Posted in Iredell County, Lake Norman, Mooresville, Quality of Life, Real Estate, Statesville, Troutman, tagged Iredell County, iredell real estate, Lake Norman Real Estate, Mooresville, mooresville real estate, Statesville Real Estate on November 12, 2009 |
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I recently spent a pleasant fall afternoon showing homes to a couple from out-of-state who are looking to move now that they are empty nesters. They said that they are in the market for a home in or near a relatively small community that has easy access to the amenities of a larger city. They also are looking for an older home with some character- Victorian or early 20th century. Through their search on the internet, they’d found Statesville, NC as a good candidate. After talking with them about their preferences on the phone, they arrived after a long drive, and we went to visit a number of homes that fit their wishes and a few that looked good on paper (or internet screen) that didn’t pan out in reality. They are also looking at other communities on the east coast, but I’d say that either Statesville or Mooresville (or somewhere nearby) have a good shot at being their new home. Both have some attractive older homes (although Statesville has the lead in this) and both are an easy drive to larger communities with extensive amenities.
I’m not surprised that Statesville came up on their radar screen. Having grown up just south of there in Troutman, I’ve long known about the wonderful historic homes in several areas of Statesville. The town is the “County Seat” of Iredell County, and so over the years has attracted many people of means who operated various businesses in the area. They built some picture perfect homes that still retain their style and grace. Many have been owned by successive generations who’ve kept them up and improved them so that even today, they turn heads as visitors drive by. Our whole area also benefits from being not to far north or south, providing a nice mix of weather and seasons, and offer a convenient drive to our mountains to the west and our coast to the east. We also boast of Lake Norman, the largest lake in the state, with 560 miles of shoreline, that offers lots of recreational opportunities.
I’ve traveled around the country a good bit over the years, but I’ve never seen a place that suits me better than my own home of Iredell County. Talking to another Realtor today, he said that one of the reasons he’s encouraged about the future of our area is that we consistently attract people who, like my clients, can move anywhere, but choose our area over all the others. That’s good for our economy and quality of life, not to mention future property values.
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Posted in internet, Iredell County, Mooresville, Quality of Life, Statesville, Troutman, tagged high school reunion, Iredell County, Iredell County Real Estate, mooresville real estate, South Iredell High School, Statesville Real Estate, Troutman Real Estate on November 10, 2009 |
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Young people don’t understand how you could use the words “grey hair” and “high school” in the same sentence. However, if it has been 41 years since you finished high school, then you understand. Last Saturday night, my South Iredell High School Class of ’68 had our 41st reunion at the Black Angus in Statesville. Although the turnout was only about a third of the original class, we did have a few that came considerable distances to get together and talk over old times and catch up on the latest.
In preparation for the reunion, I got out my old blue and gold Vikings annual to try to jog my memory. I have to say, it was a shock to see all those bright young faces looking back from the pages. At that point in our lives, we had the world by the tail and nothing could stop us, or so we thought. Now, just a change in the weather can bring out old Arthur Itis to slow us down. This time it has not been quite the surprise to get news of many of my old friends. Lots of them have discovered Facebook, and others are surely going to join soon since we FB members are encouraging them. One night is a short time to catch up, and unless you brought a bag full of photos, illustrating what’s happened in your life was pretty tough that night. Facebook allows us to have sort of an ongoing reunion complete with photos and running commentary on what’s happening with each of us. Some FBers are frequent contributors, and others do so only occasionally. Then, there is that other class of members called “lurkers” who join and friend people but only read what others send. Hey, whatever floats your boat, but it’s more fun to share at least the censored parts of your life with other folks in exchange for their latest news.
I hope we South Iredell alumni will continue to stay in touch through Facebook or other means. It’s somehow gives me comfort to see that for so many people, life has turned out OK. We’ve all had our ups and downs, but that’s really just another part of life that we’ve shared, and makes us all feel a bit closer after all these years. We’ve survived!
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Posted in General Real Estate Market, Real Estate, tagged Home Buyers, iredell real estate, Lake Norman Real Estate, mooresville real estate, Statesville Real Estate, survey, surveys, Troutman Real Estate on November 6, 2009 |
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Each time I help a client purchase a piece of real estate, I always advise them to get a survey. Of course, no one likes to pay any more than they have to in fees leading up to a purchase, and surveys for the typical residential lot can cost several hundred dollars. Also, it has to be done as part of the front-end purchase process before closing. If something turns up in the survey that makes the buyer want to bail out, he still has sunk the cost of the survey along with lender fees, title searches and such. However, the reasonable way to look at this is that surveys are a form of insurance. You pay for protection from a bad outcome. You hope that you don’t have to take advantage of the insurance any more than you want to use the benefits of your health insurance, but you’re glad you’ve got it.
Not everyone chooses to have the survey performed. Much depends on looking at the last time it was sold, if a survey was done then, and what’s around the property boundaries that might cause a problem. In any case, if you choose not to pay for a survey and take your chances, your Realtor, and probably your closing attorney, will have you sign a waiver that states that you don’t hold them liable for anything bad that comes up down the road as a result of you foregoing the survey. If you’re counting on your title insurance policy to cover you, better not. Those policies likely won’t cover any issues related to survey matters (fences, walls, setbacks, encroachments, etc.) if you did not have a survey. It’s kind of like they want to check the health of the prospective insured before issuing that health insurance- not an unreasonable approach.
So, be very careful about that decision. In a few cases, you may be OK without the survey, but I’m not going to count on that, and will ask you to sign the waiver- CYA. Call me if you don’t know what that means.
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Posted in General Real Estate Market, Iredell County, Mooresville, Real Estate, tagged Home Buyers, Home Sellers, home selling, home staging, iredell real estate, mooresville real estate, Statesville Real Estate, Troutman Real Estate on November 3, 2009 |
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I recently talked with some friends about things that they should consider doing to their home in anticipation of putting it on the market. I went over and looked at the house, and a nice house it is. The problem is that it is in a neighborhood with lots of other nice houses that are competition in today’s market, not to mention the other homes in the area that would compare competitively to this one. We talked about all the easy things like reducing clutter to make the space look as large as possible, removing most personal photos to ensure that potential buyers would be able to picture themselves in the house, being sure everything is clean and in good working order, and quite a few other things that don’t cost much if any to do. I commented that in showing lots of houses, it’s still amazing how many people want to sell their properties but don’t want to do these simple things.
But sometimes, you have to part with some coin to really step up the place. For that, I sent them a link to an article that is published annually by the National Association of Realtors and Remodeling Magazine that gives estimates on the return on investment of upgrades to kitchens, baths, decks, etc. You can see that article HERE. It shows that none will return 100% of the investment, but what it does is put you at or near the head of the line when buyers are comparing your property to others on the market. Since there is so much inventory in the housing market now, that can be crucial in affecting how long it takes to sell your home. If, in your circumstances, time does equal money, then selling sooner rather than later will definitely help you pay for any investments you’ve made.
Another relatively easy fix is to hire a home stager to help you make the most of what you’ve got in furnishings. I’ve got a pretty good eye, but I don’t claim to be expert in this like I am in listing and selling. Home stagers are interior design professionals who will come to your home and develop a list of recommendations. For this step alone, one team I work with, Center Stage, charges only $75. If you want them to help you follow through on the recommendations, they’ll do that for an additional reasonable charge. Go to their web site HERE to see before and after photos, and you’ll see what a difference a trained designer can make in a home.
When showing a home to potential buyers, agents look at the buyers’ reactions when they first see a home. We’re looking for a “WOW Factor” reaction. When WOW happens, we know we’ve found a property that is contender. These tweaks and updates in listed homes can make all the difference.
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Being related to a bunch of public school teachers, and being friends with many more, I know that a large amount of time is required for the teachers to report lots of data about their students’ performance. All of that comes into play in providing “report cards” for the state, our school districts, and individual schools. You can see the results of all of this reporting, and examine the performance of specific schools at a web site provided by the NC Department of Public Instruction. You can see the reports for the 2008-2009 school year by clicking HERE.
School performance is important to many people. Some use this information to decide where to move their home if they’re new to the area. Others use it to decide if they should move from where they are now. Businesses are very aware of this interest in educational quality, so they use this information in their choices of moving businesses so that they can attract quality employees. So, even if you don’t now have children in the schools, the quality of the schools can have a strong impact on the economic vitality of a community.
Communities grow or die for a variety of reasons, but school quality is clearly one of the determining factors. In Iredell County we’re fortunate to be able to report some very good numbers. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that these numbers reflect each school as a whole. Many schools are challenged by a variety of circumstances that they can’t control that may tend to push some numbers down. Yet, in every school, there are dedicated, hard-working teachers who provide quality education at a student-by-student level. I suggest you may want to spend a good bit of your attention on the teacher quality section of the reports.
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Posted in Finance, General Real Estate Market, Real Estate, tagged economic recovery, first time buyer tax credit, first time home buyer tax credit, first time home buyers, Iredell County Real Estate, Lake Norman Real Estate, mooresville real estate on October 30, 2009 |
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News reports are telling us that the Senate has agreed in principle to extend the first time home buyer tax credit, allowing it to act as an incentive to first time home buyers who go under contract by end of April, 2010 and close by end of June, 2010. They’re also working on the possibility of further extending an incentive to existing home buyers who have been in their homes at least 5 years. They maximum credit for them would be $6,500. The House had already agreed on the value of extending the tax credits. Now, the Senate is working on details of a bill to move this along. HERE is a USA Today article with additional details. So, now we’ll have some more time through the Spring of next year to see if these tax credit incentives have been an important catalyst for healing the economy or just a crutch to keep it from sinking further. It may be that the tax credit extension is the necessary bridge to a time when employers can start hiring again, since there is some evidence that the business to business spending levels are starting to increase. HERE’S some further detail in The Charlotte Observer on the state of the economy overall and predictions for recovery.
Wondering where all that government recovery money is going? You can go to http://www.recovery.gov to see.
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