Across the board (with the exeption of of a few vendors like appliances ) our vendors are reporting that their labor and material costs are relatively low. The pricing we have been getting for direct costs of new custom homes & large additions to homes in the Washington DC area have remained low for a few years now. However, we are noticing vendors getting slightly busier than they’ve been in the last year or two.

Here’s one of our excellent vendors, Glen Embry, of Metcalf HVAC, explaining what he thinks of the current market:

Paramount Construction nominated for another MNCBIA Custom builder award.
Here’s a look at the inside and an interview of the homeowner.
The judges from MNCBIA loved the home too. They almost wouldn’t
leave. Click Here & take a look at this home we designed and built.
This is a great example of why owners come to us for design
and construction. Anyone can design a “plain-old-box” of a house.
Lots of builder around town basically design and sell the exact same plan.
You can actually get the plan at your local Giant or Safeway while you’re
standing in the checkout line.
We’ve discovered that the Washington D.C. area has many owners
with more discerning tastes and sense of design. Our plans are
designed differently.

These are not “cookie cutter” homes. Take a look here

Yet, as great as the design is, our pricing very reasonable.
When we present a home price the price is all inclusive.
Many other builders start at $85 per square foot over the phone.
The problem is that by the time they add permits, excavation, engineering,
dumpsters, driveways, upgrade the vinyl floor to wood, upgrade the vinyl
siding to hardiplank their over $200 per square foot. Plus it takes these guys
months of your time until you finally extract all the information out of ’em.

Let me know what you’ve found in the market place as you talk with
building companies out there. I’d like to hear from you.

Check out Kevin taking another concept in his mind to a completed new custom home
that was just nominated for another (2nd of 3) MNCBIA Custom Builder Awards.
This new home in Bethesda was completed in around 5 months. The happy
homeowners should be moving in any day now. If you would like a tour of any of
our homes call 301-370-6463 and ask for Kevin or Rob.
Check this video out:

Another reason it’s a great time to build your custom home —
home prices are low and work quality is high. Here is an electrical
contractor who works in the Montgomery County Maryland,
Fairfax County Virginia, N.W. Washington D.C. area and works
on new homes for area home builders:

Even the neighbors love us:

According to, Washington D.C. made the top ten healthiest housing markets for 2009. Washington D.C. actually ranked number 6.

Here is what was written about the Washington DC housing market:

Washington D.C. showed signs last summer that it might be emerging from the downturn, then it turned south again. Even so, the area produces a ton of jobs—an estimated 35,000 in the last year—that fuel a vibrant housing market, the 11th largest in the country. Many of the jobs stem from contracts with the federal government. Washington D.C. remains a relatively unaffordable place to live, with a median home price of $332,700 in the third quarter of last year.

One prime reason the of the ranking is that the population in Washington DC area has grown around one percent each year for the past five years.

The home building patterns have changed as well. Many families moving to the area are demanding to be inside or immediately outside the capital beltway because the traffic is one in the nation’s worst. I live inside the beltway and I can get any where I need to go — from Washington D.C. and the Virginia and the Maryland suburbs in 20 to 30 minutes. And if I travel during off-rush house times, it may be 10 to 15 minutes.

We are even working with new home building clients that are moving down to inside the beltway from Gaithersburg, Md., Culpepper, Va., and Frederick, Md.

The BuilderOnline section is courtesy of: Hanley Wood Market Intelligence.

Anyone read the article in the Washington Post about Case Design Build?
I think they are wrong about the housing market in the DC area.

May I suggest an article idea?

We are home builders and architects and we have more business than we have had in two years.

There are many owners that realize that rates are low and construction costs are flat, and that real estate is a long term investment, not something that bounces daily like the stock market.

We are selectively pursuing many home building opportunities in this market place. This is a great time to be building as a builder because we are taking advantage of the cost of construction to maintain our profit margins and pass on the greatest value to clients since the late 1980’s and the early 1990’s (the last recession). This is a great time to build homes.

Washington DC real estate and home real estate in particular, is the best real estate on earth.

Tell me what you think?

The Wall Street Journal reported in yesterdays paper that home sale sin the U.S. had their biggest monthly increase, a 6.5% rise, in almost seven years.

Economists still warned that the spring buying season will probably be slow due to growing economic problems, like all of the layoffs reported recently.

However, the Washington D.C. area seems to be holding up fairly well. Especially in areas that we focus on, around and inside the Beltway.

One driver I think is the relatively low unemployment rate in the DC area – 4%.

We have seen a lot of activity the last few months. Rates are low and construction costs have remained fairly stable. Rates seem to be around 5%. I’ve had a few of my rates actually drop below 5% (one of my rates, an arm is at 3.875%).

In my view, real estate is a long term investment. So when you think about it, this is an opportune time to be buying, if you are thinking long term.

The supply of homes for sale is also a driver of housing prices. Washington D.C. months of supply has dropped to 5.8 months of supply. Compared that with 29.5 months of supply in Miami and this market sure feels pretty good.

But real estate values really due vary and fluctuate differently within each neighborhood. We are finding Bethesda and Chevy Chase are doing much better than Gaithersburg and Germantown, for instance.

If you are thinking of selling your home and it’s inside the beltway give me a call or send me an email at

Tell me what you think of this market

Here’s another of my “insider” strategy tips and secrets, that a head-shakingly few other “professionals” are even remotely aware of, for:

  • Finding your perfect “build-able” lot
  • Financing your new home or home addition
  • Designing your new home or home addition
  • Building your new home or home addition

So here’s my “insider” strategy for today:

One of the secrets to having a successful- on time…on budget…great design You love…high quality
workmanship…smooth and hassle free process – and fun home building experience,is putting together the right team of professional “partners” to guide you through the process.

Not many people even know this (I’ve been doing this for 20+ years and only a few savvy real estate developer/investor “types” have a clue), but the right team can make it “real estate heaven”, a process so smooth that you’ll be looking for another transaction to do as soon as you finish this one…

And the wrong team can turn the whole project into a nightmarish mistake that could be excruciatingly painful and and an ordeal that you’ll want to wipe from your mind immediately.

And since the process really starts way before the first shovel ever pierces the earth, I view the partner checklist in terms of Phases.

Phase 1 partners are needed to determine project feasibility:

  • Is the project a go or no go?
  • Can you afford it?
  • If you can, is this how you want to spend your money?
  • Does the piece of land work for your needs?
  • Is the land build-able?
  • Are there subdivision, zoning orsetback issues?
  • Will the home plan work for you?

Many of the Phase 1 partners need to stay involved in Phase 2… through out the life of the project.

Like a lot of partnerships, many of these relationships are inter-dependent; decisions and input from one partner are needed for another partner to complete their portion of work.

Phase 2 Partners are brought in only after the go/no-go litmus test is passed. Why spend money if you don’t have to?

And here’s a bonus for you, this is the actual checklist that we use on our projects…

Phase 1 Partners:

  • CPA/Tax Advisor
  • Real estate agent
  • Bank Loan officer
  • Property owner or landowner (if you are purchasing from owner)
  • Architect and Builder
  • Planning department
  • Design review committee
  • Building department

Key Point: You do not have to retain the entire team at the
beginning of the process… And YOU DON’T WANT TO. Only bring
in the partners that are appropriate for that section of
the job.

Phase 2 Partners:

  • Land Surveyor
  • Soils engineer
  • Well/septic engineer
  • Appraiser
  • Attorney
  • Insurance agent
  • Material suppliers
  • Structural engineer
  • Arborist
  • Subcontractors
  • Laborers
  • Building inspectors
  • Disbursement agents
  • Bank inspectors
  • Landscaper
  • Mover
  • Interior Designer

In my next “insider” strategy tip email I’ll explain the partner
roles in more detail.

I think you’ll be astonished at some simple-fix-steps, that if
assigned early on to some of the partners, could result in
huge economic windfalls or could give you a quick signal that
your project may not make sense in its initial form and you
need to re-purpose the plan.

Please keep the comments and critiques coming and let me know
what’s on your mind. And I’d appreciate if you could tell me:

  • What would you love to see during the home building process that would make your life easier?
  • What frustrates you the most aboutthe home design and building process ?

If you want more “insider” secrets to make a yo9ur new home a profitable investment sign up here for our special series

Arts & Crafts New Maryland Home

Arts & Crafts Bethesda Maryland Home For Sale

This new home will be ready for occupancy in spring 2009. It features Wood-Mode kitchen and bathroom cabinets. It has 9 foot ceilings in finished basement, main level and second floor. There is also a finished third floor level.

New Home For Sale in Downtown Bethesda. Walk to Bethesda restaurants & shopping.
Walt Whitman High School. Close to Bethesda Metro Station.