It’s FUNday Season!

15 Sep

PrintNow that summer is winding down and kids are settled back in school, it seems to be the “season” for everything – football season (and the end of baseball season), apple-picking season, fall yard work season, community festival season, etc.

At Allen Tate Company, it’s FUNday season. For 17 years, Allen Tate Company has held annual FUNday events, where agents “pay to play” to raise money for public education in the local communities we serve throughout the Carolinas.

During that time, we’ve held field days, golf tournaments, dance parties, karaoke contests, corn hole competitions, tailgates, chili cook-offs and silent and live auctions. We’ve played in the rain and baked in the sun. And during those years, we’ve grown exponentially as a company and expanded our footprint to other regions.

This year – for the first time in FUNday history – we will hold four unique events, one in each of our regions.

We’re making history in another way, too. This year’s FUNdays will actually be FUN nights! In each of our regions, we’ll host an evening event with food, drink and our famous silent and live auctions.

We’ll kick-off FUNday season with an evening reception on September 24 in the Upstate. We’ll “roll out the red carpet for public education” in the Triad on October 2 and hold two FUNday events on October 9, when we’ll embrace our inner Mad Men in the Triangle and party at the Panthers home at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

And while our agents are having FUN (and they do have loads of FUN), we’ll be raising FUNDS (lots of FUNDS) for the kids. In the past 10 years, we’ve raised more than $1.4 million from this event – which stays in our local communities to benefit education foundations and other initiatives that directly impact public education.

Why do we do this? Because we understand how important public education is to families making home-buying decisions. We believe in working together and giving back to make a difference that, yes, impacts our business – but most importantly, impacts the quality of life in our communities.

So we’re ready to have some fun. If you’d like to help, please contact any Allen Tate Realtor. Share in the joy of FUNday season!

Pat Riley
President and Chief Operating Officer, Allen Tate Company

It’s Apple-Picking Time

10 Sep

9.10.14 Apple pickiingSeptember brings the beginning of fall, but here in the Carolinas, we sometimes feel summer-like temperatures well into October. After a long, hot summer, I was ready for cooler temps, crisp air and something apple-flavored, so I headed north last Sunday.

I found a perfect day trip at Sky Top Orchard in Flat Rock, North Carolina, just a 1 ½-hour drive from the Charlotte area and less than an hour from Upstate South Carolina. It makes a great short weekend trip if you’re in the Triad or Triangle.

Sky Top Orchard welcomed me with cool mountain air and fresh apples. Open from August to December, the orchard is home to more than 20 varieties of apples, picked by the staff and by visitors. Each apple variety arrives in a different part of the season, so you can choose the perfect time to pick your favorites.

As you walk toward the orchard store, you can smell the fresh baked apple doughnuts (yes, doughnuts) and they ARE yummy. You’ll see folks stocking up before they head home, and I suggest you do the same. And be sure to try an apple cider slushy or hot apple cider.

Exploring the store, you’ll see pecks and bushels (don’t worry, the staff can explain) of every apple in season. You can purchase apples picked by the staff, and near the back of the store, you’ll see where they sort the apples to sell or use for cider or other products. The staff is happy to explain how this large machine works.

Ready to pick? Check in to receive your basket and wagon and head to the orchard. Not sure what kind of apple you want? Head over to the sample section to try the apples currently available.

As you make your way to the orchards, you’ll pass several play areas for kids, as well as a petting zoo. Soon, you’ll find rows and rows of apple trees, ready to be explored. Spend as long as you like gathering apples, then head back to the store to check out.

Don’t miss the live beehive in the store. It’s a treat to see the bees in action and purchase honey created by the same hive. And don’t miss the delicious jams, jellies and even barbeque sauces with an apple kick.

Looking to extend your trip? Flat Rock is near the Blue Ridge Parkway, home of great hikes and fantastic views. For a list of great hikes in the area, click here.

As fall settles in, take advantage of the North Carolina mountains – just a short drive away. Pull out the jackets and long sleeves, pick your own apples, and see the leaves change. And as we say in the South – Happy Fall Y’all!

By Jennifer Suggs – Guest Blogger

What I love about living in the Carolinas

8 Sep

9.8.14 Friendly neighborsIt’s been 15 years since I received the call about moving to Charlotte to run the Relocation division of the Allen Tate Company. While I was excited about the opportunity, I was a bit nervous about moving to “The South.”

I wondered what it would be like and if we would fit in. Of course, I wondered if my Northern accent would be that obvious.

I’m sure many people have shared my thoughts when they are considering a move here. But fear not – The South is a pretty awesome place.

Consider these experiences I’ve had in just the past two weeks:

The Helpful Traveler – I was boarding my flight in Buffalo to return to Charlotte. A man in his mid-30s was standing off to the side instead of stowing his bag. He said to the ticket agent “I’m just waiting to see if she needs help,” referencing a mother with a young child, struggling to put a stroller in a large bag. He approached the woman and offered to carry the bag for her. As she thanked him repeatedly, he simply responded “I was happy to.” Later, this born-and-raised Southern boy told me he was only doing what he hoped someone else would do for his wife.

The Considerate Lad – As I’m waiting at the pharmacy in a medical facility, I notice a boy about 9 playing with a toy and waiting for his mother. He calls “Ma’am” to a woman waiting at the elevator, but she does not hear him. He gets up and walks over to the woman to let her know that the elevator on the other side of the entry way is available.

The Happy Transferee – Two days later I’m attending a Charlotte Knights baseball game with a couple who moved to Charlotte a year ago to work with MetLife. He recalled a story of how impressed he was with the movers. When he arrived at his new home, one of the movers stopped what he was doing, introduced himself and asked how he liked the area. It was a very different experience than the one he had when he moved out of his previous home.

The Nice Neighbors – That Sunday, I went to welcome friends who had moved here from Chicago the day before. I arrived with a care package of cleaning supplies, a gift for both boys and homemade cookies (because my friend loves them). When the father called the boys downstairs, they were joined by two others who had already made fast friends with their new neighbors. In unison, both neighbor boys greeted me with “It’s a pleasure to meet you.” My friend said his boys had been nervous about meeting new friends – but obviously that problem was solved on Day One!

Here’s the lesson I hope to share: Pass along the welcoming atmosphere that others have shared when you moved here. In the South, no one is a stranger for long!

DJ Stephan Blog 
DJ Stephan
President, Allen Tate Relocation

I am just saying …

5 Sep

9.5.14 Piggy bank“I am the poor man’s joy and comfort, the rich man’s prize, the right hand of capital, the silent partner of many successful men and women.” – Excerpt from I am real estate

Growing up, I knew that I wanted to own real estate as soon as I could get enough money to make a down payment. As it turned out, I bought a two-unit apartment building and a single-family home, long before I ever thought about marriage and settling down.

Today, there are so many more temptations – cars, trucks, flat screens, boats, travel and entertainment – to take your eye off the ball. But nothing – NOTHING – appreciates and takes care of you in your later years like your home. It is forced savings, tax deductions and solace for old age and a rainy day.

And NOTHING will happen tomorrow that is better than today when it comes to making that move. The cost of money is rising, along with appreciation rates. That means more money for less house, the longer you wait.

If you have good credit, keep it that way. If not, then work to get it right. If you can’t seem to save for a down payment, start by taking little bites. I read recently that one cup of coffee over the counter each day will add up to $51,800, compounded over 10 years. You can do it with a little discipline and setting up priorities in your household.

Homeownership is and will always be the American Dream. Be part of it!

Pat Riley
President and Chief Operating Officer, Allen Tate Company

Top 5 Reasons to Buy a Fixer-Upper

3 Sep

9.3.14 Fixer UpperIn today’s tight housing market, being open to purchasing a fixer-upper home could prove to be a good strategy. Relying on the seller to make the repairs just may not be realistic right now.

So assuming you’re willing to take a home in existing condition, here are five reasons it could be a savvy real estate move:

  1. Great neighborhood. Being willing to buy a fixer-upper could get you in a neighborhood where you couldn’t afford a move-in ready home. And all the neighbors will immediately love you for renovating the neighborhood eyesore.
  2. More space. You may get more square footage for the dollar in a house that needs fixing up. Especially if the renovation won’t require an addition or heavy structural repairs.
  3. Charm and character. If you love the charm of an older home with archways, moldings, hardwood floors, architectural details, and interesting little quirks like hidden closets, door knobs, etc., but want a more streamlined look with modern amenities, making repairs to an older home could be the perfect option.
  4. Customization. You could get the cosmetic features you really want by working them into necessary structural repairs. If you’re replacing the roof, for example, you could add a skylight at the same time. Or you could install a bay window where there was dry rot in a wall.
  5. Pride of ownership. If you like to take on new projects, have a vision of how you want your home to look, are creative, hands-on or handy, have patience and love working with a team, renovating a home could be just the project for you. Despite all the horror stories you hear, it can be a fun, fulfilling time, and in the end, you get the house you want.

Interested? Let your Allen Tate Realtor know what you’re willing to invest – time, effort and money – in the perfect fixer-upper.

Tony Jarrett
Vice President of Operations and Regional Vice President

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