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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Saturday:Wrap Up With Condo CanDo

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady® and Condo CanDo® in Charlotte, NC

Charlotte, N.C. How are we doing?
We must be an anomaly...I see, hear, read more good than on a national level. Even our radio market sports good numbers, growing audiences. And, of course, it is Spring here, azaleas are Queen, Dogwoods reign, tulips and pansies paint the landscape. Building continues. Teardowns continue. Charlotte is growing, no doubt.
Four new condominium projects were announced this week: in Eastover, Cotswold, NoDa and Dilworth. Smaller projects than we are used to hearing about but definitely filling that neighborhood niche for attached housing.
We are learning more about Foreclosures, reading more about Short Sales, Credit Scores and innovative solutions for trying times. The one I like is a self-help, non-profit, designing a rent to own program for foreclosures.
In reviewing our first quarter just for Mecklenburg County 2007 and 2008, our numbers are down and at this moment, the solds are 71% of last year. The average price is very similar and days on the market less. It is important to remember in our market, many of the builders do not participate in the numbers are by no means accurate. We will wait and see what real estate consultant, Chuck Graham has to report for a more accurate report.
Another exciting note is "Green". Green seems to be the coming attraction in building for both residential and commercial. I am curious about how "Green" will effect the towers on the rise and the immediate future of condominiums under construction. And while all that is green is not gold, how the builders will play the card.
All in all it was another great week in Charlotte. Taxes are done, the grass needs cutting again for we are really getting some delicious rain, thanks for joining us.
And if you have questions or comments or topics you would like discussed, be in touch, we'd love to hear from you.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady® and Condo CanDo® in Charlotte, NC

Friday, April 11, 2008

Condo CanDo. It's Friday Condo Q/A

April 11, 2008

Friday: Time for Condo Q and A…

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady® and Condo CanDo® in Charlotte NC

Legal descriptions define the property. When in doubt, even from MLS data, look in Mecklenburg Polaris for the Unit File number. Unit File is often noted as a U/F. That means condominium. Condominium defines space. Does a condominium require a survey? A townhouse does and it, too, is attached housing. Townhouses come with a footprint and townhouses can be surveyed because a line can be dropped between units. The owner owns the structure and the land beneath it, ergo “footprint”.Then there are co-operatives, a co-op. We have two such co-ops in Charlotte. One is The Kimberlee off Park Road and the other is Morrocroft off Sharon Road. A co-operative is a corporation and the owners have percentage shares which represent their units. In practical terms, the difference is that the governing board of the co-op has much more authority over how you use your property than does the owners association of a condominium.Can a condominium be purchased as an investment? Yes. But more and more there are limits to the percentage of investors allowed although that has often been circumvented by ownership as second homes. In one state, investors are not allowed and the owner occupants cannot rent out their units except in dire circumstances. There was a tower in Uptown Charlotte where the first 20% of the units sold were bought by a large corporation. Funding for investor heavy condominiums can be more stringent for the folks who really want to call it home. So interest rates may be higher.Are all condos on just one level? No. Can a townhouse have two levels? They can have many…it’s just the space that I owned. Can a townhouse have just one level? Yes. Two levels? Yes. How about having a separate flat on the first floor and the next two levels a townhouse? There are many at the lake with this configuration. The answer is no. Footprint, survey, land.Insurance for each of the type has been reviewed earlier as it, too, is very different. That’s Friday Q and A for condos…

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady® and Condo CanDo® in Charlotte NC

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Charlotte Condos:The First and Most Favorite

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte NC
Charlotte Condominiums From The Beginning
(I have posted Kathryn's story early on, but it still qualifies as a favorite. And Thursday is our designated day for "Favorites. Enjoy)

Kathryn Krause Smetana
Built the first condominium in Charlotte in 1970. With great care she built Gaynor Arms in Randolph Park at Cotswold. This is her story.
She was born September 15, 1910 in Philadelphia, Pa. Her parents were Michael and Catherine Krause.
She went to school in Philadelphia until she was fourteen years old. Then she went to work with Apex Hosiery Company in Philadelphia. She went to Continuation School to complete her high school education while she worked. At sixteen years of age she left Philadelphia and came south. She worked several years in the Greensboro area and became quite proficient in all of the production jobs associated with the manufacturing of women’s hosiery. Soon she became an instructor, and it was not long before she was quite in demand to teach her skills. Whenever a new mill opened, Kathryn was hired to train the women in production. And her jobs took her to the Concord area and to Gastonia. As soon as the manufacturing plant was up and running smoothly, she would go to another start-up mill.
In the late thirties, Otto Smetana opened a new mill in Monroe, NC and hired Kathryn to train the staff in production. This time she stayed and married Otto.
After World War II the hosiery business changed drastically. The stocking that had the seam up the back was called full fashion. Rather than convert the plant to make hosiery as it is today, Otto Smetana sold the mill and retired from the hosiery business. He and Kathryn traveled extensively throughout the USA.
Otto and Kathryn built a bowling alley, Park Lanes, near Park Road Shopping Center. They later sold it, but Kathryn and her brother in law ran The Wash Bowl Laundry in the basement of the bowling alley. Otto and Kathryn lived in a home on Ferncliffe Drive during this time. Otto passed away in the early sixties.
Kathryn got the building bug and decided to build a condo. The plans and specs were started in the late sixties and Gaynor Arms was started in 1970. Kathryn gave thought to every detail including security, storage, elevator, central laundry, clubroom and covered parking.
After completing Gaynor Arms, she moved to Florida and built four houses there. She stayed on in Florida for seventeen years, but in 1986, returned to her condo at Gaynor Arms.
Kathryn passed away January 23, 1998.
A long and cherished friend of Kathryn’s, Al Busedu, was kind to write this story in memory of his friend.
Thanks, Al…another Angel!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Condo Niches Around our town, Charlotte NC

April 9, 2008Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady® and Condo CanDo® in Charlotte NC

On Wednesdays we take a trip Around the Town…
While in the last several years, much of the hoopla has been on the towers Uptown. For sure, it is still exciting for those who have been here a long while. But all the while the focus was on the Center city, developers were eyeing the in-town areas that were already promising by virtue of the larger homesites, the proximity to shopping and Uptown. Those areas are without looking : Myers Park, Eastover, Elizabeth, Dilworth, Plaza Midwood, North Davidson, and Cotswold. Five of these are historic and if you would like to see their maps as well as pictures, here is a link to our main site: AtHome was our first website and it was followed by and then, that high flyer, Each of my sites is dedicated to the education and empowerment of the consumer or the newcomer. So you won’t see my listings and the cherry picked listings from other brokers, I tell you where to go to get all the listings! How fun is that?
May I have the envelope, please? Here are four newcomers:

Parkside in Dilworth, off Waverly with a footbridge to Latta Park. 792,000 -1.15 million with square footage from 2800 to 3575.

Element at Craig in Cotswold. Contemporary, 2300 to 3000 square feet, 400,000 to upper 500,000. This is believe it or not on the fringe of high density with condos, apartments as well as a nursing home. Look for the area to change significantly.

NoDa is touting Steel Gardens. Lofts, 1075 to 1098 prices from 190,000 to 200,000.

And one of our favorite builders, Brian Speas, presents The Cherokee in Eastover. Brian has built such handsome communities as Fenton Place, Eastover Place, Boxwood, and Carnegie Place. 2200 to 3400 square feet and priced from 990,000 to just over 1.45 million.

More details on each project is featured in the “Condo News” section on

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady® and Condo CanDo® in Charlotte NC

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Condominium Documents, Part Two

April 8, 2008
It’s Tuesday and once again, Condominium Documents…
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady® and Condo CanDo® from Charlotte NC

After a buyer finishes with the statement, “I don’t want to cut the grass”…please weigh in on the time and effort it takes to be a good and an active member/resident of a condominium community.
Last Tuesday, I ended with:

Every Tuesday, our podcast and blog will talk about some of the fine points. On our website we will be publishing Typical Condo docs for your amusement, amazement and need to read lists.
The way to find out if any changes have occurred in the documents is to ask the President of the Condominium Association. Better yet, read them yourself. And it is a wise practice whether new or resale to make sure the purchaser receives a copy of the condominium documents. For instance, when purchasing a condominium years ago at the then brand new 400 N. Church, I read where the parking spaces were leased. Or in the case of The Park still under construction, a purchaser might be interested to know who owns the first level. Or with a complex in Ballantyne long perceived to be completed, another section is being built, this time commercial instead of continuing the residential plan. Small print, anyone?

Many state laws have a “cooling off” period for condominium buyers, which gives them time to take the documents to their attorney for review. Note: This is especially true for the sale of new units. This is not necessarily the case with resales. But reading and approving the documents by a certain time could be a contingency.South Carolina is ahead of us in North Carolina in that their law requires that the closing attorney must certify that he/she has read the condominium documents.Knowledge creates a positive attitude. A lack of knowledge creates a negative attitude.

Next Tuesday: The Community Association Institute

Monday, April 7, 2008

Charlotte Condo News :Change,New,Who's Driving?

April 7, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte NC

What’s new is not so new as we observe the changing condo market in our Queen City.The developers of a 75 unit condo project in South End have stopped sales and will build it as apartments instead. They say Chelsea South End was designed with multiple strategies. They are returning deposits and releasing buyers from their contracts.
Two thoughts. Complexes built as apartments can convert to condos. Buyers getting their deposit back and contracts become null and void. Think about that when you write a contract. What out do you the buyer have really?
Condos that started out as apartments:The Poplar in Fourth Ward an classy at that,
Heathstead at SouthPark went from condos to apartments to condos,
Churchill Downs started as apartments and are now condos,
Quail Hill, Selwyn Village, Franciscan Terrace, Myrtle Condominiums,
Cotswold Homes…so it happens. In our energetic market, I often wonder about the cost of apartment versus condo and then if there is a substantial savings starting out and then converting. Sometimes it is a puzzle.

And there is an announcement of a condo project in Dilworth. Dilworth has been in the news for its stance on rezoning and its struggle to maintain its charm and historic stature. Of course, density rears its head everywhere so Dilworth has not escaped. Even though the Neighborhood Association fought long and hard. I think it is important to note that the project was approved by City Council over the objections from the Dilworth Community Development Association which challenged the density and plans to demolish three structures. So the new units will be between 500 and mid 700 square feet priced in the range of 140,000 to 220,000. Figure that out a sq ft folks. How many small condos can we really accommodate? Hmmmm?
And lastly, the best is yet to come as we really do head for the "greening" of Charlotte. To date we have lagged behind the likes of Seattle and Portland. Within five years, buildings that aren’t constructed to environmental sustainability standards will have difficulty finding investors so predict the experts. So as ”Green” is on the horizon, which is exciting, I think it is also important to be educated on what products truly fit and are also good building products. Quality and sustainability. Remember an earlier podcast expressing a concern for quality building products as will as quality construction.And another recent one reminding you that as a buyer, you are in the driver’s seat.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte NC