Thursday, April 28, 2011

Governor Martin O’Malley Announces Emergency Mortgage Assistance for Unemployed Homeowners

Announces $40 million in federal assistance to continue fighting foreclosures in Maryland
ANNAPOLIS, MD - April 4, 2011 - (RealEstateRama) — Governor Martin O’Malley today announced a $40 million program to assist homeowners in addressing back mortgage payments. The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development with the goal of helping homeowners who are facing foreclosure due to job loss or a decrease in wages, including those who lost income due to illness.
“Even as we move beyond the fallout of the subprime mortgage and predatory lending crisis, there are still too many families in our State struggling to make ends meet,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “Thanks to our federal partners, this program will strengthen an important safety net for unemployed homeowners and protect the investment they made in the American dream.”
“The Emergency Homeowner Loan Program will provide limited and targeted assistance to help working families get back on their feet and keep their home while they look for work,” said Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan. “We are pleased to get the program off the ground in Maryland, which is already working to help keep families in their homes during difficult economic times.”
The new program provides assistance in the payment of up to 12 months of overdue debt, including delinquent taxes and insurance, and up to 24 months going forward, with a maximum combined total of $50,000.
“This program is welcome news for the countless people in Maryland who are going through these difficult times,” said Congressman Elijah Cummings. “I helped create the bridge loan program to help everyday, hard-working Americans; the same folks who we all see everyday in our neighborhoods. Now, many of them will be able to get the help they have so desperately asked for, straight from the government.”
“Too many families are still struggling to find employment and hold onto their homes,” said Congressman John Sarbanes. “This program will allow Maryland families to avoid foreclosure until they can get back on their feet.”
“This means that homeowners who lost their jobs through no fault of their own will may get the breathing room they need in order to find new employment and get back on track financially,” said Raymond S. Skinner, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.
Eligible homeowners include those who:
  • Are experiencing a loss of employment income because of the economy or a medical condition.  Homeowner(s) must have a current income that is at least 15% less than it was prior to the loss of employment.
  • Are 3-12 months delinquent on their mortgage payments and pending foreclosure. It must be the first mortgage on the principal residence of the homeowner.
  • Have a total household income equal to, or less than, 120% of the Area Median Income (AMI), including wages, unemployment benefits, and other income.  (See for AMI chart.)
  • Have a reasonable likelihood (based on industry underwriting standards) of being able to resume mortgage payments within 2 years, when full employment has been regained.
Prospective applicants must meet certain prequalification requirements. Homeowners will be able to access assistance in this process through specially-trained housing counseling agencies approved by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development and at various foreclosure prevention events.
Maryland will begin to take applications immediately. Homeowners can get more details on Maryland’s Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program by visiting the HOPE website at or by calling the HOPE hotline (877) 462-7555 to find a housing counselor in their area for free counseling and assistance.
Since 2007, the O’Malley-Brown Administration has aggressively worked to fight the foreclosure crisis. Maryland has passed what the Washington Post called some of the most “sweeping” legislation in the country, giving distressed homeowners more time to work out alternatives to foreclosure. The State has also taken the lead in enacting tough new laws against predatory lending practices. The Administration has reached agreements with multiple mortgage servicing companies to create a streamlined and transparent loss mitigation process; and through Judge Bell, over 1,000 pro bono attorneys have been recruited to assist vulnerable families. In 2010, DLLR secured $2.5 million in refunds from financial institutions for consumers. In February, Maryland foreclosures reached their lowest levels since April 2007. February foreclosures were down more than 15 percent from January and more than 77 percent compared to the same period last year, according to RealtyTrac. Maryland recorded the second largest rate of decline in the country. The MD HOPE Housing Counseling network has aided more than 55,000 homeowners at risk of foreclosure since the crisis arose.
April 4, 2011

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urband Development just recently announced a great program to help homeowners pay for energy improvements


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urband Development just recently announced a great program to help homeowners pay for energy improvements in their homes.  If you have been considering the best way to make improvements to lower your energy consumption costs you may want to take a look at this program and see if you can participate in it as well.  Please share this with your friends or family who might want to know about this program as well.  Here is the article directly from the website.
FHA PowerSaver Program to offer low-cost financing to credit-worthy borrowers

WASHINGTON – Eighteen national, regional and local lenders will participate in a new two-year pilot program that will offer qualified borrowers living in certain parts of the country low-cost loans to make energy-saving improvements to their homes. Backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), these new PowerSaver loans will offer homeowners up to $25,000 to make energy-efficient improvements of their choice, including the installation of insulation, duct sealing, replacement doors and windows, HVAC systems, water heaters, solar panels, and geothermal systems.

U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan and U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the participating lenders (see attached list) during a tour of a family-run company that offers home energy audits and upgrades in Long Island, New York.

“We believe the market is right for a low-cost financing option for families who want energy-saving technologies in their home,” said Secretary Donovan. “PowerSaver hits on all cylinders by helping credit-worthy homeowners finance these upgrades, cut their energy bills and boost the local job market in the process. While FHA and these lenders are jumpstarting this pilot, we hope its success will lead to a growing private sector interest in making these types of loans.”

Secretary Chu said, “Today, we are breaking down barriers and making energy efficiency more accessible and more affordable. It’s the right thing to do for our environment, for our economy and for the pocketbooks of American families.”
The remodeling industry cites surveys that point to a growing demand among homeowners interested in making their homes energy efficient. Yet options are still limited for financing home energy improvements, especially for the many homeowners who are unable to take out a home equity loan or access an affordable consumer loan. Initially, the PowerSaver pilot program is estimated to assist approximately 30,000 homeowners to finance energy-efficient upgrades though higher market demand may increase this impact. According to HUD projections, more than 3,000 jobs will be created through this pilot program and the impact may be larger if market demand for the loan program increases over time.

Participating lenders are largely selected based on their commitment to work in partnership with established home energy retrofit programs provided by states, cities, utilities and home performance contractors. These markets include, but are not limited to areas of the country participating in the Energy Department’s Better Building Program.

PowerSaver loans will be backed by the FHA but require these lenders to have significant “skin in the game.” FHA mortgage insurance will cover up to 90 percent of the loan amount in the event of default. Lenders will retain the remaining risk on each loan, incentivizing responsible underwriting and lending standards.

PowerSaver has been carefully designed to meet a need in the marketplace for borrowers who have the ability and motivation to take on modest additional debt to realize the savings over time from home energy improvements. PowerSaver loans are only available to borrowers with good credit, manageable debt and at least some equity in their home (maximum 100% combined loan-to-value).
HUD developed PowerSaver as part of the Recovery Through Retrofit initiative launched in May 2009 by Vice President Biden’s Middle Class Task Force to develop federal actions that would expand green job opportunities in the United States and boost energy savings by improving home energy efficiency. The announcement is part of an interagency effort including 11 departments and agencies and six White House offices.

Read the FHA PowerSaver fact sheet.

FHA PowerSaver Approved Lenders
Admirals Bank
AFC First Financial Corporation
Bank of Colorado
City of Boise, Idaho
Energy Finance Solutions
Enterprise Cascadia
HomeStreet Bank
Neighbor's Financial Corporation
Paramount Equity Mortgage, Inc.
Quicken Loans
SOFCU Community Credit Union
Stonegate Mortgage Corporation
Sun West Mortgage Company, Inc.
The Bank at Broadmoor
University of Virginia Community Credit Union, Inc.
Viewtech Financial Services, Inc.
WinTrust Mortgage
W. J. Bradley Mortgage Capital Corporation


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Marti Labrador Retriever Mix: An adoptable dog in Chester, MD

Marti: Labrador Retriever, Dog; Chester, MD Marti: Labrador Retriever, Dog; Chester, MD


Labrador Retriever Mix: An adoptable dog in Chester, MD

Large • Baby • Female
Entered 3/19/2011 Marti and her two sisters came to us from Somerset County. They are sweet and silly puppies who are so much fun to watch. They enjoy all the attention they receive at the center by all the people that care for them, as well as, all those who come to viist. If you are looking for a puppy to complete your family, then you will definately want to meet Marti and her sisters. Just give ARF a call @ 410-643-8700 or email and request an adoption application.

More about Marti

Spayed/Neutered • Up-to-date with routine shots • Primary color: Black • Coat length: Short

Marti's Contact Info

Animal Resource Foundation Inc, Chester, MD

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sloop Betty vodka leaves port-NEW business in Stevensville

Maryland's first new distiller in 40 years ships first products

By Joshua McKerrow — The CapitalFrom left, Jon Cook, Christopher Cook and Mark Troxler are the founders of Blackwater Distilling in Stevensville. Their first line of vodka was a hit, and they hope to expand to include other spirits, such as a Maryland rye whiskey.
The vodka with the provocative label, blended meticulously at Blackwater Distilling's Kent Island headquarters, is made from a mix of organic wheat and sugar cane spirits.

It officially hit the market April 1 when the vodka's distributor, Bacchus Importers of
Baltimore, pulled away from the Stevensville warehouse with every drop.

"They called and said they wanted every bottle we have," said former Annapolis resident Jon Cook, a partner in the venture along with his brother Christopher and friend Mark Troxler.
Sloop Betty's apparently got buzz.

In all, 605 cases were out the door. There is more Sloop Betty on hand but as of Friday the start-up venture was awaiting a shipment of its custom-made bottles to gear up the production line to make more. 

A slight production hiccup, and hopefully a lesson learned, they said.
Bacchus sold about 170 of those cases in four days to 79 restaurants, bars and liquor stores throughout the state and Washington, D.C., said David Schroeder, vice president of operations at Bacchus.

Several outlets in Annapolis carry the 80-proof premium vodka. Sloop Betty can be found behind the bar at Galway Bay, Tsunami, Luna Blu, Harry Browne's, 49 West and the Severn Inn, among others.

Bottles of Sloop Betty can be had, in the low-$30 price range, at Edgewater Liquors, Festival Wine and Spirits, Goska's Liquors and other outlets locally.
Getting the first batch of Maryland's first new, and first ever, vodka sold did not happen overnight. Far from it.

The Cook brothers, who grew up on the Eastern Shore, began talking about starting a distillery several years ago after a discussion about the demise of the once-mighty Maryland distillery industry. Maryland rye whiskey was once in high demand and was one of the first commercial liquors sold in the country, along with rum. But it died out in the 1970s when the last real Maryland rye whiskey distillery made its last batch.

It took the Cooks years of research, studying distilling arts in Michigan and elsewhere, and then putting a business plan together.

The company was formed in 2005. Then they had to get the federal license to distill liquor. And state approvals, too.

Next was a location and financing. They got to that stage just about the time the economy faltered in early 2008.

Once in their location in the Chesapeake Bay Business Park just north of the Bay Bridge, it took another six months to do the build-out and begin making the first batch of spirits.
But it was just not any liquor they were after.

"Premium ingredients make a premium product," Jon Cook said. "We tested recipes for months until we found Sloop Betty."

It has been described as an extremely smooth vodka. The recipe tames the potential burn of the wheat spirits while keeping the sweet edge of the sugar cane in check.

They use organic products but still are in the process of becoming certified organic. Sloop Betty already is officially kosher.

'Down to delicious'

Now it's all about learning efficiencies in the process.
The operation is basically blending and filtering the two base products, a wheat and a sugar cane spirit into the premium product.

Sloop Betty is not distilled on site - the spirits arrive from a Baltimore commercial distiller that uses their recipe. It comes in two 275-gallon "totes," large plastic containers at 190 proof. Then each is blended down to 120 proof, then the two are blended together then filtered and reduced again to the final 80 proof.

The spirits are filtered through four six-foot long carbon filters, then a final filter that removes all possible impurities, including the carbon, down to 1 micron.
That final filter gets it "down to delicious," Jon Cook said.

Then it is run into a holding tank via stainless steel pipes before being added to the 30-gallon tank in the bottling machine.

The machine fills six bottles at a time, which roll on down the line to be capped and put into cases."When we are rolling we can do 100 cases an hour," Jon Cook said.

Build business

If Sloop Betty takes hold and sales keep growing, the company will use that income to build the business, acquiring large distilling tanks to begin making other products on site.
"Our goal is getting to the point where we can look at other products, grow the business. That is why we got into it," Christopher Cook said.

"We want to be a Maryland product, using grains grown in Maryland," he added.
He thinks they could keep 12 Maryland farms in business once the business grows and Blackwater Distilling branches out into other products.

It is about growing slowly and surely. They eventually want to make whiskey, gin, and Maryland rye whiskey once again.

"Maryland rye whiskey is going to be back - we are committed to that," Christopher Cook said.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How can you detect a Contractor Scam Artist?

Seven tips to avoid scam contractors. Although most building contractors, plumbers, electricians and roofers are ethical people who perform quality work, there ARE thousands of scammers roaming the country in search of a quick buck.

Since most of us don't have degrees in engineering -- or experience in the building trades -- it's easy to get ripped off by seemingly sincere building contractors.

Every summer, folks are approached by contractor scammers three or four times. After answering a knock at the door, a young man tells Pete that he's just finished paving a neighbor's driveway, but has materials left over.

"I'll offer you a big discount if you'll let us repave your driveway, too. I just need a cash deposit, and we'll be right back."

Sound familiar?
If so, you already know about ONE classic contractor scam. However, even if this doesn't sound familiar, we'll show you 7 ways that contractor scammers try to steal your money -- and 7 ways to foil them.

Contractor Scam #1. Your roof is about to cave in!

Scare tactics are a favorite of scam artists, especially when they approach seniors.
Sometimes, they'll drop by your house and offer a "free" estimate to assess "problems" with your roof, siding, driveway, etc.

Naturally, the scammer ALWAYS finds something wrong, and then uses inferior materials to "repair" the problem while charging you a big fee.

Tip: We can't stress this enough: Always get at least two estimates for any "damage" to your home, and always consult friends, family or neighbors to learn the names of contractors they've used in the past -- ones they were satisfied with.

Contractor Scam #2. Instant Estimates.

The typical scammer will "assess" problems at your home, and offer a verbal "quote" on how much these problems will cost to fix.
Please note: verbal quotes are NOT legally binding.

If the contractor later charges twice his estimate -- or damages your property during the "repair" process -- it's doubtful you could successfully sue him.

Tip: Legitimate contractors are certified, insured and/or bonded by the state and/or town where you live. What's more: they offer WRITTEN estimates for you to inspect (and often sign) before work commences.

Contractor Scam #3. Door-to-Door Salesmen.

Like the plague, avoid door-to-door salesmen who claim they just happened to be in the neighborhood because they were doing work for someone nearby -- especially if they claim they have materials left over from the last job.

If a contractor has really brought materials from another job, he is likely cheating his previous customer out of the materials they purchased.

Tip: Honest contractors earn most of their business through referrals from satisfied customers. They don't need to travel door-to-door to find business.

Contractor Scam #4. Intentional Damage.

Let's say your area just experienced a severe storm. In the midst of the storm (during the middle of the night) the scammer might just tear a few pieces of vinyl siding from your house, and then -- miracle of miracles -- appear the next day with a sweet deal to repair that damage.

He might also suggest that if, say, additional damage occurs during the repair process, you can charge it to your insurance company.
Nobody gets hurt, right?

Tip: Wrong! Insurance companies have claims investigators who specialize in fraud. They even have lists of suspected scammers, so if you hire a suspected scammer, the investigator will REALLY be on guard. Scambuster Pete knows an investigator who's cracked more cases than Sherlock Holmes. Don't EVER commit insurance fraud.

Contractor Scam #5. Cash Only.

This scenario is easy and common: the contractor tells you he requires that you pay in cash.
Tip: NEVER agree to a cash-only deal. Let's face it: if someone asks for cash only, you almost certainly know you're NOT dealing with a reputable contractor. Chances are, you'll never see this person again after giving him your hard-earned cash.

Contractor Scam # 6. Pay Upfront.

Again, this is easy. If you pay upfront, you may never see this "contractor" again.
Tip: No reputable contractor will ask for most -- or all -- of his payment immediately. In fact, most legitimate contractors only bill AFTER the job is done to your satisfaction. If someone asks for a large upfront payment -- run!

Contractor Scam # 7. Referral Schemes.

Some scammers will offer you a substantial "discount" if you promise to refer other customers or let them show off your home as a "model" or "demonstration" project.

Tip: At best, this is a marketing gimmick. At worst, it's an outright scam, because the "discount" is usually 
not a discount at all. If you'd just shopped around, you would have discovered that a reputable contractor's "full price" was better than the scammer's so-called discount.

We realize that some readers are veteran homeowners, who know most of this stuff -- and hopefully, they haven't learned it the hard way. But we also realize that there are homebuyers who can benefit from this advice.

Either way, be cautious before hiring somebody to remodel or repair your house. Get two or three estimates and -- AGAIN -- consult with friends, family and neighbors for the names of honest and reliable contractors and tradesmen in your area.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also offers tips entitled After a Disaster: Repairing Your Home.

Info provided scambusters

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Waterfront LOT-Build your dream home

Offered at $420,000

910 Chester River Dr
Grasonville, MD
Click Here for More Information
Enjoy the amazing views of the Chester River and breathtaking sunsets from this waterfront lot in the sought after Chester River Beach community. Adjacent waterfront lot QA7345439 with 3 bedroom home is also for sale, making this a rare opportunity to own 2 waterfront lots! Community offers boat ramp, pavilion, beach, dock, slips, and large park. Get your piece of paradise today!
•  Lot/Vacant Lot•  Built in Unspecified•  Unspecified lot
•  Land Property •  Waterview•  Present use: Call agent for details on association fee info
•  Status: ACTIVE •  Waterfront property •  Topography: Community beach, Community boat slip, Community pier, Community chi
•  County: QUEEN ANNES •  Lot is 14000 sq. ft. •  Existing Structures: Community party room
•  Subdivision: CHESTER RIVER BEACH •  Approximately 0.32 acre(s) •  Elementary School: GRASONVILLE PRIMARY
•  Community recreation facilities •  Lot size is less than 1/2 acre •  Middle School: STEVENSVILLE

Dina Baxter
Rosendale Realty
605 Main St. Suite 100
Maryland 21666
(410) 643-2166

  Posted: June 12, 2010

Waterfront 23 acres- 305 River Shore Ln Stevensville MD

Offered at $1,799,000

305 River Shore Ln
Stevensville, MD
Click Here for More Information
•  Single Family Home•  Unspecified lot•  4 bedrooms
•  Built in Unspecified•  Unspecified Area•  2.5 bathrooms
•  Farm/Ranch Property •  Master bedroom•  2 car garage
•  Status: ACTIVE •  Living room •  Attached parking
•  County: QUEEN ANNES •  Dining room •  Heating features: Bottled Gas/Propane
•  Year Built: 2004 •  Family room •  Forced air heat
•  4 total bedroom(s) •  Kitchen •  Central air conditioning
•  2.5 total bath(s) •  Laundry room •  Cooling features: Electric, Heat Pump(s)
•  2 total full bath(s) •  Bathroom(s) on main floor •  Exterior construction: Vinyl siding
•  1 total half bath(s) •  Master bedroom is 30 X 15 •  Waterview
•  Two story •  Living room is 13 X 12 •  Waterfront property
•  Type: Detached home, Fee simple •  Dining room is 13 X 12 •  Lot is 1007978 sq. ft.
•  Style: Farm house •  Kitchen is 13 X 11 •  Approximately 23.13 acre(s)

Dina Baxter
Rosendale Realty
605 Main St. Suite 100
Maryland 21666
(410) 643-2166

  Posted: March 06, 2010

Monday, April 11, 2011

Springtime Gardening and Landscaping Safety

Call Before You Dig: In most areas, an organization or public official needs to give approval to excavate even the smallest areas. This is because of the damage and destruction that can result if an unaware homeowner compromises a natural gas or electrical line.

Major utility providers will almost always send a representative to the proposed dig site to evaluate the safety of the proposed location. Utility lines and pipelines are often located deep underground, often with a marker indicating their depth. If the proposed excavation is extremely dangerous, a building inspector or code enforcement office may become involved and deny the necessary permit.
Never dig without notifying the utility providers. Otherwise, you could experience tremendous loss and put other people in danger.

Keep an Eye out for Dangers: Gardening is a favorite spring pastime, but beware of potential dangers lurking in your lawn and gardens. Poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac are dangerous plants that can cause life-threatening reactions in many people. Know how to spot them and safely remove them from your property.

Also, keep an eye out for pests. Moles, chipmunks and other small animals present little threat to your family, but if you find a nest of field mice, a litter of baby raccoons, or any other potentially dangerous animals, call the local authorities to request traps or removal services.

Insect threats are also common in the spring. If you notice a beehive, wasp hole, or termite nest, call the exterminator or carefully remove the hazard on your own. Wear protective gear and a mask if you are working with dangerous chemicals. Spring is a good time for this extermination, because in many areas of the country the fledgling insects have not yet hatched or are still docile and harmless.

Don’t Overdo It: Most people have limited physical activity during the winter. Therefore, be extremely cautious when starting outdoor projects in the spring. Just because you could easily lift your mower over a walkway in September does not mean that you won’t hurt yourself in April if your muscles are out of practice.

Take your projects slowly. You do not want to spend the rest of the spring recovering from a muscle injury that could have been avoided easily.

April Showers: The old adage is true – April showers do bring May flowers, but they can also bring dangerous conditions in some areas. Spring storms may cause flooding or power outages. If you live in a flood-prone area, be prepared. Keep your basement clear and keep your belonging off of the floor as much as possible. Most items damaged by floodwaters become unsafe and need to be replaced.

Power outages are almost always uneventful, but it is best to be prepared. Candles are an excellent source of light, but they should never be left burning unattended. Avoid accidental fires by being vigilant when burning candles during a power outage.

Unplug your electrical equipment. A single power surge can destroy computers and stereo equipment. Once the power is on again, plug in only one item at a time.

Spring is a wonderful and beautiful season. It is the perfect time to pay attention to your home and garden and ensure that the rest of your year will be free of danger. Protect your assets against the damage caused by springtime storms and heavy rainfall that are common in many areas during April and May. If you take preventative measures now, you can relax knowing that you have taken the necessary steps to increase the beauty and safety of your home and garden.