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Welcome to the premier resource for all real estate information and services in the Howard County, Carroll County, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County and Montgomery County areas. Our team has been selling homes in these areas for 30 years in Ellicott City, Maryland, Columbia,Maryland, Glenwood, Maryland,Elkridge,Maryland, and Laurel, Maryland.  We hope you enjoy your visit and explore everything our realty website has to offer, including all real estate listings, information for homebuyers and sellers, and more About Us, your professional Realtors.

Looking for a new home? Use Quick Search or Map Search to browse an up-to-date database list of all available properties in the area, or use our Dream Home Finder form and We'll conduct a personalized search for you, or you can call us at 410 365-1605 or email us at patsmith22@comcast.net.

If you're planning to sell your home in the next few months, nothing is more important than knowing a fair asking price. We would love to help you with a FREE Market Analysis. We will use comparable sold listings to help you determine the accurate market value of your home. Contact us at patsmith22@comcast.net

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Real Estate News!!!

Latest Realty News from NAR

Charity Deduction Faces Same Tax Reform Risk as MID

Of all the itemized deductions, the one for charitable contributions might seem to come out the best under tax reform. That’s because it’s the only deduction under both the House and the Senate versions of the bill that is largely undiminished. And yet charities complain donations will dry up under tax reform. What gives?

b“Provisions in the tax bill the House and Senate are considering would make the situation worse” for charities, Ray Madoff, director of the Boston College Law School Forum on Philanthropy and the Public Good, says in a Nov. 27 New York Times opinion piece.

The problem, Madoff says, is the near doubling of the standard deduction. With all of the other itemized deductions either going away or constrained by new caps, most households will opt for the standard deduction rather than continue to itemize. That renders the tax deduction for charitable giving nearly meaningless. As Madoff puts it, “A vast majority of American taxpayers would no longer itemize and therefore would receive no benefits for their charitable giving.”

That argument might sound familiar. It’s the same one NAR is making about homeownership. Under the Senate bill, the mortgage interest deduction would be left intact, but the deduction for state and local taxes would go away. In the House, MID would be limited to mortgages of $500,000 and the deductions for property taxes would be capped at $10,000, while the deduction for state and local income and sales taxes would be entirely repealed. So, while MID is preserved, either entirely or in part, very few households that itemize today would continue to do so. As a result, MID would continue to be a benefit only for the wealthiest households.

Given the structural changes to the tax code lawmakers have before them, preserving the deduction for charitable contributions is mostly meaningless. This is exactly the same thing REALTORS® are saying about tax incentives for homeownership. They’re meaningless for most households if tax reform passes in its current form in both the House and the Senate.

More on tax reform’s impact on homeowners in The Voice for Real Estate.

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Don’t Just Sell a Home; Market a Lifestyle

Kevin Tengan told attendees at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo to remember that home buyers are looking for "a place for their life to happen."

Kevin Tengan told attendees at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo to remember that home buyers are looking for “a place for their life to happen.”

To help your listing stand out from the competition, focus on the lifestyle the property will help buyers achieve, in addition to common details such as square footage and number of bedrooms.

That’s the advice of visual effects specialist Kevin Tengan, who has turned his experience working on Hollywood productions into the foundation for a real estate business that reflects his love for imagery and storytelling. A buyer might say they want a four-bedroom, three-bath house with a sunny kitchen and a backyard, but what they’re really looking for is “a place for their life to happen,” he said during a session at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago earlier this month.

“A lot of what we communicate is ‘what’ and ‘how,’ but few talk about ‘why,’” said Tengan, CRS, chief operating officer of RE/MAX Prestige in Honolulu. “Start with the why.”

As you develop marketing campaigns, remember that saying a home is in a great neighborhood isn’t as powerful as showing why that is the case, said Tengan. For example, if you produce a video property tour, include footage of nearby attractions such as beaches, museums, shopping districts, and other aspects of a community that can inspire a buyer to want to live in the area—not just in the home. Anything you can do to tie your listing to the lifestyle buyers want will attract more traffic, Tengan said.

One of the keys to developing marketing materials that will resonate with buyers looking for a certain lifestyle is understanding the trends that characterize the people you are trying to reach, said Emily Line, vice president of commercial services for Realtors Property Resource®. As a real estate professional, you have access to an enormous amount of data about what consumers are looking for. There are services that can sift through the information and create reports to help you develop an effective pitch, Line said.

The data can help you tune in to trends that reflect the kind of buyers you want to reach. You can identify people in certain kinds of occupations, where they like to shop, and what they like to do for entertainment, Line said. This information can help you connect with buyers in your area, as well as investors who want to purchase commercial or residential properties that will attract certain types of tenants, she said.

Turn the information you collect into a marketing tool by incorporating it into a story that connects the property to the goals and lifestyle of those who would buy it, Tengan said. “At the end of the day, the story is all that matters. A great story evokes a reaction.”

‘This is Our Moment. Own it.’

“Are you ready to own it with me?”  asked Elizabeth Mendenhall, a sixth-generation REALTOR® and the sixth woman to become president of the National Association of REALTORS® in the past 110 years. “We absolutely have the power to make a difference.”

Mendenhall was sworn into office by her father Richard Mendenhall, who was 2001 NAR president. “There is nothing more powerful in this journey than sharing it with others,” she said addressing thousands of REALTORS® at the Inaugural gala during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago.

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Mendenhall ended her inaugural festivities with a group rendition of “REALTORS® Own It”—the vibrant tune that she co-wrote for her presidency. The song evokes the pride and power embodied in dedicated real estate pros who strive each day to meet the complex needs of their clients and keep the industry strong.

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Your New Real Estate Motto: ‘Helping Beats Selling’

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Marketing Expert Kelly McDonald offers indispensable advice for connecting with prospects and clients.

Think of the U.S. as a “salad bowl”—rather than a “melting pot”—that integrates many different cultures as you develop marketing strategies to reach a diverse set of prospects and clients. Marketing expert and author Kelly McDonald offered attendees a range of tips to foster strong and meaningful connections in her Monday session, “How to Market and Sell to People Not Like You,” at the REALTORS® Conference and Expo.

  • Be relevant in your marketing. “Identify what people want, and give it to them,” McDonald said. You may have lots of information about the features and attributes of a property to share with buyers, but that matters much less than keying in on “why it benefits them. You have to be able to make sure people understand ‘why I should care’ about what you’re telling them.”
  • Adapt to the needs of your clients and prospects. People need you to understand and relieve their pain, but you need to know what the pain points are,” McDonald said. She cited an example of an auto glass repair company that set up an introduction system so that customers knew which technician would be coming to their home. They sent along a photo in advance, so clients knew who to look out for. “This addressed the strong need women have for a sense of security and great personal service, she said.
  • Keep your communications short. Your clients and customers don’t have enough time in their lives as it is, so present information “in bite-sized portions,” she said. Use white space between paragraphs and bullet points to increase the chance people will read what you send them. “Whenever possible, shorten your voicemail and emails, and use pictures and graphics to make your points.”
  • Cultivate your ‘pilot fish.’ It’s important to know what you’re doing wrong, but you may not learn what that is until you ask someone with whom you’ve done business. “People won’t tell you if you don’t ask them,” she said. “And don’t be afraid of acknowledging the problems. You can’t fix them if you don’t know about them.”
  • Foster a culture of empathy when hiring. “It’s more important to hire the right person than the right resume,” McDonald said. “Don’t be afraid to recruit from new ponds” because you can always get them up to speed on the tasks and skills needed for the job. “Awesome people are awesome no matter where they are working.”
  • Don’t be defensive when you’re wrong. If something is going haywire with a transaction, people only want to hear five words from you: “We’ll take care of it.” The blame game is never productive, so “stop offering excuses when things go wrong. People want to know how you’re going to take care of problems, so unless they ask for a lot of details about how something went amiss, don’t go there,” she said.

The Secrets to Becoming a Better Leader

2017_conf_teaserWhether you’re managing a small team or a large office, your brokerage’s success will depend on how good you are at inspiring and motivating those whom you manage.

“If you don’t get leadership right, everything else will fall apart,” said Alicia Matheson, business coach for Matheson Global Consulting, as she led a crowded session Sunday on “Evolutionary Leadership” during the 2017 REALTOR® Conference & Expo.

The problem is that many leaders may believe they’re better leaders than they actually are, she said, citing a Gallup poll that showed 90 percent of managers rate their leadership as above average. However, a separate Gallup poll found that employees say that the best day on their job is when their boss is out of the office.

“We’re only as great as the people we lead say we are,” Matheson said. Also, “it’s important to not just be a ‘good’ leader but a ‘great’ leader. There is a huge gap between ‘good’ and ‘great.’”

Matheson highlighted several skillsets of a stellar leader: the ability to inspire, be knowledgeable, provide resources and support staff, and be creative in sharing new and innovative ways for agents to conduct their business. “Being a better leader starts with collaborative ideas and pushing the boundaries of human capital with cutting edge technology and innovation,” Matheson said.

It’s important to lead by asking your team questions, she said. For example, what support do they need from you to do their jobs better? How is their business going?

Make sure your agents and staff understands your company’s overall purpose, too. If you get a buy-in from everyone in your office, they’ll feel more motivated, inspired, and loyal to their jobs, Matheson said. The purpose may include a commitment to a charitable cause, or your core mission of helping buyers and sellers achieve their dreams in homeownership. Articulate your vision in a clear, memorable way.

“Show people you care and make people want to be a part of your brand,” Matheson said. “Connect your behaviors to your purpose. We may judge ourselves by intention, but others will judge us by our behaviors.”

Here are Matheson’s 11 key everyday habits of effective leaders:

1. Wake up early every day.

2. Make your bed.

3. Workout. If you don’t have time to exercise, strike a “power pose.” Channel your inner Superman or Wonder Woman, and strike a powerful pose and hold it for 2 minutes. Research shows that workers are 33 percent more productive when they do. Matheson said a brokerage she works with started integrating the power pose in their team meetings, and after a month their sales shot up by 30 percent.

4. Have a healthy breakfast.

5. Review your day and maintain a journal.

6. Create a plan of action for the day. (Consider: Who can I make smile today?)

7. Meditate or visualize your day (e.g. Visualize what a successful day will look like.)

8. Finish the most important or difficult task first.

9. Create an outline for the following day’s activities.

10. Learn or read something inspirational.

11. Go to bed early. (Commit to 7-8 hours of sleep each night; research has shown it can increase your productivity.)

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Steve Brunett
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Jeff Pearce
The Pearce Group
"Your Home Inspection Specialist"
Appt:  410 984-1215
Bus: 301 854-6321
www.thepearcegroup.biz
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Jackie Vaughan and Patrick Smith 
The Jackie Vaughan Team
#1 Team - 12 Years!
with Long & Foster Realtors
Ellicott City Office
Direct:  410 365-1605
Office: 410 461-1456

Email:  patsmith22@comcast.net

Testimonials Page

Hi Patrick, We wanted to take a moment to thank you for all your efforts in finding us a home. Your knowledge of the short sale process and your patience in dealing with all the unexpected events that came up are greatly appreciated. Your advice was valuable and your insights were immensely helpful for us in our decision making process. We will wholeheartedly recommend you to our friends and co-workers who in the market for buying/selling homes. Best Regards, Suthan Suthan and Reji
John and I want to thank you for all you did to help get our home sold. We appreciate your patience in answering our questions and reassuring our concerns. We wish you and Patrick continued success in your real estate partnership. John and Sharon Bouman
When we placed our home in the capable hands of Patrick and Jackie, we had a sales contract in only 12 days. They showed us the utmost patience and respect. They were always available to us when we called and offered the perfect solutions every time. Marian Jeffries
Patrick and Jackie are the perfect example of what Realtors should be! The selling and buying process happened so fast that it made our head spin, but Patrick and Jackie were the consummate professionals and led us through every step. It was wonderful working with Patrick and Jackie and I will always recommend them to friends. Paula and Jonathan Gal-Edd
Dear Long & Foster: agent NOUN: 1. One that acts or has the power or authority to act. 2. One empowered to act for or represent another. While "agent" is an overused term in many industries, few people ever get to experience the thrill, and true power, of agency by representation. In a profession that oftentimes seems haggard, by ignorance of sub-standard practitioners, we are proud to announce that Jackie Vaughan, Patrick Smith and Karey "Vaughan" Thesing exemplify the purest definition of agency, and the highest level of professionalism, for the real estate industry. Simply put, they are the best! Sincerely, Christine and Edward D'Elicio
I thought you would like to know what highly competent professionals you have in your organization. From the beginning to end, their dedication and attention to detail was exemplary. We consider ourselves fortunate to have been associated with your organization and with Patrick and Jackie. Please give them our thanks and gratitude. John O'Donnell
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