Friday, May 29, 2009

Housing Numbers Looking Up....

For the past four months the number of residential real estate transactions have been up! Great news for sellers and buyers alike. Still looks to be a great market for first time home buyers with the average price during this period around 130K. Not an indication of falling home prices but of entry-level buyers finally putting their heads around the low interest rates, $8000 tax credit, tons of homes to choose from and the "traditional" Spring market (though maybe a little later than usual.)

Other bonuses added by companies like Allen Tate that are sweetening the deal are Job Loss Protection, one year home warranties, rate buy down, etc.

This being said, the Winston-Salem Association of Realtor's press release on May 26th, indicated that these numbers are a sign that we are "getting back to more normal home buying patterns in our community." Sounds great!

What this means for you, whether looking to buy or sell OR if you know someone who that they need an experienced, full-time agent who understands the opportunity and is willing to commit the time needed to appropriately serve their needs--guess who you could recommend? Yep, you got it! Brooke Cashion and

Thanks guys for ALL of your support so far this year!


Thursday, May 21, 2009

NEW Tate Program--Rate Buydown!

We rolled out the Job Loss Protection several weeks ago with great response...I have several sellers that have offered the Job Loss Protection on their property--for a list, give me a call--for details see the older blog post. :)

We have another great program that is basically an older concept with new life! This recent program allows the seller of a home to "buy down" the interest rate for a new buyer rather than taking such a huge hit on the price. It actually benefits both the buyer and seller by reducing the monthly payment for the buyer close to $200 on a $200,000 home and even though it costs the seller approx 3% of the purchase price it is usually much less than reducing the home by as much--a definite equity-saving measure for the seller!

What about the buyer you may say? Well you can see one of my earlier blog posts about the effects of rates vs. pricing and in this case it is the same. The buyer actually benefits more by having the rate bought down a point, rather than trying to have an amount reduced off the price. The buyer would have to be able to purchase the home for almost 15% less than the asking price to realize the same savings. In our market, the current list price to purchase price percentage is 97%--a far cry from what would be needed to actually effect the monthly payment! The buyer would be much better off requesting a rate buy down...imagine your rate going from 5.5% to 4.5%--for the full life of the loan!

Just one more great tool that I offer to help you as both buyer and seller get the most bang for your buck in this most opportune real estate market...

Call me today or shoot me an email for a list of homes that qualify for the Job Loss Protection or Rate Buy Down OR to view or ask questions of any home in the Triad. During these times you need a Realtor who is committed FULL-TIME to working for you and I hope that you will find my services beneficial...

"When Details Matter...Experience Counts!"

Have a Wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!


Fresh Tomatoes, Squash and Cucs...Oh My!

I don't know if it's the economy or if we all just are trying to get back to the basics, but I have talked to so many folks this year that are planting a garden of some shape or fashion. From container gardens, like Beth's, to the huge 1/2 acre spread like Mr. Whitley's, gardening CAN be for everyone! Planting your own fruits and vegetables can save you time and money, not to mention it's a great way to involve your family in an inexpensive "stay at home" activity. Plus the yield can be quite satisfying!

Jake, Maddie and I love tomatoes...I enjoy the meaty German Johnson, where Maddie can pop cherry tomatoes straight off the vine and eat 10-20 in a sitting. There is NOTHING better than a fresh tomato sandwich on Bunny bread with Duke's mayo, salt and pepper! Especially if the tomato is still warm from the sun and you labored to grow it! This year we expanded our home "tier" garden and have 3 good sized tomato plants, a Better Boy, German Johnson and Cherry Tomatoes plus we added several squash, cucumber and pepper plants. These are things that I buy regularly at the grocery or farmer's market and can sometimes pay an arm and leg for! Not this year my friend!

For those of you who don't even want to tend to a couple of rows of plantings, try a planter garden like Beth, Dave and the boys. They have a huge container garden with a tomato plant as the focus, surrounded by various peppers and herbs. She has it on her deck, it is getting great sun and it's really thriving! Easy to maintain and to harvest--plus it looks great on the deck!

Just a few of my favorite summer treats from our garden:
*Cucumber Sandwiches with mayo, salt and pepper
*Stuffed Squash-slice squash length-wise, place in microwave-safe bowl, cover with saran wrap,cook until insides are easily removed with spoon. Remove inside of squash-place in bowl with Italian bread crumbs, Velveeta cheese, salt and pepper, mix. Place mixture back inside of the squash "shell", broil until brown on top--serve and you can eat the entire thing! Yummy!
*Tomato Sandwiches--see above for must have ingredients
*Roasted Red Peppers-slice, coat in olive oil and sprinkle with soy or preferred seasoning, grill or broil
*Freezer Pickles--no need to pickle, just paper thin slices of cucs & sweet onions, sugar, water, vinegar--details can be gotten from my aunt, but MAN THEY ARE DELICIOUS!
THE SUMMER STAPLE at the Cashion house: Sliced tomatoes, Vidalia onions, cucs with vinagar, olive oil, a tad of sugar, pepper-allow to marinade, serve as a side at any meal!

Bon Apetit!


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Legislative Update by Guest - Jake Cashion

Because Brooke has been showing property and processing some new listings, she has been pretty busy this week, therefore, not able to post as much as she would like. She asked if I would blog for her this time and mentioned that she would like for you all to hear about some of the legislative things going on. So here goes:

Recently, the Community Development/Housing/General Government Committee with the City of Winston-Salem held a public comment session on proposed tree ordinance for the city. Environmental stewardship and economic growth can and should work together.

However, at the last minute, a piece was added to the proposal called, Protection of Trees in Associations with Development, otherwise known as a “pre-clearing condition”. This piece throws out of balance the environmental stewardship and economic growth, is a huge infringement on property rights, and is basically a backdoor application to a moratorium on growth and development. This "pre-clearing" condition says that the burden of proof will be placed on the property owner to prove that a substantial amount of trees were not removed from the property prior to rezoning or building. If the owner cannot prove this, the application for building or rezoning will be denied for a period of three (3) years. If the owner of a property willfully acts and determines he would like to timber his land, then sale the property, the property cannot be developed for a period of five (5) years.

This dangerous proposal would have stopped development and growth at a time when it is most needed. This piece was pulled out and an agreement is now close for a tree ordinance in Winston-Salem

The state Senate gave final approval last week to a proposal that would prevent North Carolina’s gas tax from dropping lower than its current rate of 29.9 cents per gallon through mid-2011. Lawmakers supporting the bill say the move is necessary to provide more road-building funds in the face of a $60-plus billion transportation funding shortfall. The change could reportedly generate an additional $67.5 million in much-needed road revenue for the state.

The state Senate also passed a tax law change requested by the state Department of Commerce to lure a company to North Carolina that is purportedly willing to invest at least $1 billion in the state. The proposal would change the way corporate taxes are calculated and would impact companies that invest heavily in land and equipment, but have relatively fewer sales in the state. According to Commerce officials, the proposed changes conform to how other states calculate corporate taxes. Neither legislators nor the Department have yet named the company, but media reports indicated it is likely Apple Inc.

Finally, House Bill 177 and Senate Bill 534 introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly has good intentions but is bad public policy and will cause financial harm to many employers, employees and the economy. The bill is a costly mandate, will erode the employer’s ability to manage the workplace, and will drive up cost of doing business in NC. It mandates that all employers provide up to seven (7) paid sick days to all employees -- including small employers who can ill afford yet another costly government mandate that also contains mandatory sick day accruals, payouts and stiff employer liabilities if the statute is violated.. NC would be the only state in the southeast with this type of law, therefore reducing our competitiveness.

These are just a sample of the things that are happening with local and state government.

I hope everyone is doing ok - what are your thoughts on the above issues?


Friday, May 08, 2009

Kernersville Board of Aldermen Update...

Our May board meeting was held last Tuesday--pretty lengthy--got out at 11:15ish. Several things of interest on the agenda and I will do my best not to bore you, but to hit the high spots.

Recognized four resolutions of support:
*American Cancer Society in support of Relay for Life coming up at the end of May at East Forsyth HS
*Forsyth County Historic Preservation Month
*Public Works Week
*Law Enforcement Week

We had several public hearings--
*One for MaxSpeed's location on the corner of Bodenheimer and East Mountain--not controversial but changing to General Business to allow for additional usages that are conducive with the location
*One for a site plan change for one of the Hart shopping centers located on Hwy 150 and Gralin. Sheetz convenience store is looking to build and though the current site allows for a convenience store, Sheetz was wanting to add two additional pumps and remove the car wash portion of the previous plan--we did have very good citizen input and it looks as if DOT will approve a stoplight at Gralin should the Sheetz build in this location. That seemed to be the only way for DOT to find the warrants to approve the stoplight and the developer has offered to pay for the expense of the stoplight--always good for the taxpayer!

There were citizens in attendance concerned about a "hole" on a vacant lot in the Harmon Mill subdivision. Some earth had been carved out, leaving an unkempt/unlevel lot. The current homeowners are having difficulty in getting the former developer/builder to take action on filling in the lot or regrading, as well as some issues with sidewalk conditions and other items. Town attorney recommended that the homeowners consult with an attorney on this matter, as this was something that the Town was unable to regulate since no permit is required to move dirt on a site. It is very unfortunate to see homeowners having trouble reaching defunct builder/developers, but as times get tough, we will probably see more of this.

Several non-profits submitted their yearly reports for funding consideration as we approach budget time.

We talked about "holes" in sewer service within the Town limits on existing homes/neighborhoods--no good solution on this issue. Our public works department is looking into USDA and stimulus funding that addresses this issue. Because we are regulated by City County Utilities it poses somewhat of a challenge, as this is where our funds are held and distributed. My issue is that the definition of "reasonable access" to the homeowner is poorly defined. Just because a sewer trunk line is ran a mile away on a main road, does not make it feasible for the homeowner will a failing septic to access it or pay for it. These things can run in the 10's of thousands of dollars! (Ok, that was a rant by me!)

We had a report on the Hwy 66 business corridor and some potential development scenarios and the cost/benefit to the Town over the next 20 or so years based on build-out patterns. This was to showcase new software that Planning staff will use to determine various aspects and costs of future development.

There were other items on the agenda that were addressed, but I am short on time, so if there is something that we talked about that you want more info on, just post and I will do my best to address your question or item.

Have a Happy Mother's Day!


Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Nope, not "Salute!" from Hee Haw! Our area has gotten much more sophisticated that that! With the burgeoning wine industry here in the Yadkin Valley, we are blessed with events that showcase the various flavors of the area. One of those such events is being held this weekend in downtown Winston-Salem!

Salute! will begin on Friday, May 8 with a showcase of sorts. Three participating restaurants, Camel City Cafe, Noma and WS Prime will be pairing with three featured vineyards to present dinner and dessert with complementary wine selections. All three restaurants are fabulous and the menus on the Salute! website are enough to make your mouth water...I personally am trying to figure out how I can go to all three restaurants...hmmmm! Each restaurant is under $100 per couple making it a great Mother's Day gift or a unique night on the town. For those of you who complain that there isn't anything to do in W-S, here is ONE MORE event that proves you wrong! You just have to leave your home to enjoy these things! :)

On Saturday the actual festival begins at noon and lasts until 6. The cost is $20 per person to sample various selections from local vineyards, to enjoy the camaraderie of friends and family and to listen to live music! Once this portion of the event concludes, there will be an "after-party" hosted by Foothill Brewery (perfect for folks who are not "winos"). This event is free of charge from what I can deduce from the website.

Full day in downtown W-S and if you are hungry for something other than what is provided there are a ton of downtown restaurants that will be open for lunch, dinner and late night! Remember drink responsibly and take a cab home! Have fun and Salute!