Kirk's Real Estate Blog

Picture  Kirk Marchand has been an agent at the Weichert office at North Bethesda since 2010, and at the office in Chevy Chase, D.C. since 2023. What have I done?

1. I've worked with people who have bought and sold houses, townhouses, and condos in Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties. 
2. I've worked with renters/ lessees and owners who want to find renters / lessees too!
3. I've been a Real Estate instructor, currently teaching pre-licensing classes as well as an expanding number of CE classes

My website is Right Here!

D. Kirk Marchand
Weichert, Realtors, Chevy Chase Office
5034 Wisconsin Ave. MW
Washington D.C. 20016

Call & Text: 301 602-6474

Office: 202 326-1300

    Go here for a lot of information and resources about buying, selling and moving!

July 1, 2024

What Does the Lawsuit Mean for Sellers and Buyers? Not a Whole Lot is Different

My topic for this newsletter is the recent settlement of a lawsuit by several clients in Missouri. To make sure we know where we’re going here, let’s make the conclusion clear. Real estate transactions in Maryland and D.C. will be minimally affected because regulations and ethical standards have already been in place.

The case in Missouri involved brokers from different companies “price fixing”. This has been prohibited in Maryland and DC since long before I became an agent. While the general rule is a 5% or a 6% commission (depending on services provided by the selling agent), this is always negotiable with the seller.

The confusion I have been hearing is in regard to the buyer’s agent commission. In Maryland and DC the agent always represents the seller unless there is a written and signed buyer’s agreement. This was not true in the Missouri case, so a lot of jurisdictions nationwide are simply doing what Maryland has done for decades. The other part of this is that the seller pays the commission, and if there is a buyer’s agent the commission is split.

This does NOT mean that if there is no buyer’s agent the seller pays 2.5% or 3%. There is a lot of work involved, and the question is whether one agent is doing all the work or the work is being split between two agents. The total list of 179 tasks the agent/ broker performs is at this National Association of Realtors link. If the seller does not have an agent or two working on the transaction, the seller must take care of these issues. It is not simply a matter of “going to see a lawyer”.

A side issue I run into as an agent is the assertion that the seller does not need an agent. With increasing litigation, especially in the area of disclosures of material defects, lawyers are increasingly requiring sellers and buyers to at least find a broker to review documents. This is simply to avoid and spread risk. Brokers will not do this for free and would be charging a commission. On this type of case the broker is not working for either the buyer or the seller’s interest. If the seller wants an agent who is committed as a fiduciary, they must sign a listing agreement and agree to a commission.

There are updated forms being generated by the Maryland Association of Realtors.

So to sum up where we are, most of the terms of the settlement were already in place in Maryland. The commission has been and is negotiable between the seller and their agent. Out of courtesy, I would expect any seller clients of mine to establish the percentage for the buyer’s agent up front. This means a bigger pool of prospective buyers and more competition among buyers.        

In a couple weeks I will be sharing some issues sellers need to be aware of as far as Fair Housing issues. Another topic coming up this summer is a view of the market now that we are out of the spring buyer “frenzy”.    

For those of you who have been with me awhile, I am now in Weichert’s Chevy Chase DC office, and I will be getting my DC license in addition to my Maryland license. The North Bethesda office where I met a lot of you (and conducted three settlements) is now closed.   

Please refer this article to anyone you know who would like to buy or sell a home this spring and early summer. I am ready to help you, your friend, or your relative come to a successful and satisfying conclusion to your search.


Some Other Articles That May Interest You:

National Association of Realtors – the 179 Tasks Agents/ Brokers Perform

Facts Concerning the Moehrl et al. v. National Association of Realtors, et al. Lawsuit

What Does A Real Estate Agent Do?

Listing Agent vs. Selling (Buyer’s) Agent, What’s the Difference?

Maryland Association of Realtors, Role of Real Estate Agents

July 18, 2023

It’s Still A Seller’s Market, But The Buyer’s Outlook Is Improving!

At some point everyone thinks about selling their current home or moving out of a rental and moving into a new home that meets more of your needs. Here are some things to look at when you are considering buying right now. Mixed in will be suggestions for selling a home in this market.

1.    We are not in a recession and it is less and less likely there will be one. I’ve talked to people who might want to sell, and up to just a couple months ago they thought we were in a recession. Fact, you cannot have very low unemployment, many unfilled jobs and inflation in a recession. There was speculation that the only way to check inflation would be for the Federal Reserve to drastically raise interest rates, like they did in 1980 and 1981. Current inflation is more based on the free market, we had a lot of pent up cash in people’s hands following the shutdown and demand exceeded supply. Manufacturing has increased, increasing supply, and we’re now pretty close to nominal inflation.

2.    Interest rates will not go back down to 2% unless there is another pandemic and a shutdown. Flip our point #1, interest rates were low to keep the economy from going into deflation.  Interest rates are at the average for the last 30 years or so, and from market activity it seems that people are adjusting to the normal.

3.    There are more homes for sale, simply because more and more people are confident they can get an acceptable price if they sell.

4.    In this area (Maryland; Montgomery, Prince Georges, Howard and Baltimore Counties, also Baltimore City and surrounding areas), there is still high demand. But this means that homes are getting six or seven offers instead of the twenty or twenty five offers they were getting three years ago.

But people are hitting price points. I am currently helping a client find investment property, and is also looking for a home for his sister and her family. We found a really nice townhouse. However, the seller was asking a price that was about 8% higher than anything in the development was selling for at the height of the pandemic! We made an offer that was close to his number, but included upgrading the porch and the kitchen. The seller refused our offer, and has now taken the townhouse out of the market to rent out. My point is that this would not have happened a couple years ago. So there are prices that the market is considering excessive now.  

In my opinion, as an agent for thirteen years and an instructor for four years is that the key decision for a buyer is whether or not it is currently advisable to rent or buy. If a person or family owns a home, how much do you need a new home? Talk to an agent!

Go to: Kirk’s Website for links to school locations and other information!

Jan. 9, 2022

Hello Everyone,

How about renting?

There are a lot of people thinking about renting vs. buying right now, changing their current situation for a variety of reasons. There are clients of mine who are involved in divorce, and need to move somepleace new to evaluate  options. Most of my contacts on this list are stable in this area, but you may know a person or family who are moving here. They clearly should rent and give plenty of time to look around for the best home. (If so, put them in touch with me! I have references to owners who are leasing townhomes and condos right now!).

There are several people who have spoken to me about waiting to buy until prices come down. While it might be wise to wait a little bit, you should be aware that prices never go down unless there is a reposession/ bad mortgage situation such as 2008 - 2012 or so. That did not happen because of any overvaluation of homes, it happened because of lenders not being careful. I can assure you that if anything, lenders are much more careful.

Here's my own prediction based on the past trends and patterns. Prices will level off, they will not drastically drop. The market is currently supporting prices as they are. What will happen is that supply will increase (and it is currently increasing). This means that while initial listing prices will most likely level off, they will not drastically drop. What WILL happen is that prices will become much more negotiable and there will probably be a lot more homes selling for prices lower than the original listing.

So if you or your friends are thinking about buying, make sure they are working with their own agent. Agents know how to negotiate, and can aggressively negotiate a lower price. Another thing is to be persistant. At some point the home will come up at the right price, but it may take time and a few rejections.  So expect homes to go on the marlet at current levels, but expect them to be on the market longer and expect more fluid negotiated prices.

But right now we are locally still in a seller's market. Homes for sale will be on the market longer than last year, but there is still a backlog of demand. On ther other hand, if the home needs any upgrades, you will need to be more open to negotiation. Remember, renovations won't pay for themselves in the price you get, but homes will sell faster.

As always, I would like to work with you and people you know to buy and sell a home. Get in touch with me and we can plan for the best approach to your needs. I am eagerly awaiting your call!

Nov. 20th 2021

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

It’s that time of year again! I hope everyone is having a nice holiday, and hope some of you have a chance to be with people you haven’t seen for a couple years.

We are in a changing environment in the housing market. As I’m sure most of you know, for awhile there was a shortage of homes on the market. On the other hand, due to the programs that helped people stay on their feet and employed during the CoVid situation, there were a “normal” number of buyers looking for a home.

As a result, it was difficult for buyers to develop winning offers in multiple offer situations.

Things are changing. Beginning last summer, I began seeing for sale signs in my area (northern Prince Georges and eastern Montgomery counties), because homes weren’t getting offers before coming on the market. Homes are on the market longer now. It is possible to find homes with normal parameters of offers and prices.

A few tips for buyers. First, homes that need work are easier to negotiate prices. If you have resources to some kitchen, bathroom, carpeting and painting fixups, you can find homes at reasonable prices. And you have time to develop reasonable and workable offers. Second, make sure you see the houses, don’t just look at pictures. If the statistics are what you want, look at the home in person, and of course see it with an agent working for you!

For sellers, move in ready homes are still easy to sell in a matter of days or a couple weeks. This means bathrooms, kitchens, and appliances should be new or recently added. But if there are necessary upgrades, it would be better to be flexible in price.

The beginning of a new year is the most competitive for selling homes, and the current health issues have not changed that reality. Buyers can find more competitive pricing now through February, or after May. Sellers should consider waiting until after New Year to put homes on the market, but the current demand does not make this a hard and fast rule.

Hopefully, there’s something you can work with, or tell a friend. As an agent, I depend on referrals, and I hope you can pass this information to friends who might call me for assistance. I work with buyers and sellers, and will provide top notch service to my clients.

Happy holidays, and be careful!

Next Month: Are you a renter or a property owner renting? Some information for both!

May 15 2020

Hello Everyone!

Please refer this article to anyone you know who would like to buy or sell a home this spring and early summer. I am ready to help you, your friend, or your relative come to a successful and satisfying conclusion to your search.

This is a trying and uncertain time, especially if you were thinking about buying or selling a home. I hope I can give you some advice on what to do.


First, if you are a potential buyer, and if your employment is relatively secure, this is as good a time to buy a home as if you’re thinking about waiting. The first thing you should do, whether you’re sure or not, is get a pre-approval. Current interest rates are very low, so if you can get a 6 month pre-approval at today’s rates, by all means get it whether you’re sure or not.

You may have a perception that you are taking advantage of someone, or have some other misgiving about buying now. I would say that people are selling for a reason, and they want to sell now. My job as an agent is to negotiate a price that is acceptable for both buyer and seller, so I want to make it work for everyone. So if you are ready to buy this is a good time.


You may have a home to sell, don’t wait. First, you probably don’t “have to sell” right now. You need to give your agent a little more time to sell at an acceptable price, because some buyers are probably going to assume you’re desperate. (note to buyers, do not assume they are desperate, and I will advise you not to make this assumption!)

But you can get an acceptable price, because some sellers are waiting right now (once again, I will advise clients not to wait). There is actually a little bit of a shortage to meet demand.

Realtors are not having open houses, but can show unoccupied houses with acceptable documentation.

This may not be the right time for you, emotionally this is not the best of times. But if you are a buyer, once again I recommend you at least get a pre-approval. That may help you make a decision.

So everyone, be safe, be comfortable, and when the time is right contact your agent and let them know what you want.

I hope this article has helped potential buyers and sellers see a path to what you want. Always consult a real estate professional, they know the market and what is realistic for the buyer or the seller.

I hope to begin to maintain contact with my past clients and customers with a monthly newsletter. Please share with anyone you know who’s interested in real estate.

Besides helping homeowners and home lookers, I am teaching Real Estate through the Weichert Real Estate School. Right now I am teaching Pre-Licensing for aspiring agents in Maryland; Bowie, North Bethesda, and Fallsgrove.

Here’s my agent website with links to properties for sale, school districts, private schools, and services for the homeowner or renter.

Kirk’s Website

Some Other Articles That May Interest You:

An article from 2018 about interest rates:

6 Factors that Affect Your Interest Rates

From June on the Moving.Com website, here is an article about fixer uppers:

Tips You Should Know - Fixer Uppers

July 24th, 2019

Besides helping homeowners and home lookers, I am teaching Real Estate through the Weichert Real Estate School. Right now I am teaching Pre-Licensing for aspiring agents in Maryland; Bowie, North Bethesda, and Fallsgrove.


I’d like to share some information concerning interest rates, and how they can be used when considering a new home or additions to your current home. My first advice is always go see a mortgage specialist. They can tell you what you qualify for, that can be lower than the posted rates for the day.


All loan transaction interest rates, whether they are first or second mortgages, auto loans, and credit card rates, change daily based on several factors related to the federal government. The Treasury Department auctions bonds to finance the national debt. Another is the Federal Funds rate, what banks charge each other for loans from bank to bank.


Another is simple supply and demand. We saw this recently when the Fed raised its short term rate, and banks followed at first. Rates dropped shortly after this because fewer consumers were borrowing. They thought rates were going up and the number of loans applied for dropped. Banks and consumers have to take out loans for the Fed and banks to make money, so when demand slumped rates went back down.


As mentioned, if you need to know how this affects you, see a professional. Your Real Estate agent is not qualified to give you day to day market information. But you do need advice on the day to lock in the rate for your loan, your mortgage advisor’s job is to keep up with that information.

The two facts you need to know here are that rates change daily, and that rates are established through a variety of factors that are liquid and changing. Your agent can help you get a price that you’re happy with, and can give you general advice about where to go for information. But your agent, your mortgage specialist, and your settlement company are a team, each with different specialties. Make sure you use the resources they all provide you to complete a successful transaction. 

My next newsletter will contain information and advice for people considering selling their home with services such as Redfin. 

Here Are Some Other Articles That May Interest You:

An article from 2018 about interest rates:   
6 Factors that Affect Your Interest Rate

From June on the Moving.Com website, here is an article about fixer uppers:   Tips You Should Know - Fixer Uppers

July 12th, 2017

The Washington area has always been a strong real estate market, even during 2009 and 2010 there were still steady home sales. Today the market is very strong, with good prices for both buyers and sellers.

An interesting part of the market are multi bedroom multi bath single family and townhouse homes around $300,000 and below. Very few of these are currently being repossessed by banks, most current repos are a year or more old. Distressed homes are being bought, often for cash, by investors looking to either rent the homes or renovate and sell for a profit.

Mortgage rates are low too. A lot of people are afraid of escalating mortgage rates once the Fed starts moving this fall or winter. I would beg to differ, the Fed can’t simply and arbitrarily raise rates.

Rates affect the lending market, and if rates go up too much, people will stop borrowing. If people don’t borrow the banks and the Fed won’t make any money, it’s as simple as that. People have gotten used to 3 or 4% rates, even much over 5% will be soundly rejected by the market. So buy or sell soon, or do both, but make sure you're happy with this most important purchase!

Updated 7/1/2024

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