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!