Renovations: New Kitchen or New Roof?

When it comes to big renovations many homeowners want to invest in a new kitchen or updated bathroom which makes sense, buyers are looking for these spaces to be modernized, and they both top the list of home renovations that pay off, with a nice return on your investment.

house blog

But when it comes time to sell keep this in mind, if the roof is leaking or the plumbing is faulty, many buyers will have trouble moving beyond those issues.

Before focusing on granite countertops and steam showers, make sure the furnace and plumbing are in order. A new roof and windows will return 80 percent or more at resale, while siding replacement can recoup 90 percent of its cost.

Home Improvements Stand Out

Basic maintenance of a home is not the fun part, but it’s important to make sure it’s all in good order before spending the big bucks on big projects, homes with up-to-date maintenance items will stand out, compared to a home without these updates.

kitchen blog

Projects That Pay Off

When people are buying a home, they usually focus on kitchens and baths, and it’s something they’ll splurge for.

In a hot housing market it’s an excellent investment, a kitchen can make or break a sale. Your kitchen renovation should earn around a 70 percent return on investment, depending on features and how much you spend.

A couple things to keep in mind, don’t over personalize the space or spend more on the remodeling project than your home value can support.  Ideally you can spend between 6 and 10 percent of the total home value and get fair return.

bathroom blog


An updated master bath with that spa look and feel hooks many buyers; they love the clean, stylish updated bathrooms with a large shower, his and her sinks or new tub. The bathroom remodel does add value to a home and can recoup nearly 60 percent.

Low on the List

Which projects should you skip or keep low on your list? Pools rarely return their cost, a lot of buyers see them as something they’ll have to maintain and home offices, while popular with many people working from home these days do not generate a big return.



Picture Perfect – Listing Photo Tips That Sell

By: Dina Sosa – Broker  – Ivester Jackson | Christie’s Int’l Real Estate

dina sosa realtor broker ivester jackson christie's real estate
Dina Sosa – Ivester Jackson | Christie’s Int’l Real Estate

You’ve found the perfect listing agent and now its time for photos. This element is extremely important. Your listing agent will use these photos to advertise in print, showcase in MLS, and saturate the internet.

You want your home to be Picture Perfect.



 Entire House

  •  Turn all overhead lights and lamps on
  •  Replace all burned out light bulbs
  • Use bulbs of the same temperature (all incandescent or all compact fluorescent)
  •  Turn all ceiling fans off
  • Turn all TVs off
  • Turn all computer screens off
  • Open blinds and window treatments to let in outside light
  • Remove as many personal photographs
  • Remove small floor rugs to reveal actual flooring
  • Place all shoes and jackets in closets
  • Remove stacks of magazines, papers, mail, books, etc
  •  De-clutter fireplace mantel and hearth (no more than 5 items, including art)

 Dining Areas

Dining Room (2)


  • Around tables straighten all chairs and space evenly
  • Feature only one center piece on the dinning tables, fruit and flowers are nice options


071_Lake Level Kitchen & Billiards

  • Clear all countertops completely. No knife blocks, baking supplies, etc.
  • Leave out a max of one small appliance (ex. coffee maker)
  • Clear outside of the refrigerator of magnets, papers, photos, etc.
  • Hide garbage cans in pantry or closet if they are visible



master bath

  • Clear countertops completely. No soaps, toothbrushes, medications, etc.
  • All toilet seats down
  • Close closet doors
  • Remove shampoo, soap, loofahs, etc from the showers and bath tubs
  • Remove floor mats
  • Use only a few towels for decor


Gorgeous Outdoor Space

  • Close all garage doors
  • Remove cars from driveway and front of home
  • Remove visible water hoses
  • Remove toys, balls, bikes etc
  •  Turn on pool/water features
  • Remove trash cans
  • Tidy porches and outdoor furniture

back dusk

  • Turn on all interior and exterior lighting including all lamps
  • Turn on pool lights (if applicable) and turn on all water features
  •  Remove pool cleaning vacuums, nets, and tubes from pool
  • Turn on all landscape lighting. Double check the function of these prior to picture time
  • Turn on any exterior features, such as water fountains, waterfalls, etc.
  • If you have an outdoor fire feature, light the fires as they look nice burning
  • Remove covers from your outdoor furniture and grills if these items are in good condition
  • Compliment your outdoor space with decorative pillows
  • Make sure all outdoor furniture is evenly spaced and straightened
  • Open outdoor umbrellas
  • Stage your outdoor space with food or drink elements to showcase entertaining possibilities
  • Freshen your outdoor flowers and fill with colorful and lush plants
  • Do not water flowers within three hours prior to the shoot so they stay perky
  • Pick up and put away trashcans, toys, lawn equipment, and pool equipment
  • Make sure irrigation system is off. We like all surfaces to look consistent
  • Tidy up by sweeping surfaces and refreshening your mulch

CarolinaMLS March home sales down slightly

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association reports on the residential real estate market in this region based on Carolina Multiple Listing Services, Inc. (CarolinaMLS) data.

009_Great Room

CarolinaMLS March home sales were down 1.4 percent with 3,254 properties sold in March 2016 compared to 3,301 properties sold in March 2015.  Sales are up 38.8 percent compared to February 2016.

005_Welcoming Entrance

The average sales price ($246,891) increased 2.6 percent compared to the average sales price in March 2015 ($240,711).  The median sales price ($198,000) increased 3.7 percent compared to the median sales price in March 2015 ($191,000).

021_Master Bathroom

The average list price in March 2016 ($368,292) increased 28.6 percent compared to March 2015 ($286,316), bringing the percent of original list price received measure to 95.5 percent, which is an increase (1.0 percent) compared to the same period last year. Preliminary pending sales counts for the month of March 2016 totaled 4,864, an increase of 20.0 percent over last year at this time (4,054).


2016 Association/CarolinaMLS President Maren Brisson-Kuester said, “The CarolinaMLS region, much like the nation, continues with low inventory, which has resulted in a slow start to the spring selling season. However, from a quarterly perspective the region’s home sales are on par with last spring, up 0.3 percent compared to the first quarter of 2015.”

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New residential listings were relatively unchanged, down 0.2 percent in March 2016 compared to March 2015.  Inventory declined 27.8 percent compared to March 2015, leaving the CarolinaMLS region with a 2.8-month supply of inventory with 10,145 properties for sale. Inventory in March is up 2.1 percent when compared to the inventory at report time in February 2016, with 210 additional properties for sale.


March 2015’s supply was higher with 14,046 properties for sale, or 4.4 months of supply.


The average number of days a property was on the market from the time it was listed until it closed (list to close) was 122 days, which is 7 days less time on market than March  2015.  Days on Market, the metric that accrues for “Active” and “Under Contract-Show” statuses only, totaled 69 days, which is 9 days less time on market than last March.


The Best of Outdoor Living – Cool Kitchens, Fire Pits and Fall.

By: Lee Steinour – Digital Marketing Manager

Poolside Seating & Fire Cauldron
Poolside Seating & Fire Cauldron

Heading into the first fall weekend – the temperature is  dropping and  bugs are disappearing, which means it’s time to clean out those fire pits and stock up for s’mores.


Increase Your Home’s Value

Not only is an outdoor oasis  great for gatherings this time of year, it can also increase the value of your home.

We’re talking about complete open spaces, pergolas, gazebos or even a screened in porch.

A “Do it Yourself” backyard project with a few chairs and a fire pit can end up  as a favorite spot for neighbors to share stories and spend time together.

Fire Pit
DIY Firepit and Chairs


Create A Cozy Space

If the room is protected from the weather add a TV, upgrade the furniture – and accessorize with throw pillows, warm blankets and lamps to create a cozy space.

Outdoor Living with Fireplace
Indoor/Outdoor Living

Grill or Kitchen – Both Are Popular

While the back yard barbecue and grills are still popular, some homes now have fully stocked kitchens spacious enough to entertain and feed large crowds.

Perfect for viewing your favorite football teams. Go Panthers!


Poolside Outdoor Kitchen (1)
Outdoor Living With a View


Enjoy Your Backyard

So wherever you live this time of year, we hope it’s cool and comfortable enough to get outside and enjoy a little nature in your own backyard.

Creative Kids’ Bedrooms!

By: Lee Steinour – Digital Marketing Manager

Does your child’s bedroom have a theme? Or is it decorated in plaid, polka dots, or pink?

Create  a Magical Space.

There are so many fun ways to create a magical place for your children to dream, sleep, and either spend time alone reading a good book, or hanging out with their friends.

Bedroom boy bunk
Rocket Ship Room
How About A Favorite Vacation Spot?

Does you child have a favorite vacation spot? If so, you can recreate that dream space in their room like this one – “The Lake House.”

"The Lake House" Room
Lake House Room

This room showcases many of the things that represent a family mountain/lake retreat; including bears, fishing rods, paddles and more.

And you don’t need to spend a ton of money on decor; local shops are full of fun finds, or go search through a local antique shop or consignment store to find unique accessories.

Antique signs and medals
Antique signs and baseball medals
Highlight your son or daughter’s achievements.

Many kids excel in sports, dance and other activities, it’s a great idea to highlight their love of the game with uniforms, photos, and gear.

Throw their old jerseys, hats, medals and photos up on the wall for all to see!

"Take Me Out to the Ballgame" Room
“Take Me Out to the Ballgame” Room

Not every room needs a theme, but maybe a pretty color on the walls, cute accessories, wall decals or think about painting your own design.

Bedroom kids

Bunk beds seem to be a favorite, although we’ve heard it’s hard to make up that top bunk!

Bedroom bunk (2)


No matter what you and your child choose, we know the hardest part is keeping the room looking as nice and clean as these pictures!

Pinterest is always full of great decorating ideas, so head on over to  our Pinterest “Kids’ Room Ideas” board. You’ll find everything from Lego Walls, to indoor forts and princess playrooms.

LInk here:

Happy Decorating!