Before You Buy…Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

In a previous post we gave you a bit of an idea of some of the many things that should be running through your mind BEFORE you start looking into home ownership. So, perhaps you've found a couple possible Charlotte dream homes, and your ready to pounce on one of them.When you're down to a few candidates, and hungry to make a decision here are some final deciding factors to think of:

Know what you MUST have and what you are willing to compromise on. While people can give you advice, only you can decide what it is that you need and what you are willing to live without or add later.When it comes to potentially renovating make sure you have your bases covered in terms of what you are allowed to do according to city ordinances.  You don't want to think you can renovate something you actually cannot.

In real estate, and especially here in Charlotte, our mantra is always: location, location, location. Does the location of your new pad work with your life?  How close are the neighbors? Is there public transit close by? Is there outdoor space? How close is the highway? Can you afford it?

A lot of fine people over-estimated their savings, their assets, and their earning potential and when the economy took a downturn so did they. A lot of great people hardworking North and South Carolina families lost their homes due to a small over-assumption in their finances. Don't over extend yourself when you buy a home.  Look at the price, and the future mortgage payments, and be sure you can comfortably take care of them come any kind of disaster.

Use all of these observations to rate the home, this will make it easier to narrow down your top picks and see what it is that you really like or dislike.  As we have said before, home ownership is a wonderful American tradition. Everyone can, and should, have a place to hang their hat that they own!  But, it is also one of the most important decisions you will ever make... So due your homework, and make a well-thought out decision.

Bonnie and Daniel Papandrea
704-756-8071 ... Read more

Posted in Charlotte Homes.

Turn Your Tax Refund Into Home Ownership!

It's all over!  Tax season is finally done at least for those of us who didn't file an extension.For those lucky North and South Carolinians who are getting a tax refund, an important step is to determine what to do with the extra money. One option is to invest your tax refund in your home. Consider the options below that best fit your housing situation in order to make your tax refund work for you.

First-Time Homebuyers
Taking advantage of today's incredibly low interest rates along with under-valued but beautiful Charlotte homes make home buying a great opportunity and a tax refund can be used toward a down payment. Typically, down payments are 3 to 20 percent of your dream home's selling price. So depending on your refund, you might have a good chunk or a nice portion.  But if it isn't enough, never fear... There are a number of loan options and financing possibilities that can be tapped into as a first-time homebuyer. (Before you set out to buy a home, it's best to talk with a mortgage professional and be pre-approved.)

Refinance Your Home
Like we said, rates are at historical lows... So, refinancing should help a homeowner knock their mortgage rate down or allow them to pay off their loan quicker and save money on interest. (Again, check with a mortgage specialist to determine if a lower rate or different term makes sense for your situation.)

Pay Down Your Mortgage
Paying down your mortgage with your tax refund is also a great way to decrease your debt and increase equity in your home. If you plan on staying in your home for at least the next three to five years, consider investing your tax refund toward the principal of your mortgage.

Bonnie and Daniel Papandrea
704-756-8071 ... Read more

Posted in Charlotte Homes. Tagged as Charlotte, Home for sale.

Things To Remember When Diving Into Home-Ownership

New home-buyers are entering the Charlotte housing market everyday.  For many of these folks, what to buy, when and how it all works can be troubling and mysterious issues.  Of course, your Realtor should be a constant source of support, information and help but, we always encourage people to think about these few items...Be fully committed to buying a home.  Be aware of what you can afford and are ready to look at the options. 

Don't expect your home search to move at the speed of light! It is typical that homebuyers will see upwards of 30 houses before finding the right one.  So don't get disgusted or disgruntled at the 10th!  Enjoy the process!    When you find the perfect home, buy it. 

Do not try to go through this process alone.  Find a Realtor that you trust and allow them to assist you! Not only are they experts in the housing market, but they also understand the process of home buying and thus are an invaluable resource.

  • Do you have pets? Do you want pets?
  • Do you have large furniture you need to accommodate?
  • How are you getting around Charlotte? Do you want to bike to work?  Do you want to drive?  Do you need a garage?
  • Do you want to start a family in this house?

So make a chart, make a list, talk it out... But before you jump into the pool, have some of these questions comfortably answered in your head.  Buying a home is one time you DO NOT want to have buyer's remorse. 
Bonnie and Daniel Papandrea
704-756-8071 Read more

Posted in Charlotte Homes. Tagged as Charlotte Real estate, Home buyer, Moving.

Inspecting Your Roof

One of the most important steps in almost every single home purchase is the inspection.  It is your opportunity to work with a trained professional and find out everything about your possible purchase. Today we are going to focus on an integral part of your home and that  inspection...THE ROOF.  Your roof has a tough job. It is the first/best line of defense from Mother Nature. Charlotte weather is usually temperate and pleasant, but we've been hit hard by the elements on occasion.  Any weakness in those defensives will cause serious damage as a result of water, hail, ice, or all of the above. So before, during and after inspection remember these rules for your roof!

  1. Outside: Either your inspector, or both of you, should conduct a visual inspection o the roof. See if anything looks out of place, damaged, or missing: missing shingles, damaged flashing, etc.  Any significant problems should be repaired immediately. Conduct similar inspections around any chimney or other outcroppings such as vents.
  2. Inside: Next, inspect the roof from the inside. Go up in the attic and look around for any signs of light from the outside. (Hint: if light can get into your attic, so can water! Any cracks will need to be sealed or caulked (or both.) Also, check all ceilings for water stains, cracking, or warping. If you find any, then you know the water is coming from somewhere. And don't assume that the leak is right above the damaged area; water can run for a distance before it settles in and starts to seep through the ceiling material.
  3. Found Damage? Before closing, we strongly recommend having any roof needs repaired. Otherwise, make a note to inspect it again every six months, since a small problem can rapidly turn into a large one. If roofing repair is needed at any time go with a professional, and get references. With most cases of home repair, hiring the wrong person will almost always result in subsequent problems.

REMEMBER: Your roof should last you ten to twelve years if properly maintained. Make your first inspection the first of MANY...Get in the habit now of performing regular inspections and keeping an eye out for problems as they occur.

Bonnie and Daniel Papandrea
704-756-8071 ... Read more

Tagged as Fort mill, Home buyer, Rock hill, roof inspection.

Moving to Charlotte?

Charlotte has seen a boom in the number of newcomers arriving in the last 20 years. Even through the worst economic downturn in recent memory, Charlotte and the surrounding areas continued to grow.

Today we find ourselves readying for another wave of relocation buyers. If you are moving to Charlotte for a job with Chiquita--or any of the other companies that have chosen to expand their businesses here, welcome! We love to be able to share our very special city with new arrivals.

There are some basics you should know before you live here that might not be completely obvious before you get here. So here it is. Charlotte is actually very near the border to South Carolina. And that means that many folks who commute to work in Charlotte everyday are South Carolinians. Fort Mill, Rock Hill and Indian Land are all towns perfect for newcomers, and South Carolina offers some great draws, including lower taxes and often-lower property costs. Schools in these towns are good and the communities are strong. So don't be afraid to ask your agent about these options when looking for the new home.

Next you should know that Charlotte is a Southern City with all of the appropriate charm but it is also progressive and cosmopolitan. While you will find plenty of the traditional Southern Barbecue an abundance of churches, and sweet tea, you will also find a world-class symphony, theaters, art galleries, internationally renowned shopping centers and breath-taking architecture. There is something for everyone here, no matter if you like professional sport, the arts, or unparalleled restaurants. So don't be afraid of a culture-shift--We are sure you will find Charlotte to be just the right amount of Southern-laid-back and intellectually stimulating!
Are you planning to relocate to the Charlotte area? Contact Team Papandrea today to get started on finding your new dream home. Read more

Posted in Charlotte Homes. Tagged as Charlotte homes, Charlotte Real estate, Moving to Charlotte.

Selling Your Home

People choose to put their homes on the market for a variety of reasons, but in the end, the process is the same. Unfortunately for some, especially in this market, the "selling" can take quite some time.

The most important thing to remember is that you can't let things slip! Keeping the house organized, clean and tidy is a must. You never know when someone my want to see the house, and you will need to make the best possible impression.

Next, try to take the feedback from the potential buyers as possible action items. Are the bedrooms too small for one family? What can you do to make them look bigger for the next person through? Clear out some furniture. Perhaps a lighter colored paint will do the trick.  These bits of information will give you an idea of what the buyers are looking for and some great hints on how to make your home that much better the next time.

In a hurry? Money will always talk. While it can be painful emotionally, and on your pocketbook, you may need to consider lowering the price. Times are tough and there are a lot of homes on the market right now. If you aren't in a rush--it may be better to take the house of the market for a few months if you aren't getting many showings. Work with your Realtor to find out what might be your best bet, given your timeline and tolerance for a cost reduction.

The one thing that many of our selling clients try to do is to not look for their new home until their old one has had an offer submitted. It can be exciting to "window-shop" but it can also be depressing as homes you love go off the market before you are ready to buy. So unless you can carry two mortgages for the unforeseeable future, don't get your heart settled on a particular home. Instead, use the time to scope out neighborhoods, or areas of town that you will want to target when the time is right. Read more

Posted in Charlotte Homes. Tagged as Selling your home.

Relocation Moving Tips

Relocating for a new job can be overwhelming. In addition to the stress and work that is involved in a regular move--there is the pressure of the new job responsibilities, moving away from an established support system, and the fear of the unknown.
While everyone who relocates has a unenviable task in front of them, there are a few ways to make the move run a bit smoother. Here are our top 5 relocation tips:

  1. Downsize: No matter what stage you are in your life, you probably have a few bags or boxes (or more!) of things you no longer need or want. Before you pack them up, pay someone to haul them across the country and then have to unpack them, why not just donate or throw away what you don't need or want now!
  2. Planning Ahead will Pay Off: Moving a household can be quite a chore--and unpacking those boxes could take weeks (or more!) When you are packing, be sure to set aside a box or boxes that will get you through the first week--and pack them last so they come off the truck first. A couple sets of plates and silverware, (or plastic utensils), a pan or two, basic cleaning supplies, toilet paper, toiletries, bedding and of course enough clothes will get you through the first few days . All too often people pack enormous boxes with everything from a room in it and then spend hours looking for the "needed" stuff amongst the not immediately necessary--it is ok to group boxes by how they are used instead of where they are to ultimately be kept. For example, a box with a couple towels, soap, toilet paper, a shower curtain, pajamas and linens would make a great "first unpacked" box.
  3. Keep the Numbers Handy: Put a list of phone numbers for utilities, the movers, and your real estate agent together, with your other emergency contacts and carry it with you. Your power and heat (or A/C) should be on, you should have no problems with your truck arriving on time, but, just in case... it is better to be safe than sorry.
  4. Use your Connections: If you are fortunate enough to be moving to a place where you will know people, make sure to lean on them a bit when you arrive, You will need to know things like where the best restaurants are and who in the neighborhood is the best babysitter. Don't have friends or family in the area? Try mom's groups, church, or craigslist to connect with people quickly.
  5. Leave Yourself Plenty of Time: If possible, leave yourself plenty of time to get settled in your new home before you start work. You will have so many things to do, unpack, organize and figure out in your new town, that a week or more may be very beneficial for you and your family to get you feet under you. Don't have time? Schedule an hour a night to unpack a box, or wake up early and tackle small project diligently each day--you don't want to wake up 5 years from now and find you still have half a garage full of unopened boxes.
With a little thinking ahead and a bit of help wherever you can get it, your relocation experience will be a good one. Just remember to take it easy on yourself as you make a dramatic change in your life. There is no need for perfection right away, and a relaxed attitude will help get you through the stressful times!

Are you planning to relocate to the Charlotte area? Contact Team Papandrea today to get started on finding your new dream home. Read more

Posted in Charlotte Homes. Tagged as Charlotte Real estate, Relocation.

Staging Photos to Sell

When selling a home a picture is worth a thousand words and sometimes is worth tens of thousands of dollars! OR MORE!The photos posted on MLS listings consistently amaze us. Rooms with laundry baskets in the corner, beds not made, dishes in the sink...some people just can't see how these things affect the mood of a buyer. Worse yet, some people don't include enough or any photos of a home. If there is no picture of the outside of the house, it leaves a buyer wondering... "what's wrong?" and they will likely skip over this listing completely.

We take high-resolution photos and do so with a designer's eye. We work with our clients to make sure the vignettes are staged well and that there isn't anything superfluous in the photos. When possible, we take pictures of each room, the outside and the neighborhood.

Another thing to remember is that pictures can be updated. If in the course of selling your home if you clear out some furniture to make a room look bigger, or replace the carpet, new pictures should be posted.

No matter who takes the pictures, look at them before they are posted. Sometimes when you see a room as a picture, you pick out things you didn't see the first time. Perhaps the blinds were pulled at different heights or the lighting makes it look like there is a stain on the rug when there isn't.

One of the best pieces of advice before putting your home up for sale is to look at the listings of homes online and see what pictures catch you eye. What are you attracted to? What turns you off? Emulate the good, avoid the bad, and you will be that much closer to selling your home. Read more

Posted in Charlotte Homes. Tagged as Selling your home, Staging photos.

Putting Out the Welcome Mat

Have you ever looked at your welcome mat? We sure do look at a lot of them as we go in  and out of homes to show to families looking to buy a home in Charlotte.

Some welcome mats are just fine.... And others have leaves and dirt and mulch built up around them. Many are old. Many are worn. Some are... inappropriate.

Fact is, this is something that is often overlooked by the home sellers as they are frantically cleaning up for a scheduled showing. They do not think about the first impression being the front door, the mat, the doorbell... they think about the entryway... which is good. It is just not enough.

Not all buyers will get caught up by the look of a ragged welcome mat. Some won't even notice. But I can tell you from experience that those who do have a clouded view of the home from then on. Perception is reality when it comes to real estate. If a buyer thinks you are the kind of homeowner who did not pay attention to details, who doesn't maintain the simple things in a house, they will jump to the conclusion that there are other things in the house that were not taken care of.

Then there is the psychological effect on a buyer when they are truly "welcome" into a home. It makes them feel wanted. It makes them feel comfortable. A buyer will not buy a home if they do not get a positive feeling from a house. No matter how superstitious or ruled by emotions someone is, they can't help but be affected by a dirty, torn mat that says: "go away!"

A new welcome mat costs anywhere from $12 $25 at the local home goods or hardware store. Make your prospective homebuyers feel welcome... put out a (nice) welcome mat! Read more

Posted in Charlotte Homes.

Choosing a Neighborhood in Charlotte

Charlotte is an area with a lot of character. From city dwelling with art and restaurants a quick walk away, to the sprawling beautifully manicured suburbs to the country estates with large fenced properties Charlotte and its surrounding towns have just about something for everyone.

Even within the particular towns, you will find neighborhoods with there own personality. Finding the perfect neighborhood is just as important as finding the perfect home. When shopping for a new house, often the best place to start is by just looking at the neighborhoods.

Here are a few tips for choosing your next neighborhood:

  1.  The schools Is the school district important to your family? Families with school age children will particularly want to pay attention to things like school performance and proximity first.
  2. The lifestyle Next consider lifestyle features such as proximity to shopping, neighborhood amenities, sidewalks, parks, etc.
  3. The people Clients of ours will often look to see who is outside when they are house-hunting. Some neighborhoods have kids playing outside and neighbors talking in driveways. Others do not. Some homeowners like to have people out and about, and others like to live a more quiet life.
Your best chance of living in the community that best suits your needs, is to take the time ahead of time to find a neighborhood with the characteristics that you enjoy. When you have narrowed down what you need in a neighborhood, finding your dream home will be just a search away. ... Read more

Posted in Charlotte Homes. Tagged as Choosing a Neighborhood.

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