Why does property seen to be so much cheaper in Darnestown than nearby Potomac? It looks like about $100/sqf less with similar plot sizes.

Asked by Karen, Switzerland, FL Wed May 4, 2011

Help the community by answering this question:

+ web reference
Web reference:


Bruce Lemieux’s answer
Bruce Lemieux, Agent, Gaithersburg, MD
Wed May 4, 2011
Hi Karen - I do a lot of business in Darnestown. As you have noted, there is a significant difference in pricing. There's a couple of factors that make Potomac pricing higher:

- Location. Potomac is closer-in to primary work centers (D.C., Bethesda, Northern VA) which add value

- Housing Stock. With very few exceptions, homes in Darnestown are on 2+ acre lots since they all have private well and septic systems -- there are no townhomes here. This is the same for 'Potomac Outside' -- roughly the are in Potomac west of Piney Meeting House Rd. Homes in Potomac on larger lots tend to be larger and more extravagant.

- Cache and Schools - Potomac (zip 20854) is one of the most affluent zip codes in the region - and the country for that matter. It has some of the highest performing schools in the area which also makes homes here desirable.

I like Darnestown a lot. Homes are on large lots, but it still has a very strong sense of community. Compared to Potomac, a home buyer can definitely get more home for the money here.

Good luck -- I don't think you can go wrong with either location. Also - you should take a look at North Potomac which is adjacent to Darnestown and Potomac.

Darnestown - http://mocorealestate.com/darnestown/
North Potomac - http://mocorealestate.com/northpotomac/
Potomac - http://mocorealestate.com/potomac/
Web Reference:  http://mocorealestate.com/
1 vote
, ,
Mon Aug 25, 2014
As others have said, I think it's mainly the cache of living in 20854. Of course living closer in to the city and VA as well as the schools are factors as well. Darnestown is a great area also, it's just not Potomac. I have seen homes listed as Potomac and are within the Rockville city limits. In the 20854 zip but if the student goes to RM instead of Churchill or Wooten I think that is somewhat misleading.
Hope this helps and please let me know any questions.

Brent Mendelson
1st Mariner Mortgage
0 votes
jones51, Home Buyer, Darnestown, MD
Mon Aug 25, 2014
Potomac has such a prestige associated with it...kind of like the Beverly Hills zip code. Many people move to Potomac simply to be able to say that is where they live. Also, if people move from out of town, this is an area that is often recommended for safety and prestige.

Darnestown is a very similar community but because it does not have it's own zip code it is often mistaken when people search for homes (all Darnestown zip codes are actually Gaithersburg or Germantown even though Darnesotnw has very defined and recognized borders). Property values in both Germantown and Gaithersburg vary WIDELY, as do the school ratings, crime rates and property values.

For example, I live in Darnestown, but my zip code is the same as houses in nearby Germantown. Many home search websites cannot distinguish between Germantown and Darnestown even though there is a significant price difference and lifestyle difference.

Hope this helps.
0 votes
Gordon King, Agent, Bethesda, MD
Wed Mar 27, 2013
Gordon and I have lived in Darnestown for 24 years in Haddonfield, a 2 acre neighborhood and love it both being New Englanders. You are right it is $200,000 less for the same home in Darnestown due to lot values when compared to Potomac. Potomac has much grander mansions that some buyer like to be associated with and Potomac has it's own little shopping center. The Darnestown Civic Association fought that shopping center development coming here. The reason is fear of a rural zoning changes since present zoning is for minimum 5 acre density when a "farm" is sold. Darnestown is a small unincorporated Pre-civil War town of approximately 2200 families that still have town meetings and was settled in the 1750's. Go to http://www.darnestowncivic.org if you want more details. Shopping is minutes away on Rt 28 so the residents never want the sewer to come in that would make town homes, apartment, condominium, and commercial development possible. This makes Darnestown unique and we are close-in and yet next to the Montgomery County Agricultural Preserve. (93,000 acres) The master plan is to keep Darnestown rural.

Another big issue is rating the high schools. Montgomery County is a County system and the county decides where the children go to school. With the over development of the Gaithersburg area, it was decided by the MCPS system to bus the Darnestown students to Northwest High School in Germantown, when they used to attend Quince Orchard High School closer to our community and the residents helped build. When a new high school is built in Montgomery County the students will all be reassigned that border it. Montgomery County schools are some of the highest rated schools in the country. People seem to judge a school by what per cent attend college. Northwest may not have as high a percentage attending college due to income levels but it is an excellent school. I have not had one family send their children there and not be pleased with their education. One family just told us proudly their daughter is going to Princeton. So if you are moving here get your realtor to show you both acreage areas and you decide which is the community for you.
We specialize in acreage property go to our web site http://www.MontCountyHomes.com
0 votes
, ,
Tue Feb 7, 2012
Hello Karen, I live in Darnestown on a 2.5 acre lot for 9 years. But, Bruce hit the nail right on the head: LOCATION, HOUSE SIZE,LOT, & SCHOOLS. If you have children not in high school the elementary school-Darnestown Ele. is a blue ribbon school. I have a 6 year old attending. GREAT small school.
What I would suggest is maybe find a fixer upper or a smaller home and rebuild new or rehab. I specialize in renovation mortgages and construction loans. It a great way to get a good equity position and a good deal depending on your taste:)

Good Luck!
Web Reference:  http://www.203khud.com
0 votes
Daniel Johns…, , Mitchellville, MD
Thu May 12, 2011
Potomac is a more "desired" area, the name Potomac adds to the price... Slap the same property on the other side of i270 and you may find it to be cheaper.
0 votes
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Wed May 4, 2011

The pricing of anything is always associated to the law of "supply and demand." Simply stated, if buyers weren't willing to pay the higher price, sellers would be forced to make an adjustment.

Without knowing the area, one could only speculate that there are desirable features that are attracting buyers to pay the higher price in Potomac. This could be related to location, proximity to employment, amenities, social, recreational, & cultural opportunities etc. Buyers are often quite willing to pay a little more for a higher quality of living that one location offers over another.

Hope this is helpful.

0 votes
Search Advice
Ask our community a question
Home Buying in Darnestown Zip Codes

Email me when…

Learn more