My Contact Information

You can reach me at any of the following:

Cell Phone: 240-483-7556
Office: 301-384-8700

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

GMA Hot Deals of the Summer! TODAY & TOMORROW ONLY....

I love to SHARE great deals I find so check out Good Morning America's Deals of the Summer every week because you can get some fantastic deals.... Check out this weeks deals and they are only good TODAY and TOMORROW. Happy Shopping....

This week's “Deals and Steals" features a roundup of hot products and fashions to finish off the last days of summer and head into fall.

Only "GMA viewers" can snag a personal grill from celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, trendy gemstone bracelets and tote bags, back to school snack packs and more, for 50% off.
First, the fine print:
1. Use the promo codes and links provided below only on the dates listed to receive the savings.
2. All deals are available only while supplies last. There are no back orders or rain checks unless specified by the retailer.
3.Exclusive deals are applicable only to the items specified below. The savings are not applicable to other items on each site.
4.Deals cannot be combined with other coupons and offers.
5. Contact retailers directly for any questions about products, pricing and delivery before ordering online.
6. Shipping rates indicated below are valid in the continental U.S. only.
7. You might experience temporary technical issues because of the high volume of traffic. Thanks for your patience.

To suggest an exclusive deal for my consideration, connect with me directly at If you have any trouble accessing a deal, you're welcome to email me directly through I will answer you the same day.

Improv Electronics: Boogie Board LCD eWriters
Original: $40 to $130
GMA Exclusive Deal: $20 to $65
50% savings
Valid: 8/22/12
(Promo code: GMA50)

Perfect for back to school. Write, draw, sketch or take notes -- all without wasting a single sheet of paper. Boogie Board LCD eWriters are the tree-friendly, electronic alternative to memo pads and notebooks. Just use the stylus to write, and then press the “erase” button when you’re done. Options include 8.5”, 10.5” or Rip eWriter, which allows you to record, save and transfer to a computer. Shipping is $8.

Hail Merry: Back to School Snack Pack
Original: $32
GMA Exclusive Deal: $16
50% savings
Valid: 8/22/12 thru 8/23/12
(Promo code: GMA)

Send your kids to school with a snack pack that encourages higher health. Hail Merry treats, which are sold in Whole Foods and other top retailers throughout the country, are gluten-free and dairy-free made of the finest ingredients and no refined sugars. This package includes 11 individual bags ranging from blonde macaroons to rosemary pecans. All snacks are less than 150 calories and made with organic virgin coconut oil for natural energy to keep them going throughout the day. Shipping is $2.

Vine Street Market USA: Large Canvas Tote

Original: $60
GMA Exclusive Deal: $18
70% savings
Valid: 8/22/12 thru 8/23/12
(Promo code: GMA)

With a great celebrity following, this large canvas tote is the perfect everyday bag that’s both fashionable and functional. The durable and machine-washable canvas holds up to 60 lbs and with the wide pouch, you can tote anything from gym clothes to groceries. The trendy mitered stripe design comes in grey, chestnut and army. Shipping is $5.

Sacred Jewels: Gemstone Silk Tie Intention Bracelet
Original: $108
GMA Exclusive Deal: $29
73% savings
Valid: 8/22/12 thru 8/23/12
(Promo code: GMA)

These hand sewn, hand dyed silk ties are made in the USA and come in a variety of beautiful colors, each featuring an authentic, hand cut precious or semi-precious gemstone, surrounded by 24k plating. Wear it alone or stacked together for even more strength. Shipping is $5.

Wolfgang Puck: Multi Purpose Personal Grill

Original: $45
GMA Exclusive Deal: $20
56% savings
Valid: 8/22/12 thru 8/23/12
(Promo code: GMA10)

Award-winning chef Wolfgang Puck gets dinner or lunch done fast and easy. The Multi Purpose Personal Grill comes equipped with non-stick, dishwasher safe, removable plates and floating hinges so you can adjust to cook any size burger, steak or sandwich. Perfect countertop size for kitchens or dorms. Wolfgang Puck recipes are included. Shipping is $9.50.


Saturday, August 18, 2012


Deposits, Deposits, and more Deposits?

Buyers when you start the process of purchasing a home and you get pre-approved by your lender they should tell you what the bank is going to expect from you.  Since I have worked with a couple of buyers now who have been put through the ringer by the UNDERWRITER who wants to know where you got all your money, I thought it would be appropriate to write this blog.

The bank account that your paycheck is deposited in is the account that you are going to have to print off and give to the lender to show that you make the money that you say you do. BUT... you not only have to prove that the deposit was from your employer, BUT any deposit you make into that account you will need proof!!!  So here is what you should do leading up to purchasing a house so you don't get frustrated or have to run around like a chicken with your head cut off getting receipts, or copies of checks from the people who gave them to you etc.... So here is what you need to do for every deposit because you WILL HAVE TO PROVE WHERE THE MONEY CAME FROM....

1. Keep copies of all checks that you deposit BEFORE you deposit it. Notate who it is from and why they gave you the money.

2. If you have a Rental property and you have income from that rental property BUT you are NOT using that income to purchase your new house then DO NOT deposit that money into the bank account that you using to purchase your house.

3. If you work in the Hospitality industry and you get TIPS (like waiter, bellman, bartender, etc. ) DO NOT DEPOSIT these tips in your bank account...

If you follow these 3 rules then you shouldn't have any problems when you purchase your next home.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Second homes languish as shadow inventory looms

Click here------------------>>>>>>>  Second homes languish as shadow inventory looms

Second homes languish as shadow inventory looms

3 key factors holding back buyers
By Tom Kelly
Inman News®
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I continually find myself tempering the exuberance of homeowners who are absolutely dead set on the idea that all home values will soon appreciate.

The latest example occurred on a long bicycle ride around one of my favorite mountain lakes. I try to make the trip a few times a summer, but the weather and writing deadlines often get in the way. This past week, I was aware of a rising number of for-sale signs (both national firms and for sale by owner) on lakefront homes. One particular home had been on the market at least two years, and a "price reduced" label hung from the bottom of the sign.

As I approached the driveway, the owner shut down the motor of his power trimmer. After we exchanged pleasantries, he launched into his hopeful pitch.

"I'm pretty sure it'll sell this summer," the owner said. "We reduced the price again and things are looking better as far as the economy is concerned. I'm sure the worst is finally behind us. Prices will be going up."

But that does not necessarily mean the owner will get back all the money he's put into the property. He overbuilt for the area, including expensive interior finishes and furnishings.

I remembered when the house was built -- the first real home among older cabins on that stretch of the lake road. The place has four bedrooms and three baths, with a paved driveway and tile roof. A rolling lawn leads to a nice dock and boathouse. It was the man's second home, but it is larger and nicer than any home we've ever owned.

When I researched the home online, it showed the price as $100,000 below the assessed value assigned by the county. If the owner of the lake home found a buyer this summer, he would lose a significant amount of money at closing. In his view, finding a buyer -- any buyer -- would suffice.

While still online, I came across the latest statistics from CoreLogic, a research company that specializes in residential mortgages. The company reported that while 700,000 homeowners regained home equity via rising home prices in the first quarter of 2012, approximately 11.4 million owners -- or 23.7 percent of all mortgages -- were still underwater.

Obviously, most of the stats refer to primary residences. Second homes, while attractive and "rentable" during the prime weeks of summer, are viewed as a luxury purchase and off the charts of what the average consumer needs. So, while the summer season has brought out more second-home buyers than a year ago, a number of sellers still owe more than what the market will bear.

Those owners who bought decades ago and have decided now is a good time to put their homes on the market will undoubtedly make a profit -- not the profit they could have made four years ago, but a profit nonetheless. However, those owners will be facing competition from others simply trying to break even who feel now is a good time to test the market.

This "shadow inventory" (an example of the 700,000 equity gainers mentioned above) would have hit the market earlier had the selling environment been more attractive. So, two important questions remain: How much shadow inventory is out there (where's the true bottom?) and what factors continue to hold back potential homebuyers?

While interest rates and home prices are attractive, buyers are still skittish to roll the dice. Some neighborhoods and resort areas are receiving multiple offers -- supporting the idea that all real estate is local -- but the national accelerator is nowhere near the floor. Inquiries are up by 59 percent, according to a survey conducted by the Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council, but closed deals are not following that pace.

REBAC surveyed its buyer agent members to determine the top issues preventing homebuyers in their local markets from completing a home purchase. The top three obstacles identified in its 2012 survey are:

1. Economic insecurity.
2. Difficulties in obtaining financing.
3. Problems selling current home.

Most of the focus in the sluggish housing market has been centered on the number of foreclosures still in the pipeline, homes that lenders are bringing to the market at a glacial pace. But little has been said about the number of households that are current on their payments that have been waiting for the first glimmer of light to sell and move on.

The same can be said about second homes. The first glimmer of light will bring more homes to the market. In many areas, there will be more competition from those who have been waiting for the free fall to stop. Significant appreciation, however, could be a long way down the road.

Tom Kelly's new e-book, "Bargains Beyond the Border: Get Past the Blood and Drugs: Mexico's Lower Cost of Living Can Avert a Tearful Retirement," is available online at Apple's iBookstore,, Sony's Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Diesel eBook Store, and Google Editions.

Laurel Housing Market Data From Coni Otto of Long & Foster Real Estate

Click to see Laurel's Market info. ------>>>>>    Laurel Housing Market Data

 Better Real Estate Information. Better Real Estate Decisions.

If you’re in the market to buy or sell a home, work with the real estate professionals who know the market best: Long & Foster

Ask for your FREE copy —

monthly market reports available for over 500 local areas!

Contact me by email:
C: 240-483-7556
O: 301-384-8700

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Open Floor Plan Challenge

The Open Floor Plan Challenge

The popularity of the open floor plan continues, but many homeowners discover that once they move in, living with an open floor plan takes some getting used to. While these spaces – with minimal wall interruption, lots of light, and a spacious feeling – have much to offer, the reality is that noise and privacy can become issues in day to day living. According to the National Association of Home Builders, more homebuyers are seeking noise control, particularly in open plan models. Short of completely changing the character of such a home with a remodel, there are some ways to address these problems while keeping the overall sense of open space.

With televisions, video games, music, and conversation all going at once, the noise factor can be very distracting. Add an active kitchen with its myriad appliances and you have some real challenges. When it comes to noise, the biggest appliance offenders are dishwashers, refrigerators, and exhaust fans. Extra-quiet appliances have become more common and are certainly less expensive than more drastic measures. Many manufacturers trumpet their appliances as “ultra-quiet” or even “silent”, but there are often large differences between models. Unfortunately, the decibel levels are seldom if ever listed, making comparisons difficult. Doing some research and reading reviews on quiet appliances will help narrow the choices.

Large expanses of hard surfaces are common in open plan homes. Floors, walls, countertops and windows will magnify noise levels throughout the home. Large area rugs will not only absorb sound, but can help to visually define spaces with wall-less areas that flow into one another. For example, an expansive area rug can pull together a seating area that’s easily recognizable as a gathering spot. Upholstered furniture will also absorb sound better than wood or other materials. There are also specialized sound-dampening fabrics available that can be applied to ceilings of almost any design to reduce echo and noise travel.

Some designers are employing large fabric curtain panels as dual-function room dividers and sound buffers in open plan homes. Similarly, fold-away or sliding wall panels can create private areas and help filter traveling noise. Both approaches have the benefit of retaining the flexibility of the open plan without permanent changes.

Careful planning and some relatively easy changes can make a huge difference between tolerating the noise and lack of privacy in an open plan home, and being able to truly enjoy the lifestyle these spaces can provide.

If you are interested in selling your home please give me a call at 240-483-7556 I would be happy to help walk you through the process of what to take into consideration

Coni Otto
O: 301-384-8700
C: 240-483-7556
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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

10 expenses you can deduct when renting out a room

--------------> >>>>>> click here to read 10 expenses you can deduct when renting out a room

10 expenses you can deduct when renting out a room

Real Estate Tax Talk
By Stephen Fishman
Inman News®
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Lots of people are trying to earn a few extra bucks by renting out a room in their home. This can not only be a good source of income, but result in tax deductions.
If you rent out a room in your home, the tax rules apply to you in the same way as they do for landlords who rent out entire properties. This means you get to deduct the expenses arising from your rental activity.
There is one big difference, however: You must divide certain expenses between the part of the property you rent out and the part you live in, just as though you actually had two separate pieces of property.
You can fully deduct (or, where applicable, depreciate) any expenses just for the room you rent; for example, repairing a window in the room, installing carpet or drapes, painting the room, or providing your tenant with furniture (such as a bed).
In addition, if you pay extra homeowners insurance premiums because you're renting out a room, the full cost is a deductible operating expense.
If you install a second phone line just for your tenant's use, the full cost is deductible as a rental expense. However, you cannot deduct any part of the cost of the first phone line even if your tenant has unlimited use of it.
Expenses for your entire home must be divided between the part you rent and the part you live in. This includes your payments for:
  • mortgage interest.
  • repairs for your entire home; for example, repairing the roof or furnace, or painting the entire home.
  • improvements for your entire home; for example, replacing the roof.
  • homeowners insurance.
  • utilities such as electricity, gas and heating oil.
  • housecleaning or gardening services for your whole home.
  • trash removal.
  • snow removal costs.
  • security system costs.
  • condominium association fees.
You can also deduct depreciation on the part of your home you rent.
You can use any reasonable method for dividing these expenses. It may be reasonable to divide the cost of some items (for example, water) based on the number of people using them. However, the two most common methods for dividing an expense are either based on the number of rooms in your home or based on the square footage of your home.
Example 1: Jane rents a room in her house to a college student. The room is 10 by 20 feet, or 200 square feet. Her entire house has 1,200 square feet of floor space. Thus, one-sixth, or 16.67 percent, of her home is rented out. She can deduct as a rental expense one-sixth of any expense that must be divided between rental use and personal use.
Example 2: Instead of using the square footage of her house, Jane figures that her home has five rooms of about equal size, and she is renting out one of them. She determines that one-fifth, or 20 percent, of her home is being rented. She deducts 20 percent of her expenses that must be divided between rental and personal use.
As the examples show, you can often get a larger deduction by using the room method instead of the square footage of your home.
Stephen Fishman is a tax expert, attorney and author who has published 18 books, including "Working for Yourself: Law & Taxes for Contractors, Freelancers and Consultants," "Deduct It," "Working as an Independent Contractor," and "Working with Independent Contractors." He welcomes your questions for this weekly column

Sunday, August 5, 2012

My New Weekly Articles - Plugged In || Home By Design

Click Here ----------- > New Weekly Articles - Plugged In || Home By Design to check out one of the articles in my New Magazine this month....

If you would like to receive my magazine every other month when they come out just contact me at and I would be happy to start sending it to you...

Have a great night, Coni Otto

Women's Beach Volleyball - Olympic Beach Volleyball | London 2012

Women's Beach Volleyball - Olympic Beach Volleyball | London 2012

Watch Women's Volleyball on Tuesday.... I Can't Wait....

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Closing a Loan in Today's Market - Prepare the Seller & Buyer for the Process

In today's market the Seller needs to be prepared for delays in the approval process of the approval of the loan for buyers. No matter how good a buyers credit is, now matter how fast they get the documents to the lender, it seems that the lender will continue to ask for more and more. The more they ask for the longer it takes them to look at the file and approve the loan.

For buyers they get frustrated everyday that the loan officer is asking them for more documentation, they think this is the last thing, and they keep asking for more.  I always let my buyer know this is coming, and to keep calm, and don't get frustrated. I also let them know that it's not the loan officer it is the underwriter who approves the loan who looks at the file and makes sure that the buyer is qualified for the loan.

They look at the deposits that are made into the buyers account and where is the deposits coming from?  For instance if you make a $500.00 deposit every week from a part-time job and you did not tell your loan officer about the job, you will have to prove where those deposits are coming from by providing pay stubs from that job, even if you are not using that income to qualify for the loan.

This is just one example....

For sellers they may have to extend the contract for a few days and they may get a little nervous but it usually always works out and the closing takes place.

Listing Commission, how much do you charge?

Long & Foster Real Estate

#1 question from Sellers is, "How much do you charge?" 

The Real Question should be, "Where does the commission go, and how is that money divided up to sell my home?"

As a Listing Agent who has sold over 100 homes in the DC Metro Area I have ran across a lot of scenarios and since the market has changed from when I first became an agent I have experienced a lot of situations working with sellers. 

I hope this Blog can clear up some nagging questions that a seller may have about the fee Realtors charge to sell their house.

The first question is always, "how much do you charge?"  When the question should be, "where does that commission go, and how is it divided up to sell my home?

 The commission is negotiated by the listing agent with the owner to provide services and guarantees to sell their home within a period of time.

The commission is then split between the Brokers of the Listing agent (Long & Foster) and the Buyers Agent (unknown at this time) a 6% commission would be split in the following diagram

How is the commission split

How the commission is Split

So you see the commission is split between 4 people and then we have to deduct our expenses from the commission that we are paid.  Remember Realtors work for themselves, we have to pay our broker a split of our commission to work under their companies name, just like the owner of Subway has to pay Subway a portion of their sales to own a subway.

Questions, please feel free to send me a question and it may be the next topic of my blog, you can always call me as well at 240-483-7556 and my email is

Please continue to come back and check my blog for new entries on questions I get asked everyday about Real Estate.

Coni Otto * C: 240-483-7556 * Office: 301-384-8700 * F: 866-850-2198 *


Friday, August 3, 2012

Tribute to Bogey may he RIP

My baby Bogey was diagnosed with cancer about 3 weeks before he died... We had no idea that he was as bad as he must have been since he died so quickly.

We rescued Bogey from Virginia Shepherd Rescue and had him for 8 years and he was a great dog, and a gentle dog to other animals, as you can see from this picture he was friends with my sister-in-laws cat.

Bogey was awesome and I loved him a lot...

RIP my baby, I will miss you!