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Setting the stage for a sale (access required)

Setting the stage for a sale <span class="dmcss_key_icon"><img alt="(access required)" src="/files/2013/10/lock1.png" border=0/></span>

Call it the HGTV effect. Home buyers have high expectations when it comes to a new home. You have to grab them in the first seven to 10 seconds or they move on.

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Home wasn’t built in a day; it took a day and a quarter (access required)

How do you build a house in 30 hours? Help. Lots of help, like 150 around-the-clock volunteers, a handful of professional supervisors and a dozen paid AmeriCorps interns. If there was a third "H" in Habitat for Humanity, Frank Spencer said, it would stand for help, on which the organization depends for its existence.

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One Charlotte Realtor loses license; another surrenders his (access required)

A Charlotte-area realtor has lost her license but has managed to keep her business after fully refunding the company’s trust fund. Julie Edwards Van Slambrook, the broker-in-charge and co-owner of First Properties of the Carolinas, was stripped of her real estate license in March after it was learned that she embezzled nearly $100,000 of client funds held in trust.

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New protections for struggling Nevada homeowners (access required)

A new Homeowner's Bill of Rights, SB 321, aims to eliminate the runaround some homeowners got from banks by requiring lenders to assign homeowners a single person to contact. It bans dual-tracking, in which a bank pursues a foreclosure at the same time a homeowner is working on a short sale. And it eliminates "arm's length" rules, in which banks barred people from buying distressed properties from their relatives or other close associates.

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Wall Street taps Main Street: Investment firms looking for return on Charlotte’s rental homes (access required)

Wall Street taps Main Street: Investment firms looking for return on Charlotte’s rental homes <span class="dmcss_key_icon"><img alt="(access required)" src="/files/2013/10/lock1.png" border=0/></span>

Led by the behemoth Blackstone Group, the largest alternative investment company in the world, institutional investors are buying a lot of single-family homes in Charlotte, fixing them up, renting them out and holding onto them to see if they rise in value. One of every five houses sold in May, June and July in the Charlotte market went to big investors, a higher percentage than in any other market but Atlanta.

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Year’s largest single-family permit pulled for Peninsula home (access required)

Thanks to a building permit worth $755,872, a property owner on the Peninsula soon will be able to boast, “I can see Denver from my house.” That property owner, Ramzi Abul-Hajj of Huntersville, on Tuesday pulled the most valuable Mecklenburg County single-family home permit of the year to build a 10,000-plus square-foot waterfront home on the very westernmost tip of the county’s extension into Lake Norman, according to county records.

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A home away from HOA control: Property owner wants to empower homeowners (access required)

Jim Lane is a man on a mission. The Huntersville resident wants to reform and improve homeowners associations, which he believes have run amok and are “too controlling of residents’ lives.” Lane said he’s petitioning all Charlotte area HOAs and homeowners to join his new organization, "Greater Charlotte Alliance of Homeowners Associations." Homeowners in disputes with their HOAs will get some relief from two laws passed by the N.C. General Assembly during this year’s session, one of which takes effect Oct. 1.

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