McAdenville’s Christmas Town Festival – 2015

christmas treeChristmas Town USA is having their 60th annual tree lighting festival today. Head over to Legacy Park to witness more than 500,000 lights turn on with a flip of the switch. Also, enjoy music, good food and a visit from Santa from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

** Lights will continue to light up the town from December 1st to December 26th. Monday-Fridays 5:30 pm-9:30 pm and Saturday-Sunday 5:30 pm -11:00 pm.

Christmas Town 5K Run – 2015

sneakers-clipart-running-shoe-mdLace up your running shoes as Christmas Town USA is having their annual Christmas Town 5K tonight. Fun for all ages as the run is at night and costumes are welcome. 

The race is to begin and end at Pharr Family YMCA. 


McAdenville Christmas Lights – 2014

For many, the holiday season has begun! Christmas Town USA has been lighting up the nights for 59 years! Take the family, friend or loved one to see this wonderful display of lights. Don’t be in a hurry when you go! 

Light Schedule:  December 1st – December 26th
Monday – Friday  5:30pm – 9:30pm
Saturday & Sundays  5:30pm – 11:00pm

McAdenville Tree Lighting – 2014

Note:  This year the tree lighting will be hold on The Plaza (in front of the Pharr Family YMCA). The festivities are set to begin at 4:30pm. A fun, family event for all and for many, the start of the holiday season!

christmas tree

5k- Christmas Town – McAdenville – 2014

Christmas Town USA is having their 2nd annual Christmas Town 5k under the lights. A great way to stay fit and enjoy the lights from a different point of view. You can run or walk your way to the finish line. 

Registration begins September 1st – November 28th (or until full)


Click on the link for more information

Real Estate: Parades, Parades and more Parades

  Thanksgiving has come and gone, now let the festivities begin! Yes, it’s already that time of year again, time for the holiday parades and festivities. Here is a list of some of the local parades and events  going on in our area…     Carolina Christmas at Charlotte Motor SpeedwayThe festivities begin on November 28th and continue until December 24th from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Christmas in Davidson begins on Thursday December 1st and comes to a close on Saturday December 3rd. The is always great food, fun and festivities each night from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm.   Denver Parade– will be the 3rd annual parade and it will take place on Saturday December 3rd at 2:30pm. This year’s theme is “The 12 Days of Christmas”. The official tree lighting will take place on Friday December 2nd at 6 p.m.  at Lake Norman Lutheran Church, 1445 N.C. 16 N., followed by Christmas carols. Fort Mill Christmas Parade– will be held on December 3rd at 11:00 pm on Main Street. Gastonia Parade– is scheduled for December 4th at 2:00 pm. McAdenville ParadeBetter known as Christmas Town USA, will hold it’s parade on Thursday December 1st at 4:30 pm and finish up with the official lighting ceremony. Mt. Holly ParadeWill be Wednesday November 30th at 3:00 pm North Mecklenburg ParadeThis year will be the 29th annual parade and will take place on Saturday December 3rd at 1:00 pm. Rock Hill Christmas Parade– is scheduled for December 2nd at 6:30 pm and starts at Winthrop University. Uptown Tree Lighting– will take place on December 2nd at 5:30 pm in “The Square” (Trade & Tryon Street in Charlotte) Waxhaw Christmas Parade– will begin downtown at 3:00 pm on December 11th and will end with the official tree lighting.   There are many other events taking place around our area. These are just a few that we decided to highlight.  

The Most Important Questions in Real Estate Today

  Common Sense Answers from Real Estate Expert Steve Harney   How do I price my house to sell in today’s market? Your Allen Tate Realtor® is your best resource in helping you understand what it will take to sell your home timely and at the maximum value. Your Realtor can provide you with a comparative market analysis of recent home sales in your area, and offer helpful tips to market your home in top condition. Successful sellers are willing to price their home at or below market value, and reduce their listing price accordingly if it remains on the market. Research shows the longer a home is on the market, the lower the sales price when the home sells.*   How do I know that now is the right time to buy? If you are employed, have decent credit and some money set aside for a down payment, then this is one of the best times in history to purchase a home.  Interest rates are at an all-time low; there’s a great inventory of homes, priced to sell; and there are a wide variety of loan programs available. Additionally, first-time home buyers with adjusted gross incomes of $75,000 for single filers and $150,000 for joint filers are eligible for an $8,000 federal tax credit for homes purchased in 2009. That’s a great opportunity.   How do I sell my house at the price I need to move up? If you have equity in your existing home, you can leverage that equity to move up. Most North and South Carolina home owners who purchased their homes before 2005 will still be able to recoup their investment and potentially see some return. Sellers need to understand that if they are willing to take less on their existing home, they will very likely be able to purchase a new home at the same discount or better. Sellers simply need to get past the mindset that they “deserve” the same price as their neighbor, who sold his home two or three years ago. It’s a different market today, and it is very unlikely that will happen.   Will interest rates continue to fall? Low interest rates are designed to stimulate the economy by encouraging consumer confidence. The interest rates we’ve been seeing since last summer are at a 25-year low. So when interest rates begin to rise, it’s a sign that the economy is improving. We’re already seeing some small increases in interest rates. Buyers who are waiting for “the bottom” may find themselves disappointed when their ideal home is sold to a more eager buyer. The reality is that we will not know when we have hit “bottom” until it has passed.   What do I need to know about mortgages? Contrary to popular belief, mortgage money is still available, but more documentation is required than ever before. You’ll also need a down payment, but there are several loan programs which require only 3-to-5 percent down. There are several excellent programs targeted to first-time buyers, as well as federal loan programs, if you qualify. As always, it makes good sense to pre-qualify for a mortgage before you start shopping, so you know how much home you can afford. Your Allen Tate Mortgage Consultant would be happy to answer your mortgage questions and guide you through the pre-qualification process.

*National Association of Realtors 2008 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers                                   

           For information Contact The Lee Ann Miller Team         

LAMT&ATClogo  704-896-5141 Office

                                                        www.LeeAnnMiller.com

What’s All the Huffing and Puffing About in North Carolina?

                                                                                                                                                                  

Will It Blow Our Houses Down and Our Insurance Companies Away?

Just as President-Elect Obama has the economy to keep him awake at night, our newly elected North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance, Wayne Goodwin, has inherited an issue sure to cause nightmares.  What do you do with a $70 billion coastal property exposure growing at the rate of $900,000.00 per month but not enough insurance to put it all back if hit with a Katrina?

Most homes insured along our coastline are covered for wind and hail through the NC Beach Plan, also called the Wind Pool, sometimes called the Last Resort.  This is a result of insurance companies excluding wind and hail on homeowners policies because of the huge exposure.   This plan currently has around $2.4 billion in reserves, or money available to pay claims.    Do the math.  $70 billion minus $2.4 billion equals NOT NEARLY ENOUGH MONEY.  What happens if (or when) our coast has a major storm?  When the $2.4 billion is handed out and more is needed the state will begin to access all licensed property insurers in NC according to their percentage of the market.  For example, Hurricane Floyd hit the coast in 1999 and a carrier could have easily been assessed $30 million.  If a major storm hits the coast their cut of the damage today would exceed six times that amount.  So even though companies may choose to exclude the coverage, they still have to help pay for the claims.  And if some companies declared bankruptcy as a result of a major storm the remaining companies would be assessed again.  How does this impact us?  Many options are being explored: • Increase homeowner premiums for coastal property. • Increase wind and hail deductibles for coastal property. • Increase homeowner premiums across the state. • Many of our companies are already asking for a better spread of risks; they want agencies to write auto and other lines of business as well as homeowners, or we may be forced to move the homeowners only client to another company. What’s the worst that could happen?  Companies could begin a mass exodus out of North Carolina.  Farmers Insurance has already left the state.  Encompass, an independent market of Allstate, has declared a moratorium on new property insurance.   Nationwide announced they will stop writing new “wind and hail policies” in North Carolina. As with the economy there is no quick fix, just the hope that the wind doesn’t blow for a few more years until this can be resolved.   In the meantime, I will let you know of any changes that may affect you or your clients.      

Annette White  (704-957-2764)  annette.white@allentate.com

                                                                                                      704-896-5141     Allen Tate Company      www.LeeAnnMiller.com

6 Tips To Help Your Home Attract Buyers

The goal is to get buyers to walk-in & feel like they are at home. This helps them visualize themselves living in your home and makes them want to buy your home because they are emotionally attached! 1) Neturalize! Yes, it sounds boring but by neutralizing your home you are helping buyers envision themselves & their belongings in, what could be, their new home. Plus, your home becomes more “move in ready” compared to your compettion. Keep in mind that some colors make rooms appear smaller than they really are. Not good when you are wanting to attract buyers! 2) Make It Shine! A clean home is a happy home. Dust regularly, empty all trash cans, wipe off countertops, wash windows, vacuum, clean carpets, wipe off blinds & wash baseboards. The more shine equals the more time a buyer may stay in your home. 3) Conceal Clutter Clear surfaces help buyers visually place their personal items in your home. A few stylish items are fine but should not devert any attention away from that surface. Notice show homes, the countertops are free from clutter to help you remember the granite or the custom cabinets. Aslo, turn rooms back to what they attended to be. For instance, if the living room has been taken over by toys-turn it back into the living room & find a new home for toys. 4) What’s That Smell? Smells can make or break your home. Try to conceal or completely remove pet beds, feeding bowls & litter boxes, if possible. Stick to the more pleasant smells of fresh baked cookies or flowers. Also, try to avoid cooking fish or cabbage. You don’t want buyers to be turned off the minute they step through the front door. And if you have to smoke, please do it outside–oh & hide the ashtrays! The purpose is to sell your home. You don’t want potential buyers to remember your home because of an unpleasant smell!  5) Less Is More! Clear out those closets. Again, look at a show home or closet brochure, hanging only a few items makes the closet look larger!  6) Crub Appeal Freshen up your landscaping. Keep your yard & hedges neatly trimmed. Keep sidewalks swept & tidy.  For a  warm welcome, add flowering plants to the front porch or a cozy chair. A great first impression is the key! Some buyers may cancel showings if the grass is tall or hedges are sloppy.

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704-896-5141 Office

www.LeeAnnMiller.com

Allen Tate Company

Gaston County, NC

Traditionally, Gaston County has grown at a slower pace than some of Charlotte’s other neighbors, in part because the Catawba River separates the two counties and reduces the number of routes for an easy commute. But Gaston is a secret no longer. Today, the communities of Belmont and Mount Holly in eastern Gaston County, as well as Gastonia, are attractive not only to those settling in Gaston to work and live, but Charlotte workers who want to escape to a place with a hometown feel. A perfect example of a classic hometown with tree-lined streets where everyone knows your name is Belmont, located just south of I-85 across the Catawba River. Take a drive down Main Street and you’ll see why it’s such a popular place to live. The town’s well-preserved mansions and mature magnolia trees add beauty and charm. Belmont’s downtown area has recently been revitalized with new brick planters and sidewalks. In the evening joggers and strollers meander the streets. Each October Belmont’s Stowe Park fills with couples and families enjoying the Belmont Fall Festival, which features food, entertainment and vendors. A community of just over 9,000 residents, Belmont’s town’s slogan is “City of Diversified Textiles,” which solidifies its position as a home to many major textile manufacturers. Today, the town’s quiet mill villages of small cottage houses provide homes to many textile plant workers and also to young families starting out. A historic focal point in Belmont is Belmont Abbey College, a private liberal arts college founded in 1876 by Benedictine monks and now the only Catholic college in the southeast. The Abbey’s cathedral, which can be seen from I-85, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Belmont Drive-In Theatre, one of the last of a dying breed of outdoor movie theaters, offers first-run movies in the tradition of convertible Chevys and poodle skirts. It’s open Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. Another popular and growing attraction is the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, undergoing long-range development on South New Hope Road. A grand visitors center and several beautifully landscaped gardens are open now, with more to come in the future. North of Belmont is Mount Holly, a community of just over 8,000 people. The town retains the charm and flavor of a small southern town while enjoying growth, as evidenced by a new neighborhood called River Front under development along the banks of the Catawba River. The neighborhood of 210 homes and another 90 townhomes off Tuckaseegee Road will include a clubhouse, pool, tennis courts and a 22-boat marina village with shops and restaurants. West of Mount Holly on I-85 is the town of McAdenville, which in December is more accurately called Christmas Town USA. During the holiday season, residents decorate their homes and yards with thousands of twinkling lights of all colors and put the town on display to the entire region. The mill town turns into a fantasyland, and folks drive from all around to line the streets at dark to view the lights from rolled-down car windows. Gastonia is the heart of Gaston County and its county seat. You’ll notice that residents here are mighty proud of the recent honor of being named one of only 10 All-America Cities in 2000. The city received the national honor for its communitywide efforts to find solutions to the challenge of illiteracy. This community of almost 65,000 people was once called the “Pacemaker of the South” because of the number of textile mills that used to churn here. Today, new industries are finding that Gastonia still offers an attractive business environment. Downtown Gastonia offers a glimpse into the past with many historic buildings, including the vintage Lawyers and Commercial buildings and the old Standard Hardware store, both built in the early 1900s, as well as the giant old Firestone Mill. York-Chester is a historic community of bungalow-style homes near downtown. In recent years city leaders have been in discussions on how to redevelop some downtown buildings, and they are currently considering the idea of making the area a historic district. Meanwhile, the city has developed a new focal point thanks to the construction of several major new county service buildings, including a new Gaston County Courthouse, Department of Social Service building and a new police station along Long and Marietta avenues. Gastonia offers several shopping venues that draw people from nearby Lincoln and York counties as well as west Mecklenburg. On N.C. 74 is Franklin Square, a giant regional power shopping center with a Wal-Mart, Home Depot and other big-box power retailers. The shopping center, which recently completed its third expansion, offers everything from home improvement items and groceries to dinner out and a good haircut. Off New Hope Road in Gastonia is Eastridge Shopping Center, which recently underwent a face-lift and added major new tenants, including a new Dillard’s department store. Not far from downtown is the Schiele Museum on East Garrison Boulevard. The museum is a favorite field trip for thousands of Gaston County school children, offering a chance to explore the region’s rocks and minerals, hills and rivers, plants and animals in its extensive exhibits. The museum’s 152-seat planetarium hosts school programs as well as evening shows on astronomy. An on-site nature trail invites visitors to experience life on an 18th-century backcountry farm, as well as learn of Catawba Indian ways. There’s more to Gaston County than Gastonia and towns east. In all, the county has 14 separate municipalities, each with its own special flavor. They include Stanley, with a busy downtown that runs along either side of railroad tracks; Spencer Mountain, an isolated community nestled in impossible-to-believe craggy hills north of Gastonia; Bessemer City, home of a hugely popular ’50s-style drive-in; and Kings Mountain, which straddles the Gaston-Cleveland county line. As you’d expect, many of the communities are or were focused on textile operations. Most new development in Gaston County remains to the east, in order to catch the growing number of folks who want to live near, but not in, Charlotte. But you can find lovely two-story homes, sprawling ranches and country estates of all sizes throughout the county. A popular attraction that draws outdoor enthusiasts from miles around is Crowders Mountain State Park, in southwest Gaston off I-85. This 3,024-acre park with rugged peaks and breathtaking views (you can see Charlotte’s skyscrapers) is a favorite for hikers, birdwatchers, rappelers and picnickers. It offers fishing, camping and rock climbing. The park drive has been designated as a North Carolina Scenic Byway.                                                                                                                     704-896-5141 Office                                                     www.LeeAnnMiller.com                                                         Allen Tate Company