Hunt Valley

Close Your Home in 16 Days with the Sweet 16 Pledge from Direct Mortgage Loans


The Direct Mortgage Loans Sweet16 Pledge compresses the process to just 16 days. The appraisal management firm is local – not nationally-based like most banks and credit unions. The in-house processing and underwriting keeps things moving at top speed for you and your buyer.

rect500x600-settle in 16 days

Direct Mortgage Loans Offers the Sweet 16 Pledge


The Direct Mortgage Loans Sweet16 Pledge compresses the process to just 16 days. The appraisal management firm is local – not nationally-based like most banks and credit unions. The in-house processing and underwriting keeps things moving at top speed for you and your buyer.

rect500x600-settle in 16 days

Unique and Personal Services from Direct Mortgage Loans


You’d have to be living under a rock not to know that the real estate and mortgage landscape has shifted quite a bit in the last few years. But pretty much everyone—from those looking to buy their first home to those looking for a change of scenery or scale—could probably use some help navigating the process. After all, it’s a big step, and you’ll want to feel good about who’s by your side along the way. Some of the most innovative and personalized service out there comes from Direct Mortgage Loans (DML). The local privately-owned and operated lender manages everything from your application to your closing in-house. This means a shorter loan process (remember the nail-biting eons of waiting to hear approval?), and that your loan officer can keep you updated every step of the way. In fact, they’ve even got what they call their “Sweet 16 Pledge”—they bring everyone to the table in 16 days–without compromising quality, efficiency or accuracy. Wondering how they do it? It’s not magic—it’s just really good business.

Michael Paul
Managing Partner • Direct Mortgage Loans LLC

Each of DML’s loan officers has an average of over seven years experience in mortgage banking, as well as training in federal law, ethics, and non-traditional lending. That means you’re working with someone who’s got pretty much the heftiest toolkit around, and all of the experience to make excellent use of it. After all, home-buying isn’t a one-size-fits-all affair, so individualized service only makes sense. That’s how they’ve built a business known for integrity and responsibility—even being named one of Baltimore’s Top Workplaces in 2013 by the Baltimore Sun. And since they’re privately owned and a direct lender, none of their products or loans make them any more money than any others. This means they’re not trying to sell you something to benefit themselves—they’re selling you something to benefit you—since, as Michael Paul, one of the founding partners tells us, they have “no loyalty—except to our customers.” Now, isn’t that a novel idea for a mortgage company? That’s why they’ve also built personal relationships with local real estate professionals– helping to get homes sold with open houses, joint marketing, and more.

Though “creativity” isn’t necessarily the first word that comes to mind when you think of a mortgage lender, DML could make you think twice. Their dedication to the customer, and their vast knowledge of the myriad possibilities of how to make home-buying a reality for anyone truly make them stand out in a crowded (and complicated) industry.



Locapour Cider & Mead Festival Proves Summer Sweet Fun


If you didn’t make it to Locapour last Thursday, you missed out on the opportunity to taste Maryland’s best selection of locally produced ciders and meads.  Most of us know what hard cider is, but there were a lot of people at Locapour there to find out about mead.  Mead is the oldest recorded fermented beverage known to man, and has had many centuries to evolve from the drink of kings to the highly complex and delicious party-in-your mouth that can be found at your local wine shop.

Maryland Wineries Association teamed up with the Baltimore County Center for Maryland Agriculture to introduce Maryland to our local producers.


Vendors set up shop along a tree-line walk way, with the smell of sweet summer in the air.


It’s National Health & Fitness Month: Celebrate With a Healthy Lifestyle at the MAC


MAC May1

So, it’s National Health and Fitness Month. Maybe you’re already so on top of it that you’re reading this post on your iPhone while on mile five of your morning 10K. Or maybe this information makes you squirm a bit with the vague memory of that New Year’s resolution that somehow fell to the wayside somewhere along the line. But no matter. It’s never to late to start getting fit– and there are so many ways and reasons to do so, that there’s no need to panic. In fact, National Health and Fitness Month makes it easier than ever– not only because the weather is finally the kind you want to enjoy outside– but also because fitness centers such as the Maryland Athletic Club are offering great opportunities this month to use the facilities, take classes, and start getting healthy. We checked in with Sharon Nevins, Vice President of Marketing at the MAC to find out how they’re celebrating National Health and Fitness Month and how we can, too.

Baltimore Fishbowl: So May is National Health and Wellness Month. What does that mean? And what is the MAC doing to help celebrate it?

Sharon Nevins: National Health & Fitness Month was created to help shine a spotlight on the importance of exercise to be healthy. Our industry, along with the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” Campaign joined together to encourage everyone to lead an active, healthy lifestyle. MAC helps celebrate by opening its doors to the entire community to enjoy the MAC and get moving for 7 days. We also have designated community wide classes where non-members can try us out with others just like them.

BFB: That’s great! What an awesome opportunity for those of us who are interested in trying out a new gym. Now that the nice weather is finally here, what are some of the best outdoor exercises we can do to supplement our time at the gym? Baltimore has so many great outdoor spaces and activities. Any top picks or workout ideas?

SN: Just getting outside and walking is always nice. Baltimore also has some incredible trails for hiking. From the NCR trail to Loch Raven to Soldiers Delight and the B&A trail for biking. Whatever is fun and easy for you, you should do. The idea is to enjoy it (most of the time) so you keep up the habit.

The MAC Celebrates National Fitness and Sports Month



catch of the day fish (2)So, apparently, May is National Physical Fitness & Sports Month, and has been for some time. Somehow that got past us until this year. But it is fitting, since May is basically the last possible month to spend hitting the gym (or yoga studio, or running route, or Richard Simmons DVD) before beach season. Doing their part to help us observe National Physical Fitness & Sports Month is the MAC (Maryland Athletic Club & Wellness Center), which will open the doors at all of its locations to the public this month, issuing seven-day passes and hosting several community classes free of charge.

Channeling Provence In Hunt Valley: 40 Acres, No Mule


Hot House: 1730 Gardiner Road, Nicholson’s Manor, Cockeysville, MD. 21030


american land titleCustom built in 2005, a French country style, 12,000 sq. ft. luxury home. Nine bedrooms, 9 full, 2 half baths, over four levels, with attached  five-car garage, gourmet kitchen, second kitchen, 50′ swimming pool, hot tub, rubber floor indoor “sport court,” master suite with spa, in-law suite with elevator, au-pair apartment, 100 year old renovated tenant/guest house and 40 acres of land: $2,987,700


What: 12,000 sq. ft. of French country estate, virtually new and ready for your Aubusson rugs. If you’re in the market for this kind of house, it seems like a good one — pretty sure to impress your friends and provide the latest in easy living. Luxurious, but not completely over the top, it sports nice exterior stonework and a hilltop setting, sited far back from a quiet road. A long drive winds through newly mown fields — grass not lavender — and the house backs onto woods. It is fairly private, and the effect is close to, if not exactly, rural.  House is energy friendly, with geothermal heat and cooling systems. Five-car garage is a work of art. There’s a great rubber-floored indoor sport court that looks like a crowd pleaser for kids, and a lower level movie theatre with 120″ screen.  A two story great room dominates the main floor, with a stone fireplace and wood beams. Enormous gourmet kitchen — Sub-zero, Wolfe, Miele, granite, etc. Giant master suite on first floor. Two nice stone patios, one high, one low, overlook the sunny pool. Not long on charm or trees, but there’s tons of everything else.

Pigtown Design: Favorite FInds at the Hunt Valley Antique Show


I had the chance to attend the Maryland Antiques Show at Hunt Valley last weekend, including a lecture by Bobby McAlpine. Everything was just so gorgeous, and I saw a number of things that I coveted.

This is a early 1900’s salesman’s sample board for children’s socks.

This Weekend: The Maryland Antiques Show of Hunt Valley



catch of the day fish (2)Maybe it’s just that many of my earliest memories involve being dragged around countless antique shows and flea markets by my parents. I remember my folks haggling and making trades, asking for a dealer discount, because at that time, antiques were the family business. On one particularly traumatic occasion, I left my favorite stuffed animal (a well-worn stuffed dog from some bygone era) at a dealer’s booth and we had to go back through the entire show to track him down. When we finally did, I was of course relieved, but also disturbed to notice how he just blended in with all of the other stuff in the booth. He was old, a bit tattered, and would have stood out far more in the window of any retail toy store. This was my inheritance: a love (for better or worse) of old stuff. And so, what can I do but share it? In other words: anyone else planning to camp out in anticipation of the Maryland Antiques Show this weekend?