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Lake Wylie, Tega Cay and Fort Mill Area Blog

Informational News Blog by Angie Adams. I'd appreciate your Comments!



Postmark means nothing!

 Q. Several years ago, on a radio talk show, the host said that a monthly mortgage payment is considered to be paid on the date it was postmarked. If that is true, where can I find that law?

There is no such law. The date the mortgage lender receives the payment is what counts. The date of mailing is irrelevant.

by Angie Adams NC/SC REALTOR® Broker | (Comments Off)

Buying Pre-Construction? Here's Why A Real Estate Professional Should Represent You

It might not seem necessary to involve a real estate professional in a transaction where a buyer can deal directly with a builder. Think again! A real estate professional representing the buyer’s interests, can guide you along the right path, smooth the rough places and help ensure you make a decision you can live with (and in) for many years. Here’s how:

  • Just as a real estate professional calls on experience and knowledge of an area to help buyers locate pre-owned homes in a community, he or she can also direct buyers interested in newly built homes to developments and communities that match client specifications.
  • An agent can suggest builders based on their reputation for delivering a high-quality product, responding quickly to issues, and being financially sound.
  • An agent may be familiar with how a builder prices his products and where there may be room to negotiate price or upgrades.
  • Without agent representation, you are one buyer purchasing only one home. But an agent can significantly impact a builder’s bottom line by providing a steady supply of customers. The agent’s leverage may work in your favor at the negotiating table. [Note: The builder may require your agent to accompany you on your first visit to the site. Check with the builder.]
  • When relocating to a new area, agents can be particularly valuable resources. In addition to providing local area information regarding schools, day care or elder care services, public transportation, proposed development, and so on, once construction is under way, an agent can periodically stop by the work site, supply you with progress reports, and photograph or videotape phases of the construction.
  • An agent can assist you as you face hundreds of design choices and consider which upgrades could potentially add value to the home when it comes time to sell.
  • An agent can accompany you at the site while you okay the plumbing and electrical locations prior to dry-walling, as well as on the walk-through or builder orientation.
  • By now, you should be convinced of a real estate professional’s value as you search for and purchase a newly built home. Still, here’s one more great reason to work with an agent-the builder pays the agent’s commission. You enjoy individual attention and support at no cost to you. What a great way to start life in a new home!

 For Buyer's Representation contact Angie Adams a Certified new Home Professional

by Angie Adams NC/SC REALTOR® Broker | (Comments Off)

Should I Work With A Buyer's Agent? A Seller's Agent? A Dual Agent?
In the past, real estate agents always represented the seller, whether the agent helped a seller to market and sell a home or helped a buyer find and purchase a home. In other words, agents were at one time legally bound to represent the seller in a residential real estate transaction. In that scenario, the seller paid both the listing agent and the agent who brought the buyer.

Today, agents either represent the buyer, the seller, or both. If you want to sell your home, you can work with a "seller's agent." If you want to buy a home, you can work with a "buyer's agent." Most states require real estate agents to disclose to consumers who they represent. Sometimes an agent will represent the buyer and the seller. A buyer who elects this situation should receive full disclosure on representation. The real estate agent you choose should fully disclose how they work with individuals and the options available to you. In most cases the compensation to the buyer's agent is paid by the seller.

For more in-depth answers you should talk to Angie Adams

by Angie Adams NC/SC REALTOR® Broker | (Comments Off)

Top 10 Signs That It's Time to Sell Your Home
1. When you bought your house, you lived in the country. Now you're surrounded by high rises.

2. You can't get any appliances repaired because "they stopped making those parts years ago."

3. The swing set in the backyard has sprouted roots.

4. The plumber's phone number is on your speed dial.

5. Your phone number is on your plumber's speed dial.

6. All the children's rooms are now guest bedrooms.

7. You haven't visited the other half of the house in six months.

8. You have to move the furniture to see the carpet's original color.

9. Your bathroom is a lovely shade of avocado green -- from the first time it was in style.

10. You can't make any improvements to the exterior of your home without getting approval from the Board of Historic Monuments.

by Angie Adams NC/SC REALTOR® Broker | (Comments Off)

Homes are affordable in Charlotte

12/03/06. A national survey showed that almost two-thirds of new and existing homes sold in the Charlotte area during the third quarter were affordable for families earning the area's median income.

The Housing Opportunity Index is compiled by Wells Fargo and the National Association of Home Builders. Nationally, 40.4 percent of new and existing homes sold during the three months were affordable to families earning the median U.S. income of $59,600, according to the NAHB President who is Statesville Builder.

The affordability index for the Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord metro area was 63.6. The median price here was $175,000, and the median family income was $64,400. That ranked 56th nationally.

by Angie Adams NC/SC REALTOR® Broker | (Comments Off)

Ten Smart Tax Moves to Maximize Deductions, Minimize Pain

As you gear up for the holidays, keep the taxman-the IRS-in mind and make plans to minimize your tax hit when April 15th rolls around. A few smart moves before the end of the year could save you a bundle come spring. Qualifying for many tax benefits depends on individual circumstances, so it's always wise to consult a qualified tax preparer. Here are some issues to ponder while you're preparing your 2006 taxes.

1. Early mortgage and property tax payments

Pay your January, 2007 mortgage in December, 2006 and the mortgage interest for that January payment can be deducted on your 2006 taxes. Check with your local government to see if it's possible to pre-pay property taxes and claim that deduction on your 2006 tax return.

2. Energy-efficient renovations

If you've modified your home with energy efficient products, such as solar panels, windows, and geothermal heat pumps, you may be eligible for a tax credit. The maximum credit is $500. Be aware that the rule has a few wrinkles. For instance, only $200 of that $500 can be taken for windows. Check to see whether your state has additional tax breaks for energy-efficiency improvements.

3.  Investment Property

Tally up the receipts associated with your investment property. Repairs--things to keep the property in good working condition--are deductible during the year you pay them. More significant investments, such as a kitchen or bathroom overhaul or a major renovation, get depreciated over 27.5 years for residential real estate. Major improvements on non-residential investment properties are depreciated over 31.5 years.  

4. Points and refinanced mortgages

If you paid points when you refinanced a home mortgage, points are deductible in full in the year paid, if the proceeds of the loan were used to improve your residence. If they were used for something else (new car, vacation, etc.) they're deductible, but only over the life of the loan. "If this is a second refinance, and the taxpayer was amortizing previous points over the life of the loan, the remaining points not previously deducted are allowed in full, but only if the new loan is with a different lender," says Cindy Hockenberry, an enrolled agent and a tax information analyst at the National Association of Tax Professionals, Appleton, Wisconsin.

5. 1031 Exchanges

Profits on the sale of rental property are treated as a capital gain and you'll have to settle up with Uncle Sam. One option to defer paying that tax is to re-invest the proceeds in a like-kind exchange. "To the extent the proceeds are reinvested, the gain is deferred until the replacement property is sold," says Deborah Rood, a CPA and senior tax manager with Chicago-based Blackman, Kallick, Bartelstein.

6. Vacation property

Carefully track how much time you spent at a vacation property. When you own and rent out vacation homes, expenses are generally allocated between rental use and personal use, based on the number of days of each use.  If you use the home for 14 days or less, or less than 10% of the time it is available for rent, the expenses are all allocated to, and deducted from bathroom overhaul or a major renovation, get depreciated over 27.5 years for residential real estate. Major improvements on non-residential investment properties are depreciated over 31.5 years.  

7. Tax-free gifts

If you're looking to reduce your taxable estate for heirs, one option is to gift money to children, grandchildren and others. Individuals can gift up to $12,000 (or $24,000 per couple) per year to anyone without tax consequences. Another option is to gift appreciated assets, such as a piece of real estate worth $12,000. "If I give a piece of real estate, it could be worth $15,000 in a few years and $30,000 down the road. It's a way to legally give more than that $12,000 per year to someone," comments Rood. If your grandchild has a 529 college savings plan, you can contribute $12,000 per year and avoid any gift tax return filing requirement or gift tax liability. "That's a great way to shift money to a grandchild and get money out of your estate," says Hockenberry

 8.  Parental dependent care

If you're supporting a parent and provide over half of his or her support, such as nursing home and medical expenses, you may be able to claim him or her as a dependent. Rules are stringent, so check with your tax preparer to determine whether your parent meets the dependency requirements.

 9. Charitable donations

Those 70½ or older can designate up to $100,000 of their IRA directly to a charity. "It's a neat tool for Seniors who might have a lot of money and are worried about estate tax issues. ...a great way to give to their charity of choice and save some estate tax down the road for their heirs," comments Hockenberry.

 10. Tax advisors

Find a good tax advisor and tax return preparer. Rood recommends getting referrals from trusted friends, bankers and attorneys. Both Hockenberry and Rood advise seeking out someone with expertise in estate planning and Senior issues, so the person can offer long-term tax strategies versus just focusing on annual tax preparation.

Brought to you by:

Angie Adams SRES NC/SC Realtor® Broker

Toll Free: (866) 561-6396


by Angie Adams NC/SC REALTOR® Broker | (Comments Off)

Charlotte home prices steady as other markets decline

11/26/06 Charlotte, NC. The National Association of Realtors says home sale prices in the Charlotte area rose 4.5 percent in the third quarter of the year, continuing the slow but steady climb despite some steep declines in other markets.

The median price of existing single-family homes sold here was $198,300 during the quarter, up from to $189,800 for the same three months in 2005.

The national median was $224,900 in the third quarter, the NAR said in a release this week, down 1.2 percent from a year earlier. The median is the price at which half of homes sold for more and half for less.

There was good news for the state, too.

Across the country, existing home sales were down more than 12 percent during the three-month period. But 10 states showed increases -- including North Carolina. In fact, this state led the nation, with existing home sales rising 9.7 percent from the third quarter of 2005.

by Angie Adams NC/SC REALTOR® Broker | (Comments Off)

What's new at Baxter Village (Fort Mill)?

Close to Interstate 77 on S.C. 160, the residential-retail-office center known as Baxter Village continues to grow. The Town Center now has a new YMCA, Harris Teeter, Inn at Baxter restaurant and tavern, Circa North Salon, Beef O'Brady's Family Pub, Polka Dot Stationery & Gifts, SweetTreats Ice Cream, Liu Liu's Upscale Chinese Cuisine and Six Pence Restaurant & Pub. Several professional offices, including a new Keller Williams Realty office has also opened. Baxter residents enjoy an elementary school, public library, an urgent care center and a state of the art YMCA. Amenities in the master-planned neighborhood include a community center with a pool, fitness center, meeting space, kitchen and snack bar; a 12-acre park with a playground, bandstand and walk-through fountain; wireless access points, trails and 500 acres of park and open space.


by Angie Adams NC/SC REALTOR® Broker | (Comments Off)

New additions at the RiverGate Shopping Center in SW Charlotte!

Construction is ongoing at RiverGate, the 600,000-square-foot shopping center Childress Klein Properties is developing at N.C. 49 and N.C. 160 near the Grid Iron. Home Depot is scheduled to open late this year, Super Target had it's Grand Opening end of July. Smaller shops and restaurants, including Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks will be clustered along N.C. 49 in the $50 million pedestrian-friendly center. By the second week in August, Office Max, Best Buy, Marshall's and PetSmart will open their doors. The 60-acre development also is targeting a national home electronics superstore, an office supply store, a pet superstore, a pharmacy and a popular discount apparel chain. A movie theater may also be included. Traffic roundabouts and a center fountain will encourage patrons to walk rather than drive through the center, and outdoor restaurants and entertainment will be a highlight. Brick, stone and stucco will make up the exterior in a style similar to Promenade on Providence or StoneCrest, high-end shopping centers in south Charlotte.

The RiverGate complex recently introduced Chick-fil-A, Fuel Pizza, McDonald's, T.G.I. Friday's, Starbucks and Salsaritas. Rack Room Shoes, Sport Clips, Alltel and Old Navy.

by Angie Adams NC/SC REALTOR® Broker | (Comments Off)

In South Carolina Property taxes to drop by up to half. Sales tax rises on all but groceries!
Sat, Jul. 22, 2006  Charlotte Observer reported:

COLUMBIA - It's going to become a lot cheaper to own a pricey home in South Carolina, but more expensive to buy everything else except groceries.

State lawmakers have passed sweeping tax changes that will cut the property tax for homeowners as much as in half. The legislation also cuts the sales tax on groceries from 5 percent to 3 percent and raises the sales tax on other items from 5 percent to 6 percent.

The changes are good news for folks who were unhappy over their property tax bills.

A Tega Cay resident would have seen last year's tax bill on her home listed on the York County tax books then at $446,000, cut from $5,580 to $4,279 had the new law been in effect this year.

"I certainly think it's going to be beneficial to the property owners in these fast-growing areas," she said. "I don't think that the sales tax increase is going to have too much of an impact on those same people." But the changes may not be so good for parents and children in the state's top-rated school districts. Local school boards will lose much of their ability to levy taxes to pay for prized local programs.

"People are probably delighted that they don't have to pay property taxes for schools anymore," said Scott Price, general counsel for the S.C. School Boards Association. "But a few years down the road, I think they're going to be scratching their heads over why there are 25 kids in each class and why the arts program isn't available to their child."

Effect on education

Reacting to pressure from homeowners along the coast and on the shores of inland lakes whose property values have been rising rapidly, S.C. lawmakers in May passed a double-barreled tax relief package. Starting next year, homeowners will no longer pay school operating taxes, which are part of their property tax bill. Depending on a home's value, that could mean a tax bill that's a third to a half smaller.

But the first $100,000 of a home's value is already exempt, so only those people with homes worth more than that would get a tax cut. Other property taxes, including those on rental and development property and motor vehicles, wouldn't be affected.

Statewide, owner-occupied homes provide 20 percent of the property tax for school operations. But the percentage is much higher in affluent suburban districts. In the Fort Mill school district, it's 33 percent.

School officials in York and Lancaster counties worry that they will be flooded with growth they won't be able to pay for.

"If I'm a young parent living in the (Charlotte-Mecklenburg) school district and I see that I can move just across the border ... in Fort Mill, one of the better school districts in South Carolina, and I can pay less property taxes at the same time, tell me, how hard of a decision that is?" asked Keith Callicutt, Fort Mill superintendent.

The state plans to replace the lost revenue by raising the sales tax, effective June 2007. The sales tax on groceries, however, will drop to 3 cents on Oct. 1 this year. The sales-tax proceeds will be distributed to the school districts dollar-for-dollar based on what they would have collected in property taxes, plus annual increases based on population growth and inflation, and weighted for poor students.

Another part of the tax relief package is a proposed state constitutional amendment that will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot. It would put a 15 percent cap on revaluation of all real estate during any five-year period. People who have seen their property rise quickly in value would get a break. People whose property values have gone up less than 15 percent will pay higher taxes.

Effect on economy

Although other states have tinkered with property tax relief, only one -- Michigan -- has enacted a full-bore swap of sales tax for property tax in a move similar to South Carolina's. Voters there approved that in 1994.

But as sales slowed with Michigan's poor economy, the amount of money devoted to public schools has dwindled. Many Michigan school districts have had to cut their budgets.

S.C. parents, educators and economists worry the same thing might happen.

Kevin McLiverty, who lives in the Knightsbridge subdivision in northern York County, said the fact that he stands to save about $800 a year is less important than the quality of education the Fort Mill schools are able to give his three children.

"How are they going to pay for the schools if it's going to save me that much money?'' he said. "I would love to see my taxes go way down, but in reality, are we going to turn around and start hitting up everybody for $500 a year to help offset school costs?"

Holley Ulbricht, a retired Clemson University economics professor who studies tax issues for the school's Strom Thurmond Institute of Government, said, "The next recession, when there's a downturn in sales tax revenue, how is the legislature going to respond?"

Before, the school districts could deal with bad economic times by raising property tax rates, Ulbricht said. "But now, a significant part of that has been taken out of their control."

Jim Douglas, an expert in local government who recently left the University of South Carolina to join the faculty at UNC Charlotte, said that dramatically reducing school districts' ability to raise money locally could hurt property values in affluent districts like Fort Mill with reputations for good schools.

"One thing that allows them to improve their education system is the fact that their property values are going up," he said. "And the reason their property values are going up is because of the great education system; everybody wants to move there, and they're willing to pay higher taxes, if necessary, to fund their schools. Now, they won't have that opportunity."

As for schools in the state's poorest counties, where education has lagged badly, school boards association lawyer Price said the new legislation offers little in the way of improvement.

"It's not tax reform," he said. "It's just property tax relief, driven by folks along the coast and the fact that it's an election year."

Lawmakers did carve out one break for poor districts, requiring that every county's reimbursement be at least $2.5 million a year. For York County's four districts, which are projected to collect nearly $33 million in property taxes next year, that doesn't mean anything. But it's a big deal to Marlboro County, whose property tax collections are expected to be only $762,000.

The additional $1.8 million "would make a very positive difference," said Marlboro schools Superintendent David Sherbine. "Probably our first emphasis would be on staff and materials. We have a difficult time recruiting teachers because we are not competitive in salaries."

by Angie Adams NC/SC REALTOR® Broker | 1 Comments

Chester County in Northern South Carolina embraces potential boom
Charlotte Oct. 26, 2006 

Charlotte developer Mel Graham announced earlier this month plans to turn his 6,000 acres on both sides of Interstate 77 into a 9,000-home mega mixed-use development that could exceed $2 billion. He calls it Montrose and says it will be completed over about 20 years.

Is Chester County ready for such a boom?

Residents, county officials and Graham say it is. But two planning experts are less sure.

While Charlotte-area counties such as Cabarrus and York see thousands of homes built each year, Chester County has been relatively stagnant. Last year, there were 87 single-family permits and 58 mobile home permits issued countywide, according to the Catawba Regional Council of Governments. Through the second quarter of 2006, the county issued 34 single-family housing permits and 34 mobile home permits. All told, the county had 14,374 housing units in the 2000 Census.

Graham said he could start by late next year on the first phase. He said it would likely cover roughly 1,200 acres and include a golf course, clubhouse and residential lots.

He first must work with S.C. officials on converting an existing overpass into an interchange named Exit 58 to improve access to the development, about 38 miles south of Charlotte. Graham said this week the S.C. Department of Transportation has OK'd the interchange work, but has not committed any money.

So where will Montrose residents come from? With an unemployment rate of 10.3 percent -- highest in the region -- and a median household income of about $33,000, the county's residents don't fit the demographic for high-end homes. The average single family home value for permits issued so far this year is about $146,000 -- the low end in today's dollars of what Graham said most homes will go for.

"That doesn't have any bearing on our project, because the people who will ultimately be buying in Montrose will not be from Chester County," Graham said. "They will be imports."

Graham sees Montrose luring people from Mecklenburg County who want to live in the next Ballantyne, the 2,000-acre mixed-used development in Charlotte, south of Interstate 485. He says he's also in talks with a company to help him develop a retirement community like Del Webb's Sun City Carolina Lakes in Lancaster County, S.C., but he wouldn't talk specifics.

Some text derived from the Charlotte Observer

by Angie Adams NC/SC REALTOR® Broker | (Comments Off)

Top Visitor Attractions!

Visiting Charlotte? Don't miss our top Visitor Attractions


Antique Shopping

Cultural Experiences

Entertainment Venues

Area Night Life & Entertainment

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by Angie Adams NC/SC REALTOR® Broker | (Comments Off)

Gallery Crawl on North Davidson!

My friend and I met up last night to drive to the Gallery Crawl at North Davidson Street. We have never been there so did not know what to expect. What a pleasant surprise! At the first Galleries, we viewed some of  our more known artist paintings, then the up and coming ones. Jewelry, pottery, silk scarf's and alike are also available for purchase. Simone and I had planned to go to to a restaurant but that was not necessary, because appetizers and wine was served at some of the Galleries and we had the opportunity to personally meet some artists. Strolling down N. Davidson we stopped at a nearby Wine Bar and tasted some German Riesling. The atmosphere and street layout kind of reminded us of Asheville. We stayed for three hours and we enjoyed every minute of it. Gallery Crawl is every last and first Friday of the month on North Davidson Street. Also see: http://www.noda.org/ or www.RealEstate-Charlotte.com


by Angie Adams NC/SC REALTOR® Broker | (Comments Off)

Are national home prices on their way down?

They’re not falling – they’re flattening out. In recent years, housing prices rose dramatically in coastal areas, which traditionally have the most volatile prices, including New York, California, Boston and Florida; and places like New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah which tend to follow coastal trends. That was because of the historic low mortgage interest rates, making it easier for people to borrow more money to buy homes, so sellers raised their prices. Now interest rates are gong up again, home prices will level out and go up only slightly and more steadily. That said, interest rates are still relatively low, so if you’re thinking of buying, now might be a good time!

by Angie Adams NC/SC REALTOR® Broker | (Comments Off)

New!! The Vineyards on Lake Wylie

A new 600-acre luxury Resort Community is set to begin sales this Fall in southwestern Mecklenburg County called The Vineyards on Lake Wylie. The project will feature more than 1,000 homes priced from the $200,000s to more than $1 million. The project is being designed to resemble California wine country, featuring valleys, waterways and lush, rolling hills -- as well as a vineyard. "The Vineyards on Lake Wylie will be a waterfront neighborhood with resort-style amenities, all convenient to uptown Charlotte. The community "will attract nature lovers and water enthusiasts alike." The community is being designed to offer something for just about every home-buying demographic, from couples with children to empty-nesters. It's going to be a community for a multitude of ages, from grandparents to grandkids. Housing styles will range from single-story, detached bungalows to three- and four-story homes with basements. Clusters of low-maintenance, attached single-family homes will be blended with single-family detached houses. Call Angie Adams SRES for more info toll free 866-561-6396. Read more here: www.Carolina55andBetter.com

by Angie Adams NC/SC REALTOR® Broker | (Comments Off)