FUNday Four Ways

19 Dec

PrintEach fall, for the past 17 years, Allen Tate Realtors® have gathered to support a cause that is near and dear to them; one that impacts their local communities; and one that makes a huge difference to their chosen livelihood.

Since it began, the annual Allen Tate FUNday for Public Education has taken the form of a field day, tailgate picnic, community workday, and evening reception. For the past three years, the original FUNday became FUNdays, with two events in both 2011 and 2012 and three events in 2013. This year, FUNday was held as four separate regional events through the company’s footprint in North and South Carolina.

If you’ve ever doubted that multiplying efforts yields exponential results, you’re wrong. With four events, we’re proud to report that we raised a net total of more than $145,000 – the most in any year in the past decade. More than 1,100 agents, employees, guests and sponsors were in attendance.

That brings our ongoing contributions from FUNday proceeds to more than $1.52 million dollars. Let me say it again: $1.52 million to directly impact public education in our 41 local communities in North and South Carolina.

And while raising money for a great cause is always FUN, each 2014 event had its own unique personality and activities that made it an awesome evening for attendees.

  • In the Upstate, we held an evening reception on September 24 at the Westin Poinsett in Greenville. The festivities included silent and live auctions, a wine pull, blackjack table, “Keys to Success” game, and “Diamond Drop” drawing for a black diamond necklace. Kathy Weeks, Allen Tate regional vice president for the Upstate, also participated in an ice bucket challenge prior to the event, which raised $2,100.
  • In the Triad, we “rolled out the Red Carpet” for education with an event held October 2 at the Regency Room at the Elm Street Center in Greensboro. The festivities included silent and live auctions, a 50/50 drawing, reception and dancing.
  • In the Triangle, we went a little “mad” – with a Mad Men-themed reception held October 9 at Carolina Country Club in Raleigh. The festivities included a silent auction, reverse raffle, wine pull, Black Jack tournament, reception and dancing to tunes from the Mad Men.
  • In Charlotte, we donned our Carolina Panthers gear for a tailgate reception in the Panthers’ Den at Bank of America Stadium. The festivities included silent and live auctions, 50/50 raffle, wine pull, and exclusive, behind-the-scenes tours of the stadium and Carolina Panthers’ facilities.

There are not enough ways I can say thank you to the agents, employees, guests and sponsors who gave their time, energy and dollars to this great cause. I would like to recognize our awesome FUNday leaders who lead the charge: Rhett Brown in the Upstate, Lori Yager in the Triad, Bootsie Harris in the Triangle and Stephanie Gossett in Charlotte.

The American scientist Margaret Mead once said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.”

Nearly two decades ago, Allen Tate made a commitment to changing public education. I’d say we’ve done that, in 1,520,000 ways … and counting.

Pat Riley
President and Chief Operating Officer, Allen Tate Company

The Carolinas: The Most Affordable New Home Markets in the Country

17 Dec

Adding roof to new construction homeWe have all been hearing how affordable new homes are in the Carolinas – and now there are stats to back that up. John Burns Real Estate Consultants, the premier new home analyst in the country, has just released their latest stats on the least and most affordable new home markets.

I don’t think it would come as a surprise to anyone that Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles, California are the two most expensive new home markets in the country. But on the other end of the spectrum, the No. 2 and 3 most affordable markets in the entire country are right here in North Carolina: Raleigh at No. 2 and Charlotte at No. 3.

So what does this affordability stat mean? That among the Top 19 new home markets in the country, more people in Raleigh and Charlotte can afford to buy the new housing stock that is available. This factor has a huge impact on the North Carolina economy, since housing affordability helps attract more businesses to the region.

It’s the chicken-and-egg theory. When prospective businesses are looking to relocate, they look very carefully at the affordability of housing for their employees. In turn, relocation of companies also attracts builders, who come in search of prospective home buyers that are relocating to the area. Those same builders are also economic engines; they not only have their own employees, but also provide opportunities for a myriad of contractors, suppliers, vendors and ancillary home-related businesses.

The sun continues to shine on the Carolinas with its temperate climate, beautiful places, great quality of life and yes, the most affordable new homes!

Mike LaRuffa
President, Builder Services Inc.

Health Insurance Open Enrollment for 2015

15 Dec

Healthcare stethoscopeWhile most of us associate December with the hustle and bustle of the holidays, those of us in the insurance profession are in the midst of observing another annual season: open enrollment for health insurance.

The season actually began in October for over 65 Medicare beneficiaries and wrapped up earlier this month. But for the under 65/non-Medicare beneficiaries, open enrollment began November 15 and is in full swing.

If your holiday calendar is more stuffed than your turkey, you can wait as late as February 15 to select your insurance plan for the 2015 calendar year and enroll. But it’s a good idea to allow time to research and review your options and complete your enrollment.

If you miss the February 15 deadline, you face a penalty for being uninsured. In 2015, the penalty could be as high as 2 percent of your total household income. For a family of four with a total household income of $100,000, the penalty for procrastination is a whopping $1,588. After February 15, you must have a qualifying event to be able to enroll in a health plan next year.

Enrollment is now easier than ever. At Allen Tate Insurance, we have set up a private exchange where we can determine your subsidy, and provide quotes for you in less than 10 minutes. Once you have determined the right plan for you and your family, enrollment takes less than 20 minutes. The best part? You don’t need to login and navigate www.healthcare.gov. We make the process simple, quick, and efficient.

For questions regarding open enrollment or signing up for health insurance through our private exchange at Allen Tate Insurance, please contact me at david.wilkins@allentate.com.

By David Wilkins (Allen Tate Insurance) – Guest Blogger

Should I become a one-house landlord?

10 Dec

For Rent Sign & HouseAre you a homeowner who needs to move? If you’re considering renting your property instead of selling, particularly if your mortgage balance is still close to the market value of your home, ask yourself these questions …

  1. Will your new home be close enough for you to keep an eye on the property you own?
  2. Are you comfortable checking prospective renters’ credit histories and criminal backgrounds?
  3. Are you good at collecting money and do you understand the eviction process?
  4. Do you have funds to cover repairs during the time the property is leased?
  5. Will the rent cover your present house payment, taxes and insurance?
  6. Can you cover the old and new mortgage payments when the house is not rented?
  7. Do you plan to set funds aside to get the property ready for market when you decide to sell?
  8. If your house sold at market value, could you make up any shortage in the loan payoff after selling expenses?

Any concerns you have with answering yes to questions 1, 2 and 3 can usually be addressed by hiring a property manager. This service generally costs 8 to 10 percent of each month’s rent and one half to a whole first month’s rent to get a tenant in place. Question 4 points out repair and up-fit costs over and above property management costs. If after accounting for the costs of property management and setting aside money for repairs, your answer to question 5 is no, then the cost of two payments when the house is not rented (question 6) becomes even more important.

Question 7 points out one of the hidden costs of being a landlord. Unfortunately, tenants rarely care for the home the same way the owner would. The usual cost of preparing a rental property to be put on the market for sale is $2,000 to $10,000.

If the answer to question 8 is yes, your best option is almost always to sell now. Contact your Allen Tate Realtor to review the market value of your home and the cost of selling. Give your agent your mortgage balance and then make your assessment. Even if you are still a little in the negative, the small out of pocket cost of selling now is likely much less than all the up front and hidden costs of being a one-house landlord.

By Hilary Broadway (Branch Leader, Mooresville Office) – Guest Blogger

At home in Simpsonville

8 Dec

12.8.14 Simpsonville Office2When you move to a new area, it’s important to get to know a little about it – the place, the people, and the things to see and do in the community.

On November 19, Allen Tate Realtors® moved to Simpsonville, South Carolina. Okay, we didn’t really move; we expanded our Upstate presence by opening our fifth Upstate office here, at 672-B Fairview Road. And we’re pretty excited about our new home.

Simpsonville hails from humble beginnings, as a stagecoach stop in the 1820s. The town’s name comes from Peter Simpson, a blacksmith who set up a shop here. However, in 1838, the place was assigned a post office with the name Plain. The town developed slowly after the Civil War, adding a street grid and establishing a high school in 1885, when the post office name was officially changed to Simpsonville.

Jump ahead more than a century. Today, Simpsonville is one of the fastest growing cities in South Carolina – with a regional population of more than 70,000 people, thanks to accessibility to I-385. The city boasts of one of highest graduation rates – with 87 percent of adults as high school graduates and 25 percent of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher. It also boasts one of the highest median household incomes in the Upstate – nearly $50,000 (2010 U.S. Census).

Simpsonville has everything you might want – excellent schools, thriving business and industry, a charming downtown, natural beauty, a central location and close proximity to the big-city amenities of Greenville. It has an active arts and cultural community, with the Charter Spectrum Amphitheatre featuring music headliners and the Simpsonville Arts Foundation championing festivals, concerts and other arts events.

In recent years, Simpsonville has added a few more names to its collection – and they are far from Plain. Family Circle magazine called it one of the “10 Best Towns for Families” and Money magazine dubbed it one of the “25 Best Affordable Cities.”

At Allen Tate, we also have a name for Simpsonville: home. We’re happy to be here, and we look forward to getting to know buyers, sellers and homeowners throughout the region. Stop by and introduce yourself, or give us a call at 864-962-4727.

By Erika DeRoberts (Branch Leader, Simpsonville Office) – Guest Blogger

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