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Lake Norman NC Real Estate Blog

Mayes Harris Team


Displaying blog entries 221-230 of 238

Things are looking UP!

by Mayes Harris Team

Real Esate is looking up. Everything you read says that Charlotte, NC is looking better in real estate sales. We are seeing traffic counts for showings, as well as website hits are picking up. The most frustrating thing for agents, buyers and sellers is the fact that the 'rules' change daily. I'm thrilled to say that our team is staying focused on our longterm goal of helping buyers and sellers reach their dreams. We are greatful to our customers and appreciate their continued support and referrals.

Tax Credit can be used for Down Payment

by Mayes Harris Team

Tax Credit Can Be Used for Down Payment
Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, on Tuesday said that the Federal Housing Administration is going to permit its lenders to allow home buyers to use the $8,000 tax credit as a down payment.

Previously, most buyers wouldn't receive the funds until after they filed their tax return, and that deterred some people from using the credit. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® has been calling for the change.

“We all want to enable FHA consumers to access the home buyer tax credit funds when they close on their home loans so that the cash can be used as a down payment,” Donovan says. His remarks came in an address to several thousand REALTORS® gathered Tuesday morning at "The Real Estate Summit: Advancing the U.S. Economy," at the 2009 REALTORS® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C..

He says FHA’s approved lenders will be permitted to “monetize” the tax credit through short-term bridge loans. This will allow eligible home buyers to access the funds immediately at the closing table.

Other Solutions for Today's Market

During his address at the summit, Donovan went on to say that the Obama administration plans to further stabilize the housing market. “I do think we have some early signs that the market overall is stabilizing,” Donovan says. “Since January we’ve seen both home sales moving up and down around a relatively stable number and we are seeing the first signs that the rapid decline in home prices is starting to abate.”

The morning session included a panel discussion that was moderated by CNBC’s Ron Insana. Panelists examined cutting-edge solutions necessary to promote and preserve homeownership and real estate development, stimulate the economy, and protect the nation’s taxpayers. They also shared their ideas on what the role and responsibility of the federal government is in the revitalization effort.

“Right now the Federal Reserve is the market,” said panelist Jay Brinkman, chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association. “What will be the effect when the Fed stops buying?” Brinkman explained that an exit strategy must be planned for the long-term; the federal government cannot continue to support the mortgage markets indefinitely.

“We are thrilled that so many high-caliber individuals were able to join us today at this important meeting to promote stability in the housing market and the U.S. economy,” said NAR President Charles McMillan. “We look forward to an ongoing dialogue and action toward this goal, during our midyear meetings this week and beyond.”

The real estate summit is part of the 2009 REALTORS® Midyear Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo. During the week ending May 16, more than 8,500 REALTORS® will attend meetings, visit lawmakers and inspire action on Capitol Hill.

Source: NAR

Charlotte Buyers are Benefiting from a Dismal Market

by Mayes Harris Team

The following story from MSNBC is a great example how today's real estate market has great opportunities for buyers. Charlotte, North Carolina, buyers are taking advantage of this market and buying a larger home, too.

Math smiles on move-up buyers

A dismal real estate market can be a good time to purchase a bigger house

Image: Chris and Lori Kirsten
Chris and Lori Kirsten got $20,000 less than they might have in 2007 when they sold their Seattle condo earlier this year, but they purchased this suburban home for $425,000 — $86,000 less than the home's peak value.
Robert Hood /
By Mike Stuckey
Senior news editor
updated 7:52 a.m. ET, Thurs., April 23, 2009

Mike Stuckey
Senior news editor

BOTHELL, Wash. - After two years of married life in a 680-square-foot, one-bedroom Seattle condo, Lori and Chris Kirsten were ready to spread out in a real house with room for a home theater and a yard where the Labrador retriever they had always wanted could roam.

The Kirstens prepared to list their condo for sale and go house-hunting, banking on equity in the unit, which Lori had brought in 2003 for $130,000, to help with the transition to a larger place. Seattle’s hot real estate market had pushed the condo’s value to $215,000 or more at its peak in 2007.

But their home search lost some steam when their agent told them Western Washington real estate prices, although not in the freefall experienced elsewhere, had still declined to the point that their unit might now fetch $25,000 or $30,000 less than two years ago. When they saw condos comparable to theirs selling for as little as $170,000, “I thought, ‘I just can’t do it,’” Lori recalled.

Their mood brightened when they began shopping in the spacious neighborhoods of this suburb northeast of Seattle and found a 3,000-square-foot, four-bedroom split-level on a half-acre of towering fir trees that they wound up buying for $425,000. That’s $86,000 less than the $511,000 peak value placed on the home by real estate Web site, $64,000 below the original asking price of $489,000 and even well below the final asking price of $438,000.

A buyer’s market
The Kirstens — Lori, 36, is a physical therapist and Chris, 33, is a Microsoft manager — are among the relatively small number of home buyers across the nation who are taking advantage of the record drop in real estate prices and historically low interest rates sparked by the mortgage meltdown and foreclosure crisis to move up into bigger or fancier digs.

It’s a trend that many in the languid real estate industry would like to encourage.



“Obviously, if you’re selling for less than you could have gotten two years ago, you’re disappointed, but you really need to look at your bottom line,” said Walt Molony of the National Association of Realtors. “If you’re trying to trade up, whatever you’re going to trade up to is going to sell at a discount, too. You need to look at your net.”

Real estate agents from the foreclosure epicenters of Florida and California to more stable markets like the Seattle area are using that advice to lure move-up buyers.

“Do the math,” said agent Mark Zawideh, who has been selling homes in the suburbs west of Detroit, where prices have declined 18 percent in the last year alone. “If you’re in a $200,000 house (the median price in the area) and you lost 18 percent, that means you lost $36,000,” Zawideh said. “But if you’re moving up and buying a $500,000 house, that person just took a $90,000 loss, so you can see you’re making 54,000.”

“If you didn’t sell at the peak, be happy,” Zawideh said. “Don’t look back and be sorry. The fact that you’ve waited ends up being a great decision. A lot of people get excited when they sit down and do the math.”

Time to Purchase

by Mayes Harris Team

I know the media is confusing is hard to keep up with the truth on the real estate market. However, I'm in the trenches everyday and it is really time to BUY. Interest rates are at their 30 year low and we are working with terrific lenders who guide you thru the application process.

Please tell anyone who is a first time buyer that it is the opportunity of a life time.

Enjoy Easter! Celebrate!

SEASONED Real Estate

by Mayes Harris Team

Photo taken March 20, 2009, Davidson, NC
by Gina Mayes Harris, CRS, GRI
Re/Max Metro

The best part is the leaves will come back and so will the market. Better yet,
the leaves will turn brillant colors with the seasons and the market will keep
changing and growing.

I've been in the real estate industry for 20 years and like most of you, I've
never experienced this 'expensive education' that we are seeing each day. My
nine year old daughter, Anna, participated in an ArtFest at her school and she
took photos from Sept-Dec 2008 of the same tree. She was honored with a ribbon
and we are so proud of her. But the biggest lesson learned, was when she said,
'Mom, the tree is like your work, right now it appears dead, but it's
is getting ready for another wonderful season.' Children speak the truth and I
see HOPE.

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.




Displaying blog entries 221-230 of 238




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