October 2011

31 Oct 2011

We’re Sweet on Sweet Potatoes

When I was growing up in the North, sweet potatoes generally made an annual appearance – for the holidays, and they were usually drowning in brown sugar and butter. As a kid, I was convinced that you could eat them if you couldn’t taste them. It wasn’t until I moved to the South that I realized sweet potatoes are a highly respected and nutritious staple and frequent star of the dinner table.

I guess that’s because we grow them here – lots of them. North Carolina is the No. 1 grower of sweet potatoes in the U.S., bringing in $176 million last year. They are the official state vegetable (if you follow that sort of thing). Many former tobacco farmers now produce sweet potatoes that thrive in the same heat and sandy soil. And that’s just one healthy aspect of this odd-shaped tuber.

27 Oct 2011

Football Time

It’s hard to believe we are heading into November already! This is the time when the leaves start to fall, the colder weather starts to kick in, and the college football season starts to get really serious.

Here in North Carolina, we have some great football action happening from the mountains to the coast. In the ACC, we have Duke, N.C. State, North Carolina, and Wake Forest battling for some important victories that can matter for the bowl selection committees in November. Wake Forest has a legitimate shot at getting to the ACC Championship game that will be held on Saturday, Dec. 3 in Charlotte.

26 Oct 2011

Mortgages and Utility Costs: New Legislation Pending

As we are all aware, qualifying for a mortgage these days is anything but easy. What if it was made even more complicated?

Recently a bill, called the Sensible Accounting to Value Energy Act, was co-sponsored by Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). If enacted, the bill would require all government-sponsored lenders (so that includes FHA, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – more than 90% of the current mortgage market) to include monthly utility costs in their debt to income ratios. In other words, lenders would have to take into account how much a borrower pays for electricity and gas when determining if he or she could meet the monthly mortgage payment.

25 Oct 2011

Making An Offer Involves More Than Just A Price

When I was younger, I never gave much thought to what my future home would look like. I never conjured up images or tore ideas out of magazines to store in a shoebox. I knew that I would own a home one day, so for the most part, I had a “think about it when the time comes” mentality.

The day I started dreaming up all sorts of ideas for my future home is one I will never forget. It is burned into my brain and I can vividly recall what I was wearing, whom I was with, the smells that bombarded me, and the feeling of anxiety that washed over me like a sudden summer shower.I had just moved to New York after graduating from college and found myself standing in door-less, closet-less room (which was to be my bedroom). That was the moment I started to think and dream about a place I would one day call my own.

24 Oct 2011

Trash to Treasure

What do the Winston-Salem Board of Realtors, local designers and old furniture have in common? Come on, take a guess. No? Can’t think of it? Well then let me help you.

What all of the above have in common is the Habitat ReStore project, an annual event to raise money and put local designers to work. Real estate companies and local designers are paired together to create a room for a Habitat home using old furniture and items found at their local Habitat store. Designers will take tired old chandeliers and paint them to look like new art deco pieces.  Faucets turn into candleholders and bathroom tiles are transformed into beautiful designer coasters.  Taking something worn and creating a fabulous piece of furniture for a child’s bedroom or a new dining room is a wonderful way to make everyone feel good.

21 Oct 2011

Have You Visited the North Carolina State Fair?

October is my favorite month for a number of reasons. First of all, I love fall. Second, it is my birthday month and I LOVE my birthday. Last but certainly not least, October is also the month of the North Carolina State Fair.

Growing up, I attended the fair every year. My best friend and I ate our way through the church booths and then ate candy apples and cotton candy for dessert. Of course we rode the rides (I will never forget the first time I rode the Tilt a Wheel and how my best friend had to talk me out of getting sick…). We also made “spin art” every trip. Those are memories I will carry with me forever.

20 Oct 2011

Everybody Loves a Parade!

Grab your husband, wife, friend or neighbor and get out and enjoy all the new homes on the Triad Parade of Homes tourThis is a great time of year in the Triad for many reasons, but in the new homes industry, this is the biggest event of the year.

I became involved with the Parade of Homes back in 2002 but I remember it as if it were yesterday. Roughly 10 years later (give or take a day or two) I realize that I have been involved in every aspect of the event and I have enjoyed every minute of it. What I like most about the Parade of Homes is that is allows you to tour new homes in laid-back environment. No stress. No fanfare. Just fun.

19 Oct 2011

Buying Your First Home? Ask about Insurance

Buying insurance is not like buying a tank of gas. When the gas light illuminates and that annoying little ping sound goes off (at least it’s an annoying little ping sound in my car) I look for the closest gas station to fill up my tank so that I can carry on with my day. At the end of the day, gas is gas. It’s a regulated product. Your tank is low (or often empty in my case); you pull into a station and fill up.

I don’t spend a lot of time researching and comparing. I may buy based on price but for the most part, gas is gas.

Insurance is different. It’s not a purchase one should make lightly and is certainly not one that should be made at the last minute. If there is one thing that I learned from Zach Ligon, my insurance agent extraordinaire, it is that it’s never too early to start thinking about insurance. I’m the kind of person who leaves a lot of things to the last minute so when he told me this, I knew it was information I should bold, highlight and star.

18 Oct 2011

Why Is A Home Warranty Important?

When I started this Homebuying Adventure, I had never heard of a home warranty. As a renter, you call your landlord or apartment manager when things break. Other than the inconvenience, repairs are not really your problem.

But as a homeowner, what happens when the air conditioner or heat stops working? What do you do when your roof is leaking? Who fixes the plumbing when the faucet drips or the toilet overflows? Even as an apartment dweller, I routinely called on my dad for advice if something wasn’t working. Maybe it’s the engineer in him, but it seems that he can fix anything, or at least, come up with a solution. If I’m going to become a homeowner, I guess I’m going to need to cut the apron strings and learn how to stand on my own two feet when things break.

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