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Kristin Ellefson
May 6th, 2015  |  +Kristin Ellefson  |  Add a Comment

Looking to get a taste of classic Charlotte? Check out the Plaza Midwood Home & Garden tour this weekend (May 1st and 2nd). This home and garden tour features some of Charlotte’s characteristic craftsman bungalows, stately colonials, and more. The tour will feature 9 stops and will include some local spots such as the Vine United Methodist Church and The Light Factory. You can see the full list of homes participating here and learn a little bit more about them. If you are unfamiliar with Plaza Midwood, this centrally located area is just a few miles from uptown and is filled with restored homes, local restaurants and businesses and tons of things to do. The Home & Garden tour will kick off with a candle light event on Friday night from 6-8pm and then run throughout the day on Saturday from 10am-4pm. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 day of. For information about tickets click here. In addition to this Home and Garden Tour, the Historic Rosedale Plantation is also celebration its bicentennial this weekend with a Garden Tour of its grounds and featuring a look back at the Gardens of days past, definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area!

 
Kristin Ellefson
May 5th, 2015  |  +Kristin Ellefson  |  Add a Comment

If you’re planning to celebrate Mom this weekend, there are tons of things you can do. Maybe you’ll help her out with some chores around the house or make her breakfast in bed, or just spend some extra time with her. If you haven’t made any plans yet. here are a few things going on around Charlotte this weekend to help you celebrate that special lady in your life:

 

Mother’s Day Brunch Options:
Chef Alyssa’s Brunch and Cooking Class: May 10th (11am-1pm)

Blue Restaurant and Bar: May 10th (10:30am-2:30pm)

AZN Azian Cuizine: May 10th (11am-4pm)

Leroy Fox Kitchen & Cocktail: May 10th  (10am-2:30pm)

 

Mother’s Day Wine Tour & Picnic:
May 9th, 10:30am-4:30pm, departs from Midtown Target, find out more at Wine Me Down.

 

Mother’s Day Weekend Wine Walk:
May 9th, 1-3pm,  Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens.  Find our more information here.

 

Mother’s Day Tea, Ballantyne Hotel:
May 6-9 from 1-5pm. Make Reservations and find more information here.

 

Mother’s Day Weekend At the Garden:
May 9-10, 9am-3pm, Visit Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden for a full slate of Mother’s Day Activities, check out more information here.

 

Mother’s Day Breakfast & Tour:
May 8-9, 7:30am, Billy Graham Library Find more information and make reservations here.

 

 

 

 

 
Kristin Ellefson
May 4th, 2015  |  +Kristin Ellefson  |  Add a Comment

Finding the perfect climate in the real estate market to sell your home can be tough, but if you have been waiting for just the right moment, now might be a great time to consider finally listing. We are in a strong sellers market with several different factors giving you the upper hand in the negotiating situation. With inventory levels staying low and buyers still itching to take advantage of marginally low interest rates it could be the perfect storm for your home sale. CNN Money posted an article recently with 4 reasons to list your home right now and these all coincide with what we are seeing currently in the Charlotte housing market.

  1. Low Housing Supply: Last month’s statistics reported by the Carolina Regional Realtors Association (CRRA) reported a months supply of inventory of  just 3.9 months, with six months or less showing signs of a market more favorable to sellers than buyers. With the number of active listings in our area down 19.7% from the same time last year, the pool of options is much lower, so if your home is in good selling condition and priced fairly, you should have no problem getting traffic!
  2. Fewer Cash Buyers: In recent years, cash has been king in some markets. Buyers and investors able to make cash offers on homes were helping fuel the recovery but last year those numbers dropped about 13% from 2013. With more buyers in position to qualify with mortgage lenders, this opens up more doors for home ownership and places more buyers out in the market.
  3. High Interest Rates: Everyone always wants a great deal, and while interest rates are higher than they were a year or two ago, they still offer much improvements from the rates we were used to seeing in the heyday of the housing market. As predictions keep rolling in that rate increases are coming, this will entice more buyers to an already tight market.
  4. Rentals are Rising: The cost of being a renter isn’t financially beneficial anymore. In most places a month-to-month cost comparison for a mortgage versus a rent payment. As more young professionals move to Charlotte, the rental market will tighten forcing them to look elsewhere for more affordable housing options.

 

The tight market and low inventory are causing prices to climb, but if you’re on the buying side and are wondering what other factors might be contributing to higher selling prices, check out this article, also from CNN Money. Interested in reading more about the local market in Charlotte? Check out our monthly market report here.

 

 

 
Kristin Ellefson
May 1st, 2015  |  +Kristin Ellefson  |  Add a Comment

Are you on deck duty this weekend, or maybe sometime in the near future? It’s the time of year where homeowners start focusing on sprucing up their outdoor entertaining spaces to prep for summer cookouts and enjoying all the great warm weather headed our way. That means that maybe you’ve added a deck facelift to your to-do list, or maybe you are looking to add a deck this year, either way, there are lots of things to consider when it comes to making decisions about the structure. Obviously you want to think about stability and making sure it’s safe, but there are also cosmetic decisions, such as color, railings, and other finishes that can really take the look of your deck up to the next level. When you start thinking about materials, there are more options than just your traditional wood deck, and some of those make a big difference in the amount of annual maintenance you will have to do to ensure that it has a long life. Wondering what options are out there? Well, you’re in luck. Realtor.com posted a guide to deciding which material was best for your home, check out the results below or read the full article here to see a breakdown of the pros and cons for each material.

 

 
Kristin Ellefson
April 30th, 2015  |  +Kristin Ellefson  |  Add a Comment

When people think landscaping a lot of time they envision lush green grass, tall trees, manicured flower beds, and bright blooms galore, but there are so many other options out there! A recent article in the Wall Street Journal seeks to overturn the conventional thinking that going green is the only way to spruce up your yard. Bart Zeigler argues that there are so many gorgeous dark foliage plants, and when we started looking, we completely agreed! If you are looking for a way to really make your yard pop, think about following Mr. Zeigler’s advice and dropping in some plants that are deep plum, or rich reds, or maybe even black! The contrast will be interesting and striking! The best part, he says, is that unlike your blooming florals, which typically only last a short time, these leafy plants will provide color in your yard from spring until fall, which gives you way more bang for your home improvement bucks. Wondering what options you have? Well, here were a few of our favorites for adding a pop of color to your yard:

 

 

These Purple Knights would provide a great background or even some contrast within your flowerbeds in your yard. You can use them as fillers, or maybe even use them to edge out the box or a walkway. The contrast of the dark rich leaves will really pop off of the green grass, and can even help break up the monotony of different shrubs you might have around your yard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re looking for something a little more visually striking, how about a painted fern? The combination of the leaf texture and the colors take this fern to a whole new level. Whether you’re putting your ferns in the ground or in planters or flower pots these are likely to make a statement in your landscaping design.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dark Reiter Geranium is another beautiful option. With the leaves changing from a dark green to the rich plum color, they provide a gorgeous and eye-catching option for ground coverage in your flower boxes and beds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One last low-lying option: the Coleus. These dark, rich leaves will really pop against some of your blooms and other low-lying shrubs. In regards to your flowers, they create even more contrast than your traditional greenery or grass, making the blooms look much more vibrant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for a taller option to fill in space along the side of your home, or line a fence? Check out these Black Coral Elephant Ear varieties. Especially against a light color house or behind some lower green shrubs or bushes, these provide an excellent backdrop for a variety of options in your landscape design. Their large leaves also create an eye-catching design that is sure to boost your curb appeal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re looking for something a little more traditional, you can always count on the Japanese maple. These trees come in a few different varieties offering different color foliage to fill your landscape. Also, a great option to add some height to your design without adding a huge shade tree to your space, these are a great way to splash some color into your design.

 

 

 

 
Kristin Ellefson
April 29th, 2015  |  +Kristin Ellefson  |  Add a Comment

 

Spring is here and Summer is coming right behind it, which means that festival and concert season are headed our way! If you’ve already got the festival itch, you’re in luck! This weekend is Romare Fest, a great local event that will feature a variety of entertainment from music, to face painting, illusions and more! The Festival begins at 1pm with enterainment on the kids stage happening from 1-3pm and musical guests The Shane Pruitt Band (3:30), Skinny Velvet (5:30), and the Spin Doctors (7:30) kicking things off around 3:30pm on the main stage. The Romare fest is a kick-off event for the summer season events headed to Romare Bearden Park. Need directions? The park is located at 300 S. Church St. in Uptown, so while you’re enjoying all the activities, you can soak in some awesome views of the Charlotte skyline! Find out more information here.

 

 
Kristin Ellefson
April 28th, 2015  |  +Kristin Ellefson  |  Add a Comment

Laurens Adams Threlkeld - NC Broker/Realtor®

 

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a real estate agent, or maybe you wonder what your agent is working on when they are not out at showings with you, or what makes them tick. Well, Charlotte Agenda recently cut to the chase to find out just that. They had the opportunity to speak with our very own Laurens Adams Threlkeld about her not-so-traditional day job as a real estate agent, all as a part of their Beyond the Cube series, where they feature local professionals and take an insiders look at how things get done around town!

 

Laurens was named Creative Loafing’s Best Realtor in 2014 and has been at Helen Adams since relocating back to Charlotte from Denver, CO. Wondering what its like to work with Laurens? Check out this great testimonials from one of her recent buyers:

 

 

 

“We had an excellent home buying experience with Laurens from start to finish. She had been on the lookout for a home for us in a specific area, and she helped us find the perfect home that maximized our budget without compromising on our desired location. We also feel we saved money because of her market knowledge & negotiation skills. As two working professionals, we greatly appreciated her “white glove” management of our entire home buying process, from the offer stage through closing day. We loved working with Laurens and would highly recommend her to friends and colleagues.”

 

 

We are so proud to have Laruens as a part of our team, she is a great representation of all the we look for in our agents and hope you enjoyed getting a peek inside her  day-to-day on the Charlotte Agenda!

 
Kristin Ellefson
April 27th, 2015  |  +Kristin Ellefson  |  Add a Comment

If you have been living the rental life, or maybe even the room mate life for a while now and you think you’re ready to make the move to home ownership there are a lot of things to consider. One of the most appealing things about rentals is the freedom that come with them, but there is a whole long list of perks that also comes with buying, so if you have been considering it, as a young home buyer, here are a few things you might want to consider, especially if this is your first go at purchasing a home on your own. As you are probably aware, purchasing a home is one of the largest financial decisions you will likely make during your lifetime, so making sure its the right fit for you is a huge part of the process. Realtor.com recently highlighted 5 great questions to ask yourself if you are thinking about buying your first home. These days millennials make up roughly 30% of the housing market, according to Realtor.com, which debunks some of their reputation as a generation or renters and free spirits in the housing market. But what do those millennial buyers need to consider prior to taking the leap?

  1. Where will you be in the next 5-10 years? Purchasing a home is a long term commitment, unlike renting which can go year to year or sometimes month-t0-month with a very limited commitment to any specific geographic area. However, in order to reap the benefits of home ownership, its ideal to own your home for 5-10 years prior to selling it and moving again, if at all possible.
  2. Could you live alone? If you’re purchasing a home with the intent of having a room mate for a while, know that sometimes that won’t always happen and regardless of a room mates change in living situation you will be tied to that property, so make sure, just in case, you’re also ready to live on your own, financially and physically.
  3. Do you have the time? Unlike with renting, owning a home requires you to spend time and resources maintaining your property. If you cannot spare time to landscape, or care for your property, or might not have the extra cashflow to do these things, it might be worth considering your rental situation for a while longer.
  4. Can you afford it? Purchasing a home comes with a lot of costs. Whether they are extra costs associated with the closing, new home costs, or maintenance costs like we mentioned above, or even the added cost of an HOA or home owners insurance, you need to be financially prepared to make all of these commitments to makes sure that you discuss all these points with an experienced lender to make sure that you can comfortably make this commitment.
  5. Why do you want to buy? Don’t just purchase a home because you feel like “that’s what you should be doing” or people are pressuring you. Make sure it’s something you’re prepared for, interested in and excited about!

 

Homeownership is a huge step and can be a really exciting time, if you’re planning for your first home purchase, but being prepared and  confident that you a making a smart decision will go a long way when things start to get busy during the process. Take some time to sit down and think about these questions and have really sound responses. If you can answer them all in the affirmative and you’re 100% ready to move forward thats awesome, but if not, don’t feel like you’re doing something wrong or you’re not where you are supposed to be, take time to be comfortable and confident, you’ll know when the time is right!

 

 

 
Kristin Ellefson
April 24th, 2015  |  +Kristin Ellefson  |  Add a Comment

Fingers crossed the sunny weather we have been having this week holds up through the weekend! If it does, it will be the perfect time to get outside and do a few projects around the house. If you’ve already tackled your lawn care and landscaping to-do list, we have a few fun outdoor DIY projects you can add to your list for the weekend. We always say curb appeal is a big selling feature in a home, but so is a great outdoor space and these projects will have you stepping your game up in both areas.

 

 

A great way to add some character to your outdoor space is to add lighting. You can do landscape lighting to highlight the features of your home, or add decorative lighting around footpaths in your yard. If you have an outdoor entertaining space maybe add some torches or string lights to up the ambiance and make the space more versatile during the evening hours! These quick fixes will really up the ante when it comes to creating a well-maintained and luxurious feeling outdoor space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take some time to tend to your entry, this will go a long way in updating the look and feel of your home’s exterior. You can play with bright colors for your front door, and maybe add a decorative wreath or door knocker. If your HOA has set colors for your door finish, maybe think about adding bright flowers, or garden flags or swapping out your house numbers to brighten up the entry and draw your guests eyes to the front door of your home!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another great exterior update would be your mailbox! You can change out the style of the numbers on your post or maybe add your last name or initial to give it a personal touch. If possible, think about painting the post or the actual mailbox to really make it pop! If there are restrictions against that in your neighborhood, think about planting some beautiful flowers around the mailbox to brighten up your front yard and give your home that instant curb appeal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another great way to bring color to the exterior of your home is to add planters. Whether you are using container gardens on your back patio or planting beds in the front yard or even adding window boxes on the facade, these landscaping pieces allow you tons of freedom throughout the year! You can change the flowers to update your landscaping look seasonally and the instantly make your homes exterior look fresh and vibrant! You don’t have to go overboard to make a big impact, a little bit really does go a long way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If your home is looking a little dingy after battling the elements all winter, it’s likely all it needs is a good bath! Take some time to pressure wash your home exterior as well as your homes walkways and driveways to get rid of any stains and mildew that might have developed since last years cleaning. You can rent pressure washers from most home improvement stores and can knock out this chore in one solid afternoon of work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another tedious project that you definitely want to cross of your list early in the spring is re-staining the deck. Maintaining the surface of your deck is key to ensuring that it has a long life, it will also help prepare your deck for summer wear and tear as you enjoy entertaining outdoors and grilling out during the summer. There are tons of options for stain and even some new products on the market designed to help fill cracks and maintain the integrity of the wood so make sure you research what is best for your home’s environment and how often you use it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hopefully these projects get you motivated to get up and get outside this weekend! Whether you opt to do some serious cleaning and maintenance or choose to go the route of one of the more fun DIY projects we’d love to hear what you’ve been up to and how you’re prepping your home and outdoor spaces for summer!

 

 

 
Kristin Ellefson
April 23rd, 2015  |  +Kristin Ellefson  |  Add a Comment

A lot of times, when you’re decorating a space, whether it’s after a move, part of a refresh, or to prepare to sell, by the time you get to the finishing touches its hard to make the project come full circle. Most times we just think, well I got the paint, and the furniture and a picture on the wall, but those finishing touches are what really make a room look complete! They make the space yours and also give it a definitive style, so why not have a little fun with it? If you’re not sure how to use the finishing touches to pull your look together RealSimple has a great video with some ideas and tips and tricks to get you started. These are also great tips for freshening up a space that is feeling old and tired. The pro’s at RealSimple use shelves and bookcases to create decorative accents throughout the space, check out this video to see what tips they have!

Video Courtsey of RealSimple.com

 

 
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