Tips for Ensuring a Favorable Home Appraisal

Appraisals are big business in the real estate industry, referenced by both lenders and homebuyers as a benchmark for a property’s “true” value. Recently, however, as reported by Reuters, homeowners are having a difficult time obtaining what they believe to be a fair estimate for the value of their home from California to Florida.


A low appraisal can impact a homeowner in several ways. In many cases, homeowners seeking a refinance are denied when a bank-ordered appraisal comes up short. Other homeowners looking to sell find resistance from the market when they list their homes above its appraised value.

If you’re going to undergo an inspection by an official licensed appraiser in the near future, here are a few suggestions for ensuring you get the very best appraisal value possible for your home.


One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when ordered to get an appraisal is to choose an appraiser who doesn’t have intimate knowledge of their specific neighborhood. If you’re able to choose your own appraiser, select one who’s based no more than 10-miles away from your home and preferably living in your community. If the bank is selecting the appraiser specifically request they send a local licensee.


Before the appraiser ever arrives at your home, take some time to pull records concerning every upgrade or renovation you’ve made to the house. Include receipts from home improvement stores and estimates for work done on the house and before-and-after pictures, if possible. It’s also smart to reference local comparables in the neighborhood you think the appraiser should be made aware of. Ask your real estate broker to help identify three solid comps near your home and be sure they find the right hands.


Just like homebuyers, appraisers are human beings and often have a hard time seeing past a home that’s cluttered, dirty, or overgrown. Present your home to an appraiser the same way you would to the open market to get the best results. Never follow the appraiser around while they’re in your home unless specifically requested – appraisers say not being allowed space to properly inspect the home is a surefire sign the owner has something to hide.


If you’re in a situation like as a refinance where you’re forced to work with an appraiser not of your choosing, shell out a few hundred dollars and get an appraisal of your own. You’ll likely have more control over the selected licensee and can lobby against a bad appraisal with a higher one if necessary.

Don’t be afraid to get directly involved in your home appraisal. Many homeowners don’t understand that an appraisal happens with them, not to them, and may underestimate the impact pointed questions and suggestions can have on the appraisal outcome.

If you’re looking for a qualified appraiser in your area or just have questions about whether or not you need a home appraisal, call Leigh Bryant’s team at Keller Williams Southpark to speak about your options.

The Best Open House Weekend of the Year (So Far!)

The On the Move Charlotte team is hosting seven open houses this weekend. Seven!

We’ve got new homes, back-on-the-market homes, and gorgeous family homes…truly something for everyone! Come out and see us on Saturday or Sunday (or both!) and find your dream home. It’s been waiting for you.
Give us a call at 704.451.3135 for more info on these properties
or on selling your Charlotte property!

Click on any of the addresses below for a complete video tour


7801 Park Road
brand new to the market!

Sunday, May 10th from 2pm – 4pm
$357,500  4BR/3BA

Gorgeous renovation, even better location! Custom hardwood flooring, a beautiful stone fireplace, and a huge kitchen with all-new stainless appliances and cabinets make this home a must-see. A huge fenced-in deck and lower-level rec room (complete with its own fireplace!) are all you need to make your family feel at home. And if you need a big yard? This home sits on almost a full acre! Come see this one before it’s gone!



2514 Cranbrook Lane, #10
brand new to the market!

Saturday, May 9th from 11am – 1pm
$133,000  2BR/1BA

If your daily commute has you down, this condo’s the answer. Located in the well-maintained Villages of Eastover Glen, this home comes with access to a pool, clubhouse, and fitness center to boot! Hardwoods in the main living area, new carpet in the bedrooms, and fresh paint make this a standout. And how many condos do you find with a wood burning fireplace?



2320 Barry Street

Saturday, May 9th, 10am – 12pm
Sunday, May 10th, 2pm – 5pm
$369,900  3BR/3BA

A newly finished bungalow, fresh to the market, located in HOT Villa Heights! Bedrooms are on main level with a large bonus/flex space on the second…beautifully renovated kitchen and baths with all the design choices you’d make yourself! Features include a soaking tub in the master, walk-in attic storage, granite kitchen island, and a huge family room + study.



6816 Rea Croft Drive

Sunday, May 10th from 1pm – 4pm
$435,000  4BR/3.5BA

Wow…talk about SPACE! With four bedrooms (plus a bonus!) and three full baths, this all-brick South CLT charmer won’t last long. Amazing upgrades, great outdoor space, open floor plan, and a fabulous fireplace…you’ve got to see this one in person. Features include a renovated kitchen, huge screened-in porch with fireplace and a spot for an outdoor TV, and fabulous walkable location!


824 Cerretto Court

Sunday, May 10th, 2pm – 4pm
$325,000  3BR/2.5BA

You’ll never find a townhome that lives so much like a single-family. Located in a beautiful part of Matthews (walk to downtown!), this immaculate home has over 2700 square feet of living space. Updated kitchen, master bath, and a great custom closet make this home the perfect buy. Features include a main-floor master, private enclosed patio, loft and office space, and walk-in attic storage!


002 Front 500x332 Its Open House Time! 4 Fabulous Charlotte Properties
10422 Woodview Circle

Sunday, May 10th from 1pm – 3pm
$323,900  4BR/2.5BA

This huge Quail Acres home looks brand new and offers tons of recently-renovated room to grow. Situated on almost an acre of land (.82 acres, to be exact) near new construction and great schools, this kind of property doesn’t come around often. New flooring throughout, an updated kitchen, and a large mud room are just some of its perks. Features include a HUGE lot, great big master suite, lots of storage, and a massive backyard!


Want to know more about any of these homes?
Call us today!




Four Amazing Open Houses This Weekend, March 28-29th

The spring home buying season is ramping up!

If you’re thinking about buying a new home, now’s the time to move. The spring real estate season in Charlotte this year is bound to be a big one with many properties seeing multiple offers and going very quickly. We’ve got four amazing opens this weekend in Charlotte – come see which one is right for you!

Click on any of the addresses below for a complete video tour

brace rd
5926 Brace Road

Saturday, March 28th, 11:00am – 1:00pm
$339,900  4BR/2.5BA

This beautiful two-story in Stonehaven is new to the market and has lots of recent upgrades. Sitting on a well-maintained, flat lot, this great family home has over 2,400 square feet of space and is close to both Southpark and Cotswold! You’ve got to come see this fabulous screened-in porch, too.

Recent master bath renovation
Custom cabinetry and granite countertops
Huge mud room/utility zone
Gorgeous hardwoods


824 Cerretto Court

Sunday, March 29th, 2:00pm – 4:00pm
$329,900  3BR/2.5BA

You’ll never find a townhome that lives so much like a single-family. Located in a beautiful part of Matthews (walk to downtown!), this immaculate home has over 2700 square feet of living space. Updated kitchen, master bath, and a great custom closet make this home the perfect buy.

Master on main
Private enclosed patio
Office/den space and loft area
Walk-in attic storage



711 Charter Place

Saturday, March 28th from 11:00am – 1:00pm
$214,900  3BR/2.5BA

What a fabulous value in desirable Stonehaven! Priced below tax value, this house won’t last long. A corner lot gives you room to roam and the home itself features upgrades like a new-in-2013 HVAC system and gas fireplace. This is your chance to get into one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Charlotte.

Detached garage and storage building
Two local swim clubs accepting applications
Ceramic tile in kitchen and baths
Great corner lot



2320 Barry Street

Sunday, March 29th, 1:00pm – 4:00pm
$369,900  3BR/3BA

A newly finished bungalow, fresh to the market, located in HOT Villa Heights! Bedrooms are on main level with a large bonus/flex space on the second…beautifully renovated kitchen and baths with all the design choices you’d make yourself!

Soaking tub in master
Walk-in attic storage
Gorgeous kitchen with granite island
Huge family room + study

Got questions about any of these homes?
Give us a call now!


Charlotte’s Best Spring Events

spring cltIs there any better time to live in Charlotte than the Spring?

(Answer: Nope!)

The azaleas are blooming, the birds are chirping, and after such a bad winter we’re already starting to see people out and about in droves the second the temperature hits 60. Many of the Queen City’s best events are held in the springtime thanks to the beautiful weather and extra hours of daylight. Here are just a few of our favorite.

kings drive arts walkKings Drive Arts Walk

An offshoot of Freedom Park’s Fall Festival, the Kings Drive Art Walk will be held on April 26th at 10:00am. Attendees will find local art, food, and performances all along the Greenway, one of Charlotte’s coolest outdoor features. Other spring arts festivals will be taking place over the next few months, too, including the Spring into Arts Festival in Concord (May 3rd) and the Arts in the Garden Tour at the Mint Museum (April 26th).

fort mill strawberry festivalSouth Carolina Strawberry Festival

For years, Fort Mill’s been hosting one of the premier strawberry festivals in the country. This year’s South Carolina Strawberry Festival will be held on May 2nd and 3rd and includes all kinds of fun family-friendly events. There are always a few great musical acts and, of course, all the strawberries you can eat. The Charlotte area grows some great produce, that’s for sure!


We are SO excited to take in a Knights game at the brand new BB&T Ballpark in Uptown! Opening day is April 11th but there are games scheduled all throughout the spring. Charlotte’s very own Lacrosse team, the Hounds, play in Midtown all spring, too, and their games are inexpensive and highly enjoyable. Of course, you could play sports rather than watch them at one of the city’s many public parks. Tennis, golf, and volleyball are all popular around town this time of year.

freemorewest 5kFreeMoreWest 5K on the Greenway

If you haven’t heard of FreeMoreWest yet, you will. It’s the combined neighborhood identity of Freedom/Morehead/West End and the area’s hosting it’s own FreeMoreWest 5K this year right on the Greenway on April 18th. There are tons of races going on in and around Charlotte this spring including the CPCC Skyline Run, the Memorial Day Trail Race at the USNWWC, and the ever-popular charity event Race to the Top where hundreds climb Duke Energy’s 50 first floors.

downtownOf course, there are plenty of individual things to get into here in Charlotte at any time:

  • Go for a a long walk through Dilworth, Elizabeth, or Myers Park to look at the beautiful trees in bloom
  • Head Uptown for an outdoor concert at the green
  • Drive to nearby King’s Mountain for a hike
  • Rent a boat for the afternoon at Lake Norman or Lake Wylie
  • Play a round of golf at one of Charlotte dozens of fantastic courses

There’s really nothing not to love about Charlotte this time of year. We’re sure your neighborhood’s got its own fun springtime activities…tell us what we missed in the comments below!



What Being Homeowners Means to Us…

houseThis weekend my husband and I spent hours doing yard work. Hours! When we were finished we were muddy and exhausted but as we sat on our porch swing (cold beer in hand!) we started talking about what a fun day it had been and how accomplished we felt looking at our handiwork in our very own front yard.

Seems our weekends nowadays are always spent doing “house stuff,” as we call it. The thing is, we wouldn’t have it any other way.

got the keys!

When Michelle and Leigh helped us buy our house last July we knew it was “the one” right away. It had the fireplace we’d wanted, a big open dining room, and a backyard that was just right. It ticked off all the boxes.

What we hadn’t counted on, though, was how quickly this house would feel like home. That fireplace was the centerpiece of this winter’s many, many snow days; the dining area played host to both our families as I hosted my very first Thanksgiving; George the dog is so attached to the backyard he doesn’t escape even when we leave the gate open.

We’ve made so many memories here already and there are so many more to come. Every weekend spent at Lowe’s buying towel racks and mulch is a labor of love and it’s been so much fun opening our home to so many guests, friends, parties, and family. Turns out walking to restaurants and shops in Plaza Midwood has become one of our favorite ways to spend an evening and our neighbors? They’re kind, welcoming, and they make really great baked goods, too.

So, what does being homeowners mean to us? It means we’ve got a place to put down roots and start our own family, one weekend at a time. We’re so thankful for this wonderful place to call home in a city that we love. Leigh and Michelle helped make that possible. What more could you ask for?

 – The Dundons

On the Move Charlotte is Excited to Welcome Mary Sessoms to the Team!

We couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome Mary Sessoms to the On the Move Charlotte Team!

Mary SessomsMary’s primary role will be Lead Buyer’s Specialist where she’ll focus on helping our house-hunting clients find the perfect home for their needs. She looks at real estate not only as a career but as an opportunity to impact the lives of her clients, an attitude that fits right in with the rest of our agents.

Mary is known for her friendly demeanor, easy-going attitude, cooperative spirit, and tireless work ethic. Don’t be fooled by that beaming smile, however…her tenacity, intense loyalty, and keen negotiating skills make her an asset for any Charlotte buyer! She loves nothing more than helping individuals find the perfect home then ensuring they understand the buying process every step of the way.

As a native North Carolinian and UNC Chapel Hill graduate, Mary knows the Charlotte area well. She loves spending her free time with her husband Jess, their two children, and their two dogs as well as giving back locally within her church and at her childrens’ schools. A particularly fun fact about Mary is that before she got into real estate she worked for Southern Living Magazine – she’s got a great eye for design and can’t wait to help her buyers decorate after they’re all moved in!

This exciting new growth means On the Move Charlotte can continue to keep customer service our #1 priority…it’s critically important to us that all our clients are taken care of! When we say we’re your “real estate concierge”, we mean it. And as for the rest of the team, Michelle Duyck is thrilled to transition to the role of Listing Specialist while Leigh Bryant grows her role as Team Leader/Listing Specialist and Kathy Freundt continues to provide administrative support. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Mary on board!


Are you considering buying a home, town home, or condo in the greater Charlotte area?


Contact Mary Sessoms at On the Move Charlotte to find out how she can help get you into the home of your dreams!

Charlotte’s Schools: What You Need to Know


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



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!

Charlotte’s Luxury Home Market is Heating Up

luxury home

When the national real estate crisis hit hard a few years back, luxury home sales were one of the first areas to decline. In fact, many real estate experts attributed many of the disheartening statistics of the last few years to an overall reduction in luxury home sales, and thus average selling prices.

In Charlotte, the luxury home market is officially back.

Lake Norman is Charlotte’s premier luxury home market with about 25% of the area’s $1,000,000+ homes. Many of the city’s other neighborhoods, however, have seen great success over the last year with high-end properties such as Myer’s Park, Glen Eagles, and even Dilworth. The average listing price in Charlotte’s Eastover neighborhood currently stands over $800,000.

Here are a few statistics that show Charlotte has a flourishing luxury home market:

  • Keller Williams Mooresville reports selling 150% more luxury homes in June 2013 than in June 2012
  • There are currently over 100 properties in Charlotte listed for over one-million dollars
  • There are currently over 50 homes in Charlotte listed for over $2,000,000
  • The average selling price of a Charlotte home has risen nearly 20% since this time last year

So, what exactly makes a “luxury home?”

custom kitchenIn the Charlotte market, homes selling for over the $1,000,000 mark are generally considered “luxury.” In addition, other criteria that can bump a home into the luxury category include high-end customization, unique artistic influences, or designation as a vacation or second home property.

Luxury homes are marketed differently than typical single-family homes. If you’re preparing to list your home in the luxury category it’s imperative you work with a broker with experience in the field who has the type of network to support your listing. A Charlotte luxury broker expects to go above and beyond when selling a luxury property, particularly when it comes to marketing materials.

Internet marketing is a must when it comes to selling a luxury home, as are professionally printed marketing materials. It’s also important to make sure you find a seller’s agent that works with an international client base as luxury home buyers are increasingly likely to be relocation buyers from other nations. The right seller’s agent should be well-established within the local industry and have direct connections to buyer’s agents that work directly with luxury purchasers.

All across the US, luxury home sales are heating up but the steep rise is likely to level out. Now is a great time to market your million-dollar home as low interest rates are helping qualify more buyers than ever, and inventory remains low. In a few years, development will begin to flood the market with brand new, totally upgraded homes that may offer more competition for your luxury property.


Leigh BryantIf you home is large, historic, uniquely located, or simply special, call Leigh Bryant at On the Move Charlotte today to talk about a luxury listing plan. There’s never been a better time to sell your home in Charlotte, particularly if your home is high-end.

5 Reasons NOW is the Time to Sell

If you’ve been thinking about selling your Charlotte home, now is the time. Inventory is hitting record-lows which means buyers are clamoring for the perfect house. Spring/summer 2013 is set to be a perfect storm for sellers: there isn’t a deluge of inventory but there are more willing buyers than there have been in years.

If you’re considering selling your house, contact Leigh Bryant at On the Move Charlotte to talk specifics today. Leigh is a listing specialist which means she’s well-versed on market prices, available inventory, and knowing how to move your Charlotte home.

1. Inventory is lower than it’s been in years.

Take a look at this graph. The bottom line represents the month of April in any given year while the left-hand side essentially lists the ratio of houses that are “left over” on the market after all the sales are tallied each month. In April 2011 the ratio was about 11 houses…in April 2013 that ratio is closer to 6.7.

Monthly Inventory Graph

2. More people can afford homes.

The Housing Affordability Index is the number brokers around the state use to compare the average price of homes in the region with the buying power of those looking to purchase. The higher the number, the more “affordability” the market has, which is a good thing for sellers looking for a wide market.

Housing Affordability

3. Sellers are getting more for their house.

In the last few months, sellers have been getting relatively more for their homes than this time last year. On average, sellers are now receiving around 93% of list price…in 2011 that number was closer to 90%. When talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars, 3% can make a substantial difference to a seller.

Percentage Received

4. The average list price is on the rise.

On average, homes are being listed for almost 10% more this April than they were at the same time in 2011. That’s a huge difference, and one that can tip the scales towards time to sell. But beware: housing prices won’t keep skyrocketing forever, and all signs point to now being the time to sell to maximize profit while minimizing time on the market.

average list price

5. Leigh Bryant is ready to sell your home.

Leigh knows the Charlotte market like the back of her hand and she’s telling all her potential sellers that now’s the time to strike. If you’ve been thinking about putting your Charlotte home on the market, call Leigh at 704.516.3318 today to talk about your options. Leigh is part of the On the Move Charlotte team at Keller Williams South Park and would love the opportunity to help you sell your home!

Leigh Bryant, Realtor®




Contact On the Move Charlotte today for more information about the conditions in your neighborhood or to speak with a licensed broker.