Being Thankful….

It’s almost Thanksgiving day…and I think about how much I have to be thankful for.   Surfing the internet I found a quote “What if I woke up tomorrow with only what I thanked God for today.”  Well, there is no better time to be thankful….

Thank you for,

-my husband and kids
-my parents
-my siblings & spouses and all my nieces and nephews and all our fun family reunions…even when you drive me crazy (just kidding)
-my very special friends
-my neighbor (and also fabulous friend) who loves to feel needed every time I have to borrow something and doesn’t get annoyed when I don’t return something for a few weeks
-my husband’s technology skills
-my kid’s sense of humor, witty comments and even their sarcasm (sometimes)
-DUMC, my place of worship
– for the roof over my head
-for the food on my table & clean water in my faucet
-for my job that allows me to meet new people and help them begin new adventures in their lives
-my puppies who make me smile


The rest of what I have are just things – and if I woke up tomorrow with just what I thanked God for above….I’d be ok  😉

Happy Thanksgiving to all!



Strategies For Your Kitchen Remodel

Home owners spend more money on kitchen remodeling than on any other home improvement project.  Makes sense because kitchens tend to be the center of home life…even for those who don’t cook.

Done right a significant portion of the expense of a kitchen remodel can be recovered by the value it brings to your home.

To make sure you maximize your return, follow these smart kitchen remodeling strategies.


Get Your Priorities Straight:

Spend time planning your kitchen remodel.

  • Cooking traffic patterns: A walkway through the kitchen should be at least 36 inches wide. Work aisles should be a minimum of 42 inches wide and at least 48 inches wide for households with multiple cooks.
  • Child safety: Avoid sharp, square corners on countertops, and make sure microwave ovens are installed at the proper height—3 inches below the shoulder of the primary user but not more than 54 inches from the floor.
  • Make sure you know ALL the dimensions of the appliances and cabinets you are buying. Especially be aware of details like how wide doors open so it allows for enough clearance from other appliances and center islands.
  • Don’t start any work until all the materials have arrived in your home
  • Once you’ve completed your kitchen remodel plan…DO NOT change your mind.  Mid-renovations are the most costly “not planned on” expenses on record.


Get Professional Help: 

If the thought of planning your remodel makes you sick to your stomach consider hiring a professional designer.  Pros can help make style decisions, foresee potential problems, and schedule contractors. Expect fees around $50 to $150 per hour,

or 5% to 15% of the total cost of the project.

It’s easy to get carried away during your kitchen remodel when looking to upgrade some of your appliances. Yes, that six-burner commercial-grade range and luxury-brand refrigerator may look like “must-haves” but they may not fit your cooking needs or lifestyle.High-priced appliances are worth the investment if you’re an exceptional cook. Otherwise, save thousands with trusted brands that got high marks at consumer review websites, like and, or Consumer Reports.Lighting:            Task lighting: recessed or track lights, over sinks and food prep areas.  Assign at least two fixtures per task to eliminate shadows. Under-cabinet lights are so functional and look great as well.

  • Ambient lighting
     includes flush-mounted ceiling fixtures, wall sconces, and track lights. Pair dimmer switches with ambient lighting to control intensity and mood.


Even if you are planning on moving, functionality and durability should be top priorities during a kitchen remodel. Resist the urge to purchase low-quality bargains!!!!!  Instead choose products that combine low maintenance with long warranty periods. Solid-surface countertops, for instance, may cost a little more, but with the proper care, they’ll look great for a long time.


Remember ….products with substantial warranties is a selling advantage.

Haunted Charlotte or Halloween Fables?

Did you know that Founders Hall was at one time a medical school and while it was there in the late 1800’s some unsavory folks apparently stole a young girl’s body from a grave in Salisbury and sold her body to the school? People began to tell tales of seeing a young woman wearing a sheet wandering around the school and standing on top of the building. She would scream “why” and it was not long before people discovered that it was the ghost of a young woman whose body had been stolen from the grave and sold to the medical school. Legend has it the ghost would communicate to medical students who she was and what had happened to her as well as pleaded to be returned to her grave.  It is said that police records actually document that people went to the local police at the time and told the girls story.


The legend goes on to say that because of the information provided by the ghost, police were able to follow the trail and the story “checked out” at the time.  It was discovered that the girl’s body had in fact been stolen from a grave in Salisbury and her remains were returned to her grave.


Did you know that Latta Plantation may be haunted?  The original Latta family is said to haunt the Plantation. Employees who work at the plantation say they often hear voices of loud arguments and often hear the laughter of children. A young woman in a yellow dress is also said to be seen just inside the front door of the house. Some say she is seen carrying a basket of flowers.

There is a walking cane that is shown on tours of the home that is often seen to move on its own. A man with mutton side burns is seen going up the steps. He appears to be in a hurry and some people have claimed he speaks to them and orders them to leave the home. No one has any idea who he is. There are also often wonderful smells of apple pie cooking and people ask about it but no one is cooking.


Did you know that Spirit Square may be haunted?  The original building was a church. In 1903 it was rebuilt into the structure that exists there today. The location was taken over by the city in the late 1940’s just after the war and was turned into the theater. It’s said that if you walk by on rainy nights you can hear people inside the old church building singing hymns.

People also claim to see ghosts in the building. The ghost of a young girl is seen in different parts of the building wearing clothes similar to fashion from the late 1890’s. She is seen hurrying along and looks unlike a ghost until she walks into a wall and vanishes. She never speaks but has been seen in the building for more than 75 years.


Did you know that The Grove Park Inn may be haunted?  The Asheville hotel is apparently haunted by “the Pink Lady.” The legend says she was pushed or jumped from a balcony to her death. It is said that room 545 was her room while she stayed at the Inn and that is where she is seen. People report all kinds of strange paranormal things going on in room 545. There is said to be another ghost who regularly yells at the security guards to get out.


Did you know that The Biltmore House may be haunted? George Vanderbilt, the owner of Biltmore House, died from complications of surgery and understandably so, his wife was horribly upset. She would sit in front of a fireplace downstairs and talk to her decease husband.  It has been said that the servants claim they could hear George talking back to his wife. A headless orange cat is seen in the house and on the grounds.  Legends says that the cat was a pet of the Vanderbilt’s and one day a servant cut the cats head off because it kept coming in the kitchen. As well, there is a pool in the basement of the house and sounds of people swimming can be heard at night even though the pool is no longer functional.




In the latest attempt to address the ailing housing market, the government on Monday announced changes to a federal program that will make it easier for struggling homeowners to refinance to today’s near-record low rates.


Under the new program, homeowners who owe more on their homes than they are worth will be able to refinance no matter how much they are underwater, as long as they are current on their payments.


More than 1 million homeowners could get cheaper mortgages as a result, officials estimated.


The revamped Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) will also streamline the refinancing process, doing away with certain types of appraisals and underwriting requirements, and reducing or eliminating fees that prevented homeowners from refinancing in the past.


More than 890,000 homeowners have already refinanced under HARP, which is available to borrowers with loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac originated before May 31, 2009.


But hundreds of thousands more could not qualify — mainly because of the previous 125% loan-to-value limit on the program or because banks would not take on the risk.


Currently, about 11 million borrowers are underwater on their mortgages, with about 4.7 million of those loans meeting or exceeding the 125% loan-to-value limit.


By the time HARP expires in 2013, the federal housing agency estimates, up to 1 million more borrowers may benefit from the new regulations.


The problem: Mortgage holders still must be current on their payments for the past six months — with no more than one missed payment in the past 12 months –and they also must be able to qualify for a new loan.


Under the newly-revamped program, Fannie and Freddie will also reduce the fees they have charged in the past in order to enable borrowers to better afford the new loans.


Among the fees that may be reduced or eliminated are those for loan level price adjustments. Going forward, borrowers may not be penalized for less-than-perfect credit scores, for example.


Fees will also be waived for some underwater borrowers who refinance into 20-year or other, shorter-term loans. By doing so, it could help homeowners get above water faster.


We urge all of our clients to go to to see if you qualify for participation in these changes.