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Friday, February 8, 2008

Charlotte Condos Proliferate In and Out of Center

February 8, 2008 almost

Somethings old, somethings new…all need close inspection.

Charlotte Condos Proliferate in and out of our city and over the boundaries…

I have spent much of today reviewing the raw data we received from the regional MLS office. We are posting the sold condominiums in 2007 by county, by zip and by complex. I had hoped to be finished this evening but am not. I began looking at all the new complexes for sale. Newly built or under construction condominium and town home communities in every direction here in Mecklenburg County, to the south of us in South Carolina and to the north beyond Lake Norman.

And I have a few comments about buying a unit in a newly constructed complex. Is the builder still there, is the community finished, how many are up for sale and what is the builder’s track record on warranties.Our market has gone from being a somewhat sleepy town to growing at a fast clip. Many of the builders I do not know nor have I heard of them but that means little. What it does mean is you should read the fine print and ask a lot of questions.In purchasing new construction, I recommend having a complete structural and mechanical inspection. Some folks think because it is new, there will not be any problems. But I have a friend who says how can we being do everything well if we are trying to do everything? I quite agree. I have been in and out of hundreds of condos and am often,repeat often, dismayed at the quality of construction and the quality of the building products. What has not been lacking is the ability of each layer of contractor, builder, job foreman, project manager to lay the blame on someone else. Even in the most expensive projects. I ask myself if you, the buyer, really cares…or maybe you just don’t know. If you don’t know, hire someone who does. Missing insulation, water heaters that are not connected, ducts that have fallen, johns that are not secured, doors that are not plumb, molding that doesn’t meet, paint that is sloppy…are simply not acceptable. Take pictures, put your complaints in writing and don’t close until it is right.

On the brighter side, in the statistics for 2007, what I notice most are the complexes that have no activity. Usually these are the jewels in Dilworth and Elizabeth, Myers Park, Eastover and in the ring of older neighborhoods surrounding the vibrant center city.I believe the resales of the older communities will fare well…these were most often built in the last ten to fifteen years, some perhaps older, and they are very well done…complete with tree lined streets and lovely neighborhoods.

Charlotte can tout a coming inventory of brand new condos in center city, a re-birth on the Westside taking shape in and around Bryant Park and running down the south side along the light rail. In that path you will find apartments and condos. Many of them. I look for density along the light rail.All in all, Charlotte’s marketplace is diverse and exciting. Just be careful. Do your homework and read the fine print.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Charlotte Condo Choices...Uptown Close and Elegant

February 6, 2008

Charlotte Condos…Many Fine Choices Close to Center City

It seems that most of the hoopla for condominiums has been directed to Charlotte’s Center City. Questions like, “Are there too many being built?” Comments like. “The price per square foot is going through the roof.” Yes, the towers get taller, the

In taking pictures for our eReports and the Tops report on in the near to uptown neighborhoods, there are some stunning choices. First, Charlotte is a beautiful city and we tend to sprawl. But we are not Atlanta. Our Uptown is really small. Perhaps that is part of our charm. We are still people sized.

In nearby neighborhoods like Myers Park and Cotswold, folks should check out condos like Rosewood and 420 Queens, take a ride down Fenton Place to one of Brian Speas finished projects and see if there are any resales. They all boast beautiful construction, classic designs, and are within walking distance of shopping and a short hop to Uptown.

We are blessed to have such exquisite communities as Chipping on Camden, a real jewel off Providence…and then,of course, peppered along Roswell off Queens there are older and many more newer condominiums. And even a conversion or two. So while Uptown has the razzle, our regal older neighborhoods have some new gems worth checking out.

You can see recent photos of The Crillon, Boxwood, and Rosewood on our
Tops Report on intention is not to wag my finger at uptown…we are all excited to see and feel the vibrancy in the center city. Professional sports, Imaginon, The Children’s Theatre, the birth of Wachovia’s art complex, restaurants and pubs, the news of the Epi-Center, the swoosh of the light rail…all worthy of celebration. I think sometimes, stopping to smell the roses is a rich experience…if in stopping we look around to see the other flowers as well.

Back to work.

Lynnsy Logue, The Real Estate Lady and CondoCanDo, Charlotte, NC

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

In Between The Lines-Charlotte Condo Market-WHOA!

February 5, 2008
In Between The Lines…
Charlotte Condo Market…Whoa!

In Charlotte, NC, City of the Future, Top Market in Real Estate in the country, we, too, are seeing the slow-down. In our case, and I speak for myself, the delay of some condo projects in our center city was wise.And this slowing down is still on a rapid track with a profusion of cranes in our uptown.So what’s happening in the Queen City?

A major and most luxurious condominium project, One by Portman, was put on hold. For many reasons, the convergence of their opening announcement and the sub-prime news, maybe even their apprehension about being one of the most expensive projects, starting at 1.5 million per condo…but still wise. They can wait. Patience is good. Sometimes waiting gives us direction…redefinition. So good for Portman.

Another by Spectrum, 300 S. Tryon, has been put on hold. Also wise. Even though they say they had 72 units under contract. Again, waiting is good. Patience will pay off for both Spectrum and Portman and for the developers of the towers underway. And for the buyers on down the road…maybe not for the sellers of the then older units. In speaking with an agent in Atlanta about their market, she said they went gang-busters but then folks started to wait to see what the new ones would offer. This is what makes horse racing. For the moment we have some breathing room.

The third player has left the state according to the news. Beazer Homes had a significant community planned just blocks from center city. The land sits. All is quiet. But better to have not started than started and then left. Many of their communities were left unfinished or incomplete.

On our website, everything is listed for the completed condo projects in Center City Charlotte aka Uptown along with sales figures from units sold last year. We are parsing the market by area and hope to stay ahead of the curve in getting the news out to you as quickly as we can.

2007 statistics for real estate sales in Charlotte and our region will be out soon.

Thanks for joining us.
Lynnsy Logue the Real Estate Lady® and CondoCanDo®.

Chapter 1-A Talking it Up!

February 5, 2008

Chapter 1.-A

Talking it up.Once the journey begins in looking for your new home…it is very much like looking for your next car. If you’ve got Honda on your mind, you look at every one you see…you compare styles and years, used and new…and it is as though that is the only car you can see. Until someone tells you about Toyota and another voice says Chevy and still another says Mazda. Whoa! Lots of incoming. Sometimes, it’s like that with the condo/townhome hunting process. People tend to love being involved and/or knowing about real estate. They have stories about their neighbors, their aunt, their own buying and selling…not to mention the great deals that tend to get a little embellished the more often the story is repeated. That’s real estate.

There is the actual physical property and then all of the various loan information. Probably made more simple with all the sub-prime focus. With few exceptions, I have been a proponent of the the thirty year fixed because in NC there is no pre-payment penalty and the interest rates have been so low…it is cheap money. And by being somewhat conservative, because we never know what will happen for sure, that commitment is like an insurance policy.

And after the “real” real estate, the money matters, the data sheets from the Internet begin piling up and the mention of forms for everything. I honestly believe that if you are a careful person you can get through this alone or with your partner without an angel's advocate. In this age of Buyer Brokers however, wouldn’t it be great to have an experienced ally, a seasoned guide, especially when the seller pays for your broker in most cases? And most often there is no price break for you if you are shopping on your own, or purchase from a seller marketing the home by themselves. This is not a promo to engage a Buyer Broker, it is simply a commentary. Our book is after all about YOU.

Looking for Real Estate.
Profiles of Charlotte Condos-New.

87% of folks looking to buy or sell use the Internet. 67% still drive the streets. My own percentages look about the same. When looking for a buyer or a seller, I perform my due diligence on the web. What a fabulous gift the Internet is to those of us who used to spend the better part of our days in our cars. When I finish my web work, I hit the road. I look at condominiums/townhomes from the outside, the neighborhood, the surrounds, common areas, the roof, the general condition. Many I can check off before I make an appointment to preview. You can do the same as well if you have the time. A good time to double back and check a complex you like is on the weekend or in the evening. You can get a sense of the rhythm of that neighborhood and complex when most everyone is home. And as you get closer to making your selection, talking to the folks on the street and in the complex is also a good move.

How quickly can all this take place?

Very quickly. The looking and the canvassing are narrowed down by your choices on-line. Some of my folks have already looked up deeds, tax information and comps. Most buyers and sellers are very savvy and enjoy the process.A good client is like a good dance partner…the process becomes fun because you are both involved in gathering and sorting and making the decisions. The older I get, the more I know, I like hearing other folks’ opinions, and I enjoy sharing information and learning from my folks as well. I think once real estate was rather proprietary and the information was in many ways closed. Now with the Internet, people can learn the process, be more informed and be more secure in their decisions.

All good stuff!