- Written by: Matt Dodge
- Produced by: Ian Nichols
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
For over 30 years Caruso Homes has been building some of the best homes and communities throughout the Baltimore/ Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Founded in 1986 by Jeff Caruso, the company regularly completes upward of 150 homes every year.
Based in Crofton, Maryland, Caruso is known for building high-end single family homes on large plots of land. These include developments in some of the D.C. metropolitan area’s most desirable locations including Queen Anne’s County, Prince George’s County and Anne Arundel County. The company also recently opened a division in Raleigh, North Carolina, extending its geographical footprint.
A growing active adult niche
Symphony Village is located in Queen Anne’s County on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, a region that Caruso identified as the perfect location for the active adult community.
“The majority of the population lives on the Western Shore, so as you go across the Bay Bridge it gets more rural. We identified Centreville as a quiet older town that has some space and is close to the water where we could build one of these communities,” says Tom Baldwin, vice president of sales and marketing at Caruso.
Aimed at the 55-plus community, the units at Symphony Village are based on a single-story model that allows greater ease of accessibility for those older residents who have mobility concerns. “There is an emphasis on a healthy lifestyle and there are always activities going on in our 13,000-square-foot clubhouse,” says Baldwin.
From quilting and card games to bicycle riding and swimming, the facilities at Symphony Village allow residents to enjoy all the perks of a premium, resortstyle community without leaving friends and family members behind. “Our homeowners get all the benefits of a big retirement community in Florida but can drive a half-hour and see their doctors, children or grandkids,” he says.
Caruso has worked extensively to garner feedback from Symphony Village residents in a bid to better tailor future developments to the tastes of its specific customer base, holding focus groups to solicit input on floorplans. “We said, ‘Tell us what you like, tell us what you don’t like,’ then we took that info and built three other model homes,” says Baldwin.
This commitment to innovation is particularly important at an active adult community such as Symphony Village where Caruso must compete with the resale market when residents move or pass away. “They can’t get these models on the resale market because they are completely new designs,” he says.
With the recognition that many in the active adult community might be living on a fixed income, Caruso has taken a unique approach to energy efficiency in its active adult community developments. While all homes are tested to ensure a strict Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score, the company goes one step further by guaranteeing a unit’s utility bill.
“If you go above and beyond the guarantee, we’ll pay the difference,” says Baldwin. “A lot of our residents are on fixed budgets and we like to give them peace of mind. I can’t think of anyone else doing that.”
Building communities, not just homes
Just outside of D.C. in Fort Washington, Maryland, Caruso’s high-end Washington Overlook development is adjacent to National Harbor, a waterfront resort destination on the banks of the Potomac River that will soon be home to a $1.3 billion MGM Grand resort.
Caruso sees a lot of potential in Prince George’s County, a relatively underdeveloped area, which Caruso believes will soon start to attract those looking to relocate from the area’s trendy but expensive neighborhoods in D.C. and Alexandria, Virginia. “We’ve had tremendous success getting people from those areas to move based on community and affordability,” says Jeff Caruso, CEO of Caruso Homes.
Washington Overlook’s Colonial-style homes range in size from 3,000 to 7,000 square feet and are priced between $500,000 and $700,000 depending on personalization. “If they want a kitchen island to be a foot bigger or to customize their basement, that’s something we can accommodate,” says Caruso.
The development is particularly well-known for its luxury 20-foot by 10-foot spa bathrooms, which feature massive showers, two showerheads, separate vanities and a cathedral ceiling. “These are the types of bathrooms you would see in a $2 million home,” he says. The single-family homes each sit on a 1-acre parcel and abut a tree line to the rear, allowing for maximize privacy for all residents.
Bowie, Maryland, is the site of one of Caruso’s newest and most high-end developments, Fairview Manor. The 86-unit development features single-family homes on 1-acre lots and is convenient to D.C., Annapolis, Maryland, and Baltimore. “Bowie is probably one of the most desirable places to live in Prince George’s County,” says Caruso.
With homes ranging in price from $600,000 to $1 million, Caruso describes Fairview Manor as “a true estate community.” The 3,500- to 9,000-square-foot homes feature stone facades, home theaters, quartz countertops, 10-foot ceilings, wet bars and modern fireplaces.
“We really tried to make it into an elite and elegant looking community. We want our buyers to drive into the community a feel sense of arrival,” he says.
Caruso is an active member of the Maryland Building Industry Association (MBIA), with Caruso himself serving on the board of directors. “This is your voice in government,” he says of the MBIA. “The building and development process is already extremely complicated and the MBIA helps to make it much simpler.” Caruso Homes will continue to bring new, innovative communities and developments to Maryland and the D.C. metropolitan area thanks to 30 years of expertise and ability to quickly respond to market needs and trends.
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