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Archive for September, 2008

August Marks 8th Consecutive Month of Improvement in Real Estate Market

In this time of financial uncertainty we feel rather fortunate to have a self-described ‘contrarian’ on our side. Tom Dellinger with LPL Financial has been working us since about 2001 and his steady hand has been particularly reassuring over the past year or two.  Tom is always on the look out for the silver lining and  he forwarded this report from Brian Postol at Jesup and Lamont, one of the nation’s oldest investment banks to us last week:

“A combination of existing- and new-home sales in August fell 13.4% year over year, which was a slight improvement over the prior month’s 15.5% decline.  Although the year over year remains negative, one cannot disregard the fact that Augusts’ improvement – while gradual – marked the 8th consecutive month of improvement from the trough level experienced in December 2007 of a 24.6% decline.

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Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently 13 Comments »

Virginia State Fair is More Than Just a Midway

The Virginia State Fair, which opened this past Thursday in Richmond, VA is more than just another midway.  In fact, it’s one of our all time favorite places!

In the past 15 years we have taken our children and their friends, our nieces and their friends, and our godchildren and their friends.  In fact, when our daughter (now grown) had a visitor from another country we took him too.  Next on our list  – grandchildren.

Sure, there are corn dogs and funnel cakes and barbecue sandwiches   – and the must have midway – but most of all it’s good, easy fun.  The permanent site at the Richmond Raceway Complex, just north of the city, is large, incredibly well maintained and simple to navigate.

We visit all the exhibits from the Old MacDonald Baby Animal Farm to the rabbit and chicken houses to sheep shearing.  The exhibits are very hands on and children and adults alike can hold a lop-eared bunny, a baby chick or even give milking a try.

It’s easy to forget – especially when one lives in Northern Virginia – that farms and livestock are alive and well in the Commonwealth.  Visiting the exhibits is also a great opportunity to talk to the young 4H’ers who prepare all year to bring their prize animals to the fair.

So what are you waiting for?  Click here for the full daily schedule and get yourselves on down the road for a day of Virginia State Fair fun.  The fair runs through October 5 so you still have time . . .


Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently 2 Comments »

Stupid to Smart and Chic in Today’s Blog Roundup

 Today’s Blog Roundup:

Homeowners Wendy and Doug Grills in Clifton, VA submitted their “stupid” room to the Washington Post’s House Calls and came away with a smart, chic office.  Click here to see the work of designers Patrick J. Baglino and Megan Blake.

Want to know more about the rapidly growing world of eDecorating and the world of Web-based designers?  Click here and keep your eye for our young friends, Sherry and John, from Richmond, VA.

Need help with fall chores?   Click here to reduce your heating costs, clean a chimney, install insulation, make your doors draft free or ready your garden for winter.

Want to turn flea market finds into something fabulous?  Check out what Eddie Ross is doing.

Now, you may ask yourself – why is a real estate agent so interested in room makeovers, interior design, chores or flea market finds?  I’m interested because they are all things that go towards making a house a home.  Rarely does anyone move into a property (new or old) and not do something.  Instead, it is that ability to see and think “what if” that can make the difference between a house bought and tenderly loved or a house unsold.

So look around and when you find something that has that “what if” quality,  call me at  703.927.4554 and we’ll make it happen.


Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently No Comments »

Virginia Home Sales Rise and 6,400 Army Jobs Bypass Ft. Belvoir for Alexandria

Today’s short real estate takes:

It’s the ying and yang of real life – even as the financial markets continue to crash around our ears, Virginia’s home sales in Fairfax County rose 10.7 percent last month, the county’s first double digit increase in a year and a half.  Click here to read more.

6,400 Army jobs, originally slated for Ft. Belvoir in Fairfax County, are now headed for Alexandria as part of part of a larger base realignment program.  Click here to read more.


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August 2008 Northern Virginia Home Sales Report

The August 2008 Northern Virginia Home Sales Report is based on figures taken from the Metropolitan Regional Information System (MRIS).  The report covers the counties of Fairfax and Arlington, and the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax and the towns of Vienna, Herndon, and Clifton.

Detached 795 749
Attached 580 481
Condos & Co-ops 437 483
Total (+5.78%) 1,812 1,713
Av. Days on Mk (+16.00%) 87 75
Detached 4,400 4,872
Attached 2,364 2,725
Condos & Co-ops 2,426 2,776
Total (-11.40%) 9,190 10,373
Months Supply (-16.25%) 5.07 6.06
Average (-14.98%) $473,183 $556,574
Median (-17.92%) $389,000 $475,000
YTD Homes Sold (-13.99%) 11,863 13,583
YTD Av. Sales Price (-11.22%) $481,280 $542,083



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10 Reasons Why the Housing Market Will Begin Long Awaited Upswing on June 30, 2009

James J. Cramer, co-founder of TheStreet.com, host of CNBC’s “Mad Money”, and regular contributor to New York Magazine, declared in a recent column that the housing market will begin its long awaited upswing on June 30, 2009.

A self-described “bear” on housing in the past year, Cramer offers 10 reasons why “everyone who now thinks there’s no end in sight to weakening home prices will look like a fool in nine months and will miss the best opportunity to buy since the 1987-1991 real-estate crash.”

It’s a good article and worth reading – if only to get a fresh, and perhaps contrarian view, of what those of us in the trenches have been saying on daily basis – it’s a buyers market.

And now, to paraphrase Mr. Cramer’s 10 reasons:

  1. By next June we won’t be building enough homes to accommodate demand and the gap between supply and demand won’t be made up by unsold inventory.
  2. The $300 billion in FHA loans authorized by Congress will dramatically reduce the number of foreclosed  – and available – homes.
  3. Bargins – with home values dropping 25% to 50%  – homes will be irresistible to millions of potential buyers who have stayed on the sidelines.
  4. Wall Street hiring and payrolls will contract drastically – helping New York, historically the last hold out, reach its bottom.
  5. A steep decline in mortgage rates thanks to repackaged loans from Freddie and Fannie
  6. The bulk of the 2-and-28 loans will have moved through the system
  7. Four million babies are born each year, vastly exceeding the nation’s death rate – we are still a growing nation!
  8. Immigration.
  9. The biggest problem areas are now restricted to three states – Florida, Arizona and California – and the rest of the country has begun to stabilize.
  10. These same three areas bottomed out this summer and the first to fall are the first to return.

Mr. Cramer’s parting advice:  “If you’re a buyer, use the time between now and next June to scout in which neighborhoods you may want to buy.  On June 29, call your broker.”

My advice:   Don’t wait until June 29.  Call me now, at 703.927.4554 and let’s start looking for your new home.


Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently No Comments »

8th Annual National Book Festival Comes to Washington

Love books?  Love to read?  Then this Saturday is for you when the 8th Annual National Book Festival comes to the Washington Mall in a literary extravaganza.

Among more than 70 authors and illustrators participating in the National Book Festival this year are Tiki Barber, Marc Brown, Warren Brown, Kimberly Dozier, Arthur Frommer and Pauline Frommer, Philippa Gregory, Steven Kellogg, Brad Meltzer, Salman Rushdie, Bob Schieffer, Daniel Schorr, Alexander McCall Smith, Paul Theroux and Dionne Warwick.

Festival authors, illustrators and poets will discuss their work in pavilions dedicated to Children, Teens & Children, Fiction & Mystery, History & Biography, Home & Family and Poetry.

PBS characters and NBA/WNBA players will also appear at the festival, including NBA Legend and Hall of Famer Bob Lanier and players Chris Duhon and Ivory Latta.

Organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress and hosted by First Lady Laura Bush, the festival is open and free to the public from 10:00am to 5:30pm (rain or shine).

Virginia and I are both avid readers and this one day celebration of books and reading is one of our “must do” events.  Pack a picnic lunch, take the Metro Blue Line to the Smithsonian exit, find your favorite tent or author and just enjoy.  Maybe we’ll see you there!


Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently No Comments »

August 2008 Home Sales for Alexandria Zip Code 22301

There were 15 August 2008 home sales in zip code 22301 which encompasses the Alexandria neighborhoods of Rosemont and Del Ray.  Median sales price was $510,000; median list price was $525,000 for a 1.71%  differential.  Median days on the market was 33.

2007 figures for the same time period show 23 home sales with a median sales price of $525,000 and a median list price of $525,000.  Median days on the market was 17.

Want more information about specific houses in this sought after zip code?  Call me at 703.927.4554 and let’s talk.

Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently 3 Comments »

House Calls Tackles A Big But Underused Bathroom

This week’s challenge involves a large bathroom (the good news) with a rarely used large tub (the bad news).  Designers Sherry Ways and Susan Schemm of Design Scheme Interiors in Washington suggest a sleek new design.

It makes you wonder – who convinced builders that everyone wanted a large whirlpool tub in their master bath?


Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently No Comments »

5 Great Reasons to Visit Alexandria’s Sixth Annual Festival of the Arts


There are 5 great reasons to visit Alexandria’s Sixth Annual Festival of the Arts this coming weekend, September 13-14:

  1. It is one of the top 100 art fairs in the country.
  2. Artist demonstrations and hands on activities at the Torpedo Factory Art Center.
  3. A family “respite” area in the yard of historic Christ Church Alexandria with refreshments and moon-bounce.
  4. More than $15 million in spectacular paintings, life-size sculptures, handcrafted jewelry, photography, ceramics and more.
  5. A chance to purchase original pieces and talk to the artists.

Plus you’ll have a chance to mosey around Old Town, check out the Alexandria Waterfront, sample myriad shops and restaurants and maybe even check out a few open houses!

The festival will run from 10:00am to 7:00pm on Saturday and from 10:00am to 5:00pm on Sunday. Coming in from the District or outside the beltway?  Take Metro to King Street and then ride the King Street Trolley up, its so easy.

See you there,


Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently No Comments »

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