November 23, 2011 at 3:02 pm EDT | by Sue Goodhart
Lighting the region

Christmas light displays vary throughout the region during the holidays. This 2009 file photo shows the White House and National Christmas Tree in 2009. (Photo courtesy Wikimedia)

The most fun to have at this holiday season is to put up holiday decorations and entertain friends and family. I suspect that many home-buying decisions are made during this time by folks who want to personalize their homes and can’t because they live in anonymous rental homes.

In the suburbs, creativity rules. From conservative front door wreaths to full-blown lighting displays, homeowners are able to decorate as they please. Luminaries define sidewalks in Del Ray — opulent lighting displays are shown on front lawns and homes in Riverside Estates and other “down the Parkway” homes areas near Mt. Vernon. Urban Arlington villages like Fairlington and Arlington Village display more modest holiday décor.

Many homes with spacious front and rear lawns in the Riverside Estates neighborhood are for sale for less than $500,000. In Del Ray, a neighborhood within 10 minutes of National Airport, Old Town Alexandria and Crystal City, that price describes a row home, townhouse or duplex.

Not many years ago, families migrated to the suburbs from the city as children came along. The boundaries are now blurred as more families opt for city life and its many attractions and opportunities. Restaurants and box retailers that were previously only in the suburbs are now in Washington and trendy restaurant chains are now more likely to be in the suburbs. And singles find themselves in the suburbs where they may be closer to employment and where bars and restaurants increasingly market to the singles crowd.

If you’re hunting for a home and neighborhood where you’ll be comfortable, we’re able to share our expertise. We can explain the appeal of Alexandria’s weekend-long holiday Scottish Walk celebration or the many events that mark the National Cathedral’s holiday celebrations. If you follow our blog, we’ll be keeping you up to date on goings on from Georgetown to Silver Spring.

It’s an interesting time of year for the house hunter. You have the opportunity to observe neighborhoods at their best — open houses, markets, caroling, religious activities, school programs, decorations and restaurant special menus. Home prices have leveled out in most neighborhoods and 15- and 30-year mortgage rates are unbelievably low. Homes are decorated for the holidays and many are open for holiday tours.

Walk around to discover for yourself the attractions an area offers, go online to get more information and call us to arrange a tour of available properties in the neighborhoods you like. We know about Metro access, local restaurants and businesses and we’d love to share all the holiday happenings and house hunting with you.

Sue Goodhart is the top-producing agent at McEnearney Associates in Allexandria and is licensed in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. She can be reached at 202-507-7800 or

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