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Archive for December, 2008

First Night in Old Town Alexandria Has Something for Everyone

Looking for a great, casual way to spend New Year’s Eve?  Look no further than the First Night celebration in Old Town Alexandria.  Whether you are single, coupled, or want to include your children in the festivities, First Night has something for everyone.

Started in Boston in 1976 by a group of civic minded artists,  First Night revives the ancient traditions of marking the passage of time in a present day context.  Now, communities around the country celebrate their own First Night with Alexandria being one of the largest in the country.

First Night in Alexandria will feature 65 acts on 38 indoor stages with a total of 177 performances.  Acts will include music, dance, comedy, storytelling, kid focused events and audience participation events.

We’re looking forward to hearing two local favorites, the Mary Shaver Band and the Irish Breakfast Band.  And capping off the evening?  Fireworks on the grounds of the Masonic Temple!

For more information about this fun filled evening, click here then put your dancin’ shoes on and we’ll see you there.


Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently No Comments »

For Profit Companies Making Money on the Mortgage Crisis

Earlier this year when the stock market was tanking, the recession was “officially” declared to be real, and foreclosures continued to make head lines, I knew, without a doubt, that someone  would find a way to make money in a time when others were losing everything they had.  They always do.


And sure enough, in this morning’s Washington Post, an article by staff writer Renae Merle,  highlighted an industry that is making money on the mortgage crisis.

What are they doing?  It’s very simple,  for profit “loan modification” companies are charging anywhere from $500 to $2500 to help distressed homeowners negotiate better loan terms – a service available for free from many non-profits.

Click here to read about what happened to one Alexandria woman.


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Christmas Day at Historic Christ Church, Alexandria, VA


Christmas Day at Historic Christ Church, Alexandria, VA

Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently 1 Comment »

Merry Christmas


With best wishes in this Christmas season . . . . Michael

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Two Important Changes in Mortgage Pricing And Low Interest Rates Are Good News for Buyers

There are two important changes in this week’s mortgage report.

And for plain ‘ole conforming conventional loans?  Try 5.125% with 0 points.  For more information from Rob Clark at Preferred Mortgage click here.

Thanks for stopping by,


Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently No Comments »

10,000 Wreaths Mark Christmas at Arlington National Cemetery

Yesterday, at just noon, over 2,000 volunteers gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to lay 10,000 Christmas wreaths on the graves of those who have given their lives in service to our country. 


With its motto of Remember, Honor and Teach, this important tradition of rememberance began some 15 years ago and is now known as the Wreaths Across America project.

One man,  Morrill Worcester of Worcester Wreath Company in Harrington, ME, started it all in 1992 when he bought 4,000 surplus wreaths from the holiday decoration company he owns to decorate grave sites at Arlington, delivering the wreaths at his own expense.

As Mr. Worcester noted, “It provides the inspiration for all of us to renew our commitment to honor the men and women of the armed forces who have served, and those who are currently serving our country.”

Even today, all the wreaths and the transportation to get them here, are the result of donations large and small.  Although Arlington is the largest site, the project has grown to include 350 national cemetery sites and over 100,000 wreaths.

Next year Mr. Worcester has committed that another truck load, another 5,000 wreaths will come to Arlington.  And me?  I’ll be one of the volunteers.


Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently 3 Comments »

Alexandria is All About Its Annual Scottish Walk

Alexandria’s Scots heritage and its annual Scottish Walk ranked at #5 on Home and Garden Television’s review of the “Top Ten Towns for Christmas.”  Take a look for yourself and see just what makes living in this area so special.

Thanks for stopping by  –  Michael


Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently 1 Comment »

Realtor Vs Homeowners Assocation in Northern Virginia

Yesterday the Washington Post ran an article on a homeowner who is battling his homeowners association in Northern Virginia’s Loudoun County.  The article, titled “Driveway Painting Tests Religious Freedom” caught my eye for  two reasons.  One, we own an investment property that is part of a homeowners association and two, the homeowner in this story is also a Realtor.

The stand off boils down to this:  the homeowner, Ram Balasubramanian, a devout Hindu, painted a permanent Hindu religious symbol on his driveway.  The South Villages Homeowners Association says he has made “unapproved modifications” to the driveway.

I don’t have a bone in this fight  but as a Realtor – and a property owner – I do know that homeowner associations are put in to place for good reason and, for the most part, they are well intended.  Among other things they help maintain property values by enforcing maintenance and presentation standards and they can serve as a neutral body between disgruntled neighbors if necessary.

As a Realtor, I also know that it is important for buyers to understand – and for me to convey –  what they are signing up for and what rights they are signing away when they chose to live in such a community.

The Post noted, “Experts in homeowners association law say that although residents give up some right to unfettered speech when they move in and agree to the rules, courts have at times sided with individual rights when associations tried to limit flags or signs.  In the past, tempers have flared over holiday lights and Jewish mezuzas, which are attached to doorposts.”

Frank Rathbun, spokesman for the Community Associations Institute said, “Free speech and free expression are incredibly important values, but these are private communities with established rules in place to protect homeowners . . . bottom line, it’s a tough dilemma.”  An estimated 50 million people in the United States live in such neighborhoods.

What do you think?  Does religious freedom take precedence?  Is the homeowners association  right?  Should Mr. Balasubramanian have known to check the rules?

To read the entire article, click here.


Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently 1 Comment »

Mortgage Rates Continue to Fall in Northern Virginia As Well As Across the Country

Just like gasoline prices, mortgage rates have continued to slide downward. A few things to note:

For more on the mortgage market, click here.   For more on buying or selling real estate in Northern Virginia, call 703.927.4554.

Thanks for stopping by,


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Alexandria VA Named One of Top Ten Christmas Towns by HGTV

Alexandria has been named as one of the Top Ten Christmas Towns in America by Home and Garden Television (HGTV).   Along with nine other towns “who love to take Christmas to the limit”, Alexandria will be part of a one hour special tomorrow night (Sunday, Dec. 7th at 8:00pm) on HGTV.

We’re looking forward to this special look at the annual Holiday Boat Parade and much more . . .


And I’d love to tell you about living in Alexandria.  Give me a call at 703.927.4554, it’s a great place to call home.


Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently 2 Comments »

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