Mortgage Planning For The New Year

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Free stock photo of eye, macro, human, seeA new year is nearly here. That means it’s time to take a closer look at your mortgage loan.

You might not give much thought to your home loan, other than to pay it on time each month. But remember that your mortgage bill is probably the largest payment that you are responsible for each month. It makes sense to review your loan details to make sure that it is still the best fit for you and your family—and your budget.

Here are our recommendations for possible changes to make to your mortgage loan in 2017:

Time to refinance? Your mortgage interest rate might already be low, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t save potentially hundreds of dollars every month with a refinance. As a general rule, if you can shave a full point off your interest rate, you’ll save enough money each month to make the cost of a refinance worth it.

Call us today to ask whether you might qualify for a lower interest rate. We’d be happy to study your loan to determine whether a refinance might make financial sense for you.

Shorten your loan term? You don’t have to refinance merely to earn a lower interest rate. You can also refinance to reduce the term of your loan. If you are now paying off a 30-year fixed-rate loan, for instance, it might make sense to refinance to a 15-year or 10-year fixed-rate loan.

Yes, shortening your term will usually result in a higher monthly payment. But you’ll also potentially save tens of thousands of dollars in interest during the life of your loan. If you’re ready to reduce the amount of interest you’re paying each month, refinancing to a shorter-term loan could be a smart move. Again, contact us if you’re ready for a shorter-term loan. We can help you determine if this is a wise financial step.

Pay a bit more? Another way to reduce the amount of interest you’ll pay over the life of your mortgage is to pay a bit more each month than is required. Even paying $100 more toward your loan’s principal balance each month can dramatically reduce the amount of interest you’ll pay. Just make sure to indicate that the extra money you are sending in is earmarked to pay down your principal balance. There should be an option for this on your payment stub or your online payment plan.

Categories: Mortgage, new year, refi, Uncategorized

BUY OR WAIT? Check The Answer That’s Right For You | Wilmington NC real estate

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www.WilmingtonNC-realestate.com

There’s no right or wrong answer when you ask: “Is it the right time to buy a home?” For some, it’s a great time to buy—while for others, the answer is not as clear cut. There are lots of check marks that make buying favorable, but some unknowns as well. We’re here to help you sort out the right answer for you.

Today’s real estate market is affordable for many. Interest rates are still near historic lows, which means your money buys more home than it will when rates rise. With stable employment, a decent down payment and a good credit history, you’re likely to qualify for a mortgage.

The selection of homes available locally is improving because the overall economy has encouraged more owners to sell. Because of this, your odds of finding the right home for you are higher today. Also, homebuyers now have many financing options because lenders offer a variety of loan programs that allow buyers to choose their mortgage term and interest rate to ensure the loan is affordable today—and tomorrow.

Should you buy a home today?
There are many reasons why it might be a good time for you, personally, to buy real estate today. How many reasons can you check off?

☑ I need a tax break.
Paying mortgage interest and real estate taxes may provide you with a sizable deduction on your income taxes. Consult a financial professional to review your tax return and see the impact owning a home (or a larger home) could have on your tax bill.

☑ My household income is likely to grow.
Up for a raise in the not-too-distant future? In line for a promotion? If your career—or your partner’s career—is on an upward trajectory, your growing income will offset any increases in real estate taxes, insurance or interest rate down the road.

☑ I’m ready to put down some roots.
You may feel ready to sink deeper roots in one location and become more vested in our community. If you’re looking to call our area home for five years or more, it may make sense to buy a home or move up to a larger one.

☑ I have been saving for a rainy day.
If you’ve been stashing away money for a down payment for some time, consult a mortgage lender to determine how much home you can comfortably afford to buy (ask us for lender recommendations). Calculate if your savings cushion is enough to cover unexpected maintenance costs or other emergencies after the down payment is paid.

☑ I need a home that will grow with my family.
If the home you can afford today has enough bedrooms to accommodate future children, children who are returning home, elderly family members or a work-at-home situation, it may be the right time for you to buy.

☑ I’ll be receiving some money.
If you are receiving a large legal settlement or a family member has presented you or your partner with a sizable monetary gift or inheritance, you might be able to buy that home you’ve only dreamed of before now.

☑ I follow a budget.
With your finances in order and personal spending in check, you likely have a realistic budget to know how much you can safely spend on housing.

☑ My debt situation is under control.
If you had student loans and they’re nearly paid off, college-age kids that are close to graduation or credit card debt that is near a zero balance, it might be time for you to think about buying a home.

☑ I’m just ready.
If you’re ready to buy a home, it’s time to contact us. We can show you local homes that fit your finances and your family. We can work with you to determine which one meets your needs best. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Categories: Buy Now or Wait, Wilmington NC homes, Wilmington NC Market Statistics, wilmington nc real estate, Wrightsville Beach NC

What is the difference between loan pre-approval and pre-qualification?

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www.WilmingtonNC-realestate.com

Pre-approval and pre-qualification are steps ywww.cbbaker.comou can take to line up your mortgage loan before you start house hunting in Wilmington NC. They are different, so read on:

Pre-approval:

  • is actually applying for, and getting, a conditional commitment for a mortgage loan up to a specific amount of money.
  • is usually good for 60-90 days.
  • applies, even though you might not have chosen the home you will buy.
  • often requires a loan application fee.
  • gives you bargaining power, because it tells the seller you are ready to buy and able to get financing.

Pre-qualification:

  • is the result of a lender taking a cursory look at the buyer’s income, credit history and assets.
  • states the buyer probably could afford to buy up to a certain limit.
  • does not include a loan commitment.
  • tells sellers you’re serious about buying and their house is in your price range.
  • usually costs no more than the credit report fee.

Some advantages of pre-qualification and pre-approval are:

  • A pre-approval or pre-qualification can speed closing because the paperwork for the loan has already been started.
  • You will begin learning about the financing process, and any problems that might arise can be resolved early.
  • You know in advance how much you can borrow.
  • Your offer is more attractive to the seller, because the seller won’t have to guess about whether you can afford the house.

Where do you begin when it’s time to look for a new house? Start by calling or e-mailing us with your home-buying questions. We can give you an idea of how much home you can afford to buy, then you can follow up with your local lender.

Categories: Pre-Approval for Loan, Pre-Qualification, wilmington nc real estate, Wilmington NC real estate stats 2014, wilmington real estate stats

NEGOTIATE: How To Buy The Home You Love At The Price You Want

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2Found the house of your dreams? Now the negotiations begin.

The agent you’re working with can guide you through the process of making a purchase offer. You’ll want to start by learning as much as you can about how much the property is worth.

Check the comparables

Your agent has up-to-the-minute price data at hand to help you analyze any comparable properties; just ask. Although every home is unique, here’s some of what makes a home “comparable” to the one you’re considering purchasing:

same neighborhood;
same age and condition;
same size lot;
same home style–equivalent living space, number of rooms and baths;
similar terms of sale.

Follow sales price trends

Ask about recent pricing trends in the neighborhood. Specifically, what has been the average difference between listing price and sales price for recent sales of comparable homes? What is the ratio of assessed tax value to market value?

Offer what you think the house is worth

Some asking prices have built-in padding, but others are already priced to sell. You could lose a well-priced home with a low-ball bid. Remember, a lower mortgage interest rate will allow you to borrow more and pay a higher price for a home without increasing your monthly payment.

Spell out the details

Consider getting a pre-purchase appraisal and home inspection. The appraisal will give an independent valuation of the house, and the inspection will help identify any potential problems you may have overlooked. Consider including a contingency making the contract subject to a satisfactory appraisal and inspection.

Evaluate contingencies

The contract can also be contingent upon an attorney’s review, previous home sale, and acceptable mortgage loan terms, etc. Contingencies are typically used to smooth acceptance of an offer without delaying the final decision. Too many contingencies, however, weaken your bargaining position.

Know what’s important to you

Prioritize the elements of the sale on paper (“must” and “want”) and decide where you have negotiating room–what you’ll give up or accept in exchange for a concession. Items frequently negotiated include adjustments for needed or requested repairs, what personal property stays and what goes with the seller, points and closing costs, and move-in date. Knowing exactly what you want and where you are willing to bargain is your most important negotiating tool.

Put everything in the first purchase offer

If the first offer is accepted it may be too late to add anything. Include a financial statement. Do all negotiating in writing with a deadline for a response, often 48 hours. You are free to cancel an offer until it is accepted by the seller. Require that your binder or deposit be held in an escrow account with the interest credited to you.

Be Patient

Negotiating could take several days. Be patient; you won’t want to rush into one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make.

We can help

If you’d like help finding your dream home, please call or e-mail us. We’ll help with your home search and will give you all the important information we can provide to help you make the right offer for the right home.

Categories: buying a home, The Art of Negotiating, Uncategorized, wilmington nc real estate

Get The Most Bang For Your Remodeling Bucks | Wilmington NC real estate

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Get The Most Bang For Your Remodeling Bucks

Thinking about making a change to your home? Be sure your remodeling dollars are well spent.
You certainly should focus on making your home a place you (rather than some future buyer) will enjoy living in. Still, it makes sense to remodel with an eye to maximizing the return you’ll get on your remodeling costs when the time does come to sell.
Consider the following suggestions:
1. Try To Fit In
Make sure your changes are consistent with the neighborhood. Don’t improve your home’s value more than 20% above the average value of homes in your area. If three bedrooms are standard and you are adding two more, you are not likely to get a very good return on your investment. Consider moving to a larger home rather than over-improving your current one.
2. Take The Middle Path
Shy away from highly decorative (or expensive) fixtures and designs. While a black-onyx wet bar and a mirrored wall might suit your fancy, it may make your home harder to sell later on. Remember, trendy colors and styles become stale all too soon (remember “harvest gold”?). Classic styles and neutral colors, on the other hand, stand the test of time. Express your individual taste with furnishings that you can take with you when you go.
3. Invest In Popular Improvements
Renovations with the best return include changes in the kitchen or bathrooms and room additions accomplished by adding on or enclosing a porch or garage. Tour similar homes that are for sale to see what kind of renovations your neighbors have made. Take a look inside some new homes, too. Builders know what today’s buyers are looking for; you may want to incorporate a few of the latest features in your home remodeling project.
4. Look At Your Moving Timetable
Will you be moving in a year or two? If so, shy away from major projects or personalized “luxury” updates such as saunas or art studios. You could end up spending extra money to reconvert the space if your buyers don’t like the results. Don’t start renovating if you expect a short-term stay, because long-term remodeling loans will deduct cash from your equity when you sell.
5. Find A Reputable Contractor
Look for a contractor with a solid track record doing the kind of work you’re looking for. Check for proof of insurance, licensing and bonding. Ask for references and contact several. Make sure you have a contract that spells out all of the details and possible scenarios — materials, periodic payments based on progress, completion dates, etc.

More on remodeling here…

Categories: Financing a Home Purchase in Wilmington NC, Home Selling, Managing your debt, Screen Gems Studio, Showcasing your home, Technorati Profile, volunteer in wilmington NC, wilmington nc, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington nc real estate

No Brainer | Pre-Approval Is The Smart Choice

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happyYou know that getting pre-approved for a mortgage loan before you even start shopping for a home is the smart move.

When a lender pre-approves you—telling you exactly how much mortgage money it is willing to lend you—you know how expensive a home you can truly afford. You won’t waste time looking at residences that fall outside your price range.

But how do you go about getting pre-approved? Fortunately, the process isn’t overly complicated.

1. Contact a lender that offers loans in the area where the property is located. Ask about interest rates and fees. If you’re comfortable, explain that you’d like to get pre-approved for a mortgage.The lender will ask to run your credit. Give your permission. Your credit scores determine the interest rate for which you might qualify—if you qualify for a mortgage loan at all.

2. You will need to provide financial documents that prove your income. Documents will include your last two paycheck stubs, last two months of bank-account statements, last two W-2 forms and, maybe, copies of your tax returns from the last two years.

3. All this information will then be sent onto the underwriting team, which will study your finances to determine how much of a lending risk you are. Once the underwriting team finishes its study, your lender can tell you exactly how much they are willing to lend you.

4. Finally, your lender will send you a pre-approval letter that will state this amount. Now you’ll know not to look at $300,000 homes if you can only qualify for $200,000 in mortgage money.

We are local Wilmington NC people who love real estate.  Let us help you.  www.cbbaker.com – app.seacoastrealty.com/househunter – kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com

Categories: Get Pre-approved before house hunting, Mortgage 101, Pre Approval for Mortgage

Avoid Foreclosure – Don’t Lose Your Home If You Fall Behind On Mortgage Payments

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wilmington nc real estateIf you’re experiencing financial hard times and have missed a payment or two on your home, it doesn’t mean you’re headed to foreclosure—yet.

If you’re at the end of your financial rope, it’s time to take these steps, immediately, to rescue your home—and your credit:

1. Contact your lender. Lenders may allow a forebearance (reducing or suspending payments for a short period) and/or a reinstatement (accepting the total overdue amount owed in a lump sum). Make sure you clearly understand the repayment plan and adhere to it.

2. Request a modified mortgage plan. The term or interest rate may be permanently changed on your loan and/or past-due payments added to the mortgage balance.

3. Interest-free or low-interest loans. Investigate the availability of loans from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or your loan insurance company to bring payments up to date.

4. Sell. Go ahead and get out of the home before it’s repossessed. Better to dump the mortgage and rent than to ruin your future credit.

5. Deed in lieu of foreclosure. As a last resort, give the property back to the lender. This move can only be made if none of the above work for you.

Let us know what we can do to help.  For more information please visit www.cbbaker.com and look in the seller section.  kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com

Categories: avoid foreclosure, Avoiding Foreclosure, foreclosrue

A KING’S RANSOM? Why The MARKET (Not Sellers) Determines The Sales Price Of Your Home

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It’s no secret, pricing a home in today’s market can be difficult. Despite what some home sellers believe—that their “castle” is worth more than recent comparable sales in their area—homebuyers are the driving force in determining the true value of homes.

frontPricing a home higher than advised to “test the market” often proves a waste of a seller’s time—and of buyers’ time too. Smart homebuyers comparison shop to learn the local real estate scene, and will offer only what the home is worth today—not what other homes sold for a few months ago, not what the seller paid for it years ago and not the combined prices of all the upgrades and improvements made to the property.

A realistic price—sometimes slightly lower than the competition—attracts buyer activity right from the first moment your home hits the market. The more interest in your home, the more opportunities for offers. The positive energy from early activity today is likely to put your home in demand—and can create multiple offers and a quick sale.

Remember, the converse is also true—a too-high price can turn your attractive home into a white elephant. More and more buyers in this market will pass on an overpriced home because they know they can get more for their money elsewhere. The longer your overpriced home stays on the market unsold, the more likely it is buyers will start suspecting something more is wrong with it beyond just the price. In today’s market, the old maxim is more true than ever: Price sells!

Throw out those old calculations and numbers and sit down to face the reality of our local market today. As real estate professionals, we can help you see where home prices are right now, learn what buyers are purchasing and offering for similar homes in our area and suggest a price point that will get your home sold quickly. Here are several more tips to maximize market value.

Be Realistic

If you are a seller who bought at the peak of the market and now needs or wants to sell, being understanding is the name of the game. In many cases, you may not be able to sell your home for the same price at which you purchased it. Stand back from those numbers and realize you have had a number of good years in your home, living there and enjoying it, making it your own. Now it’s time to move on to your next stage in life. To get there, your home must be sold for whatever buyers determine it is currently worth—which may not be what you paid for it.

Make It A Steal

If you are ready to sell and your house is in great condition, aggressive pricing will get your home sold quickly. Look at your competitors, and then consider pricing your home slightly under them. When your home is crowned with that “for sale” sign, interest will be highest as buyers see the true deal they have before them. Buyers will view your home as not just a good deal or a bargain, but a steal! A bidding war may even ensue, bringing your home’s final selling price up in the process.

Super Staging

Home staging—making your home look inviting and picture perfect—is effective in getting your home sold. It’s hard erasing your personal touches from your home, but it’s needed if you want buyers to see your home as if it were a royal palace. Great staging makes it easy for buyers to picture themselves living, relaxing and entertaining in your home—as well as owning it! Hiring a professional home stager is often well worth the money as a stager’s work will encourage buyers to linger and like your home enough to make an offer. With the right price and right look, your home is as good as sold!

Walk In Buyers’ Shoes

If you’re looking to really understand where to position your home, step back and be as critical as a potential homebuyer. Analyze what the flaws are in your home—that to this day still bother you—and remedy them. If you can’t fix the problems, such as location, needed major remodeling or items that are still not updated or fixed, adjust your asking price accordingly. We will guide you.

Serious About Selling

If you are ready to sell your home, be sure to price it right from the beginning. Waiting for multiple price reductions to finally hit the correct market price can cost you time, money—and many lost buyers. If you have a home for sale that is not garnering any interest, let alone offers, slashing the price significantly is more effective than small, incremental drops. A home that drops its price by 10% to 20% will be seen by a new buyer pool searching in that different price range—where buyers will actually consider it.

Look For Guidance

In today’s market, it’s imperative to have a professional alongside you when you sell your home. We can help you determine the best price to make your home sell quickly so you can move on. We know our local market, what buyers are looking for—and at what price points—and what makes homes sell today.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

CHECK THAT PIGGY BANK Do You Have Enough To Finance A Home?

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Piggy Bank, Heart, Funny, Ceramic, SaveYou know you make enough money to afford a monthly mortgage payment. Your credit is strong, too, so you’re not worried about getting hit with a high interest rate.But you do have one concern: You’re not sure you have enough money in your bank accounts to cover the down payment and closing costs that go with financing a home purchase.

It’s a legitimate concern. Fortunately, there are some estimates you can use as a guide.

 

Down Payment

Start with the down payment. This is the biggest upfront cost of buying a home. If you are taking out a loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration, and your FICO credit score is at least 580, you’ll need a down payment of at least 3.5% of your home’s final purchase price. For a home costing $150,000, that comes out to $5,250.

If you’re going with a conventional mortgage loan—one not insured by the federal government—you’ll usually need a down payment of 5% to 20% of your home’s purchase price. For a home costing $180,000, that comes to $9,000 to $36,000.

That’s a lot of money, and it’s why many homebuyers save for years before finally buying a home. You can, though, rely on gifts from family members to help cover your down payment. Whoever is gifting you funds must write a letter stating that the down payment funds are actually a gift that do not have to be paid back. If they don’t provide this letter, your lender will consider the down payment funds they give you to be a loan that you have to pay back—and this can reduce your borrowing power.

Closing/Settlement Costs

Closing costs are another major expense involved in closing a mortgage loan. These are the fees that lenders and third-party providers, such as title insurers or real estate attorneys, charge for the work they put in to originate and close your loan.

Closing costs vary according to lender, but in Bankrate’s 2015 survey of closing costs, the financial website found that the average homebuyer spent $1,847 in mortgage closing costs. However, it’s important to note that what you actually pay may differ. Bankrate’s study didn’t include fees such as title insurance, title search, property taxes and other associated costs.

Earnest Money Deposit

You’ll need funds, too, to pay for an earnest money deposit. This is the payment you provide to sellers after they accept your signed purchase offer for their home and both you and they sign a sales contract. The earnest money is evidence that you are serious about buying the home.

The good news? Your earnest money deposit is usually included as part of your down payment if the home sale actually closes. How much earnest money you’ll need varies widely. Some sellers will accept earnest money deposits of as little as $200. Others might want a deposit of as much as 1.5% of the home’s final sales price. For a $140,000 home, that comes out to $2,100. Your real estate pro can advise you on local expectations.

Reserves

Finally, most mortgage lenders will require that you have at least two months of reserves in your bank accounts. These are funds that you have saved that you won’t be using on down payment or closing costs, but that you can use to pay for your estimated new monthly mortgage payment.

Say your estimated mortgage payment comes out to $1,200 a month. If your lender requires that you have at least two months of reserves saved up, you’d need another $2,400 in your bank accounts.

This isn’t as rigid of a rule. If your credit score is high, say 740 or more on the FICO credit scale, your lender might not require any reserves at all. That’s because your lender will have more confidence that you’ll pay your mortgage on time, even without extra money reserved.

Categories: Closing costs on a home, Financing a home, Saving for a home

ALL THE RIGHT MOVES The Best Strategy To Get To SOLD!

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www.WilmingtonNC-realestate.com

Does your game plan require you to sell your home before you can make your next move in life? If so, you need a strategy to get the best price for your home in the shortest amount of time.

It’s like playing a game of chess: Successfully selling your home requires a combination of thought, planning, preparation and some good moves.

Think through your moves and determine your timeline. In the meantime, start prepping your home for sale—earlier is better—by thoroughly cleaning and decluttering every single space. Ditch excess belongings by donating, selling or pitching them. Box seldom used items and store them in an out-of-the way space, or, better yet, off-site. Create curb appeal that makes buyers want to get out of their car as soon as they see your home. Stage your home to create inviting spaces in which buyers want to live—and own. Predict when you’ll have to negotiate an offer and be flexible with your terms. If you practice all these moves, your game will end with a successful sale.

Learn how to master selling a home. It will open doors to your next move. Remember, as your real estate professionals, we can help you as you contemplate every single move!

Winning Requires Planning

If you’re looking to get your home sold quickly and for the best price, it takes some planning. Just like in chess, you’ll need to study the competition. See how your home stacks up against the ones already on the market. Consider your property’s location, amenities, age and condition as you visit these homes.

Take mental notes on what staging ideas make a room look warm and inviting. Recreate those in your own home. Determine what feature(s) your home has that the competition does not—and make that element pop in your own home. With a clear plan, you’re on your way!

The Game Board

The game board for chess is the same for all players, just as every home seller has access to the same set of information: data from recently sold, listed and expired homes; local economic conditions; housing demand; nearby competition; etc. It’s how you use this information that can give you an advantage.

Using the data, you can make an informed decision when pricing your home to sell fast. We can help you determine the price that buyers will find realistic and invite action, that is, a purchase offer. If you price too high, your home will languish; pricing it right or just under will create interest to get the selling game off on a good start!

Manage Your Time Wisely

Professional chess players are under time pressure to make each move. Home sellers have their own personal timeline dictating when they need to have the home sold. No matter how tight of a timeline you face, we can help.

Plan carefully for each move you make: prepping the home for sale; studying local data to determine a price; timing to put the home on the market to reach the greatest number of homebuyers; and getting the signed contract to closing/settlement uneventfully. It’s never too early to start planning to sell your home!

A Better Position Can Help

Going it alone in the real estate market can be overwhelming. Rely on real estate professionals—like us—to guide your moves through the entire selling process. We’ll cover the details and give you a play-by-play of every strategically important move you need to make. We’ll also tell you what to expect from buyers. Contact us. We look forward to helping you make the right moves to win the selling game!

Call us we would love to help.  Or visit www.cbbaker.com for more Wilmington NC Real estate information.  910-202-3607 kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com

 

Categories: Get a House sold!, Sell a House Quick', Selling Houses, Uncategorized, wilmington nc real estate


Kay Baker Associates | 1001 Military Cutoff | Ste 101 Wilmington, NC 28405 | kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com | 910-202-3607 | Fax 910-338-2428

Copyright © 2016 Wilmington NC Real Estate Guide. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: All content on this blog is my own opinion and should not be treated as fact or relied upon when purchasing or selling real estate.