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Saturday, May 31, 2008

We Learn by Doing...

May 31, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady® and Condo CanDo® in Charlotte, NC

We Learn by Doing…Some days are better than others. I have a friend who says there is no such thing as a bad cookie….some are just better than others.
Friday, I was on my way to a 1 p.m. closing for a young couple. He has been in the service during the first Dessert Storm and earned his V.A. benefits. He started his family and then when his boys entered high school, he went back to college and earned his degree. The wife is a nurse and supported the family. He worked part time, went to college full time. He graduated a couple of weeks ago. And we had found a house, his VA papers were in order. He has good credit, no debt, a great job. They were very excited. We were to close Friday at 1 p.m. but word came down that the head underwriter wanted to see the file in his hands. So the file was Fed Ex’d, the closing was stopped…and I wonder why these things happen. Now we wait. It is because real estate is about a lot of things. Mostly people. And it is about power and control. Some need that more than others. My cautionary advice to everyone is...celebrate after the checks clear.

And today…well, today was special. I met with previous clients who now want to sell their spacious and lovely condominium they bought two years ago. He became President of the Association and helped them giving both his time and expertise. The Home Owner's Association used to have delinquencies on monthly dues…many. No there are just a few. They even filed a lien against a government agency for not paying dues on a foreclosed condo. I like that. They are seriously protecting their values. Because what is one of the questions a mortgage lender wants to know ? How many units are delinquent on monthly dues. It was good seeing these folks again and fun working with them because they have always known the right and good way to care for property.
The other appointment was with another client who referred her boyfriend. He asked her if I specialized in Condos and she said I was The Real Estate Lady before I was Condo CanDo…he bought a house several years ago…and now I think I see stars in their eyes as we talk about the process of selling his current home and buying another. I love it when I learn from clients…he asked why is it important to know or even care about the kind of loan a buyer would secure to purchase his home? And he wanted to know about having an inspection before he would put the property on the market…and should he get a termite inspection as well. And what about a home warranty. I’ll have to double check on our websites and to make sure I have those questions answered. They were both quick and comfortable talking about money…honestly. About negotiations and who paid for what. I know I have those items on our site. I left him with all my studies…the important parts highlighted in orange explaining my logic.

Tonight as I review the day and make my notes, I feel blessed to have the clients I do…and the people they refer. And I know for sure I am in the right place at the right time doing what I truly enjoy.

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

Friday, May 30, 2008

Charlotte's Got A Bustle Going On...

May 30, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte NC

The Charlotte Observer helped us out with Doug Smith’s article showing signs of bustle on projects announced within the last five months. I’ve streamlined them a bit…so here goes:

A slowing economy hasn't stopped the flow of Next Big Things in the Charlotte area, where surprising and intriguing projects are still surfacing.
Who would have believed that a new Charlotte company would spring from a Kentucky distillery purchased for its salvage value?
Or that one of the nation's largest apartment developers would help jump start a Charlotte inner city redevelopment by purchasing a 5-acre site.
On top of that, a block-long commercial-residential redevelopment would help preserve a landmark in one of the city's hip neighborhoods, a “green” parking deck could include a green market and a continuing-care retirement community would be larger than one Mecklenburg town's biggest subdivision.
Here's an update on those five potential Next Big Things, all unveiled during the first five months of 2008.
Bourbon Boards
Three Charlotteans formed Bourbon Boards earlier this year to sell wood, brick, limestone and fixtures from the Old Crow Distillery they own near Frankfort, Ky.
The interest in furniture and cabinetry crafted from the reclaimed wood is causing the partners to consider expanding the brand by finding other sources for the materials, Vieregg said.
Morningside Village
Developer interest in Morningside Village has picked up since Atlanta apartment giant Post Properties put two city blocks of the 10-block planned community under contract about four months ago, said developer Firmitas LLC's Rob Pressley.
Post expects to close on its site and start construction by the fourth quarter of a $65 million, 400-unit apartment community.
Morningside Village, the former Morningside Apartments site on McClintock Road at Morningside Drive, also is to include 600 for-sale residences and 30,000 square feet of retail.
The project – $26 million MercuryNoDa – is to include 130 residential condos priced from about $120,000 to about $300,000 in an initial six-story building at North Davidson and 36th streets.
Developer Foster said he wants to break ground when about 50 percent of the units are sold, hopefully by late fall of this year.
The sales kickoff was this week.
Center City Green
Bank of America needed parking spaces uptown, but the developer who responded to its request for proposals is offering much more.
Spectrum Properties plans to develop Center City Green, a 12-story, 1,400-space deck with condos, a restaurant and hopefully a green market across Fifth Street from Time Warner Cable Arena.
The bank will lease 1,300 spaces for its employees.
“We're moving forward; we will break ground hopefully this summer,” said Spectrum's Steve McClure.
“People are registering on our Web site to get more information on the condos,” he said. “We expect to start marketing them in the spring.”
Spectrum tentatively plans 88 units priced from the $180,000s to the $280,000s.
The $60 million project would be completed by late 2009 with a goal of achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.
Windsor Run
Maryland-based Erickson Communities wanted to be in Matthews so badly that it was willing to pay $3 million toward road improvements, donate park land to the town and make other concessions for its planned continuing-care retirement community.
So far, 80 people have signed a priority list to live in the first phase of Windsor Run, said Tom Senger, director of sales. About 75 percent of those are local, he said.
Windsor Run is expected to grow to more than 1,100 residences over more than five years on 83 acres of the Fincher Farm on McKee Road.
It would be a self-sufficient “town” with transportation, grounds maintenance, housekeeping, security, emergency response and other services for buyers age 62 and older.
Senger said Erickson expects to break ground in October on the estimated $150 million project and open 130 homes a year later.

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

Thursday, May 29, 2008

First You Say You Do and Then...

May 29, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady® and Condo CanDo® in Charlotte, NC

First You Say You Do and Then….
Okay, all right…yes, I do specialize in condominiums because…well, they are fun, different in many ways, are perceived as “care free homes”, easier just to move in,many have pools, tennis courts and clubhouses and sometimes a concierge…okay, they seem more sophisticated. Just lock the door, go off to Europe and not worry about the roof, the grass, the paint job.
And then here I come…crawling under, over, around and through…speaking about the quality of building products, the quality of construction, the need for inspections, the necessity of reading and knowing thoroughly what the documents say…oh, and then about the number of investors in a project, the financial statement for resales, the yearly budgets, the proposed assessments…all the items to ask about, look out for and investigate.

Condominiums are different. You are buying into a community. Do you like paddling your own kayak or shipping out on the Queen Mary?

And I believe that if you are patient and do your homework, you will be happy with your new home and with your investment. I am not easily bowled over by granite and wood floors or great views. Having said all that about condominiums…I also make similar suggestions on single family home purchases or horse farms or commercial property or the lake house or your Mom and Dad’s new patio home in an active 55+ community.

As Oprah says, the love is in the details. And as an active, full time broker, I love the hunt for problems. I savor the details.So when I say beware, be careful, take your time, here is what can happen, does happen often, these are the risks…it doesn’t mean stop…it means stop and think.
I do like condos.
After all, who do you think is behind that red cape and black mask?Condo CanDo. CanDo.

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Part Two: Judging a Condo By Appearances

May 27, 2008

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

Part Two- Judging a Condominium by Appearances
There are a number of reasons why condominiums are problematic.

First, many are developed by shell corporations set up for the limited purpose of developing only a single condominium project. Once the project is finished and the units are sold, the corporation is dissolved. The developers have no long-term stake in the project and therefore little incentive to demand quality construction and an attention to detail.

Second, the nature of condominium ownership can be problematic. Rather than having one building owner, condominium buildings ultimately have multiple owners, all members of a condominium association. Some of the most problematic components of a building, such as the siding and the roof, are owned by the association, and association boards are made up of volunteers who are usually working with limited budgets. Unfortunately, boards are typically not as attentive to maintenance issues as a single owner might be. Multiple ownership creates other problems as well. For example, when water damage affects both individual units and common elements, the developer and contractor can face multiple lawsuits related to the same building.
Third, many condominiums are developed from converted apartment buildings, and the design and quality criteria for an apartment building are usually different from the criteria for a condominium. Apartment buildings are often constructed with shorter life expectancies than would be anticipated for condominium buildings and construction quality is therefore often significantly less. Additionally, because apartment developers usually anticipate a maintenance staff to take care of problems as they arise, they can often get by with lower quality systems and materials. Although some of the quality issues can be addressed in the conversion process, not an can be, and many of the most significant components of the building (e.g., the siding, roof, windows and decks) are often unaltered.
Finally, because condominium units are usually people's homes, there is often a higher
level of emotional attachment. People generally expect higher quality in their homes than they do in the buildings in which they work. Furthermore, many owners are expecting lower maintenance when they purchase a condominium and are disappointed when they discover otherwise.
The solutions to the condominium litigation problem are not simple and will not happen
overnight. Developers, contractors and design professionals will all need to change the way they do business.
Developers need to be prepared to spend more money for
quality and should consider retaining building envelope and other consultants to advise during the construction process.

Design professionals will need to prepare many of the design details that are often left to the subcontractors.

And contractors will need to become better educated about the causes of construction
defects and ways to avoid them.

Condominium buyers also need to change their practices. Rather than inspecting only the
particular unit being purchased, a buyer should consider retaining a qualified professional to inspect the entire building. The buyer should also look into whether the developer is local or instead an out-of-state developer with few ties to the region, whether the developer or any of the developer's principals are purchasing some of the units or otherwise have a long-term interest in the project, and what other projects the developer has built.

Although the condominium litigation boom is likely to continue for some time, the risks can be minimized. Doing so will require careful attention by everyone involved in building.. selling.. and purchasing condominiums.
This article was written by Kenneth F. Childs who is a member of the construction and design practice group at the law firm of Stoel Rives LLP. I thank him for his kind permission in using this article written for The Daily Journal of Commerce, Portland Oregon, April 17, 2007.

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

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Don't Judge A Book By It's Cover...Condos Either.

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

Last fall, I came across this article from Kenneth Childs in Oregon. What struck me was the similarity of problems with condominiums. I called him and told him I enjoyed the article, had seen similar problems and could I please post it on my site. He has given his permission and I thank him for his insight and experience.
by Kenneth P. Childs, a member of the construction and design practice group at the law firm of Stoel Rives LLP.

August 16, 2007
The condominium market has grown dramatically in recent years and appears to be
on the verge of exploding. Buyers are getting in line to make offers, and some developers are even holding lotteries to select the people who will be given the first chances to make purchase offers. It's a seller's market.
However, the growth in condominium sales has fueled an almost equally aggressive growth in lawsuits. It seems as if nearly every condominium project in the Northwest has generated a legal claim of some sort, and several projects have resulted in sizable lawsuits.
Insurance industry statistics bear this out. One recent study of insurance statistics for design professionals found that professional fees for condominium projects represented 5 percent of all fees, and claims from the projects associated with those fees represented 20 percent of all claims. This four-to-one ratio of claims dollars to fees has resulted in the insurance industry rating condominium work for design professionals as "highly risky."
Insurance statistics for contractors similarly demonstrate the large number of claims associated with condominium work. Many contractors are prevented by their insurance carriers from performing any condominium work at all.
The same insurance industry study for design professionals also found that the major allegations asserted in condominium lawsuits related to waterproofing, HVAC systems, foundations and roofing.Waterproofing is by far the most significant item and includes several building components including siding, windows, flashing and decks. Another common allegation in condominium cases is inadequate soundproofing.
Oregon is one of a small number of states leading the condominium litigation boom.
The other states with high levels of condominium litigation are Washington, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
Two environmental factors common to all these states are moisture and wind. Oregon and
Washington experience large amounts of rain, and the other four states have seen the construction of numerous ocean front condominium projects.

Part Two tomorrow…Condo Challenges

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

Monday, May 26, 2008

Chuck Graham: Charlotte's Residential For-Sale Market

May 26, 2008

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC
As promised here is a report from Chuck Graham on the Charlotte Residential For-Sale Market.
First, about Chuck:
Chuck Graham
Charlotte Real Estate Consultant

Chuck is a veteran of the Charlotte real estate market and principal of Newton Graham Consultants, where he directs all feasibility and marketing assignments as well as general management consulting in the areas of strategic development, organizational structuring, control systems and financial management. He holds a bachelor's in architecture, magna cum laude, from The University of Notre Dame and a master's in business administration from Harvard UniversityChuck GrahamCharlotte Real Estate ConsultantChuck is a veteran of the Charlotte real estate market and principal of Newton Graham Consultants, where he directs all feasibility and marketing assignments as well as general management consulting in the areas of strategic development, organizational structuring, control systems and financial management. He holds a bachelor's in architecture, magna cum laude, from The University of Notre Dame and a master's in business administration from Harvard University
Charlotte’s Residential For-Sale
Charlotte RegionalRealtor Association
Marriott Executive Park
May 19,2008

Charlotte’s Residential For-Sale
National economic news is only getting worse. The credit, currency
and oil markets are in great disarray.
The credit markets, and Charlotte’s exposure to them, are of
particular concern.
All of your previous customers would appreciate an informed review
of the current residential for-sale market, both nationally and
locally, as would your current customers.
As a consequence, I wanted to use this morning to outline the key
points which should be part of your presentation to each of these
groups with the hope of creating a larger market as well as
increasing your closing ratios on those still in the market.

The Existing National Market
Existing home sales turned down in 2006
by 8% versus their 2005 peak of
6,800,000 transactions. The median
price remained constant at $221,600.
2007saw a further 21% downturn to
4,900,000 and a 7% decrease in the
median price to $207,000.

The New National Market
New home sales also turned down in 2006
by 14% versus the 2005 peak of
1,250,000. The median price was down
2% to $237,700.
2007 say a further downturn of 30% to
750,000. The median price was down
an additional 4% to $232,500.

The Existing Charlotte Market
Charlotte saw growth 2006 over 2005 of
21% to 37,155 sales. Median pricing
was down 1% to $160,000
Charlotte did see a contraction 2007
versus 2006 of 4% to 35,560 sales.
Median pricing was flat at $160,000.

The New Charlotte Market
Charlotte saw growth here too 2006 over
2005 with sales up 15% to 24,801 and
median pricing up 13% to $201,950.
Charlotte’s new home market did fall 12%
in 2007 to 21,704 closings. Pricing
however was up another 11% to

National/Charlotte Comparisons
Where as the national existing home
market is off 29% from 2005, Charlotte
is up 16%. National median pricing is
down 7% versus stable locally!
The national new home market is off 44%
versus stable in Charlotte. National
median pricing is down 6% versus up
26% in Charlotte!

The Charlotte Market 1Q08
Existing home closings were down an additional
8% to 32,603 for the twelve months ending
1Q08 versus 2007. Median pricing was up 1%
to $162,000. There are more than 13 months
of listings based on March closings.
New home closings were also off 8% as well to
19,871 versus 2007. Median pricing was up
1% to $225,000. There are 2.5 months of
completed new homes in inventory.

Analysis 1Q08
Although the Charlotte market remained
conservatively sound vis-à-vis sub-prime, AltA,
and investor participation, it is less able to
resist the challenges relating to mortgage
market pull backs.
Builders have pulled back quickly in that lot
closings, permits and house closings were off
50%, 45% and 36% versus 1Q07.

Price Sensitivity 1Q08
Total closings new and existing can be
divided into Quintiles at $130,000,
$170,000, $230,000 and $400,000.
Quintile I is currently operating 18% better
than the market, Quintile II at the
market, Quintile III 6% below the market
and Quintiles IV and V 12% below the

Price Sensitivity > $400,000
Quintile V can be divided into five equal parts at
$425,000, $475,000, $550,000, and
Quintile Va is at market, Quintile Vb is 9% worse
than market, Quintile Vcis 18% worse than
market, Quintile Vdis 9% worse than market
and Quintile Veis 23% better than market and
the strongest portion of the entire market!

Leading New Home Builders
Novare’sAvenue led the market with a
19% share at an average price of
$307,000. Trademark Partners
Trademark ranked second with a 10%
share. No one else captured more than
5% of the market.

Leading New Home Builders
Portrait barely lost its leading position
to Ryan’s 20% share! Portrait held 18%.
Horton, Standard Pacific and Pulte
completed the top five with 5, 4 and 3%

Leading New Home Builders
Single Family
Morgan held its lead position with an 8%
share. Ryan held its second position
with a 6% share. Pulte and KB both
increased their positions one place
taking third and fourth. Centex dropped
from third to fifth.

Leading New Home Builders
Single Family by Price
Quintile I: < $165,000 Morgan, Liberty, Regent, Atreus, Habitat Quintile II: $165,000 –209,000 Morgan, Eastwood, KB, Horton, Atreus Quintile III: $209,000 –268,000 KB, Pulte, NVR, Centex, Morgan Quintile IV: $268,000 -$375,000 NVR, Pulte, M/I, Centex, Shea Quintile V: > $375,000
NVR, Shea, Orleans, Pulte, Centex

Leading Communities
Attached For Sale By Price
Quintile I: < $139,000 Bent Creek, Hanover Crossing, Cascades, Hamilton Bay, Caldwell Creek Quintile II: $139,000 -$180,000 Alexander Chase, Hanover Crossing, Caldwell Station, Curry Place. Regent Park Quintile III: $180,000 -$224,000 Cypress Landing, Avenue, Blakeney Preserve, Stone Creek Ranch, Regent Park Quintile IV: $3224,000 -$289,500 Avenue, Lake Shore, Stone Creek Ranch, Trademark, Elizabeth Quintile V: > $289,500
Avenue, Trademark, Lakeshore, Springfield, Rosewood

Leading Communities
Single Family By Price
Quintile I: < $164,500 Meadow Hill, Reid Meadows, Citiside, Brandon Ridge, Hunter Park Quintile II: $164,500 -$209,000 Carolina Lakes, Hamilton Lakes, Kingstree, Legacy Park, Cedar Mill Quintile III: $209,000 -$268,000 Carolina Lakes, Berewick, Belair, Moss Creek, Regent Park Quintile IV: $268,000 -$375,000 Carolina Lakes, Stone Creek Ranch, Berewick, Cureton, Skybrook Quintile V: > $375,000
Carolina Lakes, Stone Creek Ranch, Baxter, Brookhaven, Lawso

Changing Geography
Attached For Sale
Mecklenburg County continues to hold its
lead with 70% of the new attached market.
York County ranks second with 15%. The next
strongest captures less than 5%.
The North Growth corridor’s share was up 36%
to 15%. The South Growth corridor was down
30% to 17%. The Southwest Growth corridor
was up 17% to 20%, leading all corridors.

Changing Geography
Single Family
Mecklenburg County maintained its leading
share at 40%. Union, York and Cabarrus
maintained their second, third and fourth
positions. Lancaster County moved to the
fifth position with a 50% share increase to 8%.
The South Growth Corridor regained its lead
position on an 18% share increase to 19%.
The Northeast Growth Corridor dropped to
third on a 12% share loss to 16%.

The Charlotte market will probably see
additional velocity shrinkage 2Q08 and slight
shrinkage in the median price for the first
By 3Q08 we expect velocity shrinkage to
mitigate and continue until equilibrium
returns 2Q09 with some further modest price
Growth thereafter will appear in absorption and
pricing but at very modest levels through

Action Plan
All of your past and current customers should be
interested in these observations. Taylor them
for individual presentations to each as a
means to address their fears going forward.
Knowledge is always a key input to decision
making. The Charlotte market is stressed but
it is the best residential market in the U.S
today! Ask Case-Shiller.

Here is the link to download the .pdf file of the presentation:

Chuck Graham Charlotte's Residential For-Sale Market

Many thanks to Chuck for his always insightful presentations.
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC