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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Condo CanDo Weekly Wrap-Sales and Green

May 3, 2008

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte NC
Mecklenburg sales down, but not equally
ALLEN NORWOOD, Charlotte Observer
Real estate folks like to point out that an average is just that, an average. When average sales are down, that doesn't mean sales are down by the same amount in every neighborhood. In fact, sales could be up in some areas, including yours.
Elementary-school math says that's true, and there's plenty of other evidence. Average home prices are down across the country, according to the respected Case-Shiller report – but up slightly in Charlotte.
I wondered whether local sales could be up in one of the nine multiple listing areas in Mecklenburg County, so I compared sales figures for March with the same month last year. The quick answer is no.
As you might imagine, though, Mecklenburg sales aren't down equally.
Sales dipped the least – 19 percent – in Area 8, northwest of uptown. They fell the most in southwest Mecklenburg's Area 6, where they dropped 38 percent. The average for the nine listing areas was 26 percent.
Sales were down at Lake Norman and Lake Wylie, in listing areas that include slivers of Mecklenburg and other counties.
But I did find sales actually up in one lake listing area. March sales of homes, condos and townhouses through Carolina Multiple Listing Services rose 19 percent at Mountain Island Lake.
The statistics are available online if you'd like to explore them. Visit Graham’s First Quarter 08 real estate report is up on www.condocando. Com

From The Charlotte Observer, Bruce Henderson writes:GREENING THE REGION
Elected officials from nine counties and 14 cities heard a sometimes-bleak assessment of the Charlotte region's environmental challenges Friday.
Here's what speakers said about key topics:
Water quality
Land development is now the major cause of the region's water pollution, sending sediment, bacteria, metals, pesticide and oil into streams and lakes. Between 1984 and 2003, municipal areas of the region grew by 99 percent while the number of trees dropped 33 percent, said Mecklenburg water programs chief Rusty Rozzelle. Impaired waters in the Catawba River basin grew 32 percent between 1998 and 2004 alone.
Air quality
The region faces more regulatory headaches over ozone pollution, despite several years of improvement. All eight of the region's air monitoring sites will violate a new ozone standard announced in March, said Mecklenburg air chief Don Willard. The human cost of air pollution: It causes one-third to one-half of N.C. asthma cases, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates, triggering 240,000 asthma attacks and sending 6,300 people to emergency rooms each summer.
Waste management
N.C. residents send far too much recyclable material to landfills. Just 10 counties, including Mecklenburg, account for half of the state's total waste disposal. The average N.C. household recycles only a third of the 745 pounds a year of recyclables it produces each year, said Scott Mouw of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
Open space
Time is running out for local governments to preserve open space, as land values soar. What Mecklenburg residents want, according to surveys: more hiking and biking trails, and large parks, said parks director Jim Garges. What they're most willing to spend tax dollars on: preservation of green space. The reality: 20 percent of the highest-priority natural areas targeted for conservation have been lost to development since 2006, and another 30 percent loss is expected soon.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte

Friday, May 2, 2008

Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me...

May 2, 2008

Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me…
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte NC

Friday: Time for Q/A with Condo CanDo…
1. In buying a newly constructed condominium, should you, the buyer, have a structural and mechanical inspection?
Yes. A friend recently bought a real nifty condo at the lake. There were two condensate lines from the air-conditioner. One line was installed correctly and the second, oops! Forgotten. She spent two weeks in a hotel while the walls were torn out, remediation for mold was performed and the condensate lines properly installed.
2. In buying a resale condominium on the fifth floor, should you have a structural and mechanical inspection?
Yes. There’s glass, heating systems, plumbing and electrical not to mention balconies and terraces. Recently on a brand new condominium, the inspector found water running into the wall from a cement cap on the terrace.
3. In buying a condominium that is a new conversion should you have a structural and mechanical inspection?
Most definitely. Some conversions are totally gutted so by all means, a thorough inspection…and if there was just a cosmetic overhaul, most definitely. And that might include a separate inspection for heating and air.
4. Should you know the percentage of investor owned units before you make an offer on a condominium?
Heavy percentages will affect the type of mortgage you will be able to obtain. With a higher interest rate of course.
5.Should you look at the yearly budget and the last year’s financial statement before you sign on the dotted line for a condominium?
Yes. Look for irregular expenses, like collections and legal fees.
6. Should you read the by-laws and rules and regulations on a condominium before you sign, seal and deliver? Always, always, always.
Condominium living can be great for some folks. Condominium buying may seem more tedious than buying a single family home…invest time up front looking and checking the details. What’s that old saying? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?

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

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Charlotte Condos We Favor….

May 1, 2008

Charlotte Condos we favor….
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC
It all depends a friend of mine says. It all depends on where you are going, how long you plan on staying and what about your life style? Yep, it all depends. Still, I have a few favorite condominiums.Being a long time resident of Charlotte, I recall the days when we knew the builders’ names…and their reputations. There was John Crosland, Sr…and still building, John Crosland, Jr., William Trotter and now son, Paul,, Herman Nance, Charles Erwin, Mr. Thomason…well, you get my drift.

Now days it’s names of companies. Except in one instance. There is a fellow who has been building for some years now. When I first spoke with him over the phone maybe ten years ago, I thought he was my senior. Then I met him. He is a younger man with traditional ideas and takes a hands-on approach to the condominiums he builds. He’s often on the job site.His buildings are small compared to the uptown towers. They are often nestled in our exquisite neighborhoods: Myers Park, Eastover and one on the fringe of Dilworth, and one almost in Barclay Downs in SouthPark. The buildings are all different. The one component they have in common: class.So while I can go on and on about other builder’s lack of attention to building products and quality of construction, I have only praise for Brian Speas. I am sure I am joined by the residents of his buildings, the real estate agents he works with, and the neighborhoods he enhances by his tasteful designs and his fine execution of every detail right down to individual landscaping for each address.I have pictures of each one and will search for a sketch of the new one.
There is The Oakley at Park and almost Scott.
Carnegie Place in SouthPark.
Boxwood in Myers Park.
Fenton Place in Eastover.
Eastover Place on Fenton.
And I am sure the new one will top my list, The Cherokee. Eastover.
Thank you Brian Speas.
Tomorrow, we continue with Condo CanDo Questions and Answers. Please join us.

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

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Tribute to Warren...Urban, Visionary, Artist

April 30, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC
A Tribute to Warren
May 1st, tomorrow, at Queens Art Gallery, 1212 The Plaza, in Charlotte, NC
Artevation, A Celebration of History Through Art will begin. An art show and tribute to Warren Burgess, an influential city planner, urban designer and talented artist who worked many years for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission and the Town of Davidson. Warren died in 2005.
The following is an editorial written by Mary Newsome:
Sat, May. 14, 2005URBAN OUTLOOK
Planner, artist understood the power of placeWithout power or wealth, he left a legacy rich in humanityMARY NEWSOM
It's conventional wisdom to believe today's Charlotte is a creation of titans -- the likes of Hugh McColl and D.A. Tompkins, the Big Guys, who have Big Money and wield Big Power and leave Big Footprints.
But in truth cities are more complex than that. Other people with less fame, less power and a lot less money leave important footprints, too.
Warren Burgess, who Tuesday died unexpectedly and far, far too soon at age 56, was never powerful, never famous and most definitely never rich -- at least not in money. He'll probably never get his due in any history books on Charlotte . But Burgess left his fingerprints all over this city, in the plans he drew, the enduring vision he had for his city and the people and places he touched.
Cities need catalysts, and Warren was a catalyst. He was always putting one person in touch with just the right other person, and dropping a good idea in just the right place, and in doing so altering the course of the planet.
I met him almost 11 years ago. I had written a column lamenting the lack of community gathering places in most Charlotte neighborhoods.
A few weeks later the phone rang and some guy said he was a city planner and he had my column posted on the wall of his office and would I like to have lunch? I figured it wouldn't hurt to know a city planner, especially someone who liked my columns.
He was one of the thinnest people I had ever met, walked with a limp and handed me a book he had bought for me on a hunch -- Jane Jacobs' "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" -- which fed my curiosity about cities and pretty much changed the course of my career.
We shared an interest in art and cities, in mountain streams (he loved fly fishing for trout) and, most important, in neighborhoods and how their buildings and streets shape the lives of the people who live there. He was a planner who understood that real places and people are always more important than theories and statistics.
He was an urbanist, rare for a late 20th-century, Southern city. He filled notebook after notebook with drawings of neighborhoods where he did plans. He would walk the streets in a wide-brimmed straw hat, talk to people and just hang out until he absorbed a sense of the place into those thin bones of his.
That's one reason dozens -- no, hundreds -- of Charlotteans met Burgess over the decades and treasured his friendship. I was forever finding out that friends of mine had already known him for years. He lived his life like a one-man community center, always getting people together in his own quiet way.
And though Burgess' feet may have been planted on city sidewalks, his imagination was soaring. On the wall at my desk is his pen and ink version of North Davidson Street , looking toward the towers of uptown. But it differs subtly from reality. Burgess, in his drawing, buried the power lines, as he did in most of his sketches. He once drew a plan for a European-style boulevard along N.C. 49 at UNC Charlotte.
Next time you go down West Trade Street near Johnson & Wales University , look around. In the 1990s Burgess was the city's urban designer for a Third Ward Plan that -- to its everlasting credit -- Bank of America pretty much followed in developing Gateway Center . The low-scale buildings with stores below and homes above, hiding the parking decks, those were Warren 's vision.
Another of his visions is the drawing shown here, part of the 2001 Central Avenue Streetscape Plan. Notice how the Central Avenue bridge over Briar Creek has become something beautiful, reminiscent of Rome or Paris , with flags, a stone balustrade and an arch over the creek. On the creekside greenway is a bicyclist.
Burgess suffered from arthritis and had walked with a cane ever since I had met him. Look closely at his drawings, and almost always you see someone with a cane.
In the bridge drawing, a thin figure in a wide-brimmed hat appears to stand in the creek, holding a cane in one hand and what looks like a fishing rod in the other. Miraculously, if you know Briar Creek, he is landing what can only be a trout. Talk about the power of dreaming.

Warren Burgess was a gifted planner and a visionary. He translated his vision via watercolors and his work is impeccable. Warren brought us the gift of his vision with sketches of Uptown Historic and watercolors of various neighborhoods, Dilworth, Wesley Heights, Plaza/Midwood, NoDa and others.
We have built a special website for Warren within

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, Sharpen Your Pencils…Pop Quiz!!!

April 29, 2008

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

Ladies and Gentlemen, Sharpen Your Pencils…Pop Quiz!

1.True Story: In Charlotte, NC, there is a nice, older townhome community located between South Park and Quail Hollow. It has three pools, a lake, tennis courts and a nice clubhouse. The units are all brick, quite spacious and may need some updating. But the prices are rising and I for one have always thought they were a sensible buy. Well, according to a closing attorney I spoke with yesterday…a man from the North bought one the units and moved in, carrying his stuff back and forth from his apartment in his truck.
Do you think he read the documents before signing on the dotted line?
Do you think there might be anything in those documents about trucks and boats?

2. This is my current favorite. In one of the uptown new towers, a fellow bought a unit that he says he bought for his folks who since the purchase now have health issues. So he signed up a property management company to lease the property for him. A woman transferring from Texas signed a year’s lease, got all moved in and was loving it.Until she was contacted by the concierge who said that unit was not bought to be a rental. She was told she would have to move.
Do you suppose anyone, owner or property manager read the documents?

3. Folks who live at The Lake or in Ballantyne will sometimes buy an uptown condo as a second home, often to get a better rate than an investor would. Or at Piedmont Row in SouthPark…so, would that skew the investor ratio?
Would there be a clause in the documents that refers to a certain period before an owner can lease or sell?

Yes, the documents are like a book. Maybe a 100 pages and it is dry, dry, dry. I take that back, I actually like reading them. Documents are important, folks.
It’s your money.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte NC
PS. Answers. Hold your phone upside down to read:
Q1 Trucks are not allowed. He had to sell the truck.
Q2 Jury is out. The tenant did not cause the mess.
Q3.Too many investors will change the complex profile adversely.
Q4.You can always make your offer to purchase contingent on having a real estate attorney read the docs for you within a certain time frame.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Stop The Clock-Time Out Called!

April 28, 2008

Stop The Clock…Time Out Called!

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

It was the best of times, it is the worst of times…you’ve heard that one, right?

Well, it is the best of times because I am doing the things I love: learning, going to real estate and computer classes, visiting new construction sites, reading all the news from the local MLS folks and then pouring over the statistics from the National Association…and writing for my websites, taking pictures, talking to The Pros and polishing all three websites adding podcasts and blogs and wait till you see what else I have in store for you…and it is the (not really) worst of times…The market is iffy, people are frightened. Is the media helping? Not really. Charlotte is insulated somewhat and my business comes from the web and referrals from folks and families I have worked with for over 20 years.But I am calling this time out…to announce to you all in Blog Land and in Podcast-ville that, yes, I am a full-time, working real estate broker. Yes, I market property and have a good time doing it…and am successful at it…and I work with buyers…first time buyers, condo buyers, mc mansion buyers, horse farm buyers, trading up and moving down buyers…I love it. I want your business. I love solving problems and figuring out the pieces to a real estate transaction. I hope that answers the folks who ask the question, do I? Yes, I do!
So…let’s play ball!

What’s new? The industry is analyzing Short Sales, the definition and the execution.
In Charlotte, government leaders are working together with the self-help credit folks to design and implement a lease to purchase program for one of the hardest hit new communities. On the condo front, it looks like the visionary project of Pete Verna, The Park, has hit a substantially
significant snag and is stopped. On the 55 plus screen, a total retirement community was announced by Erikson in Matthews, one of the fast growing areas of Mecklenburg.This weekend I received calls from investors from others states as well as folks moving here from around the country. And everyone who comes here joins our chorus, We love it!

Time Out is Up…back to work as

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