Costello Real Estate & Investments Blog | Costello REI

How to create a positive work from home environment

The past year has seen a major shift in the way that many businesses operate. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more companies have started offering work from home options for their employees. This trend is likely to continue even after the pandemic has ended, as many people have come to appreciate the benefits of working from home. For businesses, work from home arrangements can help to boost productivity and morale, as well as reduce overhead costs. And for employees, working from home can provide greater flexibility and autonomy. If you're one of the many individuals moving to a work from home environment how do you make sure your new office is “move in ready”?

Whether you're starting from scratch or looking for a new home with everything you need, here are a few important things to keep in mind when planning out your home office. 

SIT NEAR A WINDOW

Research has shown that natural light can help to improve our mood and increase our productivity. And if you spend a lot of time looking at screens, exposure to natural light can also reduce symptoms of digital eye strain. So if you're looking for a way to create a positive work environment in your home, sit near a window and let the natural light do its magic.

PAINT THOSE WALLS

When you work from home, it's important to have a positive and productive work environment. One way to create a positive atmosphere is to paint your walls in colors that promote productivity and happiness. For example, blue is known to promote productivity, while yellow is a happy and emotional color that can be good for...

Why Today's Housing Market Makes it the Best Time to Sell?

Why Today's Housing Market Makes it the Best Time to Sell?

If you've been thinking about selling your home, but wonder if now is the right time, here is some information about the current housing market to inform your decision:

The current housing market is perfect for sellers, thanks to increasing prices and low-interest rates. With demand high and supply low, your home is likely to sell quickly and for a good price. 

In general, It's a seller's market. When there are more buyers than sellers, it's considered a seller's market. This gives you an advantage in negotiations and makes it easier to get the price you want (or even better).

This is usually due to a combination of low-interest rates and high demand from buyers. A seller's market can be a great time to sell your home, as you are likely to receive multiple offers and could sell your home for more than the asking price. If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in a seller's market, it is important to work with an Experienced Real Estate Agent who can help you navigate the process. 

So how much can I get for my home?

Home prices in the United States have been on the rise for the past several years. According to the Canopy Realtors Association North Carolina has seen an increase in median home prices over just the past year. In Charlotte, NC alone the median home price is currently $380,000 (up 22.3% from May of last year). The value of your...

Is Right Now The Best Time to Buy A Home?

Should you buy a home in this crazy market?

The answer varies per person. Let me give you a couple of things to consider so you can decide what is best for you.

Let's start with pricing...
 
In 2016 my wife and I moved to NC and purchased a new home. I told my wife, "Just so you know, we are buying at the top of the market and will be underwater for a while." Now, with $200K of equity, I am happy to say I was wrong. After 17 years in this industry, I have learned that timing the market is a fool's errand.

Those that thought the market was overinflated 2 years ago and held out are finding that after two years of 20% appreciation they can no longer afford a home. Even if, OR WHEN the market turns it is unlikely that the decrease in values will be significant enough to drop to sub-2020 pricing. We have a housing shortage in the US so that doesn't change with market shifts.

Interest Rates

Over the last year, interest rates have risen from around 3% to up to 5%. Since the majority of us make decisions based on the monthly impact of the payment and not the overall price the payment is critical to each of us. Here is the problem. For every percent that interest rates increase you lose 10% buying power. Therefore, if you wanted a home this year with a 3% interest rate that costs 300k the payment would be around $1414 a month. If you wanted to keep the same payment but rates were now at 4% you would need to buy a home at $270k which would be a payment of $1404.

When should you potentially...

Finding The Right Agent To Sell Your Home

Are you thinking of selling your home? If so, you're probably wondering how to find the right Realtor®. There are a lot of factors to consider, but with a little research, you can find the perfect fit for your needs. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

First, take some time to think about what you want in a Realtor®. Do you prefer someone who is local and knows the area well? Or would you prefer someone who is part of a large national team and has more resources at their disposal? There are pros and cons to both options, so it's important to weigh them carefully before making a decision.

The benefit of going with someone in your local market is that they will have a deeper understanding, insight into the local markets, and personal experience in the local area.

Second, ask for recommendations from friends or family members who have recently sold their homes. You can spend hours looking for a Realtor on a search engine and not get the same honest feedback that you will get from someone's personal experience, especially if they are your friends or family. This way you get to hear both the Pros and Cons of their experience.

Lastly, You will want to do your due diligence in selecting your Realtor®. Here are a few ideas to help you with your selection and qualification process:

1. Host listing appointments to see what value they are bringing to the table.

2. Check their online reviews. What are people saying about them?

3. Do they have a plan to get your home sold for top dollar and in an expeditious fashion?

4. Did they provide you with the " CMA - Competitive Market Analysis " of your home in the given market?

We hope that you found this information informative and helpful in your search for the perfect...

Repairing and Updating Your Soon-To-Be-Sold Home

Prior to putting your home on the market, ensure that you make any repairs or updates that are necessary. As a buyer, you would ideally want to purchase a home that is not a “fixer-upper”, so make sure that your home is in top shape!

Updates/Maintenance you should focus on:

1. First things first, repair any damages. The last thing a buyer wants to do is make a bunch of repairs as soon as they purchase a home, thus why buyers are less likely to purchase a fixer-upper. 

Common damages that can instantly turn new home buyers off can include anything from carpet stains or abnormalities to scratches/cracks in cabinetry & doors.

Since damages can be subjective depending on the home, it may be wise to have an inspector come and access your home to determine what needs to be repaired. Hiring an inspector to evaluate your home could end up saving you more as opposed to the potential buyers hiring an inspector. This is because the potential buyers may want the sellers to pay for the repairs that their hired inspector found, rather than you simply repairing the damages yourself. 

2. Paint fades over time, so adding a fresh layer of paint can help bring the vibrance and life back to a somewhat outdated room. The cost to repaint an entire room can range anywhere from $200 to $600. 

3. Since bathrooms and kitchens are two of the most used rooms in a home, water fixtures may need replacing due to age (faucet lifespan is 15-20 years) or simply because they are outdated. Don't be afraid to update your faucets prior to selling!

Many home buyers agree that if a home's bathroom or...

FIND A GOOD REAL ESTATE AGENT!

Finding the right real estate agent can make or break your home buying experience. And before you ask, yes, having a realtor® is vital when buying a home! This is especially the case when negotiating fees, making the right offer, and ensuring that all goes smoothly. Think of a realtor® as, essentially, your "real estate guide". Your "guide" is there to help you every step of the way! 

What to consider when choosing the right agent:

-client reviews/testimonials: reading about other client experiences with an agent can provide all of the insight you need into whether or not you should utilize that agent.

-experience: ensure your agent has the right experience that will best help you within this homebuying journey!

-recommendations from family & friends: friends and family can offer fantastic recommendations to agents that they know, or could have used themselves.

We know that choosing the right real estate agent for you can be a very overwhelming and exhausting process. This is why we HIGHLY suggest reaching out to some of Costello REI's realtors® as they are some of the most skilled and knowledgable individuals you may ever come across!

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Researching The Area

Knowing about the area you're considering laying your roots in is extremely important not only to you as a buyer, but to you as a potential future seller. Some things you might want to consider when purchasing a home include, but are by no means limited to: 

Crime Rates

Crime rates in the United States vary depending on the state and city.  Some states may be considered highly safe in terms of crime, however other areas, such as Anchorage, Alaska, are considered to be the most dangerous in the nation.

When thinking about crimes, many may jump to violent crimes committed against others, however, more than 1 million burglaries are committed each year, about 3,300 per day. High-crime areas pose not only a physical threat but also poses a threat to your property.

Ease of Access

For those not wanting to be in rural areas, ensuring the accessibility of a property to places such as the grocery store, pharmacy, or other locations plays a key factor in every homebuyer's ultimate decision.  Three things to consider, include bikeability, walkability, and drivability. 

Bikeability is very important when considering purchasing a home as this can increase the resale value of the home if you resell the home to an avid biker or someone wanting to decrease their carbon emissions!

Walkability is determined by a home's location to its surrounding developments. For example, homes that are within a couple of miles of major development, shopping center, etc. are considered to have a good walkability score. 

Drivability is essentially how drivable a home is from the surrounding developments. For people that may reside in a rural area, drivability may be much lower than say those who reside in an urban area. 

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Calculate Costs & Plan Ahead

Prior to purchasing your home, it is vital to calculate all of your potential fees going through this process. Nothing is worse than having unwanted or hidden fees sneak up on you at the wrong time! That's why we suggest that buyers should always be prepared, if not overprepared, for such circumstances. 

Some fees you will be required to cover:

  • You should expect to cover closing costs, which can range anywhere from 2 to 5% of your loan amount. 
  • In order to get an estimated value of the home you're looking to purchase, you will need to get an appraisal. An appraisal is needed for lenders to determine your loan-to-value ratio. Of course, there are fees associated with getting an appraisal, which can range anywhere from the low hundreds to $1,000.

  • Many lenders can require that you get a home inspection on the property. A home inspection can range anywhere from $300-$500, depending on the area you live in. Getting the property inspected prior to purchasing is not only a good idea on the lender's behalf, but it also reinforces you, as the buyer, that your big-time investment is structurally sound. 

Many homebuyers make the mistake of not acquiring a home inspection prior to purchasing, which is a choice that they typically end up regretting later.  For example, some of the most common problems witnessed by home inspectors are with the property's drainage, roofing, and foundation. Such issues could end up costing you more...

Applying for a Mortgage Loan Pre-Approval

As a buyer, it is paramount that you get preapproved for a loan as this shows sellers that you are a reliable candidate. Being preapproved means that you have the buying power to make an offer on your potential new home. Preapprovals allow for you to make an offer, go under contract, and begin the underwriting process.

Prior to applying for preapproval, there are some things you should do to ensure you will get preapproved with no hiccups. 

1. Check your credit score. You will have a high chance of receiving preapproval, as well as a substantial loan if you have a credit score above 620. However, if you have a score of 740 or above, you will qualify for some of the best mortgage rates available!

Need to rebuild your credit prior to preapproving? Some things you can do to help build back some of your credit scores involve paying all of your bills on time, getting a secured credit card that you pay your balance in full monthly, using a credit repair specialist, and limiting your credit usage.

2. Calculate your DTI, debt-to-income ratio. It's important to determine your monthly debt to monthly income so you can better establish the type of loan you can afford. To do this, divide your monthly debt costs, by your monthly gross income amounts. Having a good DTI below 35% will help you secure a better rate and allow for you to get through underwriting.

3. Ensure you are financially stable and have a steady employment history. Having a reliable income shows lenders that you are a reliable candidate, thus allowing them more flexibility when it comes to the loans they can offer you!

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Applying for a Mortgage Loan Pre-Approval

As a buyer, it is paramount that you get preapproved for a loan as this shows sellers that you are a reliable candidate. Being preapproved means that you have the buying power to make an offer on your potential new home. Preapprovals allow for you to make an offer, go under contract, and begin the underwriting process.

Prior to applying for preapproval, there are some things you should do to ensure you will get preapproved with no hiccups. 

1. Check your credit score. You will have a high chance of receiving preapproval, as well as a substantial loan if you have a credit score above 620. However, if you have a score of 740 or above, you will qualify for some of the best mortgage rates available!

Need to rebuild your credit prior to preapproving? Some things you can do to help build back some of your credit scores involve paying all of your bills on time, getting a secured credit card that you pay your balance in full monthly, using a credit repair specialist, and limiting your credit usage.

2. Calculate your DTI, debt-to-income ratio. It's important to determine your monthly debt to monthly income so you can better establish the type of loan you can afford. To do this, divide your monthly debt costs, by your monthly gross income amounts. Having a good DTI below 35% will help you secure a better rate and allow for you to get through underwriting.

3. Ensure you are financially stable and have a steady employment history. Having a reliable income shows lenders that you are a reliable candidate, thus allowing them more flexibility when it comes to the loans they can offer you!

GET YOUR PREAPPROVAL TODAY with MOVEMENT BANK!!

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Enjoy Charlotte's Holiday Season

The holidays are always full of fun festivities for those of all ages. Charlotte is no exception to this annual occurrence. Each year, Charlotte and the surrounding areas host a variety of different events centered around celebrating the holiday season.

In this article, we're going to discuss which locations around the Queen City have the hottest events and activities this season.

Visit Christmas Town U.S.A.® (aka McAdenville, NC)

Hidden within a small area of Gaston County, just west of Charlotte, NC, is McAdenville. With a population of just 689, this historic town certainly has a bigger-than-life personality when it comes to the holiday season. 

Every night until December 26th, from 5:30 PM to 10 PM, visitors are encouraged to take a drive, stroll, or jog through this popular town's holiday display! USA TODAY voted McAdenville's festive display amongst their "10 Best public holiday lights display in the Nation". 

It's a Very Speedway Christmas

Until January 16th of 2022, Charlotte's Motorspeedway will be hosting its 12th annual "Speedway Christmas". During this time, visitors can drive through the nearly 4-mile long holiday display that includes over 4 million synchronized lights. Be sure to turn on your radio as you watch the lights dance to the music!

Iceskating Around The Whitewater Center

'Tis the season to enjoy the ice! During this time of the year, the Whitewater Center in Charlotte opens its doors to those that want to lace up their...

Top 4 Home Improvement Tips

Home renovations can be a big and costly ordeal. Did you know that in the United States, most homes need improvements since about 80% of them are more than 20 years old? 

Likely, you will find yourself needing home renovations and improvements during your homeownership. Whether you're looking to sell your home or wish to update some outdated items in your home, these four home improvement tips are sure to suffice. 

1. Update the kitchen

Did you know that the kitchen is considered to be the most used, and the primary focal point of any home? Much of this has to do with its location, usually being in the center of the home's ground floor.

Seeing as how it is the most visited area, after some time the kitchen can appear outdated and worn-out. Updating items in your kitchen, such as cabinets, appliances, or handles, will help give your home a new look and feel. 
Updating a kitchen can cost anywhere from $500 to $4,000. This is good news for those that want to do both major and minor updates to their kitchens. 

2. Add a fresh layer of paint

Like anything else, paint tends to fade, wear, and acquire scratches/blemishes over time. Adding a fresh layer of paint can easily brighten up your home, giving it a breath of fresh air without spending a fortune! 

If you want to DIY the whole project, you can spend $100 to $300 on paint per room. However, hiring a professional to paint your home can cost anywhere from $500 to $800 per room. 

3. Update bathrooms 

Think about how many times you touch a handle in your home per day. Probably a lot, right? Now consider how many times you go into your bathroom. Maybe a few times a day, right? Virtually everything...

7 Things to Do in Raleigh, NC

Raleigh is North Carolina's state capital and one of the most visited spots in the southeast. Raleigh, NC was founded as the state capital in 1792, and 229 years later, the "City of Oaks" is still bringing in tourists from across the country. Many don't know that "Rolling Stone" actually named Raleigh as one of the top 8 rising music cities within the country!

1. Visit the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences

The NC State Museum of Natural Sciences receives over 1 million visitors annually at its 300,000 square-foot location in downtown Raleigh.  This nature-based museum is focused on integrating hands-on learning with the ecological sciences. 

2. Take a Stroll Through Pullen Park

Pullen Park originally opened in 1887, was the first public park to open within North Carolina, and is in fact the 16th oldest amusement park in the world! This park is a major tourist attraction to most visiting Raleigh, considering it is the 5th oldest amusement park in the country. 

Today, visitors can enjoy a variety of amenities including riding the carousel, renting some pedal boats, utilizing Pullen Park's Aquatic and Community Centers, as well as walking around the 66.4-acre park. 

3. Visit Raleigh's Historic Locations

Since Raleigh has been North Carolina's state capital since 1792, it's pretty much a given that this city has quite a few historic locations! Within Raleigh, you can visit areas such as the Fayetteville Street Historic District, Mordecai Historic Park, and even the ...

Top 15 Charlotte Neighborhoods For 2021

Did you know that it's estimated that 120 people move to Charlotte every day!

Now, with the new year approaching fast, we wanted to give you our picks for which of Charlotte's neighborhoods are some of the best picks during 2021. Whether you're relocating from out of state, or you're just looking to relocate down the street, this comprehensive list will help arm you with the insight and knowledge you need to make the best decision. Here's a quick look at the top 15 Charlotte neighborhoods to consider when searching for your next home.

1. Plaza-Midwood

Found on the top of just about every neighborhood list for Charlotte, Plaza-Midwood is a vibrant spot with plenty to offer. It's not far from Uptown, making it a very popular location. In fact, Plaza-Midwood provides a small-town feel, with the hustle and bustle of the Queen City life. Average homes in this neighborhood range from $300k to upwards of $1.2 million.

In addition, the community and its residents are so friendly and inviting, you'll instantly feel right at home. Not to mention that the area's vibrant atmosphere is filled with art galleries, restaurants, as well as the Charlotte Country Club. 

2. Dilworth

Since 1891, the first streetcar suburb of Charlotte, Dilworth, has been very popular for those looking to relocate due to its deep historical roots and the abundance of activities.

The location also makes it easy to enjoy most of what Charlotte has to offer, such as local shops, unbelievably yummy restaurants, museums, art galleries, and so much more! In Dilworth, you can instantly feel the woven fabric of culture, community, and location all intertwined within this walkable area. 

Within...

3 Reasons You Should Move To North Carolina!

North Carolina has become one of the hottest spots for new residents!

Did you know that NC has been ranked the 9th most livable state within the country? This astounding rating is determined by the overall quality of life, cost of living, among other factors. The influx of new residents is likely due to NC's lower costs, consistently mild seasons, and overall strong economic roots.

1. Lower Costs of Living

NC's overall cost of living has been ranked at number 19 out of all 50 states, being that it is 8% less expensive than the U.S. average.

With the median U.S. home price being $369,800 as of January 2021, it is safe to say that most of the country's residents are looking to save money where ever possible on such an important purchase.  Hawaii currently has the median highest home price at $615,300, while North Carolina's home median price is tremendously lower at $202,215. 

Not to mention the fact that North Carolina is among the states with the lowest tax rates in the country!  According to online data, North Carolina collects only $974 in property tax per capita. This is substantially lower compared to the state with the highest property tax per capita, New Hampshire, at $3,307. 

2. Experience All 4 Seasons

North Carolina is located along the Southeastern Coast, right in between Virginia and South Carolina.  With mountains located throughout much of the state, North Carolina allows for the best of both worlds with its coastline pairing the beautiful Atlantic Ocean.

The weather and climate in North Carolina remain consistent, with little to no extremes.

  • The Spring and Summer expose the state's true natural beauty with many heading to the 37,853 miles of rivers and 59 lakes found across the state.
  • Fall in North...

3 REASONS TO SELL YOUR HOME NOW!

Over the past century, home prices have maintained a steady increasing trend, pushing the overall housing market in favor of sellers. Although there are a plethora of reasons supporting why right now is the best time to sell your home, in this article, we're going to go over three of our top reasons!

1. Home Prices Are ON THE RISE
Throughout the past century, data has supported the constant trend of rising home prices. For example, in 2021, the average single-family home in Belmont, NC sold for $319,825, however, in 2010, the average single-family home in this city sold for only $210,600. That's a $109,225 rise in median home prices in Belmont within the past 11 years.

2. Inventory Is Low
Historically, the inventory of available homes on the market has fluctuated throughout the years. However, as of October 2021, the inventory of active listings within the Charlotte Metro area has hit some of the lowest numbers not seen since prior to 2015. 
The primary reason for such a decrease in houses on the market can be linked to the increasing cost of lumber along with the overall availability of land. 

3. Homes Are Selling In Record Time
According to Canopy Realtor® Association, a single-family home stayed on the market for an average of 47 days in September of 2020.  In September of 2021, a single-family home stayed on the market for an average of only 21 days. These numbers follow the ongoing trend of homes essentially "flying off of the shelves" in record time. 

In conclusion, with future housing market predictions indicating similar trends of decreasing inventory and days on the market, as well as increasing home prices, we at CostelloREI highly suggest looking into selling your home today.  Interested in finding out more about selling your home? Check...

For Sale By Owner VS. Utilizing a Real Estate Agent

If you're wondering whether you should utilize a real estate agent when selling your home or not, the answer is yes.  In this article, you'll read some of the top reasons we suggest utilizing an agent rather than attempting to sell your own home. 

1. Emotional Grounding
Having a real estate agent helps to keep you emotionally anchored during this entire process.  For many, selling their beloved dwelling you've built a life within is a very difficult journey to embark upon. Having an agent by your side can help keep you from making irrational decisions that you could later regret, such as declining an offer because it wasn't what the sellers wanted, or even overpricing your home!

2. It's Their Job To Help Make Your Transition Easier
Seeing as how most home sellers will not be readily available to show their homes, take a phone call, or meet with a potential buyer during the week if they're working, this is when a real estate agent is vital to the home selling process. 
Without an agent, home sellers could miss out on numerous potential buyers through missed phone calls or inflexibility to show their homes during their unavoidable plans. 

3. For Sale By Owner Homes Go Unnoticed
Oftentimes, homes that are being sold without a real estate agent tend to be glanced over when prospective buyers' agents are evaluating what's currently on the market for their clients. Agents have access to a plethora of listing platforms that individuals trying to sell their homes may not necessarily know about. 

As detailed within this article, there are a variety of reasons as to why choosing a real estate agent is the ideal way to go when selling your home! Not only will all of the work be off of your shoulders, but you'll also have access to more resources than you would've without...

TOP 10 PET FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS IN CHARLOTTE

1O Pet-friendly restaurants in charlotte

pet-friendly restaurants

For every pet owner, taking your furry friend along on your daily outings can be a vital part of the bond you and your pet maintain. This is why we have done a deep search into Charlotte's most pet-friendly establishments.

1. THE DOG BAR

The Dog Bar is specifically designed to be your pup's favorite hangout spot on North Davidson Street! With an enclosed, secure interior and patio area, you can sit back, relax, and sip on your frothy beer while your dog has fun with the other pups.

2. MAC TABBY CAT CAFE

Ever wanted to spend time playing with tons of kitties while enjoying a yummy coffee? Well, at the Mac Tabby Cat Cafe, you can do exactly that! With 12 adoptable cats, customers can enjoy the amenities of a traditional cafe while also being in the company of furry friends.

3. NODA BREWING COMPANY

Well known to most Charlotte natives, the Noda Brewing Company is truly one of the city's most iconic hangout spots.  Noda Brewing provides a hip and youthful presence amongst the area, with a pet-friendly environment that will make you feel right at home.

4. LUCKY DOG BARK & BREW

With 3 locations in Charlotte, this dog-friendly bar provides indoor and outdoor play areas for all of your furry friends to socialize and play! Who doesn't love a good drink, good food, and furry playmates?

5. THE OLDE MECKLENBURG BREWERY (OMB)

This well-known hangout spot is the perfect place to come hang out with friends, both human and...

How to Transition Into a Career in Real Estate with Nelvia Bullock NC/SC Realtor® and Director of Culture with Costello REI

So, you've had your eye on the roaring Real Estate market, and the upward trends don't seem to be slowing any time soon. You've held the possibility of a career in Real Estate in the back of your mind for months, maybe even years, waiting for the right moment to make the transition from your current career. It would change your life in so many ways.

You sometimes ask yourself: "Why should I spend another minute in an unfulfilling career, not doing what I love?... I want to be outside, moving, interacting with the public, and showing beautiful homes to excited people who are so ready to start a new phase in their lives." Something like that.

And you know that you have a knack for building meaningful and lasting relationships that go beyond the purely transactional -- you're trustworthy, hungry, and passionate about fighting to win great deals for your potential clients. You are ready to make the leap, and maybe some of your Realtor friends are pushing you in that direction, too.

Chances are, with the right motivation and drive, you are going to be a big success, but Real Estate poses unique challenges that can make it difficult to achieve lift-off. The hard truth is, many fledgling Realtors fail at getting their careers off the ground, with up to 87% of realtors quitting within the first 5 years (yikes!). With this breathtaking statistic in mind, it is very important to avoid common pitfalls and start yourself off on the right path.

NC/SC Realtor, Nelvia Bullock is a top producing agent in Charlotte, NC who is always excited to share the knowledge, tips, and tricks that helped her get started in her Real Estate career and maintain lasting success. Here is some of her best advice for getting a good start in the classroom and thriving in the real world of Real Estate.

Select A Good Real Estate School

The Real Estate world can be a shiny...