Potomac Yard | Del Ray | Old Town Alexandria Real Estate News

Sept. 29, 2008

Preparing Your Alexandria Home For Fall

Get Ready For Fall

In the Garden - Prepare the lawn or garden for falling temperatures.  Remove weeds, seed and fertilize the lawn, and plant any spring-blooming bulbs.  In areas where the ground freezes, consider mulching flower beds.  The mulch will protect plants when the weather gets cold.  Container gardens also should be moved indoors or protected from falling temperatures with a burlap wrap.

On the Patio - Clean outdoor furniture and equipment with a mild soap solution and water.  If possible, bring it indoors for the winter.  No room to store all that gear in the house or garage?  Wrap it tightly with a tarp or other cover that will protect it from the strong weather and the rays of the sun.

In the Garage or Closet - Store beach and camping gear away in the back of the garage or closet, since it won't be needed until next year.  Move fall sporting and yard equipment to accessible areas so they'll be within reach.

In the Entryway - Cooler temperatures mean warmer jackets and heavier shoes.  Don't let these items clutter up the entryway.  Carve out a space near the doorway to store them, if you don't have a coat closet, consider hanging coat hooks and setting out baskets or a shoe storage bin for the shoes and boots.

In the Clothes Closet - Comb through your family's closets.  Store summer dresses and tops to make room for fall wardrobes.  Now is a good time to make a donation to the local Salvation Army or thrift store.  Make sure clothes are organized and ready for the children to grab on mornings when they're hurrying to school. 

In the Bedroom - Fall temperatures also mean cooler autumn nights.  It's time to pull out the blankets that you've stored away in the spring.

Posted in Fun
Sept. 19, 2008

Alexandria Foreclosure Homes Not For Everyone

To some people, the idea of buying a foreclosure home means getting a good deal on a move-in condition model home.  To others, foreclosures equal trouble.  At least that's according to a recent survey conducted by the real estate search site www.Trulia.com

According to Trulia.com, about half of buyers are open to looking at foreclosures, but a full two-thirds felt there were "negative aspects" related to such a purchase, including hidden costs, the possibility of declining value, and other unknown costly risks.

The survey specifically showed:

  • 60%of single/never married adults are more likely to consider purchasing a foreclosure versus 50% of married, divorced, or separated adults
  • 57% of males are more likely to purchase a foreclosure in comparison to 51% of females
  • 69% of younger adults (18-34) are likely to purchase a foreclosed in comparison to just 32% of adults 55 and older
  • And on the emotional side, 20% of adults said that having a personal connection with someone who lost their home to foreclosure is a negative aspect of purchasing a foreclosed home

So here's proof that not every homebuyer gets bright-eyed and bushy-tailed when it comes to buying a foreclosure.  However, in the Northern Virginia area, the lower priced foreclosure home gives many buyers the opportunity to enter the market.  And often in a subdivision that was previously not affordable at the height of the market, or even in a normal market.

With first-time buyers, the worry of hidden defects from a bank-owned home that has been sitting vacant through the different seasons is not too appealing.  Vacant homes often have odors that can indicate possible defects.  For example, the smell of pet odor could mean that there are some areas that need to be cleaned better than others.  Also, the 'wet' smell could send up a red flag for possible moisture damage that's yet to be seen in addition, to mold.  Is there an active leak on the inside of the home, or is the home not properly sealed?

The dreaded "AS-IS" when noted in the listing remarks could also be enough for the browsing buyer to click the 'Next' button.  And what about those barely finished new subdivisions that have more foreclosures than seller-owned resales?  What type of signal does that send to the browsing buyer?  Should they be overly concerned with vandalism and break-ins?

Buyers have to consider quite a bit when looking at foreclosure homes.  In some instances, the possibilities and unknowns of foreclosures are enough to attract buyers to the seller-owned homes.  Sometimes, greater value is perceived when a buyer can see that a home shows pride of ownership and has been well taken care of.

Search Alexandria VA Foreclosures   Search All Homes In The MLS

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Posted in Buyers, Foreclosures
Sept. 16, 2008

Alexandria VA Homes For Sale - Tuesday Tour Of Homes

In order to keep a sharp eye on the market, some agents conduct weekly tours called Broker Opens.  A Broker Open is an open house for agents and brokers (of course the public can attend!)  Here, we preview the area's newest lisings.  What's the advantage to Broker Opens?  Well, they benefit buyers, sellers, and agents:

  • Broker Opens allow listing agents to solicit feedback from the other agents on pricing (sometimes before the home officially goes on the market)
  • They allow buyer agents to speak more intelligently about what other homes are in the marketplace
  • They allow agents to become familiar with the company's inventory
  • They allow sellers to hear comments from other agents who may have a buyer for their home

Here are some the homes that McEnearney Associates has available:

Broker Open Inside Tour Of Homes

Wondering which homes were on tour this week?  Check out our inventory of homes:

McEnearney Associates Featured Listings

 Search All Home Listed In The MLS:

 Search All Homes In The MLS

Posted in Buyers, Open House
Sept. 12, 2008

Kingstowne Home For Sale - Open House Sunday Sept 14

Open This Sunday, Sept 14 from 1-4pm
5510 Jowett Court
Alexandria, VA 22315 - $559,500
Kingstowne

This elegant brick front end unit townhome offers many special touches for the pickiest buyer.  Improvements and features include:

  • Sought-after North Village location, offering convenience to the Van Dorn metro station on the blue line, and five traffic lights to I-495 beltway
  • Master bedroom with step-down sitting room, and step-up luxury bath
  • Family room off-kitchen
  • Hardwood floors
  • Lower level rec room with gas fireplace
  • Rear deck and patio
  • Gourmet kitchen with marble counters

    Schools: Elementary - Bush Hill; Middle - Mark Twain; High - Thomas Edison

Property Details   See Photos of Homes in Kingstowne  

See All Homes For Sale In Kingstowne

Posted in Buyers, Open House
Sept. 11, 2008

Alexandria City September 11 Service

These photos were taken during today's service in Old Town Alexandria in remembrance of those lost in the September 11 attacks.

Alexandria City September 11 Service

Alexandria City September 11 Service

Alexandria City September 11 Service

There are tons of websites, photos, and links that can take us back to that day, but nothings warms me more than the sound of "The Voice", Whitney Houston singing the Star Spangled Banner.

Gives me goose bumps...

Posted in News
Sept. 10, 2008

Jazzy Events In And Around Alexandria VA

The fall brings out the best in music, art, and performances from around the area.  Check out these terrific events for some jazzy September fun:

  • Alexandria Festival of the Arts - Sept 13-24, ArtFestival.com. King Street becomes an outdoor gallery featuring 200 of the nation's top award-winning artists.
  • Mount Vernon's 18th Century Craft Fair - Sept 13-14, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., MountVernon.org. The fair is a re-creation of an early American marketplace with artist demonstrations, family entertainment, and 18th century amusement.
  • Rosslyn Jazz Festival - Sept 6, 12:30-7 p.m., RosslynVa.org, Enjoy a day of jazz concerts in Rosslyn, VA.
  • DC Shorts Film Festival - Sept 11-18, various locations, DCShorts.com. During the week, 102 films will be screened and 6 screenplays will be read in 9 rotating showcases.
  • Prelude 2008 - Arts Across America, Weekends, Aug 23-Oct 19, Kennedy Center, Kennedy-Center.org.  This annual event brings together talents from every region of our nation, from American masters and bearers of tradition to young innovators developing their craft.
  • Bethesda Art Walk - Sept 12, Bethesda.org. Free guided tours of 11 art galleries that feature painting, sculpture, photography, pottery, jewelry, and mixed media.

See You There!

Posted in Fun
Sept. 9, 2008

Understanding Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae Changes

 

Does the recent news about the government takeover of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have you scratching your head?  Before the news was news, Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors wrote a brief article explaining the current housing situation and what could happen.  Talk about forecasting...

Why are the companies' share prices falling? Investors fear they will collapse because of rising mortgage defaults driven by home price declines.
What are the default rates on loans held by the companies? For Fannie, 1.22% for single-family loans delinquent 90 days or more, up from .62%; for Freddie, .81%, up from .49%.  The figures are for April and were reported in The Wall Street Journal.
What happens if they collapse? Mortgage rates will rise much higher.
What happens if home prices fall much further than anticipated and the newly raised capital runs out or stock prices fall to zero? The federal government will take over the companies (without a doubt) and assume the mortgage debt default risk.

Yun hit the nail right on the head because the government is now in charge.  But what does it all mean? Here's a snapshot:

Over the weekend, both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae have been placed into a government conservatorship that will be run by the recently created Federal Housing Finance Agency.

·         This was a necessary move to prevent the collapse of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae which would have been more damaging to both US and global financial markets.

·         It is expected that this move will bring stability to the housing market by increasing the available funds for lending, thereby lowering interest rates.  It is also expected to spur buyer activity which will begin the process of reversing the downward trend in property values.

·         Although there is no indication when the conservatorship will end, this move is viewed as a short-term take over intended to increase confidence and lower uncertainty in the housing market. 

·         This takeover has been strongly endorsed by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, "These necessary steps will help to strengthen the U.S. housing market and promote stability in our financial markets."

·         It is not clear how, if at all, this will affect Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s lending guidelines.  Their lending guidelines will continue to depend on how much risk they are willing to accept.

·         For now, this appears to be a good thing for the housing market but the full impact on the economy and the ripple effects this will have to taxpayers and Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac investors remains to be seen.

 

Posted in Buyers, Foreclosures, News
Sept. 7, 2008

Open House Sunday Sept 7 - Burgundy Woods

Open House Sunday, September 7th 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.
3419 Burgundy Road
Alexandria, VA 22303 - $759,000

Burgundy Woods Home

When location and luxury are essential, make the time to put this home on your list.  This three level brick front home includes the following special features:

  • Three (3) car garage
  • Four bedrooms, three full bathrooms, one half bath
  • Approximately 3400 square feet of finished living space
  • Custom wood moldings throughout
  • Rear deck with private yard backing to trees
  • Hardwood floors
  • Kitchen with double oven, upgraded cabinets
  • Office/library
  • Master bedroom with large walk-in closet
  • Deluxe master bathroom with his and her vanity sinks
  • Finshed recreation room

Photo Slide Show   Property Details   

 

Posted in Buyers, Open House
Sept. 5, 2008

Down Payment Assistance Now A Memory

 funds have dried up

Well, it seems that all of the funds for Down Payment Assistance (DPA) programs have dried up.  Even though the deadline is near for the government aid to officially come to an end, it appears that local banks are applying the 30-day rule.  Meaning that buyers who are approved for a mortgage utilitizing a DPA, like Nehemiah or AmeriDream, are encouraged to find a home quickly and reach a written agreement (contract ratification or acceptance) with the seller and close within the next 30 days.

Alexandria VA homebuyers can still purchase a home with the help of the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA).  One program that stills offers home buyers to purchase with a minimal down payment is the VHDA FHA Plus loan. Borrowers need only a 1% down payment, and the seller can still pay up to 6% of the sales price toward the closing costs.  There is no adjustable mortage, the FHA Plus loan is a 30-year fixed loan.

Applicants must meet eligibility requirements and attend a free course offered by the VHDA.

Search the MLS   

Sept. 4, 2008

Labor Day Humor

What's So Funny About Work? 

 Work Funnies

 (Note: my office is really much neater than this!)

In honor of Labor Day, September 1, and all workers, here's a look at the lighter side of labor :

My first job was working in an orange juice factory, but I got canned...couldn't concentrate.

Then I worked as a lumberjack, but I couldn't hack it, so they gave me the ax.

After that I tried being a tailor, but I wasn't suited for it...and it was a so-so-job.

Next I tried working in a muffler factory, but that was too exhausting.

My best job was being a musician, till I found I wasn't noteworthy.

I wanted to start a bakery, but I couldn't raise the dough.

I studied a long time to become a doctor, but I didn't have any patience.

I became a professional fisherman, until I couldn't live on my net income.

I managed to get a good job with a pool maintenance company, but the work was just too draining.

So I applied for a job in a gym, but they said I wasn't fit for the job.

So I finally got a job as a historian until I realized there was no future in it.

My last job was working at Starbucks, but I quit because it was always the same old grind.

Hope you had an enjoyable Labor Day! 

Funny realtor (Thank you... thank you very much!)

 

Posted in Fun