sure to come along.
Sure enough, just a few weeks afterwards, an even better property hit the market.
Even though Ross was sure he had no chance – and didn’t want to get his hopes up – I explained the differences between the foreclosure process and a standard transaction.
Namely, there were multiple things we/he could do to make my offer stronger – and take advantage of the human factor that was now more in-play (as opposed to the foreclosure where we couldn’t even talk to the agent).
The offer was put in within hours of the property hitting the market.
Although there were multiple bids again – some higher than his – Ross’s offer ended up being the winner.
Just a few weeks later, he moved into his new home.
Asked why he found our service valuable, Ross commented the following…
“I had a set price and I wasn’t willing to pay more.
I needed somebody to position my offer in the most competitive manner possible.
Andy literally “won” me my home with his professional knowledge and sales expertise – he was able to represent me to the seller in a way that made me a more attractive buyer than I ever could have.
Most importantly, he was able to do so while protecting my interests and not just “bidding up” the offer.
After I had a ratified contract, Andy continued to consult with me and help me connect with the right resources to solve complicated tax/ownership issues.
Everyone was phenomenally skilled and professional.
I would definitely use him again.”
“Like a GPS”
Before becoming a first-time home-buyer, Berook Alamayehu played around on Redfin a lot.
But it was more just for fun. He wasn’t really thinking about buying a place.
When it came time to seriously look at location, affordability, and the home-buying process , things got very real, very quickly.
He recalled some of his concerns at the time…
“We were concerned about hidden costs coming in from out of nowhere, as well as the other costs associated throughout the process – upfront and at the end. For example, we didn’t know what closing costs were.
Having always lived in apartments, we lacked experience as to how much maintenance is involved and what would be considered a red flag versus a yellow flag.
It was all very overwhelming and the condo aspect of things (re: fees, rules and regulations) just made things more confusing.
Our concern was that we may not have been cacluating the numbers correctly and something would be needed that we wouldn’t have factored in properly.
If that had happened, our savings would have taken a big hit and our long-term financial plan would have been very negatively affected.”
Before getting Berook and Mahi involved in something they weren’t prepared – or running out to show them properties they might not qualify for or would not be the best fit – we took the time to first EDUCATE the two on a high-level overview of the home-buying process.
While we understand we may be lose a few customers based on this, our belief is that it best protects and serves the client.
Berook reflected on how the approach shaped his experience…
“Due to our specific circumstances, we needed to find a place in the right timeframe, within our budget, and in a place where our commute times weren’t going to be adversely affected.”
Andy’s commitment to transparency and education made a huge difference, as I felt like I had someone who was truly in my corner the whole way.
Without him, I would have been trying to talk to people I had no idea how to talk to with no idea what to say. He helped us navigate the process while acting like a GPS.
Even though we would have been likely to make it to our destination eventually, it would have taken a lot longer and been a ton more painful and difficult.
Although we had never met beforehand, it was clear Andy wasn’t serving his own interests; he was serving ours.
We felt especially luckily to have found him the way we did.”
This All Sounds Great. What Should I Do Next?
Here’s how it works:
If you’re ready to buy or are considering buying in the near future, give us a call at 240-338-8355 and/or schedule a free, no obligation 15-minute phone consultation.
We’ll answer any preliminary questions that you have an if applicable, schedule a time to talk further/preview some units.