The LBD Takes On: Spring Market

I know you come to my blog for my advice (my GREAT advice) for fashion, party planning, basic lifestyle hacks… you know, the fun side of me. I also hope you come for credible information on all things mortgage-related. I know everyone doesn’t need a mortgage all the time. (That’s why I fill you in on fashion- like on my IG and party planning -like in this post.)

But, my main business is being the best mortgage lender available to you. So, in today’s post, I want to talk about the 2019 spring market. If you’re considering buying or selling, the time is now.

Charlotte and surrounding areas continue to be a top relocation spot for people across the country. It’s projected that hundreds of thousands of people will move here over the next ten years. That’s a huge boom and does not include all the people who already live here. Millennials will eventually have babies, move out of their uptown apartments, and need homes too.

As we continue to grow, real estate will become a premium. Our local government is researching where land should be bought to plan for the future. You have the opportunity to do the same thing – look at the housing market now as an investment opportunity for you.

According to CoreLogic’s latest U.S. Home Price Insights, home prices have appreciated by 4.4% over the last 12 months. The same report indicates that homes will continue this upward rise at a rate of 4.6% over the next year.

Mortgage rates are rising as well. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the National Association of Realtors all project rates will increase by this time next year.

Luckily, if you’re first time home buyer there are still a limited amount of $8,000 down payment assistance programs available. We recommend you use this toward a down payment or your closing costs.

The rates right now are in the low 4’s for a 30-year fixed mortgage. It’s still an incredibly good time to get in on a home. Whether your dream is to own a home or condo, downgrade or upgrade, we at Lending By Design will find the best possible rate for you to make your dreams come true! Apply here!

The LBD Party Hosting Guide

I love hosting parties! As a realtor turned mortgage lender, I know that every detail matters no matter if I’m at a closing for a new upscale condo or refinancing your home.

Hosting a party requires the same amount of detail to ensure your guests have a great time and those who didn’t show make sure to make your next party. From the lighting to the music, the location to the glassware, I leave no box unchecked. I also think a great party will further relationships with people. I love connecting people as much as I love great fashion and fabulous mortgage rates!

Recently, I hosted a party to celebrate the launch of my blog! I thought I’d share some of my favorite moments from the party planning to the execution with you all.

Step 1. Choose an intimate location. I’m a huge fan of local locations with a great backstory. When I found Mere’s, a local cheese and wine boutique, I knew it was the spot I wanted to host my first blog party. The layout ensures the room always looks full yet my guests had plenty of room to move.

Step 2. Choose crowd-pleasing nibbles. Meredith Mullins is a wine and cheese expert. She decided to chase her dream of business ownership a few years ago and opened Mere’s in late 2018. Because of her passion and customer service, she took the time to pick the perfect three course wine tasting options for my party plus added the perfect charcuterie boards to ensure my guests’ pallets were pleased.

Step 3. Create an impressive invitation. We’ve gotta get the people to our parties, right? I work with Brynn Rodie on all of my invitations. She runs the design department for Vestique Boutique and is mega-talented. I loved her invitation so much I wore the same outfit to my party!

Step 4. Invite the people. Once the location, nibbles, and invitation are set, it’s time to get people to your party. I’ve found that I have to reach out to each person in a way that makes the most sense for them. I made sure my invitation designed worked as a text message, email alert, or Instagram direct message. I sent it to my list in a variety of ways and they responded beautifully.

Step 5. Make a statement. What I find makes my parties memorable is the small touches. I wanted a unique dessert option so I had my dear friend and catering genius, Luke Manlove of Belmont’s Speciality Foods, design a luscious chocolate board.

Step 6. Give a gift. I also want my guests taking home something special. This time I purchased City Farm Foods speciality jams and added a customized LBD “You’re My Jam!” label. Believe me, Team LBD will be remembered every time my guests spread these delicious local flavors on their toast.

Step 7. Set the stage. Choose background music that sets the tone for your guests. For this party, and most of my parties, I went with Fleetwood Mac. I also had great napkins, glassware, and balloons to add a bit of festive to the entire experience.

Step 8. HAVE FUN! The best part of the party is the people. And the actual party, right? We had a blast! The details put into the event led to an incredible night. In fact, some of my guests shut down Mere’s and all of them will be back for more.

At Team LBD, we support local and we support each of you. I loved throwing this party as much as I love seeing someone purchase a new home. It’s all about the details when it comes to the LBD lifestyle, right?

The LBD Takes On: Tax Credits

Who doesn’t love a credit at our favorite stores? Maybe you returned something that didn’t fit, didn’t have time to shop for something else, and got a store credit. Maybe you forgot you had it. What a FUN surprise to discover said credit the next time you’re shopping! It’s basically free money, right?

So are our tax credits. My friend Nesha Pai of Pai CPA, LLC recently shared some great tips with me and I wanted to pass them along to you.

Hey Business Owners, The Top 5 Forgotten Business Expenses

  1. MILEAGE. Mileage to and from client locations, business meetings, networking events. These all add up. In 2018, it’s back up to 54.5 cents a mile. RACK UP! One caveat: It does not include miles to and from your office or work location commute. (Gas is not deductible, unless you have your vehicle on your books and you chose the actual vs. the standard mileage method).
  2. CELL PHONE. How much of your cell phone do you use for business? Is it 50%, 75%, more, less? Take that percentage and multiply it by your monthly bill and enter that in as an expense onto your books.
  3. MEALS. Business and networking meals are still deductible at 50%. (Just not entertainment anymore). Save your receipts and document who you were with!
  4. START UP COSTS. What are the items or services you bought before your business went live? Did you set up an LLC? Did you contribute your personal laptop? These are items considered as Owner Contributions and therefore expenses on your books
  5. HOME OFFICE. If you work from home, this is a big one most forget…In simplicity, add up all of your utility costs, HOA dues, and repairs & maintenance costs for the year. Take those amounts and multiply it by the  fraction of  the square feet of your office space to the total of the home.

The biggest question my readers will have is: Can I deduct my home mortgage? The better question, according to Nesha Pai’s latest blog is should you deduct your mortgage, and if so, what do you need to take to your CPA to get the tax credit. You can read more from Nesha’s professional site here.

If you decide you should deduct your mortgage, please get in touch with me and I’ll help you gather the paperwork you need for your CPA.

I hope these tips were of value to you. Please pass them along to your friends and family especially the business owners.

Now, if I could figure out how to make Gucci belts and Hermes bracelets tax deductible my tax season would be complete…

LBD Takes On: Mecklenburg County Tax Revaluation

When is the last time you took inventory of your closet? If it’s been a while you probably have pieces that make you laugh from great memories of wearing them. You could have pieces that are so dated you can’t believe you ever bought them. And, a lot of you will have a few pieces that have tripled in valued.

Investments tend to grow in value as time passes. I love that when it comes to my clothes! And, my friend and stylist, Kristin Heinrich, who can also rock a serious LBD, is the BEST at helping me figure out what pieces are worth investing in and what should get be tossed out after a good laugh.

However, when we see our taxes increase as part of an investment growth our pocketbooks moan; and not with buyer’s remorse. They moan with… but I wanted the new Gucci bag!

Right now, my Mecklenburg County readers are getting their tax revaluation letters in the mail. Please note first and foremost, this is just an appraisal. This is NOT a bill. This represents the fair market value of your property. The last time this was done is 2011 and it was done so poorly that 100 million dollars had to be returned to Mecklenburg County citizens.

My post is not here to answer any of the governmental questions behind the appraisals, timing, and other such matters. Luckily, the woman who represents my district in Mecklenburg County, Susan B. Harden, dedicates a section of her website to answering your questions. You can find that by clicking here. If you want in-person time with Commissioner Harden, she is hosting events Feb. 2 and February 16. Click here for more information on those.

My post is here to help give additional information from a real estate and mortgage lender perspective.

Question: What is the most asked question from the revaluation process?

Answer: The biggest question we’re getting, once the shock of the appraisal is seen, is when to seek professional help and when to seek public service (County Government) help. Start by filing an informal review and you can learn how to do that here. Let your tax dollars work for you and see what you can learn going through this process. You all know I’m available to help answer questions. And, my husband is an appraiser and he can help with your value.

Question: Why is a property value increase good for Mecklenburg County?

Answer: It means our community is thriving. People want to live here and we have plenty of business to support them. We have strong public and private schools, great workspaces for all ages, and plenty of potential to grow more. It’s a great time for you as a property owner!

Question: What services can Lending By Design offer during the revaluation season and after it?

Answer: We can connect you with appraisers or agents that can review and help with value.  We can also take a look at your current mortgage structure to see if the increase in value will be beneficial in restructuring or refinancing your loan by paying off a second mortgage or dropping mortgage insurance , lowering your amortization period, among other things.

No… this wasn’t as fun as cleaning out your closet, but I want to give you the best advice I can. The LBD is about being smart and chic. This post gave you both. Right? So share it with your friends. And tag me!

PS – Have you hugged your favorite security guard lately? You should. It’s the LBD way!

Why LBD?

The Little Black Dress, or LBD, is a staple for most women.


Do you have last minute dinner plans? Grab your LBD.

Lunch with friends? Grab your LBD.

Business meeting that requires your best game? You know it… Grab your LBD.

The LBD allows the wearer to be comfortable and confident in any setting. The LBD is timeless. It fits in with everything and everywhere. It never goes out of style.

Every fashion icon has their picture made in an LBD. It’s classy and allows you to share your personal. Your personality brings the brand.

When I created Lending by Design, my own LBD, I wanted to blend my love for fashion with my passion for providing people with the best possible experience when purchasing a home. As a former licensed realtor, I knew the home purchasing process from start to finish.


I also knew I wanted to set the standard in the mortgage world with a symbol of excellence no one would forget. There is no item within the world of fashion more iconic than the LBD. It sets the standard. So, I took it as my own.

At Lending By Design, we provide hands-on, white glove service throughout the mortgage and refinancing process. Everyone who works with my team and me feels heard, valued, and appreciated. I seek to create a seamless transition into new home ownership for people of all ages and phases of life.

And that’s why I’ve started this blog and I’m increasing my reach on social media. I want to keep you informed about what’s happening in the mortgage world. I also want to show you what makes me, me.

You won’t need a mortgage every day. But, one day you will. Or, someone you know will. I want you to know me as a person, so you trust me with your investment.


I ask you to follow along here and also on Instagram (click here) and Facebook (click here).

Oh, and tag me in your LBD pictures. I can’t wait to see them!


My style brought to you by:

First picture is my LBD everyday:

Dress – Cynthia Rowley

Boots – Zara

Belt – Gucci

Jewelry –The Jen Collection, Hermes

Second and third pictures are my LBD weekend:

Dress – Current Elliot

Denim jacket – Current Elliot  

Sneakers – Golden Goose

Purse – Valentino