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.

Coming Soon: Complete Home Renovation in Foxcroft!

Join us on a journey of a complete home renovation with Winnie Simmons and her client, Stuart Hicks. Stuart was looking for an investment property in the Foxcroft neighborhood of Charlotte. He chose to work with Winnie due to her experience in the design, build, investment process which she truly enjoys as well. The process can be lengthy and challenging due to lack of inventory or the price may exceed budget with necessary renovations. Sometimes investors have to be willing to keep looking or move on to another property if repairs are too extensive. They must be willing to be patient and buy at the right price. This will dictate success along with projected exit price when the project is complete and ready to be relisted. Staying on schedule with the renovation in order to take advantage of the market’s most popular times(such as spring), is also impactive to an investor’s optimum return.

Winnie always follows these steps in looking for an ideal property: 1. Identify a property that is a good candidate which is based on condition and purchase price. 2. She and her client must determine the highest and best use of the property – whether to renovate or scrape home and rebuild. 3. Follow the 3 tried and true rules: location, condition and price.

Winnie and Stuart went on a hunt in the area and found their pearl at 2000 Stedwick. They determined the highest and best use for this property in this location was to renovate the existing home. We will follow the renovations that will change this home from the existing 5 bedroom, 2.5 Baths, 2 car garage into the new 6 Bedroom, 4.5 baths and 3 car garage. The addition includes 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.

Follow us in this exciting home renovation! Next up – pictures of the master bedroom/open concept living area and garage addition.

charlotte home renovation



How To Find The Best Real Estate Agent

Whether you are looking for an agent to sell your family home, or you are looking for someone to help you find your next home, shopping for a real estate agent doesn’t have to be hard. We have some great tips to help you find the best real estate agent for your needs.

  1. Word of mouth or referrals. The number one way to find an agent is to ask your friends and family for a referral. Finding a good real estate agent is just like finding a good hair dresser, you will work with them many times over the years and want to find the best person to work with and for you. If you are new to an area or relocating to another area ask your agent for a referral. Dickens Mitchener agents can provide you with top agents all over the world through our LeadingRE network.
  2. Interview. Once you have narrowed your choices, interview the agents. Check their credentials and experience. Be sure they are licensed and designated as a REALTOR®, which means they are a member of the National Association of Realtors and follow the NAR’s code of ethics. Ask the agent if this is a part-time or full-time career. You may get better service from a professional who works in real estate full time. They will be more knowledgeable about the current market and trends.
  3. Experience matters. Choose someone who has at least 5 years of experience. This isn’t to say that someone with less experience won’t be able to give you the best service. They may have less clients and will be able to focus more attention on you. But, you may prefer someone who has more experience representing you and can help you out if an unusual circumstance arises.
  4. Find someone local. A local agent, one who works and lives in the community you are looking in, can give better insight into the best schools, commute times, etc. Ask for a list of recent transactions they have personally handled in the area you are looking. Give them your price range and ask if anything is available in the area. They should be able to let you know if you are going to find what you are looking for in your price range right away.
  5. Negotiation skills. Selling or buying a home will probably be the biggest transaction one will make in their lifetime. Ask the agent for a list of properties they have sold and check out the list price vs selling price. An agent with a high list to sales ratio will be a good negotiator for you. Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions of your agent. The way they answer you will be how they handle potential buyers. Choose someone who is professional and organized.
  6. Marketing strategy. Take a look at how the agent has marketed other listings in the area. Ask for a detailed marketing plan. There are many ways to market a home these days and you need to know how the agent plans to market your home. The best real estate agent will be able to give you an ethical, honest assessment of your property and whether or not any improvements are needed to help improve its value. If you choose an agent who does not give you any of this critical feedback, you may be unlikely to get the highest price for your home.

Detail is everything when it comes to real estate. Keep this list in mind when you are searching for the best real estate agent in your community. This will help find a lifelong real estate partner who can help your family for years to come.

Luxury Apartments in Dilworth & South End

Here’s a list of five luxury apartments located in Dilworth and South End, two of Charlotte’s most sought-after neighborhoods for all they have to offer in terms of shopping, dining, walkability and convenient public transportation.

Photo courtesy of Ashton South End

Ashton South End

125 W Tremont Avenue

With stainless steel appliances, walk-out private balconies and a rooftop pool, the Ashton offers residents luxury apartment living at its finest. It is located on the Light Rail and very walkable to great local restaurants and the shops and dining at Atherton Mill.

Monthly Rent: Rent for an available studio apartment currently starts at $1,611/month.

Why It Made Our List: Walkability & proximity to Light Rail, upscale rooftop pool, location.

Photo courtesy of Three30Five Apartments


335 Doggett Street

Three30Five offers residents granite countertops in kitchens and baths, 9 foot ceilings throughout, a heated salt water pool and fitness center with yoga and spin room.  Great location within South End and the Light Rail is within walking distance.

Monthly Rent: Monthly rent for a studio apartment starts at $1,021.

Why It Made Our List: Panoramic views of Uptown, heated saltwater pool, high ceilings & natural light.

Photo courtesy of Berkshire Dilworth

Berkshire Dilworth

1351 East Morehead Street

With stunning plank flooring, chef-inspired kitchens, walk-in closets and 9 and 10 foot ceilings, Berkshire Dilworth has it all!

Monthly Rent: Rent for a studio apartment starts at $1,510 per month.

Why It Made Our List: Gorgeous kitchens, full pet spa, great location.

Photo courtesy of Solis Dilworth

Solis Dilworth

1010 Kenilworth Avenue

Solis Dilworth apartments feature granite countertops in kitchens and baths, sleek stainless steel appliances and upscale hardwood-style flooring throughout.

Monthly Rent: Monthly rent for a studio apartment at Solis Dilworth starts at $1,148/month.

Why It Made Our List: Variety of floorplans (24 total!), proximity to Latta Park/East Blvd, walk-in closets.

Photo courtesy of The Lexington Dilworth

The Lexington Dilworth

1106 Euclid Avenue

This brand new luxury apartment building in Dilworth offers residents panoramic skyline views, a salt water pool and a boutique pet spa. The apartments feature high ceilings large garden tubs with rain shower heads and thermostats that are self-programming and fully adapt based on residents’ preferences and lifestyle.

Monthly Rent: Rent for a studio apartment starts at $1,195/month.

Why It Made Our List: Gourmet kitchens, upgrades (like the thermostat!), new construction.



Charlotte’s Top 5 Most Walkable Neighborhoods

Charlotte, NC has so many beautiful neighborhoods to choose from, each with their own characteristics. We have the list for Charlotte’s top 5 most walkable neighborhoods for you as you search for your new home in the Queen City. As always, contact one of our neighborhood specialists any time to help you navigate the home buying experience.

Uptown Charlotte

Uptown Charlotte walkable neighborhood

Romare Bearden Park in Uptown Charlotte

Charlotte’s city center is known as “Uptown“(don’t be caught saying downtown!). It is divided into four wards, with the most walkable areas being First & Fourth Ward. The Fourth Ward area is the most popular for uptown living as you can walk to dining, entertainment and shopping areas. This area follows Graham and Poplar streets and boasts Discovery Place as well as Fourth Ward Park. You can find high-rise condos and Victorian homes dating back over 100 years. Take the historic walking tour to get a feel for this area.

First Ward is the center of sports and entertainment in Uptown! You will find The Spectrum Center(home to the Charlotte Hornets Basketball, Blumenthal Performing Arts Center and Spirit Square. You will find high-rise condos and townhouses in this area. The Lynx light rail runs through all of uptown to make traveling to other neighborhoods south of town convenient.(North routes to UNC Charlotte coming in the future).

South End

southend charlotte walkable neighborhood

Atherton Mill in Southend *photo courtesy of WFAE Charlotte

The Historic SouthEnd district is known as a live/work/play community and is very popular amongst hipsters, professionals and young families. The craft beer scene in Charlotte has really exploded in the area as well converting old warehouse spaces and factories into breweries. Numerous art galleries and boutiques feature the work of local artists and can be seen on the monthly Gallery Crawls. You can find apartment living, condos and single family homes in this Historic district as well as 4 light rail stops to make traveling through the area even easier.

Plaza Midwood

Plaza Midwood is situated approximately 1 mile northeast of Uptown. The neighborhood has seen revitalization in the past decade and is now one of the “hippest” addresses to have in Charlotte. You can choose from great dining options as well as eclectic shops and antique stores. Young professionals as well as families can be seen out and about on any of the pedestrian friendly sidewalks which make this neighborhood very walkable. Choose from condos, bungalows, craftsman houses and ranch style homes in this neighborhood.


NoDa Charlotte walkable neighborhood

Art gallery crawl event in Charlotte’s NoDa Historic Art District community. Photo is part of a series of images taken during a July 2012 gallery crawl.

NoDa was once known as a tiny mill village but as artists started to move in the neighborhood it has become known as the Arts District in Charlotte. The area is situated along North Davidson street(hence the NoDa nickname). You can find live/work condos, restored mill homes, historical homes as well as new modern homes. You can find many places to eat, shop and listen to live music. The community is tight-knit and you can always count on the annual pumpkin carving event, movie nights, scavenger hunts and so much more. Many investors are buying in this area, as it has continued to boom with the craft beer scene and the Lynx line extension which will include a stop at 36th Street.


dilworth neighborhood

Dilworth is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Charlotte dating back to the 1800’s. Located south of uptown, the area is truly one of Charlotte’s most sought after neighborhoods. You will stroll down tree-lined streets while waving to neighbors on their sprawling front porches on your way to dinner. You can also find some of Charlotte’s top-rated schools in this area. Walk to your favorite eatery, coffee shop, parks and nightlife. The housing is an assortment of bungalows, Craftsman-style homes, Queen Anne homes, Victorians, and Colonial Revivals and some condos. Most of the homes were built during the late 1800s and early 1900s through the 1930s and have since been renovated, but you may find a little newer construction scattered throughout the neighborhood.

Charlotte’s most walkable neighborhoods have something different to offer everyone from hipsters & young professionals to families with children. Whether you are relocating to Charlotte from another state or trying to find your niche in the Queen City, let us help you start on your home buying journey.

10 Things To Do With Kids In Charlotte

It’s the weekend and you are ready for fun, family time.  Where are the latest hot spots for families with children? We’ve created a list of our top 10 things to do with kids in Charlotte.

Discovery Place has been inspiring kids for over 70 years through hands-on learning. They now feature 3 locations including uptown Charlotte, Huntersville and The Nature Museum near Freedom Park. Fun for the whole family as you lay on a bed of nails, catch an IMAX movie or hold a snake.

Find a Sprayground near you. What’s a sprayground you ask? They are areas set up with with sprays, nozzles, streams and fountains. Fun for the little ones in the family that can run around while Mom & Dad can sit and watch. Best part – most of them are free!

Imaginon/Children’s Theatre of Charlotte – Imaginon uptown is a fabulous destination during the hot summer months. It holds the children’s library and features many fun activities for children to do in the AC. It is also home to the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte where you can catch a child-friendly performance that will thrill the whole family. See their schedule here.

US National Whitewater Center – The whitewater center has activities available for everyone in the family. The little ones can play on the mini rock climbing walls and watch the adults as they raft on the whitewater river. The center has miles of trails to roam and feature many festivals.

Lazy 5 Ranch – Located in Mooresville – just a short drive from Charlotte, you will find the Lazy 5 ranch. You can either book a wagon ride or drive your own car through the park and feed many different exotic animals. The zoo features emus, giraffes, donkeys, zebras and many more animals. They also have a large playground with picnic tables. Bring cash, they do not accept credit cards.

Explore the greenways! Charlotte is home to over 35 miles of greenways throughout the city. The family can run, walk and bike on any of the greenways. The most popular are the Four Mile Creek Greenway with an entrance near Trader Joes in Piper Glen and the Sugar Creek Greenway  which takes you through uptown Charlotte. A must for the adventurous  family.

Freedom Park – Freedom Park is the 98-acre “Central Park” of Charlotte located between Charlotte’s historic Dilworth and Myers Park neighborhoods. The park is centered on a 7-acre lake, and is about 3 miles from the heart of Charlotte’s downtown area. The park has paved trails, tennis/volleyball courts, sport/athletic fields and playground equipment. Every September Freedom Park is the site of the five-day long Festival in the Park, which annually attracts over 100,000 visitors, and has been recognized as a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society.

Explore the area farmer’s markets.  Charlotte boasts over 30 weekly markets around the area. Saturday mornings are a great time to visit the local markets to not only find fresh fruits and veggies but try local pastries, cheeses and meats. The Matthews Community market is one of our favorites for residents south of uptown and the 7th Street market is convenient for those in the uptown area.

NASCAR Hall of Fame – The Charlotte area is the nation’s home to NASCAR. You can visit many racing shops in the area or head uptown to the NASCAR hall of fame. The hall is an interactive entertainment attraction honoring the history and heritage of NASCAR. There are hands-on  activities for the young and old and you can even ride in a simulator.

Explore Lake Wylie or Lake Norman. Charlotte is home to two area lakes. Rent a boat, explore the shoreline, go fishing or visit McDowell Nature Center at Lake Wylie. There is always something to do at the lake!

This list is only the beginning of all of the fun adventures you and your family can have in Charlotte, NC. We hope to see you around town taking advantage of all that our great city has to offer.