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Lake Norman NC Real Estate Blog

Mayes Harris Team


Displaying blog entries 211-220 of 223

Simple Answers to Tax Break for First Time Homebuyers

by Mayes Harris Team

Pulling your hair out in trying to figure out how you can take advantage of the recent tax break announced for buying homes.  Let me simplify the complex language from the IRS.  First, there are two differnt tax breaks, but since the 2008 time has basically passed, here are the key points for the "2009 First Time Buyers.

  • Must be your first home purchase for your primary residence (this means you and your spouse if married, did not own any other main home during the past three year period ending on the date of purchase.
  • You must purchase (close) on your home between January 1 and November 30, 2009
  • You will receive a tax "credit" of 10% of the purchase price up to $8,000 ($4000 if married and filing seperately) for the purchase.
  • The amount  of tax phases out for buyers whose gross income is more than $75,000 for individuals or $150,000
  • Great news!!!  Unlike the 2008 Tax Credit for home buyers, you do not have to pay the credit back PROVIDED YOU remain in your home for 36 months after the purchase date.
  • You can get any additional information by going to and look for Form 5405

So I urge you if you are hunting for your first home, this is the time to buy to take advantage of this tax break....


The Isakson/Lieberman Home Buyer Tax Credit Amendment

by Mayes Harris Team

I have some important and good news to share with our readers!!

 We have been axniously awaiting news out of Congress on their action to re-start our saging economy.  The Senate approved last evening "The Isakson/Lieberman Home Buyer Tax Credit Amendment", as detailed below, was approveded by VOICE VOTE in the Senate.  Sen. Baucus (D-MT), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, both spoke on the floor in favor of the amendment.  The Senate plans to vote on the final version of their bill later this week, and the House and Senate will meet to conference their versions of the bills next week.

Senator Isakson’s/Senator Lieberman’s Home Purchase Tax Credit:

  • A tax credit in the amount of $15,000 or 10 percent of the purchase price (whichever is less), with the option to utilize all in one year or spread out over two years.
  • The tax credit is available to all purchases of any home from date of enactment for one full year.
  • Able to claim the credit against the 2008 tax return.
  • Buyers must occupy the homes for two years as their principle residences.
  • Purchases of homes by investors are ineligible.
  • Sunsets the previous $7,500 Housing Tax credit on the date of enactment.

The incentive bill is in the second of a five phase process, with the upcoming Senate vote, the third phase.  What this means to you?  Now, not only will you be able to take advantage of the lower market pricing, you will receive a tax benefit as well.  This same type of incentive was used in the 70's during a similar economic downturn with great success.  We will keep you posted.  For more information go to:

It's Up to You & Me

by Mayes Harris Team

Yes, our country is in an economic mess.   Yes, the real estate market is challenging for buyers, sellers, home builders, and realtors. 

I was reflecting where the country is at today with all the major layoffs, business closures and tough economic times on all of our family, friends and colleagues.  No question it is tough times……perhaps greater than several generations remember.  Each of us face different issues, whether it’s a reduction in business, being laid off, money lost in investments or simply less money to spend.  But there is one common label---adversity.

When you look at the history of the American people, we have always risen from the depths of adversity as a stronger nation and individuals. This challenging time will be no different.  Ever wondered how American’s recover from adversity???   I believe the  catalyst for change is fairly simple…..individual leadership by a those who “believe” in themselves and their family, neighbors, and their communities.   While adversity can seem to be overwhelming---

·     It is less personal than we think……we all share in these tough times, so don’t allow it to undermine your self confidence in who you are… we actually discover some hidden talent or strength during challenges…..strengths that will make us more skilled in handling life.

·     It’s temporary…….maybe it doesn’t end as soon we tomorrow or next week, but we know better times will return…..

·     It only invades our personal and family relationships if we allow it………the best treasures in life is our close friends, family and our faith…..and you know what………all these treasures are “free”…..they will be our support for returning to better times


·     It’s what we do individually………we all have a responsibility to do our part.....whether it’s being supportive to others or changing our skills to provide future opportunities for us or our family.


Yes, things are in a mess, but  the “individual” leadership of you and me will  lead us to better times……..not a governmental edict or magical bailout. 


So it is now up to you and me..........


New Home Design Trends

by Mayes Harris Team

Home Fads That Are Falling Out of Style

January 21, 2009 by styledstagedsold · By Melissa Dittmann Tracey

LAS VEGAS – Some home features don’t stay popular forever. More homes are inching away from incorporating the following home features, according to recent consumer preference surveys.

1. Fireplaces: The fireplace skyrocketed in importance in homes in 1991 with 62 percent of new homes having one or more. But the number has steadily been decreasing ever since. In 2007, the number dropped to 51 percent.

2. Carpet: While 54 percent of homes still have carpet floors, the number is decreasing and hardwood floors are taking the place. Vinyl and ceramic tile flooring also are being bypassed more by buyers. Seventeen percent of new homes contain hardwood floors throughout the entire house.

3. Living room: These once-decorative centerpieces of homes are slowly vanishing from newer homes. Thirty-four percent of consumers say they’re willing to buy a home without a living room.

4. Desks in the kitchen: These desks were once looked at as great storage areas but they’re often too small and quickly become clutter spaces in a home, said Gayle Butler, editor in chief of Better Homes and Gardens. Instead, more consumers say they prefer larger desks in or near the family room—equipped with a messaging center—where they can keep an eye on their kids as they work on the computer.

5. Skylights: The little windows that allow natural light to seep into a home from above are falling out of style. Only 10 percent of new homes will include them this year, a continuing downward spiral for skylights.

6. Upscale kitchen finishes: Granite countertops are slowly becoming less desirable among buyers who are now moving toward affordable, low-maintenance laminate countertops—which tend to last longer and now come in various styles.

What trends are you noticing are falling out of favor with your buyers?

Re/Max Metro, Charlotte, NC Moves with the Market

by Mayes Harris Team

We are thrilled that Re/Max Metro is doing what tons of real estate offices across the country are doing. You are the first to know that a 'Grand Opening' announcement will be made in February of the new, state of the art, Re/Max Metro location at Carmel Executive Park on the corner of Carmel Road and Hwy 51.

The north Charlotte office will also be announcing a new location still convenient to the University area. The agents are excited to continue to serve their buyers and sellers with even better technology in this growing area.

Be on the look out for more announcements.




Mortgage Rates Continue Falling to Record Lows

by Mayes Harris Team

For the fourth consecutive week, mortgage rates have fallen to all-time lows. The 30-year mortgage rates averaged 5.01 percent this week, which is a drop from last week's 5.1 percent. Last year at this time, rates averaged 5.87 percent.

"Interest rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell for the 10th week ... due in part to the Federal Reserve's recent purchases of mortgage-backed securities issued by Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and Ginnie Mae," says Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft.

Other rates also dropped for the week:

  • 15-year fixed rates: dropped to 4.62 percent from 4.83 percent last week. Last year at this time 15-year mortgage rates averaged 5.43 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages averaged 5.49 percent, a drop from 5.57 percent last week.

The only slight increase in rates this week was in 1-year ARMs, which were 4.95 percent, up from 4.85 percent last week. Overall, 1-year ARMs were still down for the year from last year's 5.37 percent.

Freddie Mac began tracking rates in 1971.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Amy Hoak (1/09/09)

New Year Brings New Opportunities

by Mayes Harris Team

Happy New Year!!

First allow me to wish all my clients and friends a Happy New Year as we enter 2009.

I always look forward to New Year’s Day…..not sure why, but it seems a bit refreshing.  It symbolizes a brief moment in time when we reflect both the events of our past year, yet reach out for the hope that  our next year will be filled with positive experiences in both our personal and professional lives. 


Reflecting on the housing market of the past year, 2008 was a challenging time for all realtors and  their buyers or sellers.  Many are asking what will 2009 have in store for our buyers and sellers?

I am an optimistic by nature, but there are several positive facts already in place as we begin 2009.

·    Interest rates are at the lowest levels in recent history for qualified borrowers with rates hovering around 5.00%..

·    Sellers are more savvy….They are learning in order to move their properties within a reasonable time they must price to the current market conditions.

·    Inventory levels of  homes on the market has been declining since July 2008. 

·    Buyers are watching  for deals in neighborhoods they feel confident in investing for their future. 


While I don’t see the activity returning to the levels of 2005 & 2006 within the next year, we do see tremendous opportunities for those buyers or sellers armed with knowledge and research.

As mentioned in an earlier post to my blog this month, the media tends to paint the Charlotte area with the same brush as Las Vegas, California or Florida.  Those areas tragically saw huge declines after huge value appreciation in the 2004-2006 time period.  The Case-Shiller Indexes was released this week, and it shows the Charlotte market the second best major market in the country, recording a 4.4% decline in housing prices during the time period of October 2007 to October 2008.  Charlotte is second only to the Dallas market which saw a drop of only 3.0% compared to Las Vegas, Phoenix, Southern California and South Florida, which saw declines in the 27-32%.  

Savvy buyers realize 2009 will bring opportunity to capitalize on finding a deal on a that property which serve their needs for the years to come.

If you are thinking of purchasing a home or land in the coming year, we will be happy to assist you in researching the market for your “best” deal.

Selected Carolina Markets Show Increase in Values for 2008

by Mayes Harris Team

Unfortunately our national media tends to report on isolated and negative issues allowing facts to be distorted as it relates to the housing market. Our media has reported the decline of housing as being a national problem, suggesting all homes are losing substantial value.  That is simply not true.


When you research the facts, the major decline in values has occurred in the metro areas of Florida, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and California where large appreciation values were recognized over a very short time period, between 2003-2006.  Fortunately for the Carolinas, the appreciation in value was slow to rise, averaging only 4-6% per year, compared to the "hot" markets of Florida, California, Nevada and Arizona saw double digit appreciation in the same time period. 


The housing market is just like any other market in our economic society, when demand out paces supply, it becomes a seller’s market and when demand retracts it becomes a buyer’s market.  In the end however, the market finds a way to balance it’ self out over time.


There has been a softening in both demand and prices in the Charlotte market, but not to the extent our national media would make you believe. Since both supply and demand have been fairly balanced in the Carolinas over the past four years, we have not witnessed the steep price decline in many national markets. According to the Carolina MLS report just published, the average days YTD  for homes on the market in the Charlotte Metro area is 109 with the homes averaging 94,57% of Sales Price to List Price. These numbers vary according to neighborhood and MLS area.  Please feel free to contact me at for a report for your neighborhood.


I would like to share with you this recent article from National Association of Realtors and which identifies the top 10 markets in the country showing the most gain.  Ironically, 6 of the top 10 are located in the Carolinas while 9 of the 10 worse markets are located in California.


The following article provided by National Association of Realtors  


Where Prices Have Increased the Most in 2008
U.S. Home values declined an average of 8.4 percent in the first three periods of 2008, down $2 trillion in total value, according to Real Estate Market Report, released this week.

Thirty of the 163 metropolitan statistical areas covered by Zillow, either showed gains in the median value of homes in the area or values stabilized.

Here are the 10 areas where values increased and declined the most.

Places Where Values Increased the Most

·     Ithaca, N.Y., 5.6%

·     State College, Pa., 4%

·     Jacksonville, N.C., 3.9%

·     Winston-Salem, N.C., 3.4%

·     Bay City, Mi., 3.2%

·     Rochester, N.Y. 3.1%

·     Greenville, S. C., 2.8%

·     Anderson, S.C. 2.7%

·     Burlington, N.C., 2.6%

·     Spartanburg, S.C., 2.0%

Places Where Values Decreased the Most

·     Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev., -24.6%

·     Bakersfield, Calif., -24.9%

·     Madera, Calif., -26.2%

·     Gainesville, Ga., -26.4%

·     Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., -30.4%

·     Modesto, Calif., -31%

·     Salinas, Calif., -32.4%

·     Merced, Calif., -32.5%

·     Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif., -33.2%

·     Stockton, Calif., -35.5%

Source: (12/15/08)

Mortgage Rates Continue to Fall

by Mayes Harris Team

Mortgage rates have continued to declineover the  past week, with some local Charlotte mortgage companies are posting 5.0% or less for 30 year fixed.  Fixed 15, 20 & 30 year fixed rate loan products continue to be the choice of today's buyer.  Coupled with lowering rates and a slight decline in home prices  in the Charlotte market, it is quickly becoming one of the best times to invest in your "dream" home or to move to that home which better fits your life style.  Buyers are recognizing "deal" opportunities TODAY.

I believe that as an seasoned real estate agent this is going to help increase the number of real estate closings. As we all know, this feeds our economy. We need that now. It is going to be a positive 2009. We are all entering into the new year better educated with the experiences we have faced in 2008. I'm looking forward to seeing buyers and sellers confidence level increase to make wise investments.

With the ever changing market, buyers must have an educated professional looking out for typically, their largest personal investment. Please let us know what you are looking for so that when the 'very best' deals come available we can act quickly on your behalf. Great deals do not last long. We are experiencing times that we have never seen. Only our parents and grandparents know these times. Let us help you now.



2008 Cost vs. Value Report: Still Many Happy Returns for Home Rehabs

by Mayes Harris Team

Often we are asked, if we remodel or update our home, Will we notice a payback when we go to sell our home?  Answering that questions depends upon a lot of variables, but we would like to share a recent study on which remodeling projects provide the greatest payback when you go to sell your home. Learn more about the paybacks of remodeling at

Displaying blog entries 211-220 of 223




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