Why We Give Awards

27 Feb

logos3In the first six weeks of each year, we take time out to recognize the accomplishments of our Allen Tate Realtors and Family of Companies for the previous year. At our 11 regional events, we gave out more than 1,100 individual awards for achievements in 2014.

I often have people outside the company ask me why do we still do this. Why do we give awards to our agents?

We give awards because of what they mean to our agents. Awards are symbols of achievement, hard work, professional success, and personal goals reached. They are a motivation for many to reach for even higher levels of success. They provide a tangible reminder of what is possible. They provide an opportunity for team members to pat each other on the back for a job well done.

We also give awards because of what they can mean to our clients. Our buyers and sellers want to know which agents are successful; which agents provide professional customer service; and which agents are respected by their peers. Awards can help them make these distinctions, and help them choose the right agent to help them buy or sell a home.

For me and the other members of our leadership team who get to present the awards, it is an opportunity to pause and say thank you too. It’s a chance to celebrate with them, and to recognize the difference they make in the lives of so many people throughout the course of a year.

At the end of the day, that is our mission and the most important part of why we do what we do.

We want to thank each and every one of our 20,000 clients in 2014 for allowing us to work with you. Thank you for making our awards celebrations possible!

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Phyllis Brookshire
President, Allen Tate Realtors®

 

Invest Your Tax Refund in Home Improvements

26 Feb

making moneyExpecting a tax refund this year? What better way to use it than as an investment in home improvements – one that could ultimately increase the value of your home.

Here are some ideas to consider.

 

When your refund is $100 – $500

Paint. A fresh coat of paint delivers a lot of bang for the buck.

Clean. Get your carpets professionally cleaned or rent a pressure washer for exterior cleanups.

Refresh cabinets. Replace hardware for an updated look. A new coat of paint can also give new life to cabinets.

Kitchen sink. A DIY faucet installation should take an hour or less and cost between $150 and $500, depending on the hardware you choose. For a little more time and effort, replace the whole sink for under $500.

Lighting. For around $500, you can update lighting in a room and possibly throw in a few accent or task lights.

Shrubs. Replace old, overgrown shrubs and improve curb appeal, security and the view.

 

When your refund is $500 – $1,000

Front Door. A new front door will run about $1,000 (a fiberglass door will likely run more). Expect to pay around $30 to $100 for supplies if you paint your existing door instead.

Honey-Dos. Take care of your home to-do list. Staying on top of maintenance today eliminates problems down the road should you decide to sell.

Organize. Hire a professional organizer by the hour. Cabinetry, boxes and bins can be purchased for less than $1,000 and customized if you want to add style.

 

When your refund is $1,000 – $2,000

Kitchen Countertops. Depending on what type of material you choose, you likely can replace your kitchen countertops for under $2,000.

Flooring. Hardwood flooring costs around $2.50 – $3 per square foot – and another $3 a square foot for installation. So, for around $1,500, you could have new hardwoods in a 12-by-15 foot living room.

Entryway. If you really want to impact your home’s outside entry, considering adding a portico, overhang, porch, courtyard, etc.

Bath. You should be able to replace the toilet and sink – plus pay a plumber to install them – for less than $2,000. You’ll find the best prices on discontinued models.

By Susan Larkin (Vice President, Marketing & Public Relations)

 

The Myth about Credit Inquiries and Mortgage

23 Feb

Credit reportOne of the biggest concerns when shopping for a mortgage is that multiple credit inquiries by lenders will negatively impact your credit score.

Actually, there’s very little impact when your credit is pulled for a mortgage inquiry. The three credit scoring companies – Experian, Equifax and Transunion – allow you to specifically shop for mortgages and do not penalize you for it. Unlike other credit inquiries, which will affect your credit score negatively for each credit pull, mortgage inquiries are treated as just one inquiry – as long as they occur within 30 days.

Since your mortgage is most likely the most expensive purchase you will make, it is prudent to shop around for rates and overall financing costs. This specific 30-day window allows you to have multiple mortgage lenders pull your credit with the minimal impact of just one inquiry. Why is this important? Credit inquiries can cost you from 2-3 points on your credit score (if you have a high initial credit score) to as much as 10 points (if you are starting from a low credit score).

The credit score used for your mortgage eligibility and interest rate is the middle of the three scores obtained from the three credit-scoring companies. If you are applying with a co-borrower, it is the lower of the two middle scores.

In order for each lender to get an accurate picture of your qualifications and costs, it is imperative that they pull your credit. In addition to your credit score, there are requirements on items on your credit report that may need to be addressed. These include judgments, collections, prior bankruptcy, foreclosures or even credit disputes.

Consider the credit inquiry a rite of passage to getting your mortgage. Shop for the best loan until your heart is content – just keep it within the 30-day window so your credit stays in great shape!

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Lisa Green (Vice President of Loan Origination)

Allen Tate Mortgage NMLS# 79543

Loans available in NC/SC

*Some restrictions apply and all loans are subject to final approval

Everyone loves a new car

16 Feb

businesswoman receiving keys of her new carEveryone loves a new car. Whether you are replacing an existing vehicle or adding another vehicle to your household, it’s important to understand how this “new addition” affects your insurance coverage.

Active auto policies have automatic coverage for a specified number of days. The number of days for automatic coverage depends on state regulations AND whether the vehicle is a new or replacement vehicle. There are also stipulations as to whether your auto policy’s automatic coverage provides liability only or full coverage (comprehensive and collision).

Before you begin shopping for your dream car (or maybe soccer team transport vehicle?), it’s a good time to talk with your insurance agent about the types of coverages required and available, to make sure you are fully protected when you drive that car off the lot.

For example, did you know that some carriers offer repair/replacement cost coverage? This optional coverage pays for repair or replacement cost of your vehicle.

Say, for example, that you purchase a new car today for $25,000. Two years from now, you’re involved in a covered collision accident.  The cash value of the car at the time of the accident is $17,000 and the cost to repair is $20,000.

Without repair/replacement cost coverage, you receive only the cash value ($17,000). With repair/replacement coverage, your carrier will repair your car with parts of like kind and quality up to $20,000, less your policy’s deductible.

Here’s another example. You purchase a new car for $30,000. Twelve months later, you have a covered collision loss and your vehicle is totaled.

Without repair/replacement cost coverage, you only receive the current cash value of your car – at this point, about $23,000, less the deductible. If you elected the optional repair/replacement cost coverage, your car would be replaced with a brand new car of similar make, model and options, less the deductible.

IMPORTANT: This is an optional coverage, and not offered by all insurance carriers. Most carriers have limitations on how long a vehicle can be covered and a time limit on when this coverage can be added. The cost varies by company, but is tied to the cost of the vehicle and generally runs about 15 percent of the cost of the comprehensive and collision coverage. Carriers also have the option to pay a cash settlement in lieu of actual repair or replacement.

For more information about insurance for your new (or not-so-new) vehicle, contact your Allen Tate Insurance agent.

Robin Price
Vice President of Sales

For the Romantics

11 Feb

Two HeartsLooking for something to do with that special someone? Look no further than right here at home in the Carolinas for ideas for this weekend – or other times of the year.

For the weekend

In Saluda, NC, just 45 minutes from Spartanburg, SC and 90 minutes from Charlotte, you’ll find the Orchard Inn on a 12-acre mountaintop escape. The elegant intimacy and warm hospitality of the Orchard Inn and the friendly streets and scenery of Saluda create a perfect Carolina weekend for two.

For a place within walking distance to the restaurants, shops and parks of beautiful downtown Greenville, SC, stay at Pettigru Place to enjoy a relaxing Upstate getaway.  The gourmet breakfasts are an all-out amazing experience.

Whether you’re looking for a resort or hotel that caters to couples, romantic walks, a lovely restaurant with great North Carolina wines, museums or a relaxing spa experience, create your own romantic weekend in the Triangle. Here are some special ideas.

At the Jacob Lott Ludlow House in the heart of Winston-Salem, enjoy breakfast in your room, with most rooms offering a private whirlpool in an elegant, romantic Victorian home.

For the evening

The Charlotte Symphony takes you on a romantic journey on Valentine’s weekend, performing romantic orchestral favorites and love songs from Broadway musicals and films. For a pre-show dinner, present your Charlotte Symphony tickets to your server at these preferred Charlotte restaurants to receive a special discount.

Looking for a unique night out that’s funny, poignant and pleasantly unexpected? Treat your special someone to a delightful evening of That Old Black Magic with songs and stories performed at the Upstage Cabaret in Greensboro.

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with great wine, food, music and dancing at Childress Vineyards near Lexington, NC. Enjoy fine wines, gourmet fare and live music from Vanilla Cornbread. Accommodations with limo service also available.

For the heck of it

Cupid’s Undie Run is a 1.5-mile run in your jammies (or other attire usually seen only in the privacy of your own home) for those interested in fundraising their pants off for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Festivities start mid-day Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015, with a run/dance around the streets of downtown Raleigh.

Happy Hearts Day!

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