Outdoor Living Spaces: The Place to Be

9 Oct

iStock_000004524762_SmallAs we enter into our newest phase of housing trends, we are seeing a desire from buyers for alternative living spaces. Areas such as mud rooms, home offices, in-law suites, fitness rooms and mechanical rooms are among those “new” spaces that have become requirements for some home buyers.

According to the American Institute of Architects’ Home Design Trends Survey for Q2 2015, the top request from home buyers for special function areas is outdoor living spaces.

Overall, we are seeing a decrease in demand for the interior square footage – but buyers are taking it outside. Empty nesters in the South are seeking outdoor spaces with screened-in porches, hot tubs, fireplaces and TV’s. The spaces are not necessarily large, but they are private and well-equipped.

Transferees – as well as retires – to the South are discovering that less inside means more on the outside. Losing a formal area or two inside (which are seldom used) allows buyers to splurge outside and enjoy these areas year-round.

Normal trends still follow, with the higher the price point, the higher level of finish in these extended living spaces. We are even seeing “window walls” that disappear and bring the indoors out or the pool practically in the family room!

So whether you’re moving into your McMansion or downsizing to your empty-nester cottage, the options and layouts for your outdoor living spaces are endless.

Click here to explore some great options for outdoor living.

Mike LaRuffa
President, Builder Services Inc.

A Whole World at Our Doorstep

7 Oct

Steele Creek 2015The Allen Tate Companies prides itself on contributing to quality of life in the communities where our agents and employees

live, work and play. In the case of our newest office location, that’s a pretty literal interpretation.

On September 22, the Allen Tate Realtors® Charlotte-Steele Creek office moved to its new home in Ayrsley, a vibrant urban village development in southwest Charlotte, near the intersection of S. Tryon Street and I-485.

This 180-acre, 5 million-square-foot master planned urban development includes office, retail, dining, and entertainment spaces that surround residential living options.

Residents, tenants and visitors can easily park their cars and stroll through the community on a tree-lined boulevard – and in some cases, live, work and play without leaving the neighborhood.

Ayrsley is convenient to the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Uptown Charlotte and the Lynx light rail line. But this urban mecca that combines the comfort of small-town living with proximity to big-city convenience and amenities is also close to outdoor recreation areas such as Lake Wylie and the McDowell Nature Preserve.

And it’s a pretty natural place for a great new real estate office – convenient, contemporary and customer-friendly. The office is designed for how agents work today – on the go – but sometimes needing a “landing pad” to work or meet with a client.

While our space is new, what hasn’t changed is the exceptional service you’ve come to expect from our experienced REALTORS in the Allen Tate Charlotte-Steele Creek office. It would be our pleasure to help you buy, sell or lease a property near our new office in Ayrsley, or anywhere throughout the surrounding communities in Charlotte.

Come visit us at Ayrsley. We’re ready to help you live, work and play here, too.

By Kim Overman (Broker-in-Charge of Steele Creek Office) – Guest Blogger

Global Engagement and Diplomacy are Key to Economic Development

5 Oct

iStock_000053155460_SmallThe U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) is a network of businesses including national security and foreign policy experts, military and business community leaders with representatives in all 50 states who support a smart approach of elevating development and diplomacy alongside defense in order to builder a better and safer world.

Recently, this important group held a forum on global leadership in Charlotte, with a focus on what’s at stake for North Carolina.

“There is no single state that benefits from productive global engagement more than North Carolina,” said N.C. Senator Tom Tillis, who attended the conference.

Foreign trade accounts for 22 percent of N.C. jobs and there is a strong presence of foreign-owned companies in the state, said N.C. Governor Pat McCrory. Moreover, exports to other countries create more than 10 million jobs in the United States and account for a substantial percentage of economic growth.

To succeed in global markets, American businesses need a wide array of resources. One of these resources is the International Affairs Budget, which represents 1 percent of the overall Federal budget.

The USGLC supports the International Affairs Budget as it promotes American exports and investments and reform overseas to open markets, and contributes to the development of stable democratic societies to help lift people out of poverty.

You might ask what helping those in poverty does to create jobs. It’s the baseline philosophy of any company that produces goods or services; people must have the means to buy products, or nothing else matters.

In the Carolinas, we have a regional vision of being a global player in the world economy, and a commitment to making a better, safer world in which to love. The USGLC supports that vision with a plan to make it happen.

DJ Stephan Blog
DJ Stephan
President, Allen Tate Relocation

Take a Trip to a Carolina State Fair

2 Oct

Illuminated ferris wheel at a county fair in midwestern USAState fairs are a celebration of food, fun and state pride held annually in most states. Both North and South Carolina will host their 2015 state fairs October 15-25. So take a look. There’s so much more than corn dogs!


At the North Carolina Fair in Raleigh, fair goers in past years have enjoyed fun fare including deep-fried bananas Foster, deep-fried cupcakes, deep-fried Girl Scout cookies and deep-fried barbecue—chopped pork dipped in a cornmeal hush puppy batter. New for 2015 will be deep-fried Carolina Crab Bites.

In Columbia at the South Carolina State Fair, new food for 2015 includes The Southern Belle Burger—a burger with bacon, pimento cheese salad, and fried green tomato. Also look for the Bacon Cinnamon Roll and Sriracha Fire & Ice Kreme—creamy soft serve vanilla ice cream topped with spicy Sriracha sauce, nacho chips and whipped cream.

If non-fried, more familiar food is preferred, you can usually find sandwiches, burgers, roasted corn or turkey legs. And corn dogs.

Competitions and Exhibits

North Carolinians will compete in categories including a horse show, cooking, agriculture, livestock and even graphic design. Check out the daily schedule for NC Fair exhibits, judging schedule and other activities.

South Carolinians will have a chance to compete competitions and show off their best efforts in student art, miniatures, swine herdsmanship, home canning, horticulture, livestock, equine skills and more.

Rides, Attractions and Entertainment

On the midway, expect the traditional ferris wheels, tilt-a-whirls and merry-go-rounds at both state fairs. New in Raleigh for 2015 is the Quasar and Super Cyclone roller coaster and new in South Carolina is the Blitzer, a European-style roller coaster.

The 2015 Homegrown North Carolina Concert Series, a line-up of 63 artists in a wide-ranging variety of genres, is an all-new and free experience for fairgoers! Also at the NC State Fair, kids of all ages will get a kick out of the Circle C Racing Pigs, the Moo-gician, Rock-It the Robot and more.

Check out the Grandstand concerts at the South Carolina fair for nationally known acts including Gladys Knight, The News Boys and several others. Local and roving entertainment will perform daily. Other attractions include Enter the Dinosaurs, NASCAR Night, a petting zoo and sand sculptures.

For complete information on these state fairs, visit their websites:

North Carolina State Fair

South Carolina State Fair

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

The Color of Sold

30 Sep

White interior decoration planA fresh coat of paint can breathe new life into a tired old space—and when you’re in the process of staging your home to sell, choosing the right paint color can be a very important decision. Take the guesswork out of the equation and save yourself some time and money by familiarizing yourself with the paint colors that are likely to either attract or repel potential buyers.

Buyers need to be able to easily envision themselves making your house their home. And if you’ve plastered half of the walls in your home to match the colors of your favorite football team, chances are it’s going to be pretty hard for buyers to think about anything other than the glaring color on your walls.

Focus on warm neutral colors—think light green, cream, gray and soft yellow. Colors in this palette tend to naturally compliment furniture and décor so buyers don’t have to worry about repainting walls or buying furniture just to match the paint. But more than just creating a neutral palette for the ease of potential buyers—research suggests that neutral colors are proven to create a tranquil environment, making us feel more relaxed and at home.

When selecting colors in the warm palette, try to stay in the middle of the spectrum; for example, a bright yellow living room may turn some buyers away, while a buttery, soft yellow is more likely to be pleasing to the eye. The same goes for gray. Incorporating a gray with dark blue undertones can be too dark and uninviting for some buyers, whereas a soft, light gray is more likely to be appealing to most buyers.

Colors in the bold palette, like bright red, orange or blue are often a roadblock for potential buyers who may struggle to identify with darker hues. And while bolder tints may not work on the inside, experts suggest they will work on the outside. A tasteful tone of deep maroon, dark blue or a rich olive works surprisingly well on your front door and goes a long way towards a good first impression.

Focus on colors that create a warm environment—the home buying process can be long and tedious, so when a buyer finds that house that has a “homey” vibe, it’s as good as sold.

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


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