Recently I drove by one of my favorite trees (what, you don’t have favorite trees?) and had to stop long enough to take a few photos. I was happily coming home after meeting clients to write an offer to buy a house for them, but this tree stopped me in my tracks. The tree is in the yard of the Mooresville High School Magnolia Street campus, and every fall it just knocks my socks off with the depth of color it presents. I drive by there almost everyday, and I noticed less than a week later that after some wind and rain, it was almost totally empty of leaves. Big surprise? No. Just a confirmation of the fall version of being sure to stop and smell the roses while you can. There are a lot of special things- sights, experiences, etc. that last but a short while. Yet in that short while, you can collect some great memories that last a lifetime. I guess it’s a sign of advancing age when one starts to reflect on those things, but here I am, and I’m trying to take a few moments from time to time to enjoy the beautiful leaves, smell the roses, hug my wife, and all those other little things that make for great memories.
Archive for November, 2010
Posted in Charlotte, General Real Estate Market, Home Maintenance, Real Estate, tagged homeowner insurance, homeowners, Homeowners insurance, insuring vacant homes, vacant homes on November 19, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
Last Saturday, Allen Norwood wrote a great column in The Charlotte Observer about insuring vacant houses. I’d done the same awhile ago, and of course the article caught my eye. It’s the kind of thing that’s coming up more and more, and people might get further hurt because they have a claim denied because they didn’t tell their insurance company that the house is vacant.
Part of the story referred to a very useful web site put up by the NC Department of Insurance- http://www.ncdoi.com/. There you can find lots of information about all kinds of insurance, including homeowner insurance, that you may have missed in talking to your insurance provider. You can download their Consumers’ Guide to Homeowner’s Insurance among many others.
WordPress’ links are not working right, so here are a few related to his post:
Allen Norwood’s article: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/11/12/1830767/vacant-homes-expensive-to-insure.html
Consumer’s Guide to Homeowners’ Insurance: http://www.ncdoi.com/consumer/consumer_publications/homeowners%20insurance/consumer%20guide%20to%20homeowners%20insurance.pdf
My post on vacant house insurance: http://stansuther.com/2010/05/10/insuring-a-vacant-hous/
Posted in Lake Norman, Cornelius, Huntersville, Charlotte, Denver, Iredell County, Mecklenburg County, Lincoln County, Catawba County, Rowan County, tagged home sales, Iredell County Real Estate, real estate statistics, iredell real estate, mecklenburg real estate, Mecklenburg County Real Estate, Iredell Home sales, mecklenburg home sales on November 10, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
Just released by the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association (CRRA):
Note: This data reflects activity in Mecklenburg and Iredell Counties and parts of all surrounding counties.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association reports on the residential real estate market in this region based on Carolina Multiple Listing Services, Inc. (CMLS) data. The number of closings for October 2010 (1,695) decreased 23.3 percent compared to October 2009 when closings totaled 2,210. Compared to September 2010, closings increased 2.2 percent. The average sales price for October 2010 ($202,840) is up 3.4 percent over October 2009 ($196,204), but was down slightly, 0.5 percent, over the September 2010 average sales price ($203,799). The average listing price of homes sold in October 2010 ($231,491) was up 6.2 percent compared to October 2009 ($218,050), and was nearly unchanged, down 0.1 percent, over last month’s average listing price of $231,678.
The residential pending contracts figure for October 2010 (1,617) was down 32.6 percent compared to October 2009 (2,400), and was down 2.5 percent over last month (September 2010) when pending contracts totaled 1,658.
New residential listings in October 2010 totaled 3,875. The average number of days a property was on the market from the time it was listed until it closed (list to close) was 148, which is about a day longer than last month. The average number of days a property was on the market (days on market), excluding the days the property was off the market or pending, was 112.5 days, which is nearly unchanged from last month.
See my recent post on September stats for selected individual counties in our MLS HERE. These will give you some perspective on the above overall numbers. Some counties are up and some are down. Each local market is different and each does have some level of buying and selling activity.
Last Saturday night, my bride and I had the pleasure of attending a sneak peek at the new Epic Chophouse in downtown Mooresville. For several years, this space was Soiree Restaurant, and we have a soft spot for it since we had our daughter’s (Kathryn) wedding reception there four years ago. I’ve always been a big fan and supporter of businesses in downtown Mooresville, and Soiree was a great leap for the downtown area. It successfully brought people to the downtown area who might otherwise never have visited that part of Mooresville. I think that we now have several other interesting restaurants and active businesses in the downtown area in part because of the influence of Soiree. Unfortunately, the owners of Soiree, including chef Jon Spencer, just couldn’t generate enough business to stay open under their business model with the downturn of the economy.
Fortunately, a new group of owners has come forward, including one of the principles of Huntersville’s Mickey and Mooch Restaurant, to open a new restaurant with a modified business plan focused on fine food at great value. They retain Jon Spencer as chef, but now Jon can concentrate on great cooking and leave the bean counting to others.
The event Saturday night provided a great kickoff with excellent food and beverage for the visitors and a promise of the opening tonight to begin the EPIC era of great dining seven nights a week. HERE is a recent Mooresville Tribune article and HERE is another from The Charlotte Observer with more background.
If you’ve been here before, you may have picked up that I love woodworking and old woodworking tools. I inherited a gene that appreciates doing things with your hands- fixing things and making things. Years ago I discovered that there are still some pretty cool old tools out there available for a good price, particularly if you didn’t mind doing some de-rusting and adjusting to get them back in working order. Later I joined a group of like-minded people known as the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association. Yes, this isn’t the mid-west, but an older group merged to make a larger stronger group some years ago. Anyway, we have meetings several times a year in the Carolinas and Virginia. Last Saturday we met in Bethania, NC, just north of Winston-Salem to look at tools, buy old tools and talk old tools. Since Bethania was established in the mid-1700s, that seems to be a good place to talk about old things.
We always have a speaker that brings interesting information to the group, and this year, we enjoyed listening to Master Tinsmith Peter Blum, III whose family has been in the tinsmithing business for three generations. Mr. Blum the III has been working with tin and other sheet metals (copper, galvanized, etc.) since he was 15 years old. He took time out to get an engineering degree at NC State and work in industry for quite a few years, but eventually came back to the work that he loves- tinsmithing. He regularly does work to order including some for Old Salem (his father was tinsmith in residence at Old Salem for 22 years), and does many demonstrations including 20 years at the NC State Fair. He’s even made tinware for movies like The Last of the Mohicans and The Patriot. Needless to say, he knows what he’s talking about. His program included showing examples of his work and many of the tools of the trade. At one time, tinsmithing provided many of the containers used by households and many businesses. Like many crafts, its designs included both practical and decorative elements that even today can delight the holder.
Mr. Blum’s work shares with woodworking a joy of taking a simple raw material and turning it into things of utility and beauty using mainly one’s mind, hands and hand tools to make the transformation. If you’ve never done anything like this, you’ve missed what I think is one of the greatest satisfying feelings we can enjoy- being able to say, “I made that.”
Here are a few photos from the day.
…I mean from a maintenance standpoint. As I work with buyers and sellers of homes, I’m frequently struck by the surprise some home sellers experience when the buyer has an inspection done, and report findings about various things that are less than perfect about the house. In North Carolina, our offer to purchase has contained language that allows the buyer to get an inspection and ask for repairs for anything not performing the function for which it was designed, including leaks- you know how the roof is designed to keep water off your head in the living room. That means that the buyer can ask for repairs of functional things but not for cosmetic things. Still, there are cosmetic issues that if left too long can become functional issues and start to cost some major cash to fix. I’ve found that lots of sellers (owners) think their houses are in top condition and are shocked to find out that needed repairs may be costly. That’s one reason that I always recommend to a seller to go ahead and have an inspection done and make needed repairs so that repairs are not an issue going toward closing. Believe me when I say they definitely can derail a closing, either temporarily or permanently.
Even if you’re not going to sell your home, it’s probably a good idea to have an inspector go over your house every few years in order to catch things going wrong before they demand extensive repairs. Houses are going to require maintenance of some type on an almost constant basis. Undiscovered problems can become very expensive repairs, and from my experience, many homeowners have those undiscovered problems brewing all the time.
What to do? One option to consider is to have a professional home inspector go through your house periodically to report what he’s found and catch little problems before they get big. They are trained and licensed professionals who will likely see things that most homeowners will miss. They’ll do this and give you a detailed report for between $300 and $500. Some include an additional warranty. They can also arrange for additional tests like water quality, septic systems, radon, etc. Understand that they don’t have x-ray vision, so they can’t see behind walls, but I guarantee they’ll see more than most homeowners and give you the chance to “nip it in the bud” as Barney Fife used to say.
If you think you’d like to take this approach, I’ll be happy to recommend several home inspectors to you. You can interview them and choose the inspector that you like the most. I don’t get any financial consideration from them. I just get the satisfaction or recommending a good service provider to my friends and maybe saving them some trouble and expense down the road.
Here’s a video that shows the kind of work I’d like to be able to produce someday (if I live long enough). Making a living in real estate takes a lot of time these days, so my hours in the shop are few, and this stuff takes lots of time and practice. Oh well, maybe if all you folks buy or sell some real estate working with me over the next few years, I’ll be able to retire and do this fancy woodwork.