Uncategorized August 31, 2023

Knock Loan Program: Buy Before You Sell

Navigating the path to homeownership involves careful consideration and strategic planning. As a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Realty in Crofton, Maryland, I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing firsthand how innovative solutions like the Knock Loan Program can make a significant difference in this journey and help families seamlessly transition to their dream home.

One of my clients recently utilized the Knock Loan Program to put an offer on their desired home while concurrently preparing their current property for sale. What struck me was the way the program empowered them to transition smoothly without the pressure to expedite the sale process. The ability to make necessary updates to secure their desired price set this program apart from conventional bridge loans, and I’m excited to delve into its details with you.

Knock Loan Program Let’s You Buy Before You Sell

The Knock Loan Program brings a fresh approach to the process of buying a home offering a blend of financial assistance, flexibility, and tailored features that cater to your specific needs.

Who Can Benefit from the Knock Loan Program?

One of the program’s strengths is its inclusivity. It’s designed to accommodate a variety of situations:

  1. Move-Up Buyers: Individuals wanting to transition to a larger home or a different neighborhood will find this program streamlines the sale of their current property while facilitating the acquisition of their new residence. This is similar to the example I mentioned above.
  2. Downsizing Seekers: If your goal is to downsize as you enter a new life phase, the program supports a seamless transition while optimizing your property value.

How it works:

  1. Find Out If You Qualify
  2. Buy Your Dream Home First
  3. The Sell Your Old House

The Benefits:

  1. Simultaneous Sale and Purchase: The Knock Loan Program stands out for enabling a simultaneous sale and purchase process. This eliminates the need for temporary housing or juggling two homes at once.
  2. It’s Not A Traditional Bridge Loans: Unlike conventional bridge loans, the Knock Loan Program encourages you to focus on enhancing your current property’s value before selling, creating opportunities for better returns.
  3. Interest Free Equity Advance: If you qualify you’ll be fully underwritten for an interest free equity advance so you can hit the market to start looking for your new home.
  4. Sell Your Old Home For Top Dollar: We’ll pre-imburse you for up to $35K to get the house in prime selling condition.
  5. Guided Support: Throughout the process, the program provides dedicated support to guide you through every stage, ensuring a seamless and confident experience.
  6. Transparency in Costs: With the Knock Loan Program, anticipate predictable monthly payments, providing a clear understanding of your financial commitment.

Navigating the The Program

Understanding how to maximize the this loan is key to fully benefiting from its advantages. It’s important to note that this program operates through a separate lender, distinct from the one you would work with for your mortgage. Given that the program might be unfamiliar to many, I’m here to refer you to someone who can help you with a Knock loan so you can explore its potential.

Get Started Today

In my opinion this program  has really redefined the home buying journey by not only improving transactions but also improving my client’s lifestyle. With its inclusivity and array of benefits, the program provides a viable path to homeownership for many that would have otherwise given up.

Does the Knock Loan Program sound like something that may help you?  Connect with me and I’ll refer you to the right resources to explore further, and seek answers. Together, we’ll look at the options and make your homeownership dreams a reality.

BuyingReal Estate July 24, 2023

Rent Prices Are Rising. Buying Might Be An Attractive Option

The U.S. rental housing market has witnessed a significant increase, with over 35% of households choosing to rent their homes. This is according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. However, with soaring rental costs and fluctuating market trends, many individuals are considering the benefits of homeownership as an alternative. In this blog, we’ll explore the reasons behind the rising cost of rent and examine the latest data to understand if rent prices are slowing down. We will also discuss the advantages of buying versus renting and how it might be a viable option for you.

Let’s first take a look at the many factors contributing to the surge in rental prices.

Inflation: Increasing costs across the board result in landlords passing on higher expenses to renters. This leads to a cyclical effect where rents continuously rise with inflation.

Lack of Inventory: A scarcity of vacant rental properties, especially affordable ones, has intensified the competition and drives rental prices even higher.

Post-Pandemic Adjustments: Landlords are compensating for pandemic-era rent freezes and steep discounts in urban areas by raising prices on new units and lease renewals.

Shifting Workforce: The rise of remote work during the pandemic has driven deep-pocketed renters to seek larger homes in previously low-cost areas, increasing rents in suburban regions.

Growing Demand for Single Living: Prospective renters increasingly prefer studio and one-bedroom apartments, creating higher demand and contributing to rent hikes.

Barriers to Homeownership: High demand, low inventory of existing homes, rising mortgage interest rates, and supply chain disruptions has pushed more people toward renting.

Positive developments: multifamily construction and affordable housing initiatives

According to the latest data from Zillow‘s rental report for June 2023, rent price increases are showing signs of slowing down. Cumulatively, rent has risen 2.4% in the first half of 2023, compared to 3.5% by the mid-point of 2020. The report also indicates that typical asking rents in the U.S. are now $2,054, representing a 4.1% increase from the previous year. Rent hit its peak growth of 16.2% year-over-year in February 2022.

While rent prices were on the rise, there have been two very positive developments that impacted the rental housing market:

  1. Multifamily Construction: In 2022, multifamily construction reached a 50-year high nationwide, potentially mitigating overall rent costs by increasing housing supply.
  2. Inclusionary Housing: Many cities require developers to include affordable housing in new projects, creating more options for renters looking for affordable units.

Buying might be an attractive option for you:

During these years of rising rental costs, some individuals are exploring the benefits of homeownership. Let’s take a look at some of those advantages:

Building Equity: Homeowners build equity over time, contributing to long-term wealth accumulation.

Stability and Control: Homeownership provides stability, as homeowners have control over their living space without the uncertainty of lease renewals and potential rent hikes.

Tax Benefits: Homeowners can often benefit from tax deductions on mortgage interest and property taxes.

Customization: Owning a home allows for personalization and customization to suit individual preferences and needs.

Potential Appreciation: Real estate historically appreciates over time, potentially increasing the value of the property and providing a return on investment.

Only you will know whether renting or buying a home is best for you.

Whether you have plans to rent or buy a home, working with a Realtor to make an informed decision is a smart idea.  A real estate professional can guide you through the decision-making process and help you carefully consider your financial situation and long-term goals, thus making that decision much easier.

No matter what you do, be sure to sign up for my exclusive Neighborhood News newsletter.  Staying up to date with the latest rentals, property listings, market trends, and real estate transactions will also help you make wise decisions.  And when it’s time to consider a move, reach out! Together, we’ll find the perfect home for you!

Laura Gayvert, REALTOR®, Coldwell Banker Realty, 1300 Main Chapel Way, Gambrills, MD 21054
Mobile: (443) 995-6999 | Office (410) 721-0103
Local May 22, 2023

Vibrant and Culturally Rich Annapolis: Theaters That Steal The Show!

If you’re looking for a home in the vibrant and culturally rich Annapolis area, then you’ve landed on the right stage. As a seasoned real estate agent and a performer myself, I’m here to take you on a quick journey through the best theaters this charming region has to offer. Grab your popcorn, sit back, and let’s explore the dazzling world of Annapolis’ theaters!

Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts:

Our first stop takes us to Maryland Hall, a cultural beacon nestled in the heart of Annapolis. This theater not only hosts breathtaking performances but also serves as a hub for artists of all disciplines. From plays to the Annapolis Symphony to other inspiring musical concerts, this venue embodies the soul of the arts in our community.

Colonial Players of Annapolis:

Prepare for a standing ovation at the Colonial Players of Annapolis! Known for their exceptional talent and unforgettable productions, this theater group never fails to deliver an extraordinary experience. The intimate setting of their venue allows you to feel the energy on the stage, making each performance a truly immersive delight.

Compass Rose Theater:

Calling all drama aficionados! The Compass Rose Theater is a must-visit destination. Nestled in the heart of the Arts District, this hidden gem offers a diverse range of performances that will captivate your mind and ignite your imagination. Be prepared for the exceptional talent showcased here!

Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre:

When the warm summer season begins, Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre comes to life. This open-air theater provides a unique and enchanting experience, allowing you to revel in the magic of live performances under the stars. From beloved Broadway classics to contemporary hits, their productions are sure to leave you singing and dancing along.

Rams Head On Stage:

While not a traditional theater in the conventional sense, Rams Head On Stage is a renowned venue that brings music and entertainment enthusiasts together under one roof. This cozy spot offers an intimate setting where you can catch live performances from a variety of artists, ranging from acclaimed musicians to hilarious comedians. It’s the perfect place to unwind and enjoy an unforgettable evening.

You’ve just been treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of Annapolis’ sensational theater scene.

Now, imagine yourself not just in the audience, but as a homeowner in this vibrant and culturally rich Annapolis area. Whether you’re looking for a home that’s just around the corner from Maryland Hall, or a home in one of the surrounding communities like Crofton, I’m here to make that dream a reality.

To make your grand entrance into the world of Annapolis’ real estate market, be sure to sign up for my exclusive Neighborhood News newsletter.  Stay up to date with the latest property listings, market trends, and real estate transactions. Together, we’ll find the perfect home where you can enjoy the magic of theater right at your doorstep. Call me today to get started!

Laura Gayvert, REALTOR®, Coldwell Banker Realty, 1300 Main Chapel Way, Gambrills, MD 21054
Mobile: (443) 995-6999 | Office (410) 721-0103
Real EstateUncategorized April 26, 2023

What Is Home Equity?

Home equity…Everybody wants it, but what exactly is home equity and how do you get it?

Equity represents the degree of ownership an individual or entity has in an asset after subtracting any debts against the asset. To say someone shares equity in a company means they would share in any assets remaining after all debts are accounted for.

For example, if your business has sold $500,000 worth of product this year, but you have rent, operating expenses, and a business loan payment totaling $400,000 for the year, you have $100,000 of equity in your business. Equity changes as the value of your assets and debts change.

Home equity works the same way.

When you take out a mortgage to purchase a home, your home is collateral on the mortgage loan, so the outstanding mortgage principal must be deducted from the value of the home to determine your home equity.

In most cases, you make a down payment when you purchase your home. That down payment is your initial home equity. If you pay a 20% down payment on a $200,000 home, you have $40,000 equity when you close on your purchase.

As time goes on and you continue to pay down your mortgage principal, your home equity grows. Usually, the longer your own your home, the more equity you gain because you are paying down your mortgage. However, any debts you take on using your home value as collateral, such as a second mortgage or home equity line of credit (HELOC,) decrease your home equity.

The changing real estate market also influences your equity.

If you paid $200,000 for your home, and two years later the homes in your neighborhood start selling in the $400,000 range, your theoretical equity increases. (Theoretical because you don’t realize your home equity until you sell your home and pay off all debts against it.) You can also lose equity if the market takes a dive but be patient and it should recover in time.

Home Equity also grows if you make improvements to your property that increase its value.

Let’s say you add a swimming pool and all new appliances. You have increased the value of the home. Your equity doesn’t increase by the amount your spent on the improvements, but on the value you get upon resale. This is an important point when considering making improvements prior to putting your home on the market, and one that is often misunderstood.

Let’s say Joe spends $50,000 on upgrades to his home. He might tell his neighbor, “I have $50,000 in my home,” but when he goes to sell, the current market dictates how much he will actually get in return. If Joe ends up selling for $40,000 more than he originally paid, his $50,000 investment got him $40,000 in home equity.

Some things you can do to increase your home equity include:

1) Make a large down payment when you purchase your home. The more cash you put down, the more equity you begin with.

2) Make increased or extra payments on your mortgage principal. Adding to the principal portion only on your monthly payments, or making extra payments when you are able, helps chip away at your outstanding debt.

3) Be smart when making home improvements. Not all improvements build equity. Some improvements may be personal preferences that don’t necessarily add value for resale. Improvements such as a new HVAC system, new appliances, or a new roof are usually more reliable investments than a fountain in the front yard or surround sound speakers throughout the house.

4) Don’t borrow against your home equity unless you must. Home equity is often a homeowner’s biggest asset, and can help to build your retirement nest egg, but it can also come in handy if life throws you a curve ball and you need to borrow against it for an unforeseen emergency. Be careful not to borrow against your equity for frivolous purposes, so it will be there if you really need it.

5) Sell when the market is favorable. If you are counting on your home equity to help finance your next home, pay for your children’s education, or add to your retirement funds, try to sell during a seller’s market when inventory is needed in your area.

Let’s Talk About How This Impacts You

Want to talk more about why real estate is the best investment? Contact me today and let’s schedule a time to talk.

Laura Gayvert, REALTOR®, Coldwell Banker Realty, 1300 Main Chapel Way, Gambrills, MD 21054
Mobile: (443) 995-6999 | Office (410) 721-0103

Real Estate March 22, 2023

Existing Home Sales Rise in February, But Inventory Remains Low

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently released its report on existing home sales in February 2023, showing an increase in sales for the first time in a year. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales rose by 14.5% to 4.58 million. This was the largest monthly percentage increase since July 2020. However, year-over-year sales fell by 22.6% from 5.92 million in February 2022.

According to NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, the increase in sales can be attributed to homebuyers taking advantage of lower mortgage rates. Despite the rise in sales, inventory levels remain at historic lows, resulting in multiple offers on many properties.

February National Real Estate Stats

The median existing-home price for all housing types in February was $363,000, down 0.2% from the previous year, ending a 131-month streak of year-over-year increases, the longest on record. Properties typically remained on the market for 34 days, up from 33 in January and 18 in February 2022.

Single-family home sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.14 million. This is up 15.3% from January but down 21.4% from the previous year.

Existing condominium and co-op sales were recorded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 440,000 units. This is up from 410,000 in January, but down 32.3% from a year earlier.

Real Estate Sales By Region

The NAR’s report also provided sales data by region. The Northeast region improved by 4%, the Midwest grew by 13.5%, the South rebounded by 15.9%, and the West rocketed by 19.4% in February. However, year-over-year sales in all regions declined, with the Northeast experiencing the largest decline at 25.7%.

Final Thoughts

The rise in sales is a positive sign for the real estate market. However, the low inventory levels and declining year-over-year sales highlight the ongoing challenges I see firsthand with my buyers and sellers. As we move further into the year, look for more updates from me on these issues.

Let’s Talk About How This Impacts You

Are you needing help navigating today’s real estate market? Contact me today and let’s schedule a time to talk.

Laura Gayvert, REALTOR®, Coldwell Banker Realty, 1300 Main Chapel Way, Gambrills, MD 21054
Mobile: (443) 995-6999 | Office (410) 721-0103

Source: “Existing-Home Sales Surged 14.5% in February, Ending 12-Month Streak of Declines: Largest monthly percentage increase since July 2020”, National Association of REALTORS.

Buying February 24, 2023

8 Reasons Real Estate is the Best Investment

Real estate has long been considered a solid investment for many reasons. It is a relatively safe and easy way for people in Crofton and throughout Anne Arundel County to build wealth beginning with a small amount of money. If you are interested in investing in real estate, I’d be happy to help you find the right properties.

Here are some of the ways investing in real estate in Anne Arundel County can help you build an investment portfolio.

1. Real estate investments can provide you with a reliable and steady cash flow. Investing in rental properties is relatively easy as expenses are predictable and if your properties remain occupied you know what to expect in terms of profit margin.

2. Real estate appreciates in value. Real estate consistently appreciates, even during economic downturns, making it one of the more reliable investments in Anne Arundel County. On average, real estate in the US appreciates between 3-5% annually.

3. Real estate investments help you retire, whether that be in Crofton, Annapolis or another part of the country. If you have been paying on your mortgage throughout your working years, you will experience greater cash flow as you near the end of your mortgage term and the principal is paid off.

4. Real estate sales are taxed at a lower rate than other income. When you sell your property, you are taxed short- or long-term capital gains which are usually lower than income tax brackets.

5. Real estate equity can be leveraged. One of the most attractive reasons for investing in real estate is the ability to leverage your money. When you take out a mortgage to purchase property in Anne Arundel County you reduce the amount of capital required. As you build up equity in the property, you borrow against the equity or refinance the original loan, freeing up cash to buy another property.

6. You have control to improve upon your asset. Unlike an investment in stock, where you have no control over how it performs, you can improve upon your real estate investment. Updating or upgrading systems, finishes, appliances, and landscaping helps build value in your investment.

7. Real estate gains taxes can be deferred. Under the 1031 exchange tax code, you can invest the gains from the sale in one property to the purchase of another property without paying taxes on the gains.

8. Real estate investments are depreciable. This is confusing, but you can legally claim a depreciation expense on an investment property even though the value of your investment property is actually appreciating. The depreciation deduction allows investors to generate a higher cash flow while reporting a lower income for tax purposes.

Contact me if you have questions or you are ready to make a move. I am here to help.

Buying January 27, 2023

5 Things to Think About When Buying a Home

Buying a home in Annapolis feels like a super exciting experience. You’re dreaming of your new kitchen, the yard for the dogs and/or kids; emotions quickly start running sky-high.

Sometimes, however,  those emotions can cloud the more important things you want to think about that you may regret not paying attention to until after you’ve moved in.

Following are five recommendations I advise my clients moving into or within Annapolis to consider during their buying process, so they experience the thrill of loving where they live. As I always say, it’s I like to keep it real in real estate!

Know your ‘all in’ monthly costs

Understanding your monthly costs goes beyond just your monthly mortgage payment.

Most homeowners should budget for HOA dues, utilities, lawn care, and home maintenance.

The age of your major appliances, such as your water heater or HVAC system, is important, and servicing them consistently will ensure they work correctly and help you prolong the need to replace them.

Think about your commute

While it’s become more common for people to work from home, many organizations have returned to the in-office format, and drive time will significantly impact the quality of your life.

Determine ahead of time how much time you’re comfortable spending in your car commuting so you can plan accordingly. Realtor.com’s drive time commute filter is a great tool to use in your planning.

Preparing for a positive commute might look like listening to your favorite podcasts, audiobooks, and great music. And if your drive time hits close to an hour or more, you may consider packing snacks. They’ll help you avoid arriving back at home hangry and possibly unleashing road rage while on the road.

Neighborhood Noise Levels

When buying a home in Annapolis, we recommend that you visit your new neighborhood at different times of the day.

Stop by before and after school, early in the morning, and into the evening. Just park nearby and pay attention to the activity happening while you’re there. This will help you avoid moving into your new home only to learn there’s a train that runs each morning at 5 am.

Think About Seasonal

It can sound exciting to buy a home in Annapolis on one acre of land until you experience the amount of time it takes to maintain a yard and garden of that size.

  • What about big trees?
  • Will you look forward to spending hours raking leaves in the fall, or would you prefer a newer home with less landscaping?

Remember that sometimes a really big home sounds like fun until you’re tasked with cleaning five bedrooms and three bathrooms.


When you’re house hunting in Annapolis, it’s a good idea to assess the location, condition, and price of the home, but you’ll also want to give some thought to the layout.

  • West-facing rooms usually get hotter in the summertime.
  • Do you like stairs? Running up and down stairs is great exercise but can get a little old if you’re always in need of accessing things by way of two floors.
  • How much driveway will you need to shovel in the winter? Do you want to shovel snow uphill, or is a flat driveway more your style? Will your car make it up your driveway in the winter months? If not, are you willing to invest in 4-wheel or all-wheel drive?

The layout of your new home is essential in creating an enjoyable living experience. Remember to think about the way your family lives and make sure your floor plan is the right match.

Last but not least, consider checking out my free Neighborhood News emails for the areas you are considering. You can sign up here.

As you give some thought to these recommendations, you’ll be sure to set yourself up for buying success.

Contact me if you have questions or you are ready to make a move. I am here to help.