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Lake Norman NC Real Estate Blog

Mayes Harris Team


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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

7 Inventive Ideas for Your Walls

by Mayes Harris Team

Once you purchase your new home, the fun begins in making it "your home". Want some great decorating or landscaping ideas?  The link below from Lowes and My Home Ideas can help, as you start to decorate or landscape your new home.,30587,1841376,00.html?iid=edit-mhw-111808&promkey=xet

Should I Buy a Home Now?

by Mayes Harris Team

I'm often asked if this is a good time to buy a home. Some clients are concerned that home prices may fall further than they have already. They are assuming that the best course of action is to wait for the bottom in the market and then buy. The problem with this approach is that you don't know where the bottom is until you see it in the rear view mirror, meaning until you've missed it!

Home prices are one factor in determining your cost of ownership, but so are interest rates and financing availability. Even though interest rates have gone up in the last six months, they are still near historic lows. Since your monthly mortgage payment is a combination of paying down your principal and paying the interest owed, if home prices come down a little further but interest rates go up, it could cost you even more to service a mortgage on an identical home!

While a home is a major investment, it is also the center of your personal life. It's important to live in a home that reflects your taste and values, yet is within your financial "comfort zone." To that end, it may be more important to lock in today's relatively low interest rates and low home prices, rather than to hope for a further break in prices in the future.

Please give me a call if I can be of any assistance in determining how much home you can afford in today's market.

New $7,500 Tax Credit for First Time Buyers

by Mayes Harris Team

The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 was just signed by President Bush with some amazing benefits for first time homebuyers. Call everyone you know who wants to buy their first home (or who hasn't owned one in three years), this is too good to miss - it's a $7,500 tax CREDIT (not deduction but a credit).

If you have not owned a home in three years, you qualify as a first time home buyer. If you buy a home after April 9, 2008 and before July 1, 2009, you qualify for this credit. Call your friends who just bought a home since April 9th and tell them they may take $7,500 off their tax bill if they qualify. It has to be your principal residence, so rentals do not count.

The tax credit is 10% of the cost of the home, up to a maximum of $7,500. This is not an additional deduction that lowers the amount of income to be taxed, it is a tax credit. In other words, you take $7,500 off your tax bill. But there is a catch; the credit you receive now is actually an interest-free loan that must be repaid.

The loan has no interest, and will be paid back over 15 years. You get the credit on your 2008 taxes, but you start paying it back on your 2010 taxes that are due in 2011, so you get at least two years without a payment. You pay back 6.67% of the credit each year, so for a $7,500 credit the payment is $502.50 per year. If you stay put for 15 years, you pay it off with no interest.

What happens if you sell the house? You pay the balance back at the closing. So, you get $7,500 now, and pay the rest of it back if you make money on the sale of your house. What happens if you do not make enough money when you sell your house? They forgive the rest of the debt.

Other restrictions stipulate that you have to buy your first house in three years before July 1, 2009, not have super high income, not use bond financing and buy anywhere in the US.

If you'd like to learn more about this program, please call me!

Displaying blog entries 241-250 of 250




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