Weekend Getaways To Explore This Summer!

getaways near charlotte

It’s officially Summer! The best thing about summer in Charlotte is the long weekends you can spend in the mountains, at the beach or somewhere in between. Check out our top picks for weekend getaways close to the Queen City.

A Blue Ridge Parkway experience is unlike any other: a slow-paced and relaxing drive revealing stunning long-range vistas and close-up views of the rugged mountains & pastoral landscapes of the Appalachian Highlands.

Greenville, SC has combined traditional southern charm, stunning natural beauty, an unexpected contemporary cool and is quickly becoming a national destination. With a revitalized downtown that ranked among “America’s Ten Best” by Forbes Magazine, Greenville is a great escape for your next weekend getaway!

Asheville is the ultimate playground, with a wide range of outdoor adventures and the ideal destination for an active and healthy getaway. Known as an art colony, a healing retreat & a home to notable luminaries, statesmen and bohemians, Asheville is one of the most welcoming, vibrant cities in America, not to mention the incredible food & beer scene!

Just over 3 hours from the Queen City is Charleston, SC known for its rich history, well- preserved architecture, distinguished restaurants and nearby beaches. Charleston is a no-brainer if you’re looking for a vibrant downtown scene or an escape to the beach.

Take the time to wander off the beaten path and experience the history, beauty and charm Savannah has to offer. From cobblestone streets and gorgeous public parks to some of the most unique architecture of the South, Savannah is the perfect vacation destiantion for all ages. Don’t forget to visit Tybee Island, known for its wide, sandy beaches, just a short drive from downtown Savannah!

charlotte dilworth walkable neighborhood

Which Charlotte Neighborhood Is Right for Me?

A common question we get from people relocating to Charlotte, North Carolina is “which Charlotte neighborhood is right for me?”

Indeed, Charlotte is a city of many great neighborhoods, each with its own advantages and personality. Choosing the best place to call home has a lot to do with your own priorities and preferences. Are you looking for a quiet community for a growing family? Do you prefer to be close to nature? Is walkability important to you? Are you looking for artistic inspiration? Are you looking for a vibrant nightlife?

Your knowledgeable real estate agent can give you specific details about the particular benefits of each Charlotte neighborhood. For now, let’s take a look at a few examples of some of the more popular neighborhoods and subdivisions and why people like them.


Located in South Charlotte, the Ballantyne community offers the best of suburban living, serving as both a commercial hub and a recreation destination. Enjoy several great shopping destinations just minutes away, relax at a luxury spa, play 18 holes at a PGA-ranked golf course, or commute just minutes to work at one of the top corporate parks in the city. Homes in this area tend to be newer and larger, with plenty of room to raise a family or entertain guests.


North Davidson Arts District (NoDa, for short) is not only one of Charlotte’s most walkable neighborhoods, but also one of its most eclectic creative communities. A haven for artists and art lovers alike, this community was once a residential village for workers in a nearby mill, but today has evolved into a thriving neighborhood of fine eateries, art galleries, live music venues and numerous community events.


Known for its bungalows and historic charm, the Dilworth neighborhood began as one of Charlotte’s first “streetcar suburbs” in the late 1800s. Today, with many of the historic homes restored, Dilworth is coveted for its quiet serenity, ample park space, tree-lined streets, fine restaurants and overall walkability.


Representing some of the finest in-town living available in Charlotte, SouthPark is an upscale neighborhood of winding streets and stately homes, not to mention one of the most popular shopping destinations in the state. Browse the exclusive stores of SouthPark Mall, dine in some of the best restaurants in town, or catch a concert at the gorgeous outdoor Symphony Park — all within minutes of your home.

These are just a few of the many wonderful neighborhoods to be found here in Charlotte. Acquaint yourself with all of Charlotte’s neighborhoods, and don’t hesitate to reach out to the team Dickens Mitchener help you find your dream home. For more information, call today at (704) 661-2402.

Top Breakfast Spots in Charlotte

Summer is here and kids are hungry! Choosing a breakfast spot in a city like Charlotte can be overwhelming, given the number of great places there are to choose from. Luckily, Charlotte Agenda narrowed down the field for us by ranking their top five best spots for a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich! Here are the top contenders:

  • The sandwich most likely to impress you with bacon thickness is from littleSpoon, located on Selwyn Ave.
  • The bacon, egg and cheese most likely to impact your cholesterol can be found at Brooks’ Sandwich House. Located on N. Brevard Street, Brooks’ Sandwich House has been in Charlotte serving great food for over 40 years!
  • The sandwich most likely to make your hands greasy and bring a smile to your face can be found at the Rhino Market & Deli on West Morehead St.
  • The BEC most likely to make you remember that biscuits will always be better than bread is found at none other than Bojangles’! A well-known fast food restaurant in the south, Bojangles’ serves their biscuits all day along with their amazing sweet tea!
  • The last bacon, egg and cheese sandwich mentioned on the list is from Poppy’s, located on Providence Road! This sandwich is said to be so tasty that it is likely to make you stop ordering cream cheese.

Although I’m sure there are many other BEC’s around Charlotte that are also amazing, we hope this list can be helpful in choosing where to enjoy your next breakfast! For the full Charlotte Agenda article, click here. You can also ask your trusted Dickens Mitchener agent for their recommendations!


Charlotte – Top Destination City for Millennials

Charlotte is known for being a top destination city for millennials in the U.S. and even made it to No. 1 on Apartment List’s report last fall. Hear from one millennial who is interning at Charlotte Five on why she plans to move back to the Queen City after graduating from college here. From Charlotte’s many amazing dining options to its variety of neighborhoods, such as SouthPark, NoDa, Plaza-Midwood and Dilworth, there is so much to love. Its proximity to the mountains and beach is a big plus when it comes to maximizing vacation time, and its professional sports team are fun to watch. Read the full article for a taste of what makes Charlotte the top destination for millennials in the country!

Prepare Your Home For A Real Estate Photo Shoot


The real estate industry has changed in so many ways in the recent past. Most buyers now start their search for a new home online. To be sure your home gives a good “first impression”, use a professional photographer when it is time to list your home. Our staff photographer has some great suggestions on how you can get your home ready for a real estate photo shoot.

Before the photographer arrives:

  1. Clean! This is the time to hire a professional to do a deep cleaning of your home. They will clean walls, windows, mirrors and everything in between.
  2. Declutter the rooms to be photographed. It is hard to make a cluttered space look appealing in a photograph. Remember – it is not the photographer’s job to move things around to make the room look less full, that is your job.
  3. Open up all the blinds and curtains in the home. Turn all of the lights on, including lamps, appliance lights, built-in furniture lights, etc.  It is important to have as much light in the home as possible to make the pictures brighter and your space look bigger.
  4. Turn off any ceiling fans but keep the light on. Ceiling fans can be a big distraction in photos if they are left on.
  5. Remove all cars from the driveway and if you want pictures inside the garage make sure the cars are out of that space as well. This is also a place that should be decluttered if you want to show off custom shelving or handyman bench.
  6. Remove bathroom and kitchen rugs if they are covering tile or hardwood floors. Show off your flooring – it sells!
  7. Remove any miscellaneous items that would distract a potential buyer in a picture. This includes items such as phone chargers, tissue boxes, magazines, books, glasses, tv remotes, etc on a coffee table, bookshelf, end table or nightstand.
  8. Kitchen and bathroom counters should be cleared of all items. It is important to show off the space available, not your razors and beauty products. Bathroom tubs and showers should also have shampoo and soap removed for the photo shoot. Hang fresh towels on the racks and add some fresh flowers to both spaces.
  9. Outside the home – focus on a fresh mowed lawn. Be sure all weeds are pulled, fresh mulch or pine straw has been added and bushes are all trimmed. If you have outdoor furniture, wipe it down so it looks clean.

Actual MLS Photos – Why you need a professional to take your real estate photos.


Photos From Dickens Mitchener Professional Photographer


Following this checklist before your real estate photo shoot will not only help your home give a good impression, but may also help it sell quickly and at a higher price than a similar home with bad photos. Ask your preferred Dickens Mitchener agent for any other tips before you schedule your home’s photo shoot.


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.

Part Two – Complete Home Renovation in Foxcroft

We are excited to share the next phase of the renovation in Foxcroft. When we last left you, Winnie Simmons and her client, Stuart Hicks,  were turning this existing 5 bedroom, 2.5 baths, 2 car garage into a new 6 bedroom, 4.5 baths and 3 car garage home. This includes an addition of a new master suite, additional garage bay, mudroom/laundry room and a big beautiful deck with a large brick fireplace overlooking the wooded lot and walking trails.

The client, Stuart Hicks, wanted to create an open concept kitchen and living area. This was achieved by taking down walls and creating a walk out onto a new wrap around deck with an outdoor fireplace. He then added new french doors opening onto the deck.

Next they decided that the existing home needed a full demo of all existing baths and kitchen. We added two new baths which includes the master bathroom. It was important to us to use all custom cabinets, marble, natural stone, high end tile and hardwood flooring throughout the home. The home has all new lighting and hardware throughout.  We renovated the front elevation by adding a new front door, shutters, front porch and clap board. The new addition is full brick veneer.

“I’m not really sure if it’s a service or a joy helping my client’s with: design, tile colors, hardware, counter tops and cabinetry” said Winnie. “I was a designer and an investor myself from 1994 – 2007 and have been a broker since 2009.” She began her real estate business in Nantucket, MA and Greenwich, CT and relocated back to her home state of North Carolina and Charlotte in 2004.

“The success of my clients, working with them through the entire process is one of my favorite aspects of my business. I love the hunt for the buy and identifying a property that will be a successful investment – it is a real honor to be part of my client’s team”.

After the renovation is completed, Winnie will put back on her real estate hat and market and sell the property, the Dickens Mitchener way. Stay tuned for the final reveal.

Catharine Pappas Joins LeadingRE’s Advisory Council

Catharine Pappas, Relocation Director

We are very excited and proud to announce that our Relocation Director Catharine Pappas has been invited to serve on the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® Advisory Council.

The Advisory Council is a leadership group comprised of business development and relocation professionals who provide guidance on key initiatives for the network’s 550 market-leading firms spanning six continents. Council members work closely with the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® management team on strategic network initiatives, mentor other affiliates, and serve as ambassadors for the organization’s extensive programs. Members are elected by fellow council members to serve a three-year term and are chosen based on the merits of their professional experience and reputation and their willingness to share their expertise for the benefit of the network.

We are so proud of Catharine for serving on this prestigious council and representing Dickens Mitchener! Read the full LeadingRE press release here for more details.

Updates on Charlotte’s University City Area

Credit: UNC Charlotte

The University City area of Charlotte is changing!

Construction on the Blue Line Extension is the catalyst for major change in the University City area of Charlotte. The light rail extension is expected to be completed by March 2018. It will run to and from Uptown along North Tryon Street through the University area and end right on UNC Charlotte’s campus.

The University City Partners are looking to create a destination area around University City to give it more of a college town feel.

Another development push will be to add a mixture of retail, apartments and office space along University City Boulevard with a central park area.

If you’d like more information about rentals or houses for sale in this area of Charlotte, reach out to your preferred Dickens Mitchener agent to get started.