Monthly Archives: January 2009

Reverse Offers…Proceed With Caution

Reverse offers are an excellent way to get the conversation started about a property that may result in a contract.  It also works when offering a listed or unlisted home to a builder who specializes in renovations and flips in your area.


However, in the best interests of the sellers, all reverse offers must contain an expiration of offer to prevent further delay on the buyer’s part, and also to limit the exposure of the seller to potential problems down the road should an offer from a different buyer be presented.


January 2009 Real Estate Market Activity

  Single Family List Prices
Area Count Low High Average
01 – Mecklenburg County (N) 1408 $19,900 $2,544,633 $258,963
02 – Mecklenburg County (E) 1079 $19,900 $1,100,000 $185,918
03 – Mecklenburg County (SE) 630 $48,000 $1,397,450 $242,245
04 – Mecklenburg County (SSE) 797 $38,000 $5,100,000 $500,162
05 – Mecklenburg County (S) 1222 $89,900 $7,890,000 $736,340
06 – Mecklenburg County (SSW) 414 $38,900 $1,450,000 $322,586
07 – Mecklenburg County (SW) 502 $13,900 $1,799,340 $190,771
08 – Mecklenburg County (W) 628 $14,900 $3,900,000 $131,686
09 – Mecklenburg County (NW) 800 $26,900 $2,950,000 $209,236
10 – Union County 2646 $27,000 $4,850,000 $432,308
11 – Cabarrus County 1751 $19,900 $2,800,000 $285,561
12 – Iredell County 1145 $14,000 $9,000,000 $239,674
13 – Lake Norman 1587 $32,900 $10,500,000 $727,061
14 – Lincoln County 519 $15,000 $1,575,000 $214,542
15 – Lake Wylie 529 $56,900 $3,200,000 $602,960
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   Condo/Townhouse List Prices
Area Count Low High Average
01 – Mecklenburg County (N) 367 $49,900 $559,000 $172,228
02 – Mecklenburg County (E) 298 $27,500 $699,000 $156,348
03 – Mecklenburg County (SE) 163 $29,900 $550,000 $160,303
04 – Mecklenburg County (SSE) 252 $50,400 $1,778,000 $310,505
05 – Mecklenburg County (S) 855 $59,900 $2,099,000 $362,636
06 – Mecklenburg County (SSW) 369 $20,000 $2,115,000 $235,806
07 – Mecklenburg County (SW) 139 $55,000 $449,900 $160,901
08 – Mecklenburg County (W) 107 $25,500 $932,000 $199,623
09 – Mecklenburg County (NW) 70 $65,500 $359,900 $136,066
10 – Union County 110 $94,900 $285,000 $158,809
11 – Cabarrus County 111 $47,900 $895,000 $173,615
12 – Iredell County 140 $68,000 $475,000 $182,829
13 – Lake Norman 227 $42,500 $1,700,000 $340,215
14 – Lincoln County 22 $118,900 $269,900 $204,500
15 – Lake Wylie 77 $74,900 $387,000 $203,816
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  MultiFamily List Prices
Area Count Low High Average
01 – Mecklenburg County (N) 6 $65,875 $1,100,000 $273,429
02 – Mecklenburg County (E) 23 $42,500 $5,450,000 $381,678
03 – Mecklenburg County (SE) 8 $79,900 $1,625,000 $360,975
04 – Mecklenburg County (SSE) 21 $49,500 $1,200,000 $208,438
05 – Mecklenburg County (S) 6 $255,900 $1,180,000 $622,616
06 – Mecklenburg County (SSW) 10 $93,000 $625,000 $212,340
07 – Mecklenburg County (SW) 7 $47,500 $104,500 $84,385
08 – Mecklenburg County (W) 20 $39,900 $3,876,000 $588,404
09 – Mecklenburg County (NW) 2 $105,900 $649,900 $377,900
10 – Union County 5 $124,900 $1,299,000 $387,720
11 – Cabarrus County 19 $57,460 $1,450,000 $338,866
12 – Iredell County 11 $59,500 $2,000,000 $346,836
13 – Lake Norman 2 $239,000 $899,900 $569,450
14 – Lincoln County 3 $114,900 $487,600 $345,733
16 – Gaston County 29 $39,900 $1,499,000 $295,969
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   Lots and Land List Prices
Area Count Low High Average
01 – Mecklenburg County (N) 177 $6,000 $7,990,875 $458,168
02 – Mecklenburg County (E) 110 $13,900 $3,870,000 $333,293
03 – Mecklenburg County (SE) 235 $12,500 $4,480,000 $263,010
04 – Mecklenburg County (SSE) 82 $23,500 $1,999,900 $304,653
05 – Mecklenburg County (S) 135 $24,900 $2,500,000 $418,414
06 – Mecklenburg County (SSW) 29 $22,500 $495,000 $248,741
07 – Mecklenburg County (SW) 57 $9,900 $2,000,000 $329,616
08 – Mecklenburg County (W) 95 $6,700 $2,058,228 $177,598
09 – Mecklenburg County (NW) 110 $8,900 $7,140,000 $278,660
10 – Union County 842 $7,500 $20,000,000 $327,622
11 – Cabarrus County 556 $7,500 $20,800,000 $389,483
12 – Iredell County 907 $3,990 $10,081,500 $240,467
13 – Lake Norman 1364 $15,000 $8,167,110 $223,002
14 – Lincoln County 777 $7,000 $2,999,900 $77,581
15 – Lake Wylie 505 $10,000 $3,900,000 $270,444
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                                                                *information current as of 01/25/2009

For more specific information, including information on your changing neighborhood values, or an expert evaluation of the current real estate snapshot of the Greater Charlotte Area, contact me:   I am at your service.

Real Estate 101

As MASTERS Designation holder, representing specialties in New Construction, Finance, Marketing, Objection Handling, Relocation, and Technology, I can help you navigate the home buying and selling strategies in today’s unique market and strengthen the bottom line performance of your transaction.

Many REALTORS® will not meet with you until you have signed an agency relationship contract and have a pre-approval from a lender.  I understand that each and every introduction of myself as real estate broker/REALTOR® is a mini job interview.  Before I can be hired, we both need to know if I am a good fit for your objectives.  To complete that process, I provide what I call Real Estate 101. 

I meet with you by phone or at my office to discuss your big picture, to get an idea of your time line and ultimate goals. If you are a prospective seller, I visit your home to discuss the details of the market specific to your neighborhood and inspect your property. 

If you are a prospective buyer, I meet with you at my office to begin an introductory tour of the city, including highlights of the city and Greater Charlotte Area, especially neighborhoods important to you.

If we both decide I am a good fit for your mission, the next time we meet will be over that agency relationship contract and pre-approval letter from your lender.

Contact me to discuss your big picture, including:

  • Time line to sell or purchase
  • Priorities regarding seller’s net performance and move date
  • Priorities regarding buyer’s housing type, price range or special needs
  • Guidelines you desire for communities, schools, shopping, location, lifestyle, family needs

If you’re in, or thinking of relocating to or away from, the Greater Charlotte area, contact me for Real Estate 101 at

Complimentary Initial Consultation
Limited to 1 hour


Consistent     Reliable     Loyal





Ways to Make Your Home Sell Faster and For More Money

In addition to right pricing, condition, condition, condition is the watch-word for selling a home faster and for more money.  Simple fixes and staging practices can focus buyers’ attention in the right places and keep them from getting sidetracked by personal items in the home.



Remember, you are preparing your home to become a product for market; one that appeals to the broadest market.  Don’t feel offended that your REALTOR® insists your coveted widget collection is stored, away from view.  How your live in your home and how you prepare and keep it market-ready are very different.  The 10 minute rule applies: if you (or the kids) can’t put it away in ten minutes, reevaluate whether you must take it out.



The front yard and door are the buyer’s first impression of your product.  If buyers won’t leave the car, you can’t make the sale.  Clean the gutters, paint the front door, pull weeds and spent flowers, polish the hardware, and power-wash walkways and siding.


Be prepared for a white glove inspection. Prospective buyers pull open drawers, look in closets and peek behind the shower curtain, and inspect the oven. Mop, dust, vacuum, clean baseboards, wash windows. Make sure the house looks fresh and smells neutral.


Remove furniture that makes rooms feel crowded or décor that will distract buyers from your home’s architectural features.  



Use furnishings to give each space a logical identity.  If it worked best for your family to use your formal dining room as a home office, get rid of the desk and computer, and bring back the dining table and chairs.



Eliminate countertop clutter. A countertop covered with small appliances and utensils looks crowded, not spacious. Store personal items, including toiletries; stash family photos and team and religious memorabilia.  Make the place look suitcase ready.



Dripping faucets, burned-out light bulbs, and squeaking hinges become a distraction and can falsely magnify a home’s need for routine care and maintenance and tend to make the buyer question the condition of other items that can’t be seen, such as the HVAC, roof, and other expensive items.



The buyer is mentally subtracting thousands of dollars from your list price with every flaw he sees.



Finally, ask yourself, “Is this property’s condition what I would like to see when I go house hunting this afternoon?”


For a checklist on how to prepare your home for market, or a list of preferred and proven vendors, email your request to:



Consistent               Reliable               Loyal

Love defined

A client’s comments that her life was ‘very white bread’ got me to thinking. 

A recent weekend for me progressed like so:  after breakfast with a Persian, I went to a Russian wedding where I sat and ate lunch with an Armenian (a former neighbor and friend), a Ukrainian (mother of the groom), and a South African (new acquaintance), and had dinner later with a Palestinian Arab (longtime family friend).  All these experiences were due to my personal connections.  The next day, in a professional relationship, I showed houses to a Saudi…

At the wedding, that of the son of family friends, the MC kept the guests entertained while the bridal couple were having pictures made and transitioning to the reception.   

Of the many jokes made and advice given to the young couple, the most interesting discussion turned to the question, “What is Love?”

The guests and family answered in Russian, so it was Greek to me; but it got me thinking.  What is love?  I do a lot for others, thinking that it’s love.  But, further, a friend’s later comment helped me see that what I thought was love was not always love.  It was often enablement or co-dependency. 

We hear, “A friend loves you just the way you are.”   No… a co-dependent loves you just the way you are.  It allows them to remain just as they are – with you right there in the same boat with them. 

No, a friend loves you as you are, but that’s not all.  A friend loves you through.  Through to the potential of what you could become.  That’s love and it’s not always easy or well received.

Here’s the result of my contemplation on the age-old question:

Love (def) [luhvverb – discovering the righteous need(s) of another, developing the ability to fulfill the righteous need(s), delivering the fulfillment of the righteous need(s).

May we have the wisdom to discern the righteous needs of those around us, the dedication to develop the ability to fulfill that need, and the determination to deliver the fulfillment of the righteous need that they may feel and know true love.  Only then can those we love, themselves love. 

For one cannot give away something one does not possess.  

So You Want to Become A Homeowner?

In North and South Carolina, all agents/REALTORS® are independent contractors and although we work under a supervising broker, it’s Me, Inc! 

Your loyalty to your REALTOR® is important and is the only way he or she can protect your best interests in making sound real estate related decisions.  All REALTORS® must adhere to a strict code of ethics (but not all agents are REALTORS®)  and should work in your best interests, carrying out your lawful instructions, and be fair and honest to all parties.

A Strong Offer

      The home choosing process depends on many factors including financial ability and personal tastes.   Once you have found the perfect home for your needs, the next step is in making a strong offer.  I will make sure you have all the elements of making a strong offer assembled before it’s presented, so your offer will stand out among the many.

      The home buying process should follow a prescribed sequence of events.  After calculating a fair offer price range, I will prepare the offer with supporting documents to make the offer most comprehensive and appealing to the seller.  A strong offer always includes the pre-qualifying letter from your lender, offers a high percentage of the actual market value of the property, and has no contingencies, such as the need to fulfill a lease or close on your listed and under contract property.  While every offer doesn’t always have these characteristics, the goal is to create a win-win situation for both the buyer and the seller.

 For Your Protection

      After the sales price, closing date, and other terms are agreed upon by both buyer and seller, and all signatures are obtained, we have a contract and it’s time for the inspections.  The seller is obligated to repair any items required by the lender (usually related to wood-destroying insects).  Further, the inspection uncovers any items on the property that do not function as they were intended to function.  If it’s installed, it should work!  We then prepare a “Request for Repairs.”  The seller has two choices: to repair or not to repair.  If he chooses to repair, it should be completed in a workmanship like manner.  If he should choose not to repair, it prompts two choices for you, the buyer.  The buyer may take the property in its current condition or may be released from the contract and all earnest monies returned to the buyer* – depending upon the specific details and dates in the contract.

      After all repairs are completed, it time for re-inspection.  This usually occurs from a week before closing to the day before, depending upon the severity of the repair needed and desires of the buyer.

 Making it Official

      From there it’s off to closing.  A real estate attorney or title company prepares the documents and they are reviewed prior to signing.  This last leg of the journey is important, and it usually takes from 30 minutes to 2 hours.  The documents are then recorded that day or early the next morning, and it’s official, you are a homeowner!  You get the keys to the property after the closing, defined as the time and date of closing, meaning when the deed is recorded.  Once you have the keys, you begin your move.

If you are thinking of moving in the next 3, 6, 9 or 12 months, contact me.  It’s ‘Chrystal Clear’ who to call for all your real estate needs! 


*Although many times throughout the contract and addenda it states the terms under which earnest money is to be returned to the buyer, in the states of North and South Carolina, both parties must agree in writing to the disbursement of the earnest money deposit before it may be released.


Buyer’s Agent New Construction Closing Checklist

Closing Checklist as Buyer’s Agent


New Construction

Once you are under contract with a new home builder, there are many behind-the-scenes activities that are necessary to progress seamlessly from contract to close. 

Following is a list of items your REALTOR® should oversee.  Problems will arise.  To avoid unnecessary delays, let your REALTOR® know immediately when a problem occurs.  Always let your REALTOR® know all builder scheduled appointments as soon as they are set so your REALTOR® can attend.


  •            Get copies of finalized contract to buyers and lender
  •  ð       Follow loan process with loan officer from beginning to end
  •  ð       Ask lender what is needed from buyer
  •  ð       Accompany buyer to design center/location for color and materials selection
  •  ð       Attend pre-construction meeting with buyer
  •  ð       Set up pre-dry wall inspection with independent home inspector
  •  ð       Get update from lender – any needs outstanding from buyer
  •  ð       Get update from closing coordinator regarding closing with attorney
  •  ð       Inform buyers of time and date for closing
  •  ð       Have buyer check into and set up home owner’s insurance
  •       Clarify if survey (showing building on site) will be provided
  •  ð       Get update from lender
  •       Arrange home inspection prior to pre-closing walk –  utilities on, all appliances installed
  •  ð       Get repair request list to construction supervisor
  •  ð       Review HUD statement with buyers
  •  ð       Make sure buyers have driver’s licenses and certified check made out to attorney
  •  ð       Final walk to check on repairs the day of closing

 ð       Enjoy closing!

Avoid the sticker shock of a new or move up purchase

LANDLADY LEAD… Whether you are a renter, investor, or move up buyer, you can Avoid the Sticker Shock that has no doubt contributed to many foreclosure scenarios.  Put away the amount of money each month that is the difference between what you now pay for rent or mortgage.  For example, if you now pay $1,000 per month rent/mortgage, but expect to move up to $2,000 rent or mortgage, put away the additional $1,000 per month needed for 6 months.  If you never have to touch that money in 6 months, you will likely have little problems with paying for your new home.  Same works if you think you might need a new car.  Stash away that new car payment, and if it’s untouched for 6 months…you’ll have a great down payment!

The Unusual Suspects

A real estate broker must always be aware of personal safety, and the safety of clients, whether meeting new clients for the first time, while showing properties, driving to home tours, installing roadside signage, and on site at new construction.

The simplest tasks must constantly be evaluated and strategized to ensure utmost safety for all, but no class, lesson, or quick thinking could have prepared me for this.

While out with clients touring new home communities in Union County yesterday, we stopped into the builder’s agent-on-duty model home, and quickly on to the model next door with the preferred floor plan.  After getting the key and walking through an inventory home just down the street, we returned to the model home to see the sales agent.

As we were sharing our feedback on the house under construction, I noticed a sudden cough getting embarrassingly worse.  I started to make my apologies, explaining to the sales agent that I didn’t know what had happened, but it must have been the new construction dust that had triggered this worsening episode.

In mid-sentence, he stopped me.  He said, “I know what happened to you.”  He continued that 3 hours prior, he had accidentally set off pepper spray in his office…by this time, my lungs were burning, my chest was hurting, I felt a warm flush throughout my body and broke into a head-to-toe sweat! 

Continuing to cough to clear my airway, my client, a medical professional, became concerned, explaining that she could see my eyes and face swelling.  We said a quick goodbye and left.  I continued to cough terribly, and by this time had a headache. 

When we arrived at the next new home community minutes down the road, I realized that water might help clear my throat.  I was beginning to lose my voice.  It took several cups of water to relieve my throat symptoms, and after two hours I was no longer coughing, but had a headache until the next morning.

 Thank goodness he had not just sprayed that mace!  I can’t image my reaction if it had been recently sprayed, or worse yet, sprayed on me.  I don’t know how my client and the sales agent managed to avoid a reaction, but apparently I would make an excellent mine canary!

But let this be a lesson to you.  No matter how bored you are, sitting at work in your office with nothing to do, do not test your mace can.  Trust me, it works.


We have all had experiences in working with company representatives who put the ‘cuss’ in customer service.   I endeavor to be mindful of treating each and every client as I would want to be treated.  Here are a few Client, Cooperating Agent, and Broker-in-Charge Testimonials that speak to my professionalism and customer service.

A BIG Thanks!                                                                            October 2010

‘Chrystal, your experience and professionalism helped me prevail through difficult times in the listing and sale of my long-time family home.

From creating professional marketing materials including onsite brochures, online photo tour, and email blasts, promotion of my listing through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and, to showing the house 6 of the 24
times it was shown, you were on the job.

After the property was under contract, your previous experience and successful resolution of similar problems discovered during the home inspections helped me work through a difficult transaction that included a breakdown in communications, unexpected property conditions and lender required repairs, and keeping the buyer on track with lending requirements and in love with the house until closing.

I couldn’t have done it without you.  It’s my pleasure to recommend your real estate services to everyone I know.’

Tony Sweatt, Fort Mill, South Carolina

Dear Chrystal,

 Thank you for your professionalism in the recent transactions with our sales agent.  We enjoy having cross sales with professional agents such as you, and look forward to working with you again.

Karen Labovitz
Prudential Carolinas Realty Managing Broker


April 2007

Dear Chrystal,

Our family wanted to take the time to let you know how special of a person you truly are.  Over a year ago we made the decision to relocate to Charlotte, N.C. You made this transition very easy by taking your time and finding a temporary rental for us to stay in. After a full year, we were finally ready to purchase a home and make Charlotte our permanent residence. You helped us every step of the way, and now we couldn’t be happier with our new home.

You are not only a true professional, but you are also a very caring individual. You went above and beyond the call of duty. You were present at every inspection, you took your time to discuss potential situations that could arise, and you presented solutions.  You made us feel as if we were your only client, and our interests always came first.

We would strongly recommend your professional real estate services to anyone considering either a purchase or a sale of a home.

Thank you for all of your time and efforts. Our family will never forget you!


The Gareis Family
Matthews, NC


January 2006

We really want to say how pleased we were with Chrystal Safari’s services in selling our old house and helping us purchase a new one.  She gave us tips on how to prepare the house to show well and made beautiful color brochures in English and in Spanish to hand out to prospective buyers.  Her suggested listing price had us a showing and an offer within hours of the house being listed.  We had no trouble getting an adequate appraisal for the house and added on closing costs.  She helped us get to closing with difficult buyers with bad credit that we could have never managed on our own.

Chrystal showed us what was available in our price range and helped us negotiate offers on other houses.  When it became apparent that we were going to have to build to get the type of home that we wanted, she negotiated extra options from the builder for us.  She also called around to help us find a short term rental while the house was being built.

When there were mistakes and problems during the building process, she was right there to help make the builder correct his mistakes.

We were very pleased with the professionalism and assistance that Chrystal gave us during the whole process.  She returned calls in a timely manner and kept us updated about showings and prospective buyers.  We would highly recommend her real estate services.

Scherel and Rick Fisher
Fort Mill, SC


February 2006

I highly recommend Chrystal Safari. In the selling and purchasing of our home she worked with us for over 9 months, even before we were sure about selling and re-purchasing. With her input we were able to sell our home in 7 days. In the purchasing of our new home Chrystal was very patient and extremely knowledgeable. Chrystal took us thru several neighborhoods and areas and providing us with great feedback and input on what is a great investment and purchase for our family.  Chrystal has a great knowledge of real estate, including national markets and international markets. Chrystal was born and raised in the area; she has lived aboard and has strong ties to the international communities here in Charlotte. Chrystal has provided us with so much information, I think it would be worth your time to just take a couple of minutes and speak to her about what you and your family’s needs and desires are in your new home.

Desi and Dinika Collins Bryant
South Charlotte


October 2006

Dear Chrystal,

Just wanted to thank you for all of your hard work to get Hellebore to close.

It is a pleasure working with a professional.

Regards, Susan Lynch, Allen Tate Companies, University Branch


Spring 2004


It was our great pleasure to work with Chrystal in the purchase of our first home.  Chrystal represented us as a buyer’s agent, and was a tremendous asset to us.  She stayed in contact with us and the seller’s agent.  She coordinated all necessary inspections, and helped us in understanding our rights and responsibilities.  She also helped up to develop a long-term plan for credit worthiness.

We can say without question that, without her tenacity, we would not have been able to purchase our home.  We recommend her without reservation, and would love to work with her again.

Larry and Sheri Shonk
Rock Hill, SC

January 2003

I can’t imagine how much more hectic our situation would have been without your help. You did an excellent job with helping us relocate and close on our new home. We’re very satisfied with the overall process.

Doug & Jessica Rapp
First-time homebuyers