The Right Fence for You

21 Nov

White FenceA fence can help define and enhance outdoor spaces, block a view or noise, provide security and privacy, give children and pets a safe place to play, and offer a design enhancement to your landscaping. Let’s take a look at some of your options:

Wooden

Pros: Wooden fences come in a wide range of styles, from split rail to classic white picket, to stockade.

Cons: Most wood requires protection from rot and insects, or must be stained or painted. It will eventually require replacement or repairs.

Chain Link

Pros: Chain link fences are strong, provide air and light flow, security and containment. Vinyl-coated chain link is virtually maintenance-free, affordable and comes with a 15-year warranty.

Cons: Uncoated galvanized steel chain link rusts within 10 years.

Vinyl Fences

Pros: Vinyl fences are low maintenance, require no repainting, and are not susceptible to rot. Usually come with 20-year warranties from peeling and cracking. Just wash as needed.

Cons: Initial cost is high and styles and colors are limited. This fencing won’t hold up to hard abuse, will burn intensely if it catches fire, and can become brittle in cold weather.

Brick

Pros: By far, the longest lasting option and the most efficient choice for reducing noise and providing privacy.

Cons: The most expensive fencing option and may require periodic repairs.

Wrought Iron

Pros: Wrought iron is strong, looks beautiful and is the best design choice for historic properties.

Cons: High maintenance and cost. You must sand and repaint every two or three years.

Bamboo

Pros: Durable and handsome. Bamboo is “green” because it is more sustainable than wood from slow-growing forests.

Cons: High maintenance. It will need a coat of strong polyurethane finish or varnish every five to seven years to prevent blackening from weather exposure.

Don’t be afraid to get creative. A tall, privacy fence in back works well with a short, ornamental fence in front. A nicer, front-facing nicer gate dresses up a backyard chain link fence.

Fencing is an investment you will enjoy for years to come. Ask your Allen Tate Realtor® for advice regarding popular fencing options in your area.

By Angela Dole (Regional Vice-President) – Guest Blogger

 

Do it “Your Way”

19 Nov

Happy senior woman standing by sign board with clipboardMany of us can recall the words – and more importantly – the message of My Way, the 1969 ballad written by Paul Anka and popularized by crooner Frank Sinatra.

The lyrics reflect on the many choices we face in life, the goals we set for ourselves, and the difficult decisions we must make. The reward for the man in the story, as he approaches death, is that he did it his way, with responsibility and integrity.

The ability to make your own decisions in your career is not a luxury many have. Often, those decisions are determined by the company/supervisor you are working for. It is their vision, their message, their style – and done their way.

In real estate, the options for you to personalize your business around you are truly limitless. You need to live by the Realtor Code of Ethics and the stipulations of the Real Estate Commission, but the rest is up to you. It’s your game, your way.

Is this difficult? Might you make a mistake or do something that you wish you hadn’t? Of course. With great power comes great responsibility. But consider the rewards along with the risks.

You get to create “Me, Inc.” with all of your signature strengths featured front and center. Is marketing your thing? Perfect! Are you at your best when you are developing relationships and working with people? Are you a pro at social media? Or maybe the analytical side is for you. Whatever it is, you can develop your real estate career around your strongest skills and deepest passions.

With unlimited earning potential and freedom from a time clock, real estate can provide the career you have always wanted.

And as so eloquently stated … with few regrets and done your way.

By Barbara O’Rourke, Director of Career Development

Auto Insurance Myths

17 Nov

Car insuranceAs insurance professionals, we often hear reasons why someone believes their insurance rates should be lower. While these beliefs are good to start a dialogue, most of the time they are untrue.

Consider these common myths about car insurance:

  • I am older than 25, so my insurance rates should be cheaper. Some carriers use age as a rating factor, but most insurance carriers consider how long you have been a licensed driver. Less experienced drivers (and therefore, younger drivers) will pay a higher rate. Rates vary by state, but most states will reduce rates after three years of driving with a good record.
  • My car is older, so I just need the minimum insurance coverage. If you are involved in an accident, you could have injuries or cause injuries to others. Don’t get caught with inadequate coverage based on the value of your car. Make sure you have as much liability and medical payment coverage as you can carry. You could consider, based on the age of your car, to eliminate collision coverage (if the car is paid off), but liability and medical payment coverage are “musts”. 
  • My car insurance should be less expensive than my friend who drives a red car. The color of your car has no bearing on your insurance. While some would argue that you are spotted easier when speeding in a car of a certain color, the year, make and model are what matters in respect to insurance costs on a particular vehicle. Your liability limits, comprehensive and collision deductibles and driving record will also impact your insurance rates.
  •  My car continues to get older, so my rates should not increase. Rates are based on many factors: cost of repairs, cost of your vehicle, and driving history. An older car may be more expensive to insurance because it’s more difficult to obtain parts. By reviewing your insurance coverage annually with your trusted insurance advisor, you can make sure you are getting all discounts that may apply.

What other things have you heard about auto insurance coverage? Talk to an Allen Tate Insurance agent to find out which of these is a myth – and which are truths.

Robin Price
Vice President of Sales

 

Thanks to our friends and family

12 Nov

Market Update for CarolinasAs we’re nearing the end of another year, it’s a good time to reflect on real estate in the Carolinas. Overall, 2014 has been a good one.

As I share in the November-December edition of Carolinas Market Update, our gains have been slow and steady, both in home sales and in price appreciation, with no significant fluctuations.

Interest rates are holding, and while inventory remains tight, we are trending toward the type of balanced market that will sustain over time. And that’s right where we want to be.

In the coming months, many of us will spend time with family as part of holiday activities, and celebrate those who are important to us. At Allen Tate, we are thankful for our Family of Companies, and for what “our family” can do for you.

We’re thankful for Allen Tate Mortgage. As a mortgage banker, our professional mortgage consultants have extensive knowledge of mortgage lending and a multitude of loan products. Our consultants can get you pre-qualified for a mortgage and get your loan closed faster, making your new-home dream become a reality. This year, Allen Tate Mortgage will close more than $200 million in new and refinanced loans.

We’re thankful for Allen Tate Insurance. Our independent insurance agents offer choices of products from top national carriers to our clients, to cover their home, auto, life, health and business. With nearly 12,000 customers and more than 24,000 active policies, Allen Tate Insurance is one of the fastest growing insurance companies in the Carolinas.

We’re thankful for Allen Tate Home Services. Our service providers are fully insured, licensed and bonded, with extensive experience in their trade areas. When you use an Allen Tate Home Services vendor, you’re in the best of hands for any home improvement, repair or remodel – from minor touch-ups to major tear-downs.

We’re thankful for Allen Tate Relocation. When it’s time for you to move across the country or around the world, Allen Tate Relocation will connect you with a qualified real estate agent in your destination city through our Leading Real Estate Companies of World® network. Our award-winning team of relocation professionals will ensure that every detail of your move is efficient, successful – and stress-free.

Most of all, we’re thankful for you, our valued clients. You’ve trusted us with the purchase, sale and care of your most important investment – your home. You’ve allowed us to be your partner throughout this wonderful journey called homeownership. You’ve made us the Carolinas’ #1 real estate company, for more than 57 years – one home at a time.

Thank you – for your trust, for your confidence, and for your continued business. It’s our pleasure to know you and work with you.

Pat Riley
President and Chief Operating Officer, Allen Tate Company

New Construction: The Numbers Can Be Confusing

10 Nov

New Home ConstructionJust about everyone today who owns a home – or aspires to own a home – is tuned in to what’s going on in the economy. It affects whether we stay in our current home and remodel; go out and buy a resale home; or commit to having a brand-new home built.

The third option – building a home – is truly an economic driver and bellwether for the economy.

At the end of each quarter, statistics are released about what has happened with the home-building market. Since new construction is a driver of jobs (and lots of them), these stats impact everyone: from the builders, developers, suppliers and home furnishing companies, to the average person looking to jump into the market for the first time, to the luxury home buyer.

So what information – from what sources – is the best to help you understand what’s happening in this market segment? Most economists look at four different indexes: building permits, housing starts, sales and closings. The other key index is single-family homes, which includes townhouses and condos (as long as they are being sold), versus multi-family rentals, which include apartment

When a stat such as “new construction is up for the quarter” is published, you need to read beyond the headline. If you are looking for a new construction home in a market that has tons of apartments, you will want to know what index they are tracking. More apartments may be great for the investor who just started the project, but has little impact on the buyer looking for a single-family home. Likewise, local builders need to know the right stats to know whether to hold, or build more.

When it comes to new construction, one stat does not fit all. It’s important to get the right answer, but it’s just as important to ask the right question.

Mike LaRuffa
President, Builder Services Inc.
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