April 2011

29 Apr 2011

It’s Almost May Day!

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.

28 Apr 2011

April Showers Bring May Flowers

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.

27 Apr 2011

Is Now the Time to Invest in Charlotte Real Estate?

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:

26 Apr 2011

My Royal Wedding Invitation

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.

25 Apr 2011

The Month of March Roared!

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.

22 Apr 2011

Earth Day Is Here…Let’s Grab A Beer (and other tips for green living)

Today, the Earth observes its 41st Earth Day.  Long before we ever heard of global warming, our carbon footprint, or theMacondo blowout, a conservation-minded politician from Wisconsin (Senator Gaylord Nelson) had the idea for a national day of appreciation for the Earth’s natural environment. I’m all about showing appreciation.

This year, as a patriotic Earthling, I’m celebrating Earth Day by not watering my lawn. Brown is the new green. Did you know…it’s estimated that over 50% of landscape water use is wasted due to evaporation and overwatering? (My strategy is not recommended, however, if your home is for sale, or if you do not hold up well under pressure from the Homeowners’ Association. If that’s the case, it’s best to water your lawn in the early morning or evening, when excessive evaporation is less likely.)

21 Apr 2011

Simple Ways to Share Great Content Online

“Sharing is caring.” While this phrase may seem trite and elicit a shake of the head and a roll of the eyes, its message is true and could not be more valuable when it comes to the social networking realm. Sharing shows me, your audience, your network, your friend and your client, that you care. Yes, sharing is caring but it’s sharing interesting and relevant information that gets you noticed, remembered and valued.

In the online world, sharing is a way to build your social currency (social currency = audience + relevance + trust + influence). It’s how you remain relevant, it’s how you engage and it’s how you show your network that you’re on top of things.

20 Apr 2011

Changing Insurance for a High School Graduate

If you have a child getting ready to graduate high school and head to college, has the following thought ever crossed your mind? When my child moves out of my household, what does that mean for my insurance?  As “trusted advisors” we often get asked the following:

My son/daughter is away at college and does not drive my car.  Why do I need to keep him/her listed as a driver? The answer is simple; you as a parent are still legally responsible for your children while they are in college up to age 25.  When they come home they have access to your cars and most likely will drive them.

19 Apr 2011

Winston-Salem is Growing…BODY-PARTS That Is!

Fingers, urethras, ears, and many more parts are being grown from human tissue and cells right in downtown Winston-Salem.  The Institute for Regenerative Medicine, a part of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, has been incubating and harvesting human cells to help patients with damaged body parts live without malfunction. A recent report published online by medical journal The Lancet stated that the urethras they have been growing are working!

“These findings suggest that engineered urethras can be used successfully in patients and may be an alternative to the current treatment, which has a high failure rate,” Dr. Anthony Atala, a pediatric urologic surgeon and director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, said in a statement. “This is an example of how the strategies of tissue engineering can be applied to multiple tissues and organs.”

18 Apr 2011

Happy Anniversary!

54 years young the Allen Tate Companies have just begun. In April of 1957, Allen Tate’s vision to create the Carolina’s premier independent market dominant residential homes services company was born.  The road of being a one stop Realtor / Insurer with choices began in uptown Charlotte.

You can enjoy a fabulous video that traces the life path of this organization on our website. While the video does a tremendous job showcasing our history, it will not show that,in the past 10 years, we have had over 22 independent family owned companies join us in our vision to become the market dominant residential homes services company. As we expanded our footprint we joined forces with great companies that were doing great work and put gasoline on a fire that was already burning!


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