A Day In The Life – Lake Norman

Lake Norman is the largest man-made body of fresh water in North Carolina built between 1959-1964 as part of the Cowans Ford Dam by Duke Energy. The lake spans 34 miles and offers 520 miles of beautiful shoreline. The lake offers a laid-back lifestyle, endless outdoor activities and is close to Charlotte, NC, one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Enjoy boating, fishing, bird-watching, sunbathing and swimming almost year round.

For the foodies, the area surrounding the lake has many new dining experiences to try.  Kindred in Davidson is a chef-driven restaurant that has already earned many accolades locally and nationally. The owners opened Hello Sailor in 2018 which was recognized as one of the top 50 best new restaurants in 2018 by Bon Apetit magazine. You can get there by land, but we prefer to get there by water. Enjoy the beautiful outdoor seating areas overlooking the beautiful lake or sit inside in the causal dining room. Don’t forget to enjoy one of the speciality drinks in the fun glassware.

Take a ride by water to see Governor’s Island, a gated community located in the Denver, NC area of the lake. The gated community is home to about 40 homeowners. There is no one style of living in the Lake Norman community. From multi-million dollar estates to small lake homes, you will find something to suit every budget or taste. Looking for a tiny two-bedroom cottage with a boat ramp? You will find it here. Maybe you prefer a sprawling million-dollar home with gorgeous views. You will find that here, too. Look for plenty of new construction as builders attempt to keep up with the influx of residents from the Midwest and the Northeast, as well as those who work in Charlotte and want a getaway from the city. You will also find a mix of homes in community-oriented subdivisions as well as private homes in quiet locations. Most residences fall between $400,000 and $4 million.

Are you ready to find a lake retreat at Lake Norman? Contact our Relocation Director, Catharine Pappas at (704) 661-2402 to get connected with an experienced agent.


5 Best Tips For Downsizing

downsizing tipsDownsizing a home can seem like a daunting task. Don’t let the stress of decluttering overwhelm you! Whether you are an empty nester, moving from a suburban home to a chic city apartment or a senior who is moving into a retirement community, we have 5 best tips for downsizing to help you get started.

  1. Start Now

Start your downsizing ahead of your move and set goals of what you would like to take with you to your next space. Couples & families, be sure to communicate before you get rid of things that may be sentimental to someone else in the family to avoid hurt feelings.

  1. How Much Space Will You Have?

Will your new space be able to handle your oversized furniture? Will your current décor match the interior of your new space? How much smaller is your new home? Decide before you move whether the expensive vase you bought in Paris will fit in with your new home style.

  1. No More Clutter

With all of the new smart home technologies, you can eliminate excess cords and wires by upgrading your technology. Use smarter storage solutions in your new space as well. If you don’t have a way to display all of your china, use a piece as a pencil holder or decorative accents throughout your home.

  1. Look For Items With Purpose

Go for quality over quantity in your new space. Look for furniture pieces that can be used in multiple ways. Look for ottomans with storage to keep extra blankets or toys hidden in them. Look for nightstands or tables with open and closed storage to keep unsightly items out of sight. Look for durable fabrics since you will be using all of your spaces for multiple uses in a smaller home. For example: a dining room may be used as a home office space during the week.

  1. Ask For Help

When in doubt, ask a friend, professional organizer or your trusted real estate agent to help you decide what you should keep. It’s always great to get an objective opinion when in doubt.

Downsizing can be a great way to sort through the clutter and keep only purposeful things in your life. If it is hard for you or a family member to let go of things, take pictures of your old space and any items you may be leaving behind that have sentimental value. After you move on, it will be a relief to have a new, uncluttered space to enjoy.

When you’re ready to begin downsizing, Dickens Mitchener is here to help! Give us a call at 704-661-2402.

Take A New Look At Uptown Charlotte

uptown charlotte

It’s an exciting time in Charlotte, NC! It is estimated 60 people move to Charlotte each day. Uptown Charlotte has seen it’s growth triple in the last 15 years with 18,000 people now calling the center city home. Charlotte Center City Partners was formed to focus on the successful growth of Charlotte’s urban center. The vision is to continue to grow the city as pedestrian friendly and walkable, with comfortable and interesting neighborhoods.

Have you visited uptown lately? On any given day you can cheer on a local sports team, including the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte Knights and Charlotte Hornets. Whole Foods has now opened  and there are so many new restaurants, coffee bars, gyms, and parks you can visit. The arts district brings Broadway plays to town all year long or you can pass the time away in the Mint Museum. Romare Bearden park is also a great place to meet friends for a picnic or to take in the Charlotte Symphony summer music series. The Queen City really has a lot to offer for people of all ages and tastes.

Learn more about our great uptown from StyleBlueprint here. When you’re ready to begin your house hunt in uptown Charlotte, NC, Dickens Mitchener is here to help! Give us a call at 704-661-2402.

6 Tips for Sprucing Your Home to Sell

Thinking about selling your home can be a headache. It’s so important that the space you live in looks in tip top shape before you put it on the market. Luckily, there are simple steps to take your home from out-dated to ready-to-sell without spending a fortune.

Pro Tip: It’s all about lightening and brightening.

  1. Fresh and neutral paint

Make sure the interior of your home looks clean and updated with a fresh coat of paint. Neutrals are the way to go. Popular colors right now include Benjamin Moore’s White Dove, Alabaster by Sherwin Williams, and Wimborne White by Farrow and Ball.

  1. Lighting

This is one of the fasted ways to update a room. Making sure the lighting is up to date can be a quick fix to make a home feel so fresh.  We love this one from IKEA for under $100.

  1. Scour the Front Entrance

Since this is the first place a potential buyer will see, make sure it’s in tip top shape.  After all, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Dust and cobwebs collect near the doors and vents of homes. Take time to clean vents, baseboards, light switches and any other places that collect dust and dirt. Don’t forget to check the window blinds and ceiling fans!

  1. Box Up Clutter

People want to visualize themselves living in a clean and pristine home, even if that’s not the way they live. Removing knick knacks can help make a space fell more open.

  1. Store, store, store

Investing in a storage unit during a move to hide large, dark furniture will help make your home feel more open. Clean out closets utility drawers, attics and basements. Making decisions about what to keep and what to toss during a move can be stressful. A storage space can help you buy some time to deciding what needs to go to your next home and what you can give away.

  1. Call a Realtor®

Of course, there is no need to go through this process alone. A Realtor® with a trained eye can bring expertise to the process. They can even give you a step by step list! There is no need to do this alone!

Need help finding a realtor? Make sure to contact Catharine Pappas our Director of Relocation at (704) 661-2402.

Five July 4th Events That Put Charlotte On The Map

You might think that the July 4th  holiday falling mid-week dampens your Independence Day fun in Charlotte.  Actually, the Wednesday holiday gives you a chance to explore the city in ways you might not! And if you’re visiting the Queen City, welcome! It’s a great place to celebrate with fireworks, white water, beer and everything in between.

Enjoy this list of July 4th activities in the Charlotte area, including the best place to view fireworks!

USNWC Fourth of July Celebration 

3:00 – 9:30 p.m.

U.S. National Whitewater Center’s Fourth of July Celebration is a two-day festival that features outdoor adventure, yoga, live music and spectacular fireworks displays. Musical performances take place each evening, followed by fireworks. $6 parking fee. U.S. National Whitewater Center, 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.

Charlotte Knights Baseball & WBT Sky-Show Street Party

2:00 -10:00 p.m.

Baseball and Independence Day combine for a fun festival that includes bounce houses, vendors and live music at the SkyShow Street Party in the afternoon followed by baseball and the largest firework display in town. Game tickets start at $12 and begins at 6:05pm. The street party is free. Mint Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

Celebrate America Firework Show at  Carowinds
Carowinds celebrates the 4th of July in this annual fireworks celebration show that lights up the Carolina state line. Visit their website for ticket info. Carowinds, 300 Carowinds Boulevard, Charlotte.

Revolutionary 4th

 5:00 – 9:30 p.m.

The City of Kings Mountain pulls out all the stops for its epic fireworks display at the Revolutionary Fourth celebration. Festivities are complete with a live band, food vendors and a scene performed from “Liberty Mountain – The Revolutionary Drama about the Battle of Kings Mountain,” written by Bob Inman. Free to all who attend. Deal Park Walking Track, 211 Cleveland Ave., Kings Mountain.

4th of July Celebration at Birkdale Village

10 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

For those with young ones whose bedtimes are before the big show(s). The event includes bike decorating, face painting, bounce houses, bike rodeo, and fire department water fight. Birkdale Village, 8712 Lindholm Drive, Huntersville.

Does all of this sound so fun? Thinking of moving to Charlotte? Contact  contact Catharine Pappas our Director of Relocation at (704) 661-2402.

The Home Of The Future Has Arrived And It’s Perfect For Charlotte, NC

home of the future

This quarter, Amazon revealed its “Experience Centers”—the home of the future or smart homes connected to the internet through a variety of devices. The tech giant installed the devices in 15 Lennar-owned model homes across the United States. Experience Centers don’t exist in Charlotte yet, but many features make it perfect for residents of Charlotte.

Since the internet boom of the late 1990s, the world has become increasingly more connected. In the last decade, the growth and development of the smartphone industry has paved the way for nonstop connectedness. The increased number of personal health devices, such as Apple Watches and Fitbits, have connected the human physical state to the online world. However, our homes seem to fall short in this area of technological expansion.

Here are 4 features found in the Experience Centers

  1. Lights controlled by Amazon Alexa
  2. Adjustable thermostats with Amazon
  3. WiFi in every corner of the house, so there are no dead spots
  4. iOS and Android compatibility

These homes are literally built from the ground up for WiFi technology. During construction, builders are cautious of things like plumbing and ventilation to ensure that no place in the house is a dead zone.

With an Amazon distribution center located just north of Charlotte in the city of Concord, many common household products, especially if you’re an Amazon Prime member, can be on your doorstep by sundown. Having a connected home would allow you to order products with the touch of a button, or even your voice! This isn’t, however, the only benefit to having a smart home.

With a central location in the region, both the beach and the mountains are never more than a three hour drive from the queen city. Many residents escape the city for a getaway by going on long weekends to nearby cities like Boone, Asheville, and Charleston. With a smart home, you can control the lights, the alarm, and even the door locks without having to be physically present at your home. Undoubtedly, smart homes are efficient, fit into the lifestyle of many Charlotteans, and have made the future a reality.


Thinking of building a smart home in the Charlotte area?Make sure to contact Catharine Pappas our Director of Relocation at (704) 661-2402.

Thinking Of Building A Home? Get A Realtor® To Help You.

building a home

Charlotte’s status as one of the best cities in the country for real estate investment, might have you thinking of building a home in Queen City. It’s best to have a Realtor® represent you throughout the entire home building process—whether you’re tearing down a pre-existing structure or you’re building from the ground up. Of course, Realtors® can help you find and purchase a plot of land, but did you know that they can stay by your side during the 2.construction process?

Here are 4 ways a Realtor® can help you build your dream home

1. Negotiating contracts

Contracts are often like the Terms & Conditions section of a website—lengthy and worded in a confusing manner. By having a Realtor® represent you throughout the home building process, they can us their knowledge and experience to explain what everything means.

2. Making sure the builder does what they say they’re going to do

This allows for someone who has supervised a home build before to oversee the process. Many Realtors®, even if they’re not licensed contractors, have a strong knowledge of how houses should be built. After all, a second (or third) set of eyes never hurts.

3. Checking estimates and making sure allowances are in the proper range based on experience with other new constructions

Having a Realtor® to represent you throughout the process can prevent unnecessary spending. Ultimately, this can save you money by ensuring that the builders stay within the original budget.

4. Having an advocate

It’s important to have someone that you really trust helping you with the process. When issues arise on the construction site, a Realtor® can walk you through steps to take to get back on track.

Thinking of building a home in the Charlotte area?Make sure to contact Catharine Pappas our Director of Relocation at (704) 661-2402.

How to Get Pre-Approved for a Loan

Millennials could spend about $97,000 in rent by the time they turn 30 according to this CNBC article. That’s more than enough for a healthy down payment on a home or condo.

Last week’s blog post covered steps to take before you start the process of buying your first home. Every agent we asked had one common answer – Get pre-approved for a loan before you dig into your search.

So, what does it take for a first- time homebuyer to get pre-approved for a loan in the Charlotte, NC area?

We asked our Realtors® who they would recommend if they were a millennial looking to get pre-approved for a loan. They immediately referred Christina Mauney with Team Lending by Design out of American Securities Mortgage.

Christina does most of her business over the phone, so people don’t have to take time out of their day to go to her office, but she is always available for an in-office consultation as needed.

After a 15 minute phone call and 14 simple questions later, Christina said that she would call us back the next business day with a pre-qualification for a loan. A loan pre-qualification tells you the amount of money they will loan, assuming the information you give them in the initial phone call is correct.

We hung up feeling like it was too easy.

Sure enough, the next day, she called back to say she “comfortably preapproved” us for a healthy conventional loan.

She even broke down the numbers for us laying out how much cash we would need to close and how much to expect for a monthly payment.

These are the 14 questions she asked

  1. Full Name
  2. Date of Birth
  3. Social Security Number
  4. Married or single
  5. Do you have any dependents?
  6. Address
  7. Work history and compensation
  8. Down payment ability
  9. Email address
  10. Cell Phone Number
  11. Did you file taxes the last two years?
  12. Do you owe any money to the IRS?
  13. Have you ever filed for Bankruptcy?
  14. Pick a security question

Playing the Numbers Game

After we received the pre-approval, we sat down with Christina to play some numbers games. She helped us see what it would look like if we put more money down, had a bump in income, or what a 15 year versus a 30 year loan would look like to a consumer.

The entire process was simple and easy. Christina made us feel comfortable and relaxed, like someone we would consult with again and again on home loans in the future.

Are you ready to turn your rent money into a down payment for a home? Contact our Relocation Director, Catharine Pappas at (704) 661-2402 to get connected with an experienced agent.

4 Tips For First Time Home Buyers 

We surveyed top agents at Dickens Mitchener who work with first time home buyers and came up with 4 tips for people looking to buy their first home.

# 1 Talk to a lender to have a preapproval letter in hand before you start the search 

Every agent we surveyed said that this is the first step when considering purchasing your first home. A lender can tell you the price range that you can afford and what type of payment to expect. One agent mentioned selecting the right mortgage lender is paramount. Ask people you trust for lender recommendations to be sure that you can count on them for proper guidance.

#2 Work with an agent who has experience with first time home buyers  

AND that you like and trust.  Your agent will be there with you every step of the way, so make sure that you like their style and feel comfortable working with them. Ask them a ton of questions, after all they are the expert!

#3 You will most likely lose an offer. Stay Calm! 

In this competitive market, if you like a house, chances are that someone else does as well. Unless you are willing to get as aggressive as the other desperate buyers, you will need to move on. Your dream home could be the next one you see!

#4 Take a look at additional expenses when deciding on price range.  

You bought a house! That’s awesome. But then you see the bills… Make sure to go over costs of the utilities, insurance, furniture, window treatments, landscaping, transportation, and more before you purchase a home.

Looking to purchase a home in Charlotte, NC? Contact Catharine Pappas our Director of Relocation at (704) 661-2402.

Charlotte Named Among the Best Cities in the U.S. for Real Estate Investment in 2018


Renoviso compared Capitalization rate (CAP), job growth ranking, population growth percent and single-family home price to determine the best possible markets for real estate investment in 2018. Charlotte ranked fourth on this list.

The study sites recent growth in the city for making it an attractive place to investment in real estate. The CAP rate in Charlotte currently sits at 6.8 average. Rapid population growth and plentiful job opportunities contribute to this high CAP rate.

The study also sites that the average single family home rate comes in at an affordable $234,400, making the Queen City a profitable place to invest.

Raleigh, NC joins Charlotte, NC on this list in the number two spot, making North Carolina one of only three states with two top ten cities for investing.

Looking to invest in real estate in Charlotte? Contact the Dickens Mitchener relocation department.

Read the full Renoviso article here.