Thursday, June 30, 2016

The "Orphaned Roads" Bill - what is it & why should you care?

Last week, I had the honor of attending the NC Realtors Legislative days in Raleigh. This event is three days of intense meetings regarding issues that effect private property rights, lending practices, real estate practices and property management on a state level. The days consist of meetings with other Realtors across the state, listening to updates on market viability, challenges and opportunities.

This year has been a very positive year for Realtors statewide as our efforts to preserve mortgage interest deductions and halt a tax on services have proven successful. This success translates to a savings of millions of dollars, for North Carolina homeowners.

 There were also several new agenda items that were being addressed this year. One was the “Orphaned Roads” bill. This bill would seek to classify and note roads that have not been taken over by the state for a variety of reasons. These roads could be private or not up to DOT standards. The bill would seek to establish bonding from the developers of future roads for prevention of additional “orphaned roads”. This may not seem like a huge deal to most property owners who live on state maintained roads, but many buyers and sellers realize very quickly that if you do live on a non-DOT maintained road, that this can be a serious hindrance to obtaining a new loan. Lenders require road maintenance agreements for private roads which can be difficult to obtain if all property owners that front the road are not on board or are unreachable. Heirs are sometimes hard to find and one person that does not agree to upkeep can sometimes “kill” the entire deal. Some roads were actually built by developers with the intention of turning them over to the DOT to maintain but homeowners find out years later that the road was not built up to the DOT standards and the homeowners are now left with potholes and no money to make repairs or bring up to today’s requirements. The effort to identify and move proactively forward is one that has been needed for quite sometime and it is good to see the NC Realtors taking the lead.

Our NC Realtors do a great job of staying on top of issues like the one above and so many more that homeowners never see. This is invaluable, as most Realtors and homeowners alike need the assurance that the association and it’s legislative team are watching over their interests and that harmful bills, laws and regulations never see the light of day. Issues such as this are near and dear to the heart of the Realtor community and we will continue to advocate for private property rights and home ownership. If you have questions or would like to know more about our efforts locally and statewide, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

5 Landscape Maintenance Tips

Spring is here!  

With the trees and flowers blooming or in progress of starting to bloom, I thought I would share a couple quick tips on landscape maintenance.  A home with a well-manicured and maintained home adds quite a bit of value to a property.  It’s also something that could help decide whether someone wants to visit your home while it is on the market. 



Landscape Maintenance Tips:

1. Freshen up beds by laying down new pine straw or spreading new mulch (I’m a fan of pine straw).

2. Apply fertilizer to your grass.  Make sure to spread in a crossing pattern so you achieve an even application.  If your budget allows, it may be worth discussing with a professional.

3. Trim those bushes! Make sure for blooming plants like Camilla or azaleas that the plants have finished blooming.  Make sure to trim after they have fully bloomed but before next year’s buds have started.

4. Trim lower hanging limbs from the trees.  We can all use pruning every now and then to freshen things up. 

5. Plant those wonderfully, beautiful annual flowers! Don’t be afraid to fill those pots up with many different varieties! (you may want to make sure to wait until the last frost which is normally in mid-late April)

These are just a few tips to get your spring off to a great start.  Landscape maintenance is not a chore – it’s a money-maker!

Happy Landscaping!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The time to list your home...is NOW!

It seems that the real estate feeds on the Internet are filled with reasons why you should list your home now. As a matter of fact, Allen Tate marketing emailed a couple of weeks ago asking me to contribute to their own Top 10 list. We are all on board this train right now for a variety of reasons and ones that you should heed if you are considering a move in the next 3-5 years. You may be saying to yourself, “Wow!” I need to plan NOW to move after my kid graduates in three years?” My answer to you is a resounding YES!


My professional advice is that you can do everything in your power to make the move you want to make in three years, THIS YEAR! I can hear you groaning right now and some of you are going to not even read the rest of this post because it seems so impossible. My message to you is simple. If you thought you could save thousands of dollars by moving this year, instead of in 3 years, wouldn't you at least consider it? I know I would. This is why selling today just may be the perfect situation for you and your family.

Rates are still low and this helps you two-fold. One, the buyer and afford more house than they will be able to in years to come as rates go up, which means if you are commanding a top dollar, the buyer may be able to afford to meet your price. Two, it means you can afford more home as well and if you get a lower rate today, than you would in years to come, you save thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

Inventory is low. Yes, there are homes on the market but there's also a lot of junk still for sale. The inventory is begging for homes that have been well-maintained, are priced appropriately and are ready to go. The sooner you can get on the market, the better. The longer folks wait in the year, the more competition you will see and that will affect your pricing. Also, do all the things your Realtor tells you to do. This is not the time to skimp on freshening up paint, staging or demanding an unrealistic price. This is the time to SELL, so that you can move on to the house you want to be in for the next 10 years and not be stuck in your current home for another 10 months!

New construction is coming back. With that means added competition for you, the existing homeowner. In our area of NC, construction starts have been slower than anticipated, which means you will have time to sell before buyers are lured with sunshiny new bells and whistles and incentives that builders have to offer. Currently, buyers have not had the choice of new construction do the recession, but now, its as if new ares are back on the market and everyone else getting in line to see what will be offered. More new construction competition means lower prices for existing homes. Even if lots are smaller; more neighborhood amenities, interior upgrades and customization will entice buyers from existing inventory.


Historically, Spring is a great time to sell. Families looking to relocation will use the Spring to identify and typically purchase their new home, spending summer adjusting and moving, so that the school year starts with few hitches. Not only does the above reason factor in to typical Spring activity, but we all know that Spring the the Carolinas does nothing but good when it comes to the curb appeal of the home. Who can resist the Carolina jasmine, azaleas blooming around the porch and daffodils and tulips adorning every flowerpot and flower bed around the home? Something about Spring is magical, creation at it's best and all on the backdrop of a Carolina blue sky. (Please do not take this as a UNC compliment as most of you know I am a die-hard NC State fan.) :)


All of this being said, I know all too well, that moving is a daunting and overwhelming task for most. I am currently helping many sellers to ready their homes by connecting them with painters, stagers, handymen and window cleaners. This is a team effort for sure, but the ultimate decision lies in your hands so that you can accomplish what is best for you and your family. As always, I am happy to consult with you, discuss options and plans of attack, and if afterwards we decide this isn't the right time, that's okay too. I look forward to hearing from you and please feel free to post questions or contact me privately for specific inquiries.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Triad Sees Success with New Transportation Policy Passed by NCGA


Prior to the 2015 NC General Assembly legislative session, North Carolina’s transportation network face an uncertain future. Decaying infrastructure had resulted in the 37th worst bridge safety rating and the 2nd highest fatality rating on non-Interstate rural roads of any state in the nation, while growing congestion meant North Carolina drivers spent an extra $6.5 billion annually in additional vehicle operating costs, lost time and wasted fuel – approximately $1000 extra dollars/year for each Triad driver.  To make matters worse, elected leaders had cut and capped transportation revenues on numerous occasions and allowed transfers out of the Highway Fund to pay for non-transportation expenses.  All of this was impacted NC’s competitive business environment.

Sticking with the status quo would have only further constricted the flow of commerce and harm businesses’ ability to compete for new growth with each passing year. Recognizing the challenge, state elected leaders agreed to focus on the state’s transportation network – and funding it with a stable, reliable, recurring revenue source was in order to ensure our fast-growing state will remain connected to, and competitive in, the 21st-Century global economy.In 2015 legislative session, the following was seen:


  •  Additional $1.158 billion in transportation revenue availability over biennium
  •  $708 million in new, recurring revenue to fund future transportation projects
  •  $70 million in port modernization investments to better position North Carolina to compete for global shipping
  •  No more revenue transfers from Highway Fund to General Fund, putting trust back in transportation funding
  •  Streamlined procedures to ensure effective long-term project delivery over entire transportation network
  •  Support for 1.5 million new direct and indirect jobs over the next 15 years
  •  Securing a transportation future that keeps North Carolina’s commerce lifelines flowing for decades to come


You may be wondering why this is important to the Triad area.  Many projects will now be advanced forward in a quicker time manner.  One of the more important projects for our region is I-74 or the Northern Beltway in Forsyth County. If you travel around Business 40 in the Kernersville area, you’ll see construction occurring. This project was advanced many years ahead of schedule because of the passage of new revenue and the economic benefits it will yield the region. Also, hopefully the property owners who have been held up with this project will be able to see long-overdue closure. This project alone will generate more than 30,000 jobs for the Triad region and will add over $2 Billion to the state’s economy.  We do not think about our transportation network as important to real estate but real estate cannot function without a strong transportation network. 



This project along with others are very important in creating a dynamic region. Thankfully, we are generating a strong transportation network in the Triad which will help attract, grow and create jobs and therefore a strong real estate economy. 

More information on I-74 can be found here:  http://www.winstonsalem.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/I-74-Infographic_final-web.pdf

Friday, February 12, 2016

Tour de Food - A Fun Way to Experience Winston-Salem

Saturdays in winter are always tough and somewhat deceptive. In my case, if I’m not working, I’m usually up around 8 and hope that Jake has his special French press coffee on it’s way. This is definitely a weekend treat, as weekdays don’t allow for this type of leisure. The deception comes in when you look out the window and see the sun brightly shining and you immediately long for warm summer days, as opposed to what you know will greet you once you step outside—brisk and fresh Carolina air. What to do on a day like today? How do you spend your day if all of the chores are complete, the yard is dormant and in no need of a trim and your kid(s) are out of town? Well, let me give you a suggestion.

Last Saturday, Jake and I, along with two couples decided to take advantage of the Tour de Food, which is a walking tour of downtown Winston-Salem and some of it’s featured restaurants and markets. The tour began at 1:30 at the Jeffrey Adams, which is the swanky sister restaurant of 4th Street Filling Station. We met our tour guide and proceeded to walk and talk and eat and drink our way through downtown over a three hour period. Stops included Bibbs BBQ, Breakfast of Course, Black Mountain Chocolate, 6th and Vine and Washington Perk. Each venue offered a sampling of food and drink and included a time for questions and info. We met other couples from the area and interestingly enough, all of us were local to the area. We all agreed that the tour was great for us and would be exceptional for newcomers.




After the tour, we proceeded to Foothills Brewery to sample their latest seasonal batch of Sexual Chocolate which was just released that day. The patrons had come from all over the state for a pint of this coffee/chocolaty goodness. We proceeded to dinner at Quatra Basta, which is the newest Italian restaurant in downtown and has the same owner as Spring House, which is just up the street in the old Bahnson homeplace. Delicious wine, delicious specials and fabulous atmosphere. One of our friends commented that it had a “New York” feel, with Triad prices. So true.

My point in telling you about our Saturday, is that Winston has so much to offer, even if you’ve lived and worked here the majority of your adult life. There is always something or someplace new. As I describe to my clients, it’s like a “little” Asheville. Very eclectic and artsy, yet with a sense of place and an undercurrent of traditional values. It’s a super-tolerant town, given that most of it’s original residents were headed to our area from the mountains and other rural areas to form a town built on farming and manufacturing, yet growing today through medicine and education.


So this morning, as I met two of my former clients for coffee and a pain du chocolat at Atelier, which is a French pastry and coffee shop. Amazing find is the best way I can describe this shop. After speaking at length with the owner, Pablo, a graduate of the renowned Cordon Bleu culinary school, you can see why business owners from the Triad are figuring out that Winston-Salem has a lot to offer. Why not treat yourself this holiday weekend and let the city “love on you” a little bit. I look forward to your comments on the best places in town! Cheers!




Friday, November 06, 2015

Falling In Love...

We all know that sometimes love hits us at the most unexpected times. Whether you are falling in love with a new dessert,  a new cashmere sweater or the kid who sat beside of you in English; you know that love can create havoc and lead to irrational decision-making.  The same type of experience can take place when you purchase a home.  That is why it is so important to have a trusted advisor at your side, so that the dreamy feelings of love don't interfere with the rational process of making a solid investment.

There are many reasons to love a home.  The location that tucks you back in the privacy of the wooded cul de sac lot among the autumn leaves or even the slight smell of the wood burning fireplace that reminds you of your childhood.  You can love the thought of cooking in the kitchen and seeing the kids nestled up the bar doing their homework while you cook dinner or you can love that your beloved puppy will finally have a place of his own.  Those feelings and notions can overshadow your ability to look rationally at a variety of factors, such as price per square foot of surrounding similar homes or the fact that there is a major roadway being built close by.

It takes an experienced Realtor, familiar with the area you are looking in to make sure that your decision to fall in "love" is tempered with facts and outside resources to consider.  You may decide that much like that first high school crush, you don't want to be committed to listening to the band practice every night.  These things are important for your long term satisfaction with the home and with the potential for resale.  Talk to a local, seasoned Realtor who is not intimidated to be direct with you and give you the tools you need to not only "fall" in love but to "stay" in love.

Happy Friday Y'all!

Brooke
BrookeCashion.com
336-817-3598

Monday, May 04, 2015

Taking a Turn...

No excuses. It's been a while since I've posted. Almost a year to be exact.  Like anything else, when time is limited you prioritize.  The market has turned and activity has increased tri-fold and that in itself took me away from something that I enjoyed regularly, which was communicating ideas and notions regarding our local real estate market with YOU! So, I'm back!

Just a quick update as to where we stand currently.  Market inventory is still limited. I mean the good stuff. Homes that are priced appropriately and in good condition.  I have buyers that can't find what they want and when they do, we are in multiple offer situations. That means for all of you sellers who are waiting for the right time to sell, that time is NOW.  Rates are great, inventory is limited and buyers are out there for the first time in a long time.

So what have I been up to?  Well, the short story is listing homes.  Our team focus is traditionally on listing homes. Making sure that the homes we are showcasing are priced and positioned appropriately, marketed in the proper channels and that our clients are enjoying an experience that takes them from contract to closing in an efficient and professional manner.  With our range of systems and check-lists in place we believe we are better positioned than any other agent in the area.

We are also working with some awesome buyers! Matching them to homes and going after homes in communities that may not even be on the market yet.  Networking with the real estate community to fit buyers and sellers together and bring them to the neighborhood of their dreams.  Most of the buyers are referrals from past clients and associates across the state and we are so pleased to continue to assist them!

Marketing-wise, I am currently working to update the website to better reflect our community, our services and the experience we bring to the table for each of our clients.  Also, be on the lookout for a video and testimonials that give you a first-hand look at who we are and what we do best.

So it goes without saying, it's been a busy time for us, but I am going to work hard to continue to post on a weekly basis continuing to give you information on our community, real estate and what it means to work with Brooke Cashion and Associates-Allen Tate Realtors.