Enjoy These Festive Fall Events in Charlotte NC!

pumpkins-1572864_960_720Fall is here in Charlotte and that means the calendar has begun to fill with festive events, including Oktoberfests, pumpkin carving, haunted trail tours and more!

Below are a few fall events in Charlotte NC you won’t want to miss:

Carolina BalloonFest
October 20-22, 2017
Friday, 3 PM-8:30 PM; Saturday, 7 AM-8:30 PM; Sunday, 7 AM-6 PM
Statesville Regional Airport, Statesville NC

This 3-day festival will be filled with hot air balloons galore! Two balloon launches are planned per day with over 50 balloons taking flight, along with a walk-in balloon and tethered balloon rides. The festival will also include live music, art vendors, beverages, kids activities and more!

3rd Annual South End Wine Festival
October 21, 2017
2 PM to 6 PM
308 W Carson Blvd, Charlotte NC

Join in the fun of this neighborhood wine festival! Unlimited tastings from 25 different vineyards, live music, food trucks, and a commemorative cup to take home! All proceeds from this year’s event will go to benefit Classroom Central to aid students living in poverty.

GUTS Pumpkin Carving Competition
October 21, 2017
1:30 PM-5:30 PM
BB&T Ballpark, Charlotte NC

Now in its 9th year, this pumpkin carving festival invites both local and regional creatives to test their skills and raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The event begins at 1:30 with the carver set-up, and by 2:30 the 90-minute carving session has begun! There will be a photo booth, custom GUTS tattoos, food, raffle prizes, and of course, awards for the best!

Day of the Dead Festival
October 29, 2017
12 PM-4 PM
Levine Museum of the New South, Charlotte NC

Celebrate the traditional Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead, with music, dancing, arts and crafts, a sugar skull workshop and more at this free Charlotte festival!

Hickory Grove Haunted Trail
Through October 28, 2017
Dark until 12 AM
4064 Mountainview St, Gastonia NC

What better way to celebrate the Halloween season than with a haunted trail? You can find dozens of these spooky events throughout the Charlotte area this month!

These are just a sampling of the many events you can expect in the Charlotte NC area this fall. To learn more about Charlotte neighborhoods, including Ballantyne and Ballanmoor, and available homes for sale, give me a call today!

I look forward to hearing from you!

Mike Huffman
Michael Alan Realty Group
Phone: (704) 266-4220
Email: mike@michaelalanrealty.com

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Charlotte NC Real Estate Vs. Real Estate Reality TV

room-2559790_960_720By now, chances are you’ve watched a real estate reality TV show or two—or maybe even finished an entire marathon on a home improvement channel. You’ve likely started to form your own assumptions about how the real estate market works, whether you’re buying or selling a home, and think you know the ropes based on what that thirty minute or one hour time slot has presented to you.

However, what many Charlotte NC homebuyers and sellers don’t know is that real estate reality TV often depicts a very different picture than how the market actually behaves. As your local real estate expert in the Charlotte area, I’ve listed four ways the Charlotte real estate market is different than real estate reality TV shows.

Buyers Look at More Than Three Houses
Almost all home buying television shows set the scene where the buyer looks at three homes and then chooses the one that suits them best. But what you should know is that many buyers in Charlotte NC will look at ten or more properties before deciding on the one. The home search aspect of buying is often much longer than reality TV makes it out to be.

Low Ball Offers Don’t Always Win
One of the most common themes in home buying shows is the low ball offer. The buyers find their dream property and report back that they actually purchased the home for much lower than the listing price. While this can happen in certain scenarios—depending on the property and a variety of other factors—you should not enter into the home buying process thinking a low ball offer will always be accepted. It’s best to work with your agent on the best offer as going too low can risk turning off the sellers completely.

Selling Shouldn’t Be a Quick Decision
Watching real estate reality TV shows can give you the idea that selling your home just takes a brief discussion about your goals and before you know it, you have a For Sale sign in your yard. Homeowners in Charlotte NC and the surrounding communities need to understand that there is a great deal of preparation and research that should go into your decision to sell. Repairs need to be made, cleaning and de-cluttering should be taken care of, and research should be done to help you find the best price. Failing to do any of this could result in your home sitting on the market longer than necessary or ultimately selling for less than you’d like.

Showings Also Sell Homes
For home sellers in Charlotte NC, an open house is indeed a great marketing tactic and can help you find a buyer, but this is not the only way to sell your property. Reality TV shows tend to suggest that sellers always sell at the open house, but the fact is regular showings sell just as many homes as open houses.

Give me a call today for more information about buying or selling a home in Charlotte NC!

Mike Huffman
Michael Alan Realty Group
Phone: (704) 266-4220
Email: mike@michaelalanrealty.com

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5 People to Have on Your Team When Investing in Charlotte NC Real Estate

telephone-586266_960_720Making the decision to invest in Charlotte real estate is not one to be taken lightly. In fact, in order to be successful, you will want to work with a team of experts who will help you achieve your financial goals! Along with your Michael Alan Realty Group agent, below are five people to have on your team when investing in Charlotte area real estate this year.

Your real estate agent
As I mentioned above, your real estate agent is essential and will be your go-to for any questions and concerns along the way. From helping you find the perfect investment property to outlining your financial goals, your agent is a wealth of resources and will ultimately help you close the deal. As your local experts, you can count on Michael Alan Realty to work on your behalf and help you succeed.

Lender
When buying real estate, you will want to have a lender on hand to discuss financing your investment property. You can always ask your real estate agent for a recommendation for a local lender who is both experienced and trustworthy and will help the buying process run as smoothly as possible.

Attorney
For matters surrounding protecting your assets and yourself as a real estate investor, you may like to have an attorney at your disposal. Again, your real estate agent has a vast network of local professionals that can help with legal matters pertaining to your properties.

Contractor
Should you need to do any repair work to your investment properties in Charlotte NC, a contractor will be where you turn. It is important to gather several bids for work prior to choosing a contractor, so be sure to meet with several before you make your decision.

Property Manager
Depending on the number you own, managing your investment properties in the Charlotte area can be a full-time job in itself. The answer? Bringing in a property manager. These managers allow you to focus more on your investment portfolio rather than the maintenance and upkeep of the properties, as well as finding tenants.

If you have questions about buying real estate in the Charlotte North Carolina area, investing in real estate or property management, do not hesitate to give Michael Alan Realty a call!

We’re here to help!

Mike Huffman
Michael Alan Realty Group
Phone: (704) 266-4220
Email: mike@michaelalanrealty.com

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American Flag Etiquette for Charlotte NC Homeowners

flag-1291945_960_720With the Fourth of July this week, many Charlotte NC residents will be proudly displaying their American flags in front of their homes. However, there is a certain flag etiquette that many do not know about! For instance, did you know that no state or city flag should be placed above or to the right of the American flag?

Below are a few flag etiquette rules to follow this summer (and all year long!) as you show your patriotism, especially as you celebrate our nation’s birthday!

When displaying with another flag
If you’re displaying your American flag with another flag in a cross-staff fashion, make sure the American flag is placed above the other on the flag’s own right (or the viewer’s left side).

When displaying on an angled staff
If you’re displaying your flag on an angled staff from a window or in front of your Charlotte home, the union should be at the peak of the staff.

When displaying on a wall or window
If you’re displaying your flag horizontally or vertically against a wall or in a window, the flag should be flat and the union should be uppermost and on the flag’s own right (the viewer’s left side).

When displaying with another state or city flag
If you’re displaying your flag with another state or city flag, the American flag should always be placed above the others and on the right side (the viewer’s left). Flags from other countries should be flown from separate staffs of the same height.

When displaying at night
If you’re displaying your American flag at night, the flag should always be lit.

You can count on Michael Alan Realty to guide you through both the homebuying and home selling process this year. Give us a call today for more information on everything from available homes in Charlotte to investing in Charlotte real estate!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Mike Huffman
Michael Alan Realty Group
Phone: (704) 266-4220
Email: mike@michaelalanrealty.com

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Who Pays Closing Costs in Charlotte NC?

dollars-426023_960_720Once you’ve found your dream home in Charlotte NC and you’ve estimated your monthly mortgage payment, including all utilities and other maintenance costs, you may think you’ve wrapped up the cost section of the real estate transaction. However, there is one more set of costs you’ll need to consider before you can close the deal and receive your keys— closing costs.

Closing costs are often overlooked by first-time buyers or even buyers that have been out of the market for a while. You can easily figure how much you will owe in closing costs based on the mortgage loan amount of the home’s purchase price, but you will also want to keep the following in mind if you’re wondering who exactly pays what:

Closing costs can be negotiated
When putting together your offer on a home in Charlotte NC, you can ask for a credit toward closing costs. You may actually find this more beneficial than asking for a reduction in the overall purchase price as over the life of your loan, the discount will likely have little effect on your payment. A credit toward closing costs means you will have less to pay upfront and out of pocket when you get to the table.

Buyers have more expenses
The majority of a buyer’s closing costs come from the mortgage loan. Costs including the appraisal fee, origination fee, credit report fee, recording fee, notary fee, title insurance, prepaid insurance, and prepaid interest are the responsibility of the buyer and will need to be paid at the closing. If you have questions about any cost or fee, ask your lender to explain each and how it will affect your loan.

Sellers tend to pay more 
While buyers in Charlotte have more closing costs outlined in their statement, sellers often pay more as they are typically responsible for covering the commission. This is based on a percentage of the total sale price of your Charlotte area home.

Let Michael Alan Realty guide you through the homebuying process this year! Contact us today with any questions about the local real estate market or for a list of available homes in the Charlotte NC area!

Mike Huffman
Michael Alan Realty Group
Phone: (704) 266-4220
Email: mike@michaelalanrealty.com

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How to Get Started Investing in Charlotte Real Estate

key-2114044_960_720With the spring market heating up and the busy summer season just over the horizon, you may be noticing more and more homes popping up for sale. As you pass “For Sale” signs, you may begin to contemplate the property’s potential and how you can start investing in Charlotte real estate. It is a much more involved process than you might think, but as your local experts, our team at Michael Alan Realty is here to guide you!

Remember, like any investment, real estate is not without risks. A successful investor is a well-researched investor and we’ve included three steps below for getting started:

Find an expert who knows the industry
Investing in Charlotte real estate is not something that should be done on a whim— not if you want it to be a lucrative endeavor. You will need to navigate the process of buying investment property with a pro. As a full service real estate brokerage and property management firmMichael Alan Realty has years of experience in the Charlotte NC real estate market. We listen to your unique situation and help you create a path to success, answering every question along the way.

Plan for problems
The last thing you want to do as a new real estate investor is throw all of your money into a property, without planning for any unforeseen problems. Just as you may have a rainy day fund for your own home, you will want to have the same for your investment properties. Many investors do not plan ahead and can quickly find themselves in a sticky situation.

Have an end goal
As I mentioned above, we will help you create a plan and personalized path to success, but you will first need to determine your end goal. Remember that real estate investing should not be viewed as a get rich quick method. Instead, recognize that success often starts slow, taking one step at a time to reach that end result.

If you’re interested in exploring real estate investments and properties in the Charlotte area, contact us for a consolation about properties with potential!

Mike Huffman
Michael Alan Realty Group
Phone: (704) 266-4220
Email: mike@michaelalanrealty.com

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How to Prepare for Your Charlotte NC Home Inspection

floor-plan-1474454_960_720As a home seller in Charlotte, nothing feels better than knowing you have an offer on your property— accepting the offer is even better! However, the next step in the selling process can quickly steal your excitement if you’re not prepared and in fact, make or break the deal. It all comes down to the home inspection, which oftentimes is written as a contingency into the offer, and a buyer could ultimately walk away if the results are not what they were expecting.

Below I’ve rounded up a few of the many items inspectors will be looking for when they visit your property:

  1. Grounds: Crumbling or cracked walkways, trees, standing water, faulty grading
  2. Roof: Any defects in flashing, fascia, gutters, shingles, chimney or skylights
  3. Interior: Water damage, heating vents, insulation
  4. Structure: Integrity of your foundation, state of doors, windows and framing
  5. Kitchen: Proper venting, leaks
  6. Bathroom: Toilet function and flushing, shower and sink function

There are also several ways you can prepare for your Charlotte NC home inspection to ensure the best possible results:

Report all updates and repairs
You don’t have to have remedied every single issue in your home, but at least keep a log of it. That goes for updates too! Everything you’ve done to your home, or any problems you know of, should be recorded in a log for potential buyers. Keep receipts and contracts inside from any hired laborers as buyers will want this as peace of mind before the sale.

Clean and clear
Just like buyers, inspectors also appreciate when your Charlotte home is clean and clear of obstructions. Scrub every nook and cranny, clearing away any toys, decor or furniture that may be in the inspector’s way. You will want to make sure important spots like the doors to the attic and basement, as well as the electrical panel are free.

Unlock doors
The inspector will need to have complete access to your home, so if the keys are not in the lockbox, open any other locked doors, gates or windows prior to his arrival.

Now is the perfect time of year to consider selling your Charlotte area home and the tips mentioned here only scratch the surface of setting yourself up for a successful sale. Give me a call today for more information!

Mike Huffman
Michael Alan Realty Group
Phone: (704) 266-4220
Email: mike@michaelalanrealty.com

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5 Questions to Ask Your Charlotte NC Mortgage Lender

write-593333_960_720One of the biggest decisions you will make when buying a home in Charlotte is choosing a mortgage lender. Finding one you can trust, one with the right expertise and helpful advice can feel overwhelming, not to mention a challenge if you wait until the last minute to do so.

As your local real estate expert in Charlotte, I’m sharing five questions that will help you find the best mortgage lender for you this spring. No matter if you’re just starting your home buying journey or are ready to get pre-approved and submit an offer on your dream home, these questions will allow you to get a feel for certain lenders.

Which debts should I pay down first?
In order to get the best rates on a mortgage loan, your credit score will need to be in tip-top shape. Ask your lender which of your debts—including car loans, student loans, credit cards—you should pay down first, taking into consideration those with higher interest rates.

How soon should I pay them down before buying a home?
Your lender will likely inform you that the sooner you begin to pay down debt, the better, but confirm your home buying timeline with them. If you plan to buy in six months, ask which debts should be paid down first or when to start.

Is now the right time for me to buy?
Depending on your financial situation, you may not be ready to buy a home just yet. A good lender will let you know your options and if you may be better off waiting a given amount of time.

What can I do to lower my interest rate?
There are a number of things you can do to lower the potential interest rate you will receive on a new mortgage loan— for instance, paying down debts or boosting income. Ask your lender for your options in terms of loans and rates and what can be done to ensure you’re getting the lowest one.

How much will I pay in closing costs? 
Closing costs can vary by mortgage loan product. You may be eligible for a zero closing costs mortgage, but those can also come with a higher interest rate. Ask your lender what your closing costs might be in different scenarios in order to give you a better idea of what you will be paying at the table.

These questions, among others, will help you get the conversation started with a Charlotte mortgage lender and on your way to buying a home in the area. If you have more concerns about what to do before starting your home search, available homes or recommendations for local professionals, do not hesitate to reach out!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Mike Huffman
Michael Alan Realty Group
Phone: (704) 266-4220
Email: mike@michaelalanrealty.com

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Best Time for Investing in Charlotte Real Estate Coming Up!

time-273857_960_720As you may have guessed, spring and summer are typically busier than other times of year for the real estate market. The warming temperatures tend to signal a warming market and a wave of activity soon to emerge. The upcoming change in seasons presents excellent opportunities for both buyers and sellers this year and in fact, especially if you’re planning to buy Charlotte properties as an investment.

The most popular months for new listings to emerge are March and April, which means your search for Charlotte investment properties should be underway— if not, you should be preparing your finances in order to jump on those that pop up over the next two months!

Get to know the market
One way to prepare to invest in Charlotte real estate this spring is to get to know the market. Do your research on neighborhoods that may yield the largest return on investment, where you can ask your desired rent and where renters are interested in living. Once you have locations narrowed down, your search for available properties will run much more smoothly!

Make the most of the season
Charlotte area investors will likely be scouting for homes at all times of year, but if you’re planning to get started this spring, you will need to be ready. Lower inventory and increased buyer demand will ramp up market competition this year, so knowing what you’re looking for and how much you’re willing to spend to get it will help to give you an edge.

Start early
The best season to buy property may be coming up, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of what’s on the market now! In fact, using this window of time before spring officially begins, may allow you to find a deal on a Charlotte area investment property and prepare to move in tenants by the start of the new season!

I’m always here to help you navigate the real estate market, whether you’re a buyer, seller or investor in the Charlotte NC area! Give me a call today for more information on investing for the first time, achieving your real estate goals and finding the best property for your budget and needs!

Mike Huffman
Michael Alan Realty Group
Phone: (704) 266-4220
Email: mike@michaelalanrealty.com

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Why You Should Sell Your Charlotte NC Home Before Spring

the-eleventh-hour-758723_960_720Once February arrived, you may have switched into “Think Spring” mode. This is traditionally a time to clean your Charlotte NC home from top to bottom, tossing out the old to make room for the new, and giving your property a whole new feel for the new year. But if you’re ready to move on from your home completely and crave a fresh start in a new place, there is no better time to list than right now!

Of course, buyers are now shopping for homes year-round, but this specific window of time before spring’s official beginning and the start of the real estate “busy season” provides Charlotte homeowners with a welcome edge. How so?

Below are four reasons why you should sell your home before spring.

Buyer demand is up
As I mentioned above, buyers are constantly searching for homes online via smartphone, tablet and computer. What that means for you as a Charlotte NC home seller is that demand is still high! Regardless of the housing inventory situation—with fewer properties for sale—homes are still selling and buyers are still motivated to make a move!

The process will be quicker
Lenders are now preparing for the busy season ahead, getting ready for the influx of mortgage applications to come. Listing now may award you a shorter waiting period from contract to closing and allow you to move into your next Charlotte area dream home quicker than if you waited until next month.

There is less competition
When you list your North Carolina home, you want it to stand out among the others! Waiting until a wave of inventory hits the market is not the best way to ensure this happens. So why hold off until spring? Consider listing your home now to avoid the competition that is just around the corner and you could land a buyer much faster.

Prices are rising
There is no time like the present, especially when both mortgage rates and home prices are rising. Consider this— prices are expected to appreciate by 4.7 percent over the next 12 months, according to CoreLogic, so if you are planning to move up, it will ultimately cost you more to wait. Locking in a lower mortgage rate now also means a lower payment as these are projected to rise by at least half a percentage point by the end of the year.

While Michael Alan Realty can help you sell your Charlotte area home no matter the time of year, I am here to answer any questions you have about taking advantage of this exciting time in the real estate market!

Give me a call today!

Mike Huffman
Michael Alan Realty Group
Phone: (704) 266-4220
Email: mike@michaelalanrealty.com

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