Costello Real Estate & Investments Real Estate Blog

Charlotte's Best Water Activities for the Summer

The summer gets hot in Charlotte and cooling down is as easy as hitting the closest place with water. Whether you want to take a trip to the lake or enjoy a water park, there are plenty of choices near Charlotte. Here's a look at some of the very best water activities to enjoy this summer in Charlotte.

Queen's Landing

Great sightseeing and dinner cruises are offered on Lake Norman from Queen's Landing. this company offers the Catawba Queen, which is a Mississippi riverboat or the Lady of the Lake, which is a luxury yacht. You can choose a meal including a four-course plated option or a buffet-style option. They even hold special events for holidays throughout the year.

Carolina Harbor at Carowinds

The Carowinds amusement park is a great spot to enjoy and after a few coasters, you can beat the heat at Carolina Harbor. Enjoy the Myrtle Turtle Beach and Kitty Hawk Cove, which are both kid-friendly and perfect for the family. They also have a six-story slide called Blackbeard's Revenge and plenty of other fun options for all ages. If you want to really enjoy the water park, get a season pass and go multiple times.

U.S. National Whitewater Center

Those looking for some serious action on the water will want to head to the U.S. National Whitewater Center. this spot offers a variety of watersports including Family Rafting, Adventure Rafting, Rodeo Rafting and so much more. Enjoy stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking and plenty of other flat-water activities here, too.

Several events are held here throughout the year including camps, live music, and festivals. You can enjoy an event or...

12 Excellent Music Festivals within Driving Distance of Charlotte

Music festivals are a ton of fun and the summer is filled with great music festivals. While Charlotte holds plenty of great events, sometimes, you just need to get out of the city to find a great music festival. Here's a look at 12 of the very best music festivals coming up less than 100 miles from Charlotte.

Chickweed

Held in Salisbury about 42 miles from Charlotte, Chickweed will be on July 21st. It will be held in The F&M Trolley Barn with a cost of $15 in advance or $20 at the gate.

It's an annual indoor-outdoor music festival with plenty of art involved. All musicians are women and the proceeds benefit women and children victims of violence. Performers include Daisy clover, Laura Vella, Rebecca Stinson, The Shana Blake Band and more.

Barnstock BYOB Music Fest

On July 21st, you can enjoy Barnstock in Huntersville, NC. This will be the 10th year for this festival, which is a BYOB festival. The cost of admission is $20 and parking is also $20. This is a 21 and older event only with performances from FamJam, White Collar Funk, Atlas Road Crew, Glen Shepherd and many others.

Reevestock

Held at the Reeves Theater in Elkin on Friday and at Elkin's Hidden Amphitheater in Elkin on Saturday, this music festival is about 76 miles from Charlotte. Tickets range from $23 to $40, depending on how many days you will attend and whether you buy in advance or at the door.

Reevestock will include plenty of fun with Time Sawyer taking the stage and Todd Snider, as well. Friday night will also include a performance from BraveWorldTrio at Angry Troll Brewing as a part of the free aftershow.

Saturday...

5 Top Tips for Preparing Your Home to Sell

When it's time to sell your Charlotte home, you need to make sure it's prepared for listing. This isn't necessarily an exciting time as it can be rather hectic and stressful. The way the space looks is vital to getting it sold fast and for the right price.

While the first thing you should always do when selling a home is to hire a real estate agent, you should also start sprucing the home up for the sale. There are some simple ways you can go about getting your home ready. Here are five of the top tips for preparing your home to sell.

Light

One of the best things you can do when selling your Charlotte home is adding light to the home. Getting a new light for a room that isn't so bright can make such a difference. When you lighten and brighten your home, it will look and feel larger and more inviting.

Store the Extra Furniture

Furniture is important, but having too much of it can make your home feel and look smaller. You want to leave only the most important pieces in each room. The rest, you can put into storage.

It's also a good idea to hide any large or dark furniture to help your home feel more open. Clean out any closets that are filled with things and only leave a small number of things in each closet. You should do this with the attic and basement, as well.

This is a good time to make a decision about the things you want to keep and those you can sell, donate or trash. The things you want to keep can all go to storage and you can get them later on once you've moved into your new home.

Neutral/Fresh Paint

One of the easiest ways to prepare your home for sale is to repaint the interior. A fresh coat of neutral colored paint can go a very...

Where to Find Excellent Spraygrounds in Charlotte

The summer is hot and there's no denying it. However, it's also a great time to get outside, get wet and enjoy the heat. In Charlotte, the city comes alive in the summer and there are plenty of ways to stay cool.

Spraygrounds are a great way to keep your children cool. They offer a playground with a spray fountain and plenty of fun for everybody to enjoy. Here are some of the best spraygrounds in Charlotte offering more than just a spray nozzle or two on a concrete slab.

First Ward Park

Found at 301 East 7th Street in the First Ward neighborhood, this park offers foundations and sprinklers you can enjoy. It's found just across the string from ImginOn and the 7th Street Public Market is nearby, too. Parking is very easy to find with plenty of paid street parking or parking at the nearby decks.

Cordelia Park

Located at 2100 North Davidson Street, this sprayground offers plenty of fun. You can park in the huge parking lot up the hill and enjoy the spraygrounds for free. There's an adjacent swimming pool, too, and admission is just $1.

Romare Bearden Park

One of the best places for spraygrounds in Charlotte, Romare Bearden Park is located at 300 South Church Street. Enjoy a misting cool zone, splash waterfalls and amazing city views all at the same time. You can park at the metered spots around the park or any of the parking decks in Uptown.

Little Sugar Creek Greenway

Another great choice you may not even know exists, Little Sugar Creek Greenway offers a location at 4th and Kings at Elizabeth Park. You can park at the free lots nearby and enjoy plenty of water fun. Just be warned, the water won't come on until you walk by.

Veteran's Park

Offering a large covered area with plenty of sprayers and fountains,...

Enjoy a Glass of Wine at These Top Charlotte Wine Bars

 

Charlotte offers several great bars and a vibrant nightlife. If you prefer a wine bar, you're in luck. Here's a look at some of the finest wine bars in Charlotte.

Dilworth Tasting Room

Found in the center of Dilworth, this amazing wine bar offers a 1940s style building with a wonderful atmosphere. The Dilworth Tasting Room features an open-air courtyard and patio with an amazing secret garden. Enjoy the beautify bar made of copper, mahogany, and steel. They offer plenty of high-quality, low-production wines to choose from.

Location: 300 East Tremont Street

The Bottle Shop

An Uptown choice for your wine needs, The Bottle Shop is found within the Charlotte Marriott City Center. They offer retail wine along with wine by the glass with plenty of options to choose from.

Location: 100 West Trade Street

POPLAR

Found in the Historic Morrison House in Charlotte's Fourth Ward neighborhood, POPLAR offers wine, tapas, and spirits. They provide plenty of wine by the glass and bottle with Peruvian-inspired tapas on the menu. It's a casual atmosphere with plenty to offer.

Location: 224 West 10th Street

The Wooden Vine

Found in the heart of Charlotte, The Wooden Vine offers one of the finest wine bars in the city. You can enjoy plenty of great choices with more than 50 wines by the glass and over 300 by the bottle. The atmosphere is very romantic and relaxing with dimmed lights, candles, and wonderful music.

Location:...

10 Top Small Towns to Visit Throughout North Carolina

Charlotte is an excellent city, but sometimes you want to explore the rest of North Carolina. When you have that itch to get out and explore, you don't want to overlook the small towns throughout North Carolina.

Many quaint, small towns offers natural beauty, history and a relaxing place to visit. You can escape the noise, traffic, and fast-pace of Charlotte by heading to any of the following top small towns in North Carolina.

Salisbury

Found just 45 miles from Charlotte, Salisbury offers several history museums, art and culture sites and a great downtown area. It's home to Cheerwine, which is a very popular cherry-flavored soda dating back to 1917. You will also find plenty of other things to do here with Dan Nicholas Park offering paddleboats, gem mining, mini golf, a carousel and so much more.

Eagle Point Preserve is another very popular area in Salisbury offering canoeing, fishing, hiking and more. Of course, you can enjoy the Cheerwine exhibit at the Rowan Museum or head to Dunn's Mountain Park.

Bath

If you're looking for more of a coastal town, Bath offers a great choice. This small town was incorporated in 1705 and provides a location on the Pamlico River. It's found near the Pamlico Sound and Bath is a National Historic Landmark.

This scenic town offers wonderful views of the natural area, along with plenty of history to enjoy. It was a very popular spot for Edward Teach, also known as Blackbeard the pirate. You'll want to check out St. Thomas Episcopal Church, which was built in 1734 and the Teach's Point while you're here.

Ocracoke

A very popular small town for families and those looking to get outside, the island of Ocracoke can be accessed by ferry or plane. It's one of the best small towns on the list as there are...

Top 5 Reasons People Love Living in SouthPark

Most know SouthPark as a great place for shopping. However, it's also a great place to live with so much to offer. It's more than just an amazing place to go when you want a little retail therapy.

SouthPark offers an escape from the city with mature trees, quiet streets and plenty of space. It's an easy commute to Uptown and offers much more than meets the eye. Here are five of the top reasons many people love calling SouthPark home.

It's a Foodie Haven

Foodies flock to SouthPark for the newest restaurants and some that have been around for a while. It's home to several great options, such as Yafo Kitchen, Oak Steakhouse, The Palm and Legion Brewing. If you're a self-proclaimed foodie, SouthPark may be the perfect place for you to call home.

Several Great Subdivisions

While SouthPark offers a unique neighborhood in Charlotte, it also offers several unique subdivisions within it. Fairmeadows is one of those options with half-acre lots and homes ranging from 2,000 to 3,000 square feet. In addition, SouthPark is home to the following subdivisions:

  • Barclay Downs
  • Foxcroft
  • Sharon Woods
  • Beverly Woods
  • Mountainbrook

All of these subdivisions are a bit different, offering the perfect place to call home for so many buyers.

Plenty of Patios

SouthPark is filled with great outdoor spaces for dining with options, such as brunch at Reid's Fine Foods or lunch at Toscana. In addition, the neighborhood offers great...

Check out What's New in Charlotte This Summer

Are you sick of the old and ready for something new? Charlotte has several new things you can enjoy this summer. Whether it's dining you like, an adult beverage you prefer or shopping, there are plenty of new places to go, things to do and people to meet in Charlotte.

New Dining Options

The food scene in Charlotte is always evolving. Restaurants open, restaurants close and there's always something new to enjoy. The Stanley is one of the best new choices. This upscale restaurant comes from a James Beard semifinalist and a top mixologist.

Another new find found very close to The Stanley is The Crunkleton. It comes from another great mixologist from Chapel Hill. Caswell also opened in the same area and all three of these new hot spots took over former locations of restaurants no longer open.

Other new restaurants to enjoy throughout Charlotte include:

  • Famous Toastery in Uptown
  • Holler & Dash in South End
  • First Watch in Matthews
  • Maple Street Biscuit Company in Concord
  • Tacos 4 Life in Concord
  • House of Pizza in Plaza Midwood
  • Bardo in South End
  • 131 Main in South Park
  • Superica in South End
  • Deli St in Plaza Midwood
  • Davidson Ice House in Davidson
  • Bang Bang Burgers in South End

Along with these new restaurants that have already opened, several others will be open before the end of the summer. Some of the top restaurants scheduled to open in Charlotte this summer include:

  • Bulla Gastrobar in South Park, opening in June
  • Barcelona Wine Bar in ...

20 Fun Summer Things to Do in Charlotte

When summer rolls around in Charlotte, there are several incredible things to do. The Queen City is filled with amazing nature, places to explore, excellent dining options and so much more. If you're looking for fun summer things to do in Charlotte, here are 20 you'll want to add to your list.

Attend Taste of Charlotte

A huge food festival offering three days of fun, every foodie will want to check out the Taste of Charlotte. You'll get to sample dishes from some of the best restaurants in the city. In addition, the event includes live music, entertainment, family-friendly activities, street performances and plenty of shopping.

Enjoy a Dinner Cruise

The summer is the perfect season to be out on the water and there's no better way to spark romance than with a dinner cruise. Queen's Landing Sightseeing & Dinner Cruises offers the perfect choice on Lake Norman. You'll board the Catawba Queen Mississippi riverboat or, if you choose, the Lady of the Lake luxury yacht for an incredible cruise filled with fun, food, and romance.

Ride the Trails

The Charlotte B-cycle offers a great opportunity to hit the many bike trails throughout Charlotte. Choose the Rail Trail and enjoy Uptown all the way to South End or choose one of the other trails throughout Charlotte. No matter the trail, you can enjoy the sun on a bike even if you don't own one.

Uncover Charlotte's Secret Gardens

While they may be called "secret gardens" they aren't that secret if you're from Charlotte. You...

Top Quick Tips for First-Time Home Buyers in Charlotte

As a first-time home buyer, you may not be sure what you're getting into. It's a new process and a huge financial transaction. When you've never bought a home before, you need the right real estate agent on your side, but you also need an idea of what you're getting into. Here are a few quick tips to help the first-time home buyer.

Get Preapproved before you Shop

There's no sense to start looking at homes you think you can afford only to fall in love and have your heart broken. A preapproval letter from the mortgage company will tell you exactly what you can afford. Once you're preapproved, you can shop in your price range and you won't fall in love with a home you simply cannot afford.

In addition, the preapproval letter gives you power as a buyer. When sellers receive offers without a preapproval (unless it's a cash offer), they may not be very keen on accepting the offer. They will likely have multiple offers on the property and you need to be preapproved to have a chance.

You May Not Win the First Offer

Often, buyers get discouraged because they make an offer and it gets rejected by the seller. This happens often in a competitive market because sellers are receiving multiple offers. Don't get discouraged and always have a backup home in your mind as your second choice.

Some buyers are rather desperate and may end up offering too much. This could lead to you losing out on the property. Just know, the right home will come along and you won't have to overpay to get it.

Consider Your Entire Budget

First-time home buyers sometimes think they can afford a mortgage payment equal to what they pay in rent. This is a good starting point, but you do need to consider other expenses, such as home insurance, maintenance, taxes,...

Top 5 Picks for Foodies in Charlotte

Foodies fall in love with Charlotte fast. It's a great place for those looking for new food to try, a bevy of cuisines to enjoy and plenty of surprises. With so many great restaurants, food trucks and other spots for food, it's not difficult to find something unique.

As a foodie, if you want to dine like royalty, the Queen City is the place for you. Here's a look at five of the top choices in Charlotte for foodies to enjoy.

5Church

A hotspot featuring Jamie Lynch as the Chef, 5Church offers upscale American cuisine with an innovative twist. Enjoy amazing decor inside the restaurant and try the 60-second NY Strip. This steak is flash seared only on one side, seasoned and comes out crusty on the bottom. It's rare on top and something every foodie should try at least once. In addition, the Pan Roasted Deckle Steak and Lamb Burger are great choices for foodies.

5Church also offers private dining, if you have a group. The restaurant is found at 127 North Tryon Street, Suite 8, at the corner of Church Street and 5th Street. They are open from 5pm to close every day of the week for dinner, from 11am to 3pm, Monday through Friday for lunch, from 11am to 4pm on Saturday for Brunch and from 10am to 4pm on Sunday for Brunch.

Angeline's

While this is an Italian restaurant, it's a bit more upscale than you might be used to. You will enjoy a true family feast here with plenty of incredible choices on the menu. Enjoy the branzino, which can be served as an appetizer or entree, or try the oxtail pasta.

Known as a great gathering place in Charlotte, Angeline's offers even more for foodies to enjoy. The pasta is handmade, the pizzas are wood-fired and the menu offers dishes for...

How to Celebrate July 4th in Charlotte

July 4th is one of the most important holidays of the year and one of the most enjoyable. With parades, fireworks, cookouts and all types of fun summer events, families will be out having plenty of fun in Charlotte.

If you're new to Charlotte or you're just not sure what's going on, you're in luck. We have all the top July 4th events in Charlotte listed below to give you a better idea of what's available and where your family should go to celebrate the holiday.

Charlotte Symphony Summer Pops: Celebrate America

Since July 4th falls on a Wednesday this year, you may want to start the celebration early. The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra will hold a concert on July 1st as a part of their Summer Pops series. It will include Fireworks and plenty of patriotic songs.

This fun event will start at 8:15pm and will be held at Symphony Park The cost is $5 to $15 and children 12 and under get in free.

Family Fun Night: Queen City Brass Band

Those over in the Mint Hill area will have the chance to enjoy the annual Family Fun Night. This year it will feature Queen City Brass Band on stage, face painting, a bounce house, plenty of food and family games. However, it's important to note, this event does not include fireworks.

The Family Fun Night will start at 6:30pm and will be held on July 3rd at Mint Hill Town Hall. It's a free event for all to enjoy.

Red, White and BOOM

A very popular event held in Rock Hill every year, Red, White, and BOOM will be held on July 3rd this year. It will include food trucks, plenty of inflatables, rides, live music, an ice-cream eating contest, and fireworks.

The event will run from 5pm to 11pm in Downtown Rock Hill. It's free for the entire family...

Top 7 Real Estate Myths Debunked

When it's time to buy or sell a home, you'll likely hear plenty of myths about the process. Friends and family almost always have an opinion and could even scare you as they decide to tell you things that simply aren't true. It's best to start by hiring the right real estate agent and listening to them, not those with very little experience in the industry.

Buying or selling a home is a big deal. It's likely going to be the largest financial transaction of your life. You need to be informed. Here are seven of the top real estate myths you should be aware of.

Selling your Home as For Sale By Owner Saves You Money

While some sellers may see some success when selling their home on their own, most won't. It's important to know your own skillset before you take on this massive task. You must be able to list your home online, market the home, negotiate the deal and handle any challenges that come along, such as financing and the home inspection.

While it's very possible you could take on this job, it could also be so time-consuming you wish you would have hired an agent. For sale by owner, properties may save you from paying a commission to a real estate agent, but that agent will protect your interest throughout the process, help you price the home properly and likely get you more for the home than if you sell it on your own. In addition, you won't have to give up several hours every week trying to get your home sold.

You Have to Renovate the Bathroom and Kitchen Before Selling the Home

Many sellers think the kitchen and the bathroom must be...

Top 5 Tips for Relocating to Charlotte, NC

Relocating to Charlotte offers a ton of possibility. However, moving isn't fun and most of us don't enjoy the process of packing, moving and unpacking. It's a hassle and we really just want to enjoy our new destination.

Whether you're moving because you landed a new job, you have family in the area or you just love the city, there are some ways you can make relocating to Charlotte much easier. Here are five excellent tips to help you get to the city and enjoy it right from the beginning.

Hire a Moving Company

If you want to relieve a ton of stress when relocating to Charlotte, start by hiring a moving company. When you hire a company to handle your packing, loading, transporting and unpacking, you have far less to worry about.

With professional movers helping you move, you can relax a bit and plan a few ways to enjoy the city. A big part of feeling like you’re at home when the home is new, is getting out and seeing the area. A professional moving company will help to ensure you have more time to get out and see Charlotte when you arrive.

Become Hyper Organized

When moving from one city to another, the more organized you are, the smoother the move will go. When you become hyper-organized, you will know what needs to be done and when. Start by purchasing a notebook specifically for the move. This will hold notes from talking to your moving company, utility companies, Charlotte real estate agents and more.

Along with your notebook, you want to have a checklist of everything you are moving and where it goes. Labeling the boxes properly with more than just the room they go in will help, as well. Color coding your labeling will make it even easier.

Make sure you keep track of the schedule for the movers, the utility companies and everybody else involved....

Upcoming Events: 4th Annual Firetruck Festival

If you or your children love firetrucks, the perfect event for you is coming up in just a few days. The 4th Annual Firetruck Festival will be held on June 23rd from 9am to 5pm. It will be the largest gathering of fire trucks in the entire state!

The event will be organized by the North Carolina Transportation Museum and will include plenty of fun for everybody to enjoy. It's expected to be a record-breaking year with more than 100 fire trucks on hand. You’ll have the opportunity to meet firefighters from all over the state, look at the trucks, see the equipment they use and enjoy an amazing family-friendly day at the museum.

Along with the display of incredible firetrucks, you'll get to enjoy a fire truck parade, the Norfolk Southern Safety Train, music and so much more. This is certainly an event you don't want to miss!

About the N.C. Transportation Museum

The organizer of the event and the venue, the N.C. Transportation Museum is found on a site that was once the Southern Railway Company's largest service facility for steam locomotives. It was opened in 1896 and called Spencer Shops in honor of the first Southern Railway president, Samuel Spencer.

Four acres of the site were donated to the state of North Carolina in September of 1977. Another donation was made in 1979 including many historic structures and more land. This site eventually became known as a historic site and a part of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

The museum put on its' first exhibit in 1983 with several improvements since. Today, the museum offers an authentic train depot, 25 locomotives, many rail cars, antique automobiles and so much more. On a regular day, you can enjoy train rides, guided tours and plenty of railway history.

What to Expect at the 4th Annual Firetruck Festival...

Where to go in Charlotte for Great Ice Cream

Summer is nearly here and the temperatures are starting to heat up. It's time to prepare for the heat and one great way to prepare is to try the very best spots for ice cream in Charlotte.

There are several great spots to get a cone or a bowl all throughout the Charlotte area. However, when you want the very best ice cream, you need to know where to go.

Whether you're taking that special someone out on a date or you want to surprise the kids, there's a great spot for ice cream not far away. Here are a few of the top places for ice cream in Charlotte.

Mr. K's Soft Ice Cream

Since 1967, Mr. K's has been known as the spot for soft serve in Charlotte. The soft serve cones are very popular, but they do offer some more adventurous options, as well. You can top your ice cream with Oreos, pecans, Butterfingers and many other options. They also offer a great banana milkshake and plenty of other options, as well.

Mr. K's is open from 11am to 9am, Monday through Friday. They are also open from 11am to 4pm on Saturday but closed on Sundays. You'll find Mr. K's Soft Ice Cream at 2107 South Boulevard in Charlotte.

Pike's Old Fashioned Soda Shop

Those living near the South End area of Charlotte will get to enjoy Pike's Soda Shop often. It's a bit like a diner or ice cream shop out of the 1950s and provides a unique vibe. You can try all types of options, such as the Black Cow or a root beer float here. The shop was also part of the movie Shallow Hal, which makes it a bit more iconic.

Along with Ice Cream, Pike's offers a full lunch and dinner menu, brunch and catering. They may be known for the banana splits and sundaes, but they also serve up good salads, burgers, and other sandwiches.

Pike's Soda Shop is open from 11am to 9pm, Monday...

How to Prepare to Buy a Home as a First-Time Homebuyer

When you're looking to go from renter to owner, you need to know what to expect. The process of buying a home for the first time isn't always easy. First-time homebuyers should be prepared to buy and that goes beyond just hiring a great real estate agent in Charlotte.

While this is an exciting time, the stress can step all over your moment. However, if you go into the home buying process prepared, you won't need to worry so much about the stress. Here are some great tips to help get you started as a first-time home buyer.

Understand Interest Rates

Interest rates change often and they will impact your mortgage. When it comes to how much home you can afford, the interest rates become a determining factor. The higher the interest rate is, the less home you will be able to get due to the mortgage on your home.

It's important to know how your credit score and income will impact the rate you may get. When you have a good understanding of the mortgage you may get and the rate, you will have a better idea of what to look for when you buy.

Get your Credit in Order

Before you start shopping for a home, it's a good idea to pull your credit and see where it stands. You may be able to pay off a few small debts or catch some mistakes to boost your credit. In addition, paying down credit card balances to less than 25% of the balance can help and catching up anything you're behind on.

Whether you have perfect credit or just okay credit, you should know this before shopping for a home. There are things you can do to increase your credit score, which could lead to a better interest rate and overall mortgage.

Get your Finances in Order

Your credit score is only a portion of the equation...

Top Dog-Friendly Bars in Charlotte

You love your pets, but you can't take them everywhere with you. Maybe you love heading out for a drink, but you feel guilty leaving your four-legged friend at home. Charlotte offers the perfect answer to this dilemma.

No longer do you have to put your beloved pet in a crate and make them sit at home while you go out for a bit of fun. Instead, you can take them with you and enjoy the amazing beer scene in Charlotte with your dog. Charlotte is home to many dog-friendly bars and here's a look at a few of the best.

Lucky Dog Bark and Brew

Everybody will know the name of your dog by the time you leave Lucky Dog Bark and Brew. This is the only indoor/outdoor dog park found in Charlotte with a sports bar for both you and your dog. As long as you're 21 years of age or older, you can take your dog here for play time, while enjoying one of the many brews they offer.

Lucky Dog Bark and Brew also offers Daycare, Overnight Boarding and Baths. Of course, you don't have to have a dog to come here, either. You can show up and enjoy the dogs and the atmosphere all on your own.

Lucky Dog Bark and Brew also has plans to open a third location in the Steele Creek area. They currently have two locations one in Charlotte and one in Cornelius. For more information about the Lucky Dog Bark and Brew, visit their website here.

The Dog Bar

Another great dog-friendly bar in Charlotte, The Dog Bar offers a great place for dogs and their owners. It's an off-leash dog park with a bar and climate controlled indoor areas. The outdoor area offers an AstroTurf surface with a shaded patio. The patio also has a misting system to help keep you cool in the summer and heat for the winter.

The Dog...

Top Charlotte Neighborhoods for Historic Homes

Charlotte offers several excellent historic neighborhoods with great homes. It's a southern city with plenty of charm and it has been around for a very long time. The story of Charlotte is rooted deep in history and offers plenty of architecture to reflect times of old.

Whether you already live in Charlotte or you're considering moving here, understanding the history offer something interesting. The many beautiful homes from decades ago are something to be treasured. Here's a look at some of the top Charlotte neighborhoods with historic homes.

Fourth Ward

Charlotte is home to four uptown wards and the Fourth Ward is the northernmost of the four. It may also be the most well-known due to the amazing Victorian homes located in this area of the city.

Fourth Ward was a neighborhood in Charlotte before the streetcar suburbs were a thing. It was home to the wealthiest residents of the city. When Charlotte was originally designed to be a walking city, living in the Fourth Ward allowed residents to walk to many of the businesses.

Today, residents living in Fourth Ward can still walk to some of the best attractions in the city. Discovery Place is a great place for all ages and within walking distance, along with many other attractions.

Fourth Ward is best-known for the stunning Victorian homes, but it's also home to a few modern condominium developments. It's also known for the wonderful Holiday Home Tour held every year. This tour puts the best historic homes in the spotlight, along with some modern high-rise condo buildings. SkyHouse I and SkyHouse II (under construction) are two of the newest condo buildings found within the neighborhood.

Eastover

The streetcar revolution prompted the creation of the now historic neighborhood of Eastover. It used to be home to some of the wealthiest people living in Charlotte. Many came from the business district when...

How to Buy a Home Using Gift Funds

Gift funds are used often for purchasing a home. Typically, the gift is given by a parent or grandparent. If you're in a situation where you plan to use gift funds for buying a home, you should understand how this works.

It's not as straightforward as accepting the gift and buying the home. Nothing in real estate is ever that simple. Here's a quick guide to help you understand how to use gift funds when buying a home.

Who can Give you Gift Funds?

Before you go any further, it's important to understand where you can get gift funds from. This will depend on the mortgage program you plan to use.

Those using a Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or VA Mortgage program, also called conventional loans, will only be able to receive gift funds from an immediate or close extended family member. If you plan to use an FHA mortgage, you will have more options for gift funds including:

  • Family or close extended family
  • Government agencies
  • Nonprofits
  • Employers
  • Labor unions

You will want to make sure you check the HUD guidelines when it comes to the labor union or employer option, however.

How much of Your Down Payment can be from Gift Funds?

When you plan to use gift funds to buy a home in Charlotte, you need to know how much of your down payment you can pay with these funds. If you're after a conventional loan, you can use gift funds for your entire down payment.

Those seeking a VA home loan or FHA loans will also be able to pay the entire down payment through gift funds. However, if you have a lower credit score, you may have to pay some of the down payment in cash.

Getting Your Gift Letter in Order

Before you can use gift funds for a down payment, you will need a gift letter. The reason for the gift letter is for the lender to...