5 Charlotte Suburbs that are Great Places to Call Home


Charlotte Suburbs

Rated #12 in the US for best places for business and careers, Charlotte NC is a hot bed.  Charlotte is the second biggest banking center in the US, after NYC. Like most big cities, Charlotte is largely a commuter city. Thus, we’ve gone ahead and put together a list of 5 Charlotte suburbs which are great for young professionals, new families and established families alike. 
Fort Mill

Fort Mill

Being located in South Carolina has its advantages. Low property tax is luring many people to look across state lines to property in South Carolina. Overall, cost-of-living is cheaper in Fort Mill, making it a very desirable suburb. It’s home to 11,387 and is 18 miles away from Charlotte’s downtown. A mark of a blooming suburb is usually the amount and quality of hospitals in the area. Fort Mill has great new hospitals coupled with established schools.

Average real estate price: $174,249 (28% higher than SC average)

mount hollyMount Holly

Known as “Playful City USA,” and rightfully so, Mount Holly has six parks and two recreational centers. Mount Holly is perfect for those who have an affinity with nature. You can be in Crowders Mountain State Park in less than 30 minutes. The population currently sits at 13,776, so for anyone looking for a small-town that’s close to Charlotte, this is the place.

Average real estate price: $149,110 (0.5% lower than NC average).

The median household income is 48,070 (6% above state average).

Davidson

Davidson NCHome to 11,484 and with a close proximity to downtown Charlotte (20 miles), Davidson is a great place to call home. Davidson is host to a great college (Davidson College), a quaint farmers market and friendly people. Davidson is known as the expensive area outside of NC, and though there are properties that cost millions of dollars, there are also affordable options for new families here. 32.5% of the residents in Davidson are college students, meaning the dynamics of the town change quite a bit when school is on break for the summer.

For anyone looking to send their kids to Davidson, or to move themselves/family to the area, they can rest assured that Davidson is one of the safest areas in NC. The crime rate as judged by city-data.com is 71.8 (higher means more, US average is 322.2).

Average real estate price: 299,189 (92.6% higher than NC average).

Economically, Davidson is ahead of the rest of the state with a median household income of $82,734 which is 45% higher than the state average ($45,150).

Indian TrailIndian Trail

Indian Trail is home to 34,800 people. The population has grown over 192% in size since 2000, leading many new families to call Indian Trail home. The suburb is 15 miles from downtown Charlotte, meaning the drive into work isn’t overwhelming for commuters. The median age for this area is 33.7 years, giving it a very lively atmosphere for a small town. The Sun Valley Commons hosts a massive movie theater, and several bars/restaurants; making it a go-to place for weekends.

Average real estate price: $173,330 (15.4%  higher than NC average).

Economically, those living in Indian Trail bring in $60,337 which is 25% higher than the state median household income.

Harrisburg

Home to 11,973 people, Harrisburg is 14 miles from downtown Charlotte and takes anywhere from 25-30 minutes to drive depending on traffic. Harrisburg has seen job growth (+1.85%) and the unemployment rate is 5.4% (US average is 6.3%). It is also a hot spot for UNC Charlotte students as it’s 4.3 miles away. Nascar fans will rejoice, as Harrisburg is only 3.4 miles away from the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Average real estate price: $204,195 (33% higher than NC average).

Economically, the median household income for those in Harrisburg was $83,513 (84.9% higher than NC average.)

huntersvilleHuntersville

It’s no secret that Huntersville is one of the strongest markets in the Charlotte area. Like Indian Trail, Huntersville is only 15 miles from downtown Charlotte. Home to nearly 50,000 residents, Huntersville has grown over 97.7% since 2000. This is a great place to call home for many reasons, but one stands out, its quality schools. North Mecklenburg High came in 4th in the Charlotee Magazine’s 2011 public school rankings.

Average real estate price: $237,636 (58% higher than NC average).

Economically the median household income is 84,641 which is 45% higher than the state average.

 

Any other suburbs you’d like to see added to the list? If so, leave them in the comments section.

references: City Data, Charlotte Magazine.


4 Easy Do It Yourself Home Repairs


DIY ideas

Home repairs can often be as frustrating as they are difficult, but with the right knowledge there are many repairs you can do yourself. Roll up your sleeves and take a look at these easy “do it yourself” home repairs.

1. Fix that toilet

Toilet not flushing properly? Thinking of calling a plumber? Before you do, we have a few recommendations that could fix the problem entirely. The vast majority of water pressure problems come from the small holes beneath the rim of the toilet. Sediment gets into the small holes and quickly clogs them, greatly affecting water pressure.

The fix on this common problem is very simple. Grab a small brush with stiff bristles, and start scrubbing. You’ll save yourself big bucks, with very little effort.

Toilet leaking? You can probably fix this one yourself too. The number one culprit is usually the ball float – check the level that the water rises after flushing, which can often be above the overflow pipe. If this is the case, all you have to do is adjust the arm of the ball float, problem (likely) solved. If this doesn’t fix the leaking, the second most common culprit is a bad flapper. Head down to your local hardware store and pick one up for less than $5.00. Replace, scrub any calcium deposits in the area, and your toilet will be good as new.

2. Stop Squeaky Doors

A common complaint from homeowners, squeaky doors can make a home seem like it’s in worse shape than it actually is (and the fix is extremely simple). If you’re planning on selling your home, you should definitely look into this problem. If you have any WD-40 in the garage, spraying the hinges will generally solve the squeak. If not, try putting some petroleum jelly on the hinges – this home remedy has been quieting doors for decades.

3. Stop the Leaky Faucet

While there are several types of faucets, the most common type is the compression faucet. If you’re not sure which type you have, try to find the manufacturer and product, and run a quick Google search.

Typically, the problem with leaky compression faucets is that they need new seat washers. Take of the cap on the handle, remove the screw, and use a wrench to unscrew the packing nut. Next, unscrew the stem and remove the seat washer. Coat the new washer with plumber’s grease, then pop the stem out of the packing nut and replace the O-ring, the usual suspect for leaky handles. O-rings come in different sizes, so be sure you have the correct size when replacing. As you did with the new washer, coat the O-ring in plumber’s grease, and reassemble the faucet.

4. Remove Stains from the Bathtub

For many simple home repairs, baking soda is a great tool at your disposal. A stained tub begs to be fixed, and the good news is we’re here to help. Take equal parts baking soda and lemon juice, and combine them into a paste. Scrub the paste on the part of the tub that is stained, and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Rinse with water and your bathtub will be looking as good as new.
What do it yourself home repairs do you have to share? Let us know in the comments section below. And be sure to look to YouTube for any specific examples, it’s a great resource for do it yourself home repairs.


Top 3 Real Estate Scams and How to Avoid Them


Avoid Real Estate Scams

As a homebuyer, seller or renter you have to know how to identify a real estate scam so you don’t fall victim to one. The most common scams are predicated on a promise of something in the future, instead of a nuts and bolts contract. In this post we will go through a couple of common real estate scams and how you can avoid them.

Renting Properties Which Cannot Be Rented

If you’re looking for a rental apartment on Craigslist, like many of us have, make sure to have your detective hat on tight. Con-artists have flooded online rental directories with low-priced fictitious properties. The red flag on this scam comes when it’s time to see the property. The con-artist will usually say he/she is out of town, but that you should wire/bank transfer them the first and last month’s rent then you will receive your keys in the mail. Do not, under any circumstance, give anyone any money without signing a lease agreement first.

To avoid this scam: Hire a real estate agent to help you find a rental property. A trusted agent in your community will be able to sift through the scams and find you a place within your price range that is real. Also, have your ears perked, if something seems too good to be true, it most likely is.

Get Rich Quick Seminars

Be very woeful of any seminar or presentation done by an “investment guru.” In this scam the con-artist will be a self-proclaimed real estate expert putting on what looks to be a free seminar. In this seminar filled with high-pressure sales tactics, the guru will push you to sign up for future advanced courses. The next set of courses can cost into the tens of thousands and yield very little return. The only real winner in this situation is the person leading the seminar.

How to avoid this scam: Attending a free seminar will do no harm to you. But, before shelling out thousands in the pursuit of becoming a millionaire, consult with a financial advisor. Also, research the company. The internet has fantastic resources which will allow you to see the company through a transparent lens.

A Con-Artist Borrows an Apartment to Collect Deposits and Personal Information

This scam involves a con-artist who has borrowed or even rented a property which they have dressed up to be their own rental property. The con-artist will proceed to collect application fees from a bunch of people and acquire their personal information as well. Once they have your application fee they make off with your money and social security number.

To avoid this scam: Don’t do any deals in cash. Everything you pay for should be by check. Though checks do not provide complete protection, they do allow for more security than cash transactions as they create a paper-trail.

We hope these tips help you avoid any real estate scams you may encounter.


5 Ways To Increase Your Home’s Value


increase your home value

Sell Your Home For More

Whether you’re looking to increase your home’s value for a quick sale or just make improvements that will pay off in the long run, there are an assortment of things you can do to improve your property. Take a look at the list below if you want to learn 5 Ways To Increase Your Home’s Value.

1. Paint

Painting is one of the simplest, yet most significant things you can do to improve the value of your home. A gallon of paint costs around $20, so there’s no excuse for not keeping your home looking shiny and new. Keep in mind, neutral colors are the best option, as they appeal to the majority of buyers. Take a weekend and freshen up your bathrooms, kitchen, and any other area that’s looking dull. You’ll be glad you put in the effort when it comes time to sell.

2. Improve Your Curb Appeal

There are a lot of different things that you can do to improve your curb appeal that will actually increase the value of your home – without breaking the bank. Dress up your front door, replace the old house numbers that have never been changed or add some outdoor lighting to really spruce things up. Another thing to remember is that symmetry sells; when adding lights or plants, always make sure you line everything up symmetrically.

3. Landscaping

Recently  a study by Alex X. Niemiera, a horticulturist at Virginia Tech, revealed that well-landscaped homes actually had a substantial  price advantage over homes with little or no landscaping. The actual price difference was shown to be 5.5 percent to 12.7 percent higher. To put this into perspective – on a $400,000 home, this translates into an extra $22,000- $50,000. Time to put on those gardening gloves!

4. Remodel Your Bathrooms

Often small bathroom fixes can lead to big returns. You almost always get your money back on any updates you make to your bathroom, and the renovation doesn’t have to be expensive. For under $750 you can put some serious work into the bathrooms in your home – do not be afraid to head down to the local Home Depot and get busy next Saturday. Start by fixing and improving things that you genuinely would like to see in your bathroom, whether it be low-flush toilets, new heated-tile flooring or a lighting fixture to show off your new masterpiece. Odds are you’ll actually enjoy the renovation, it can be very rewarding when it comes time to sell your property.

5. Keep Your Kitchen Clean, and Updated

The kitchen is an interesting place when it comes to adding value to your home, as many people have different tastes. What’s certain is that an open kitchen with lots of space is most desirable, so don’t be afraid to knock out a non-structural wall or remove an island. Removing clutter allows potential buyers to picture themselves living in your home, so keeping your kitchen clean and open is a must. When it comes to renovations, the kitchen is another area where you can really add value. Granite counter-tops and a new faucet go a long way in upping your resale value.

Did we forget anything? What recent home renovations have helped you increase your home’s value in that past? Let us know!

 

References


Five Safest Cities in North Carolina


safest cities in North Carolina

Looking for the safest city in North Carolina?

North Carolina is composed of 100 counties, so choosing a city in which you want to live can be difficult because so many options are available. The state is home to some of the fastest growing cities in USA, with Raleigh and Charlotte, but if safety is your main concern for choosing your next home, here are the Five  Safest Cities in North Carolina.

1. Pinehurst, North Carolina

Pinehurst is easily one of the safest cities in North Carolina as it boosts an incredibly low crime rate. The city is listed as a National Historic Landmark which gives residents a reason to be prideful of their city. Pinehurst is also not short on recreational activities, residents of Pinehurst (as well as surrounding cities) spend their free time golfing, cycling, playing tennis, and enjoying equestrian sports.

Violent Crimes Per 1,000: .79
Property Crimes Per 1,000: .39

2. Apex, North Carolina

Apex is one of the best cities in North Carolina, especially if you are looking to be in a smaller city with all the benefits of a big city. With a population of just over 37,000 people it is a fairly friendly city as everyone is familiar with one another. Safety is not an issue when living in Apex.

Violent Crimes Per 1,000: .84
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 2.25

3. Cary, North Carolina

If you want a safe and interactive city in North Carolina, Cary should definitely be on top of your list. Cary aims to get residents involved with the safety and progress of their community in an interactive and innovative way. The website CaryHaveYourSay.com allows residents to give their thoughts and opinions on what can be done to make their city even better.

Violent Crimes Per 1,000: .81
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 2.62

4. Morrisville, North Carolina

Morrisville is another one of the great prospering cities in North Carolina, located to the west of Raleigh. For those looking to be a part of an eco-friendly community, Morrisville should be an option as it has shown commitment to taking care of the environment. Along with the “Green” mentality of the city, the crime rate is fairly low, and you won’t have to worry about pesky issues.

Violent Crimes Per 1,000: .56
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 2.78

5. Wake Forest, North Carolina

If you are looking to move to North Carolina, the city of Wake Forest is definitely one of the cities one should be looking at. The city of Wake Forest is a growing community and they pull out all of the stops to make new residents feel welcome. The city has a customer service web page that is very helpful to newcomers, providing them with an official guide to Wake Forest, and links to many helpful resources that will make your life easier.

Violent Crimes Per 1,000: 1.56
Property Crimes Per 1,000: 3.60

 

Where would you move to? Did we miss a safe city in North Carolina that you love? Let us know in the comments section below

 


Friday Factoid: NC’s clay makes great bricks


TryonPalace_LRNorth Carolina’s brick manufacturing history reaches back to the late 1600s, when brick-making colonists trickled down from Virginia to settle around Albemarle Sound. They ground up clam and oyster shells for mortar. By the early 1700s, the coastal area was known for making bricks and tiles. Farther south, in New Bern, Tryon Palace [pictured above], the massive home of royal Gov. William Tryon, was made of brick. The original house was completed in 1770.

Prisoners made the bricks used to build the governor’s mansion in Raleigh. Some of the sidewalk bricks still bear the names of the men who made them. The mansion was finished in 1891 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Also on the National Register: the George Black House and Brickyard in Winston-Salem. Brick-maker George Black, the son of a former slave, started a brickyard behind the house in the early 1900s. Black handcrafted bricks known internationally for their quality and durability.

During the post-World War II building boom, North Carolina was the brick capital of the nation, producing more than any other state. Most plants were in the Piedmont region, where population, demand, and raw materials intersected.

Today, North Carolina remains strong in brick-making; it ranks No. 2 behind Texas, the home of Acme Brick, a giant manufacturer owned by Berkshire Hathaway. In NC, the number of manufacturers dropped from about 30 in 1960 to 13 today. Seven of the surviving companies are owned by North Carolina families. Brick homes are still in demand, and North Carolina continues to fill that demand. And our bricks are prized by high profile customers outside the state as well — even the walkways of Disney World and Disneyland are paved with NC brick.

Source: Our State magazine

Whatever the material used to build the home of your dreams, a professional who understands the complexities involved in real estate and is familiar with the North Carolina market can help you find it. There’s no better way to get started than to visit www.BHHSCarolinas.com to find a knowledgable real estate professional nearest you.


My Home Finder – an amazing tool that will help simplify your home search


myhomefinder_bigbtnThe internet can a tremendous resource when you’re searching for the right house, but can also be a little too vast. You may wonder …where do I begin? And how do I streamline my searches and keep my favorite finds organized even when I’m not online?

To help simplify the entire process, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Carolinas has designed an effective and unique My Carolinas Home Finder tool. My Home Finder is a FREE tool that lets you save your favorite homes for sale as you search our website and receive automatic email updates with new homes that meet your search criteria!

Signing up is quick and easy, and the benefits are easy to love:

  • Saved homes for sale to keep for future reference
  • Saved Searches for easy reference whenever you visit our website
  • Automatic email updates when newly listed homes match your search criteria

Our efficient Home Finder Tool will help you find your dream home in no time. Sign up now and find out how easy it can be!