Name-droppers welcome

Did you know that we have a special program that actually rewards people for all of the nice things they’re saying about us?

Yep, it’s a Referral Program that thanks our homeowners with a $500 Visa Gift Card every time they refer someone who ultimately buys a new Miller & Smith home. Our homeowners must be saying lots of nice things about us these days because lately we’ve been handing out $500 Gift Cards like water.

If you’re a Miller & Smith homeowner and you love your new kitchen because it makes you feel like a rock star chef, tell a friend about Madison Crescent or Maple Lawn.

Or if you love spending time on your new porch watching the leaves change, spread the word about The Orchard at New Market.

If you think Brambleton is the best community in all of Virginia, tell your co-workers that we’ve got three award-winning collections.

Or if you know people who are currently renting, be sure to tell them about Gallery Park where they can own for less than the cost of rent.

The best part about this program is, the friend or family member you refer will also get $1,000 in options to personalize their new Miller & Smith home. How cool is that? For more information, stop by any Miller & Smith community.

Maple Lawn’s Dynamic Duo

One of the great things about Miller & Smith’s new City Lights Collection at Maple Lawn is there are now two amazing decorated models to tour. They’ve quickly become Maple Lawn’s must-see single family homes because they offer tons of style and space at a really great value.

Miller & Smith Sales Managers Nancy Jansen and Eric Hansen are busy working with new and interested buyers, so we really appreciate them taking the time to participate in our latest installment of 7Qs. They work as a team with new homebuyers at Maple Lawn, so naturally they responded as a team to our questions.

Nancy’s take: In your own home, which room do you spend the most time?

I spend the most time in the family room of my own home (I don’t have a living room). We have an entire wall of windows that overlooks the water near Annapolis, MD. The abundance of light coming in and the water view makes me feel like I am on vacation every day. I watch the sailboats going out for a day’s cruise and the crab boats looking for the day’s catch. I can open the sliding glass doors, close my eyes and listen to the water hitting the sea wall a few feet below and feel like I am on an exotic island far, far away.

What is your favorite feature about the Fells Point model home?

Without a doubt my favorite feature is all of the natural light that our walls-of-windows bring into the home. We have placed oversized windows in every possible location you can have a window, so they fill every room with energizing natural light. When you walk in the front door you find a home that is light and airy even on the rainiest of days. Our buyers even comment on the light-filled stairways and 8′ high glass doors.

If you had to give up one household chore for life, what would it be?

If I could give up one household chore for life it would be the grocery shopping. I ask my family what they would like for dinner and I always get I don’t care. So I walk around the grocery store hoping that I will be inspired by something I see. Two hours later I am leaving with enough food for a few meals but missing some main ingredient needed for each meal. If I make a list, I forget my list or need to go to more than one store for what I need and they are out of it. I guess I am exactly the type of person that grocery stores have developed home delivery service for. I think I will give it a try.

What is your most memorable connection with a homebuyer?

I once had buyers who were in their mid-eighties who had sold their big house because everyone told them they should live in a retirement community so life would be easier for them as they got older. They lived in that retirement community for one year and wanted out because they couldn’t stand all of the old folks sitting around doing nothing. They came to my community and wanted to buy a very large house. Frankly, I was a little concerned about them being able to get a 30-year loan at that point in their lives but it proved no problem. We built them their big house with an elevator because they were never going to move again. These folks became the central figures of the neighborhood. They had Redskins parties every weekend and invited everyone to their home, from our punch out guys to the family that just had a new baby down the street. I only hope that I will be as gracious and able to live my life to the fullest as they did.

Eric’s thoughts: What is the best memory of the home you grew up in?

My best memory of the home I grew up in was always coming home from school and smelling the evening’s meal being prepared. My father loved to cook and always had something cooking in the electric frying pan. He loved preparing a large meal and always made enough for anyone who happened to be there at that time. My brother and his wife would often stop by along with some of my father’s coworkers. My father loved cooking a traditional Scandinavian meal, which always included a fresh vegetable, meat and, of course, a boiled potato and gravy.

If you where given an extra $10,000 for a home improvement, how would you spend it.

That’s an easy question. I would remodel my master bathroom. After working in our lovely models and seeing these awesome bathrooms I know exactly what I want. I want to take out my standard small tub (which I never use) and have an extra large shower with the all glass shower door. I would also want the upgraded shower faucets with the rainbow shower head. The raised height vanities are a must with the open shelves. And to top it off, I want the 12/12 tiles with the glass listello, which can all be seen at the Gramercy Park model here at Maple Lawn.

What is the best thing about living in a walkable community?

This is something that is a must on my list for my next new home. I want to be able to walk to stores, shops and restaurants. This so important to me, after a long commute in the DC area, the last place I want to be is in the car. I want to take a walk and get exercise, be greener, and enjoy seeing my neighbors, just like I used to when I grew up in the Baltimore area. Every time I visit my family abroad, we walk everywhere and I am reminded about the importance of this.

What is your most memorable moment with a homebuyer?

My most memorable moment was when a customer purchased and closed on a new home for his wife and gave it to her for Christmas. This young couple came in to see our models and she fell in love with the home. He came in the next day and said not tell her that is for Christmas. They both came back and I told her that the home sold a few days back and was scheduled to close in a few weeks. At Christmas, her husband presented her with a picture of the home and the keys. What an exciting moment this was for them and for us to be a part of it.

To see why Nancy and Eric are so excited about their decorated models at Maple Lawn, come take the tour yourself. For directions and the full photo gallery, please click here.

Good news homebuyers! Confidence is trending.

Source: Cover of September 10, 2012 issue of Barron’s 

You can’t flip through a real estate section or surf the web these days without seeing another positive article on the state of the housing market.

We’ve been building new homes since 1964 so we’ve seen our share of up and down markets. Let us be the first to say to this last downturn, good riddance, hasta la vista, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

We couldn’t be happier with this new sense of optimism that’s spreading throughout our industry. The good news is affecting homebuyers as well. We’re seeing that homebuyer confidence is on the rise now that home prices are on the rise as well. One of the biggest reasons homebuyers stopped buying homes during the downturn was that they were afraid that prices would continue to fall.

Recently the Washington Post wrote about this positive trend in home prices in an article entitled Washington DC Area Housing Market Recovery Moves To The Suburbs. Take a look at these charts from the article. No wonder buyer confidence is trending and more and more people are deciding to take advantage of today’s incredibly low interest rates.Another positive trend, noted by Bloomberg Businessweek in a recent article entitled Good News For Housing Market, is that today’s homebuyers are building more equity in their homes.

Our colleagues at Bloomberg News report that homeowners have made the biggest jump in home equity in more than 60 years. Half of borrowers who are refinancing are paying down some of their debt and reducing their loans.

It’s great to hear that not only are prices moving in the right direction but that homebuyers are building equity at the fastest rate in decades. We’re seeing these positive trends reflected in our own traffic and sales throughout our Miller & Smith communities.

One community where the opportunity is even brighter, especially for first time homebuyers, is at Gallery Park in Clarksburg, Maryland. For a limited time, we’re offering homebuyers the chance to buy with Zero Money Down* and a low 30-year fixed-rate mortgage.

If you’re currently renting, you really should check out this community because you can own a 4-level Townhome Condo from the upper $200s. That works out to $1,449 per month.* Click here for complete details.

To learn about our other great values and see loads of photo galleries of our award-winning home designs, click here.

Relax, Dad. Debbie’s doing great.

Meet Debbie Paschal, Community Sales Manager for Miller & Smith at The Orchard at New Market. Recently, we sat down with Debbie to ask her a few questions. Well, seven questions to be exact. It’s part of our new interview series called 7Qs with Miller & Smith. It’s our chance to shine the spotlight on our amazing employees and help you get to know them a little better. So without further ado, here’s Debbie‚

1. What is your best memory of the home you grew up in?

My fondest memories of my childhood home always took place in any room that my mother was in. She always had a way of making every room in the house feel warm and cozy. Our family room was the best! It was filled with family photos, books and comfy furniture. We used to have family competitions playing Atari Table Tennis ‚ ugh, I’ve dated myself!I loved coming home from school and heading straight to the family room to tell my parents about my day.

2. In your own home, what is the room you spend the most time in?

In my own home, I really enjoy my Great Room. I have a couch with lots of pillows and a homemade blanket that my Grandmother made for me ‚ we all fight over it. My Great room is two stories with lots of windows ‚ always bright and cheerful! I have 5 kids ‚ we all watch TV, play Wii and board games.

3. Who would you rather have assist in your home: Zoila from Flipping Out, Rosie from The Jetsons’ or Alice from The Brady Bunch and why?

I would love to have Zoila in my home! She is awesome! I would certainly treat her better than Jeff Lewis! She is so patient and honest. I think Zoila needs her own show! Maybe we can start a new Reality Show at my house!

4. If you could live in any home, whether it be one you’ve actually toured or one you’ve seen in a movie, what would it look and live like?

I have always loved the beach house in the movie, Somethings Gotta Give. I love all the French doors and transoms, soft colors and comfortable furniture. The kitchen is to die for! I’m also a huge fan of being right on the beach! One day‚ I hope!

5. What is the interior design trend you hope to never see again? Some of our worst memories are gold bathroom fixtures, plaid furniture, toilet rugs and carpeted walls.

I think one of the worst interior design features I have ever seen and hope it never returns is seeing the color mauve on plumbing fixtures, tile and carpet and paint!

6. Explain your most memorable connection or moment with a homebuyer.

This question was a tough one for me. I truly feel that each and every buyer is so very special and I have connected with every single one of them. They all have different reasons they come in to purchase a new home. I think the one that stands out in my mind the most was a couple that was competing with an in-law to have the better house and upgrades. They always felt like the underdog in the family and were nervous about making good interior selections. I helped them put it all together and when settlement rolled around, you could just see their faces beaming with pride as they saw their home for the first time. Needless to say, their relative was quite impressed. These folks still keep in touch with me and send me pictures of their children. They still love their home and thank me every time I hear from them! Pretty cool and so rewarding!

7. What is your favorite way to celebrate a sale?

After I have helped someone purchase a new home and seeing their excitement, I experience great satisfaction in knowing I facilitated that! There is also, nothing better than walking into the Corporate Office with a contract in my hand! I celebrate on the ride home with some loud classic rock music, and then, I call my Dad and let him know he doesn’t have to worry about me, I’m making it! He loves that!

We had so much fun getting to know Debbie we asked her one more question. Think of it as a bonus question cause it comes with photos‚ What is your favorite feature about your Cortland model?

My favorite feature is a toss-up between the HUGE kitchen island and the Loft. The ten ft. kitchen island, a Signature Miller & Smith feature, is something everyone can see themselves using on a daily basis. Even in my own my own home, it doesn’t matter how fancy my dining room is, everyone who visits, wants to be a part of the action in the kitchen and will congregate around the island to chat or have a bite to eat. I love that there is plenty of room to set up a buffet or have a central meeting place in the home to sit and enjoy the open concept of the home. I also love the Loft! This feature is so unique and unexpected. It is not typically seen in the average house. I love that it can be a flexible space to use for a casual media center or office space.

Many thanks to Debbie Paschal for taking the time to answer our questions. If you have some questions of your own for Debbie, she’d be happy to answer them. New homesites have just been released so feel free to stop by her model or give her a call today at (301) 882-7592.