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Real Estate Notes

Weichert, Realtors has announced the achievements of its sales associates for July.

In the Potomac Village office, Mariella Young was honored as the top producer with the most resale revenue units and the highest dollar volume. She was also recognized as the top sales associate. Michael Matese was honored for generating the most listings and the most listings sold.

In the Potomac office, Helen King was the top producer with the most resale revenue units and the highest dollar volume. She was also honored for generating the most listings sold. Jaynie Grant was recognized as the top sales associate and James Kneussl was recognized as the top lister. The entire Potomac sales team was honored for generating the highest new homes dollar volume in the region in July. The region consists of offices located throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia.

In the Bethesda office, Meg Finn was honored as the office's top producer with the most resale revenue units and the highest dollar volume. She was also honored for generating the most listings and the most listings sold. Regionally, Finn was honored for generating the most resale listings, the most resale revenue units and the highest resale dollar volume. Chana Sky generated the most sales. In addition, the entire Bethesda sale team was honored for generating the most resale listings, the most resales, the most resale marketed listings, the most resale revenue units and the highest resale dollar volume in the region. The region consists of offices located throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia.

In the Rockville/White Flint office, Marilyn Rubinstein was honored as top producer with the most resale revenue units and the highest dollar volume. She was also honored for generating the most sales, the most listings and the most listings sold. Margaret Martinez has been honored for generating the most resales in the region in July. The region consists of offices located throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Long and Foster Realtors has announced its top sales associates for July.

In the Bethesda office, Trip Holbrook was top producer, top lister, top seller and the agent with the most new listings with a sales volume of $3,650,200.

In the Potomac office, Dale Leehmuis was the top producer with a sales volume of $1,625,000; and Parvin Navid was the top lister, top seller and the agent with the most listings.

In the Potomac/Cabin John office, Leslie Friedson as the top producer, top lister, and top seller with a sales volume of $1,904,500; and Diann Gottron and Hennie Keshani were the agents with the most new listings.

In the Potomac Village office, Norma Lee Funger as the top producer with a sales volume of $2,450,000; and Krystyna Litwin was the top lister.

Playgrounds in older Montgomery County communities have been awarded a total of $350,000 in the latest round of Community Parks and Playgrounds Program grants. The state grants will support the renovation of play equipment at seven local parks including Brookmont Neighborhood Park in Cabin John, Fleming Local Park in Bethesda and Glen Echo Heights Neighborhood Park in Glen Echo.

The county originally had these playgrounds in its Capital Improvements Program, but their schedules for design and construction were not imminent. The state's grants allows the county to make these facilities available for public use in two to three years, ahead of their original renovation schedule. Approximately $50,000 will be allocated for each facility.

There are approximately 220 playgrounds throughout the park system.

The county is seeking applicants to fill one vacancy on the Housing Opportunities Commission. The applicant must be a person who is directly assisted by the Public Housing or Housing Choice Voucher programs. The term of this position expires in August 2007. The seven-member commission is responsible for building, managing and financing housing for low- and moderate-income persons or families. Meetings are held the first and third Wednesday evening of each month in Kensington. Additional meetings are scheduled if needed. Members are required to attend at least 75 percent of the scheduled meetings. Applicants should write by Sept. 9 to County Executive Douglas M. Duncan at the Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe St., Rockville, MD 20850.

Bethesda-based Winchester Homes was selected by the Reed Residential Group as one of the "101 Best Companies to Work For" in the residential housing industry nationwide.

The Reed Residential Group consists of publications “Professional Builder," “Professional Remodeler,” Luxury Home Builder," and Internet site, "HousingZone." Companies are nominated by remodelers, builders and architects based on 11 factors: corporate culture, job satisfaction, workplace trust, respect, pride, camaraderie, compensation, fairness, communication, training and customer satisfaction.

The 47th annual Potomac Country House Tour, sponsored by St Francis Episcopal Church in Potomac, will feature four outstanding Potomac-area homes on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 5-6. The homes will be open for touring from noon-5 p.m. on both days. Tickets are available at outlets throughout Montgomery County. Call 301-365-2055.

The tour includes:

* Texas Connection: Owners Cathleen and Randall Howard remodeled a 6-year-old Cape Cod, shingled home to include a log cabin loft for the children and a Will Rogers room in the basement.

* European Country: Located in Rapley Reserve, the appearance is of a 16th-century English country house including a prominent turret and French forecourt accommodating an eclectic mix of French, English and Italian cultures with striking family art deco heirlooms. Home of Donna and Neal Gumbin.

* Political Memories: Memorabilia from past lives and events at the time of President Nixon and a thank-you welded cross delivered by the New York Port Authority Police from the World Trade Center are only a few of the items in homeowners Sherry Turner and Stephen Bull’s collection.

* Colorful Extravaganza: Marilyn Polling’s designer’s touch throughout the house balances colorful modern paintings with Asian antiques. Striking statements in colorful décor will cheer all the tour-goers. Home of Linda and Donald Rheem.

In addition to the home tour, other activities will be held at the church both days at 11 a.m. including the following:

* Boutiques at St. Francis: Wearables, stationery, home accessories, gourmet foods, floral arrangements and more are shown by local and out-of-state vendors.

* Cottage Shop: Crafts, clothes, toys and decorative accents for home and garden, many crafted by talented parishioners.

* The Bottom Line Silent Auction: Vacations, golf outings, VIP tickets to local sporting events, gift baskets including items for the home and garden and fun things for children. The auction will be held in the Kincaid Library at St. Francis Church. Bidding will close at 4 p.m. on Sunday. A live auction for higher-priced items will occur during a cocktail reception on Friday evening, Oct 4.

* The Luncheon: St. Francis Café will be open to serve a light a la carte buffet lunch on both days from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. in St. Francis Hall. Hot and cold entrees will be served along with assorted breads and iced tea.

* Dessert Bar and Goodies to Go: A selection of desserts, coffee, tea and soft drinks to go.

Advance tickets are $15, day-of-tour tickets are $20.

All proceeds benefit St. Francis Community Outreach Programs, some of which include Boys and Girls Homes of Maryland, Community Based Shelter, Companions in Word Mission, the Dwelling Place, For Love of Children (FLOC), MANNA Food Shelter, Martha’s Table, Montgomery Hospice Society, St. Stephen’s (Loaves and Fishes), and Stepping Stones.

The Montgomery County Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) warns consumers to always use a licensed home improvement contractor.

Maryland law requires that home improvement contractors be licensed by the Maryland Home Improvement Commission. To obtain a license, a contractor must have two years of trade experience, provide proof of financial solvency and pass a test on the home improvement law and general business competency. Contractors are also screened for serious criminal convictions.

DCA warns customers that even licensed home improvement contractors may encourage consumers to undertake expensive renovations by promising "easy credit." The contractor may not fully explain all the terms of monthly financing arrangements, including the amount and rate of interest the consumer must pay.

Before signing a contract for any home improvement work, follow these steps:

* Find out if the firm is licensed and how long it has been in business. Call the Maryland Home Improvement Commission in Baltimore at 410-230-6309, or go online to http://www.dllr.state.md.us/ for this information.

* Get more than one estimate. Make sure price comparisons are for the same procedures and materials.

* Check to see if the merchant has any complaints filed against it. Call the Montgomery County Division of Consumer Affairs at 240-777-3636, or check online at http://hca.emontgomery.org/consumer;

the Better Business Bureau at 202-393-8000 or online at www.dc.bbb.org; and the Maryland Home Improvement Commission at 410-230-6309.

* Beware of any contractor who solicits business by saying that he "has materials left over from another job in the area and can give you a real good price." This is a classic sign of an unlicensed contractor.

* Don't rely on verbal promises. State law requires a written contract that must contain the contractor's name, address and home improvement license number.

* Don't pay in full for work in advance. State law prohibits the contractor from accepting more than one-third the cost as an initial deposit.

* Be clear on the terms of payment. If the amount is being broken down into monthly payments, determine the interest rate and the number of payments. Find out if the home itself is going to be the collateral for the lien.

For further information on home improvements or other consumer questions, contact DCA at 240-777-3636 or http://hca.emontgomery.org/consumer. To speak with a Spanish-speaking representative, call 240-777-3627.