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Archive for March, 2009

Spring Clean Up ‘09 Comes to Alexandria

Wondering what to do with all that “stuff” that accumulated over the winter?  Eager to clean and purge but not up for a yard sale?  Then the City of Alexandria is ready to help you with Spring Clean Up  ’09.  An added bonus this year is metal and electronics recycling.

Starting Saturday, April 4 and continuing through Saturday, May 2nd, the City of Alexandria will provide pick up service to all city residents.

The rules:

  1. Place materials at the CURB (no alley pick-up) before 7:00am on the assigned pick-up day.
  2. Stoves, refrigerators, washers, dryers, hot water heaters, freezers, and dish washers require a $20 per item collection fee.
  3. Tie brush in bundles no more than 4 feet long and not more than 75lbs.

Items must be placed in 4 distinct piles:

  1. Reusable items – tables, chairs, household furniture or any other reusable item
  2. Metal items – pots, pans, toasters, wire hangers
  3. Electronics – stereos, computers, televisions
  4. Refuse

UNACCEPTABLE ITEMS:

Click here for more information about recycling, hazardous waste and a MAP of when Spring Clean Up 09 is coming to you.  And click here for pictures from last year.

Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently 4 Comments »

Tips on Saving Energy and Money at Home

The Department of Energy has produced a great booklet called “Energy Savers, Tips on Saving Energy and Money at Home.”

Included in the booklet are tips on:

There is also a major appliance shopping guide and as well as information on home office electronics, car maintenance and renewable energy.  Want to know more about saving money and green living?  Click here for the full booklet.

Thanks for stopping by,

Michael

Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently No Comments »

Federal Reserve Continues to Purchase Mortgage-Backed Debt and Securites

From our mortgage specialist, Rob Clarke: “Last week was another huge week for the mortgage industry with the Federal Reserve announcing a  massive extension to its ongoing program of purchasing mortgage-backed debt and securities. The original $600 billion program was announced in November, and the Fed has been spending approximately $4 billion per day buying mortgage-backed securities.

Assuming the Fed continues to buy at this rate, the additional $750 billion will enable the Fed to purchase nearly every conforming mortgage originated this year. Along with the other programs announced, the Fed has made it clear to the market that it intends to keep interest rates contained in an effort to help bolster the economy.”

For more about what this means for home buyers in Alexandria and Northern Virginia, click here.

Thanks Rob,

Michael

Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently No Comments »

HGTV Targets Northern Virginia for New Real Estate Reality Show

HGTV, purveyor of real estate “reality” shows, is casting in Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, DC area for a new show called “Real Estate Intervention”.


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The casting flyer asks “Are you confused as to how much your home is really worth?  Do you need some impartial real estate advice?” and then goes on to say that they are looking for energetic homeowners desperate to sell.

Ummmm, does that mean 1) that licensed, practicing real estate agents are not capable of determining the worth of a house or 2) that lethargic homeowners may not be desperate to sell?

Such is the world of reality TV, so if you are one of those energetic homeowners looking for impartial advice, click here for more details.

But, if you would like to talk to a real estate agent who is boots to the ground in Northern Virginia, call me at 703.927.4554, all energy levels accepted!

Thanks for stopping by,

Michael

Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently 2 Comments »

Del Ray Meet-N-Greet Draws Over 80 Exhibitors and 200 Neighbors

Del Ray’s annual Meet-n-Greet, sponsored by the Del Ray Citizens Association, drew over 80 exhibitors and more than 200 neighbors to the George Washington Middle School tonight.  The Meet-n-Greet is designed to introduce neighbors to the wealth of services, businesses and individuals who help make Del Ray one of the most sought after neighborhoods in Alexandria.

 

It is also a great way for organizations to tout their services and, in some instances, recruit for volunteers.  And best of all, it was just a fun way to have a casual night out.

 

One of the big draws was the scale model of the Potomac Yard Development that is currently underway.  Other exhibits included Bike/Walk Alexandria, the Animal Welfare League, Master Gardeners, the Gay and Lesbian Community Association, Volunteer Alexandria and the Department of Consumer Affairs.

Next up on the DRCA calendar, the Farmers Market Reboot and the MV Big Flea.

Michael

Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently No Comments »

Lenders Beginning to Accept FHA and Conforming Loans; Struggling Homeowners Subject to Scam Artists

From our go-to mortgage broker Rob Clark:

A few lenders have started accepting the higher FHA and Conforming Plus loan amounts of $729,750.  I suspect all will have their systems updated and will allow for the higher loan amount within the next few weeks.

 Details for the bailout portion of the stimulus package still remain clouded.  Although the government had initially specified a date of March 4 there are still a number of unanswered questions that exist and all lenders are working through the “how to administer” details of the plan presently. “

 Rob also notes that “all of the government’s new programs to help struggling homeowners has created a rapidly growing industry of scam artists looking to ‘help’ distressed homeowners navigate the complexities of getting mortgage assistance.”

For more about these scam artists and for details on this week’s mortgage rates, click here.

Thanks for stopping by,

Michael

 

Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently No Comments »

Job Growth Means Northern Virginia is Recession Resilient

Despite the doom and gloom in every newspaper or the dire predictions of TV’s talking heads, Northern Virginia is NOT in a true recession.  In fact, Northern Virginia is recession resilient.  Why?

Because we have job growth.  The Washington metro area including Northern Virginia and the Maryland suburbs, ranks fourth for the largest job base in the country, only behind New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, and is one of only 5 metro areas nationwide which continues to add jobs. While the rate of job growth has slowed since 2006, more jobs are still being created.

Look around, mall parking lots are still full, restaurants are still taking reservations and real estate is still selling.

According to the MRIS (Metropolitan Regional Information System) 2008 year end report, “The Washington area economy continues to create jobs, which will fuel demand for housing and help the residential market regain equilibrium.  By late 2009/early 2010, we expect that rising demand (propelled by job growth and federal spending) will bring traction to the Washington metro housing market.”

In the meantime, there is an increase in buyer activity so far this year although we are still seeing a large gap between list price and sold price.  The average sale price in the fourth quarter of 2008 was 90.8% of list price.

Homes priced at true market value are selling in less time and for a higher priceThe more a property is overpriced, the longer it stays on the market and the ratio of list price to sales price increases. Click here to see what the right price means in terms of days on market.

Want to know more about buying or selling your house in the current market?  Give me a call at 703.927.4554.

Thanks for stopping by,

Michael

Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently 2 Comments »

Alexandria Hit by Largest Snowfall in Three Years

 

 7:30am, Monday, March 2, 2009

Posted by Michael Bergin | Currently No Comments »

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