MORTGAGE PAYOFF? Three Reasons You Shouldn’t Pay Off Your Mortgage Loan Early

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danceDo you dream of the day when you mail your last mortgage payment to your lender? Do you wish for a day when you are mortgage-free?

Well, your dreams might be misplaced.

Paying off that loan early—if you have the extra dollars—seems to make sense, especially if you have other plans for your money. Yes, you absolutely should make your mortgage payments on time each month with the goal of one day eliminating these payments entirely. But paying off your mortgage loan early? That might not make the most financial sense, even if you have the funds available to pay off your 30-year or 15-year mortgage loan before it reaches the natural end of its life.

Here are three reasons why paying off your home loan months or years early might not be the right move for you.

You have high credit-card debt: Mortgage debt has a key advantage over other forms of debt: low interest rates. The same can’t be said of credit-card debt, which can come with sky-high interest rates. It’s not unusual for consumers to have credit-card debt that comes with interest rates of 15-20% or higher. If you are burdened with high levels of credit-card debt, it makes more financial sense to pay off your credit cards before you use your extra money to pay off your mortgage loan early. Take any extra dollars to pay down the debt that comes with the highest interest rates.

You need that tax deduction: Having a mortgage loan comes in handy at tax time, when you can deduct the interest that you paid on your mortgage throughout the previous year. The IRS allows you to deduct the interest paid on up to $1 million worth of mortgage debt, and you can take this deduction for both a primary residence and a second home. You can also deduct the interest on up to $100,000 worth of home-equity loans. This holds true even if you didn’t use your home-equity loan to make any home improvements. If you pay off your mortgage loan early, this tax advantage will disappear. This can be a painful out-of-pocket experience, especially if you work as an independent contractor or on a freelance basis. That mortgage-interest tax deduction can help soften the blow come income-tax time.

You need to save for retirement: If you’re not contributing the maximum to your retirement plans, it makes sense to take the money you might use to pay off your mortgage loan early and instead boost your retirement savings. People are living longer today. They need, then, to save more money to ensure a retirement that isn’t ruined by financial stress. Unfortunately, financial surveys show that a majority of people approaching retirement have not saved enough for their after-work years. You can avoid this trap. Consider paying off your mortgage loan early only if you are already contributing the maximum amount of dollars to your IRA or 401(k) plan.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Lender Requirements When Purchasing a Home.

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Perhaps you’re nervous about applying for a home loan. There’s good reason. Lenders’ requirements have gotten tougher, down payments higher and interest rates keep creeping up. But getting a loan today is easier than you might expect.

Be aware that there are many reasons that lenders cannot use to turn you down for a loan. If you are otherwise qualified for a home loan, a lender cannot reject your application for these reasons:

  1. If a female applicant is pregnant.
  2. If you are on paid family leave from your job.
  3. Based on your race, color, religion, sex, national origin or disabilities.
  4. Based on family status.
  5. Your reliable income is from part-time employment, Social Security, pensions and annuities.
  6. Your reliable income is from alimony, child support or separate maintenance payments.

If you are denied a mortgage, your lender must outline exactly why you were rejected. Acceptable reasons include “your income was too low” or “you haven’t been employed long enough.” Unacceptable reasons include “you didn’t meet our minimum standards” as that reason is not specific enough.

If you are wrongly denied a mortgage, contact the lender to reconsider your application. In addition, consider contacting your state’s attorney general office to see if state laws were violated and contact the appropriate government agency.  kaybaker@associates@ec.rr.com
or 910-202-3607.  Find us on www.cbbaker.com

Categories: Lender Requirements, Wilmington NC homes, wilmington real estate stats, Wrightsville Beach NC

“What Really Determines Your Home’s True Value In Today’s Market ”

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Looking at a home just by its address or public data rarely returns an accurate market value. Why? Because every property and pocket-market is unique. Here’s a quick refresher to see how the home you own—or the home you’re thinking of buying—stacks up in terms of local values and price trends.

Check out your value here.  www.WilmingtonHouseValues.com

Location, location, location. It’s not just a cliché because most homebuyers will pay more for a comparable home that is conveniently located near schools, place of work, public transportation, parks, etc.

Size of home. The number of bedrooms, bathrooms and total rooms in the home helps determine its underlying value.

Size of lot. A bigger lot often means that the home commands a larger price tag, especially in cities where open space is at a premium. Landscaping and hardscaping improvements (or lack thereof) can swing value up or down.

Amenities. If the home has special features that other homes don’t have or it has been upgraded, it may be worth more if the majority of homebuyers find these features desirable. Large, updated kitchens and baths, spacious and numerous closets, usable storage space, outdoor entertaining space, modern wiring, etc. often add value.

Age and condition. Newer homes are typically worth more than older homes because they often need less work to make them move-in ready. Well-maintained older homes, however, that have been remodeled and are located in a desirable area may bump the price tag higher.

Get professional advice. If you have any question about local home price trends—or your home’s potential selling price—contact us. We’d love to show you how our knowledge of local values can help you determine what your home is really worth in today’s market—and if selling your home or finding a new one fits your financial goals.Let us know how we can help. kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com or 910-202-3607

Categories: Sell your home, Selling Home, Selling your home, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods

LIVE BIGGER Small Ways To Make Your Home Fit Your Family’s Needs Better

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LIVE BIGGER
Small Ways To Make Your Home Fit
Your Family’s Needs Better


If it seems like the walls are closing in around you, it might actually be true. More stuff? More kids? New pets? Children grown but not yet out of the house? Maybe your elderly parents have moved back in? Maybe you’re even running a home office from your residence? All these changes—and all the extra stuff that comes with them—can make any home feel cramped.What can you do—short of moving? Here are five proven tips to make your home “live bigger.”

Before you buy it, think
What will you toss, recycle or give away when you bring something new to your home? If you are just adding to your stash, reconsider. If it’s “just nice to have” or you’ll “use it later,” hold off.

If it’s flimsy, avoid the clutter and hassle of dealing with it after it breaks. Sometimes waiting to buy the well-made, but more expensive item makes more sense.

Review your belongings, one-by-one
Do a deep declutter. Unpack every closet, drawer, cubby, container and bin. Pretend you’re moving. Be ruthless with the 5-Pile-Moving-Mantra: Sell, Return, Give/Donate, Toss/Recycle or Keep/Use. You don’t have to do this all at once. But carve out time to cut back your stored stuff.

Don’t hide things
When items are stored in opaque bins and closed boxes, no one can remember what’s inside; out of sight, out of mind. Bury the bins in closets, attics, crawl spaces, basements or under beds, and the memory gets even dustier. Inventory each box using the 5-Pile standard, and you’ll be amazed how much unwanted stuff you’ll clear out.

Double duty wins
Make sure new purchases can do multiple things, making them more useful. If you find a desk that has lots of storage space and a chair can fit completely under it, that desk can make a bookcase unneeded and more practical than a desk with a chair that sticks out.If the dining room is rarely used, convert it into your home office with a cabinet desk or get a credenza so that you can put away your work gear when meal time arrives.

Know when to throw in the towel
Sometimes, a home truly isn’t going to feel spacious no matter what you do. If you’ve worked through these declutter tips, but your home’s still not big enough for your needs, give us a call. We can help you sell your home and find a new one that is just right for you. Best of all, the packing for your move is mostly done!

 

Categories: Uncategorized

“LITTLE” HOUSEHOLD PROBLEMS CAN EVENTUALLY COST A LOT

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www.wilmingtonnc-realestate.com

Sometimes a $1,000 disaster can be prevented with a $4 hose. That’s the finding of many homeowners who end up paying a lot for repairs that could have been prevented with just an ounce of inexpensive prevention.

One of the best places to check first is any place in your home that can be damaged by water. A survey by the American Society of Home Inspectors found that 40% of home maintenance problems are related to water. Water seeping into the basement or crawlspace, leaks from neglected washer and dishwasher hoses, and leaking pipes can leave you wet and poor.

Pay attention to the following items in your home regularly:

Water Threats
• Check for leaks from appliance hoses (washer and dishwasher), connections to the hot water heater and humidifier, outside spigots, exposed plumbing. Tighten all connections.

• After a heavy rain, check for water in attics, basements and crawlspaces. Make repairs as soon as the area is dry.

• Backed-up gutters can cause water to seep back up into the attic. The solution is simple, though: regularly remove leaves and debris from the gutter system.

Electrical System
• Check the circuit breakers about every six months.

• Check switches when lights seem to blink when the switch is touched.

• Keep wall-socket plates secure and replace broken ones.

A/C and Heating System
• Check these systems at least once a year; have them cleaned and serviced. You could save thousands in repair/replacement bills later, and improve operating efficiency thereby lowering monthly costs.

• If you have a fireplace, make sure it is professionally inspected and cleaned annually. Wood-burning fireplaces can cause creosote to build up in their chimneys–a dangerous fire hazard.

For more information please visit www.cbbaker.com

Categories: Wilmington NC homes, Wilmington NC Market Statistics, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington nc relocation

Tools and Gadgets For Holiday Home Gifts

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When it comes to home repairs, maintenance and fix-ups, having the right tool for the task at hand can spell the difference between a quick job well done and a frustrating ordeal. If you have a “handyperson” (willing or not) on your holiday gift list, here are some great gifts you could contribute to his or her arsenal of equipment–if he or she hasn’t already discovered them.

 

  • Cordless Power Drill

(9.6 volt or more) with two rechargeable batteries. Likely to become the most oft-used tool in the box!

Drill bit set (100 piece or more)

to handle any challenge-ceramic, concrete, specialty head shapes, etc. With quick-snap adaptor, even better.

Portable tool organizer

of heavy-duty canvas or rip-stop fabric. Belt, vest or bucket offers ready access to tools, often with dozens of varying pocket sizes.

Universal socket wrench

can adjust to any size, both metric and standard, due to flexible pin design. Some come with power adaptors for electric drills/screwdrivers.

Spring hose

(50′ or longer) takes the weight and the winding out of watering tasks, yet stands up to wear and tear.

Pressure washer

for concrete, siding, outdoor furniture, decks, vehicles and much more. Even inexpensive, lower pressure models (about $80) are effective enough for most tasks.

Electronic stud finder

finds the wood, not just the nail holding it in place. Some come with laser leveling devices.

Carpenter’s level

comes in handy for everything from tree houses and fencing to hanging picture on the walls.

Sanding sponges,

in various texture grades, offer a tough, rinseable, reusable sanding surface, particularly useful with drywall and spackling compound.

 

Categories: Tools, wilmington nc

Someone would like to see your home in a half hour | Ready. Set. Go

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READY TO SHOW

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Showing Primer: Get Your Home Visitor-Ready In A Flash

Some Wilmington NC buyers may not give you much notice before they want to tour your home. Here are several tips to keep your home showcase-ready—or get it ready fast. On your mark: Assemble a cleaning caddy with all necessary tools, cleaners and rags to take with you from room to room. Get set. Go!

Everywhere

  • Turn on lights, open window coverings.
  • Stash items that don’t belong in a particular room in a box or bin. Place the filled container in the garage, basement, attic or another out-of-the-way area.
  • Lock up pets or take them with you when you leave for showing.

Kitchen

  • Pop dirty dishes in the dishwasher.
  • Take garbage/recycling to bins outside.
  • Wipe counters, sink, appliances with appropriate cleaner.
  • Sweep along cabinets and in corners.
  • Wipe up any sticky floor spots.

Living Room/Family Room/Den

  • Dust large open surfaces such as tables, lamp shades, shelves, etc.
  • Straighten books, magazines, videos, music, electronics (better yet, ban this clutter for now).
  • Fluff and arrange pillows and throws.

Bedroom

  • Make beds, even if it means throwing bedspread/comforter over unmade sheets.
  • Prop up pillows decoratively.
  • Put away clothes and other clutter (under-bed storage box works too).

Bathroom

  • All countertop items in cabinets.
  • Fold towels neatly or put out special “showing-only towels.”
  • Wipe down counter/sink and perhaps tub/shower if you have time.
  • Sweep or wet-mop floor, especially corners.
  • Wipe down toilet and/or swish inside with nearby toilet brush.

Hallways/Entry/Mudroom

  • Hang up all items.
  • Sweep and/or shake out rug outside.
  • Put dirty clothes in washing machine or dryer (if either are empty).
  • Showtime!
Categories: Getting your home ready for a showing, wilmington beach homes, wilmington nc, Wilmington NC homes, wilmington nc real estate

“Mortgage pre-approval is the best first step to a home purchase.”

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Finding out how much home you can afford is basic to a successful homewilmington nc real estate search. But getting pre-approved for a mortgage is even better. Why? A lender who pre-qualifies a buyer is merely saying that a quick overview of the buyer’s financial picture indicates he or she can afford a home of a certain price. Pre-approving the buyer, however, means the lender has taken an in-depth look at the buyer’s finances and made a commitment to finance the buyer’s home choice up to a certain price. (This assumes the home appraises well and meets other lender criteria).

Home sellers heavily favor buyers who back their purchase offers with loan pre-approval because those contracts have a higher probability of going to settlement.

Get more Wilmington NC real estate information here.  kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com or www.cbbaker.com
Categories: How much can you afford, Wilmington NC homes, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, Wrightsville Beach NC

DYI or Hire a Professional | Wilmington NC real estate

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homeplansMost homeowners have a list of things they would like to do to change and improve their homes. But moving those plans off the list and into reality is often prevented by costs, especially for labor. That’s why so many homeowners have adopted the “do-it-yourself” approach. Should you?

Don’t think you have to be an expert in masonry, carpentry, plumbing and electrical work to make your own home improvements. You can get help from books, magazines, videos, the Internet, or you could take a class with hands-on instruction. A bonus: When you learn to remodel, you’ll become a better maintenance person, saving yourself future repair costs.

If you’re just developing your handyperson skills, here are a few tips for getting the job done right at a cost savings:

Start with modest projects,

especially those with low materials costs (e.g., painting). That way you can afford to redo the project if your first attempt isn’t quite up to snuff.

Research and plan before diving in.

Get the training you need or talk with experts, then outline each step of the process on paper.

Buy, borrow or rent the proper tools.

Having the right tools when you need them is critical to doing any job efficiently and well.

If you lack the skills, patience or time to do the entire project, just do part of it.

You can ask contractors for bids that list the cost of each phase of the project, from preparation to finishing, plus materials. You may be able to save a lot by knocking down a wall yourself, removing old flooring or painting a newly installed wall.

Work with the professionals.

By becoming one of the “crew,” you can cut the overall cost of the project and learn a lot in the process.

    Let us know if we can help. www.cbbaker.com or kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com

 

Categories: DYI Home Improvement, waterfront wrightsville beach, Wilmington NC homes, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington real estate stats, Wrightsville Beach NC

Looking for a Bargain in Homebuying? Wilmington NC real estate

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www.WilmingtonNC-realesate

BUYING A BARGAIN HOME

How To Identify A Desirable Distressed Property

 

It’s not easy finding a bargain property in Wilmington NC that is worthy of purchasing.There are a lot of homes out there that may be up for sale, but—for a variety of reasons—are not suitable to fix up as your own home or an investment.What makes a particular real estate distressed home a good choice?

  • Location. It’s located in a desirable neighborhood. You—or future residents—would want to live in that area.
  • Bones. It’s got great bones. There is no major structural damage to the home and remodeling is for superficial items.
  • Rehab. The fixes it needs are relatively easy and quick to complete. If the to-do list only includes carpeting/flooring, paint and clean up, it’s likely a good choice compared to one that needs new windows, roof, HVAC system, plumbing/electrical rework, etc.
  • Price. The home is priced significantly lower than comparable, surrounding homes. If it stacks up well against neighboring homes in terms of price, it’s likely priced right to allow you to invest some fix-up money into it. The key is to act fast to grab this home—before someone else does!
  • Condition. You can get a home inspection completed before the sale becomes final. If the selling situation of the property makes you forego the inspection, it might be prudent to revisit buying that home.

When you’re ready to look for a bargain home, contact us. Foreclosures, short sales, and other distressed properties are out there. The key is knowing what to look for.

Categories: Bargain Homes, Distressed Homes, wilmington nc real estate


Kay Baker | 1001 Military Cutoff Rd. | Ste 101 Wilmington, NC 28405 | kaybaker@seacoastrealty.com | 910-232-0363 | Fax: 910-256-0473

Copyright © 2014 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.