Category Archives: General

Love Those Carolina Blue Skies at Avalon Springs!

There are so many things I love about North Carolina.  No disrespect to my birth state of Maryland or my husbands birth state of New Jersey but no state for us beats North Carolina.  Many of the things we love are the obvious things like the people, climate, beaches, mountains, cost of living, Colleges and Universities, etc but then other things are the little things!  Well yesterday I was reminded of one of the little things I love about living in North Carolina – The beautiful Carolina Blue Skies!

Yesterday I was working in my new home community of Avalon Springs in Fuquay Varina and the sky looked even more amazing, more vivid and more Carolina Blue then normal.  And the few clouds that did float by looked to be the biggest, puffiest, most comfortable clouds I had ever seen.  Okay so call me cheesy but I literally stopped in my tracks, got my camera out and took a bunch of photos – lucky for you I quickly put them into a iMovie (love my Mac) so that I could share with you.  The movie probably won’t do the sky and clouds justice but you will get the “picture”.

The whole scene and day just reminded me of how much I love North Carolina and those perfect Carolina Blue Sky days!  I really enjoy sharing these type of moments and North Carolina tidbits.  If you have something you love about North Carolina – big or small – then please share it with me as I would love to hear it and I bet so would the folks who live in other parts of the country and are thinking about relocating to North Carolina!

Walking (and sharing) With You Every Step Of The Way!

Jenn Nowalk – Raleigh REALTOR/Broker

Twitter Is My Raleigh Real Estate Friend and Here Is Why!

Twitter Is Everywhere It Seams

Unless you live under a rock you are already using it, have spoken to someone using it, seen it on your local news telecast or heard it on a sports radio show – I am talking about Twitter.  I too am on Twitter or are Tweeting as who knows what the right terminology is but I think it is great and have totally embraced it.  Yes it consists of a whole lot of talking and not a lot of listening but if you go Tweeting with a plan then it should be and can be a productive tool for you and your business!

Follow Live In Raleigh On Twitter

Check out my Twitter page at twitter.com/LiveinRaleigh as feel free to follow me as I look forward to following you as well.

Why Did I Get Into Twitter

  • Great learning tool – it is amazing how much you can learn, how many good links & resources can be recommended and how much local information you can absorb in 140 characters or less.  If you follow the right people then Twitter can be a great source of quick but useful information.
  • Great networking tool – Whether it be with local Raleigh and the Triangle REALTORS or with REALTORS in other parts of the country, Twitter is a great way to network.  REALTORS rely on each other in almost every deal so having as many trusted sources in your network is never a bad thing!
  • Local Knowledge is Power – Real Estate is local and when you follow fellow Raleigh and Triangle Tweeters you will be in the know on so many local happenings – from events to sports, to business to even police reports (yes even the Raleigh police are on Twitter!) as the updates are fast, furious and many times local.
  • Technology Queen – In a place like Research Triangle Park technology is everywhere so I want to be in the know on the latest in technology, web services and social online networking and Twitter is the tool to do it.  Twitter not only helps me look savvy but helps me be savvy!
  • Promote – Twitter is another great way to promote my listingsmy neighborhoods and my services to Raleigh and the Triangle buyers, sellers and fellow REALTORS.  If 87% of real estate searches are done on the web these days then the web is where I want to be promoting!
  • Tweet Ups – Twitter has now brought the online networking offline in local networking events called Tweet Ups.  I have been to 1 local Triangle Tweet Up so far and it was great to meet how other people in a variety of industries are using Twitter.  I am looking forward to many more Tweet Ups and “in person” introductions!
  • Still learning – Okay Twitter is still pretty new and I don’t claim to be the expert.  I have learned a lot but I know I have a lot more to learn.  But that is the fun part as I am excited to be learning something new everyday – whether it be about Twitter or something I learned thanks to Twitter.  Remember I said knowledge is power and Twitter offers plenty of information!

Twitter may not be for everyone but if you have a plan and use it to your advantage it can be a great tool for your business – whatever business you may be in.  I for one love Twittering, Tweeting or whatever you call it!

Walking and Tweeting With You Every Step Of The Way!

– Jenn Nowalk Raleigh REALTOR/Broker

A Great Place To Hike and Camp – Right Down The Street In Raleigh!

I love the outdoors and especially the outdoors close to water – lakes, river, ocean, you name it!  Some of my greatest childhood memories are when my entire family would load up the family roadster and go camping for the weekend.  When I look back on it now I realize how great the bonding time was with my brother and sister as we would play for hours and not complain once – okay well maybe when the bugs would attack but that was about it.

With all that said I want to make sure that when my girls are old enough we take them camping so they get to experience the great outdoors, camping and that all important bonding time.  All this leads me to a great “find” I made Monday afternoon.  I was driving from Durham to Wake Forest on HWY 98 (a drive I do numerous times on my neighborhood research stops) and it was a perfect spring day.  I had passed a sign on the side of the road about 100 times that says fishing access area turn right and I always wondered what that was….so today I decided to stop and I was sure glad I did.

What I stumbled across only 15 minutes from my house in Bedford at Falls River was the Hollypoint camp site along Falls Lake.  It was awesome as I am only sorry I did not have my flip camera (I learned my lesson but never again) with me so that I could of shared the views with you but I will be sure to go back, snap some pictures, take some video and share it with all of you outdoor enthusiasts.  Hollypoint on Falls Lake features over 80 campsites with many of them overlooking Falls Lake through the tree line.  When I got out to roam about I found many great hiking trails, campsites, play areas, bathroom facilities and of course awesome views and access to Falls Lake.  I could not believe that 15 minutes from my house was this beautiful spot and camping area.  I immediately thought of how much fun it will be to pack up the entire family, call the cousins to join us and go camping along Falls Lake.  It will be a great time to bond not only with the outdoors but with each other without the interruption of cell phones, lap tops, television and video games.  I know my girls will love it and I hope someday they look back and remember the family camping trips much like I did.  The best part about the entire thing – we literally would make a 15 minute drive from our house and instantly be lost in the wilderness!

I wanted to share this experience because it is another reason I love living where I do.  The Triangle is so lucky to have great culture, shopping, dining 15 minutes in 1 direction but then 15 minutes in the other direction and you can be hiking and camping the many trails and areas of Falls Lake.  If you love the outdoors then there are many many great spots for you to explore right down the street from where you live here in the Triangle.

Stay tuned as I can’t wait to report back on my camping adventures – who knew…15 minutes down the street….well now I know and you do too!

“Walking (or hiking) With You Every Step Of The Way”

– Jenn Nowalk Raleigh Realtor/Broker

Raleigh is Nation’s Fastest Growing Metro Area!

As a real estate agent and a resident of Raleigh and the Triangle, I never get sick of all the awards and honors that this area wins – especially when it is great news about the economy.  See the article below from WRAL.com and Forbes as it really drives home why this area is a great place to work, live and play. When times are tough you want to live in a area that is hopeful and opportunistic.  Well 4% economic growth in this day and age is definitely reason to celebrate.   If you are thinking about moving to Raleigh and Triangle area then there is no time like the present as along with showing economic growth the real estate market remains a buyers market – but this will not last too much longer as my fellow real estate agents and builders I work with are reporting good traffic and more contracts coming in.

Enjoy the article below and  if you want to be like recent transplant Edward Appel then let me know as I am always available to help buyers learn more about the area and find their next dream home.

Walking With You Every Step Of The Way

Jenn Nowalk Raleigh Realtor/Broker

From WRAL.com

Despite the economic downturn, the Raleigh-Cary area grew by more than 4 percent last year, making it the nation’s fastest-growing metro area, according to Forbes magazine.

The magazine rated Raleigh as the No. 1 city where Americans are relocating. Charlotte was third on the list, behind Austin, Texas.

“In the last five or six years, Raleigh has been recognized with a lot of accolades,” said Ken Atkins, senior vice president for economic development for the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.  Atkins said rankings like Raleigh’s three straight years atop Forbes’ annual list of the Best Places for Business and Careers have attracted people as well as attention.

Edward Appel, who recently moved to the Triangle from California to work with HCL Technologies, is one of the latest transplants.

“I first heard about Raleigh from the article in Forbes,” said Appel, a senior systems engineer with the software and information technology development firm. “The fact that there are so many large universities here in close proximity was a great selling point.”

HCL is setting up an office in Cary that officials expect to employ 500 people within a few years. Appel said the area’s low cost of living also helped the Triangle beat out 19 other locations for the new office.

“On the West Coast, we all know that (the) Silicon Valley of the East is the Research Triangle,” he said, adding that he knows people who have moved to Raleigh without jobs expecting to find work in the area.

The Raleigh-Cary area had an unemployment rate of 8.8 percent in February, with a net loss of 700 jobs, as the recession deepened across North Carolina. Statewide, the unemployment rate was a record 11.3 percent in February.

Atkins said other technology companies also are looking to locate or expand in the area, but he declined to elaborate.

“My feeling is that this market is at the bottom. I think that we are going to see some significant new announcements in growth coming up in probably … (the) third quarter of this year,” he said.

Congratulations To The UNC Tarheels – 2009 College Basketball National Champions!

Okay so I have to admit that this post is dedicated to my husband who is a very passionate (sometimes crazy) UNC Tarheel college basketball fan.  I being a good wife help support the Tarheels but at the end of the day I don’t lose sleep like he does on who wins and loses in college basketball.  What I do love is living here along Tobacco Raod and in the mecca of college basketball.  For those of us who already live here then you know what I mean as nothing I write will give justice to the passion, dedication and craziness of the fanbase of the Tarheels, Wolfpack or Blue Devils.

For those of you who are thinking about relocating all I can say is – What the heck are you waiting for?  Along with the hundreds of other reasons why the Triangle is one of the countries best places to live college basketball here may be the icing on the cake.  The list could go on and on why but it includes intense rivalries, college and NBA superstars, bombfires, Hall of Fame coaches, crazy fans, numerous National Championships, ACC Tournament Friday, March Madness, historic gyms and lots of amazing history.  Just be sure to do your research as when you move here you will need to pick one of the three teams wisely and then get ready to battle!  Don’t worry though as for 90% of us it is a lot of fun as at the end of the day we all enjoy cheering on our team all while enjoying each others company.  The other 10%…well that is another story!

So the bragging rights currently lie with the 2009 Carolina Tarheels so in honor of them and in hopes of making my husband very happy here is their own One Shining Moment:

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/wjeE0-Wb37Q" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

Walking With You Every Step Of The Way

– Jenn Nowalk Raleigh REALTOR/Broker

PS – When we look for houses I would be happy to give you the inside scoop on the 3 different fan bases as it will be fun to see where you fit in!

Great News For Those Of You Who Love To Hike Outdoors

I love spring time as I espcially love spending times outdoors with my husband, 2 girls and our 2 dogs – I think the dogs love it the best.  Living in North Raleigh is a great place to play outdoors as we have easy access to all the trails and open areas of Falls Lake and the Neuse River.  I recently read an article and was excited to hear that a new 8 mile section of green way in North Raleigh will be open in the future thanks to the new stimulus package.  Whether you agree with the stimulus package or not we can all enjoy improvements like this.  My 2 dogs Jeter and Brady are especially thankful.  See below for some more information on the green way expansion from the News & Observer article.  Click here to read the entire article.

Hope to see you on the trails – current or new!

– Walking With You Every Step Of The Way!

Jenn Nowalk Raleigh REATOR.Broker
RALEIGH — A new section of the popular Neuse River Greenway will soon grow by nearly eight miles, from the Falls Lake dam to the WRAL soccer fields off Perry Creek Road, becoming a link in the emerging Mountains-to-Sea Trail — and the American taxpayers are helping to pay for it.
Raleigh expects to receive about $3.25 million in federal economic stimulus money to help pay for the project, which city bond voters approved two years ago. The greenway eventually will meander south 28 miles to the Johnston County line.  A group called Friends of the Mountain-to-Sea Trail hopes some of the state’s share of federal stimulus funds can be used to expand parts of that statewide trail and others across North Carolina.

Ride Out The Recession In Raleigh

Okay so unless you live in a cave (wonder how those comps look) you know that the country is in a recession.  The good news is that signs are pointing towards recovery as the stock market is up, home sales are up and consumer spending is up.  When it comes to riding out the recession we here in Raleigh and the Triangle have been very lucky compared to other parts of the country.  Once again Raleigh has been named a #1 – the #1 market for business and careers during the recession.  Nobody likes a recession and we are glad that the worst looks to be behind us but I was thinking that if Raleigh is the #1 place now then imagine how great this market will be once the economy is hopping again.  Just another reason to be glad you live here in Raleigh or to make Raleigh and the Triangle your new home.  Read the full article here and let me know if I can help you make Raleigh your new home.

Walking With You Every Step Of The Way!

– Jenn Nowalk Raleigh Realtor/Broker

Fuquay Varina Starts its Centennial Celebration

Fuquay Varina, one of the Triangle’s fastest growing towns, kicked off its centennial celebration this week.  As popular places to live like Cary get more and more built up towns like Fuquay Varina are predicted to be the new hot spots. Fuquay Varina features great neighborhoods inlcuding Avalon Springs (a lot more on Avalon Springs coming soon!), South Lakes, Brighton Forest, Southern Oaks and Crooked Creek to name just a few.  Click here to read more about the Centinnial Celebration and learn how Fuquay Varina got its name.  One of the biggest questions I get asked is how Fuquay Varina got its name….well it was originally called Fuquay Springs and you will be interested to learn through the article how it became Varina!

Whether it be the up and coming town of Fuquay Varina or another great town in the Triangle, let me know how I can help as I am ready to serve all your real estate needs!

Walking With You Every Step Of The Way!

– Jenn Nowalk Raleigh Realtor/Broker

Events Around The Triangle in March

If you are anything like me then you wish you had time to do a lot more of the “fun” stuff the Triangle has to offer.  There are so many great events, both big and small, that the Triangle area offers on a monthly basis.  One of my goals for this year and beyond is to start checking out a new event each month and would love for you to join me.  Here are some events that caught my eye for March:

  • A Toast To The Triangle.  March 8 – A great event supporting the Tammy Lynn Memorial Foundation which provides support to special needs children and adults.  Sample food, wine and specialty beers from many of the Triangle’s best providers during the event.  For more information please visit www.atoasttothetriangle.org
  • Woman’s Club of Raleigh Spring Antique Show and Sale.  March 13-15 – This event offers antiques for sale, as well as an opportunity to learn more about antiques.  For more information please visit www.womansclubofraleigh.org
  • Designers Downtown Market.  March 14 – This event offers pottery, jewelry, clothing, gifts and art to name a few items for sale.  For more information please visit www.designersdowntownmarket.com
  • Western Wake Studio Tour.  March 27-29 – Visit artist’s studios in Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina and Holly Springs.  For more information please visit www.westernwakestudiotour@blogspot.com

Details on First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit and New Stimulus Plan

It truly is a great time to be a first time home buyer as the combination of tax credits, low interest rates and great pricing makes this truly the time to buy your first home.  Here is some information to help you better understand the first time home buyers tax credit and details of the new stimulus package that was passed last week.  If you are a first time home buyer then let me know how I can help you take advantage of this great buying opportunity.

Tax Credit for Home Buyers

  • First-time home buyers who purchase homes from the start of the year until the end of November 2009 may be eligible for the lower of an $8,000 or 10% of the value of the home tax credit. Remember a tax credit is very different than a tax deduction – a tax credit is equivalent to money in your hand, as opposed to a tax deduction which only reduces your taxable income.
  • The tax credit starts phasing out for couples with incomes above $150,000 and single filers with incomes above $75,000. Buyers will have to repay the credit if they sell their homes within three years.

Tax Credit Versus Tax Deduction

  • It’s important to remember that the $8,000 tax credit is just that… a tax credit. The benefit of a tax credit is that it’s a dollar-for-dollar tax reduction, rather than a reduction in a tax liability that would only save you $1,000 to $1,500 when all was said and done. So, if a home buyer were to owe $8,000 in income taxes and would qualify for the $8,000 tax credit, they would owe nothing.
  • Better still, the tax credit is refundable, which means the home buyer can receive a check for the credit if he or she has little income tax liability. For example, if a homebuyer is liable for $4,000 in income tax, he can offset that $4,000 with half of the tax credit… and still receive a check for the remaining $4,000!

Phaseout Examples

  • According to the plan, the tax credit starts phasing out for couples with incomes above $150,000 and single filers with incomes above $75,000.

To break down what this phaseout means to home buyers who are over those amounts, the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) offers the following examples:

  • Example 1: Assume that a married couple has a modified adjusted gross income of $160,000. The applicable phaseout to qualify for the tax credit is $150,000, and the couple is $10,000 over this amount. Dividing $10,000 by $20,000 yields 0.5. When you subtract 0.5 from 1.0, the result is 0.5. To determine the amount of the partial first-time homebuyer tax credit that is available to this couple, multiply $8,000 by 0.5. The result is $4,000.

  • Example 2: Assume that an individual homebuyer has a modified adjusted gross income of $88,000. The buyer’s income exceeds $75,000 by $13,000. Dividing $13,000 by $20,000 yields 0.65. When you subtract 0.65 from 1.0, the result is 0.35. Multiplying $8,000 by 0.35 shows that the buyer is eligible for a partial tax credit of $2,800.
  • Remember, these are general examples. You should always consult your tax advisor for information relating to your specific circumstances.

Homes that Qualify

  • The tax credit is applicable to any home that will be used as a principle residence. Based on that guideline, qualifying homes include single-family detached homes, as well as attached homes such as townhouses and condominiums. In addition, manufactured or homes and houseboats used for principle residence also qualify.

Higher Loan Amounts

  • More good news – there is an extension on the additional tier of conforming loan amounts which had been first established in 2008.  This tier of home loans are those greater than $417,000, and with a maximum that depends on the area, but is not greater than $729,750.  These loans will again be eligible for rates that are slightly higher than conforming loan rates, but less expensive than the standard “jumbo” loan rates.

Additional Housing-Related Provisions

  • Tax Incentives to Spur Energy Savings and Green Jobs — This provision is designed to help promote energy-efficient investments in homes by extending and expanding tax credits through 2010 for purchases such as new furnaces, energy-efficient windows and doors, or insulation.
  • Landmark Energy Savings — This provision provides $5 Billion for energy efficient improvements for more than one million modest-income homes through weatherization. According to some estimates, this can help modest-income families save an average of $350 a year on heating and air conditioning bills.

Repairing Public Housing and Making Key Energy Efficiency Retrofits To HUD-Assisted Housing

  • This provision provides a total of $6.3 Billion for increasing energy efficiency in federally supported housing programs.Specifically, it establishes a new program to upgrade HUD-sponsored low-income housing (for elderly, disabled, and Section 8) to increase energy efficiency, including new insulation, windows, and frames.

Expanding Housing Assistance

  • This provision increases support for several critical housing programs. It includes $2 Billion for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to help communities purchase and rehabilitate foreclosed, vacant properties.

Thanks to Beth Prochaska of Alera Financial for passing thisinformation along!

Walking With You Every Step Of The Way!

Jenn Nowalk – Raleigh Realtor/Broker