National Open House Weekend 4/10-11

Coordinated open house weekend helps buyers take advantage of tax credits, ideal affordability conditions

Thousands of Properties Open to the Public

Chantilly, VA — Long & Foster® Real Estate, Inc. is joining forces with the National Association of REALTORS® by participating in the National Open House Weekend on April 10-11. With the federal homebuyers tax credit expiring April 30, the open house weekend will provide an opportunity for homebuyers to take advantage of historic home buying opportunities.

To make it even easier for potential buyers, loan officers with Prosperity Mortgage® Company will be on site at as many Long & Foster open house locations as possible to answer questions and pre-qualify interested buyers.

“Long & Foster and our sales associates are committed to making the home buying and selling experience the best possible for our customers,” stated Gary Scott, president real estate brokerage, Long & Foster® Real Estate, Inc. “We are delighted to participate in this unique opportunity enabling sellers to showcase their homes and buyers to shop for a home while interest rates are low, home prices are affordable, and before the tax credit ends on April 30th.”

“The National Association of Realtors®’ Housing Affordability Index rose to record high levels this year,” explained Jeffrey S. Detwiler, president and chief operating officer of The Long & Foster® Companies. The index is a measure of the financial ability of U.S. families to buy a house and ended 2009 at over 170. An index above 100 signifies that a family earning the median income has more than enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a median-priced home, assuming a 20 percent down payment. More information on the Housing Affordability Index can be found at the National Association of Realtors® website (www.realtor.org).

“It’s a thorough analysis,” Detwiler added. “Combine this information with the expiring tax credit and buyers are being presented with a unique opportunity to take advantage of a market with affordability levels not seen in decades. We expect a high level of activity over the next few weeks and would recommend buyers make their plans to see the homes they are most interested in as early as possible.”

For information on Long & Foster homes for sale in communities throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, visit www.longandfoster.com. To preview homes scheduled to be open on April 10-11, visit this site to search for open houses that meet your criteria.

Cherry Blossom Festival Runs from March 27 – April 11

Spring in Washington is my favorite time of year.  Growing up here, I always enjoyed the annual trek downtown to the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms in bloom. The “guest of honor” (the cherry blossoms in bloom) doesn’t always arrive in time for the annual festival, or may have arrived and already be gone, but this year it looks like the peak date of blooms falls right within the  festival celebration and if the temperatures don’t get too warm, rainy or windy, we may be able to enjoy the blossoms through the parade on April 10th.

For details on the Cherry Blossom Festival and its related events, go to the  official festival site here.  The Washington Post also has a site dedicated to the festival here.

The area around the Tidal Basin and East Potomac Park is the most popular place to visit and you can even rent a paddle boat to get out on the water and enjoy them there.  But if you don’t want to fight the crowds at the Tidal Basin, try the National Arboretum which offers a self-guided tour or visit  the  Kenwood neighborhood near River Road and Brookside Drive in Bethesda/Chevy Chase which offers a seasonal walk.  Blooms in Kenwood should peak a few days later than the ones in DC because of cooler temperatures.

Arlington Art Center to go in former Newseum space

photo courtesy of Arlington Arts
A new cultural center in Rosslyn scheduled to open 10-10-10 will combine the former Newseum space with the Rosslyn Spectrum. A countywide contest to come up with a name for the new center resulted in “Artisphere.” To see more about what this new center will include and its purpose click here

Sledding Allowed on Capitol Hill this weekend

According to local news sources, Senator Chris Dodd requested and received a waiver on the ban on sledding on the hill at the Capitol for the President’s Day weekend. Click this link for more info.   http://www.wjla.com/news/stories/0210/705991.html

Arlington’s Four High Schools Rank in Top 100 in Challenge Index

H-B Woodlawn tops the list of area high schools in The Washington Post’s 2010 Challenge Index which measures a public high school’s effort to challenge all of its students.  Three of the four Arlington high schools finished in the top ten, with Washington-Lee High School at Number 6 and Yorktown High School at #10.  Wakefield High School also made the top 100 with the #53 spot.


Earth Day Event Scheduled for National Mall

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Earth Day 2009 is April 22nd.  This date will mark the beginning of  The Green Generation Campaign, a two year initiative that will culminate in next year’s 40th anniversary of Earth Day.  The campaign encourages individuals to become members of the Green Generation by agreeing to be an active citizen, transform their immediate environment, stay informed and inform others, and consume wisely. 

 In recognition of Earth Day 2009, the Earth Day Network is holding a large-scale event on the National Mall in Washington, DC. On April 19th from noon to 6pm.  For details go to The Earth Day Network website.   The event will have speakers, entertainment and exhibitors.

Historic Garden Week in Virginia is April 18-25th, 2009

dsc_0054Homes and gardens around the state will be on tour during Virginia’s Historic Garden Week.  For a schedule of tours go to Virginia Garden Week’s website.  In our area, the Fairfax Garden Club is hosting a tour of homes and gardens in McLean on Tuesday April 21st.   On Saturday, April 17th, the Alexandria Garden Club will have many historic homes and gardens available to tour, including George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate.

Cherry Blossom Festival Opens March 27th, 2011

Cherry Blossoms in bloom at the Tidal Basin

Cherry Blossoms in bloom at the Tidal Basin

My favorite time of year in this area is when the cherry blossoms come out.  The “guests of honor”  are not always here in time for the Cherry Blossom Festival.  The next festival begins March 7th, 2011.  Many activities are planned during the two week period of the festival including the  SushiMasters competition which debuted in 2010.  The area around the Tidal Basin and East Potomac Park is the most popular place to visit and you can even rent a paddle boat to get out on the water and enjoy them there.  But if you don’t want to fight the crowds at the Tidal Basin, try the National Arboretum which offers a self-guided tour or visit  the  Kenwood neighborhood near River Road and Brookside Drive in Bethesda/Chevy Chase which offers a seasonal walk.  Blooms in Kenwood should peak a few days later than the ones in DC because of cooler temperatures.