Archive | April, 2011

It’s Almost May Day!

29 Apr

On May 1st, the JC Raulston Arboretum will hold its Annual Gala in the Garden.  I have to say, it is one of the most enjoyable ways I know of to spend the first Sunday in May every year.

Before I get too involved in the party, let me tell you a little bit about the JC Raulston Arboretum.  Located on eight acres just off Hillsborough Street in the heart of Raleigh, the Raulston Arboretum is part of NC State University.  A working research and teaching garden, JCRA focuses on evaluating and displaying plant material from literally around the world. It is a wonderful place to visit when you are looking to start your own garden as plants that thrive well in Southern gardens are identified. Continue reading

April Showers Bring May Flowers

28 Apr

I can plant flowers like nobody’s business. I can trim hedges, not quite like Edward Scissorhands, but well enough that they look professionally done. I mulch my own yard. I eradicate weeds that mistakenly think they can make their home in my flower beds. The day I discovered Preen® is still vivid in my mind. While post-emergent weed killers are effective, pre-emergent ones which prevent the weed from ever growing can be life changing!

But even though I consider my thumb to be greener than green, the lawn beats me every year.  I fertilize. I spray weed killer. But each year I end up feeling like Carl Spackler, the greenskeeper in “Caddyshack”, who works tirelessly to catch the gopher digging up the course.

This year however, I have decided that I will win, even if it means removing the grass and starting over. Well, that was the original plan and then I realized how expensive that would be. So my plan has evolved and become much more cost effective. Continue reading

Is Now the Time to Invest in Charlotte Real Estate?

27 Apr

I recently had coffee with a past client. She was thrilled because, though she lost money in one real estate investment during the boom, she just bought a home for $860k that had previously been purchased for $1.3M in 2008.

At the end of the conversation, she quipped “I can’t believe the deals that are available. I should look at investing in other real estate properties besides my home!” I told her that SmartMoney.com actually blogged on January 8 that real estate “may finally be a good investment.” Their four reasons were i) everyone hates homes (as Warren Buffett says, “be greedy when other people are fearful”), ii) smart people are buying real estate, iii) real estate performs well during inflation and iv) demand may be coming back. Other reasons include: Continue reading

My Royal Wedding Invitation

26 Apr

Dear Prince William:

I have misplaced my invitation to the Royal Wedding at Westminster Abbey on April 29th. Will you please resend? I think Catherine Middleton is quite a catch, and I’m looking forward to meeting her. We have a non-stop flight to London from Raleigh-Durham International, so I’ll have no difficulty getting there on time.

I’m sure you know that my city, Raleigh, NC, is named for one of Queen Elizabeth’s favorite courtiers…Sir Walter Raleigh. (Check your family tree for the low-down.) Prenuptial, you should consider one of his famous quotes: If she undervalue me, What care I how fair she be?” Good to know. Continue reading

The Month of March Roared!

25 Apr

When you read the national housing reports talking about Q1 2011, you need more information to figure out the “rest of the story.”

Let me try, from my perspective, to help you. First and foremost, you must understand that the report for the month or quarter might be speaking to numerous categories. For example, sales, pending sales and solds – or even a category like new homes vs. resale – might be represented in a single report.

The data indicates that sales of existing homes fell 9.6 percent in February, the lowest level in 9 years. To understand why, you need to remember what happened last year in Q1 and Q2. We had a tax credit incentive that “borrowed” sales from the second half of the year, sending us into 2011 with a very small pipeline. Additionally, new home sales continue to drag, due to the availability of lot-ready opportunities and lender restraints on speculation building at this time. Continue reading

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