Charlotte, NC skyline (Photo by Ricky W/Wikimedia)

Tips for Finding Homes for Sale in Mecklenburg County, NC

As the most populous county in North Carolina, Mecklenburg County is home to more than a million people, encompassing the city of Charlotte and outlying areas. Due to the wide range of neighborhoods in this area — both urban and rural — the task of house hunting can be a bit daunting. To help out, here are a few tips for finding homes for sale in Mecklenburg County, NC.

Determine your needs and wants first

Your first task is to decide exactly what kind of home you’re looking for. How many bedrooms/bathrooms do you need? Do you want an updated kitchen? Open floor plan? Fenced-in backyard? There’s simply no need to clutter your home search with houses that won’t work for your needs, so make a list of needs and wants, and rule out homes that obviously don’t fit.

Set your budget

We recommend getting pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before you even start house hunting, so you know how much home you can afford to buy and so you can rule out any home outside your budget. This not only simplifies the search itself — it also helps streamline the buying process once you’ve decided to make an offer on a home.

Research neighborhoods

You now know what type of house you want and how much you can afford. Now it’s time to decide where in Mecklenburg County you want to live. Do you want to live in Charlotte proper, in the suburbs or in the outlying areas? Do you have kids in school — and if so, which school systems appeal to you? Try narrowing your search to a few key neighborhoods with features you like and a selection of homes in your price range. Generally speaking, suburbs and rural areas require longer commutes, but you can often get more home for the money in those areas.

Do online listing research

These days, the Internet makes it much easier for you to have an active role in your home search. The Dickens Mitchener website has a powerful real estate search portal that allows you to narrow your search by inputting all the information based on the steps you’ve taken before now. You can search by neighborhood, by home features and by price range. This will give you at least a few home listings to get you started.

Consult an experienced agent

Ultimately, your best strategy for finding great homes for sale in Mecklenburg County, NC is to work with a real estate agent with plenty of experience and firsthand knowledge of the area. An agent can start by showing you the listings you discover online, but he/she can also uncover hidden gems you might not have known about.

When you’re ready to begin your house hunt in Mecklenburg County, Dickens Mitchener is here to help! Give us a call at 704-661-2402.

Why Millennials Are Choosing Starter Homes in the Queen City

Anyone who has spent time in Charlotte, NC over the past few years knows that it is a popular spot for Millennials — young adults in the 18-34 age range. As the Charlotte Business Journal reports, recent research confirms that Charlotte is by far the number-one city for Millennials in America. Not only that, but the number of Millennial home buyers has shot up 45 percent in the last ten years! What is it about this city that attracts so many young adults? Why are Millennials choosing starter homes in Charlotte, NC above other cities? Here are a few reasons why.

Job opportunities

Of course, one of the primary reasons for Millennials to move is an abundance of job opportunities, as many of them are graduating college and seeking to launch their careers. Charlotte’s job market is booming, enjoying a low unemployment rate and plenty of entry-level jobs available — with the largest number of employment opportunities in the health and financial sectors. indicates the Charlotte job market is expected to grow by 42.49 percent over the next decade, so the inflow of young adults to this area isn’t likely to abate anytime soon.

Wage growth

If job availability is what causes Millennials to come to Charlotte, NC, job growth is what causes them to stay in Charlotte, including settling down, buying starter homes, starting a family, etc. The top three job sectors in Charlotte are health and social services, financial services and retail, all of which are predicted to grow considerably over the next decade. Millennials expect that the jobs they take here will provide plenty of room for growth and promotion.

Affordable homes

Jobs and wages are of little consequence if the cost of living takes it away. Despite Charlotte’s rapid growth over the past few years, the overall cost of homes in this area remains reasonable compared to other metropolitan areas—and yet, Charlotte is also just big enough to provide plenty of great shopping, dining, nightlife and other conveniences to attract the younger adult. Simply put, Millennials get more home for their money here, and an excellent quality of life to boot.

As your local real estate specialists, we at Dickens Mitchener have our finger on the pulse of this community and are well aware of the best deals for starter homes in Charlotte, NC. If you’re considering moving to Charlotte or buying your first house, we’d love to help you find the home of your dreams! Give us a call today at 704-661-2402.

Family Dollar (Photo: Mike Mozart/Flickr)

Born in North Carolina: Family Dollar

Did you know that one of the most well-known discount variety stores — Family Dollar — was established in the great state of North Carolina?

Unlike other discount stores, items sold in Family Dollar are not unilaterally priced with a one dollar ceiling (depending on the item, it may cost more or less than a dollar). This allows you to find a greater selection of low-priced items at a variety of price points.

As part of Dickens Mitchener’s “Born in North Carolina” series, let’s learn more about how Charlotte-based Family Dollar became one of the nation’s most iconic bargain retail stores.

The history of Family Dollar

Founded by a 21-year-old entrepreneur named Leon Levine, Family Dollar opened its first store location on Central Avenue in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1959. Shortly after, additional stores opened their doors in South Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia. Since then, Family Dollar has grown to be one of the largest discount and dollar stores in the United States. By the late 1980s, the brand boasted more than 1,500 stores in operation.

What Family Dollar is up to today

Currently, the company employs 60,000 employees across 8,000 store locations nationwide. While initial start-up costs for the store involved $3,000 of Levine’s own money and $3,000 from an additional partner, the company is currently valued at more than $10 billion in 2017.

After Levine retired in 2003, his son, Howard R. Levine, stepped up to take the position of CEO and Chairman — ensuring that the time-honored brand remains a family affair. In January 2015, Family Dollar merged with fellow discount retailer, Dollar Tree, though the brand still operates under the Family Dollar name and Levine holds a spot on the Dollar Tree board of directors.

Contact Dickens Mitchener today to learn more about why businesses like Family Dollar set down their roots in North Carolina.

Why 2017 is the Year to Buy a New Home in South Charlotte

Green spaces. Country charm. Winding suburban neighborhoods with plenty of amenities. These are just a few of the features that are causing more and more people to discover South Charlotte as a great place to settle down, raise a family or just enjoy the Southern sense of community. If you’ve been thinking about buying a house, 2017 could be the best year for you to buy a new home in South Charlotte. Here are a few reasons why.

More home for the money 

In this part of town, there’s still plenty of room to spread out. Builders are taking advantage of this fact by building more spacious homes on larger lots, many of which cost the same or less than their in-town counterparts while offering more space. This means you can get more house for the money here, along with more space and room to grow.

Excellent schools

When choosing a place to live, one of the biggest factors for most parents is whether their children can attend good schools. The school systems in South Charlotte are among the highest ranked in the state, making this one of the most popular places in town to raise a family.

Lots of green space

Despite the rapid growth of this area, builders and residents alike have a strong desire to preserve the rural charm that drew them to South Charlotte to begin with. Scenic woods and rolling countryside are a natural occurrence throughout the area, and many of the subdivisions are being built in a way that preserves the natural beauty of their surroundings. Walking trails and parks are abundant here, as are golf courses, sports fields and other opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.

Great shopping and dining

Worried about living too far out from the city? Don’t be. South Charlotte offers plenty of amenities and conveniences within minutes of most of the residential areas, and shopping centers like Ballantyne Village and Blakeney offer a wide range of boutique and major retail shops, excellent dining and other family activities.

Prices set to rise soon

Between the growing popularity of this area and the fact that interest rates are already on the rise, the same house in South Charlotte will likely cost more in a year than it does today. If you’ve been considering this area but have been waiting for the right time, there’s no better time than 2017 to make the leap! Prices and property values won’t be any lower than they are right now. To learn more about your options for buying a new home in South Charlotte, call Dickens Mitchener today at (704) 661-2402.

5 Tips for Attending Your First Open House

If you’re looking to buy a home — especially if you are a novice buyer or unsure of what you’re looking for — open houses can be a great starting point. Agents typically go out of their way to create a welcoming environment where you can look around, ask questions and get a feel for a home that might eventually become yours! To make the most of the experience, here are 5 helpful tips for attending your first open house.

Ask Questions.

Seriously. Don’t be afraid to ask the hosting agent lots of questions — that’s why he or she is there! Agents enjoy chatting with the visitors and sharing useful information about the house. It’s the agent’s job to make you feel both comfortable and informed, so if you are wondering about anything, ask away. Also, if this particular house doesn’t suit your needs, feel free to ask the agent about any other listings in the area.

Watch the other visitors.

If you’re new to home buying and aren’t sure whether a house is a good value for the money, watch how other visitors to the open house are responding. If they are hanging out, asking questions and showing interest, chances are you’re looking at a home that’s worth your time. If, however, they are “in and out” and showing little interest, they may be seeing something that isn’t yet apparent to you.

Respect that it’s someone’s home.

While some open houses are new builds or vacant, many are still being lived in. (You’ll generally be able to tell; if not, ask). If the home is still occupied, show proper respect for space. Don’t sit on the furniture or use the bathroom without asking the agent first. Also, ask permission before taking pictures. If you have a genuine interest in the home, you can certainly look in closets to get a sense of available space, but don’t give in to the temptation to rummage through the owner’s things. Finally, if you don’t like the home or the décor for some reason, skip the criticism – at least until after you’re off the premises.

Catch Multiple Open Houses in One Day.

With a bit of advance planning, you can make an afternoon of open house viewing. It’s always a good idea to tour several homes, especially if you’re still formulating ideas about what kind of home you want, or if you want to get a feel for different neighborhoods.

Be ready to make an offer.

Open houses have a tendency to sell, especially in a busy market like Charlotte’s. It’s okay if you’re still getting a feel for what’s out there. However, if you’re pre-qualified and in the market for a home, you don’t want to waste a lot of time when you find an open house you really like, because chances are other like it, too. It’s not uncommon for an agent to receive several offers after an open house. If it’s the right house for you, and if the price is right, make your offer as soon as possible to increase your chances of getting in.

Dickens Mitchener is committed to helping you find your dream home in Charlotte. For information on our current listings or upcoming open houses, give us a call today at (704) 661-2402.

Featured Property: 1542 Queens Road W

Situated along one of the most coveted neighborhood streets of Charlotte’s Myers Park neighborhood, this elaborately customized home is a marriage of classical elegance and thoughtful functionality. Built in 1998 by the co-owner of Simonini Builders for his family, the 6,325-square-foot property features dozens of elegant touches, like custom ironwork and coffered ceilings.

Property highlights

In addition to the 5 bedrooms and 5.2 bathrooms, there is a great room, a large eat-in kitchen, playroom, office, and a workroom. In the basement, you’ll find a billiards room, wine cellar, and workshop. One of the major centerpieces of this estate are the tall Pella windows and doors that lead effortlessly out onto the terrace patio and into the lush, grassy backyard. The outdoor rustic pavilion features a fireplace and sitting area that is perfect for casual entertaining. Needless to say, this home is truly one-of-a-kind. Here are just a few of the many additional extras you’ll find in this remarkable home:

  • Multiple living spaces
  • 3-car oversized garage, including space for a golf cart
  • Large eat-in kitchen with convection oven and other extras
  • Media room
  • Finished basement with recreation room, wine cellar and workshop
  • Additional work area in garage
  • Playroom
  • Whirlpool
  • Surround sound
  • Security system
  • Second living quarters
  • …and more!

About the neighborhood

Known for its historic charm, tree-lined streets, green spaces and walkability, the neighborhood of Myers Park was originally conceived as an upscale suburb of then-smaller city of Charlotte. Today, it represents the epitome of in-town living, with plenty of shopping, dining and nightlife options easily within walking distance of most residences. While young professionals love the neighborhood’s semi-urban feel, families come here for the charming homes and highly rated public schools.

Priced at $2,750,000, this custom home at 1542 Queens Road W is filled with amenities and pleasant surprises, and is not one to be missed. To schedule a showing, call Dickens Mitchener agent Sharon Rountree at 704-608-0448.

Featured Property: 9136 Winged Bourne

Situated just off the seventh green of the Quail Hollow Golf Course in the gated Seven Eagles neighborhood, 9136 Winged Bourne welcomes you to the perfect blend of palatial elegance and homey comfort. Set on more than an acre of land, this sprawling 11,000-square-foot home comes with 6 bedrooms, 7.1 baths and a myriad of unique features.

Property highlights

Perhaps the most notable feature of this home is its French provincial architecture and airy  interior feel, with an abundance of natural light and cathedral-like vaulted ceilings throughout. Here are just a few of the home’s more notable features:

  • Bricked-in circle drive with meticulously manicured landscaping in front
  • Multiple living/sitting spaces
  • 2nd living quarters
  • Luxurious flooring and molding throughout
  • Massive custom kitchen with double oven and plenty of extras
  • Oversize laundry room with multiple washer/dryers
  • Beautifully landscaped backyard with large covered terrace and swimming pool
  • Exercise room and sauna
  • Study
  • Security system
  • Surround sound system
  • Multi-zone central heat and air
  • Large garage for 4 or more vehicles
  • …and much more!

About the neighborhood

Seven Eagles is an exclusive gated community in Charlotte located along the western flank of Quail Hollow Club. This neighborhood lies within one of the top rated districts in the state. 9136 Winged Bourne is just off the seventh green of the golf course, while the neighborhood itself is convenient to many dining and shopping options nearby.

This sprawling luxury home is listed at $6.25 million, and is perfect for residents who love privacy, elegance, and plenty of room to entertain.  To schedule a showing, contact Dickens Mitchener real estate agents Vicky Mitchener at 704-517-0177, or Lisa Whetstone at 704-607-9619.