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Archive for June, 2009

The 2009 Best Ranger Competition Makes This Northern Virginia Realtor Proud

Having a video about an Army Ranger competition on a real estate blog may not make much sense – at first.  But for those who know me and know how much pride I take in having served as a Ranger and a Ranger instructor it makes all the sense in the world.

Ranger training is tough, it’s competitive and it gives new meaning to the word challenging.  According to the National Ranger Association, the mission of Ranger training is to “develop leadership skills, confidence and competence  . . . to perform effectively  . . . in tactically realistic environments.  The course is designed to further develop leaders who are physically and mentally tough and self-disciplined and challenges them to think, act and react effectively in stress approaching that found in combat.”

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I would never compare buying or selling real estate to combat – but it is a challenging environment that demands confidence and competence. I am proud to have served my country, proud to have been a Ranger – and now I have the opportunity to put all that experience to work – for YOU.

So, if you are interested in buying or selling, or if you are relocating to Northern Virginia, just remember RLTW – RANGERS LEAD THE WAY and give me a call at 703.927.4554.

Michael


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3rd Annual Del Ray Music Festival is a Mid-Summer’s Dream

 Saturday, June 27, 2009

With temperatures in the mid-80’s and low, low humidity, the 3rd Annual Del Ray Music Festival could rightly qualify as a Mid-Summer’s Dream.  Here “Blue” takes an obligatory rest. 

A brief spat of rain showers in the early afternoon was the only deterrent to an otherwise perfect day.

Sandy and Aaron Faulkner of Mt. Ida Avenue (with Henry)

Folks took advantage of strategically placed hay bales, dry ground for picnic blankets and generous space as they scattered  the grounds of the Mt. Vernon Recreation Center.

Jen & Jeff Mueller live on Uhler Terrace

Toddlers had plenty of room to run, stroller babies were appropriately admired, and dogs submitted to endless pats of affection.

Friends Rob and Dayna Blumel with Owen.  Rob is president of the Board of Directors for our favorite Alexandria Olympia Boys and Girls Club.

And in case you are wondering, there were plenty of single adults and older adults (much like myself) too.  In fact, it was great representation of Del Ray’s appealing diversity.  The Washington Post noted that ” . . . the festival looks as quaint as the neighborhood itself.  It promises to be cozy and friendly, just like . . . Del Ray.”                                                                                                                                           

 

 Local food vendors did a landslide business as did all the restaurants on Mt. Vernon Avenue.  Dining al fresco was particularly appealing since the music could be heard for blocks.

Sammy, their human, Lexie

Noah and Patches

Noah was visiting from Fall Church while Patches lives with Larry Saunders on Raymond Ave.

Thanks to the Del Ray business community and the army of volunteers who made this yet another great Saturday, Del Ray style.

Michael

P.S. Want to know more about this thriving and very special neighborhood?  Call me at 703.927.4554.

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2009 Del Ray Music Festival

If you haven’t already marked your calendar, then get out your pen and do it now for the:

2009 Del Ray Music Festival

Saturday, June 27

The all day event will take place on the grounds of the Mt. Vernon Recreation Center at 2701 Commonwealth Avenue.  Twelve major groups will headline on the main stage with Swing Command kicking off at 10:00am and our favorite Dagmar and the Seductones closing out at 10:00pm.  For the full music schedule click here.

Much like a trip to Wolftrap, you can bring your own blanket and picnic basket or you can take advantage of strategically placed hay bales for seating.

Food for purchase is being supplied by five local restaurants – Del Merie Grill, Evening Star Cafe, Cafe Pizzaiolo, Tanqueria Poblano, and Let’s Meat on the Avenue.


Oh, and did we say that there will be games for the children and that the admission is FREE?  For directions to the festival, click here

No two ways about it, Del Ray is the place to be, this and every Saturday!

If you want to know more about living in this great neighborhood, call me at 703.927.4554.

See you on Saturday,

Michael

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Del Ray’s Dairy Godmother Rates Visit from President Obama

Del Ray, one of Alexandria’s favorite neighborhoods – and the place we call home – was the scene of a Presidential “drive by” on Saturday,, June 20.  Yes, President Obama, accompanied by Sasha and Malia, made a stop at the Dairy Godmother much to the delight of local residents.

The President and his daughter placed their order at the counter (no special treatment here), waited patiently, posed for a few pictures, signed a few autographs and 15 minutes later headed back across the Potomac.  Oh yes, they took a bag of “Puppy Pops” too for first dog Bo.

The Dairy Godmother, a Mt. Vernon Avenue fixture since 2001, is the brain child of former pastry chef and Del Ray resident Liz Davis.

Way to go Liz,

Michael

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Arlington, VA Takes the “Rap” in YouTube Smash

Although most of our local real estate coverage tends to be about the Alexandria area, we couldn’t resist sharing this piece of Arlington, VA news.  This funny funny take on a rap style song hit YouTube Thursday morning and has become an instant smash – at least in Northern Virginia.

As noted in this morning’s Washington Post, the video makes “gentle sport of Virginia’s most liberal community as a wonky, nice-but-maybe-too-nice haven for Prius-driving, latte-sipping, crunchy-granola-eating suburbanites.”

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A parody of a parody, the video was posted by a McLean native who identifies himself only as “Remy.”  Watch out Susan Boyle – America has talent too!

Enjoy – and if you want to be part of the Arlington scene, call me at 703.927.4554 and we’ll make it happen.

Michael

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May Real Estate Sales in Northern Virginia See Upswing in Repeat Buyers

Sixty percent of May real estate sales in Northern Virginia were composed of repeat buyers.  This is in contrast to April sales where sixty percent of the buyers were first time home owners.

First-time buyers, taking advantage of their $8,000 tax credit incentive, have bought the “starter homes” on the market – encouraging more sellers to move up to a new, larger home.  In fact, today’s environment, with lower prices for everyone, is the perfect model for “moving up”.

Here is why moving up to a larger home is better now:  because all properties in the area have depreciated by the same percentage. Assume a home was valued at $250,000 and then depreciated by 20%, leaving a current value of $200,000. A previously valued $500,000 home at 20% less is now $400,000.

A homeowner would sell their home for $50,000 less than its high value, but would buy the larger home for $100,000 less, giving that homeowner a $50,000 positive increase.

Take a look at the graphs below to see how housing inventory is doing in your area:

Alexandria

Arlington

Fairfax

Washington, DC

If you, or someone you know, think now is the time to consider “moving up”, please contact me at 703.927.4554 and let see how the numbers work for you.

Michael

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Where to Eat First? Del Ray Restaurant Week 2009

Del Ray Restaurant Week 2009 kicks off tomorrow, June 5 and runs through Saturday, June 14.  This is the first time Del Ray has ventured out with it own restaurant week.  It is a real tribute to the vibrancy of the local business community and the quality and variety of restaurants in Del Ray.  The only problem we see with this great promotion is choosing where to eat first!


As an added incentive, after “frequent diners”  collect stamps at four participating businesses they will become eligible for a drawing to win a luxurious weekend for two at the new Lorien Hotel and Spa in Old Town Alexandria.

Entry cards must be submitted by June 30, 2009 to Artfully Chocolate/Kingsbury Confections.  The grand prize winner will be announced on July 2 during First Thursday.

To find out more about the 17 participating restaurants and the specials being offered, click here.

Bon Appetit!

Michael.

P.S. A steady rain kept us from getting to First Thursday tonight.  We’ll keep our fingers crossed for July

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Mortgage Rates Moving Up

Mortgage rates moved up this week for no easily discernible reason.  After fluctuating wildly, the rates ended higher than we have seen them in months.

This jump is a good reminder that rates can move at anytime and with the current economy that move is going to be UP.

For my full report, click here.

Thanks to Rob Clark at Preferred Mortgage for this timely update.  Think about how today’s rates and the first time buyers credit fit in with your home buying plans and then give me a call at 703.927.4554.

Michael

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