Overall, Charlotte, NC is 79.5% cheaper than San Francisco, CA

Your Money Goes Farther in Charlotte

Charlotte, NC
San Francisco, CA

$301,300 Charlotte, NC

79.5% less

Median Home Cost

$1,471,200 San Francisco, CA

$3,163Charlotte, NC

66% less

Property Taxes

(annual based on avg price home)

$9,415 San Francisco, CA

Charlotte, NC Webinar

Everything you need to know about Charlotte, NC real estate


- Hi, Scott Fuller here. Founder of LeavingTheBayArea.com, And we come to you today with another edition of our Market Insider series. Where every week, every session, we take you to a different location across the United States, where we are seeing Bay Area and California residents are moving to. And if this is the first time you joined us on one of these webinars. We're gonna give you a lot of great information. We're gonna talk about cost of living. We're gonna talk about education. We're gonna talk about industry employment, traffic. Everything you need to know to make an informed decision if you're thinking of making a move. Today I'm super excited. I've got Terry McDonald with me, with eXp Realty. He's a broker in Charlotte area. And, Terry, how are you today?

- I'm doing well Scott.

- Awesome.

- Thanks for inviting me.

- You're welcome, I'm glad you were able to make it here. So we've seen, Terry, a lot of people, move into the Charlotte market. We've seen a pretty big tech influence. A lot of people moving for tech, and then some for retirement. I know that we're gonna go into that a little bit deeper. But just from, you know, you've got a large real estate team. Tell me a little bit about, your background in Charlotte, and maybe just give us a really, really brief overview of Charlotte, and then we can kinda get into a lot of our content sections.

- Oh, well thanks for that question, 'cause a lot of people get their impressions of the South on TV, and Charlotte's really none of those things. It's a large, modern city in the South, and I moved here, I've been here over 20 years, and most everybody are imports, from around the country. East Coast, West Coast, and around the world as well. We have a large international presence here. People don't really realize. So, there's a lotta, sort of, preconceptions. But, I came here with four children, my wife and a dog, 20 years ago. And this city has been very good to our family. The kids went to private schools and public schools. They've all graduated. They've all moved on to bigger and better things. But we found the city well on it's way. And it's kind of a pro-business city, and a pro-business state. The easiest way to describe it. Lots of old trees, and old neighborhoods, in close to town. And then we've got pretty much everything, so. A minute about me, I grew up in the Maryland suburbs of Washington DC. Went to New York city and lived in Hoboken, and went uptown for three years. And then we came down here. So we know something about urban living. Something about suburban living. And now we raised the family out in the suburbs, and we moved in close to town because, there are just a lot of great things happening in downtown Charlotte, or, which we call uptown. And so that's the thumbnail sketch. We'll talk a little bit more, as we go through these neighborhoods. But, I've lived in several areas, I'm in real estate, so we moved a little more than some. And it's been a good ride--

- And that now you're kind of enjoying your time, it sounds like you guys are empty-nesters. So, there is ... You look very relaxed Terry, that's what I'm saying.

- I appreciate that, and we try. We live that way. We try and live that way all the time. We leave all the, what should I call it? I leave a lot to the younger folks who really wanna push it, and get out there. When I say that, you know. I still do quite a lot of business, but on the other hand, there's real estate, there's a place, and I'm in everything,

- Yeah, absolutely. Well that's great Terry, and I know that you guys do a lot of business in the Charlotte area, very well known, and that's what we'd like to kinda get into. Maybe that's a good starting point for us is, a lot of people who are moving from the San Francisco area or California, right? Anywhere, you guys obviously have a lot of people from the Northeast that are coming into Charlotte. The first question is, how far will my money go? And then you have some people who are coming out of California, maybe retired? And so they're on maybe a fixed income, and kind of a budget. But they do have some money that they built up in their home, that they can spend. And then of course, you're gonna have some people who have quite a bit of money to play with. To look at, maybe some more expensive, and extravagant homes in Charlotte. But, I know you're gonna share maybe some information, tell us about some growing areas, where these are more popular in the Charlotte area. And give us kind of an idea of what you can get, for what price?

- Yeah, I'll be happy to do that. I'm gonna go ahead and share a screen with you though, so I can walk you through some of these different areas. And, you're quite right. It's a ... We got a fairly large geographic area. Charlotte's now the 16th largest city in the country. But our market area spreads quite a bit. Quite far from Lake Norman in the North, down to Waxhaw in the South. And we're gonna look at four different areas today, Scott. There are a lot more than four, to be honest with you. But these four popular areas, two of them are in town. These two are Dilworth and Plaza Midwood. And then there's two suburban locations, one is down here, further in the south, is Ballantyne. And then up north, in the Lake Norman area, which is Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson. But let's go ahead and start, I think we'll start with Dilworth. Dilworth is my neighbor. Dilworth, Sedgefield, we share the same schools. And really, what we have, is neighborhoods that like the craftsmen style here. Dilworth's got a large collection of craftsmen homes. And most of these homes are been taken down entirely, or thoroughly remodeled. This one, got a price of $1.495 million. It's a more expensive one. Again, it's in town. But we have 4,700 square feet total. 1,816 on the first. 1,856 on the second, and it's a five bedroom, five and a half bath home. And it's a relatively new home, built in 2014. If we pop this out, we can look at few pictures and give you an idea. I was a builder for more than 20 years, and I think anybody who's been in building, will appreciate this town and their builders here. Their very competitive building market, and their interior finishes, the exterior finishes are all very solid.

- That's beautiful, wow.

- And, so, dining rooms are not quite as in fashion as they were in years gone by. So, we're seeing a couple of different rooms here. There's a great room, and this kind of coffered ceiling. And this is, I'm sure, their kitchen, off to the right. These are very popular here. As are porches and outdoor living areas. Do you see here, how the kitchen extends into the living room. And then, there's also a deck out here. And the deck often times, will have a roof cover. It can get a little bit hot at the southern, if you've got a southern exposure here. This is from a typical kitchen in Dilworth. A lovely--

- These details are amazing Terry, what they've done in that kitchen, that's awesome.

- I think so too, I love the top level of cabinets here are lighted. 42 inch everywhere else. Of course the wall ovens, and these are all premium appliances. They do a nice job here. This one's by Ram Construction. We do a lot of work with these guys. So Dilworth got it's start, it was the very first suburb out side of Charlotte. You could actually walk to Charlotte. And then they got a trolley, they've since brought the trolley back. But, I live in the next neighborhood, Sedgefield. And I like to tell people, I go to the Hornets games, downtown. And I've made it in as little as 11 minutes, from my front door, to my seat there. So it's very--

- Wow, okay, so from-- And that's downtown.

- Correct.

- And this would be a similar commute.

- Yeah. Maybe a couple of minutes quicker.

- We're talking very very close. This price point on this property, Terry. How long would this type of a home, at this price, typically stay on the market?

- Of course, everything depends on price. This one's been on the market, zero days. So it's just, this is it's first day on the market. This is a well respected builder. Very nice finishes. If they priced it right, and I haven't really studied that yet, but if they priced it right. It could be gone over the weekend.

- Really?

- They've got an open house here, and that's their hope, anyway. It could also hang around for a little bit, you know. We're in August and it's a

- So as down here, it slows down a little bit, right?

- Yeah, it does slow down a little bit. And I don't wanna give anybody the impression that's all you can buy here. There are a lot of nice homes in Dilworth, probably starting in the 700s, smaller homes, 700s, 800s. But if you need a bigger home, you need the 4,500 square feet, and you're gonna be upwards, and north of $1.2.

- Sure, and this is probably one of higher end general properties we would see, so we're coming out with a bang, showing the house and property for guys who are looking, you know, some options that are gonna be much less then that quote.

- Absolutely, absolutely, and there's no doubt about it. The next neighborhood we're gonna go to, is another in-town neighborhood, is Midwood, Plaza Midwood. And over here you will see even more of the bungalow style. You'll also see craftsmen style homes here. This is another. Tall trees, wide boulevards. This is also right off a road called, Central Avenue. And Charlotte's not big enough to have a Chinatown, but Central Avenue is really where, just, we have a lot of Asian influence, a lot of international feel for it. And a big part of that is this Plaza Midwood. It's a lovely, lovely neighborhood. We work in this neighborhood an awful lot. And the prices are more friendly. This one's 2,760 square feet, and it's priced at $599. And it's a four bedroom, two and a half bath home, so plenty large for, families. Big front porches are the norm here. Many of these houses were built before air conditioning Scott. And we live in the South. So they would put these big porches on, to protect the windows, to keep the sun out. And then, you never know, they, at night have people-- in the old days, use to sleep on them. Today, you know, they're all air conditioning. Every once in a while you get a call, does this house have air conditioning? I say, trust me. Every house down here has air conditioning.

- If it doesn't, it's going to soon, right?

- Right, right. So, when people live in Michigan, they ask about the heat, down here, they ask about the air conditioning. But it's, another lovely kitchen, that's sort of simple style. This is simple craftsmen. There's some elements of Shaker in here too. These nice wide plank hardwood floors. Nice features, good features, and again a open floor plan concept is the norm in the newer homes here. And the recently renovated homes.

- So Terry, for this property in Midwood, about how far is this to the downtown area?

- It's in that same 10 to 12 minute range. That's the neat thing, this is the second, inner loop circle that I showed you. Those two that were close to town. Dilworth's one, this Midwood is the second. We're gonna head a little further out into the suburbs Where you might find, if there's a challenge here in Midwood, it might be the schools. Dilworth's got excellent schools, at a little higher price point. These schools are so-so, here we see more young professionals perhaps, and more people starting families, then the older families. But Charlotte's got a lot of different types of school situations, so there's always a plan for schools.

- Yeah, and you know Terry, it's interesting you say that, because every time we're having this conversation in a different city, you are going to have some areas that have a little bit better schools then others. And that's obviously a conversation. If you have a family that's relocating. Schools are important, then the conversation becomes, let's look at, you know, identify some communities that maybe has, the better schools, and maybe that price point's higher? Or we look at the option of still nice communities, maybe not the best schools, but the option to do private school or something like that. So sure that's a conversation that you guys have with a lot of people, that determine where that best fit might be, for somebody who has a family with kids in school.

- Absolutely, absolutely, and then, the school system also has a large system of magnets and charters. So it's really, there's a layered look at schools here, and they go, you're exactly right, there are certain areas that are better than others, and then there's privates, and then there's charters and magnets. But yeah, that's a separate conversation. We're gonna move out to the suburbs a little bit, with this next one. This is a South-Charlotte community. This home is located in Waxhaw. But when I think of South Charlotte, I think South Charlotte starts in Ballantyne, Scott. Ballantyne is another area that a lot of folks around the country know. Relatively new, about 20 years old, and is a ive-work community. It used to have a headquarters, corporate headquarters out in Ballantyne. And most of them have moved into town now. But it's a big insurance and finance place. The banks all have secondary operations in Ballantyne. And then Ballantyne just edges into several communities. It edges into Waxhaw. So you have a number of people who work in Ballantyne, live in Waxhaw. Some work and live both in Ballantyne. And we'll talk about retirement communities. And the most successful retirement community in the city is about probably five miles from here, and about 10 miles from Ballantyne. So they're all working in here together. That South Charlotte is a very popular area in general, because of the higher quality schools, and you get a little more for your money out here. Compared to in town. So this one is $4,759, under $500,000--

- That blows my mind Terry. I'm looking at the stats on this property. I'm looking at place, it's sure something. Terry, and that's unbelievable. I'm trying to make a comparison, what that would cost here, but I just can't. I mean, it,s ...

- No, it's that way a lot, so. I walked into this guy, into a house like this, with a guy from Long Island too, one guy. And he'd just paid a $24,000 tax bill. And he asked me, Terry, in his Italian accent, how much are the taxes? And I said, you know, I think they're probably about $6,000, we'll have to ask the new home rep. Well, he looked at me like I was lying to him. Like there's no way you would get this for $6,000 in taxes. And then he walks in and a minute after he's there, he asks her what the taxes are. And she said, they're estimated at $6,300 a year. And he just shook his head, for the next two minutes.

- Yeah, I mean it's a shock, in a good way. So show us some pictures on this one. I think we've got about 4,000 square feet.

- Yep, just under 4,000, and, lovely. It's got brick, and that is hardy plank that's going with it. We use a lot of that here. I'm not sure how popular that is out West. But they use it in place of traditional sidings, wood sidings and cedar shakes, et cetera. And that's impervious to the weather, virtually impervious. It's a great exterior. Here you see the craftsmen style here is very popular, so on this finish, we're seeing the simplicity around the doors. Here the wainscoting, these are probably five inch wide oak, if I were guessing from here. But this is a sort of a center hall colonial, if you get that from here, here's your dining, on here, a center hall here. That's a modern take on it. And then, we come through, out to a wide open kitchen. And I'm sure this kitchen will lend itself out to a great room. There's a formal dining here, off the side. And, yeah, I think this picture was taken from the kitchen. Again, the coffered ceilings. Lovely windows. These are all very well insulated windows. These are all, I won't say everyone has, but most of them are certified green homes. The builders here are looking to compete on a lot of different levels. And one of them is energy, the cost of energy. That's a laundry room, there's no wash and dryer, so you gotta tell them. This is a staged home here. So, we go through it. Just a lovely home. This is, you know ...

- Yeah, it is.

- Wait, we're getting the land. We got .36, about a third of an acre. And it's level and wooded. Not too bad. This is a little more in the country. Waxhaw's maybe one of those far out suburbs. We occasionally go further then that. But we go to Waxhaw all the time. All the time.

- And how long did you say that it takes to get from Waxhaw to the downtown area?

- I didn't, but that's a longer commute. At least a longer commute for us. We're 45 minutes, and hour. Around here, that's a long commute. But, that's if they're going to uptown. There's a lot of different employment areas. Ballantyne's a big employment area. And that's probably 15 to 20 minutes.

- Well I imagine a lot of the people that you're selling these houses to, you know, 45 minutes is not a shocker. And with what you're getting here, a third of an acre, 4,000 square feet, five bedrooms, I mean that's, that's a small price to pay, commuting 45 minutes, to have this type of living.

- Well, you know, and exactly right, and so ... They're trade-offs, and everybody ... Charlotte's about a city of choices, really. And there are a lot of good choices. And different communities with different things. And some people, that's nothing. I've got people who come from Long Island, and say, we commute two hours everyday. An hour? That's nothing, you know? Other people really wanna be in closer. That's great too, we've got good choices there. There are choices. And I've worked in re-location for the entire 15 years here, so I'm much more familiar with the whole city, then your typical agent would be. Over here, all right, we've gone north now to Cornelius. I'm just gonna pop this up in a map real quick. And the reason I am, is 'cause this is the first time we've left, actually, the city of Charlotte. And look at that. We're looking at homes surrounded by Lake Norman. Not a bad thing. And this is right off the 77. So a lot of people live, ah work in North Charlotte. There's Huntersville area. There's Huntersville, Cornelius, and they love it here. And the hard core water people, somebody would say, hey, we wanna live in waterfront, we've heard and seen how wonderful Lake Norman is. And it is. You can live here on the peninsula, and then head down here or uptown. It's only 23 miles, at it's closest. 25 miles--

- That house to here?

- That house to here is 20 or 25 miles. This is one of the heavier traveled pieces of highways in the city. We're just opening up new lanes there. Some new toll lanes. And everybody's pretty, well, has mixed feelings about them, 'cause they think they're gonna be too expensive. But the long and the short of it is, that will get people here quicker.

- Yes, yeah.

- I think people, once people get used to it. They're gonna be happier. Let's go back. And we'll take a look at some houses up here. Well, I picked this one, just because of the waterfront view. There are prettier homes. This one's 4,500 square feet, 2,700 on the main level. And this is a home with a ranch. So it's on the main, and then 1,800 down the basement. It's priced at $1,299. A big part of that is water view. And the dock, and the pier, you see the covered boathouses out here. It looks like the kind of place for a couple of boats. Jet ski's, I think that's what those are, is Jet ski covers. So these are people who are into water play. On the weekend. And the evening. There's a look at their cove. I'm on this lake almost weekly, in the summer.

- Oh yeah?

- Oh yeah. And it's 30 minutes from my front door. So, 30 minutes to my boat anyway, so, yeah, we go pretty regular. The water sports are good, people fish in the lake. But mostly, they're tubing, they're skiing, they're sailing too, particularly in the spring and the summer. We get hot spring and fall we get good breezes. There's some sailing clubs out there as well. And there's a look at it from the front. Not as exciting from the front, but I could make that one look real pretty here, real fast.

- Well, yeah, you change that out, and if you want, really, and it's all about the surroundings, right? This has everything that you would need.

- Yep, exactly right. And over-sized two car garage, good, good description. Been on the market 14 days. Anyway. There's a, that's what I'm talking about, when there's choices. Some of the ones we didn't look at. We have a large collection of country clubs here. So some people wanna live in country clubs, great. We've got good ones in town. Places like Myers Park Country Club. Or Quail Hollow, if you're got a serious golfer. Quail Hollow's the place to be, because the PGA comes here pretty regularly.

- I've heard of it, yeah.

- And the Quail Hollow tournament is a regular feature there. And it's nice to be able to walk to it, instead of having to get in the car and go. It is certainly nice. We got country club living, and then we've also got equestrian living, around the edges. People want horse farms, and that type of thing. We have that as well. And then, like I said, pretty much everything in between, and then we've got high rise condos in town. We got a couple of tall buildings. And lots of, both ends of the spectrum there. We've got a lot of young buyers, but then a lot of people my age, who say hey, I'm just ready for somebody else to take care of everything, and I just want easy living, and I can turn my key and go.

- Well Terry, let's get into that a little bit. So obviously you provided some really good examples. A range of prices for people to consider. But then we also have a lot of people that are looking for active adult, 55 plus communities. Some of those places are awesome, and they offer a lot of really, really good amenities. Give us one or two quick examples of what you would find if somebody is interested in that active adult living lifestyle.

- So we probably have a dozen or 15 of those in the area. The two that are the best known is Trilogy at Lake Norman. And then there's a Del Webb Community in the South called Sun City Carolina Lakes. And, I'm not sure what's slowing us down here, but this is at Lake Norman, and at Trilogy, both of these are all included, all inclusive kind of communities. They take care of all the lawn care, they take care of all the exterior maintenance. They're, what we call, down in the South, golf cart communities. Now, interestingly enough, Trilogy doesn't even have a golf course. They've got one nearby that their people are members to. But, Sun City is built around a golf course. But the golf carts extend the people's mobility. And down in Sun City, there's even a grocery store that the front of row parking, usually, you know that road where you usually drive in for pick-up? That's all golf cart parking now.

- Yeah, yeah, what a way to pick up, right?

- Yeah, exactly, or just to walk in for a minute and take a look. When we say the Trilogy is right about here, it's just on Southeastern corner of Lake Norman. It's not on the lake, but it's right next to it. It's that 57, includes some of those homes. They have ranch homes, probably, I mean, they start in the high 200s. It's amazing Scott, from like the 290s. And then the most expensive are in the mid fives. And they're all--

- You're saying you're getting, actually detached, single family homes for mid to high twos. Starting at the high 200s.

- Exactly. High 200s, and then the nicer ones go from there, they'll go up to 300, 350, but a 350 buys a lotta home at Trilogy, 400 as well. Same is true down South, at Sun City, Sun City Carolina Lakes. Many people are familiar with the brand and the name, Del Webb. Particularly for our parents, their generation. They were the first to do these all-inclusive retirement places. This little area here, called Indian Land, here, has the most successful Del Webb community ever. And at Sun City Carolina Lakes. And it's 10 miles, south of Ballantyne. You can get to the Charlotte airport in 45 minutes. And it's over 55. They've got a great golf course there. The people who play it, like it a lot. And, they are the, they're the first people who came with the all-included. A club house that is like a country club. And with activities going, essentially, 20 hours a day. From as early as you want.

- You can keep really busy, and make a lot of really good friends for people. And again, not everybody who is over 55 is looking for this. But for the people that are, those amenities are what you get for the price. It's really good.

- Exactly right, and if anything, Sun City is a price point below Trilogy. Instead of 300 to 500, they're more 250 to 450. They have a few that get up to 500. And the amenities are pretty much ala carte. So everybody gets the club house, but if you want golf, there's an extra fee and stuff like that. It all works out, but both are extremely popular. And we're excited to have two of them. One in the North, and one in the South. And usually the people wind up wherever their grandkids are closet to them. That's the most common--

- That's what we see, right? You follow your grandkids wherever they go. And that's what a lot of already retirees, in California are doing as well.

- Yeah, exactly. So, there are a few in the South, you go to Sun City, and in the North, you go to Trilogy, and you can love either one.

- Ah, that's great. Awesome, I think we got everything that you were gonna show us on the screen share here.

- All right.

- Tell us a little bit about, kinda keeping along with the 55 plus theme here. We have a lot of people that, one of their biggest concerns, I shouldn't say concern, but the biggest points we're going to research is, how's health care? Your proximity to health care services. What are your thoughts on that? And your feedback for people who say, health care is very important to us, and our move, and that's gonna be a high priority on our list, before we decide to give it to you.

- Well, I love people, where that's a priority. If that's a priority, and they just do their research on health care, Charlotte will pop up, very near the top of the list. We've got two, excellent medical systems here. Novant, formerly called Presbyterian, and now Atrium, formerly Carolinas Medical. They've been in competition for years. They attract some of the top doctors in the country. We have a cardiac unit at Carolinas Medical, that does transplants. One of like, half a dozen in the country. We have a cardiac intensive care, with 15 beds in it. And I visited there, unfortunately, about a year ago. But the bottom line is, it's here, and it's about seven or eight minutes from my house. They have satellite hospitals out on the perimeters. And I warn our young people, whenever we go past them, that a lot of babies are born there. And so ... If you're not interested in more children, just kinda work your way, away from those thoughts. But, people move here for the health care, and they do. I've had many people move here for that health care. I had people who call me and said, so what made you think of Charlotte? I had one, exactly 10 years ago. You have a pediatric intensive care unit. I said, okay. That's a new one on me, but I'm happy to hear it. We also have the Levine Cancer center, and we have a magnificent children's hospital. This children's hospital, you have to see it at night. The windows light up in a rainbow of colors, and the reason they're rainbow, is each child can choose the colors of the room at night.

- Is that right? Wow. It is, so they're there and they're programing their light choices, and from the outside, it's this mosaic that's just stunning. So, I'm very excited to talk about health care. Ballantyne has the largest selection of doctors, physicians, without a hospital. They don't have a formal hospital. There's one about two miles away, at Mercy, but they have every type of physician, and so it's not an accident that Sun City is 10 miles away. It's not the people, the people like that. And that's the way to the airport too. So, anyway, so yeah, health care is very strong here. One last thing on that. I had a physician I moved down here, and so I asked his wife, there in Ballantyne, and I said, "What's different?" And she said, "Well, he enjoys medicine again". I said, "Really?" She said, "Yeah, he sees 50% less patients. "Doesn't work weekends. "And isn't stressed all the time." I said, "That's good news." And she lived in Ballantyne. "So what's the other big surprise?" She said, how easy everything was. How the kids got integrated in school, et cetera. She said, "Don't tell him, I'm not." "He wanted to move 10 years ago, "don't tell him I said this, but it was a breeze." And I said, "Very good."

- Well that's a dream re-location scenario, right? That's what everybody wants.

- Exactly, better than we thought, and easier than we thought. So yeah, it's like that, and liking medicine again I think is a good thing for a physician.

- Well, sure, I mean, obviously, the less stressed that they are, probably the better care that we're going to be provided, so.

- I think so to.

- That's great Terry, thanks for talking about that a little bit more. Let's get into industry and employment. So, obviously, Charlotte has a very, very strong economy. Equals a lot of growth in industry. A lot of people are gonna surely be moving there, especially with, the boom in tech, sector there. Talk to us a little about some of those--

- Finance of course is the main driver here.

- Well, finance certainly--

- And then finance tech, yeah.

- Finance first, tech second, tech growing, but tell us kind of the different industries, and what are you seeing? The growth in employment and maybe some of the new or up and coming major players in industry in Charlotte.

- Okay, that's a big question. So we're gonna try and keep it, down.

- Nice and little. Yeah, that's a lot of stuff right there.

- Yeah, unpack a little, and keep it to a few minutes. Well first off, you gotta remember, we have five corporate Fortune 500 companies who are headquartered here. It's sizable. It's MicroAmerica, yes, but so is Lowe's, and so is, the rest of them are gonna come to me, Sonic, and a handful of others, are all Fortune 500 companies here. And then there's two new ones moving. We just had Honeywell, who's probably number six. They just re-located in the last 12 months. And then we have a new bank merger, SunTrust merged with BB&T. These aren't names, probably that familiar to you. They're mostly East Coast and middle of the country, but they'll be the sixth largest bank in the country. And they decided to headquarter here in Charlotte. Finances, were the city's history begins. We have a Mint Museum. We have a Federal Reserve branch here. And we even had gold, before the 49er Gold Rush, yes, the first gold-- Absolutely, I give them 88, 48 or something along those lines. So we have a background in that, and that's where the money was made here, it was printed here and we evolved into a banking town. First it was NationsBank, that had become Bank of America. You know, we stole the Bank of America. Part of that deal to bring them to Charlotte, was we keep the Bank of America name, but they move their headquarters here. And then we had another bank that was the competitor for years, Wachovia, that went out, but becomes Wells Fargo. And then, now we have this, big presentation, representation of banks. But not just banks, insurance companies. Every major insurance company in the country is here, from The Hartford, to MetLife, to, just you name it, Liberty Mutual, they all have places. And then, those guys drew in tech workers. And tech is in the growth mode in the last decade. You were right on that. Because the banking industry is concentrated in New York, here in San Francisco. And, by the way, that's the hat trick, is you take your banking executive pay from San Francisco or New York, and then you get transferred here. That's the crushing win.

- That's the goal, right? This is the end results we need.

- Exactly, because all of a sudden you've gotten this giant promotion, and then your cost of living has gone down to the floor. Between our housing and insurance costs are very low. Anyway, so banking, financial tech, those are two leading industries. Health care is the actual largest employer. So health care is a big industry here. It's only growing, as our baby boomers, people like me, grow a little older, and that's this population's big cohort, so there's a large number of them here. And so those are the big three. But then there's also transportation. And you've probably been told that the United States doesn't manufacture anything. But, in truth, there's a lot of what we call precision manufacturing. And Charlotte's the hub for precision manufacturing. And these are the manufacturing jobs that can't be shipped overseas. Lot's of times they tried.

- Give me an example of precision manufacturing. What would that be?

- You've heard of the German company Siemens, yes. Siemens is an energy company. Well we have the North American headquarters for Siemens here, and they manufacture giant turbines and these turbine, every power plant in the world, and their focus here is North America, South America, our continent here. They're providing, Siemens and Toshiba both, are providing the turbines for every power plant in the country. Not only that, we have a large representation in the jet planes and aircraft. So there's a lot of these high-end, highly skilled, manufacturing plants. And that's the difference. The skills that it takes, to manufacture these. That's why they're called precision manufacturing. And it why we're also a little more effective by the recession, the last time in 2007 and eight. Because there were a number of factory workers, and it's easy to lay off a shift, but we bounced back from that quickly, and the other recessions, we don't even feel. Unless it's a financial one. So, I think we were insulated from the business cycle. I'm particularly cognizant of that, because we were insulated in the Washington DC area. The economy's always good up there. And that means home prices go up, and it's a can-do attitude, it's an optimistic place. But, long and short of it, those are your three or four main industries, the service industries, of course are all big. Tourism's big. There's culturally, there's quite a lot here as well. They're not massive employers, but it's just a lot of things for people to do here.

- It's a very well diversified industry base. I was actually just reading this morning, so there is a $200 million dollar Amazon distribution center approved, not far from the airport. And that's gonna bring in about 1,500 jobs. I'm sure that people are pretty excited about that.

- They are, those are high wage jobs, and again, in an affordable city like Charlotte, those people will be firmly in the middle class, and then Lowe's moved their tech, established their tech quarters about seven or eight minutes from me. And they're bringing 2000 tech jobs to South End. Which is right here, at the end of Dilworth. It's in our neighborhood. So they're bringing 2000 jobs here. Interestingly enough, you've heard of probably, LendingTree?

- Yeah.

- LendingTree was in Ballantyne for years. They were founded and they were there since their beginning. They're also moving in town to this area called South End. Which is where a lot of our younger millennials are, and they're trying to attract them. And perks that millennials want, are located here in town. So, where they coming, so it's an exciting time to be in Charlotte.

- Let's talk about taxes. That's what everybody loves to talk about, or not, but the reality is, people coming from California. Taxes are going up. We have the highest state income tax rate in the country right now. So, looking at it from a financial--

- What is that rate, in California?

- 12.3%.

- I see.

- What do think, comparisons, just to kinda make it fun Terry, right? But for a lot of people, whether they're moving their business or they're moving family or individually. Their biggest concern is financially. How it this city we're gonna move to, going to benefit me, and what's the outcome gonna look like? From a financial perspective. So, let's kinda look at, let's do some comparisons. What's your state income tax rate?

- 5%.

- Okay, so we're a little bit over 7% difference on our top bracket here. What are you gus paying for property taxes? And I know that can vary, but on average. What's your property tax rate?

- So, it does vary. And it's based on an assessed value. Now recently, they've done an assessment, so the actual values, assessed values are somewhat similar now. Somewhat. But, it's .95, and that's per 100. So, on a million dollar home, in the city of Charlotte, your taxes are probably $9,500 a year.

- Got it, okay. And we're at about, just to do a comparison, we're about starting at 1,1/4%, there might be additional taxes, in addition to that based off, you know, without initiatives, things like that.

- Correct, so at the .95, that's your accumulative tax, right. In the city of Charlotte, there's multiple taxes, that add up to that .95, but that's our top rate. And then there's different parts of Mecklenburg where it's only .7, and some of the cities, Matthews and Huntersville, Cornelius. Some of those are a little bit lower than the .95. They're .85, .8. But .95 is the worst. But South Carolina, which is nearby, which we're also licensed in, 'cause our market area encompasses both North and South Carolina. When you're down there, Ballantyne, you're just a stone's throw from South Carolina as well. And they're known for even lower taxes, then we are. I like to tell people we have low taxes. They have ridiculously low taxes. Interestingly enough there, since it's one market, and one MLS, if you studied the market carefully, you'll realize that the home prices down there are about three or four percent higher, then they are, right across the North Carolina line. And it's people adjusting for the lower tax rates.

- But it kinda balances out.

- It does, it does.

- When you're in Stonewall area.

- Exactly, exactly. If you're on a fixed income, et cetera, and retirement, then South Carolina might be a little more interesting. And that's Sun City Carolina Lakes. It's 10 miles south of Ballantyne, but it's also in South Carolina.

- No doubt.

- It's not an accident, and they definitely go together. Low taxes, retirees.

- What's you're sales tax?

- They're discussing raising it, but it's at 7,5% right now. And the discussion's another quarter percent.

- We're at 8,25%, let me go up and see if I can bury my county out here, so we're quite a bit higher on that. What are you paying for a gallon of gas? Let's say premium gas, what do you pay?

- It's pretty cheap right now. Premium is, $2.79, $2.89, something like that. $2.25 for regular. It depends, you move around a little bit, you get a little closer to the coast, the prices go up. For some reason. And we go to the coast a lot, because it's only a couple of hours away, but right in that $2 to $3 a gallon range. It's not bad--

- So what if it had to be, Terry, we're at about $4, I think, the last time I filled up with premium, it was $4. And that's now. Now if we looked at it two months, about two months ago, we were at about $4, close to $4.50, per gallon.

- Makes a difference on those 25 gallon fill-ups, doesn't it?

- I tell you, it does you know, so hard. I'd like to say that we're the winner, we win, but, yeah, in the end, you guys won. Flawless weather.

- Yeah, exactly, well Lower is better.

- Let's go into, I wanna get this wrapped up, to kind of stay on our time frame here. But I know a lot of people will wanna understand the climate. So let's talk about the climate, rainfall, snow, humidity, average temperatures, summer, winter, can you give us everything? What do we need to know?

- Okay, well the best place of course, is to go online for any temperatures average, but let me just give you my take on it. We grew up om Washington DC area, which gets hot and humid. We were the same way, we get hot and humid, low nineties is common, humidity is 60, 70, 80% on the worst days. So, there's a couple of months that most of us try and spend as much time in the air conditioning as possible. Let's just fix it. But that doesn't mean you don't go out in the morning. It doesn't mean you don't go out on the lake. We go out on the lake every weekend. Doesn't matter what the humidity is. I get out in my neighborhood and walk the dog, or my wife exercises. We do that every morning, all year round. The winters are mild and short, generally a couple of months. And they're not northern winters, okay. The way I describe winter here is you need a coat in the morning and in the afternoon, okay. Those days are pretty rare. Like three weeks to a month. We have tons of days, where it's chilly in the morning. Starts out in the winter, 30 degrees. But then by two o'clock, three o'clock, it's 50, 55, 60. We don't have any amount of major snow. And that means we don't have really, snow removal, like they do up in the north. I tell people our snow removal policy is to let it melt. And that is the policy.

- You don't have to find yourself right out there, shoveling your driveway. If there's been snowfall overnight, it's gonna melt by afternoon.

- It will typically melt by afternoon, and the nice thing is, because we don't clear roads and stuff, if there's an inch of snow or inch and a half, likely is, everything will be closed the next day anyway. It's so funny. We tend to just freak out when we see a few flakes. And I don't know if you remember, but in Atlanta, they had a pretty tough snow storm come up, right in the middle of the day, and they sent their kids to school, and they got stuck out on the highway. It made all the cities down here, like have PTSD about it. It there's a sign of snow, cancel. School's canceled.

- I tell you, people freak out on that.

- Yeah they do.

- It's so very interesting.

- And they're, like I said, it rarely hangs around for more than a few days, because the temperatures get up into the 50s, and snow doesn't do real well in the middle 50s, so, I say there is no snow. When I moved here, it was like almost no snow. And there were like two or three clouds. Today, there's quite a few more, but the bottom line is, they hit the interstate, and then they hit a big road. By the time they've done that, the small roads have melted. It's not a big, We have long springs, and long falls.

- Speaking of snow, so, closest for people who like to ski. Or enjoy the snow activities. How far are you from the nearest resort?

- The closest places are like 90 minutes away. You see, Charlotte sits right in the foothills, not quite like California, right on the mountains. But we're in the foothills, and about 90 minutes up, you'll find your first ones. The better ones are a few hours away. Up in the mountains of West Virginia. We skied and all those things. But I grew up, up north, and we skied, in Vermont, and then out west. So we never skied a ton here, but there is skiing here. We're more known for out summer sports and outdoor sports, because we got, everything from Nags Head to Hilton Head. And the beaches, Charleston.

- How far is the beach? The closest one that we go to most often, is Charleston. And that's around 3 hours and 15 minutes.

- It's kinda insulate but agreeable.

- When I moved here, I have to tell you. That I thought that was the biggest disadvantage. That we were three hours away. And then Katrina happened, in New Orleans. And I measured the damage circle. The damage circle inside, was three hours. And all of a sudden, three hours looked pretty good. If we're gonna live in the South. Three hours looks pretty good. And what's exciting about that, is your insurance rates are reflective of that. We have some of the lowest property insurance rates. Because we don't have really hurricanes. By the time they get here, they're storms, they're rain. We don't have earthquakes. We don't have a lot of tornados, we don't have a lot of those kinda things. So your property rates, here in Charlotte are really quite reasonable, and I mean quite reasonable.

- Quite a bit less, than what you would find if you were further south.

- Correct, or close to the coast. If you get close to the coast, you're paying for ...

- So you guys, like you said, then, you don't get impacted, well I should say, you don't have a direct hit from hurricanes, but you get impacted, maybe by the tropical storm, or something like that? So you're gonna get quite a bit of rain, but as far as property damage ...

- If we get it, it's from downed, it's downed trees that hit power lines.

- Nothing significant.

- Yeah, it's not like the coastal areas. A lot of people don't understand that North Carolina is a pretty wide state. North to South, we're not too far, but we're pretty wide. And like, for me to get from here to Nags Head, Nags Head is on the outer banks there. It's almost a seven hour drive. I can get to the closer beaches, like Charleston, in three hours and 10 minutes. But straight out there to the coast of Carolina, is the furthest point. It's a good ways out. So we're far enough inland. We really don't get the earthquake. Not earthquake, hurricane issues that the coastal areas do. Or Florida. We've gotten a lot of, we've had a lot of storm refugees from Florida. Especially back in the middle 2000s.

- I'm sure.

- There were tons of hurricanes in there, and like six, seven and eight. And we got a crop of new people every year. Just saying, I'm tired of, not knowing what's gonna happen every year.

- I mean, it's tough right. You're on pins and needles for two, three months. What could potentially happen, so.

- Exactly. We've gotten a few from California that way too. Between earthquakes and fires. People fearful of those. Just saying, we just don't want-- and the lack of water. Thankfully we got plenty of water.

- Yeah. Well, this is great. Terry, thank you so much, I think we've covered pretty much everything that I had. Was there anything that you wanted to throw out there, that maybe we didn't go over?

- No, except just, if you're interested in coming this way. My last name's easy to remember. It's McDonald, and just like the your fast food place. And if you Google me, you'll find I bet. We'll be here and happy to help you whenever you come. And, you know, it's one of those places, come for a visit, come for a weekend, and take a look around. And see if it's as good as I've told you. Or your friends have told you. And, let it go at that. The city sells most of the people, most of the time.

- And we would love to do that, we'll offer to your clients, the ability to come out and if they wanna take a look around. Meet with you guys for an afternoon, or a day, and have you kind of show them around a little bit. So, keep that option open, for anybody who wants to do that, get that scheduled. You can email us directly at info@leavingthebayarea.com We'd love to get you scheduled, and set up. With your team out there, Terry. You guys do a fantastic job. And you're working with a lot of people, on relocation, transition. Which, is very It's a really good way to do it, and you guys clearly have that set up.

- Absolutely, absolutely, and we look forward to working with people there. And we've had people from San Francisco land, in Dilworth, and other parts of the city. On a fairly regular basis.

- Awesome. Terry, you've been a wealth of information. This has been fantastic. Appreciate you spending the time with me today, and you and I will be in touch soon.

- All right, thanks Scott. I look forward to it.

- Okay, take care, all right, bye everybody.

Cost of Living Comparisons

Charlotte, NC VS San Francisco, CA
Cost to Rent

69% less

Cost to Rent

Cost to Rent

.08% more


Cost to Rent

14.9% less

Food & Groceries

Cost to Rent

.3% less

Health Costs

Cost to Rent

38.2% less


Cost to Rent

39% less

Auto Insurance (Annually)

Cost to Rent

60.1% less

Auto Sale Tax

Cost to Rent

48.5% less

Auto Registration (Annually)

Cost to Rent

14.7% less

Sales Tax

Cost to Rent

8.4% more

State Income Tax

Cost to Rent

38.1% less

Child Care

Commute Comparison

Charlotte, NC San Francisco, CA

Average Commute Time

25 mins 45 mins

Comparison of gas prices

$2.47 $4.49

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Charlotte, NC

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San Francisco

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