Lake Norman Real Estate and Community News

March 13, 2019

Best Gyms in Cornelius

If you have lived here at the lake for a minute, you know that we have an ABUNDANCE of places to work out!  You can be a zen yoga master or a high intensity cardio fanatic – or anything in between.

Here’s  rundown of places around the Cornelius area!

 

 

CrossFit Cornelius (C2) - 19721 Smith Cir

              From our personal experience, this is an outstanding CrossFit studio.   The owners run a great box, and the culture reflects this. 

Orangetheory Fitness - 20619 Torrence Chapel Rd

              We’ve been members since this studio opened.  The staff makes this place great.  If you are new to town, let us know and we’ll take you with us to a class.  We’ve made LOTS of friends from working out at OTF and it’s an all-around great workout too.

9Round - 19930 W Catawba Ave

              We’ve worked out here as well. Boxing-focused, very flexible (you can go anytime), and the trainers help push you.

Gold’s Gym - 20420 W Catawba Ave

              This Gold’s Gym just underwent a big renovation.  Their staff are well-liked by many of the locals who work out there.

Planet Fitness - 19706 One Norman Dr A

              We are members here, and it’s consistently clean and we’ve never had an issue with crowds.  The staff is very pleasant too. 

Raw Fitness Personal Training & Body Transformation Gym - 18047 W Catawba Ave Suite A

              We hear consistently positive things about Raw.   People appreciate the sense of community and the smaller class sizes.  Trainers are hands on and do a good job of developing relationships with clients.

Kadi Fit - 19725 Oak St #3

              If you want a different workout with a super cool vibe, try out Kadi Fit.  We have a few friends who really enjoy the variety of workouts!

Gotta Yoga - 19911 N Cove Rd C

              Consistently high reviews of Gotta Yoga – they have classes for all levels!  Our friend loves their Power Yoga class, and I am DYING to check out Aerial Yoga! 

 

Lake Norman YMCA - 21300 Davidson St

              One of the few YMCAs in the country that is directly on a waterfront!  Everything you need in a gym, but the lake is a big bonus.  You can checkout canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards.  Plus, they hold different events as well.  

Where do you like to work out?  Drop a comment below!

Posted in Community News
March 8, 2019

Events around town! March 9th and 10th

☘️☘️🎉 Looking for fun things to do this weekend? Lots happening around town, including some early St. Patrick's Day events!

Saturday March 9th

Luck O’ The Pups Rescue Palooza – Primal Brewery – Huntersville 12pm
8th Annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade – Downtown Mooresville – 3 pm
On Tap St Patrick’s Day 5k Dash – On Tap – Mooresville – 9:30 am
Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival – AvidXchange Music – Charlotte – 12pm

Sunday March 10th
Pup Crawl leaving from Lucky Dog – Lucky Dog – Cornelius – 1pm
Family Fun Day – Huntersville Rec Center – Huntersville – 11 am
LNYC Keelboat Midwinters – Lake Norman Yacht Club – 9 am
Charlotte Ballet’s Peter Pan – Knight Theater at Levine Center – Charlotte – 2pm

 

Posted in Community News
March 3, 2019

Buying your first home? Here are the steps to make it happen!

 

I remember when we bought our first home – I had LOTS of questions.   How much can I buy? Where should I buy?  How will I know it’s a good deal?  How long will this take?  How does all this get coordinated?

Here’s the good news.   There are answers for all of these questions.   My job as a real estate broker is to  be a fiduciary to my client.   In fact, I am LEGALLY BOUND to provide counsel and advice.  I am required to act in the best interest of clients.  I am required to be competent and knowledgeable.   So, this means that your biggest job is to bring the QUESTIONS and I will bring the ANSWERS. This allows you to make the most informed decisions possible.

Ok – so what’s the process?  I will outline it in a few steps.

1)      Before you start shopping, get your pre-approval done.  The market moves fast.  You see a home you love, but you aren’t pre-approved.   Guess what?  There’s a good chance your offer wont’ be accepted, because sellers want to go under contract with someone they feel confident can close.  I give my clients a few suggestions for good mortgage brokers and lenders.   It’s important that you shop for your loan.  I also highly suggest you work with someone you can see eyeball to eyeball.  I have PERSONALLY obtained a mortgage on my own residence through one of the popular online mortgage websites, and I am going to tell you – it was an awful experience.   Keep an eye out for more detailed articles on this topic, but just know you will want to get your pre-approval done first.

2)      Good job!  You are pre-approved.  You’ve got confidence in the fact that you qualify for a mortgage, and now you are ready to shop for a home.   I like to sit down with my new clients and discuss their preferences.   Is a first floor master a “must have”?  What about a big back yard?  It’s great if we can narrow down your search parameters (don’t worry – we can ALWAYS change them

as we go…).  The reason it helps to get clear on your ideal home is because the market moves FAST.  EVERYONE is on listing alerts.  So..guess what? As soon as a home hits the market, buyers know it.   You don’t want to be sifting through so many new listings that you miss your perfect one!  I will have both of us set up with home alerts, so that when a new listing hits the market we can quickly go and view it. 

3)      Offer time!  You’ve found an awesome house, and now we are going to sit down and decide what to offer.  This is when we review all the specifics about North Carolina.  We determine the due diligence parameters and your Earnest Money Deposit.  We discuss inspections, surveys, and the appraisal and loan process.  We also review specifics about the property and discuss personal vs. real property.

4)      Negotiation is upon us!  Now I will work with the Seller’s Agent to get you the best terms.   

5)      You are under contract!  This is a great accomplishment – but now it’s time for due diligence, and it’s my job to advise you all along the way.   I start coordinating a lot of things on your behalf.  We talk about your closing attorney, and all the other vendors you will want to shop.  Inspections are scheduled, and any resulting negotiations are handled.  I also want to make sure your loan is progressing as expected, so I am in communication with your lender.  If any repairs are required upon your inspection, we want to make sure those have occurred satisfactorily.  I help you stay on track with this process, because we want to make sure that we get everything done during the Due Diligence Period!

6)      Closing day is here!  I will advise you on what to expect on this particular day.  Closing is usually pretty quick and lasts less than an hour.  Once the attorney records the transaction, the keys are yours!

7)      Welcome to your new home!  But, our relationship doesn’t end here.  I will continue to provide you with advice – everything from air filters to refinancing.   But, this major milestone has been reached! Time to celebrate with a toast!

 

I truly love helping clients find and purchase their home.  It’s a privilege to help families through an important life decision, and a significant financial transaction.   Please follow my blog for additional real estate tips, and “like” us on Facebook as well. 

 

Wendy Atherton is a licensed real estate professional in the state of North Carolina.  She has held numerous positions in corporate America, including the Head of National Accounts Underwriting at a major insurance company.   Wendy graduated from the University of Central Florida with a BS in Finance, Magna Cum Laude.  She also studied for her Masters of Business Administration at Babson College.  Wendy is a published author and speaker on the topics of risk and financial management.  She lives with her husband, Sean and their very adorable Shetland Sheepdog, Morgan, in Cornelius, NC.  Despite being a Southerner by birth (Go Texas!), Wendy is also an avid New England Patriots fan.  You can find her about town cheering loudly for Tom Brady during football season.

Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 27, 2019

Should you consider a “Buyout” on your marital property?

 

Disclaimer:  This article should not be construed as legal advice.  Please consult a qualified attorney to advise you on your specific situation.

 

 

If you are going through a legal separation, there are certainly many decisions you will be making in the near future.   If you own a home, it’s likely your largest financial asset, and you will want to weigh your options to decide the best course of option.

 

One possibility for those going through a divorce is for one spouse to “buy out” the other spouse’s interest in the house.  This may be a good alternative to selling the home, or deciding to continuing to “co-own” the home after the divorce is finalized.  

 

Often, this option is chosen to ensure stability for minor children still living in the home. 

 

There are some challenges, however.

 

First, the buying spouse may not be able to afford the home.  It’s possible that neither spouse can qualify for a new mortgage loan independently.  

 

Second, both parties need to agree on a buy out price.  In a buy out, there is no listing, and many real estate agents won’t assist – however, we regularly provide (at no charge) a Comparative Market Analysis for clients in these instances – it will give you a range based on comparable sales – and that will help you determine a buy out price.  The other option is to pay for a professional appraisal.  An appraisal will cost a few hundred dollars, but will it will also provide you an estimate of your home’s value.

 

It’s also possible to structure a buy out over time.  You would want to discuss this with your divorce attorney and ensure that it’s outlined in the divorce settlement agreement. 

 

 

 

Third, you also want to consider future home expenses.  For example, is there deferred maintenance?  If so, that should be factored into the price.  And, when the buying spouse decides to eventually sell the home, there will be closing costs, which will result in a lower net cash amount.  This may be factored into the offer amount as well.

 

 

 

Typically, the buying spouse will need to refinance the mortgage.  This means the buying spouse applies for a new mortgage in their name only.  Usually the buying spouse will apply for a loan amount large enough to pay off both the prior loan amount and to help pay off the selling spouse.   This transaction looks just like a sale to a third party.   In fact, if you are the selling spouse, it’s ideal for you to have a full closing, where the refinancing occurs and funds are cleared through escrow to you.  You will sign the deed, which transfers ownership to the buying spouse.   If you don’t have a full closing, then just make sure the refinance is complete and you have your funds before you sign the deed over to the buying spouse!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Life Events
Feb. 26, 2019

Buying or Selling? Here’s what you need to know about Radon Gas

Most consumers are well-educated on fire safety and carbon monoxide risk and detection but know little about radon gas.  People have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure safety yet many have never tested for radon gas.

 

Radon gas doesn’t come up often. Why is that?

 

Well, because radon gas is a slow killer.   It’s a colorless, odorless gas which occurs naturally from uranium decomposition.  Radon is everywhere.  It rises up through the earth’s surface and enters through cracks or holes in the foundation or walls, gaps around service pipes, construction joints, and potentially water.  Radon gas is radioactive.  Breathing it over a long period of time can cause lung damage and lead to lung cancer.

 

In North Carolina, the topic of radon gas comes up in a home purchase and sell transaction.  First, all sellers must complete the Residential Property and Owners’ Association Disclosure Form.  This form specifically asks about hazardous and toxic substances.   If the real estate agent has any reason to suspect a hazardous level of radon, he or she has a duty to inquire if testing has occurred.  If the results of a test were above recommended levels, he or she must disclose. 

 

We recommend to all buyers that they conduct a radon test as part of their due diligence.   Buyers can hire qualified testers to conduct radon testing.  There are also inexpensive kits which can be purchased.

 

Some homes have radon mitigation systems.  This may or may not be indicative of a prior issue; some new construction homes have a mitigation system built in.  While it is best practice for a real estate agent to disclose the presence of these systems, it is not a requirement.

 

Even if you are not actively in the process of buying or selling a home, you should investigate if the radon levels at your home are safe.    You can check out www.ncradon.com for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Real Estate News
Feb. 19, 2019

Will a Messy Garage Slow Down the Sale of your Home?

 

 

Recently, my husband revealed some exciting plans for the upcoming weekend.  “Let’s go to the storage unit, clean it out, and then rent a van and clean out the garage.  We can get all the non-essential things moved to the storage unit.”

 

I admit – my first reaction was not glee.  In fact, I really hate organizing the garage.   It’s my husband’s domain.  Tools and other things for which I have no opinion about keeping.   It’s dirty.  There are occasion spider webs and god-forbid bugs!

 

It’s easy to pile things up in the garage, isn’t it?  Out of sight, out of mind.  No room in the house?  Put it in the garage.  Not sure what to do with it? Put it in the garage.

 

It’s not uncommon to see home sellers do a great job of tidying up the inside of their home, only to find the garage disorganized and full.  

 

But, that decision could turn off buyers.

 

There was a survey a while ago by Whirlpool, where 80% of real estate experts stated a cluttered garage would make a buyer less likely to put in an offer.   Makes sense, if you consider that 75% of home sales include a garage. 

 

When a buyer sees a cluttered garage, it can create the perception that your home lacks storage space.   A crowded garage will also feel smaller than its actual size.

 

While tackling your garage might seem daunting (it does to me as well!), here are some strategies to get your garage in tip-top shape.

 

1)     Pull everything out.   Sort into three piles.   Either toss it, donate it, or store it.   When we did this exercise, about a third of our garage was tossed and a third was donated.  Take pictures of your donated items for tax time!   Give yourselves a pat on the back, because this is less stuff you have to move to your next home!

 

2)     Now, you are working with your “store” or “keep” pile.   Before you put everything back in its place, give your garage a good cleaning.  Sweep the floors, make sure you get rid of cobwebs.   This is a good time to speak with your real estate agent about whether it makes sense to look at possible upgrades – i.e., should you install some shelving?  What about an epoxy floor? 

 

3)     Next, you want to minimize the amount of items you put back in your garage.   Consider a storage unit for the bulk of your “keep” items.   When you place items back in your garage, you want them organized.  Plastic bins, nicely labeled, are a good option.  

 

Congratulations!  You just made your home more attractive to buyers, and you made your move easier!    Your home will be under contract in no time.  Happy closing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Selling Your Home
Feb. 18, 2019

Three Tips if you are a Homeowner facing Divorce

Divorce is an unfortunate reality for many people.   Aside from the obvious emotional challenges that one faces upon the end of a marriage, there are numerous legal and financial implications as well.

 

If you are at the beginning of this process, here are three things to focus upon.

 

First, get organized and prepared.   Gather all your financial records – including your mortgage information, property insurance, property taxes, and any other liens relating to your home.   You’ll want to get this information to your divorce attorney.    Also, if you need a referral to a quality divorce attorney, please email, text, or message me.  I have built a network of divorce attorneys here in the area and am happy to give you a recommendation.

 

Second, you want a team of good advisors.  Make sure you have a good CPA.   If you are selling or buying a home, you want a good real estate agent.   I work with divorce attorneys who are regularly frustrated with real estate agents who aren’t familiar with the complexities of divorce proceedings.   If you are in the greater-Charlotte area, I am happy to work with you.  But, regardless, I can make you a quality recommendation for a good real estate agent where you live. 

 

Third, the marital settlement agreement drafted with your attorney’s counsel will outline financial responsibilities for things like upkeep and expenses.  It will also outline which spouse is responsible for listing the house, showings, and other decisions.   It’s important to understand how unexpected expenses – for example, items in an inspection report – will be handled and who will have decision-making authority.

 

Finally, you will get through this.  The home will sell, and life will go on.  

 

I published a complete book on this topic – “Best Selling Options in a Divorce”.   As a Thank You for visiting my website, I will send you a free copy – just click here.

 

Posted in Life Events
Feb. 12, 2019

Want to sell your home quicker? Time to Tidy Up!

 

Have you binge-watched any of Marie Kondo’s show, “Tidying Up”?  The show, which is featured on Netflix, is based upon the book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up:  The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing”.    I actually read the book when it first came out a few years ago, but admittedly, it felt somewhat overwhelming for me to put into practice.

 

I don’t think I have a lot of “clutter”.  Of course, my minimalist-style husband would disagree!  But I can never seem to get my garage in order, and every year, I seem to only locate 75% of Christmas decorations, so clearly there is room for improvement!

 

I really liked the Netflix program, because each episode breaks down parts of Marie Kondo’s process.   This makes it seem much more manageable to me.  And, many seem to agree.  Consignment stores around the country have seen an uptick in inventory!  People are really “tidying up”!

 

 

Aside from my own personal quest to tidy up, I often suggest to my seller clients that they do the same.  Sellers need a clean, clutter-free home to present to the marketplace.   When buyers are checking out closets, it’s difficult for them to imagine their items fitting if they are already stuffed full.  Buyers want to imagine themselves in the home.  It’s difficult for a buyer to do this if there are distracting items around the home.

 

The idea behind Ms. Kondo’s technique is to tackle specific categories in order – clothing, books, paper, miscellaneous, and then nostalgic items.  You need to touch each item, and see if sparks joy.  If it doesn’t, thank the item for its contribution and get rid of it.  Once you have identified only the items that bring joy to your life, you want to make sure they are organized and accessible.

 

This process is a great opportunity for home sellers, because not only will your home be more attractive to potential buyers, but you won’t be moving a lot of stuff to your next home!  It’s also a great opportunity to better “stage” your home.  For example, once you work through your nostalgic items, go ahead and safely pack them for your move.   It’s a great time to de-personalize your home!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Selling Your Home
July 19, 2018

Open House Wynfield Community in Huntersville, NC

15615 Mayberry Place Ln., Huntersville, NC 28078 Open House

 

I will be hosting an Open House in Wynfield a THIS weekend.

Saturday- 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Sunday- 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

$365,000
• 5 Bedroom, 2.5 Bath
• 3,027 Square Feet
• New Stainless Steel Appliances July 2018
• New Hardwood Floors late 2017
• New Carpet June 2018
• New HVAC on main 2011 and upper level 2012
• New Double Pane Windows 2010
• In Wynfield, a short walk from neighborhood amenities

 

 

If you need more information give me a call or email. sean.herndon@beacongroupproperties.com 

Posted in Open Houses
July 19, 2018

Can Millennials Get a Loan Right Out of College?

Loan, First Time Home Buyer, Millennial, Millennials

 

Often when millennials move to a new area like Charlotte or Lake Norman, they rent for a few years to get to know the neighborhoods or to save some money for a down payment before they decide to buy.

 

While a waiting period may be the way to go for some, did you know that a recent college graduate often easily qualifies for a loan?

 

That’s right. Any type of loan—FHA, Conventional, and VA— will consider being a full-time student as the equivalent of work experience. As long as you’ve been a full-time W2 employee for at least one month since graduation, you’ll meet the requirement. Just the other day my mortgage broker had this exact scenario happen. He received a call from a mother whose son wanted her to co-sign a loan, but she was reluctant to do so. Fully expecting that her son would have to wait 2-3 years to qualify for a loan, she called the Hastings & Richardson Mortgage Team just to see if there were other options. She was relieved and then, of course, elated to find out that her son easily qualified for a mortgage loan on his own. Why? He had been a full-time student, he had been working full-time for one month, and he had an excellent credit score. (Have questions about establishing a good credit score? I’ll cover that in the next blog post.)

 

The news is even better for first-time homebuyers who might qualify for a North Carolina Down Payment Assistance Program that lets most buyers get into a home with nothing down.

 

What?! Exactly. You can have all the benefits of homeownership—privacy, tax deductions, equity, etc. Smart.

 

Let’s look at some numbers. If you’re paying $1,100 in rent, that same amount of money could be a mortgage payment on a home up to $180,000 (payment includes property taxes & insurance).

 

Want me to run some more numbers for you? Give me a call and we’ll get started.

 

Posted in Buying a Home