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

Oct. 15, 2008

You Know Your Tastes Do You Know Your Budget

Here's a quick tip on how Alexandria VA homebuyers can get a leg up on the competition once they enter the market to buy a home.

The Homebuying Process - Mortgage Approval

Imagine you've narrowed your zip code search for homes to homes for sale in 22314 in Old Town Alexandria VA, or decided to focus on Del Ray.  These popular areas are still seeing multiple contracts or bidding wars on the right home.  From the entry level condo market, to the mid-level prices of $600,000, buyers in all price ranges need to be prepared, and the mortgage approval is that very necessary first step.

Meeting with a lender is more than simply visiting a financial website and using the calculators to see what you can afford.  Mortgage loans and interest rates are credit score driven, and the higher your credit score, the better your interest rate.  For example, did you know that for every 20 points that your credit score is off, you could pay an extra 1/4 percentage in interest?

When you meet with a local, reputable lender, and complete a mortgage application, the lender can check your credit report.  If you're serious about buying a home in Old Town Alexandria or Del Ray, then having your credit pulled is required (unless you're paying all cash).  For a lot of first-timers, this can be a money saver because the lender may help you identify errors on your credit report, that once corrected can raise your score (in other words, meeting with a lender can actually save you money!).

A good lender will also explain several different loan types and after listening to your long and short-term goals, will be able to suggest the best loan.  For some buyers, an interest-only loan is best, for others, the traditional 30-year fixed is the better solution.  Different people have different situations.  Those on a fixed, predictable salary may require a different loan than someone self-employed and paid on a commission basis.

You should also receive a Good Faith Estimate of Closing Costs which outlines what the lender will charge to secure your loan.  Be sure to review different scenarios and varying sales prices.  Homes for sale in Old Town Alexandria VA and Del Ray can range anywhere from the  high $100's to the millions. You'll need to know what the price range is that will allow you to stay within your monthly comfort zone for your total housing payment.

And finally, your approval letter is your official GREEN LIGHT to shop for a home. An approval letter or a mortgage application does not bind you to any lender, nor does it obligate you to purchase.  But as part of the information gathering process the approval letter tells your Realtor that you're serious enough about the process and gives you the comfort of knowing you have the financial ability to move forward when you find an Old Town Alexandria VA or Del Ray home for sale that you like.

Bonus Free Report: 10 Questions To Ask Your Lender 

Rates are low, inventory is high. Now's a good time to buy.

Oct. 12, 2008

Del Ray Homes For Sale - Open House Sunday Oct 12

Open This Sunday, October 12 from 1-4 pm
9 Leadbeater Street, - $439,000
Alexandria VA 22305
Del Ray - Off Mount Vernon Avenue

Where Charm, Privacy, and Convenience Come Together!

  • Duplex with fully fenced back yard
  • Friendly and inviting front porch
  • In-front parking, and plenty of off-street parking
  • New kitchen with granite countertops and ceramic tile floors
  • New kitchen appliances
  • Updated bathrooms
  • New windows throughout
  • New storm door
  • Rear deck overlooking landscaped yard and pond
  • Red door storage shed with shelving

Property Details  


  Search all homes in the MLS


Posted in Buyers, Open House
Oct. 4, 2008

Open House Sunday Oct 5 - Old Town Canal Place Condos

Open This Sunday, October 5 from 1-4 pm
1209 N. Pitt Street, Unit A1 - $347,500
Alexandria VA 22314
Canal Place Condominiums

Canal Place Condos Old Town Alexandria VA

Made especially for the buyer who wants the close-in location and care-free one-level living.
This special home offers:

  • RARE expanded patio with privacy
  • Secure building entry
  • Two traffic lights to Washington DC
  • New energy efficient Andersen windows
  • Spotless kitchen with maple cabinets and silestone countertops
  • Assigned parking
  • Washer and dryer in unit (yeah!)
  • Custom built-ins in living room

Property Details   Canal Place Condos Photo Tour

Canal Place Condos For Sale

Posted in Condos, Open House
Oct. 3, 2008

Things To Do In Alexandria VA

Looking for things to do in and around Alexandria VA this weekend, try these fun filled activities:

Alexandria VA Events

  • Fall Wine Festival & Sunset Tour, October 3-5 at Mount Vernon, Visit www.MountVernon.org or call 703-780-2000
  • Art on the Avenue in Del Ray, Saturday October 4 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., visit www.ArtOnTheAvenue.org
  • Takoma Park Street Festival, Sunday October 5 at the Takoma Park metro station, call 240-253-4229
Posted in Fun
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

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