Friday, February 23, 2007

A Painter Who Captures the History of Garrett County

I recently came across the paintings of Bob Yonke, aka "the Bluegrass Painter." Of particular interest, Bob has a collection of works entitled "the Garrett County Collection" that those of us who live and vacation in the area might be particularly interested in. A favorite of mine, entitled "Old McHenry," represents Bob's depiction of the McHenry area as he remembers it when he first brought his family to Garrett County. Bob himself has a blog as well which can be found at If you have the chance, be sure to take a look at Bob's beautiful works at

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Little More Snow on the Way...

After several days of a thaw, a clipper with an accompanying cold front will push through later today and tonight bringing with it a general 2-4 in snowfall as well as much colder temperatures on Friday in the mid 20's.

After a nearly unprecedented warm start to the winter, during the period from January 8 to February 17 we certainly made up for winter's slow start. As of January 8th, Garrett County had only received 17 inches of snow....however the past month and a half we've made up our snow deficit and now sit at 87 inches (70 inches in 42 days). Additionally our lowest temperature during this period was -9.2 on February 5.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Real Estate Year in Review 2006

During the 2006, 500 residential units were sold in Garrett County, compared to 563 units in 2005. Those 500 units amounted to a total sold dollar volume of $201,362,925, down slightly from $213,206,898 in 2005.

However, the average sold price in the county was $402,726, compared with $378,698 in 2005. Additionally the average days on the market (DOM) was slightly shorter, 152 days, compared with 160 in 2005. 30 transactions involved homes with closing prices of $1 million or greater, including 1 transaction greater than $2 million.

See the below spreadsheet examining the past 10 years of the market in Garrett County (note: to view the entire spreadsheet click on it and page down)

Source: Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc. (MRIS).

Friday, February 16, 2007

Presidents Day Weekend is Here

The busiest weekend of the ski season is upon us, President's Day Weekend. Conditions at Wisp couldn't be more perfect with packed powder conditions, 100% terrain open, and more snow expected with a clipper system likely bringing 3-6 inches over the weekend. However, temperatures on Friday will still remain very cold with wind chill values between -5 and -10. So bundle up and enjoy your weekend at Deep Creek!

ps: I will be available Friday, Saturday, and Monday for private snowboarding lessons...just ask for Gary S.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Digging Out

The Valentine's Day storm turned out very much as forecasted. 5 inches of snow on Tuesday, about 3 or 4 inches of sleet overnight Tuesday, and 4 inches of snow again on Wednesday. Below are some pictures taken from a picturesque Garrett County early this am. Next chance for accumulating snow looks to be this weekend as an Alberta Clipper moves through the region.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Icy and Snowy Morning in Deep Creek

An interesting 24 hours of weather in Garrett forecasted, the snow began yesterday morning and accumulated 5 inches before the warmer air at the upper levels moved in and changed the snow over to sleet. The sleet continued, very heavy at times, through the evening and overnight, until the secondary low took over and we have turned over to snow again Wednesday morning. Look for another 2-4 inches to accumulate throughout the day. Below are a few pictures from taken early am on Wednesday

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Major Winter Storm has Arrived in Garrett County

The storm has taken shape over the south central U.S., and its conveyor belt of moisture has overspread the area as of 7:39am. About 1 inch so far. Snow will continue throughout the day, however it still looks as though, as least for a period later today and tonight, we will switch over to sleet and freezing rain before going back over to snow as the secondary low pressure bombs out over the eastern seaboard. The length of the period of ice will affect our snowfall totals. At this point it is looking like 4-8 inches of snow, then ice, then another 3-6 inches of snow. However, if the warm air in the upper levels does not make it as far north as forecasted, the area could see well over a foot of snow.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Storm on its Way, but What Will it Bring?

The National Weather Service in Pittsburgh issued a winter storm watch early yesterday morning. A very complex weather scenario is about to unfold over the eastern half of the U.S. A cold front will push south into the region today, at the same time a developing low over the south central U.S. will take shape and begin moving northeastward. While it treks northeastward toward the Ohio valley, a strong high pressure system over eastern Canada will funnel cold air into our region. As the initial low moves into the lower Ohio valley, a secondary low pressure system will develop over the Carolinas and move north, northeastward.

Our snowfall total from this event will depend on the exact track of both lows, as well as whether the warm push of air associated with the primary low pressure system is enough to cause our snow to mix with sleet or freezing rain. If we were to remain all snow throughout, the totals could be as high as a foot or more, however any mixing of sleet or freezing rain will diminish our snow totals. Moreover, the potential exists for a serious ice storm, should we switch over. At 7:51am Monday morning, it looks as though we will change over at least for a period of time, until the coastal low takes over and colder air rushes in behind it. Later this afternoon and this evening the forecast should become much clearer.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Sat. PM Update: Storm Still On....

Details will of course have to be worked out, but a fairly substantial storm system is looking likely to affect the Garrett County region early next week. Additionally, it looks as though this may be a long duration event, as long as 48 hours. I would expect winter storm watches to go up tomorrow or very early Monday if modeling continues to show such an impressive looking system. Below is the hydrometeorlogical prediction center's (HPC) snowfall probability map (4+ inches) for Day you can see, Garrett County at this point looks to be in the bullseye.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

It's Early, but a Winter Storm is Possible Early Next Week

While Garrett County has received quite a bit of snow over the past several weeks, most of the snow has been due to upslope, lake effect, and small synoptic systems. Thus far, Garrett County has yet to endure a major synoptic system such as a nor'easter.

However, current weather models are indicating a storm is possible early next week. While several chances at storms so far this year have looked promising, only to fizzle out as the event drew closer, this upcoming system has several features that resemble major storms of years past. While still far too early to draw any conclusions, there is the chance at a major winter storm affecting the Garrett County area early next week. Exact track and snow amounts will need to be narrowed down over the weekend. Pictured below is the latest American model interpretation of the upcoming storm system, valid 1pm Tuesday. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

New Name, New Location

As you may have noticed, The Deep Creek Weather and Real Estate Blog has moved to! If you are an avid reader and know others who might be interested in similar topics effecting Garrett County please pass our new domain along!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

What is a 1031 Tax Deferred Exchange and How Can it Help Me?

Unless a seller is selling his/her primary residence in which they have personally lived for two years or more, any “gain” on the sale (the price the home sales for, less the price the seller originally paid for the property plus the cost of any improvements, or “basis”) is subject to capital gains tax (15% for most individuals).

Section 1031 of the tax code provides an exception to the capital gains tax where “like kind” properties are exchanged. The definition of “like kind” properties is rather broad and usually most exchanges of real property will meet this definition. As such, a seller who is selling a property other than their primary residence and planning to use those proceeds to buy a new property can utilize section 1031, and prevent tax on the capital gain, provided they comport with the procedures and rules prescribed for under section 1031 and its regulations. (Note that technically speaking, the tax is not avoided, but deferred until the eventual sale of the property. Nonetheless, if the seller utilizes the 1031 exchange on any subsequent sale the tax will remain deferred.)

To illustrate: John Smith buys a vacation home at Ocean City, Maryland in 1990 for $100,000. John now wants to sell the vacation home for $200,000, in order to purchase a vacation home at Deep Creek Lake for $300,000. Ordinarily, John would be taxed on the $100,000 gain on the beach home at a rate of 15%, or $15,000. If John were to utilize and comply with section 1031, John could sell the beach home for $200,000, defer any capital gains tax, and use the full $100,000 gain as a down payment on the home at Deep Creek Lake.

While extraordinarily useful, the 1031 exchange is quite complex. As such it is highly recommended that anyone contemplating utilizing the 1031 exchange consults a REALTOR®, such as myself, knowledgeable and experienced in tax law and its effect on the real estate transaction.

Snow on its Way

A fast moving Alberta Clipper is making its way toward the area and will arrive this evening. The speed of the system will limit accumulations, but the area should see between 2-4 inches by Wednesday morning. Below is a current radar image of the encroaching storm system:

Pictures from a Cold Garrett County Weekend

Below are some pictures taken of the area over this past weekend. Thanks to Alvin P. for the submission!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Bitter Cold Pushes Through Garrett County

The temperature dipped down to -9.2 this morning at 7:40 am. Wind chill values are between -20 and -35. Today's high is forecasted to rebound only to 5 above. Use extra caution today if you are in the area and going out. Tuesday night, an energetic clipper system is forecasted to move close to the region and, depending on the exact track, it may bring another moderate accumulation to the area.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Understanding the Role of the Buyer Agent

Frequently, many first time home buyers are unaware that a real estate agent can serve different roles. In short, the first thing a buyer should do when planning to purchase real estate is to select a buyer's agent to work with. The reason? Buyer's agents are absolutely free to the buyer, as the buyer's agent gets paid through splitting the commission with the listing agent. That is, if you were to purchase the real estate unrepresented, or if the listing agent were serving as a disclosed dual agent, the listing agent would most likely be receiving the entire commission himself or herself.

As such, it is in the buyer’s great interest to work with a buyer's agent as they get the benefit of professional representation both while locating as well as while consummating the transaction. If you are interested in a property and speak to the listing agent, don't expect him/her to ask why you aren't working with a buyer's agent (remember they get more money if you are unrepresented). An additional benefit of buyer agency is that when the buyer eventually decides to sale the property they purchased, they already have an established relationship with an agent (now listing) who is informed of the history and characteristics of the subject property.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

5 more inches in Garrett County

While the synoptic event advertised earlier in the week never materialized, a clipper-like system was potent enough to bring 5 inches of fluffy powder to the area. The temperature at 7:50am this morning is a chilly 4 degrees, and it looks like over the next several days we will see the coldest weather to visit the area in several years with lows falling off well below zero. This latest snow brings Garrett’s season total up to 57 inches on the year.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Types of Property in Garrett County

Something that makes Garrett County so unique is the diverse real estate market in the county. From sprawling lake front homes, to Ski-in/Ski-out townhomes, to rustic log cabins in the woods, Garrett County offers a wide variety of property choices for home buyers. Below is a short description of the various types of properties available in Garrett County:

Deep Creek Mountain Resort
Much of the development in Garrett County over the past several years has been in and around Deep Creek Mountain Resort (the Resort's Master Plan is pictured below). Deep Creek Mountain Resort is located on and around Marsh Mountain, next to Marsh Run Cove (which adjoins Deep Creek Lake), and includes the Wisp Ski Area, the Wisp Golf Course, the Adventure Sports Center International featuring a man-made re-circulating whitewater course, hike and bike courses, as well as future development plans such as a second golf course, a mountaintop village, as well as more skiable terrain. Properties within Deep Creek Mountain Resort offer many amenities such as lake access, Ski-in/Ski-out access, scenic views, as well as the convenience of being located inside the resort.
Though not within the Deep Creek Mountain Resort, there are several developments that feature Ski-in/Ski-out access. One popular community is the Villages of Wisp Townhomes which offer easy ski access as well as partial lake access.

Ski Area
A more affordable option than ski-in/ski-out property are the many ski area homes that surround Wisp. These properties feature a convenient short drive or walk to the slopes without the ski-in ski-out premium price.

Lake Front
The oldest and often most popular properties in Deep Creek are those that front the lake. These homes offer the ultimate convenience of lake-side living. Swimming, fishing, and boating all within a few feet from home.

Lake Access
A lake enthusiast can also select from the more affordable lake-access properties, which while not fronting the lake, do offer a guaranteed boat slip for enjoyment of the lake. Over the years as slip access on Deep Creek Lake has become more and more difficult to obtain, these properties have become very popular.

Lake Area
While these properties do not offer a dedicated boat slip, they are still within a very short drive or walk from the lake, offering a property a convenient distance from the lake at a fraction of the cost of a lake access property.

Off Lake
While Garrett County is known for Deep Creek Lake, the further you go from the lake the more affordable prices become. Off lake areas offer several different types of living such as in the small town communities of Oakland, Mt. Lake Park, Accident, Grantsville and Friendsville or the more rural and secluded areas off the beaten path such as near the Savage River State Forest, Backbone Mountain, or near Swallow Falls and the Yough River.

Below is a map of Garrett County:

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Storm Chances Still Unresolved; Bitter Cold to Follow

A very complex weather situation is evolving over the south central US this morning. A series of shortwaves are forecasted to round the base of the eastern trough and there is still no model consensus as to whether any of the individual shortwaves will develop and move far enough north to impact Garrett County. At this point, it looks likely the area will receive an inch or two today from the first impulse and possibly more Friday through Friday Night, depending on the track of the second impulse. Nonetheless, this weekend an arctic front will again visit the region, bringing with it the coldest temperatures of the season so far. Saturday night, lows will most likely dip below zero and Sunday, highs will only make it into the single digits.