September 2011

30 Sep 2011

A Whole New Facebook

A wise man once said …

You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.

That wise man was Steve Jobs and it seems that a certain Mark Zuckerberg took those words to heart because last week, Facebook went through a round of changes that rocked users to their core.

As consumers, we change our behavior patterns constantly. Our likes, our dislikes, the way we interact with others and communicate changes all the time. So, wouldn’t it then make sense that a social network that thrives on those attributes change as well? We pride ourselves on progression and innovation, yet Facebook’s progression and innovation is consistently met with anger, outrage and an “I want the old way back” mentality.

Change is inevitable, especially when it comes to the realm of social networking. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or whatever else decides to come along, change is inevitable. As consumers, we can either embrace and take advantage of that change or turn our back to it. My opinion is to embrace it because if you don’t, you will get left behind, which brings me to the most recent changes to the social networking giant.

29 Sep 2011

A Tour for True “House Junkies”

If you’re reading this blog, you’re a bit of a “house junkie.” You are interested in residential real estate (maybe even a bit obsessed) and learning as much as you can about purchasing it, selling it, owning it, renovating it, building it, insuring it, and maintaining it. Here’s another thought. How about just feasting your eyes on some of the most beautiful housing options and solutions the Triangle Region has to offer?

The Triangle has a stunning assortment of housing and architectural styles. Now, a showcase for a few of those fine homes designed by local architects is happening on Saturday, October 1st, when the Triangle Chapter of the American Institute of Architects hosts its 2nd Annual Tour of Residential Architecture.

28 Sep 2011

Discovering My Credit Score

As I started this Homebuying Adventure, I’ll have to admit I was a little nervous about the mortgage process (check out my video here!).  Hidden in my credit closet were several credit cards with more debt than I would like to admit. So when Mollie Bergstrom from Allen Tate Mortgage said something about pulling my credit score, I prepared myself for the worst.

I’ve been working on paying down my credit cards (yes, I was one who fell into the credit trap right after college) and I’ve heard mixed comments about closing those cards after they are paid off. In talking about this dilemma with Mollie, she told me that closing paid-off cards erases the “good credit” that you’ve built up.  What? This is good to know! I have good credit on the cards with no balance! I tucked away this information and tried to ease my nerves on my pending credit score.

27 Sep 2011

First-Time Homebuyers Learn About Mortgages

I’ll be honest with you – going into this Homebuying Adventure, I knew next to nothing about mortgages and what they entailed. Pre-qualification, pre-approval, fixed rate, APR … it was all Greek to me. What I did know was that I had friends who were paying mortgages that were less than my monthly rent and I wanted to be a member of that club. But to be granted access, I needed to bite the bullet, push aside my fears and meet with Mollie Bergstrom, my Allen Tate Mortgage consultant.

After sitting down with Maggie (my Realtor), Amy and I each had a better idea of everything we needed to put on our “to-do” lists. The most important of these was a meeting with Mollie from Allen Tate Mortgage. And being an enthusiastic person by nature, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some listings and see what could very well become my first home.

26 Sep 2011

Time to Paint? There’s An App For That!

I love helping friends pick out paint colors. I have a few tried-and-true colors I always recommend. While I still love going to the store to pick out paint samples and consult a professional, there are times when I am out and about and see a color I love. I have to know what it is at that moment because it’s Murphy’s Law that I would find the exact color I want when I don’t have a color palette handy. Thankfully, technology has solved that issue for me with color apps for smart phones.

These apps use your phone to match real-world colors. Like the shade of a green leaf? Let an app match it to a paint chip and suggest coordinating colors. You can even create and save your own custom palettes.

23 Sep 2011

Leadership Makes All the Difference

At the Allen Tate Company, we were very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with two legendary leaders, Jolaine Lanier and Jeannene Poarch. Both of these leaders retired this month after 30 years of service to the real estate industry.

Both Jolaine and Jeannene started their careers in 1981, and both became very successful agents. They worked together through the 1980’s and in 1993 they, along with partners Emma Maggio and Diane Thompson, started their own real estate firm called Cornerstone Properties. After a decade of success, Jolaine, Jeannene, and Diane decided to sell their firm to the Allen Tate Company in 2002.

22 Sep 2011

Fundraising in Winston-Salem Gets Hair-Raising!

Just when I thought I had seen every idea on the planet for fundraisers, another even more imaginative fundraiser emerges. The idea here is hair-raising!  Forget the walk-a-thon, the chocolate sales and eating at certain restaurants on certain nights.

St. Baldrick’s Day is an annual event where participants raise money to have their head shaved. Yep.  It’s the naked truth.  Being hairless once a year is seriously profitable for these fundraisers.  Last year, the small pub Finnigan’s Wake in Winston-Salem raised more than $45,000 in six hours!

Participants sign up for a shave and ask friends to sponsor them. Funds raised go to children’s cancer research.

St. Baldrick’s is an international non-profit that has raised more than $110 million since 2000. More than 60 St. Baldrick’s events were planned in the Carolinas in 2011.

21 Sep 2011

Madness in Mint Hill!

The official definition of “madness” includes everything from insanity and lunacy to great folly, enthusiasm and excitement.  In the case of Mint Hill Madness, however, “Madness” is simply an annual family-friendly weekend festival that celebrates the arrival of fall. Sponsored by the Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce on the last weekend in September every year, Madness has been around for more than 25 years.

Mint Hill Madness is without a doubt the community’s largest event, drawing 30,000 plus into the area.  It takes place in the downtown area, at the intersection of Matthews-Mint Hill Road and Lawyers Road. 

20 Sep 2011

Why a Realtor? Why Buy?

After meeting with my Realtor®, Maggie Redmond, and diving through the information packet, I realized this Homebuying Adventure was going to be about more than just buying a house!  Lucky for me, Maggie came to my rescue. No more overloading on information by myself.  She made everything simple.

As I digested the step by step buying guide, commonly used terms and my property wish list, I came away with the following:

Why should I buy? Why now?

  • Interest rates are historically low. (This means savings!)
  • Inventory is high. ( I have more to choose from and can get somewhat picky.)
  • Sellers are motivated. (Do I smell opportunities???)
  • Financing is available. (I will be able to pay for this.)

Now that I knew it was a great time to buy, what’s next? Could I start searching and picking out my perfect home?  As I began filling out the wish list I realized that I didn’t even know what I could afford. I knew I wanted to keep the payments close to what I was already paying in rent. Wait! There was a paper in the information packet all about mortgages!

19 Sep 2011

The Residential Tides Are a Turning!

Earlier this month, we turned another page on what has been a long methodical recovery.  Sales for the first time notched ahead of 2010 year-to-date. That is a milestone, especially since 2010 had the tax credit provision in the first half of the year. Looking back, what we have learned is that the tax credit borrowed sales from the future which explains last year’s dismal second half.

Month-to-date, August generated 1,548 sales for us versus 1,154. This is a 34% increase August over August. Year-to-date, it is 10,519 sales vs. 10,466 sales. Admittedly this is not huge, but, slowly but surely, the tide is turning.


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