Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hapy Autumn - At LAST!

Happy Autumn!

It has been one HOT and LONG summer here in North Carolina. Over the summer - Cathie and I took a Harley out to Montana, Wyoming and Idaho for a few weeks. What a great trip. Since we’ve been back, we have been busy taking care of some things around the house - inside and out. Working on landscaping and outdoor painting in this heat was not fun. Needless to say, we are looking forward to cooler, crisp temperatures. Fall begins this week - a sign that change is on the way – at least with respect to the seasons.

The real estate market certainly hasn’t “changed” much over the last months. Even here in North Carolina where the markett held pretty steady for quite a while even during the initial downturn – things really have slowed down. Bad news for some – but FANTASTIC news for others.

If you are a buyer or a renter and have not yet taken advantage of the unbelievable values on existing and new construction (tens of THOUSANDS of dollars off original asking price – and an overflow of upgrades) as well as the lowest interest rates in decades – what are you waiting for?

I am currently working with a local couple looking for new construction and even I can’t believe the incentives builders are throwing at them – no closing costs, free warranties, tens of thousands of dollars off asking price – thousands of dollars in upgrades FREE.
And interest right around 4%.

If you aren’t in a position to buy just yet because you still need to sell your existing home - don’t despair. Make your house appealing to buyers both inside and outside by de-cluttering, painting, perking up your landscaping and most importantly – by pricing your house RIGHT. Do your homework. The market has CHANGED since you’ve bought your home – even if you bought it two years ago. The bottom line is you won’t get for it what you would have gotten for it a few years back. Having said that – if you do take a hit when you sell, remember -- whatever your buy next will be proportionately less expensive as well. NOW more than ever – it makes good sense to have a real estate professional you trust – working with you.

WE’RE STILL HERE – and we’re not going anywhere. So give us a call if you want to talk about where you stand with regard to buying or selling a home. Call us even if you have a few questions. We are here to help.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rhubarb Crumble ....... Yumm!!!

It's Spring!
So - what's in Season??? Oh, Straw-berries, Collards, Rhubarb.... a bunch of great stuff.
One thing my husband the Chef has always told me - buy what's in season because it's at it's flavor peak and..... it's Cheap!!!
Keeping that in mind as I shopped the other day, I picked up some wonderful rhubarb at the grocery store. I had all intentions of making a pie but didn't feel like fussing making homemade crust - so, I redirected back into my comfort zone and made rhubarb crumble. It's easy, it's quick and it's so delicious! And with the exception of the fresh rhubarb, it can be made with supplies you have in your cupboards right now....

Combine 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup oats, 3/4 cup sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl.
Stir in 6 tablespoons melted butter and 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts or peacans or walnuts; squeeze into large crumbles and place in the freezer.
Toss 2 pounds chopped fresh rhubarb, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon orange zest and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a 8-by-8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish.
Scatter the crumble on top and bake in a preheated 375F degree oven until golden and bubbly, 45 minutes. (I like to sprinkle a wee bit of brown sugar on the top before I put it in the oven!) Let cool for 15 minutes; serve with whipped cream.
I like to make my own whipped cream, it's so easy and makes all the difference in the world, but you can add Cool Whip, or Redi Whip, and/or Vanilla Ice cream.
A few variations of this recipe - you can add some strawberries to the recipe, or you can do 1/2 strawberries 1/2 rhubarb, and a nice finish is to drizzle some Amaretto over the top. Be creative. Crisps can be made simple or fancy - and they look beautiful served up in a delicate bowl, a beautiful large wine glass, or smothered in ice cream and whipped cream in a styrofoam bowl!
Have fun - and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pollen, pollen EVERYWHERE!!!

Just like this little bee here - North Carolina is covered in a blanket of pollen. It's unbelieveable!
We welcome spring as there is nothing more beautiful than spring in North Carolina - but having said that -with spring - comes beautiful flowers - and with those flowers comes POLLEN.
Thankfully the blanket of yellow we see covering everything from our cars, to our porches, to our pets (yes, Tobie and Gizmo get covered in pollen every time they go outside!) is not typically the kind that makes you sneeze and get itchy eyes. It's the stuff you can't see that usually makes you miserable - if, of course, you are allergic to pollen. And even if you're not allergic - it's sure to bring about a least a sneeze or two.
Not to worry though - it doesn't last long, and a few good bouts of rain will wash all of that yellow stuff off of the cars, and the porches and the pets and it will be all but a memory. Leaving us with only a bounty of beautiful flowering trees, bulbs and plants - to enjoy!
So come on out and pay us a visit. It's a beautiful time of year - with warm breezy days and cool, comfortable evenings. And while you're here - give us a call. Let us take you on a grand tour of the Raleigh area - and show you all of the reasons the Triangle area is one of the nation's top places to live, work and play!
Happy Spring Everybody!
Blaise & Cathie

Friday, March 26, 2010

It's Springtime in North Carolina....

Just a few weeks ago we were outside playing in a few inches of snow - and now... look at everything. The trees are in full bloom, the daffodils and tulips are up and flowering, and Cathie has already put our summer garden in. It won't be long before we are burriedunder fresh tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, jalepenos, and every type of herb you can imagine. We have an extremely long growing season here in North Carolina - so you'll find avid gardeners getting their seeds/seedlings into the ground by the last week in March which historically, is the last frost of the season.
Hey - you are aware that the deadline for receiving the Homebuyer's Tax Credit is coming up at the end of April? Have you thought any more about making the move to North Carolina? Well now's the time to act while you can still take advantage of that rather large tax credit.
Hop on over to our Carolina Pines Realty website and search for your dream home utilizing our Dream Home Finder link. There, you can fill in your criteria (number of bedrooms, bathrooms, size of property, etc.) without passwords, and you have access to tens of thousands of homes in the Triangle Multiple Listing Service.
What are you waiting for? Let us help you make your dream of moving to beautiful North Carolina and purchasing a home - utilizing the Homebuyer's Tax Credit - become a reality!
Have a great week.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bad News is GOOD NEWS for the Triangle...

Some folks may look at it like Raleigh's drop from the NUMBER ONE spot in the country to start a new business to the NUMBER THREE spot as bad news. But here in the Triangle - we say that's AWESOME NEWS!

Knocking the entrepreneurial ball out of the park in 2009 was Austin, Texas, which preceeded Baton Rouge, LA (number TWO,) and Raleigh, NC (number THREE) which the Triangle Business Journal justified Austin's move to number ONE by saying,

"Last year’s top market for entrepreneurs, Raleigh, drops to third place this year. Its five-year population increase of 22.5 percent was the best in the study group, but Raleigh couldn’t match Austin’s growth rates for jobs or small businesses." (1/20/10)

So while yes, Raliegh did drop from our previously held and most prestigious #1 spot to start a business in the entire country - we earned the #3 spot - and that's alright with us!

To read the article in it's entirety, go to the Triangle Business Journal - which, by the way is a great place to get employment information, business news and more.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Got Questions about the Tax Credit???

You're not alone. Everyone has questions. But with the April 2010 deadline looming in the not too distant future - you need to get moving and figure out what you're going to do.

Here are some excellent links to the Federal Housing Tax Credit Question and Answer Pages - brought to us by the National Association of Home Builders. Within these links you will find answers to Frequently Asked Questions concerning the $8,000 first-time home buyer principal residence tax credit; $6,500 repeat home buyer tax credit; as well as information on special rules that apply to military personnel:

Frequently asked questions about the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit.

Frequently asked questions about the $6,500 tax credit for repeat home buyers.

Some key points for prospective home buyers.

Special rules that apply to members of the military, the foreign service and the intelligence community.

Still got questions? Give us a call. Let us help you figure out what all of this means for you and your family. Don't let this opportunity pass you by.

If you are even thinking about making a move to North Carolina -- now is the time. Put some of this Federal Tax Money to work for YOU!
Visit our Carolina Pines Realty Website where you can search for homes with no passwords. Just click on the Dream Home Finder, enter your criteria (number of bedrooms, bathrooms, price range, etc.) and there you can view tens of thousands of listings in our Multiple Listing Service.
Let us help you make your dream of owning a beautiful home in North Carolina become a reality!
Have a great week.
Blaise & Cathie

Monday, January 11, 2010


Happy New Year.
Can you believe we are starting a new decade? We sure can't.
The older we get, the quicker time passes. And the quicker time passes - the less we should procrastinate in making our dreams come true.
What are your plans for 2010? Are you still thinking of relocating? Are you still longing for a better quality of your life for you and your family?
If you are like many people - the answer is YES. Now more than ever.
It seems that with the downturn of the economy, many people are re-focusing their attention and their lives. While the past decade was in many ways, one of decadence - it appears that this next decade, for many - is going to be one of sustenance.
We have heard (at least in our neck of the woods) that the economy is turning around. Home sales are increasing, foreclosures are in the process of decreasing, and things are starting to move again in the real estate market. While we are not yet getting too excited - I will say that we have notice small fissures in the ice. Houses that we've had sitting on the market for a good amount of time - are finally starting to move - but not without alot of sweating. And while lenders have tightened their belts a bit - there is still plenty of money out there to be lent and a good lender can sure help the process to be less stressful and successful.
People are starting to wake up from their hibernation and are begining to make inquiries - of banks, of mortgage brokers and of real estate agents. THIS is a positive sign - one we have noticed by the number of calls that are coming into our office from out-of-state buyers.
With the extension now of the home buyers tax credit to April, 2010 - there is still plenty of time for you to take advantage of not only the tax credit, but low interest rates, and some outstanding home values - particularly in this area.
Let's talk about your options and what you can expect along the road to making your dream of moving to North Carolina -- a reality. We know you have tons of questions -- and we're here to help.
Happy New Year!
Let's Make 2010 the year you finally make your MOVE to beautiful North Carolina.
Blaise & Cathie