The Importance of Location and Happiness

The Importance of Location and Happiness

By Andrew Hill @

So you’ve heard the saying, “Location, location, location.” Often times this is tied into the monetary aspect of your home- what it will cost you and how much you can plan to sell it for. But location is also very much related to your happiness, because if you like where you live it will go a long way.

First thing’s first: given enough time, effort, and capital, nearly everything else about your home can be changed. The paint, the fixtures, the tile, everything. The one thing that you cannot change is the neighborhood you live in. Be sure you enjoy your surroundings. If you’re married with children, don’t move into a neighborhood with 20-somethings if you can’t see yourself being friends with them. If you need peace and quiet, please don’t look at homes in the city.

Location also applies to proximity. Are you the type who needs a grocery store within walking distance? Or do you prefer to only go into town a few times a month? Be sure to also consider your proximity to work. Traffic makes us miserable. As the Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert says, “Driving in traffic is a different kind of hell every day.” If you hate commuting an hour and a half, then you need to buy a home that’s closer to work. Cut that commute down from a three hour round trip to only one hour a day, and in just one week you’ll save ten hours- in a year you’ll gain more than 20 days!

Another key location factor are your streets and sidewalks. “Sidewalks?” you ask. Absolutely! Are you an active jogger? Do you want to live in a neighborhood where kids play in the street? Do you want to be able to take a walk with you family or pet? Sidewalks are a good indicator of location quality. They’ll tell you plenty about what goes on and how safe your neighborhood is.

Which brings mean to my final point: crime rate. Not to be overlooked is the influence of location and crime rate. If you are the type of person who fears rough city dwellers, get a home in the suburbs. If a small amount of crime doesn’t bother you so long as you have a downtown loft, go for the loft. You need to be conscious of what you want to surround yourself and your family with, as well as what you can afford. Everyone wants to feel safe, but some are more comfortable in certain communities than others. Make sure you are in tune with your comfort zone.

As you can see, the importance of location goes well beyond your house value. Where ever you choose to rest your head, eat your meals, and spend time with your family should make you happy. Now go forth and be location conscious when finding your perfect home!

I’m buying a home and plan to be there 5 years-how easy is it going to be to sell my home when the time arrives?

The most important factors in selling a home are the exact same as when you bought it. Schools, market conditions, proximity to shopping, neighborhood appeal, and condition of your home will be the main factors.

Ask yourself-what attracted me to my current home in the first place?

Whether or not you need schools at the time, schools will continue to play a vital roll in protecting your value and increased desirability.  Award winning schools are the most important consideration.  Great shopping centers create a lifestyle of convenience and social gathering spots.  We are all creatures of convenience and these spots are exactly that.  Whether you want to live in South Charlotte, with such shopping centers as Blakeney or Stone Crest, or up North in Huntersville where you have Birkdale Village these award winning centers are a hub for shopping and enjoyment.  Today’s buyers are focused on a community and neighborhood that offer so many choices.  Country club life style of golf, tennis, and an on site restaurant, having a club house with work out facilities and a lazy river for the family or just a well groomed community play a major roll in the ease of selling your home.

Real Estate is local in nature and not all communities are impacted by “market conditions”.  Even though we face tougher economic times not all communities are declining in value.  Some communities continue to outpace the market because of the factors I’ve listed above.

Want to know more?   Do you have questions as to which communities are the best and which schools have the best ratings?  Think before you purchase and consult your Realtor.

Why Buying a Home is Still a Good Idea

Why Buying a Home is Still a Good Idea

If you think that there is no longer any benefit to buying a home, think again. Despite the mortgage crisis and the faltering real estate market, there are still plenty of good reasons to buy a home. Even as the economy continues to flounder and unemployment rates remain unbearably high, buying a house continues to be a smart move. Learn more about why it still pays to buy a home below.

  • Renting is Getting Costlier

In the old days; it was easy to argue that renting was more affordable on a month-to-month basis. In other words, monthly rent payments were often drastically lower than average monthly mortgage payments. That is becoming less and less true. In fact, it’s often possible to get a mortgage with a monthly payment that is significantly lower than the payment that goes along with the typical apartment lease. Renting isn’t always cheaper, and you could save a lot of money by purchasing a home instead.

  •  Interest Rates are at Record Lows

When it comes to buying a home, interest rates have never been lower. In recent months, they have dipped down to record lows. The overall expense of getting a home loan is, therefore, considerably lower than it used to be. The same is true about home refinancing. By refinancing right now, you could secure an exceptionally low interest rate that lowers your monthly payments by a significant margin. The real estate market may not be in great shape, but low interest rates mitigate a lot of that.

  • Housing Prices couldn’t be Lower

In just about every part of the country, housing prices have dropped precipitously. While that is bad news for the people who currently own those homes, it’s great news for people who are looking to purchase new homes. Prices are expected to drop a little lower too. They aren’t expected to start rising again for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t mean that you should wait. Thanks to these low prices, you can probably afford a nicer and larger house than you could even a few years ago.

  • Buying a House is Still a Smart Move

Whether home values remain the same or go up, buying a house is still a very viable option. Unlike renting, you will be investing your money in something that will provide long-term benefits. That is true even if you don’t end up making a lot of money when selling the house at a later date. As a homeowner, you will be able to call all of the shots when it comes to updating and remodeling your home. There is a lot of satisfaction to be had from owning a home, and there has never been a better time to buy.

Jerry Richardson on heart transplant list

Carolina Panthers Owner is on a heart transplant list after quadruple bypass surgery 6 years ago.  Mr. Richardson was not feeling well enough to make it to the Monday night game where the Panthers beat up Tampa Bay really running away with it in the fourth quarter.

Endangered Carolina Heelsplitter Back in the News

The Carolina Heelsplitter (a local species of freshwater mussel) is back in the news.  The Charlotte Busines Journal wrote on October 31st about the latest development and restriction news in Union County – a rural/suburban county SE of Charlotte NC.

Relocating to Charlotte North Carolina

When I speak with new clients, the most often asked question is, “Where should I live?” Well, that depends on your needs. If you have school age children you need to be considering the best schools. As a parent that moved here over 26 years ago my research was limited. Now I would go to and In addition, for Charlotte North Carolina schools, you can go to CMS.K12.NC.US. My clients have used these sites and find them to be worthwhile. We were lucky that in spite of not having accessible data we landed in the better school zones. Our children are grown, out of grad school with outstanding careers here in Charlotte.

So what else is important in order to find that great home in that perfect community? Selecting that right Realtor that cares more about your success happiness than the income they will receive. E-mail me with your questions and concerns on these two very important topics and I’ll elaborate. I can be reached at

Google Maps Street View in Charlotte, NC

Go to Google maps and put in your home address and then click the Street View tab.  I did mine and it was unnerving how the feel of my street came through as I panned around the cul-de-sac.  We have been looking into how to incorporate googlemaps into our site as we have found it very useful.  I was reading an article in my monthly Realtor magazine and thought this would be cool to check out.  It currently covers 40 cities and I haven’t been able to spend the time to see if this includes the suburbs as well, but what an incredible tool for home buyers relocating from somewhere else.  For the first time our buyer clients will be able to get a feel for not just an individual home, but the surrounding streetscape.  Lynn, our web guru says it creeps her out.  She’s sending a link to her parents who don’t like the idea of big brother looking over their shoulder-better watch out he’s here!

Olde Providence Rec Association Spring Baseball

This is of course very biased, but I thought it appropriate to talk a bit about the Olde Providence Tigers, led this Spring by Coach Bob Adler.  The marked improvement in the boys physical skills and more importantly mental skills just blew me away and the coach deserves much credit for stressing the basics and keeping the boys focused mentally.  They didn’t come away with the championship this season, but they can walk away knowing they are better players due to their and their coaches’ efforts this season.

OPRA spring baseball

On another note check out Coach Adler’s other passion-BBQ

Coach Adler’s BBQ

Buy low, sell high applies to real estate

Many people in Charlotte and around the country are realizing that there are opportunities to be had in Real Estate.  It’s funny that so many folks seem to forget the old adage buy low-sell high!   It applies in stocks, real estate, or whatever.  We had two of our clients (see featured article from the Charlotte Observer) who took advantage of a seller who was willing to sell the house below market value in order to get their equity out.  Our clients will have to put in some cosmetic repairs and spruce the place up, but at the end of the day they were able to buy the house cheaper than most of their neighbors.  With solid schools and a great location this was a great opportunity.  Many people are beginning to ask themselves how long will these deals remain on the table from motivated sellers and homebuilders looking to get rid of excess inventory.  Centex homes recently had a one weekend blowout event to reduce the inventory of completed homes.  It worked and they have a much smaller number of available homes and their prices have been restored to the previous levels.  If you didn’t buy that weekend you might have missed an opportunity.  I don’t have a crystal ball – if I did I would be in Vegas knowing when to bet it all on black 17 – but I do know that the way to make money in America still involves the concept of buy low-sell high.

Ah….No more lawn mowing

How would you like to own your own home and have someone else do the yard work?  My home owners association dues covers just that and more!  Not only does it cover the yard but it also includes the swim club and play ground.  I live in a great community with some of the best schools around.  We have five shopping centers with in 5 minutes of our home and have easy access to the interstate.  I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it, “Living in Charlotte is like being on a permanent vacation” and oh by the way I just happen to go to work!

Irv Schwebel