Thursday, October 25, 2018

Think you're ready to be a homeowner?

Owning a home is a big responsibility but also an exciting endeavor. So when you find that house, how do you know you’re ready to buy that house? Here are eight signs to help you know if it’s a dream or a reality.
1) You’ve got your financial act together. Clean credit report, check. Little or no debt, check. And, there are other ways your financial house should be in order before you can make your move. Do you make enough money or have income from other sources that make the house affordable? Do you have funds for the downpayment and closing fees? It all adds up. Can you cover it?
2) You’re ready to settle down for a while. Before you tour the house that’s caught your eye, or begin to shop because you’ve caught the home buying bug, dig in for some self-awareness time and be sure you really are ready to stay put. Because you’ll most likely need to be there for at least 3-5 years, if you become a homeowner, to get any return on investment. So, if you’ve been at your job for 24 months, have made a commitment to where you are, don’t anticipate any major life changes, etc., you could be ready to settle in and settle down. For a while, anyway.
3) You’re prepared to be chill about unexpected expenses. Property taxes, HOA, city assessments, water, sewer, trash, electricity, natural gas and cable could make your house payments higher than you calculated. Will you freak out or rest easy in knowing you can cover it? And those trips to big box stores when you move in and realize you don’t have a rake, shelf organizers or window coverings can add up. If you’re ready for that, you could be ready to buy that house.
4) You won’t become a helpless homeowner. You know how to fix a leak. The kind from a faucet, or toilet. Or you at least can follow a DIY on YouTube with some degree of competency. Also, you can decipher a trash pick up schedule, will clean out your gutters and have shook hands, or are willing to shake hands, with a lawnmower, or someone you can hire to do the lawnmowing. It’s the little things that mean a lot.
5) You have savings. Not just for the downpayment and closing costs, but a regular savings and emergency fund. In all seriousness, it’s critical you have funds beyond just getting in the house and paying for moving and move-in expenses. Should something life-changing happen—an accident, an illness, family emergency, etc.—having a savings and emergency fund could close the gap between you and an unpleasant financial situation.
6) You can reach other goals and still own a house. Think if you get that house you’ll be content forever, simply hanging out there and nowhere else? Think again. Just like anything else, the new will wear off, and you’ll want to travel, finally get that new bike or boat, go back to school, or whatever. And the reality is, most “whatevers” cost money. So as you may have been told, don’t make yourself “house poor.” You won’t be happy with that.
7) You know what you want and where you want it. If you’ve already spotted that dream home, that’s great, as long as it really is what you want, where you want it, and affordable. But if you are starting to shop, looking at images on your laptop is just the tip of the iceberg. Spend some time driving around neighborhoods, timing your morning commute from your target area, checking out schools and other things important to your lifestyle. This helps your Realtor® a ton, and can cut down on the wear and tear as you begin your quest.
8) Your happiness doesn’t hinge on being a homeowner. Sure, you’ll have more freedom to make it your own, and a yard can be the setting for numerous enjoyable get togethers, but a house can also be a source of frustration from time to time. If you’ve been heard to say, “When I get my own home, then I’ll be happy,” slow down and put some thought into what really makes you happy. Yes. Moving into your own home, whether it’s your first or fifth, is hopefully one of the happiest days ever. Just remember, it’s the heart you put into it, and not the house itself, that will make you a happy homeowner. 

Aprill Jones
Aprill Jones is a writer covering all things real estate. She resides in Charlotte, NC.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Sales Tax or Property Tax Increase: 
The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners will be building a new courthouse in downtown Winston-Salem for $120 million.  There’s no doubt the need for it is great but the way it gets paid for is just as important.  On the ballot this election cycle will be an option to vote for a 1/4% (.25%) sales and use tax increase but if that does not pass, the county will be forced to apply a 3.1 cent property tax increase.  While we hope there were other choices, this is what we are left with so we will be supporting the sale tax increase as it mitigates the damages the most.  Since Forsyth County has a lot of folks that drive into the county to shop, more than just homeowners and property owners will pay for the new courthouse.  So if you live in Forsyth County, make sure to support the sales tax and not the property tax increase. Click on the pictures to learn more...

ICYMI - September - Local Real Estate Market Update:
“While steady appreciation continues, we are beginning to see the market balance out in certain price points,” said Brooke Cashion, the association’s president. “Rising interest rates will further encourage buyers to secure housing sooner than later, as the rate increase will impact affordability and monetary outlay for years to come.”

Business 40 in Downtown Winston-Salem closing:
Business 40 through downtown Winston-Salem will be closing at 8:00 AM on Sunday, November 11 due to construction.  For more information on how to get into and around downtown Winston-Salem, please see the website the North Carolina Department of Transportation put together - it will be a great tool and NCDOT has partnered with WAZE for best routes.

Work Ready Forsyth:
Businesses in North Carolina, the Triad and Forsyth County are thriving, but the biggest issue impeding their continued growth is the growing shortage of workers with the adaptable skills needed to succeed in the modern workplace.  Education and talent supply are, by far, the top concern weighing on job creators’ minds according to a recent CEO poll performed by the NC Chamber.

However, an important step has been taken in Forsyth County.  The County Commissioners recently decided it was time for the community to put a focus on our talent supply.  Forsyth County has applied to become a North Carolina Certified Work Ready Community (NCCWRC).  Currently in NC, there are 62 counties that are participating which means, 62 other counties are working every day to become more economically attractive to businesses, in direct competition with Forsyth County.

NCCWRC is a collaboration of members from the Office of the Governor, NC Chamber Foundation, NC Community College System, NC Department of Instruction, NC Department of Commerce, regional economic development professionals and local community college leaders. 

What does this mean for Forsyth County, now that county leaders made the decision to acquire certification? 
  • Business and industry gain confidence that Forsyth County has a skilled workforce and a considerable talent supply
  • Individuals and students understand what skills are required in today’s workforce and therefore know how to prepare themselves for success
  • Allows policy makers to consistently measure the skills gap and work on adjustments
  • Educators can help close the skills gap via tools integrated into curriculum and career pathways with industry credentials
  • Economic developers can use an on-demand reporting tool to market the quality of the workforce and therefore, become a more competitive marketplace
In order to become certified and therefore more competitive, workers and  students must obtain enhanced and relevant skills.  Forsyth County’s endeavor to meet these needs will be called, Work Ready Forsyth.  Thankfully, Forsyth County is well on its way to earning certification, however, business engagement is critical and needed on our local level.   

We'd like to ask your company to simply say you SUPPORT the program by lending your company name to this important effort.  It's that simple.  Will you help our students, our workers, our businesses, our education systems and our economy by lending your support?

We hope we can count on your support to ensure a healthy program that will keep us current regarding industry needs and the skilled talent necessary for our economic future.

More information about Work Ready Forsyth will be available soon. Visit for information about the NC Certified Work Ready Community Certificate.