Friday, February 17, 2017

The Real Estate Benefits of the Super Bowl

Not unlike the Olympics, preparation for a city's hosting the Super Bowl takes years of preparation.  These often include stadium uplifting, work on infrastructure, as well as renovations on hotels that will soon host up to one million tourists and sports fans.  Surprisingly, this one game and millions in renovations impact the real estate market long after the confetti has settled.

If you look at Houston, they began preparing for Super Bowl LI by renovating the George R. Brown Convention Center to the tune of $175 million.  The city of Houston spent $17 million alone on a 2-mile stretch of road from the airport to the Gulf Freeway!  In addition, the housing market focused on welcoming wealthy individuals and celebrities who would be looking for luxury accommodations.

As of 2016, nearly 30,000 new unit has been constructed across Houston which effectively doubled the rental market in the downtown area.  This new market has the highest average rental rate in the entire city, in fact.  Unsurprisingly, this mimics how Charlotte's rental market is developing.

Sports games such are great catalysts for improvements that everyone, not just renters can enjoy too! In the case of Houston, the Super Bowl pushed for huge improvements in regards to restaurant development, completion of more hotels, and upgrades to landscaping throughout the city.

It's truly incredible how events are able to affect the's to hoping Charlotte sees something has impactful soon!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Design Trends in 2017

1) Move Over Gray, There's A New Color In Town
For the past several years, gray has been the most cutting edge color in interior paint.  It accents well against white trim and provides a modern twist on the dominant khaki colors of past.  However, consumers have started to long for a connection to a warmer, more nature oriented design (more on that later), so in response Sherwin-Williams has named Poisted Taupe  their color of the year.

 “Poised Taupe celebrates everything people love about cool gray as a neutral, and also brings in the warmth of a weathered, woodsy neutral and a sense of coziness and harmony that people seek,” 
-Sue Wadden, Sherwin-Williams' director of color marketing. 

2) Less Work, More Play at Home
Studies find that Americans work more now than ever, and are often delaying retirement.  So to combat this increased in stress, we are beginning to see more "fun" places incorporated into a home design.  Bocce ball courts, putting greens, frisbee golf goals, are all some of the most popular! They don't take up a lot of space and can provide hours of entertainment (plus are a fun conversational piece!).  For those that may not have the backyard space, we've also seen an increase in indoor simulators, especially golf.  These work well in a media room and allow for the space to be flexible, depending on your mood!

3) More Renewable Surfaces
As I indicated earlier, the plethora of technology in our lives has pushed home owners to search out more tactile materials and surfaces that convey a sense of naturalness and warmth.  A huge favorite right now is natural cork, since its resistant to mold, mildew, water, termites, fire, cracking...the list goes on! It can also be stained with water based polyurethane, so don't be surprised to see it on walls and floors, but also seating surfaces!

4) Quartzite is out, Laminate is (back) in!
Quartzite has long been the favorite alternative to granite, since it was cheaper.  While quartzite and quartz are still popular and great options, great laminate options that mimic concrete, wood, metal, and stone make great alternatives.  They can often be installed in 1 day, since the old countertops don't have to be removed, and their pricing is comparable to quartzite/quartz.  Another bonus: they're not as porous and resist stains and scratches much better!

Monday, February 13, 2017

How to Park in Uptown Charlotte for FREE!

If you're like me, the thing you hate most about going uptown (aside from navigating one-way streets) is the parking! Not only do I have trouble finding it, but it's always at least $20 or more (especially if you get a ticket for overstaying your time limit. I've, uh, heard from a friend...)

Surprisingly, there is a lot of free parking throughout the wards of Charlotte (see image below):
Courtesy of

Where to park for free at night:
All 1,100 of the metered spots! When the city installed metered parking, it took away a lot of the street parking.  However, you CAN park in these spots for free after 6 p.m. throughout the week! Just be sure to know that South Blvd. is exempt from this rule; those are always monitored, so watch out.

First Ward:
Off of 7th street and N. Davidson, Alexander, and N. Caldwell is the Garden District.  This area has tons of free parking! Of course, it's off limits during events at the Spectrum Center Arena (previously Time Warner Cable Arena).

Second Ward:
No dice on this one...

Third Ward:
Again, not a ton of options here given that the Bank of America Stadium and BB&T Ballpark call this area home.  There are a few spots along some streets near Frazier Park (S Sycamore St and W Hill St), but these also have time limits, restrict parking to those with residential parking permits, and/or don't allow parking on days with events at the stadiums.

Fourth Ward:
The Holy Grail of free parking!  

I saved the best for last! The historic Fourth Ward is ripe with free parking along its many residential streets.  For up to 2 hours, you can park all around Fourth Ward Park on N Pine, N Poplar, and N Smith, plus W 10th St.  These spots can easily put you within 2 blocks of Tryon or Trade.  Just don't forget to watch your 2 hour time limit.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Making Your Home a Historic Landmark

Certain areas in Charlotte have become popular for their renovation projects or "flips" that take older, dilapidated homes and transform them into updated projects that satisfy the need for a trendy home that is close to the social scene of Uptown.  While this trend is great for revitalizing areas around town, many fear that Charlotte will become a city of "new," forsaking the jewels of the past for sleek, contemporary design.

This commission of 12 members is designed to designate landmarks that have historical significance and preserve them. This open ended designation can apply to skyscrapers, homes, buildings, and even moveable objects! In fact, the HLC website indicates that there are 472 entries in Charlotte, with 355 alone being in Mecklenburg County (see them mapped here).

To qualify, the commission prepares a report signifying and documenting the historical history of the landmark, which is then sent to the North Carolina Divisions of Archives and History.  However, regardless of this divisions findings, the local government board also has a meeting to decide on the property in question; if they approve it, the owner receives an ordinance declaring his/her home of historical significance.

The benefit to becoming a historic landmark is the tax break-- 50% off of local property tax!

However, there are a few potential draw backs:
  • Design changes to a designated landmark must be first approved by the HLC.  In addition, the demolition of an HLC approved landmark can also be delayed for a year, so that the commission has time to review and exercise eminent domain.
  • Commission members can enter the grounds of a historic landmark at any time to conduct inspections, but an interior inspection requires approval from the owner.
  • If for some reason the commission removes a property's landmark designation, the owner would be required to pay back the taxes in full, plus a penalty.

Monday, February 6, 2017

A New Social House Coming Our Way!

You may be asking yourself, "A Social House...? What even IS that?"

A social house is a new phenomenon coming to Charlotte's nightlife scene, which has been dominated by bars, clubs, or breweries for far too long.  Our first social house, Piedmont Social House, is a prime example of what to expect: good food, a full drink menu, bowling, games, room to relax, etc.!  These social houses take the best of what Charlotte's night life already has, but expands on it by adding lots of room and a multitude of ways to spend your night all in the same place.

Charlotte's newest social house is Queen Park Social, located in the Lower South End district, is set to open in March of 2017.  Similar to Piedmont Social House it also offers bowling, but that's not the main focus.  Located directly across from The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, the space boasts a huge 250 seat dining area, a Vegas style horseshoe bar with seating for 100, a private party space, a large patio, and a lounge area with shuffleboard.  The menu is reported to be a TexMex inspired offering with 24 draft beers, wine, and cocktails.

Because of it's location and late hours (2 am on the weekend), Queen Park Social is definitely expected to attract a more adult/party crowd and less of the families.  There are also lots of breweries surrounding it, like Sugar Creek Brewing, Great Wagon Road Distilleries, Broken Spoke, and Doc Porter's.  

Bonus: Queen Park Social is within walking distance to the Scaley Bark Light Rail Station, so you can easily take the train in all the way from South Charlotte (and soon from the University area!).  

Charlotte's night scene continues to evolve and adapt to our ever growing population. Expect to see more fun, new ideas like social houses popping up!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Why Keller Williams is Your Best Bet

Now, I know that no one likes a bragger...but the truth is the truth! It's hard to argue with numbers.

Let me start by saying how much I love working at Keller Williams, all of the hard facts aside.  I have been with several other big name firms in Charlotte and never found the same level of support and education that Keller Williams provides.  When you work with a KW agent, you're working with someone who has the most up-to-date information, the sharpest skill set, and a great attitude to boot!

This is likely why Keller Williams is the largest real estate franchise in the world with over 133,000 agents and 770 offices worldwide.  It was also named the number 1 training organization across all industries in the world in 2015 by Training Magazine.

So, let's talk numbers, so you understand why Keller Williams consistently 
outperforms the local market: 

As of Jan 1, 2016-Jan 1, 2017 Keller Williams was the top producing firm in Charlotte sales with a total volume of $3,622,657,110.00 in sales! A distant #2  was Allen Tate with a volume of $2,821,929,423.00.

Breaking it down every further, Keller Williams South Park (my office) had the highest sale volume at $430,631,540! Of course another Keller Williams office was #2 at $388,419,224!

In fact, my office had a 25% increase in closed contracts from the previous year, while the market saw only a 4% increase.  We also helped purchase 51% more homes than the previous year, while the market only increased 25%.

The most shocking difference was that my office saw an increase in the contract price for properties by 106%! Meanwhile, the market saw a DECREASE of -5% in contract price.

All in all, Keller Williams also outpaces the entire industry as a whole in transaction growth AND on closed sales volume by 3x.

If it's not clear by now, you are in the BEST hands when you're with a Keller Williams agent-
the numbers just don't lie!

Monday, January 30, 2017

These Charlotte Neighborhoods To See Highest Value Growth in 2017

Just this month, Zillow released their findings for the 10 Hottest Housing Markets for 2017.  While Charlotte somehow missed the list (really?), Charlotte's home value growth is still outpacing the national average.  The median value is expected to rise 3% while Charlotte is continuing its impressive growth at 3.8%!

There is hope still for buyers, however! The incredible growth we experienced from Nov 2015-Nov 2016 has cooled (it was a scorching 8.1% increase) and sellers continue to put their homes on the market, so supply is low but still existent.

Much to sellers' delight, Zillow has noted our market as "very hot" with sellers still holding the advantage over buyers.  In fact, some of the areas in Charlotte are expected to see value growth more than double that of the national or Charlotte average!

Here's a glimpse at the top 10 in growth, plus their median home values:
1) Yorkmount, 10% projected growth. $114,600 median value
2) Thomasboro-Hoskins, 8.6%; $75,600
3) Oaklawn, 8.5%; $81,000
4) Belmont, 8.4%. $117,500
5) Lincoln Heights, 7.8%; $80,100
6) Wilmore, 7.8%; $224,000
7) Country Club Heights, 7.2%; $207,200
8) Collingwood, 7.1%; $240,700
9) Washington Heights, 6.9%; $65,200
10) Derita-Statesville, 6.8%; $117,400

Friday, January 27, 2017

What to Expect in 2017 from Charlotte's Housing Market

If you've were looking to buy a home in 2016 in Charlotte, you know how much of a seller's market it was! Homes were flying off the market, often before they even officially hit.  In fact, the Charlotte inventory was down 25.7% in December, as compared to December of 2015.  Overall, we had a 2.5 months supply of inventory--well below the 6 month supply that is considered balanced for both buyers and sellers.  Despite all of this, we still ended up growing 8% in sales year-to-date!

Not only did sellers see an increase in sales, there was an increase in median and average sales price year over year, as well as an increase in the median and average sales price for all of 2016!

Although it doesn't look like 2017 holds much change in terms of supply (read: homes still being sold super fast!) and mortgage rates are likely to increase, there is hope yet! According to the president of the Carolina Regional Realtors Association Roger Parham, "Positive job growth over the last year and a healthy local economy continue to boos consumer spending and housing demand, which should help sales remain steady throughout 2017."

So, what does all of this mean for us?

Sellers: you're pretty set for 2017.  You still have the likelihood of having your home sell quickly and possibly entering into multiple offer situations, if you play your cards right (this doesn't mean you get to be greedy! People still have their whits about them, even in this fast moving market).

Buyers:  You need to make sure that you have all of your ducks in a row, especially when it comes to your financing.  This means you need to have a pre-qualification letter (NOT just a pre-approval letter!) ready and be able to respond to homes that are new to the market quickly.  Have a good idea of what your limits are, so that you can respond to sellers in a timely manner. Remember: if you don't someone else will!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Does the Type of Road Your House is On Matter?

When you're looking at a home, what are some of the first things that you notice? Maybe the front yard, maybe the front door, maybe the paint color, but how many of us pay attention to the ROAD that the home is on?

"Aren't all roads the same?" "I thought we were buying a house- what's the road got to do with it?" The answers are NO! and EVERYTHING!

When you are looking at buying a home, you already need to think about selling it.  It sounds crazy, I know, but you're probably never going to buy your "forever home" (sorry to burst any bubbles). The fact is, you're probably going to end up selling your home anywhere from 5-10 years, so you need to plan ahead: what sort of challenges could you see if you were on the selling end?  

While many things may be in your control, such as the age of the room, landscaping, renovations, etc. some aren't.  One of the biggest factors that you need to consider is the type of road your house is on.

Consider this: you see a home in the afternoon when everyone is at work, so traffic is minimal.  However, there's a solid double line--this is a red flag! This means that this road can get seriously busy-so much so, they don't want you passing anyone on it.  

How about a corner lot? While it may seem like fun to have such visibility for your landscaping, holiday decorations, or that fresh coat of paint you have planned, this lot position is bad news bears! Often, these homes are positioned on the lot to have a small backyard and large sideyards-not the easiest thing to sell.  You've also got double the road to worry about, so clients with small children will avoid these homes, out of fear of an accident.

Of course, the classic cul-de-sac is still a favorite amongst today's buyers.  It's inviting shape is perfect for kids to play in, avoids through traffic, and is often on the interior of the neighborhood so traffic noise is less. 

Whenever you're out looking at homes, don't forget that's what's on the outside of the house is JUST as important as what's on the inside!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

What Makes Charlotte, North Carolina So Special?

Having lived in North Carolina for over a decade, I can confidently tell you that Charlotte is my favorite city in the state, if not the best place I've ever lived in the country.  For me, it's the beautiful weather, the close proximity to the mountains AND beaches, as well as the culture that seems to never stop growing.  As many Charlotteans know, it is an easy task to take in some of the best art, food, and entertainment on the east coast--and we're gaining national recognition for it!

Just last year, Charlotte was named one of the top 20 places to live in the country by US News!  For those that haven't visited our beautiful city, it's known for being a city on the rise but still maintaining it's southern charm, where you will still hear "y'all" in conversation.  Not only that, we have still managed to avoid the costly price tag that often comes with the status of "up and coming" city.  Our housing market is still much lower priced than that of Atlanta, New York City, or Charleston and you can still afford to take your family out to eat at a number of amazing restaurants.

If you're thinking of making the move to Charlotte or just want to move within the city, I'd love to show you some of my new favorite hot spots!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Buzz Words That Turn Buyers Off!

Hello, everyone! I am ecstatic to be using this forum again to reach you and help educate everyone on some important real estate matters.

As we enter the spring months, a lot of homeowners think about selling.  While this is a great time to put your home on the market, this also means you'll be competing against lots of other homes and sellers.  While professional photography and videography are paramount to marketing your home, one of the most important factors may be the very words you use to describe your home.

Check out this article about some of the most overused and misleading real estate phrases, so you can avoid turning buyers away before they even see your home!  And when you're ready to find out how we are able to market our homes to average 1 sale every 2 weeks, give me a call!