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Charlotte’s Schools: What You Need to Know

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Charlotte’s public schools are less than a week away from opening their doors for the 2013-2014 school year – is your family ready?

Most CMS schools are slated to begin the year on Monday, August 26th although dates vary throughout the city for private schools, magnet schools, and charter schools. Here are a few fun facts you may not know about the Charlotte Mecklenburg school district:

  • CMS is the 2nd largest district in NC and the 18th largest in the US
  • There are over 140,000 students enrolled in CMS schools
  • CMS schools welcomed a new superintendent (Dr. Heath Morrison) in 2012
  • There are 159 different schools in the CMS system
  • Over 160 countries are represented by students enrolled within CMS

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If you have a child enrolled within the CMS school system, click here to find an official, detailed back to school shopping list for the new year.

 

Charlotte’s schools are known for being above-average in relation to other national school districts. Several of the city’s public high schools including Providence High School and Ardrey Kell High School consistently rank among the state’s best. Nearby districts in Union County and Cabbarus county also have stellar public school reputations.

There is also a flourishing private school community within Mecklenburg County. Charlotte’s largest private schools include Providence Day School, Charlotte Latin, and Charlotte Country Day School. There are over a dozen charter schools within Charlotte as well.

The best thing about Charlotte’s abundance of schools is that parents here have options! When buying a home in Charlotte it’s important to consider both the school district the neighborhood is located in and other school options nearby. On the Move Charlotte is familiar with CMS districts as well as Charlotte’s private school systems.

Leigh Bryant Family

 

If you are considering a move within Charlotte or you’d just like to know more about your real estate options within a certain school district, contact On the Move Charlotte today. Our team wishes your family a happy, healthy school year!

Featured Charlotte Neighborhood: Providence Plantation

Providence Plantation is one of South Charlotte’s most desirable neighborhoods.

Providence Plantation was originally founded in the 1970s as a commuter suburb for those working in metro Charlotte. Development was forward thinking and Providence Plantation’s large lots and tree-lined streets are still one of the area’s biggest draws. Few neighborhoods in Charlotte offer such a convenient location to raise a family!

Providence Plantation is more of a community than a neighborhood with tons of activities geared towards residents. Not only does the area have an award-winning swim and tennis club, the public schools that serve the neighborhood are among the highest-ranked in the state. On the Move Charlotte has noticed a sharp uptick in buyers looking specifically in Providence Plantation, so if you have questions about the area give us a call today.

A few of the best features of Charlotte’s Providence Plantation neighborhood include…

 

Providence High

Amazing Schools:

Providence Plantation sits at the apex of some of Charlotte’s best schools. Providence Springs Elementary is recognized as one of the best elementary schools in North Carolina, and Providence High School consistently scores well above-average in state rankings. There are a number of private schools and charter schools in the area as well providing parents with lots of options.

Social Clubs:

The social scene in Providence Plantation is incredibly active! Resident-organized groups are sprouting up like weeds including a Bunco group, a Supper Club, a Book Club, a Bridge Club, and several Playgroups for parents. There are groups for every age-bracket and family status with meetings as regularly as once a week or as infrequently as once every couple of months.

Carmel Country ClubDining, Shopping, and Recreation:

It’s hard to beat the location of Providence Plantation. Nestled between several large parks like the Colonel Francis Beatty Park and the Arthur Goodman Memorial Park, there’s no shortage of outdoor space near the neighborhood. There are several swim and golf clubs nearby, too, including Carmel Country Club and Cedarwood Country Club to the west. Charming downtown Matthews is less than 10 minutes drive, bustling with restaurants and shops, and Pineville is also a hop-skip-and-a-jump away. The Arboretum shopping center has just about every store and eatery a southerner could need, and SouthPark Mall is less than 15 minutes from the Plantation.

Active HOA:

Providence Plantation residents are governed by an extremely active, productive home owners association. Dues are very low (currently less than $80 for the year) and cover everything from neighborhood security patrol to maintaining the heavily-landscaped entrances to the community.

5051 carillionBeautiful Homes and Lots:

The homes in Providence Plantation are graciously sized, many with large lots and extensive landscaping. There are new construction projects as well as established homes with charm – many of the houses are built in the brick traditional style. The median home price in Providence Plantation is currently around $440,000 but prices are rising as the area’s value increases. If you’re considering a long-term home for your family, now is the time to buy in Providence Plantation.

Easy Commute:

The neighborhood is situated just far enough outside the hustle and bustle of Charlotte’s busiest areas but close enough to make commuting into Uptown or Ballantyne a breeze. Most parts of the neighborhood are less than 5 minutes drive to the I-485 entrance and three miles from Providence Plantation lies the entrance to Independence Highway/74. Providence Road leads many residents straight from the neighborhood into Uptown many mornings.

 

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On the Move Charlotte is your Providence Plantation real estate team.
Still have questions about one of Charlotte’s best and fastest-growing communities? Contact Leigh Bryant, Michelle Duyck, and John Elliott at 704.516.3318 today to talk about your move to Providence Plantation.

 

How to Know When You’re Ready to Buy Your First Home

 

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions most people will ever make. It’s a commitment that requires research, forethought, and a lot of financial planning. Knowing when you’re ready is an entirely personal decision, but it doesn’t have to be subjective.

Here are a few signs you may be inching closer to the decision to buy your first house…

YOU’RE STABLE

Of course, being stable financially is the #1 precursor to buying a home. It’s important to have a steady source of income as well as a handle on any outstanding debt – mortgage lenders will want to know everything from your student loan payments to your tax write-offs before giving you a loan. In fact, most major lenders require those with less traditional streams of income (i.e. freelancers, all-commission salespeople) to have at least 2 years of stable W-2 income before they’ll even consider a loan.

YOUR CREDIT IS GOOD

You don’t have to have perfect credit to buy a home, but the better your score the better your APR is likely to be. A good credit score is a sign you’re responsible enough financially to manage the burden of a mortgage, both to lenders and to home buyers themselves. Of course, there are all kinds of loan packages available to people who don’t meet traditional requirements but be very wary of any deal that seems too good to be true and always talk to a financial adviser before signing.

YOU’RE STAYING PUT

The general rule in home buying is that purchasing a home is a safe financial investment only when you know you’ll live there for 5 years or more. There are exceptions to this rule in every state but if your job’s in flux, you may need to change school districts, or you’re just not sure you like the neighborhood, consider waiting a while to dive into a home.

 

YOU’VE DONE YOUR RESEARCH

Say you happen to wander into a beautiful open house one Sunday and you fall in love…this could be your first home! Never let home buying become an overly emotional experience and be sure you do thorough research on the area, other homes for sale, and mortgage rates before you pen an offer. On average, a home buyer spends 12 weeks searching for a home before finding the right one, looking closely at at least 10 homes before buying.

YOU HAVE THE CASH FOR A DOWN PAYMENT

Typically a 20% down payment is needed to secure a traditional home loan. There are packages available that don’t follow this guideline but if you’ve got enough money to put down 20% odds are you’re in a good position financially to invest in a home. Never, ever “stretch” yourself to buy the perfect house – don’t scrape together an extra few thousand to have enough for the down payment only to find yourself struggling each month to meet the mortgage.

YOU CAN HANDLE THE COSTS

Home ownership comes with all kinds of costs renters are simply unaware of. Even brand new homes will need maintenance every month – lawn care, trash pickup, cleaning services. Be sure you’re ready to handle the sudden onslaught of bills from a plumber or the cost of a broken fridge. Research different home options; condos typically cost less to maintain than single-family homes. Buying a home means becoming your own landlord which requires dedicated time and money.

 

First time home buyers account for over 39% of all home sales in the US each year. While 51% of these buyers are married couples the single buyers account for over 36% of the remainder.

If you’re interested in discussing the options for your first home, contact On the Move Charlotte today! We’ve been successfully representing first-time home buyers in the Charlotte area for years.

Featured Charlotte Neighborhood – Chantilly

Chantilly is one of Charlotte’s fastest-growing neighborhoods. 

Affectionately known as “little Elizabeth,” Chantilly has a flavor all its own. Located between Plaza Midwood and the Elizabeth neighborhoods in Midtown Charlotte, Chantilly was originally developed in the 1940s. Now its streets are lined with mature trees and beautifully restored craftsman-style homes, bustling with families and young professionals.

Many of Chantilly’s homes are in the craftsman style, some of which have been lovingly restored to their former glory. There’s also a lot of new construction in Chantilly but the neighborhood is growing gracefully – even the newest homes fit the streets’ aesthetics. Bordered by Independence Boulevard and Briar Creek, Chantilly is incredibly convenient to Uptown Charlotte as well as entrances to I-77 and I-277.

A few of the best features of Charlotte’s Chantilly neighborhood include…

Chantilly Park:

Chantilly Park is easily accessed by foot from most parts of the neighborhood. It’s 7 full acres of green space and includes a volleyball court, multi-purpose field, and even a playground. On weekends, the park teems with activity and the entire neighborhood is very dog friendly.

Independence Park:

Independence Park is one of the best parks in the city. Home to numerous festivals throughout the year (including Petpalooza!), the park has over 19 acres of picnic areas, playgrounds, and soccer fields. It’s an easy walk from Chantilly and there are plenty of dining options nearby, too.

Proximity to Shopping:

Chantilly Shopping Center has many retail offerings and 7th Avenue is an easy walk from most parts of Chantilly. Seventh is the beginning of the Elizabeth district and hosts tons of shops, convenience stores, and salons.

Dining Options:

Between Elizabeth and Independence, dining options abound just outside the residential streets of Chantilly. Kennedy’s Irish Pub, Crisp, Starbucks, and even fine dining at The Fig Tree are all within striking distance. Independence has dozens of fantastic ethnic restaurants, fast food options, and even a farmer’s stand.

Community:

The quiet, tree-lined streets of Chantilly are the perfect setting to raise a family. There’s a flourishing neighborhood association and the neighborhood’s on its way to commissioning signs to mark its borders. Chantilly is also close to several houses of worship as well as Novant Health (formerly Presbyterian Hospital.)

Charming Homes:

The average home for sale in Chantilly is listed around $350,000 and home values continue to rise. As development resumes in and around the neighborhood, homes in Chantilly aren’t staying on the market for long, particularly the pristine crafstmans that populate the neighborhood. Many of the homes in Chantilly must stick to historical guidelines when being redone, so homes here retain a lot of character.

 

On the Move Charlotte is your Chantilly real estate team.
If you’d like to know more about the homes for sale in one of Charlotte’s most desirable communities, call the On the Move Charlotte team at 704-516-3318 today.

Explore all the homes for sale in Chantilly here.

How to Know When It’s Time for a Bigger House

Knowing when to “upgrade” is half the battle in real estate. Over the last few years there’s been a lot of talk about downsizing and living smaller but the fact is, some growing families need more space, not less. The move-up buyer is one of the demographics spurning the real estate market comeback…home prices are currently at 2002/2003 levels but increasing every day. If you’ve been waiting out the market, now’s the perfect time to buy a larger home.

The average first home is around 1,500 square feet and most first-time buyers have a family size of about 2.7 people. Second homes, however, average 2,000+ square feet and are getting larger. Did you know that in 2010, the median size for a new-construction home in the US was almost 2,400 square feet?

So, how do you know when your family is ready for a bigger house? Here are a few signs the On the Move Charlotte team has noticed usually mean it’s time to “move up.”

Your Family is Growing

The number one reason people decide to buy a larger home is an increase in family size. Many people buy their first home before they have children and only realize they need more space once more kids come into the picture. Children aren’t the only way families grow, either. From a new pet to a live-in parent, families expand in all sorts of ways which means a need for more bedrooms, bathrooms, and even parking spaces.

You Want Your Amenities In-House

As cities spread out, more and more families find themselves choosing suburban life over urban dwelling. Larger homes slightly further out from retail and restaurants encourage homeowners to install much of what they need inside their houses. Home gyms are increasingly popular as are gourmet-style kitchens. Why join a neighborhood swim club when you can upgrade to a house that already has a pool in the backyard?

Your Needs Have Changed

Large homes simply aren’t appropriate for every stage of life. A single 27-year old man in Charlotte likely needs less space but more walkability, but his needs may change when he’s 35, married, and has two kids. Perhaps you’ve started an at-home business and you need an extra bedroom to use as an office. Maybe your kids are of an age where you’d like a finished basement for them to spread out. Whatever the case, shifting priorities are a fact of life and they’re often the motivating factor for a move up buyer.

You’ve Recouped Your Equity

If you purchased your current home before the real estate downturn five years ago you’ve likely been waiting to sell until the timing’s right. Well, the timing’s right. Mortgage rates are hitting record lows (some hovering around 2.5%) and in many parts of the country the “seller’s market” is back. The best time to buy a bigger home is when you can sell your current place for close to if not more than you bought it for and upgrade before prices begin to skyrocket. Many Charlotte neighborhoods are experiencing exactly these conditions making 2013 one of the best times to buy a bigger home in years.

You Can Afford It

If Americans learned anything from the real estate crisis of 2008, it’s never to buy a home they can’t afford. Before you know if you’re ready for a bigger home, spend some time researching mortgage rates and talk to a financial adviser to find out if taking on more debt is in your best interest. Real estate is and always has been a solid long-term financial investment and buying a bigger home when your family needs one can often be a savvy money move. If you determine you can comfortably afford the payment, manage the increased utility expenses, and furnish a larger house, you may be ready to upgrade.

 

Call the brokers at On the Move Charlotte today to talk about whether or not it’s time for your family to begin looking for a larger house. Buying a bigger home is an important decision, but one that most families find necessary and even rewarding at some point during home ownership. Leigh Bryant, John Elliott, and Michelle Duyck will work with you to find the best home for your current needs.

704.516.3318

 

“A Letter to Our Home”

Selling a family home is always a bittersweet process. While our clients are usually excited to make a change – bigger house for more children, less of a commute, larger lawn for the dog – most are sad to leave the homes they’ve been building memories in for years. At On the Move Charlotte, “well loved” homes are our favorite types of listings.

Take a look at this touching letter, written by our clients the Allards, as they prepare to move from the house they made a home…

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Dear 8515 Tammaron Drive, 

Thank you so much for providing a solid and warm foundation for our family.  You have watched our family transform and grow from an ‘I” to a ‘We”.

When “I” found you I was a bachelor proud to be a home owner in one of the most progressive areas of Charlotte.  Being within walking distance to shopping and dining at Blakeney, Morrison YMCA, and some of the best schools in Charlotte were more than I could ever want and exceeded everything I needed. 

Your location was instrumental in helping me find my “best friend” and love of my life. Two people once separated by just a mile … now inseparable.

Your peaceful tree lined back yard was the place we shared our hopes and dreams. Whether it was designing our deck or discovering our “green thumb” you provided the perfect canvas.  You provided the perfect space for friends and neighbors to gather around the outdoor fire pit, roast marshmallows and watch some college football.

Most importantly you opened your arms when “we” were blessed with a child.  You provided the space to roam and walk countless laps downstairs to soothe our baby in need of sleep.

It will be hard to say “goodbye,” however, we must. Thank you!  To us you are and forever will be not merely a house but a “home!”

With love,
The Allards

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Picture of Leigh Bryant, Realtor - Keller Williams SouthparkClick here for a virtual tour of 8515 Tammeron Drive. Call Leigh Bryant at On the Move Charlotte to help you find your family’s “home sweet home” today.