Abigail Jennings, Owner of Lake Norman Realty, Inc – Beyond the Headlines Article to be Released in the Inaugural Edition of QC (Queen City) Exclusive


Beyond the Headlines: Recognizing Opportunities in Today’s Real Estate Market


By Abigail Jennings


It never fails. Wherever I go I am asked, “So, how’s the market?” I always enjoy


answering this question and discussing the “new normal” of today’s real estate market.


Our market today offers historical opportunities rich with possibility.


Perhaps one reason I’m asked this question so often is that news reports have a way of


confusing the issue. Many times we hear sound bites announcing definitively, “Home


prices on the rise,” or, ”Sales were up last month,” only to hear a seemingly conflicting


report the very next week! When evaluating what we hear on the news, it is critical to


listen for the data behind the report. Were the statistics local or national? Did the


numbers refer to units sold or the total volume of sales? Was the report based on the


average or median sales price? Often, the news report is so short it fails to mention these


very important pieces of information, rendering the headlines somewhat hollow to say the


least. The cumulative effect of these often-too-superficial reports is to make the real


estate market seem more volatile than it actually is.


In a nutshell, our real estate market continues to be affected by the Wall Street downturn


our country experienced several years ago. The 100% loans made to homeowners at the


height of inflated home prices, and the job loss created by the ripple effects of the


banking crisis have both been key components defining our current housing market.


Most homeowners who are secure in their jobs and homes do not fully understand the


repercussions of their neighbors’ misfortune on their home’s value. Unfortunately, the


sale prices from these distressed sales become the market comparables for all the homes


in the community and continue to lower home prices. Until the thousands of pending


short sales and foreclosures become finalized, it will not be possible for our home prices


to finally settle.


With that being said, I hope I did not scare any potential buyers or sellers off! Although


this news paralyzes some into steering clear of real estate today, in fact, it is quite the


opposite. Now is truly a phenomenal time to buy. Growing up in the Lake Norman


region, I always heard people talking about missed opportunities to buy a waterfront lot


for a few thousand dollars in the 1970’s. Today, I believe our real estate market offers


possibilities similar in their historical importance. Even homeowners who are waiting to


sell their home hoping for more equity in the future may want to rethink their delay in


entering the market. Today’s money will buy “more house,” and when combined with


interest rates at extraordinary lows, the opportunities are truly historical.


Speaking of history, let’s take a look back in time and see what we could have gotten in


2006, 2008, and 2010 in one of Lake Norman’s finest luxury waterfront communities. In


2006, $1.75 million would have bought a gorgeous home with a total square footage of


around 6500. In early 2008, considered by many to have been the peak of real estate


values, a neighboring home of 5300 square feet sold for almost the same money (just


over $1.7 million). In late 2010, the most recent comparable home on this street sold for


$1.4 million. But this one weighs in at over 7500 square feet, considerably more

spacious than either of the first two examples. And this pattern is fairly consistent in all

neighborhoods and price points throughout our region over the same time period. As you

can see, your money will buy you more in today’s real estate market.

For those of you with something a bit more luxurious in mind, a new property has just

entered our local real estate market which further illustrates my point. Chateau Lyon

offers not only the grandeur of scale, but also lavish attention to details beyond anything

else offered in our region. Built by furniture entrepreneurs Larry and Jane Hendricks,

this home cost over $22 million to build with elements and architectural features from

around the world. Situated on perhaps one of the loveliest sites in Alexander Island, a

cozy and exclusive neighborhood on the shores of Lake Norman, Chateau Lyon’s views

are as breathtaking as the home itself. The Hendricks spared no expense when building,

importing pinion stones hand-carved in the fields of Mexico, eighteenth century

handmade roof tiles from France, reclaimed 250 year-old heart pine plank flooring,

Biblical stone floors from the Middle East, as well as original paintings, gold-leaf

paneling, and fixtures directly from a 1901 reproduction of Marie Antoinette’s summer

home in Lyon, France; and much, much more. Although many of the home’s details are

precious antiques, this home is an astounding modern wonder with every “smart home”

feature you could imagine; creating the ultimate in the best of both worlds.

A rare gem of a home, Chateau Lyon captures the heart and mind of all who enter its

awe-inspiring halls. Its magnificent rooms each embody the spirit of this grand estate,

which feels like a visit abroad and a step back into history. It’s a historical bargain too,

as the once $22,000,000 castle is now offered at $8,000,000. So if you’re considering

calling Chateau Lyon home, don’t let the headlines dissuade you. After all in 30 years,

you don’t want to look back with regret on your missed opportunity to own a waterfront

castle for a mere $8 million.


About Michelle Nantz

There are many qualities and skills that go into being an excellent real estate professional: integrity, in-depth community and market knowledge, marketing savvy, effective negotiation skills, and a high-quality professional network ~ all of which are hallmarks of Michelle Nantz. In 2003, Michelle began her career in real estate, after a successful career in restaurant and hotel management with her last position as Regional Director of Operations running 56 hotels throughout two states. She owes her success in real estate and management to her expertise in people skills, managing, negotiating, and follow-up. However, it is Michelle’s dedication to quality service that she ultimately credits her success. Michelle shared, “In my experience as a Lake Norman real estate professional, I’ve found that providing the very best service is essentially about putting my clients first. This means keeping myself accessible, being a good listener as well as a good communicator, and responding quickly to their needs.” This “client first” philosophy combined with continual personal improvement and keeping up-to-date with the latest technologies is a cornerstone of both Michelle’s and Lake Norman Realty’s business philosophy. In addition to Michelle’s extensive real estate education and her experience in the local market, she is also an Accredited Staging Professional®, which brings additional value to marketing her clients’ homes. Michelle and her family have made the Lake Norman area their home for over 10 years. In her rare leisure moments, you’ll find Michelle with her three children and husband, or unwinding with gardening or reading. “I live and work in this community and only have the best interests of our community and its members in mind,” says Michelle. Her community activities include participation in Denver Days, Relay for Life and support for Christian Ministries and area schools.
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