Monday, December 26, 2005

Merry Christmas!!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Beautiful Garage Homes starting at 230's, see JoAnne For Details - 919-559-7584

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The Weatherstone, Great Room, See JoAnne for details -919-559-7584

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The Weatherstone, Starting at 150, see JoAnne For Details - 919-559-7584

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Monday, November 21, 2005

Meeting with the Toll Brothers Builder Representatives

Hi Everybody,

As I promised, the update on the status of the Toll Brothers Community, out at Briar Creek Country Club.

We met Wednesday night, and the summary of what we learned is this: Toll Brothers is projecting Solid Growth in the Triangle, as their Economic Advisors are Painting a Positive outlook for our Region. They build in Charlotte, & Raleigh, with some various neighborhoods, in Cary and others are in the planning stages. Depending on the availability of Land, and resources, we could see Toll Brothers planning new Projects. We are excited to hear this positive news, as Briar Creek has opened up a great Community for many other Builders and the Convenience for Home Shoppers.

For Details on Homes in Briar Creek Country Club, Contact JoAnne - 919-559-7584

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Toll Brothers Builders Homes starting in 300's

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Toll Brothers Home starting in the 300's

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Briar Creek Golf Course Setting

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Community Information for Briar Creek Country Club

Surrounded by an 18-hole Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course and adjacent to Research Triangle Park, Brier Creek Country Club is destined to be Raleigh's most prestigious community. The clubhouse, featuring a state-of-the-art fitness center, is splendidly appointed with amenities, from pro shop and expansive men's locker rooms with steam room and women's locker rooms with sauna, to dining rooms, lounges and meeting facilities. A separate Swim and Tennis Complex features everything from a 25-meter competition pool and additional recreational pool, to two lit hard courts and three clay courts.

Briar Creek Counrtry Club, Raleigh, NC, Toll Brothers Builders

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Toll Brothers Builders, Briar Creek Country Club

Nestled amid a canopy of pines, oaks, and maples-surrounding a spectacular Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course with its emerald-green fairways-is a place where dreams of the good life become reality.Adjacent to Research Triangle Park, Toll Brothers has created a private haven in a luxurious country club setting. Brier Creek is located in one of America's most vibrant areas, a region that has the distinction of being named the nation's top area for business by Fortune magazine, the number one place to live by Money magazine-and also the number one spot in the country to retire by Consumers Guide.Here, the arts and music flourish, shopping is a great adventure, and the lifestyle is among the finest in the country.Raleigh, Cary, Durham, and Chapel Hill are just minutes away. So is Duke University, with its picture-perfect campus and diverse cultural and recreational activities. A short two-hour drive away are the sparkling beaches and majestic mountains that make the Raleigh region so desirable for those who celebrate nature in all her glory.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Surviving the Sale of Your Home!!!

The Daily Communicator
Surviving the Sale of Your Home (Part 2 of 2)
Follow your agent's advice on whether you need to be present for open houses and showings. Generally, it's often good to have the owner present for the agent's open to answer questions about the house. Owners shouldn't linger, however, during public open houses and are almost always expected to leave when agents are showing prospective buyers the house. Leaving during showings accomplishes two things: It allows prospective buyers to truly shop your house and talk freely without fear of offending you. It also protects you from the temporary insanity of hating the strangers who hate your carpet. Most real estate agents aren't this blunt so we'll say it -- excessive hovering by an owner only serves to scare potential buyers away.
Here are a few other things your agent may be too polite to tell you:If you smoke in your house, it will be much harder to sell. Consider having it professionally cleaned, carpets to drapes, and repainted on the inside. Then smoke outside while the house is on the market or until you move out.
Do you have pets that spend a lot of time inside? Does your house smell like your dog or, worse yet, like cat urine? Pet odors repel buyers; be aware of the fact that people who don't have pets are far more sensitive to pet odors than pet lovers are. In other words, you may think your house smells fine, but it might be really stinky.
Clean up, for gosh sakes! Let's face it, nobody's perfectly clean all the time, but let your inner Martha Stewart or Felix Unger come to the surface while you're marketing your house. Get rid of clutter, even if it means doing some of your packing early. Keep countertops and bathrooms shiny. For some reason, there's nothing more off-putting than some other family's crusty toothpaste on a bathroom sink. Nobody's going to declare, "Heck, I would have bought that house at full price until I saw the hairball on the floor of the tub." But a clean, nice smelling house speaks volumes on an emotional level, and will sell itself in a way that a dirty, funky place never will.
Be prepared for unexpected costs.So, you've got an offer you're ready to accept? Don't buy that magnum of champagne yet. That money may need to go toward some home repairs. This is the ultimate rub when selling your home: meeting the terms and conditions the buyer may request. In plain English, this means you may be required to fix problems that you've lived with for years in order for the sale to be completed. That burned out rear-left burner on the stove that you've endured for years? You can bet that the buyer will want that repaired. The mossy roof that adds character? The buyer will want it replaced.
These negotiations sting on two fronts: First, there's the implied judgment about your living conditions. Secondly, you're being asked to spend money on a problem that you've lived with, so someone else can enjoy the fix. The solution? Swallow your pride and be honest with yourself about the condition of your roof, and other major systems in your home. And fix that back burner now if it will really chap your booty to have to repair it later for someone else.
In the best case scenario, if you last through listing and sell your house, you may be a buyer later on. And buying a home is generally a lot more fun than selling one.
By: Anne Erickson,

Monday, November 14, 2005

Beautiful Estate Home in Raleigh, NC!

Beautiful Estate In Raleigh, Private! See JoAnne for details. 919-559-7584
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Interest Rates May Be Nearing Top

Analysts: Real Estate Rates May Be Nearing Top(November 14, 2005) -- With 30-year mortgage rates remaining just below 6.5 percent last week, some analysts say trading patterns in the Treasury bond market point to a crest in long-term rates. After Thursday's auction of $13 billion of new 10-year Treasury notes, the 10-year notes rose to 4.55 percent--the lowest in two weeks. Columnist and mortgage broker Lou Barnes believes that since the spread between the two-year T-note and the 10-year diminished to .14 percent from wider than .2 percent in recent months, "long-term [mortgage] rates may be near a top," regardless of future Federal Reserve actions. Barnes explains that the threat the spread could narrow further, possibly creating a state of "inversion," means that the Fed's movements will aim to curtail the risk of recession and, thus, create the likelihood for lower rates of all kinds later next year. Source: Inman News Features (11/14/05); Barnes, Lou

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Wilson County Country Setting, 160,000. See JoAnne for Details

Building this 2200+ Square Foot Home in Beautiful Country Setting in the Wilson County area. 20 Minutes to Raleigh, See JoAnne for Your Viewing. 919-559-7584.
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Beautiful Country Home on 1 acre Lot, 20 minutes from Raleigh! See JoAnne

1800 Square Foot Home in the Country Setting of Nash County, 20 Minutes to Raleigh, Just 150,000. See JoAnne for Details.
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Let's Start Working on Your Dream Home Today!

JoAnne Mercer, "Makes Dreams Come True"!
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Beautiful 3700 Square Foot Home just waiting for you!

Beautiful 3700 Square Foot Home in Durham, just off 98 North of Durham. Starting in the 200's. See JoAnne For Details. 919-559-7584
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The Mercer Team Hard at Work for You!

The Hard at Work "Mercer Team"! See JoAnne for your Dream Home in North Carolina. Whether it be from the Mountains to the Coast, she knows where to Find your Home!
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Falls Lake, around the Wake Forest North Carolina Area!

Beautiful Falls Lake around the Wake Forest Area just off 98, Homesites nearby, See JoAnne For Details.
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Beautiful Home In Chapel Hill, NC! See JoAnne-919-559-7584

Govenors Club, Another Exquisite Home in Chapel Hill, NC, See JoAnne for Details.
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Executive Home in Prestigious Neighborhood, See JoAnne For Details, 919-559-7584

Govenors Club, Chapel Hill, NC, 4 Million, Estate Living at it's Best in the Finest Neighborhoods! See JoAnne For Details
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Saturday, November 12, 2005

Creative Negotiations Land a Home Bargain(November 11, 2005) -- House-hunters looking for a bargain should consider properties that have been sitting unsold for longer than normal. However, they must proceed with caution, as dwellings that languish on the market often are flawed or overpriced. Many times, sellers simply are unwilling to budge on price; but industry insiders say those who must move to free up cash, start a new job, or downsize eventually will lower their expectations. Other ways that buyers can fetch a lower price include offering to close on a certain date, leasing back the home for six months, or waiving any repairs, among other deal sweeteners. Buyers who know why previous contracts failed to go to settlement will have the upper hand in negotiations. Source: (11/04/05); Swann, Greg
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Year-end tax tips5 Tips: Here are five ways to minimize your payment to Uncle Sam.November 7, 2005: 3:38 PM EST

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CNN's Gerri Willis shares tips on how to make the most of your tax return. (November 7)
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John Snow, treasury secretary, talks about tax code changes on CNN's In The Money.
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NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Tax season is still several months away, but actions you take in the next six weeks can have a lot of impact on your bill come April.
1. Don't fall into the AMT trap
The Alternate Minimum Tax is a separate tax system. It has its own set of rates and its own rules for deductions, which usually are less generous than the regular ones. And more and more people are falling prey to this tax.
AMT exemptions and tax brackets are not adjusted for inflation, so if your income has increased within the past year you may fall into the AMT zone. There isn't much that you can do, unfortunately, if you do qualify, but you can be aware of this vulnerability and plan how you can pay for it.
To find out if you're going to qualify, get form number 6251 and make sure that you're in the clear, advises Donna LeValley of J.K. Lasser Your Income Tax. While there is no specific trigger for this tax, if you pay high state and local taxes or you have a lot of personal exemptions or a high mortgage interest, you'll want to tread more carefully.
It is estimated that by the end of 2010, 30 million people will be stuck paying the AMT.
2. Count your Katrina deductions
If you housed an evacuee after Katrina, you are eligible to get a $500 per person exemption up to $2,000 as long as you were a host for at least 60 days.
If you used a car or a boat to help out in distributing supplies or disaster relief, you'll be able to get increased mileage deduction. Right now you can deduct $.34 a mile instead of the usual $.15.
If you were affected by Katrina, casualty losses that were not reimbursed by insurance or the Federal Emergency Management Association are fully deductible on either your 2004 returns or your 2005 returns. In addition, you'll be able to use your 2004 income levels to qualify for child tax credit and earned income tax credit.
3. Take advantage of tax-exempt accounts
Pay attention to your employers' open-enrollment periods. Take advantage of flexible spending accounts which will let you put pre-tax money for medical expenses including dental bills, over the counter medicine expenses or any other medical expense.
Using these accounts you will save $.30 on the dollar and there is no set federal limit. If you have children or older parents that you need to take care of, think about investing in a dependant care account. The maximum you can contribute is $5,000.
You can use this pre-tax money for summer programs, babysitting services or caretaker help. You won't pay federal or social security taxes on this money, which is a better deal than a deduction.
4. Deduct your home-office
Nearly a third of the U.S. workforce regularly worked at home in 2004, according estimates from In-Stat/MDR. Yet, come tax time, less than a quarter of these workers are likely to claim home office deductions.
Suffice it to say, the IRS's criteria for this deduction is quite strict. This is because it was the most abused areas of the tax code before 1970 says CPA Ron Hegt. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to get this deduction. You will qualify if you work for yourself and use your home office exclusively for business purposes.
If you work for a company, you can claim the deduction if it's in the convenience of your employer. So, if you've been encouraged to work from home in order to save the company some money, you have a case, but if working from home was your idea, then forget it.
And just because you don't qualify for the home-office deduction, doesn't mean you can't claim any expenses associated with a home-based business. Office supplies, the cost of bringing a second telephone line, putting in a fax line, home mortgage interest and real estate taxes is allowed as an itemized deduction on your tax return even if you can't take a home office deduction according to CCH Tax and Accounting.
You can get a sense of what the deduction may be worth to you by using a home deduction calculator.
5. Chill out on tax reform proposal
You've probably heard already about proposals by the President's tax-reform panel will make owning a home may less tax-friendly.
The plan, which was introduced last week, would substantially reduce mortgage-interest and property-tax exemptions. The reform would specify a tax credit.
State and local property taxes would no longer be deductible. Neither would interest on second homes or home-equity loans.
The mortgage-interest exemption is among the tax code's most unfair features, but you don't have to worry just yet. You will still be able to deduct your mortgage interest this year. In fact, the proposals have been met with largely negative reviews there has been no endorsement from the administration.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Realtors against Eminent Domain

REALTORS® Back State Efforts to Curtail Eminent Domain Ruling SAN FRANCISCO (October 28, 2005) – Realtors® support state efforts to curtail the recent Supreme Court Kelo v. City of New Londondecision that allows local governments to seize private property in the name of enlarging their tax base and promoting economic development. The recent eminent domain ruling was the topic of a forum on land use, property rights and environment at the 2005 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, Oct. 28-31. Realtors® feel that matters concerning land use, economic development and blight are issues better handled at the local and state level. A recent member survey underscores their opinion that state and local governments are best positioned to render decisions regarding eminent domain. Almost 70 percent of Realtors said each state should have the power to make its own laws about eminent domain, while close to 30 percent said the Congress should establish standards for the proper use of eminent domain, according to a recent member survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies.In fully half the states, a taking such as the one that occurred in New London would not have been legal due to restrictions in the state constitution, statutes or case law. In the wake of Kelo, several states have already amended their laws to further restrict the use of eminent domain, and many other state legislatures are preparing to act next session to toughen their eminent domain laws. The National Association of Realtors® applauds these efforts and encourages state Realtor associations to work with legislatures to craft reasonable reforms.“Protecting the right of citizens to be secure in their ownership of property is a core value of Realtors. Private property rights are the cornerstone of the real estate industry and a key principle of the social contract upon which our democratic system of government relies for legitimacy. Any erosion of private property rights is cause for serious alarm,” said NAR President Al Mansell of Salt Lake City.Realtors® were surprised that the Supreme Court decided to side with local governments in Kelo v. City of New London. NAR filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the court to apply a higher level of scrutiny and insist that the government provide persuasive and objective evidence to justify its use of eminent domain in cases where property is not taken for public ownership and use.The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
###Information about NAR is available at This and other news releases are posted in the Web site’s “News Media” section in the NAR Media Center.
Bankers, Realtors Unite Against Proposed Homeowner Tax Benefit Reductionsby Blanche Evans
Big spenders on Capital Hill have been trying to cut homeowner benefits for years, but have so far been thwarted by an unlikely group of heroes -- the National Association of Realtors®. Now the NAR is being joined in its fight against seeing the recommendations of President Bush's Tax Reform panel adopted by Congress.
Believe it or not, the NAR is the largest trade association in the world and is the only group that lobbies for homeowner rights. It's the NAR that gets the cap raised on conventional loan amounts so the loans can easily be purchased and sold on the secondary market, creating more money for lending. The NAR also lobbies to keep the generous homeowner benefits that were provided through the Tax Relief Act of 1997.
Nearly every year, the National Association of Realtors' lobbyists battle with congresspersons who propose ideas to take tax benefits away from homeowners. Homeowners currently benefit by being able to deduct a portion of their mortgage interest from their income taxes. They are also able to deduct state property taxes from their federal income taxes. Third, they are able to keep a large amount of capital gains if they occupy a homestead for two out of five years, up to $250,000 for single filers and $500,000 for married couples.
With homeowners so fat with equity gains, some pro-banks and pro-big business supporters would like to see some of that money return to the stock market -- where it can be spent on ridiculously high CEO salaries, parties for trophy wives, oversized mansions and other back-slapping cronyism benefits.
The way to do that is to make homeownership a little less attractive.
The first line of assault is on the mortgage interest rate deduction, which will hurt the middle class, the very group that has benefited most from rising home prices.
The last time interest rates were eliminated, consumers lost taxpayer interest deductions on credit cards and automobile loans, back in 1986.
Perhaps President Bush and his big-spending friends are hoping consumers' foggy memories will allow them to one day forget that they used to get mortgage interest rate deductions, state and local property tax deductions, and were allowed to skip paying taxes on broad capital gains derived from homestead sales.
But a few organizations are going to make sure that attempts to tamper with homeowner tax benefits are met with resistance.
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is joining the NAR in expressing its opposition to several proposals affecting homeownership.
"When he established this bipartisan panel, the President gave clear direction that any reform must simplify the tax code, be fair, bolster economic growth, and support homeownership," said Jonathan L. Kempner, president and chief executive officer of MBA. "Unfortunately, the recommendations issued today that relate to the housing market fail to meet these criteria. And, let's face it -- no matter how you dress this up it's a tax increase for a lot of working Americans."
Replacing the mortgage interest deduction with a tax credit for 15 percent of the interest paid on a mortgage valued below the current Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan limit effectively increases taxes on homeowners. This would have the largest impact in high cost areas, such as New Jersey, California and Florida, and could cause a significant drop in house prices in those areas, slowing the housing industry that led the country out of the recent recession and is a key driver of the economy, says the MBA. Additionally, this proposed change would add more complexity to the tax code by requiring grandfathering provisions and additional indexing.
The MBA said the proposal would harm consumers as well, who rely on building equity in a home to build wealth, and pay for the "rising costs of a college education for their children or prepare for unexpected financial situations. The panel's proposal would raise the cost of tapping the equity in one's home in order to pay for such important expenses.
This proposal would also require different tax treatments for home equity loans and cash-out refinances, adding complexity to a portion of the tax code that currently is fairly straightforward."
Eliminating the deductions for local real estate taxes, i.e., property taxes, would have an even broader impact -- reaching those who own their homes free and clear in addition to those who still have a mortgage. Retirees are particularly affected since many of them own their homes outright and the property tax deduction is one of the few deductions they can take. Living on a fixed income, the elimination of this deduction would be a significant added expense that many retirees cannot afford. It also particularly impacts residents of states with especially high property taxes.
"MBA supports the President's goal of simplifying the tax code in order to reduce compliance costs for average Americans. The increase in efficiency will spur economic growth," said Kempner. "Yet, we cannot support provisions, such as those outlined above, that would harm the housing markets and hurt homeowners. We look forward to working with the panel and legislators to develop proposals that achieve the goal of simplification without putting the housing market in jeopardy."
Also joining the MBA and the NAR is the National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB) which has gone on record to support protection for the federal mortgage interest deduction.
"The federal mortgage interest tax deduction helps many Americans realize the dream of homownership by reducing the cost of owning a home," says NAMB President Jim Nabors, II, CRMS.
Steve Cook, spokesperson for the NAR, expects a long, loud debate over the reforms, mainly because no one really knows what the possible fallout will be. The NAR doesn't have current data on what the loss of tax incentives would really do to the housing portion of the economy, but Cook says that the organization's research department is feverishly working on it.
"Such ill-conceived proposals should be viewed as what they really are -- hidden tax increases for the nation's homeowners, specifically, the middle class," says Cook. "A little more than 60 percent of the families who claim the mortgage interest deduction have household incomes between $60,000 and $200,000. Even those making under $5,000 adjusted gross income are using this tax advantage; in fact, about 152,000 of the 36 million returns that utilize the deduction show an adjusted gross income of less than $5,000.
Cook says that the organization studies homebuyer incentives and that tax incentives for first-time homebuyers rank high, and among repeat homebuyers, tax deductions are often specifically mentioned as reasons to buy a home.
Based on the panel's recommendations, the Treasury will also write recommendations, and then Congress will write legislation that will have to be passed.
Published: November 7, 2005
Homebuilders Sweeten Buyer Incentives(November 10, 2005) -- A growing number of builders have begun to offer incentives to attract buyers, as higher mortgage rates and home prices put a damper on sales and boost inventories of unsold homes. A poll conducted by the National Association of Home Builders in September shows the number of builders providing non-price incentives jumped to 58 percent from 51 percent over six months. Incentives now stand at about 5 percent of the sales price, according to Credit Suisse First Boston housing analyst Ivy Zelman, up from the usual 2 percent to 3 percent. These incentives include closing-cost assistance, golf-club memberships, and "employee pricing" discounts. Some builders are even offering real estate practitioners higher commissions or bonuses for bringing in buyers. The Mitchell Cos. is giving buyers of condo-hotel units in its Melia Royal Palm development in Miami Beach a 10 percent price discount and pledging to repurchase the units in 18 months for 12 percent more than what they paid. Other developers are offering free plasma televisions, upgraded cabinets, and free fireplaces, among other things. Source: Wall Street Journal (11/10/05); Dunham, Kemba J.; Simon, Ruth
Insurers Can't Cancel Home Policies After Hurricane(November 10, 2005) -- Florida's insurance commissioner has issued an emergency order that bars insurance companies from canceling or not renewing policies for residential properties damaged by Hurricane Wilma. Kevin McCarty issued the order just one day after the Category 3 hurricane ploughed across the state. The order is effective for 90 days after damage to the homes has been repaired and applies to the 20 counties hit hardest by the storm. Marla Martin, spokesperson for the Florida Association of REALTORS®, calls the emergency measure "a good move" as large insurance companies are increasingly voicing their intentions to stop writing policies in the state or move out of Florida altogether.Large insurers Allstate and Nationwide recently stopped writing homeowners' policies in Florida, with the Allstate announcing in October that it would reduce its homeowners’ coverage in the entire U.S. Gulf Coast region in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita."Things are still out of flux, and many residents still don't have electricity due to Wilma," Martin says. "This is a good, proactive move to make sure that no cancellations or non-renewals occur in the middle of the cleanup and rebuilding efforts."—By Bridget McCrea for REALTOR® Magazine Online