Observe Over 23 Species of Birds of Prey at the Carolina Raptor Center in Charlotte, North Carolina

The Carolina Raptor CenterCharlotte NC‘s Carolina Raptor Center is home to a variety of birds of prey. Birds like falcons, hawks, osprey, vultures and owls all fall under the raptor category. One can view more than 23 raptor species here.

These birds can be observed while visitors walk on a 3/4 mile long trail nestled inside of Latta Plantation Nature Preserve on the banks of Mountain Island Lake in Huntersville, NC, a northern suburb of Charlotte, NC.  The center is about a 15 minute drive from Uptown Charlotte real estate.

There is plenty to be learned along the way with information posted throughout the trail. Another strong attraction at the Carolina Raptor Center is that it offers a variety of educational programs. Some of the offerings include Birds in Flight Demonstrations, vulture feeding and live bird presentations.

Membership in the museum includes free admission and other perks. Membership supports the Rescue Center, one aspect of the Carolina Raptor Center’s mission. Membership in the museum is $35 for individuals under 65 and $30 for individuals over 65. There are also packages for families and groups.

Admission for non-members is free for children under 4, $6 for each member of a group of 15 or more and for students 5 and older, $8 for teachers, students, and military, and $10 for other individuals. The museum is open every day of the week. Monday through Saturday the hours are 10-5 and Sunday the hours are 12-5.

Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC 28078
704.875.6521
www.carolinaraptorcenter.org

This is a really cool place!  Do plan to visit!  🙂

Wendy Richards, REALTOR
www.NCCharlotteHomes.com
704.604.6115

10 Reasons To Buy A Charlotte NC Home

1.  In Charlotte NC it is a buyer’s market. When the government tax credits expired, home buyers disappeared. Now, that those incentives have left, most buyers see no incentive. Yet, the fact that those government incentives are gone is a big reason why now is the best time to buy Charlotte NC real estate! Fewer buyers means better opportunities. Standard and Poor’s Case-Schiller index tracks home prices in 20 of the country’s major metropolitan areas, including Charlotte NC. The drop in prices is amazing compared to the market peak. New York homes are down 20% while a home in Arizona often goes for half the price that it was at the market peak. The national average show that home prices are down 30%. Prices could go lower but, if good economic news and consumer confidence increase, those prices could begin rising. Being an aggressive buyer will also help. Play a little hardball with pricing and a Charlotte NC buyer could do even better. No seller likes to see a potential buyer walk away.

2.  Mortgages rates are at an historically low level in Charlotte NC as well as the rest of the country. A current 30-year mortgage comes in at an unbelievable 4.3%. Only two years ago, that same mortgage would have been around 6.3%. The difference in the two rates saves an average of 20% on the monthly payment for a home. If the economy picks up and inflation sets in, those rates are gone for a lifetime. Should the country experience a deflation in the economy, those rates could go lower, but only slightly. And if they drop, refinancing at the lower rate is always an option. Either way, it’s a win/win situation for the buyer.

3.   Buy a Charlotte NC home now and save on taxes. Both mortgage interest and real estate taxes can be deducted from federal income tax. Also, should you sell the home for a profit in the future, there would be a savings on capital gains taxes. Only those who itemize could take these deductions. Filing a standard deduction may be better for some. The larger the mortgage and income level, the higher the savings. With these savings on taxes, many find that owning a home reduces substantial costs over renting.

4.  Owning a Charlotte NC home gives multiple benefits… and freedom. Once an owner has moved in, the carpet can come up and the bamboo flooring can go down. The purple paint you wanted in your bedroom can now be yours. You are your own landlord. No one can make you change the landscaping unless you want it. Add rooms, alter rooms, update the kitchen and answer to no one but yourself. However humble or opulent, you are the master of your own domain.

5.  You’ll have a better Charlotte NC home, quite often, for less money than renting. In many parts of the country, rental prices have remained the same, while home prices have dropped. If you want a better home, in a better neighborhood, buying is the best option.

6.  A new Charlotte NC home offers a potential hedge against inflation. Homes have usually stayed ahead of inflation rates. Studies by Professor Karl “Chip” Case of Case-Schiller, and others, have shown that a home generally stays one or two percentage points ahead of inflation on a yearly basis. TIPS, or government issued inflation-protected bonds, have offered a way to beat inflation. But, in recent years, those yields have plummeted. By contrast, owning a home seems to offer better insurance against inflation, even in today’s market.

7.  A Charlotte NC home is risk capital. Just like the stock market, a home is a traditional investment which has proven to increase in the long term. Unlike the stock market, that home offers dividends daily to the owner in the form of shelter. So while the stock market is still liable to fluctuations, home prices have historically continued to rise with a better economy. Stocks are difficult investments, in large quantities, for the average person; while owning a home is a much less volatile asset and is a safer part of a larger portfolio. With home prices lower than in past years, the investment made today is almost sure to increase with an improving economy. A home carries fewer concerns on a daily basis and less loss of sleep than stock ownership.

8.  A Charlotte NC home payment is a forced monthly savings account. Paying $1,000.00 per month on rent may seem better than a $1,500.00 per month home payment. But, the question is: How much of that $1,000.00 will a person get back when moving out of the rental? With a mortgage payment, part of the monthly payment goes to pay off the principle. That amount becomes equity in the home. A homeowner is using the home as a savings account. Though it is a forced savings, it is a good discipline in financial responsibility.

9.  There’s a greater choice than ever before. There is a glut of Charlotte NC homes on the market. The National Association of Realtors estimates the current market at 4 million homes. Those numbers are not as much as last year’s peak availability, but are well above typical levels. Those homes range from upscale homes to the starter home. All are at reduced prices. Even more are coming onto the market as banks unload their inventories of unsold homes. Thus the choice of homes becomes greater, as well as the choice of location.

10.  Sooner or later, the market will clear and correct. Demand and supply will achieve a greater balance and prices will go up. In 40 years, the population is forecast to grow by 100 million. That new population will need housing. Current homes and condos going unoccupied are rapidly deteriorating and are being destroyed, which takes more units off the market. That, coupled with a new population and an improved economy will greatly reduce the availability of choice and price.

When you’re ready to buy a Charlotte NC home, give Wendy Richards a call at 704.604.6115!

Carpe Diem Restaurant In Charlotte NC

Consistently rated as one of Charlotte, NC home’s top ten restaurants in Zagat’s America’s Top Restaurants, Carpe Diem has been providing fine dining and outstanding catering since 1989. Located just outside of downtown Charlotte real estate in the Elizabeth neighborhood at 1535 Elizabeth Avenue, this third incarnation of a downtown favorite pleases locals and visitors alike with its Art Nouveau style and New American cuisine.

The interior of Carpe Diem is breathtaking, featuring marble floors, mahogany doors, exposed woodwork, and copper lighting among other striking details. Meetings and rehearsal dinners can be held in the private room and the restaurant can be booked for receptions during the day. Full service corporate catering and wedding catering are available on site or off premise.

The menu at Carpe Diem in Charlotte is unique and exotic. The flavors are influenced by the childhood love of Latin and tropical flavors experienced by the proprietors, sisters Bonnie Warford and Tricia Maddrey. Their New American cuisine combines these flavors in fanciful dishes that are designed to entice the appetite and appeal to the senses. New menu items are interspersed with old favorites, like the hazelnut crusted goat cheese salad.

The pride that the staff at Carpe Diem takes in providing a favorable experience for their visitors is apparent in everything that they do. From the initial greeting to the final farewell, the staff is prepared to make sure every element is up to the high standards expected of them. They are dedicated to the principals of gracious service and attention to detail, leaving visitors happy and satisfied after their evening at Carpe Diem.

For ALL your Charlotte NC Home real estate needs call Wendy Richards at 704.604.6115 or email me at wendy@NCCharlotteHomes.com. I look forward to hearing from you! 🙂

Market Statistics for Taylorsville NC Homes (Metro Charlotte NC)

* Based on Taylorsville NC homes sold and closed.

Number
Homes Sold

Average # of
Bedrooms

Average # of
Baths

Average
Square
Feet
(SF
)
Average
List
Price
(LP)

Average
LP/SF
Average
Selling Price
(SP)

Average
SP/SF
Average
SP/LP
Average
Days
on
Market
2011 (as of June 30th)
2010
46 3 2 1,695 $152,267 $80.59 $140,315 $74.45 92% 162
2009 44 3 2 1,902 $166286 $85.45 $158409 $81.08 95% 133
2008 68 3 2 1,669 $164,206 $93.22 $160,210 $90.99 97% 130
2007 71 3 2 1,743 $167,770 $91.44 $164,160 $89.27 97% 117

Source: Carolina Multiple Listing Services, Inc. (CMLS). Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Visit the following web pages for more on Taylorsville NC Homes and Charlotte NC Homes:

Taylorsville NC Home Page

NC Charlotte Home Page

Call me for your Charlotte Real Estate needs:

Wendy Richards
Keller Williams Realty
Charlotte NC
704.604.6115
wendy@NCCharlotteHomes.com

Truly Fresh Food Awaits at 131 Main in Charlotte, North Carolina

131 Main in Charlotte NC and Cornelius NCCharlotte NC Homes and Charlotte Magazine readers are certainly impressed with 131 Main, voting it “Best of the Best” in the food and drink category for two consecutive years. The restaurant’s menu boasts “We take freshness so seriously that we don’t even have a freezer for our food!”Some of the savory offerings at 131 Main are baby back ribs, shrimp and grits, meatloaf, and grilled North Carolina Trout. Whet your appetite with the restaurant’s famous deviled egg appetizer. Charlotte NC homeowners or not can enjoy some great food here any day of the week. 131 Main is open for lunch an dinner on the weekdays with a special date night deal on Wednesdays. The fixed price date night menu is a choice of four course meal beginning with an appetizer and ending with a delicious dessert.

The restaurant features brunch on the weekends. One might not be able to enjoy a full brunch on the weekdays, but can satiate hunger with cornbread and a steaming cup of coffee from Cafe Sumatra.

The ambiance at 131 Main gives people a place to enjoy sophistication and a grown-up meal, including their choice of wine or cocktail. The restaurant has three Charlotte locations: Blakeney in South Charlotte, Cornelius at Lake Norman, and Dilworth in the heart of Charlotte NC. There is now a location in Asheville as well.

Check this great restaurant out!  You’ll be glad you did!  🙂

For more information on 131 Main visit their website at www.131-main.com.

Before going out to dinner be sure to give Wendy a call at 704.604-6115 so we can save some time to look at Cornelius NC homes, Blakeney homes or Charlotte NC homes!

Pictures of Concord, NC (Metro Charlotte NC)

Hi Everyone! Mark and I spent the afternoon walking around downtown Concord NC the other day. We took a bunch of pictures of the lovely downtown area and talked to a number of shop owners along the way! Had a lot of fun!!

Wendy Richards, REALTOR
704.604.6115
NC Charlotte Homes
wendy@NCCharlotteHomes.com

Concord Mills Mall in Concord, Metro Charlotte NC

The massive 1.4 million-square-foot Concord Mills Mall, located just a mile from the Charlotte Motor Speedway, in metro Charlotte NC real estate offers something for everyone. Kids can ride the carousel or visit the LEGO store that boasts a LEGO educational program where they can register for LEGO classes or even summer camp. The live aquarium in the Bass Outdoor World is also a big draw, as is the NASCAR SpeedPark with its rock climbing wall, laser tag, rides, mini-golf and more.

concord-mills-mall-concord-ncFor those who appreciate a bargain, outlet stores like Nike, Adidas and Eddie Bauer abound in this sprawling complex which is really six malls in one. Other stores include Best Buy, Burlington Coat Factory, Dave & Busters and The Disney Store Outlet.

For movie buffs, the 24-screen AMC Theater is sure to please, especially the midnight screenings at the IMAX 3D Theater. When it’s time to eat, you are sure to find something for everyone at the Food Court with its plentiful choices.

Owned and operated by Simon Malls since 2007 when it was bought from the Mills Corporation, Concord Mills Mall has been in operation since 1999 and houses more than 200 retail stores. Located in Concord, NC, the mall is NC’s largest tourist attraction.

Be sure to save some energy after shopping at the Concord Mills Mall to look for homes with Wendy.  🙂  Call me at 704.604.6115 or visit my website to look for Charlotte NC Homes!

The Yiasou Greek Festival Gives Everyone in Charlotte NC a chance to “be Greek”

Each September, Charlotte NC residents and visitors to the area have the chance to “be Greek” for a few days. This award-winning festival started in 1978. Accolades for the Yiasou Greek Festival include awards for “Best Ethnic Festival” and “Best International Event” in the Charlotte NC area from local media.

Yiasou, the Greek word for hello, goodbye, and cheers, indicates the welcoming atmosphere one will find at this festival where “everyone can be Greek.”. An “agora” or open-air market is a major feature of the annual festival. Wares sold at the “agora” include crafts, gifts, and jewelry. Another focal point in the festival is the Greek Cultural Exhibit which shows off a sizeable collection of Greek art, including pottery, statues, and more.

Festival admission is inexpensive at $2 per person over 12 years old and free for children under 12 years old. The food will cost extra, usually between three and seven dollars per treat, but it is money well spent. Some delectable dishes include “Athenian” baked fish, spanakopita, roasted lamb, and gyros. A traditional dessert with a not-so-traditional finish is the Baklava sundae. The nutty, filo-dough wrapped dessert will have your mouth watering, especially with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

The Byzantine era cathedral where the festival is held hosts tours during the event. There are also various performers, including famous Greek music and traditional, costumed Greek dances. In 2010, Kostas Kastanis was a featured artist. The year 2010 was the 33rd year of the festival which ran from September 9-12.

After the festival is a great time to look at Charlotte NC Homes!  Give Wendy a call at 704.604-6115!

The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte: Where Luxury Meets Warm and Welcoming Atmosphere

Make vacationing a luxurious experience with a stay at the Ritz Carlton, Charlotte, NC. Vacationing in style is possible with the hotel’s location at the center of Charlotte’s bustling cultural activity. The luxury found at the Ritz Carlton, Charlotte also comes with a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

This hotel is loaded with amenities. It offers excellent dining with a variety of choices, spectacular views of the Charlotte skyline, and a Span and Wellness Center at the penthouse level. All of these features are designed with sustainability in mind, earning the Ritz Carlton, Charlotte the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or “LEED” Gold Certification.

Big name sights here in Charlotte are the new NASCAR Hall of Fame and the Discovery Place Museum. The Ritz Carlton, Charlotte is also steps away from NBA games, museums, and arts and cultural events. Take a short drive to experience some more of Charlotte’s magic at the Charlotte Motor Speedway or the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Do not miss the Carowinds Amusement Park and the Carolina Raptor Center.

If you are in town, staying at Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, have some time and want to look at some wonderful Charlotte NC homes, just give Wendy a call at 704.604-6115!
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