Scott Smolen Blog

May 12, 2017

Mortgage Rates Stay Within Range

Mortgage rates stayed within the 4 percent range this week, with the 30-year, fixed rate averaging 4.05 percent, according to Freddie Mac’s recently released Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®.) Rates rose above 4 percent following the presidential election in November, and have fluctuated since.

The 15-year, fixed rate, at the same time, averaged 3.29 percent, up from 3.27 percent the week prior, while the 5-year, Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable rate averaged 3.14 percent, up from 3.13 percent the week prior, according to the survey.

“The 10-year Treasury yield jumped eight basis points this week while the 30-year mortgage rate rose three basis points to 4.05 percent,” says Sean Becketti, chief economist at Freddie Mac. “Mixed economic reports over the last few weeks have anchored the 30-year mortgage rate around the 4 percent mark.”

Source: Freddie Mac

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Posted in Uncategorized
Nov. 8, 2016

Want to Sell Your Home This Fall? Spruce it Up with These 3 Tips

Now that Labor Day is long gone, it’s truly time to get into the heart of the fall season. And if you’re trying to put your Gambrills MD home for sale in  this autumn, you’ve got to realize that it’s a very competitive time of year in Anne Arundel County. You have put a lot of love and a great deal of care into your house, and prospective buyers should be able to tell that you’ve treated your home like a member of the family. But as you move on to the next phase in your life, it’s important to keep in mind some of the things home buyers are looking for as they research properties in the region. After all, these buyers are starting new phases of their lives, as well, and with so many great options available from Crofton to Odenton and everywhere in between, it’s crucial that you assess the house for areas you can improve.

Thankfully, it’s possible to make some simple -- yet incredibly effective -- improvements that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

Let’s have a look at three low-cost methods of sprucing up your house to catch buyers’ eyes!

#1 -- Finish What You Started

If you’re like a lot of homeowners, you’ve gotten some great ideas over the years that, unfortunately, haven’t quite come to fruition. There are probably some home-improvement projects that you’ve begun, but just haven’t been able to complete. Now is the time to cross them off of your to-do list for good!

If you need to finish that bathroom reno or finally redo the kitchen pantry, now is the time to turn into the home stretch!

#2 -- Paint!

You’re accustomed to living in your home, and it’s comfortable to you the way it is. But there are probably numerous areas that could be made to look like new with just a few paint touch ups. Look over your home -- preferably with the help of someone with fresh eyes -- and determine which areas could use a fresh coat. Baseboards, trim and moldings are prime suspects. If your budget is really tight, focus on high-traffic areas.

#3 -- Don’t Make It Personal

In other words, it’s a good idea to depersonalize your home so that it’s easier for buyers to see themselves living there. Of course, a bit of personal charm can be a great selling point, but if it’s too dominant, it can turn people away. Go through photographs, children’s artwork and other items to determine what you can remove to make your house seem a little less like yours -- and a bit more like a place someone new can’t wait to move into!

Need More Help Selling Your Home?

If you’re selling your Anne Arundel County home this fall, you know that it’s a competitive environment. Thankfully, I’m here to help you with all the best tips to find you the perfect buyer! Give me a call at (301) 651-1261 or email me at to learn more.

Posted in Uncategorized
Nov. 1, 2016

Off to College -- Exploring the Excellent Options in Eastern Maryland

The crisp, cool fall weather signals the start of another school year, and for many parents in the region, it means sending a son or daughter off to college. Thankfully, this part of the country is extraordinarily fortunate to have a number of excellent colleges and universities located within very close proximity. People who own homes in Anne Arundel County and the surrounding areas value education highly, which is one of the reasons why it’s such a wonderful place to live. However, making the choice of the right college to attend can be tough, given so many great options.

Are you about to send a child off to college? It’ll help to have a rundown of the area schools and what makes them great!

University of Maryland

Located in College Park, Maryland, within Prince George’s County, The University of Maryland is just four miles from Washington D.C., making it incredibly convenient for those interested in government or research. And the University’s Terrapins provide excellent opportunities to experience competitive team sports all school year long.

University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

Located just eight miles from the city of Baltimore, UMBC is a smaller campus that features programs geared toward students studying natural sciences and engineering. It’s a tremendous alternative to the main University of Maryland experience.

Towson University

Commonly referred to as “TU,” Towson University, which is located in the community of Towson in Baltimore County, is often ranked highly among the best universities to receive a Master’s degree. It’s also been cited as a great value by numerous leading publications.

Salisbury University, McDaniel College and Bowie State

There are even more options for matriculating students in the area, including Salisbury University, a smaller school that is just west of Ocean City. McDaniel College is a tiny institution with less than 2,000 students, but with a terrific reputation. Bowie State, which is the oldest historically black university in the area, also offers an amazing collegiate experience (and is located virtually equidistant from Baltimore and Washington, D.C.).

Learn More

It’s hard to go wrong with a college education in this part of the country, given the abundance of wonderful universities and other institutions of higher learning located nearby. But making a choice can be incredibly difficult.

Let me give you a hand -- and allow me to assist you when it comes to finding the perfect home -- whether you are new here, or are looking for a change once your nest has become empty.

Just call (301) 651-1261 or send me an email at to learn more! I can’t wait to hear from you.


Posted in Uncategorized
Oct. 26, 2016

Experience the Magic of Autumn in Anne Arundel County

When people think late of October and the onset of autumn, they envision colorful leaves, cool yet comfortable temperatures, pumpkin patches and Halloween happenings, but this idealized picture of the fall season isn’t a reality in most places. However, as a new homeowner in Anne Arundel County, you will realize quickly that you’ve landed in a postcard setting that offers all of the wonderful aspects of this special time of year.

The leaves on the trees are reaching peak color and business at area pumpkin patches is in full swing. The temperatures are also becoming much more comfortable, cool and crisp. Life in Anne Arundel County is wonderful any time of year, but there’s something extra special about Autumn in this part of the country.

Are you wondering how you can get out and take advantage of the wonders of Autumn in your new community? We’ve got some great tips for you!

Pick the Perfect Pumpkin

Halloween is just days away, and there’s nothing like picking out a pumpkin and carving it to celebrate the season.

A number of area pumpkin patches offer families the chance to pick their own pumpkins, but that’s not all! Many local farms provide rides, corn mazes and a number of other recreational opportunities for all members of the family this time of year.

Visiting a pumpkin patch is also a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of daily living.

Some local favorites include:

Knightongale Farm
Greenstreet Gardens
Homestead Gardens
Lighthouse Shelter
Pumphrey’s Farm

Halloween Happenings

When Halloween approaches on the calendar, there’s a definite scare in the air! But it’s all in good fun here in Anne Arundel County.

Whether you plan on dressing up this year or not, there are a number of ways for you to get caught up in the excitement of the season without straying too far from home. The Halloween spirit is strong here, and with the holiday right around the corner, here are some of the attractions you should consider visiting:

Special Historic Hauntings Ghost Walk
Halloween Happening (At Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds)
Halloween Pet Parade

Learn More about Life in Anne Arundel County

Anne Arundel County is a great place to live, regardless of the season, and if you’re considering a move to this area, I’m here to help you! I know this special part of Maryland like the back of my hand, and I can’t wait to show you around and help you locate the perfect home for your family. Call me, Scott Smolen, today at (301) 651-1261 to learn more.

Posted in Uncategorized
Oct. 25, 2016

NFL Football Season in Anne Arundel County -- A Rivalry for the Ages

When autumn comes, it arrives carrying a number of well-known characteristics in its arms. The temperatures drop to become much more comfortable and cozy. The leaves on the trees change from green to the familiar oranges, yellows and reds, and kids are back in school. One of the other key signifiers of fall is the kickoff of the NFL football season, and for residents of Anne Arundel County, two teams dominate -- the Baltimore Ravens and the Washington Redskins.

The I-95 Football Rivalry

Are you a new resident of the area, or are you planning a move to the region? You should know that sports fans here take their football seriously! And when it comes to the professional game, there are two distinct teams to root for. But you’ve got to choose wisely because the two teams have a unique rivalry with fervent fans on either side.

For fans of the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens, there are bigger rivalries. After all, the Ravens are in the AFC, while Washington plays in the NFC. As a result, the teams don’t play each other that often. Ravens fans are known for their intense dislike of divisional rival, Pittsburgh, while Redskins supporters look forward to beating the Cowboys and Giants. But when Washington and Baltimore play each other, there’s something about the proximity -- just 33 miles between the teams’ home stadiums on I-95 -- that gives the rivalry an added boost.

If you’re a football fan who is relocating to Anne Arundel County, there’s no doubt that you’ll be bringing your love of your favorite team with you. However, it’s good to put some effort into your decision of which local NFL franchise to root for.

Baltimore or Washington?

Baltimore has had more recent success, having won the championship as recently as 2013. But the team is fairly new, by National Football League standards; they used to be the Cleveland Browns, but the team moved to Baltimore and changed its name back in 1996, effectively becoming an expansion team.

Washington is one of the oldest, proudest franchises in the league, and its history includes some of the legends of the sport, including former coach Vince Lombardi, for whom the championship trophy is named. Unfortunately, the team hasn’t provided fans with much to feel good about in recent years.

Football Sundays in Anne Arundel County

Whether you lean more toward the Ravens or the Redskins, it’s good to make a choice so you know what side you stand on when these two giants battle on the gridiron. Football season is here, and if you’re planning on a move to the region, you also have to make an important choice about where you and your family will live!

Let me help you! I know this area extremely well, and I can make the process of finding your ideal home easy. Just give me a call at (301) 651-1261, or email me at to find out how I can take you to the house (of your dreams)!



Posted in Uncategorized
Oct. 18, 2016

Finding Paradise in Piney Orchard

Odenton, Maryland is fast becoming one of the prime locations for area families to live, work and play. Its ideal location makes it a wonderful community for families whose members work in Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and Fort Meade, home to the National Security Agency (NSA). But it’s also a terrific town in its own right!

Once a farming settlement, Odenton transformed with the installation of Fort Meade, which is just 20 miles away. The location of such a key US Army installation nearby necessitated growth and development, which goes on to this day. As a result, Odenton continues to grow and develop. Thankfully, Odenton is aware of its status as one of the best places to live in Maryland for those who work in the greater region, and its planners have created some wonderful developments for families who want to experience a safe, comfortable and fulfilling life.

One such development in Odenton is the lovely and amazing Piney Orchard.


Get to Know Piney Orchard

Piney Orchard is the largest planned community within central Maryland’s Anne Arundel County, with a variety of home types available for those who are new to the area -- and those area residents who simply want a change of pace. With nearly 4,000 condominiums, single-family homes and townhouses, it’s the ideal community for those seeking a nice, easy commute to and from Fort Meade, Washington, D.C., or Baltimore.

Piney Orchard provides the ideal place to live for homeowners who want a great commute, but it also features a wide range of amenities to serve its residents, including:

  • The Piney Orchard Ice Arena
  • Patuxent Research Refuge/National Wildlife Visitor Center
  • Odenton Park Recreation Area
  • Waugh Chapel Towne Centre (featuring shopping, movies and much more!)


Getting Away from it All in Piney Orchard

Amazingly, even though Piney Orchard gives residents such easy, instant access to the big cities and installations that power the region, it serves as an oasis of sorts to the people who live there, as well as its visitors. The community is filled with numerous green spaces to enjoy year-round, as well as a network of walking and biking trails for those who want to stay fit and enjoy the fresh air. There are also community centers and pools with all the amenities to satisfy those hardworking residents who need a refreshing break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.


Learn More About Life in Piney Orchard

To really get a sense of what life in Piney Orchard will be like for you and your family, you’ve got to come visit and see for yourself.

Let me show you around and help you find your dream home!


Call me at (301) 651-1261 or send me an email at to learn more! I’m looking forward to showing you exactly why Piney Orchard has the best homes for sale in Odenton to buy your new home!

Posted in Homes in Odenton
Oct. 11, 2016

Ocean City -- One of the Country's Great Getaway Spots

Living in Eastern Maryland, it's easy to take for granted the many amazing locations that exist within a short drive from home. The area's numerous sites of historical significance reflect the region's focus on service and commitment to strong values. But the area is also home to some amazing spots where the focus can shift to rest, relaxation, leisure and quality family time.

Ocean City represents the ideal destination for many vacationers.  Fresh Chesapeake Bay style seafood, gorgeous sunrises, a historical city center and proximity to the ocean are just a few of the highlights of this beach town. People from all over the world have come here to escape their busy lives, but residents of communities like Odenton, Fort Meade, Crofton and more have the opportunity to take advantage of it any time they're able to take the quick, two to three-hour drive.

It's truly something special!

More Than a Storybook Summer Vacation Spot
Ocean City, Maryland features something for everyone:

  • The historic, three-mile Ocean City Boardwalk
  • Amusement park rides and attractions to delight the little ones
  • World-class fishing adventures
  • Restaurants serving the finest, freshest seafood
  • A number of championship-caliber golf courses
  • Boat and kayak tours for nature loves and sightseers
  • Gorgeous sunrise and sunset views!


Ocean City -- A Different World Just a Short Drive Away

Ocean City has earned its reputation as a summer getaway spot thanks to its wonderful weather and amazing attractions, but it's also a great place for day trips away from the city during the summer.  The pace of life is more relaxed and the friendliness of the people can remind you of a simpler, easier time.

Posted in Uncategorized
Oct. 4, 2016

Find Your Home in Crofton, MD -- More Than Just the Ideal Location

The old adage that touts, "location, location, location!" as the key indicator of a property's value has become something of a cliché, but it's as true as it's ever been. These days, people are living busier lives, with more time being spent in the car than at home. Balance is becoming more important than ever for families around the country, but finding it has become increasingly difficult.

However, for those who live and work in Eastern Maryland, it's possible to build a balanced life that places equal emphasis on work, play and family time.

Crofton, Maryland. Not only is it a beautiful community with lovely homes; it's one of the more perfectly situated towns in the entire eastern part of the United States!

If you're looking to buy a home in Anne Arundel County, and you desire a life of balance in an ideal location, you should consider taking a look at Crofton.

There's No Better Location!

Crofton is a town of just over 25,000 residents.  It lies in very close proximity to the places where so many area residents make a living.

Crofton is:

  • Less than 10 miles west of Annapolis
  • Less than 25 miles south of Baltimore
  • Less than 25 miles east-northeast of Washington, D.C.
  • Less than 20 miles from N.S.A Headquarters in Fort Meade

Imagine living in a quaint, quiet and friendly community, enjoying easy access to work, meetings, culture, dining and so much more. That's what Crofton is all about!
Crofton Has So Much to Offer

The location of Crofton has proven to be quite convenient.  The town itself has a lot to offer its residents and visitors.

Newcomers to the area love that Crofton's schools are held to a very high standard. Four elementary schools, a middle school and a brand new Crofton high school that is getting ready to be built are all well-funded by a community that values higher education. And some of the best post-secondary educational opportunities exist just down the road within commuting distance at the University of Maryland.

Crofton also features a number of historical landmarks.  Convenient shopping centers, a gorgeous golf course and a reliable public transportation system are just a few of the reason residents enjoy living in Crofton.
Learn More About Homes in Crofton, MD

If you're interested in learning more about finding your new home in Crofton, MD, I am happy to help! Just give me a call or send me a text today to (301) 651-1261 or email me at to learn more.


Posted in Uncategorized
Sept. 27, 2016

4 Back to School Tips for Newcomers to Anne Arundel County

Summer is winding down and kids here in Anne Arundel County are already back in class. If you are new to the area, you might be wondering how you can ensure that your child has the best chance of succeeding in an unfamiliar environment. Starting school in a new area is a notoriously difficult challenge for kids, and if your family is still getting settled, it can seem like every single day is full of overwhelming obstacles.

You've got a lot on your mind, and it's important to prioritize. Thankfully, there are some great pieces of advice you can use to help simplify life for you and your children as you get settled this fall.
Tip #1 -- Meet the Teachers

There's no doubt that you have a huge list of things to do as you start your new life in Eastern Maryland. To ensure that your children get started on the right foot in their new school, it's crucial that you get involved and meet with the people who will be teaching them during this school year.

By meeting directly with your child's educators, you can open a dialogue of understanding that will help you make sure that your child is comfortable, at ease and ready to learn. It also a great way to connect with people in your new community!
Tip #2 -- Find the Right Supplies

School kids today -- especially those in Anne Arundel County, where expectations are so high -- are often required to have some specific tools to be properly prepared for class. It's a lot different from when you went to school, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the list of items required for your kids' success in class.  Many of the local PTA’s offer prepared school supply kits for the children that are custom tailored to their school, grade level, etc.  Most of these need to be ordered at the end of the school year for the following year.  These can save both time and money.  More importantly it assures you that your child will have the correct supplies.
Tip #3 -- Locate the Right Home

Hopefully you've found your dream home in the area already, but if you are still searching for the perfect home in the ideal school district, help is available. I've helped numerous families like yours locate their ideal homes!  I’m happy to help, so give me a call today at (301) 651-1261, or email me at


Posted in Uncategorized
Sept. 23, 2016

Things To Do This Weekend: Sept 23-25

This weekend marks our first "official" weekend of Fall, and with the weather looking nice, it would be a great time to enjoy being outside!  Along with the multiple farms starting to open for their weekend activities there's plenty more to do!  Beginning Friday, the Inner Harbor in Baltimore will be hosting the "Baltimore Book Festival" featuring authors both locally & nationally, plus cooking demonstrations, workshops, children's activities, live music & much more!

SunFest is also starting this weekend in Ocean City at the Inlet parking lot offering live music from some of the area's best bands, plus headliners like Chris Janson, Eddie Money & more!  There's also plenty of food & activities for the entire family!  Free admission to SunFest (headlining concerts are extra and require tickets) and it's open from 10-10pm Fri & Sat, and 10-6pm on Sunday.


Posted in Things to do