Realtor® / Broker
Just a little bit about me! I grew up in a large loving family in Southwestern Pennsylvania in the small town of Waynesburg (although I usually just say I am from the Pittsburgh area) where my family's entrepreneurial spirit started several successful businesses including car dealerships, mini-storage facilities, car washes, laundromats, and more. Growing up in this environment taught me at an early age several lessons about successful small business planning, marketing, financing, and proper community engagement. I love cars (real ones and Hot Wheels) so the car dealership family was great for me!
While attending college at West Virginia University, I continued to work at one of my family's auto dealerships and interned at General Electric Corporation. Fresh out of college and with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina in 1999 to work for IBM where I wrote software automation programs and experienced corporate America at its finest.
In 2000, I was eager to buy an old house near Uptown but since most of the areas in my price range(100-150k) weren’t popular and considered bad areas of town, I had to do most all of the education and legwork myself. Through the help of a few Charlotte natives, I learned the history of some of the areas and then set out on foot to talk to neighbors, mostly in Wesley Heights, Plaza Midwood, Lockwood, and Wilmore. The house I really wanted was 1816 Thomas Avenue, a renovated 1800 square foot bungalow priced at 170k but that was out of my price range. I asked my parents to drive down to see this house that I fell in love with but needed some financial help. My dad drove down Thomas Avenue with me and said ABSOLUTELY NO and that would be a bad financial decision –he wasn’t willing to help. There were some boarded up houses on that street in 2000, cars on jacks stands out on the street, and people sitting out drinking from brown bags during the day. Many properties looked rough. My dad wasn’t able to see through that and see the cute bungalows on the street that had already been renovated and the charm. That house sold in 2021 for 663k.
The search would continue. I spent several evenings walking neighborhoods and I went to a few community meetings too. This was mostly so I could meet some people and get their thoughts on the neighborhood and learn more about it. One day, I saw a little FOR SALE sign in a yard on Walnut Avenue in Wesley Heights and said that is the one. It was 120k. It was not in good shape, although it would turn out to be one of the nicer homes I would buy over the next 5 years. The house needed a lot of work - vines growing into the siding, boarded windows, etc. Everybody tried to talk me out of it including 95% of my friends and family. I was determined to make this bungalow at 309 Walnut Avenue in Wesley Heights my Home. It took several months and a lot of help from friends and family (including my reluctant dad) but that little house got fixed up and I even won a historic preservation certificate for it. I learned a lot about old houses and the area and so did my friends and family. I was attending countless neighborhood and city meetings and getting very involved. Living in an old neighborhood such as Wesley Heights at the time reminded me of the small town I grew up in. The neighbors knew each other well and I loved that.
Before long, I was the one that was educating people on the area and becoming a spokesperson for urban living in Charlotte. Many of my friends were asking me for help to find an old house to buy and renovate just like I did –I was not a Broker but I already seemed to know a good bit.
While working at IBM, I started investing in Charlotte's urban real estate market which consumed most of my personal life...and I loved every minute of it. Michael Hopkins and I met in 2003. I had already bought some properties on my own but as a couple, we bought dozens of properties, old houses and raw land, in the early to mid 2000’s in Charlotte’s Urban core…..many neighborhoods which today are some of Charlotte’s most popular neighborhoods but at that time had little to no buzz in the real estate market. Elizabeth Grillo was the real estate agent on some of those purchases and became a mentor and friend. At a closing one day, she told me she had enough of taking commissions from me that should just be mine and encouraged me to go to real estate school. After earning my Real Estate Broker’s license in 2004, my passion became my career when I made the decision to leave IBM and start full time in real estate brokerage. It was scary and exciting times to leave a good job and step out into something new. I initially worked for one of Charlotte’s well-known boutique firms (Helen Adams Realty) and then bounced around to some smaller firms. I forged many good relationships in those first few years but wanted something different, something more ME. I made the decision in 2007 to find a few other high performing agents and start a new brokerage firm which led to the creation of 5 Points Realty. It was important that the people I would go into business with were preservation minded but also liked new cutting-edge design and technology. Initially there were 7 owners of 5 Points Realty and we all worked together through the initial launch. With the creation of this new company along came the great recession of 2008 and a plummeting real estate market. Through those tough times, 4 of our owners decided to go in different direction in life but our (Charlie Miller, Edwin Wilson, and Myself) determined focus and combined knowledge allowed this new company to grow in reputation in many of Charlotte’s premier areas and become a well-respected real estate brand. It was not easy but our heads were in it to succeed.
Personally, Michael and I moved around a bit while my career in real estate and the company were getting started. We sold the house in Wesley Heights and moved to Seversville in 2005 where we couldn’t put up with the rowdy neighbors. From there, we bought a tiny cottage in Midwood which living there lasted for about a minute until we needed something larger and bought another charming old house and tried out living in Myers Park for about a year in a beautiful 1940’s tutor home on two lots which is sadly now gone and replaced with two new massive homes. We wanted back in West End and in 2006 decided to build a new Arts and Crafts style home in Biddleville. We built the carriage house first and lived in it while finishing the main house. We are happy as can be in Biddleville and couldn’t see living anywhere else. I decided I wanted office space in my neighborhood which led to the purchase of 415 Beatties Ford. We bought it from the original owners and it needed some work to say the least. At the time, I just used it as my personal office space as 5 Points Realty hadn’t been founded yet. Full circle back to 5 Points and this would become the new 5 Points Realty West Office in late 2007/early 2008 and we continue to operate from that location today.
As 5 Points continued to grow, the 3 owners decided to lease an old eye doctors office on The Plaza that I own with another group of investors. This led to Tracy Gregg joining us as BIC of that office and a new greater presence in Charlotte.
Today, 5 Points Realty has two local offices just outside of Uptown Charlotte which serve buyers and sellers throughout the Metro area. We are knowledgeable of the quickly changing market, experienced in Charlotte’s neighborhoods, and understand that every buyer and seller have different needs. My specialization is working with buyers and sellers in Charlotte’s older in-town neighborhoods whether it be on raw land for commercial and residentials uses, in-fill development, or straight up buying and selling which I call the retail side. If you are looking for real estate services and want a hard-working Realtor/Broker on your side, please consider giving me a call.
I am not all real estate all the time. My interests include community enrichment, outdoors, travel, family & friends, cars (toy and real) and architecture.
Here's what Michael's recent client said about him:
"Michael went over and beyond to ensure a seamless sell of my property. He set expectations during initial intro calls, helped me push through my indecisiveness along the way, and held my hand over the finish line. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. THANKS, Michael!"