What to plant, when to plant

17 Apr

It’s hard to know when to do what in the garden during our fickle Carolina spring. A weekend with temperatures in the 70s might find us enthusiastically planting tender annuals, and the next weekend covering them with sheets and hoping for the best as temps dip below freezing.ThinkstockPhotos-178712376 (1)

Here are a few tips to keep you blooming and growing.


Although the colorful displays may tempt you, don’t plant annuals anywhere in the Allen Tate areas until at least after April 15. April 26 may be even better.

In October, plant pansies and violas among spring flowering bulbs, and they will provide a perky display until it’s time for spring annuals.

Perennials and Native Plants

Late blooming perennials (such as mums, black-eyed Susan’s, and perennial ornamental grasses) are best planted in spring. Chrysanthemums, day lilies, Shasta daisies, asters and others can be planted any time from early spring until hot weather arrives.

  • Choose a cool, cloudy, or damp day to plant, or plant in late afternoon.
  • Plant in good soil; create a basin of soil or mulch around each plant; and give a good, soaking watering. Check that the water drains well.
  • Mulch after planting.

Perennial clumps already coming up in your garden can be dug, divided and replanted now. But let the spring-flowering ones, such as bearded irises and primrose, stay put until after they bloom.

Native plants will be resilient to our Carolina pests and summers. Look for and include natives in your garden plan.


 During the remainder of April, look for cool weather crops. This includes lettuce, cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower. You’ll find young plants of these veggies in the garden centers now, ready to plant.

Start your summer garden – tomatoes, eggplants, summer squash, cucumbers and peppers – from mid-April to early May at the latest. Optimal planting times for other vegetables vary, so be sure to consult a planting guide for your region of North Carolina or South Carolina if your garden is diverse.

To Prune or Not to Prune

Pruning hollies, laurels, boxwoods, ligustrums, cleyeras and nandinas growing in the Carolinas is best done in late winter, before new growth begins, so mark your garden schedule and take care of that next year.

However, azaleas, forsythia, rhododendrons, camellias, pieris, gardenias, spiraeas, and most other shrubs that bloom in spring and early summer should not be pruned until the flowers fade, or you risk removing flowering wood and buds.

Happy planting!

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

Good things are happening in Greensboro

15 Apr

In the real estate business, it’s not unusual to have a client who is moving with mixed emotions. While they are excited for their new home, they’ve grown quite attached to their current home.NorthElm_Full

We feel a bit like that at the Allen Tate Greensboro-North Elm office.

We will miss our old location, but we are so excited about our new location that we just moved to at 3623 North Elm Street, Suite 100. It’s a great spot – a contemporary business park near Lake Jeannette, with all the modern conveniences, near major travel routes, yet surrounded by natural wooded areas and walking trails. It’s really quite beautiful, and we have the best neighbors – professional services firms including law, accounting and insurance – whose clients will hopefully become our clients, too.

Real estate is a business that requires consistent connectivity. So it was the right time to find a new office location and design that will take us into the future, catering to the workforce we want to attract and retain, and the client service we strive for at Allen Tate – and to remain the Greensboro market leader.

We’re excited about our new home. The living room-style lobby is open and welcoming; the technology is impressive; and the space is versatile, including private conference space for client meetings. We love the soft, contemporary colors and sleek furnishings that warm the agent offices, and we can’t wait for the opportunity to go for a walk or run at lunch time (the office has a shower and a locker room too!).

And, finally, our street name matches our office name – North Elm – so hopefully that means we found the right place to settle in for a long time into the future.

Stop by and see us. We can’t wait show you around – and show you why you’ve made the right choice.

By: Nancy Radtke (Branch Leader, Greensboro-North Elm Office)

The World of a New Home Agent

13 Apr

Once again, the new construction market is healthy. As you drive past these new communities, did you ever wonder what goes on in the world of the new home agent?Woman Architect

It looks like a dream job: coming to work at 10 a.m. to a posh, decorated model home, just waiting for someone to come by and ask “Would you please sell me one of your homes?” Well that’s the perception – but it’s certainly not the reality.

A new home agent starts their day like the rest of the working world, usually with an 8 a.m. meeting with their sales manager, then off to the model by 9 a.m. The model doesn’t open until 10 a.m. but there’s plenty to do before then: dropping off flyers at the office; checking the models; returning phone calls and emails; and possibly meeting with the onsite superintendent.

Next, the agent is out checking on all inventory and sold homes to make sure they are being built they way they were ordered. The weather doesn’t care that the agent is dressed in their Sunday best and ready to greet customers at the model.

And then there is paperwork – updates to the customer, builder, lender, customer’s broker, onsite super, design center coordinator, appraiser, and more. All these reports are crucial so that home of your dreams is exactly the way you ordered it.

It’s now 10 a.m. and the model officially closes at 6 p.m., unless there are still customers in model homes or contracts to be written. Lunch is 10 minutes whenever the agent can steal it. A new home agent routinely puts in 10 hours that can easily turn into 12.

Is it all worth it? Ask any new home sales person and they will likely tell you that even with all the hours, paperwork and duties, selling new homes is still their “dream job”. And yes, they live for that moment when you come through that door and ask “Would you please sell me one of your homes?” Because that is the most rewarding.

Thinking about buying new construction? Visit bsinewhomes.com to view new homes communities in North and South Carolina.

Mike LaRuffa
President, Builder Services Inc.


The new private-public partnership that tackles economics

10 Apr

In March, the North Carolina Economic Developers Association (NCEDA) held their spring conference in Pinehurst. NCEDA is a statewide association with nearly 600 members who work as professional economic developers and in related fields. NCEDA members help recruit investment to the state as well as support the growth of existing businesses and entrepreneurial ventures.

Economic development has been in the spotlight recently as the North Carolina Department of Commerce converted their economic development arm to a private-public partnership – the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC).

The EDPNC functions as a contractor to the Department of Commerce and receives funding from DOC, in addition to raising funds from the private sector.

At the conference, Christopher Chung, the new CEO of EDPNC, addressed the delegation and outlined his business goals. Chung is highly respected in the economic world and is credited with creating the Missouri Partnership for economic development.Christopher Chung (2)

Chung shared what he sees as three advantages of a private-public organization:

  • The first advantage is being able to leverage investment from private companies. Private dollars broaden the pool of resources and allow the state to market to a larger audience. More resources and tools will drive more jobs here.
  • Second, there is more operating flexibility in a private organization that is not restrained by public sector rules. EDPNC will be able to entertain clients and prospects. And more importantly, the organization can hold employees accountable for results and reward high- performing employees.
  • And finally, the organization is more sustainable. Government has turnover and change every few years. With the changes in personnel, there is the temptation to make changes which disrupts relationships and the marketing message. Consistency is critical to build relationships and create a sustainable marketing message.

Two months into the role, Chung is focused on getting out and seeing the state that he represents and gathering feedback on what customers and site selectors are looking for here.

He wants to be “strategically intentional” and explore the geographic diversity of the state – urban and rural – and go after industries interested in both areas.

​Fifteen other states have already changed to this model and now it is North Carolina’s opportunity.  It is the new trend in economic development, and we are all anxious to see the results!

DJ Stephan Blog 

DJ Stephan
President, Allen Tate Relocation

Selling a Home When You Have Pets

8 Apr

A common question we receive from sellers is what to do with pets during a showing or open house.

It’s a challenging situation. Sellers want to present the home at its best, but they also care about their pets and are anxious about their safety – and the disruption “strangers” in the home can cause their furry family.doodle bug (2)

Here are five tips for keeping your pets happy while getting your house sold:

1) Animal awareness. Make sure your listing agent and anyone else involved in the sale of your home (repair people, inspectors, etc.) are aware you have pets in the home and where they are located. Introduce them to your pets, if practical, to minimize the “stranger danger” instinct in your animals.

2) Allergen alert. Remember that some potential buyers may have pet allergies. Make sure visitors are aware that pets live or have lived in the house. Keep floors and upholstery vacuumed and surfaces clean to avoid a negative showing experience.

3) Doggie’s day out. If possible, remove pets from the home during showings or an open house. Take them for a car ride, a walk around the neighborhood or park, or to doggy day care. It’s just easier on the pets and everyone else.

4) Crate comfort. If they can’t be removed, secure your pets in a crate or some other sheltered place in your home or on your property. Not everyone likes animals, and they would appreciate a sign on a closed door, rather than be surprised by an unexpected, nervous pet.

5) Stash the stuff. Once the pets are taken care of, take care of their stuff. Pick up toys, put away food and water bowls, and keep beds washed and out of sight.

Always let your agent know any special circumstances or situations concerning your pets. With a little extra effort, your pets can stay safe and your house can get sold!

Phyllis Brookshire
President, Allen Tate Realtors®

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