Thursday, January 29, 2009

Smitty's, Shakespeare & Co and Other Weekend Fixes....


Any of you who know me well, know that Jake, Maddie and I spend a good deal of time at our favorite local restaurant--Smitty's. It's just around the corner from our home, has tons of daily specials, both drink and food and like Smitty says, it's a perfect getaway from the daily rigor of living in a landlocked own personal Margaritaville of sorts. There is always someone there that we know and can strike up a conversation with and when the weather is nice, outdoor seating is a premium. Some of my favorite things about Smitty's:
*Karaoke on the last Saturday night of every month (the crowd is not really the regulars, but still fun)
*Margarita's, done the "Dr. South way", with a little splash of o.j. or the upside-down Pineapple Martini in a tall glass with ice made by Darla
*Grouper Nuggets and Monday .40 oysters with horseradish, cold cocktail and crackers
*Buffalo Chicken Quesdillia with onion rings as a side (best onion rings around-hands down!)
*Blackened Salmon Tacos with Chipolte Dressing--light, yet filling

If you need a read over the weekend or would like to sit down with a cup o' joe and read the paper in a really urban/bohemian atmosphere, check out Shakespeare & Co. located in the basement of THE FACTORY, Kernersville's newest retail/condo project on North Main Street. She has great prices and can usually beat the big guys on pricing and can order anything you need for next day delivery. Great coffee and she's now serving lunch as well! Support downtown!

We're headin' to the rodeo tomorrow night! Jack Daniel's presents::: Bull Riding!! Both Friday and Saturday at the Lawrence Joel entertainment for the whole family! Gives a whole new meaning to contact sport! So much fun! Grab a group of friends and their kids, stop in at Mellow Mushroom in downtown Winston for a pizza and speciality brew and head out for a fun-filled night of ACTION!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rumors and Real Estate

Couple of brief points I'd like to make today given the gloomy weather...I have a board of alderman briefing tonight and the agenda is pretty light, but I will try and give you guys some snippets and a preview of what all is going on in town right now--real estate and otherwise.

There are some great deals out there! Sellers are finally getting pricing in line with demand, which is creating a limited inventory for first time buyers. As prices come down to where they need to be in order to be competitive and conditions are improving, the good stuff is going quickly. There is a large number of first time or lower-end buyers (under 175K) out there who are READY to buy! The loans they are using still allow them to finance 100% (think USDA or VA) or they may have monies available through a charitable organization such as Center for Home Ownership, City of Winston-Salem, HUD, etc. These loans come with conditions...such as the house they are looking to buy has to be in good condition (no peeling paint, structurally sound, you get the picture) So whereas, there may be a good number of homes out there under say 125K, they don't all meet this criteria. The ones that do are getting multiple bids as buyers are finding out that homes priced right and in good condition DO SELL! So as a buyer who is a part of one of these programs and is NOT LOOKING FOR A FIXER-UPPER, if you find something that suits you, don't hesitate--act! A good home is a terrible thing to waste! :)

On the agenda tonight the board of alderman will be briefed on an amendment to conditions for Stafford Business Park located on Hwy 66. This area has already been zoned as a business park but the petitioner, State Employees Credit Union, is asking for one of the conditions to be changed. A final decision will be made once all facts are presented at our regular board meeting next Tuesday, February 3 at 7:00 in Town Hall. I invite everyone to attend.

We will also begin discussions at our regular board meeting of budget projections for the next 5-10 years. This is being done in an effort to have a look at the town's upcoming expenses and to see what, if any, cuts in the tax rate can be made. This item did not received adequate support during the most recent budget discussion and it is my hope that we can implement a plan to decrease the property tax burden on our residents as the town continues to develop and grow. Each board member with the exception of Keith Mason (who was appointed mid-year) and maybe Bob Prescott, agreed during election-time that this was an important issue and should be a goal of the board.

Several folks have asked about construction beside the post office...looks like its going to be additional parking for the post office. No final word yet on what is going into the old Ronnie's Chicken Wings building. Someone has been making improvements and the sale sign has been removed.

The new extension behind Harris Teeter has opened, alleviating the need for motorists to make the dangerous left turn onto Century Park Blvd. State DOT forced this "left-over" to be closed and the town responded by completing the extension which offers motorists a safer path to their favorite shops and restaurants. It's definitely going to take a while to get used to but will soon become second nature...please try NOT to cut through Denny's and Biscuitville's parking lots...thanks!

The board will review a resolution on Tuesday to support the YMCA in securing funding for additional sidewalks from 4th of July Park to the Y. The town and the current board have been very proactive in adding new sidewalks and improving existing sidewalks when grants and funding have been made available and it has made sense. For additional information on projected sidewalks and bicycle paths, please visit the town website or call town hall 992-0305 and ask to speak to someone in Community Planning regarding the Pedestrian/Bicycle Plan.

That's all for today...hoping for warmer, sunnier weather and a taste of the Spring real estate market.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Why Not Having A Buyer's Agent Is A Real Estate Blunder...

According to the National Association of Realtors, over 85% of home buyers started their search on the Internet. While this is a great starting point to learn more about a specific community, a neighborhood or even look at the general overview of a particular home, buying without the representation of a buyer's agent can be a major mistake.

I haven't always been in real estate. As a matter of fact when Jake and I were first married we were both in completely different lines of work--his-landscaping--mine-videography/editing. We chose Kernersville to settle down and to raise our family and at the time renting seemed to be the way to go until we decided where in Kernersville we wanted to purchase.

Endless weekends and weeknights of driving around, grabbing fliers, cussing at empty flyer boxes and plenty of calling agents and leaving voicemail, just hoping to attain the basics on a particular property--price, square footage, # of baths, etc. You get the picture...times have changed! Now, you just pop on the Internet, go to your favorite company or agent's website and BOOM!

You have every listing from every company right there! Including information on the one you are sitting in front of. You may even have it pulled up on your iPhone. You think, "not only do I know all of the basic details, but with programs like TateMapping, Trulia, Zillow and the like, I now know the tax value, the last time it was sold, if its a "HOT" area, and probably more than I care to know. I can view the home from any angle, from the street, previous MLS photos, bird's eye view, winter, summer and so on." You love the house! You love the interior pictures! You love the pool! Next step-call the agent on the sign, make an appointment to see it right then and there and you know what's next---MAKE AN OFFER! This is the ONE!

The agent that you are about to call can help you, no doubt about that. A reputable, successful agent can work as a dual agent and usually without any discord from either buyer or seller.

However, if you had a choice, to have your own personal advocate to walk you through the home at YOUR leisure, tell you both POSITIVE and NEGATIVE, look up what the other homes in the area have really sold for and if concessions were given, advise you on financing options that benefit you specifically, tell you about future growth/developments, clue you in on road projects and noise cones that may affect the property's future resell, allow you to see other properties in the same price range that offer the same amenities AND work exclusively for YOU at no cost--would you do it? Surely, your answer is YES!

Not having a buyer's agent represent you can cost you dearly in both money and time. In North Carolina buyer's agent are paid by the seller when they list the home. At the time of listing the listing company agrees to "share" the commission with agents who bring the buyer. You pay nothing out of pocket to have your choice of agent represent you. Of course they can still show you their personal listings, their companies listing and yes, even FSBO's.

US News and World Report recently published an article that stated that buying on the Internet without proper representation can have many downsides such as:

-Looking too narrowly at one area and searching from only one site. i.e. only using, or

-If you are only on the Internet with no "human" representative you can sometimes miss the for sale by owners, which most agents do not mind showing because a large number of fsbo's don't mind compensating a buyer's agent

-You could be viewing fake listings in a site's attempt to cull leads

-Online buyers sometimes put too much stock in home valuations online without having any knowledge of an area...having a seasoned real estate veteran nixes this problem in the bud! (shameless huh?)

Those are just a few reasons why having a buyer's agent represent you in your next purchase regardless of it being an investment, your first home or primary/secondary residence--is crucial!

"If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait till you hire an amateur" - Red Adair

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Viva Downtown Kernersville!

I spent a couple of hours night before last at the Kernersville Downtown Preservation and Development Council meeting...known going forward as KDPDC. This was a meeting/retreat of the board of directors in order to kick off the new year and set direction and goals for the council.

I serve on the board at the pleasure of the mayor as the representative from the Kernersville Board of Alderman of which I am a member of. It is my duty to report back to the board the goings on of the KDPDC, as we fund a significant portion of their organization.

The meeting started with various reports ranging from fund raising, finance and then ending up with a "brainstorming" session of sorts led by Mike Jacobs. Mike began with an idea that has been near and dear to the hearts of many in the KDPDC, the board of aldermen and citizens alike--a farmers market.

So...along with other great ideas and businesses that continue to dot the landscape of our recently refurbished downtown...the farmers' market would be a great addition. Everything is still very preliminary and folks are brainstorming on location, marketing, etc. but I believe that it would be a very welcome addition to the downtown area. Currently, we have several vendors that gather behind Musten and Crutchfield' is limited but the goods sold are wonderful! This idea when it takes off would provide the current vendors with a larger space, additional advertising and exposure and possibly a semi-covered venue. If any of you guys have ideas or suggestions on this that you would like to share, please post and I will make sure they get to the folks that are looking into this venture!

Spring and summer are just months away and fresh fruits and vegetables could be just steps away if everything comes together!

Monday, January 19, 2009

January's Featured Listing-153 Croyden Drive-Kernersville

Some of you guys may or may not recieve my e-newsletter...It is chocked full of information regarding our local real estate market. After all, all real estate is local! :) There is a section in my newsletter where I am promoting a monthly featured listing. This month's listing is a wonderful bargain located on the corner of Bluff School Road and Croyden Drive.

Let me start by saying, that I say bargain, because it is very difficult to get into this area for under 300K and this home is listed at just 295K! It has over 3100 square feet and five bedrooms plus a large bonus area off of one of the rooms. It also has a three car attached garage and is all brick. The home is perfect for someone who needs the room of a larger home but doesn't want to be a slave to the yards that usually accompany them. The yard is level and practical, but not overwhelming. You'll definately still have to time to watch basketball in the afternoons!

The interior features an open floorplan with the master bedroom on the main level. The master bedroom has a large "glamour" bath complete with dual vanities, walk-in closet, separate shower and tub plus an enclosed water closet. (That's a toilet area with a door for all of us from Kernersville) :)

Hardwoods throughout, lots of custom trim, granite countertops, bar area, eat-in kitchen and large separate laundry area.

All in all, if you are looking for an investment in the Kernersville area and need a great school district plus the convenience of shopping, the Y or SportsCenter and dining...this home is it! If your in the market, call your agent and if you don't have one, call me or shoot me an email! I'd love to show you this home! Visit the home's website at

Have a great day and let's pray for a little of the white stuff! One more day off would be nice!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Feels Like Spring!

As I woke up this morning, the sun was shining and it was COLD! However, I checked my email and looked over some messages that had been sent overnight and I felt downright optimistic! It felt like Spring! By that I mean, a good portion of my listings were being shown, agents were calling for more information and the buyers I have been working with seem to be getting down to "brass tacks".

Tonight I'll be attending the Inaugural Dinner for our WSalem Association of Realtors and I look forward to seeing a good number of familiar faces from the local real estate industry. As we make merry and well wish our counterparts the best for the upcoming year, I am going to make sure I share with them this ray of hope that I felt amidst all of the bleak news that we are smothered with everyday.

Our local economy has taken a hit, but not like other parts of the country and we are adding jobs to this area, especially Kernersville. Volvo/Mack Trucks, LeBleu, Fed/Ex Air and Ground, TexWipe, Michaels, Cook Out, and other various small business and shops around town just to name a few...So though our familiar job landscape is changing, let's remember not to get mired down in the national media feel and let's continue to work our way out of this recession.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Overwhelming Changes!

Well, the new year is upon us and so many things are a changin'! New resolutions, new president, new clothes from Christmas, new guidelines for home buying and lending!

Seriously, I would like to give everyone a quick update on how awesome it is to be poised currently to buy real estate in the Kernersville area. This area still qualifies for one of the last 100% loans standing! Imagine that! The loan I am referring to is a USDA Rural Housing Loan. We still qualify because it still considers Kville rural because it is based on the 2000 Census...

What that means is that if you are making less than $50K per year as an individual or you can make more if you have children, have qualifying credit and an acceptable debt to income ratio then you can STILL get a 100% loan! Great deal! Even better: with motivated sellers, you can ask them to pay closing costs and spend very little money out of pocket! Unlike the 100% loans that have drug us into this government bailout mess, these loans are very conservative and extremely helpful to those of you or your friends and family who may be renting and running out of space or wishing for a yard of their own.

So great loan options, even other than this for those who do have mid to strong credit, 3.5% down and a solid job...keep this in mind as we go into the new year and tax refunds are burning a hole in your pocket! Lots of inventory out there to choose from as well! There are homes galore in our area that are in excellent shape and just ready for a new owner!

Stay tuned for more Kernersville/Triad real estate news you can REALLY use!