Elizabeth

Combing the small town, front porch life the south is known for with the vibrancy of Uptown living, Elizabeth is the best of both worlds—and affordable! This neighborhood also boasts Charlotte’s first ever movie theater, The Visulite, which is still open as a live music venue. The continued legacy of this historical business sums up everything you need to know about this neighborhood.

Name: Elizabeth
In a Word: Vibrant
Location: Southeast, bordering Uptown
School district:

  • Elementary: Ashley Park, Dilworth
  • Middle: Alexander Graham, Ashley Park
  • High: Myers Park, West Charlotte
  • Private: Trinity Episcopal School

Average home price: Homes: $300k- $800k
Condos: $130k- $150k

Types of homes: A wide variety, including charming bungalows, brick single-family homes, and new condos and town-homes.

Pros:

  • Great restaurants and entertainment
  • Easy access to Uptown
  • Undergoing a revitalization

Cons:

  • Can be expensive for family living
  • Houses and condos on the smaller end

Representative Sample:

Best for: Anyone looking to settle down without giving up city life.

This is just a general glimpse into Elizabeth, for more information or specifics please contact

Myers Park

Myers Park and its classic southern charm of tree-lined streets and majestic homes is the southern belle you can’t help but love. The place of Charlotte’s first trolley line and Queens College, Myers Park is a sophisticated and refined neighborhood with great schools. When you look past the beauty and find Myers Parks’ arts and outdoor spaces make, you realize it’s both beautiful and smart. And darnit, but that’s awfully compelling.

Name: Myers Park
In a Word: Refined
Location: South Uptown
School district:

  • Elementary: Dilworth, Myers Park
  • Middle: Alexander Graham, Sedgefield
  • High: Myers Park
  • Private: Charlotte Learning Academy, The John Crosland, St. Ann Catholic

Average home price: Small condos can be found starting at $150k.
Single family homes begin in the mid $300k

Types of homes: Mostly single-family homes.

Pros:

Cons:

  • Expensive

Best for: Families

This is just a general glimpse into Myers Park, for more information or specifics please contact

Sedgefield

Sedgefield is another Charlotte neighborhood benefiting from the installation of the Lynx light rail. This community is receiving a face-lift and the charming single-family homes are conveniently situated next to refreshed shops and restaurants as well as the amenities other neighboring communities offer. It’s a quiet solace in a busy city.

Name: Sedgefield
In a Word: Quiet
Location: South West of Uptown
School district:

  • Elementary: Sedgefield
  • Middle: Sedgefield
  • High: Myers Park
  • Private: Collinswood Language, Charlotte Learning Academy, Marie G Davis Military and Global
    School, Holy Trinity Catholic Middle, St. Ann Catholic

Average home price: $150k-$600k

Types of homes: Post-war cottages, Colonials and Ranches

Pros:

Cons:

  • Small single-family homes
  • Limited condos

Representative Sample:

Best for: People who want convenience of city living, but a quiet place to hang their hat.

This is just a general glimpse into Sedgefield, for more information or specifics please contact

SouthPark

There’s always that one guy, with literally everything. You want to hate him, but he’s just so nice too and your hate always sounds petty, even to you. SouthPark is that guy. The neighborhood of SouthPark, and its subdivisions of Mountainbrook, Fairmeadows, Beverly Woods, Sharon Woods, Barclay Downs, and Foxcroft are where old money went to build their comfortable homes on comfortable plots with all the amenities of Uptown and country club living. You want to hate it, but gosh…it’s hard.

Name: SouthPark
In a Word: Southtown
Location: South of Uptown
School district:

  • Elementary: Sharon, Beverly Woods
  • Middle: Carmel, Quail Hollow
  • High:Myers Park, South Mecklenburg
  • Private: Charlotte Country Day, The Einstein Private School

Average home price: Starting at $200k

Types of homes: Classic ranches, split-levels, and new Tudor and French Provincials.

Pros:

  • High end shopping
  • Good location
  • Beautiful homes

Cons:

  • Expensive

Representative Sample:

Best for: The good life.

This is just a general glimpse into SouthPark, for more information or specifics please contact

Four Mortgage Misconceptions to Watch For

The process of buying a house feels like trying to finish a level on Super Mario World—one minute you’re bumping along on Yoshi and the next minute you miscalculate and sink into a bottomless pit. Here are four things to watch out for before you run out of lives.

  1. Your credit score doesn’t matter for anything other than approval. Ouch! That’s not a Koopa but it’s close—your credit score determines not just your approval but your rate. The rate you’re going to have to live with for the duration of the loan. Make sure your credit score is looking healthy using these tips. (link)
  2. Your payment is 30% of your income, next level! Not so fast. The rule that your mortgage payment should not equal more than 30% of your income is more complex than it seems. Think of it this way—there’s more to home ownership than just the mortgage payment. There are maintenance expenses, taxes and homeowner’s insurance. If you fail to calculate those expenses into this thirty percent, you will be putting yourself in a sticky financial situation.
  3. You don’t really need a down payment. While this may be factually true—you aren’t required to put down 20% –it’s not a good idea for long term financial house. If you don’t put down a down payment, you will be required to purchase private mortgage insurance, which can be a substantial extra cost in your monthly mortgage payment.
  4. A traditional 30-year mortgage is the way to go. The 30-year mortgage is certainly the most common choice for mortgages, but it may not be the best choice. If you can afford a larger monthly payment for a 15-year loan, you will end up spending a lot less money over the life of your loan. Adjustable rate mortgages can be a good option if you are in a vigorous housing market and only plan to be in a house for a few years—before the rate resets, you will have moved.

We don’t all have to fall into the bottomless pits—in many cases a good real estate and mortgage broker can help you get through these levels and rescue Princess….I mean, buy the house of your dreams.

 

Photo by Cody Hughes @clhughes21

Ballantyne

Ballantyne began in 1992 as Ballantyne Corporate Park, and this nineties professional has the car phone of your dreams. It’s got everything your nostalgic but grown-up heart wants—a country club, spacious colonials, shops, and close-but-not-too-close to Uptown. Didn’t you hear the nineties are back?

Name: Ballantyne Country Club
In a Word: Golf (I wanted to say Waaazzzup)
Location: South Charlotte
School district:

  • Elementary: Ballantyne, Elon Park, Endhaven, Pineville, Hawk Ridge
  • Middle: Community House
  • High School: Ardrey Kell, South Mecklenburg
  • Private School: Shining Stars Academy, British American School of Charlotte, Charlotte Country
    Day School, Charlotte Latin School, United Faith Christian Academy, and South Charlotte Baptist Academy.

Average home price: $350,000 / $148/sq ft.

Types of homes: Ballantyne is divided into two sections. East Ballantyne—the older, more developed neighborhood with brick colonials from the 90’s on, and West Ballantyne—developed more recently with a variety of elegant single-family homes. The two neighborhoods are connected by a tunnel for pedestrians and golf carts.

Pros:

  • Easy commute to downtown
  • Good for families—both kids and adults will find something to love
  • Golfing community
  • Close dining and shopping
  • Established community

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Further out from city center

Representative Sample: Links to a few examples of homes which have recently sold in this neighborhood?

Best for: Well-established families looking for a place to live the good life.

This is just a general glimpse into Ballantyne, for more information or specifics please contact

Use That Bitcoin, Bro

 

How many cryptocurrencies would it take to buy a house in the U.S.?

If you’re sitting here still uncertain what bitcoin even truly is, it’s okay most the world doesn’t get it either. Here’s a handy definition. (link). But that doesn’t mean it’s not already being used in the housing market. Some exclusive property owners are either requiring only bitcoin or allowing bids to be placed in bitcoin.

So how much bitcoin does it cost to buy a house? Well, the current median housing price is $248,000 and as of Jan. 15, 2018, that median price is about 17.65 bitcoin.

How does this hold up nationwide?

San Francisco: $1.588 million = 113 bitcoin
Seattle: $725k = 51.6 bitcoin
Los Angeles: $583k = 41.5 bitcoin
Washington D.C.: $550K = 39 bitcoin
Phoenix: $243k = 17.3 bitcoin
Connecticut: $247k = 17.6 bitcoin
Florida: $240k = 17 bitcoin
Illinois: $185k = 13 bitcoin
Iowa: $153, 250 = 11 bitcoin
Kansas: $200, 451 = 14.3 bitcoin
Maine: $200k = 14 bitcoin
Massachusetts: $384k = 27.3 bitcoin
Michigan: $182, 761 = 13 bitcoin
Missouri: $190, 050 = 13.5 bitcoin
New Jersey: $300k = 21.4 bitcoin
New York: $254k = 18 bitcoin
Ohio: $174, 689 = 12.4 bitcoin
Texas: $213, 396 = 15.2 bitcoin
Utah: $277k = 19.7 bitcoin
Vermont: $221k = 15.7 bitcoin
Virginia: $270k = 19.2 bitcoin
Washington: $363, 200 = 26 bitcoin

 

Whether bitcoin will be the housing market currency of the future remains to be seen. Maybe by then we’ll understand what it actually is.

 

Photo by Cody Hughes @clhughes21

7 Things To Do Before Listing Your House

 

As soon as you know you’re moving, it’s hard to look around your current home and want to do anything but future house search with a bag of chips. But paying attention to your current home can pay dividends when it comes to getting the price you want. These are seven suggestions for improving the value of your home.

 

1. Change the lighting—Each room should be well lit. A good rule of thumb is three points of light per room. For example: an overhead light, a table lamp and a task light. For inexpensive lighting options, try Target and Ikea.
2. Clear Clutter—If there’s only one thing you can do to improve the look of your home, it’s this. Now is the time to clear everything from your surfaces including books, clothes from packed closets, and everything personal from your bathroom.
3. Deep Clean—hire a company or do it yourself, but a deep clean of your home will go a long way for showing it at it’s best.
4. Speaking of the Bathroom—Replace any missing tiles, fix the caulk on the tub and sink, consider swapping out fixtures if they are dated and bringing an otherwise neutral bathroom down. Add new towels and a neutral shower curtain for finishing touches.
5. Address the Floors—No, not refinishing—but a simple clean and buff can do wonders for hardwood. If you have carpet, get them professionally steam cleaned.
6. Paint—Nothing beats the freshness of a fresh coat of soft white paint and it’s an easy way to make a house feel new.
7. Upgrade the Kitchen—Don’t worry, you can make kitchen upgrades without remolding. A fresh coat of paint, new hardware, and peel and stick wall tiles can all transform a space without costing a fortune in time or money. If you’re feeling more ambitious, there are options for resurfacing your countertops or upgrading your appliances.

 

Whatever you do, start with an honest talk with a real estate agent—who can help you focus your priorities for selling a home in your area.

 

Photo by Cody Hughes @clhughes21

Hidden Costs of Home Buying

 

Buying a house can feel a bit like a game of whack-a-mole—hit one thing down and another pops up. Here are four costs you might not anticipate in the home buying process.

 

1. The Inspection: It’s easy to remember the inspection is a hurdle to buying a home, but we often forget it’s also a financial hurdle. An inspection can cost a few hundred dollars, and doesn’t guarantee the house will pass inspection, so keep that in mind and be prepared.

2. Bringing cash to the table: Closing costs are expected, but what isn’t anticipated is how much extra cash you might need to bring to the closing table. Some lenders require you to pay a year’s taxes and mortgage upfront. And if the seller paid any expenses, you’ll be required to pay back a pro-rated amount.

3. The move: Whether you plan to move yourself or hire someone, moving can carry loads of additional costs. If hiring movers, make sure you get quotes from a few companies and ask for referrals from friends.

4. Immediate costs: It’s important to budget for the immediate costs of home ownership like changing locks, utility fees, as well as the unanticipated expenses in the first year of owning your home.

 

Set aside some savings now and you won’t have to rely on your credit card through these unanticipated expenses. The same does not apply to your next game of whack-a-mole.

 

Photo by Cody Hughes @clhughes21

Selling a City Home

 

The art of selling a quirky home, especially one in the city where real estate can be…extra quirky…is more than writing an adjective laden listing. After all, everyone knows cute means small. Instead, here are a few real solutions for common real estate quirks.

 

Low Ceilings—make sure your ceilings are white and the walls are light to draw the eye upward. The finish on molding should be matte and the same color as the ceiling. If you don’t have molding, add cove molding to elongate the wall. Floor to ceiling sheers over the windows also give a tall illusion. Low profile, minimalist furniture tops off a clean, bright look.

 

Windows that face another building (or no windows!)—if a window faces a brick or otherwise dark wall, one solution is to place a high-wattage daylight bulb behind the curtains, giving the illusion of sunlight. Another solution is the old standby of bright pops of color or white venation blinds to reflect light and obscure an unattractive view. Another option is a stained glass window or window film.

 

An awkward layout- the only solution is to rework the layout. This doesn’t mean you have to do the construction, by having your real estate agent show the potential buyers a vision of the space potential, you can sell an awkward floor plan.

 

A ground floor facing the street—The key to selling ground floor units is live plants in window boxes. The color and greenery add a garden feel to a city space. Combine with bottom up curtains that are sheer at the top and opaque at the floor, and you are covered inside and out.

 

Photo by Cody Hughes @clhughes21