Scott Smolen Blog

Feb. 11, 2016

Convenience and Community in Odenton Town Center

Typically, when you ask people what they wish they had more of, the answer is “time.” It’s hard to argue with that sentiment, especially when you consider the demands on daily living in our modern world. Many of us have our lives scheduled down to the second, and we’re all seemingly looking for an edge that will allow us even one extra minute in the day.

Thankfully, the world around us seems to be changing in a way that makes it easier for people to take back some precious time. Odenton Town Center, the exciting development in western Anne Arundel county, is a perfect example of a place that’s being designed with a better life in mind for its residents. It’s a place where everything a person needs is right around the corner; a place that allows its residents to travel easily, swiftly and safely to nearby urban areas; a place that helps its residents live lives with more space, more connection to the world and — most importantly — more time to take part in the things that make life so wonderful!

Odenton Town Center and Convenience

If you’re like most people who are interested in the possibility of living in the OTC, you’re attracted to the potential of convenient living that the development promises. For many residents, the simple fact that the development is located just a handful of miles away from Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport is enough to make it seem like a true paradise. Imagine a life spent enjoying your surroundings instead of sitting in a cramped car in traffic!

Odenton Town Center is not just convenient for commuters, though. It’s also designed to make it easy for residents to simply enjoy what life has to offer. Ample green space is available for outdoor recreation, and a network of hiking and biking trails wind through the area. A number of restaurants, cafes, shops and services are located right within the OTC, too, making it easy for residents and visitors to get around without having to deal with hassles like parking, tolls and traffic.

More Time in a Real Community

Living in Odenton Town Center is a great way to take back some precious time in your life, and the development offers plenty of ways to spend it! Most notably, the way in which the area is designed is ideal for engaging in real community involvement. Residents of OTC are generally out and about, enjoying all of the amenities that the area has to offer instead of sequestering themselves in their cul de sacs or their cars. This creates opportunities to meet neighbors and experience the magic of community life.

Learn More About Life in OTC

Have you been considering a different life in Odenton Town Center? Scott Smolen is here to help you find the ideal home. Scott has been following the OTC development for many years, and he can give you the help you need to locate the perfect space for you and your family.

Contact Scott today at (301) 651-1261 or email him at for more information!

Posted in Missions
Feb. 11, 2016

The Good Life in Odenton Town Center

For decades, people who live and work in Anne Arundel County have been buzzing about the potential of the Odenton Town Center development, which is located in the western part of the county. Things are finally moving forward in a big way for the development, and a lot of people are becoming interested in the possibilities of life in the OTC. The area is incredibly attractive for commuters, of course, with its ideal, centralized location, but the development will also make this part of the county appealing to those who see themselves living the good life in a community where shopping, restaurants, local businesses, sites of historical significance and numerous other amenities are all within easy reach.

Everything You Need in Odenton Town Center

The secret to the appeal of Odenton Town Center is its location. The OTC is situated just 12 miles from Baltimore and only 16 miles from Washington, D.C., making it incredibly convenient for commuters and others who need to live in close proximity to the region’s busiest urban areas. It’s also just five miles away from BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, making it easy for residents to get away.

Fortunately, OTC is being developed in a way that will make residents and visitors want to stay. Odenton Town Center is set to feature everything families will need to live, work and play comfortably.

Some of the more notable amenities include:

  • Numerous hiking and biking trails
  • A wide array of historically significant buildings and sites
  • Unique restaurants and outdoor cafes located near quaint shops
  • Pedestrian-friendly spaces and roadways
  • Plenty of available office space
  • Green spaces, playgrounds and performance pavilions
  • Easy access to the rest of the world

It’s easy to see why people are interested in this development when considering all of the features, factors and amenities that are situated directly within the OTC!

Making a Home in OTC

When people think of the ideal American life, what they tend to envision is what OTC has to offer. Many great homes are available in the development, with a wide variety of options to suit all sorts of preferences. And most of the homes in the OTC are located just steps away from vibrant areas for shopping, recreation, entertainment and culture.

One of the most appealing aspects about living in OTC will be the ease with which residents can interact and connect with their neighbors – something that’s been missing from many community settings. Residents can truly feel like part of a special community, sharing moments and living the good life.

Finding Your Place in OTC

Have you been considering the purchase of a home in the promising OTC development? There are a lot of factors to consider, and the process can be overwhelming. Thankfully, Scott Smolen is here to help! Scott has a deep connection to the area, and he understands what people are looking for when they envision the good life – and a great home – in OTC.

Contact Scott today at (301) 651-1261 or email him at to learn more!

Posted in Worship
Sept. 25, 2015

Tips on Maintaining Your Home This Fall and Winter

If you own a home or are looking for homes for sale in Odenton, MD, you probably understand the importance of getting your property ready for the winter. People who own real estate in Odenton usually do home maintenance work during the autumn, while the weather is still mild. The following home repair tips will keep your property in good condition throughout the cooler months.

Maintaining the Exterior

Examine the foundation for holes and caulk around the surfaces where siding meets masonry, where wires or pipes enter the property, and around the door frames and windows to stop heat from escaping. Get rid of screens and install storm doors and windows. Prior to storing your screens, repair and clean them and apply a protective spray coating, then put them in a dry part of the garage or basement.

Check exterior walls to determine whether any paint is blistering or peeling on your shed or home. Peeling paint indicates that the building's current coat of paint is deteriorating and no longer protects the siding. If this is not addressed, you may be looking at costly repairs.

Inspect the roof to check that its structure is sound. Look for loose or missing shingles. If your roof does not function correctly, it might result in water damage. This harms your insulation, drywall and wood, making plumbing, HVAC and electrical systems vulnerable. It is better to get your repairs done during the autumn, rather than find you have a leaking roof during heavy snowfall. To ensure your safety, hire a qualified, licensed roofing contractor to assess the state of your roof.

Maintaining the Interior

Cooling and heating accounts for forty-seven percent of an average household's energy costs. Insulation in correct working order can save as much as 20% on cooling or heating costs, or as much as 10% on your total yearly energy bill, so make sure that the insulation throughout your home is working properly.

Make sure to check for leaks - it is easy to discover air leaks from doors and windows, by feeling the frame with your hand. Apply caulk and weather stripping to these drafty areas, and this will stop the cold air from coming in.

Get your heating unit examined by a certified heating professional. Heating units use fuel in an efficient manner, so they last for a long time and encounter fewer problems if correctly serviced. Check the door gasket on your fireplace or wood stove to make sure the seal is tight. Also, hire a licensed chimney sweeper to clean out your chimney if it needs cleaning.

If you have questions about your home’s maintenance, we’d be happy to help you find the right professionals to keep your home warm this fall and winter. As always, we’re also available to help you find the perfect piece of real estate for sale in Odenton, MD or the greater Baltimore area. Give our office a call today!

Posted in News
Sept. 25, 2015

Fun Events in and Around Baltimore – Sept. 2015

If you are searching for something to do in the greater Baltimore area this month, you will be pleased to know that many interesting events are organized all year round. Here's what you can look forward to in September 2015:

-The Maryland Festival of Seafood takes place from September 12-13. This will be held at Sandy Point State Park, near the bay bridge. Numerous Chesapeake delicacies will be on offer.

-The Annual Festival of Bacon and Beer is being hosted on September 12. This event, which is run by Heavy Seas Beer, will take place at the Halethorpe Brewery.

-The band Death for Cutie are playing a concert at the Merriweather Post Pavilion on September 13. Fans of sophisticated, soothing pop/rock should book their tickets straightaway. Explosions in the Sky are the supporting band.

-Carroll Park is the venue for this year's Shindig Music Festival, on September 19. The rock acts, which are yet to be announced, will perform on the two main stages. Sideshow performers will provide additional entertainment, and there will be local vendors and food available too.

-The Bel Air Art Festival will go ahead at Shamrock Park, Bel Air on September 20. For half a century, this one day event has showcased the best dance, music, crafts and fine arts in the Chesapeake area. This is sure to be a fun day, because there is something for everyone.

-The Legacy Chase horse race will kick off on September 26, at Shawan Downs. This race has rapidly become a popular event, since its introduction fifteen years ago. Even if you aren’t the betting type, it is a great day out that your family will enjoy.

-Finally, the Baltimore Festival of Books is being held from September 25-27. The venue for this used to be Mt. Vernon, however last year it was held for the first time at the Inner Harbor, which proved highly successful. This event has been organized for twenty years and features many national, prize winning authors. Also, there will be panel discussions, an area for children and music on offer. Better still, a platform for wellness and health will be set up, where fitness authors will answer questions from festival attendees.

Posted in Uncategorized
May 26, 2015

Time to Buy? Zillow Predicts Rise in Real Estate Marketplace

Summer is almost here and homebuyers will be looking for the home of their dreams. So, why is this time of the year great for those looking to buy a home for sale in Odenton, MD or Gambrills, MD? Keep reading to find out.

Mortgage Rates Are Low but They Won't Stay Low
Right now, mortgage rates for a 30 year fixed mortgage are steady at about 4 %, but this will not last. The real estate marketplace, Zillow, is predicting a 1% rise in rates by the end of the year.

While such a small increase of 1% may not sound like something to worry about, the truth is that a 5% rate on mortgages means buyers may not be able to afford the home they want. That 1% can really add up over time. Buyers want their homes before they have to pay much more for them.

More Loans Available
The availability of loans has grown in the last year. This means that some buyers who could only get approved for an FHA loan last year may be able to get a conventional loan with Private Mortgage Insurance. PMI protects lenders in case of buyer default. Due to competition between lenders, it is easier to be approved for a loan, receive more options, and be offered lower rates and terms.

Buyers Have More Confidence
More and more people are regaining faith in the housing market. This is shown by the results of Zillow's gauge of the health of the market, ZHCI, or Zillow’s Housing Confidence Index.

The future is looking good for would-be buyers, such as renters who are looking to buy a place of their own. Homeowners can appreciate the flow of prospective buyers and feel more confident in their ability to sell their homes.

Rent is High and Going HigherOne reason for high rents is there are fewer apartments and homes from which to choose. The average renter pays 30% of their income for rent. Conversely, the average homebuyer is likely to pay just slightly more than half of that at just over 15 percent of their income. In many cases, it makes more sense to buy than it does to rent. Many renters with the ability to save money for a down payment on a new home are doing just that.

According to Zillow's data, there are 25% more renters looking to buy new homes than there were a year ago. Last year, 4.2 million people were looking to go from renting to home ownership. Now 5.2 million renters are seriously considering buying their own home.

If you have been considering buying a home, now is the time to get in and buy. Are you looking for real estate for sale in Gambrills MD? Are you interested in Gambrills MD real estate for sale? Contact us and let us help you find the home of your dreams!

Posted in News
May 26, 2015

Exploring Window Treatments for Your Home in Gambrills

Window treatments add a great deal of value to real estate for sale in Gambrills, MD. No matter what type you choose, they cool down your home and add a touch of class. Some work better than others, though - so look at these six options that might help your home.

The classic option for homes, these panels of fabric are attached to rods or tabs and hang down to block out the sun. You can up the eco-friendly quotient by using organic fabrics, and you will enjoy using them all year long.

Another major player in the world of window treatments, these pleated panels hang down over your windows and give you several options for how much light comes through. Choosing the right fabrics will be the key to making sure that you have the right look for your needs.

These practical options lie flat on the window, and block out almost all light. A great choice for those who want to keep their homes cool and dark, finding a good set of shades can be difficult. If you put in the effort, though, you can save quite a bit on your cooling bills.

Blinds and Shutters
Both blinds and shutters bring versatility to the world of window treatments. They are easily adjustable, allowing you to let in as much light as you wish. These are a great choice for those who want to let light into their homes without a great deal of fuss.

Perhaps the fanciest type of window treatment, these shortened curtains are used more for style than for practicality. Use them with another treatment, and you should be able to get a bit of a pop in your room without sacrificing on your heating and cooling gains.

These are the choice for those who want a more interesting window treatment. Used alone or with other treatments, they add an edge to your window area that will spur conversation.

To learn more about homes for sale in Gambrills, MD or real estate for sale in Odenton, MD give Scott Smolen a call today.

Posted in News
May 26, 2015

Spring and Summer Cleaning for Your Home’s Exterior

Winter has come and gone. In its place is wonderful springtime and summertime with clear skies, fertile grass, and beautiful flowers. This inviting scenery will surely be more inspiring with an attractive home in the foreground. Spring and summer cleaning should not just focus on the interiors of your home, but also the exterior. Focusing your effort on both the outside and inside of your home will be duly rewarded with renewed interest from buyers and the personal satisfaction of living in a gorgeous home.

Clean the Outside Walls

Dirt and grime can build up on the walls during the winter months. Wash them off either manually or using a pressure washer. If you’re using a pressure washer, make sure you have the strength to do so. Stand with a wide stance, bend the knees a little, and brace yourself before turning it on. Use soapy water to make it easier for the dirt to slide down. Then rinse with water for a thorough cleaning.
See if any ice dams have formed along the gutters. Remove ice and debris to prevent clogs. Be sure to wipe the dust from the windows as well. A half and half mixture of water and vinegar may be employed as cleanser. Crumpled newspapers are cheap yet effective cleaning tools for glass.

Rejuvenate the Front Lawn

The state of the front lawn can make or break deals if you’re trying to sell your home. If you wish to sell your house at a good price, then you have to make a good first impression on buyers with a lovely lawn. Start with the basics. Remove stray items that may have been buried under layers of snow throughout the winter. Dispose of the trash properly.
Rake the ground to give fresh green grass a chance to grow back again. Sow new seeds for the garden. Add fertilizers to help things along for faster recovery. If you have the budget for it, have an aeration company come by to do some work on the lawn to increase fertility.

Upgrade Exterior Furniture

The exterior portions of your home are constantly exposed to moisture, which is the primary cause of corrosion and decay. Check exterior furniture for any signs of wear. Refurbish them if the damage is minor. Sometimes, a coat of paint or a similar cosmetic fix is more than adequate to save the day. If the damage is beyond repair, consider buying a more durable replacement.

To learn more about real estate for sale in Odenton MD, or to speak with Scott about selling your home, give our office a call today!

Posted in News
Dec. 23, 2014

New Construction Building Codes in Maryland

If you are considering buying new construction in Anne Arundel County, make sure you know what building codes that they builder will be building too.

Considering we are in 2014, you may think it would be logical that the home you are buying will be built to current codes (with the most dramatic changes taking places to these codes in 2012). These changes make a major impact on energy efficiency and it seems reasonable to assume that builders would have adopted them by now. HOWEVER, many builders and developments have not.

Why they have been able to do this is a topic for another blog. Builders were able to skirt the codes, by pulling permits for construction prior to the deadline for the new codes going into effect (July 1, 2012). The permit office was REALLY busy in June 2012.

Builders were pulling permits for homes by the hundreds in some cases. Not many of these homes that were permitted were under contract, much less ready to be built. The county and the state allowed builders to who pulled the permits prior to July 1st, to build the homes using the codes established in 2003 and amended in 2005.

Many of the homes that were built in 2013, are going to be built in 2014 and 2015 will not be built to the codes established in 2012. This is important for a consumer to be aware of in advance of writing a contract to buy. The reason it is important is the 2012 building code requires builders to build a much more energy efficient house.

This efficiency will dramatically reduce the utility bills during the time the homeowner owns their property. The 2012 code forces more costs on the builder so the consumer will benefit in the long run. Thus the builders want to avoid constructing to the new codes. Not all builders have done this, but many have.

This is just another reason to have a knowledgeable Realtor involved when buying new construction. The long term energy savings could be in the tens of thousands of dollars over time.

Posted in News
Dec. 23, 2014

Daylight Savings Time and Real Estate Sales

When the clocks moved forward this past Sunday night, many folks just complained about losing an hour of sleep. Since I took a red-eye flight back from the ReMax Convention in Las Vegas that landed 6 AM Saturday morning, I took it upon myself to whine more than most :) However the clocks moving forward marks the beginning of the Spring real estate market in Maryland.

Longer daylight hours provide Buyers the opportunity to see more homes after work in the evenings.  Being less dependent on weekends leads to a more active shoppers.  Increased ability to see homes combined with nicer outdoor temperatures and many people receiving their income tax returns lead to the perfect storm of home shopping.  If you are considering listing your home for sale and want to know the perfect time to list, this is it.

From now until Memorial Day historically will be the time when the most homes are coming to the market.  It is also the time that most Buyers are actively looking as well.   We have seen a little earlier start to the Spring market this year than normal in spite of horrible weather.

This is from the demand that carried over from the slower than normal Fall market from last year when the Federal government shut down.  If you have been thinking about buying or selling, this is a good time to get a plan in place so you can move forward.

Posted in News
Jan. 30, 2014

Super Bowl Sunday or Super Hype Sunday

As an avid sports' fan, I never thought that I would believe there is too much hype about any one event in sports.  I enjoy the entire NFL season (despite having to endure being a Washington Redskin's fan) and look forward to the playoffs every year culminating in the Super Bowl game itself.

Obviously I spend a lot of time in my car driving as a Realtor, so I tend to listen to an abundance of sports talk radio (probably should have learned to speak 5 languages by now instead of knowing stats about sports games 20 years ago), nonetheless this is what I tend to do on the road.

This is the first year I have ever felt that the Super Bowl is really becoming overhyped.  I know that the CEO of the non-profit NFL has stated the goal of raising revenues from $9 Billion with a "B" to $25 Billion.  However there comes a point when there can be too much of a good thing.

The NFL is the king of product promotion in sports.  That is why they can get away with tinkering with the game almost on a yearly basis and still attracting more and more viewers.  Nevermind that the rule chnages against the defense over the last decade or so has allowed offenses to become more prolific than anybody thought was possible.  It is all about marketing the game.

This Sunday, companies will pay $4 million for an ad running during the Super Bowl.  This is the same amount that was charged last year as well.  In spite of the growing hype around the game (there was a record of over 5,300 media crudentials issued for the game), Fox was not able to charge any more for their advertising spots than CBS charged last year.

Perhaps the hype has run its course and the game has just reached the maximum possible exposure no matter how much it is hyped up.  The ease and relative lower cost for tickets for the game that are remaining just days before the Super Bowl in NYC might just prove that.  Time will tell.....

Posted in Uncategorized