What is the single most important rule in looking for a home?

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www.WilmingtonNC-realestate.com for more hints and ideas.

shells5While many important details must be considered in choosing your first home – style, size, price, location – one thing is certain: if you will be moving again in a few years, be sure you buy with selling in mind. Chances are, the items that make your new home a comfortable fit for you will also attract buyers later on.

Some special considerations for the first-time homeowner who has resale in mind:

Watch for growth potential

Look for an established neighborhood that will be enhanced by future growth but not inconvenienced by it.

Look out for resale value

Seek a prime neighborhood where homes sell well in any market.

Check out location

Consider availability of all aspects of transportation; even those you may not use.

Research Area Schools

Check for quality public schools, whether or not you have school-age children.

Go for the green

Look carefully at the lot for trees and greenery to buffer winter winds or summer heat.

Make room for visitors

See if ample guest parking is available for you and your neighbors.

Ponder privacy issues

Consider how much privacy the home and lot provide.

Drive the commute before you buy

Check morning and afternoon drive time to work, schools, shopping, churches.

Let us know how we can help you. kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com

Categories: Things to look for when buying a home, wilmington nc real estate, Wilmington nc schools

The Secret to Our Open House Success | Wilmington NC real estate

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The Secret to Our Open House Success

 

beach3In today’s real estate environment in Wilmington, NC, more than ever, open houses are an effective marketing strategy. But, just to advertise the home in the Sunday paper and post a sign is not enough. An effective marketing campaign for open houses will prove to be a very successful open house and hopefully bring buyers to the table.

Our Open House Marketing Strategy

    1. Stage and landscape should begin 7-10 days prior to the open house. Sellers need to understand the importance of curb appeal and presentation. Some nice fresh flowers in the kitchen, potted plants on the front porch, fresh baked cookies  are all enhancements for an open house.
    2. Place strategic open house signs  5-7 days before the open house stating the day and time of the open house. I have found this creates a lot of interest even before the open house.
      3.   Direct mail pieces to the neighborhood and adjoining neighborhoods to let everyone know. Neighbors will call their friends to tell them about the open house.
        4.  Marketing blitz to top Realtors to let them know to send their clients over to view this home.

 

Rest of story here… 

 

Categories: coldwell banker sea coast advantage, Wilmington NC homes, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington real estate stats

So you want a Luxury home | Look no further.

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IMG_4710Our intelligent marketing strategies, years of experience and powerful connections in the worldwide brokerage community have enabled Kay Baker Associates to attain the prestigious Coldwell Banker Previews International Specialist designation. We specialize in marketing the finest luxury homes in the Wilmington, NC area. Billy Baker is a Previews Specialists. This high profile exposure will ensure that we will reach the best, highly discriminating circle of buyers for your Wilmington, NC luxury home.

This website offers some of the most valuable information about the very best neighborhoods in Wilmington NC.

View all Luxury homes in Wilmington NC here.

Categories: Previews Luxury Homes, Wilmington NC homes, wilmington nc real estate

Figure Eight Island | The Wilmington NC Real Estate Island

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figureeightFigure Eight Island NC real estate comprises a beautiful coastal community offering the ultimate in privacy and security located just minutes from the conveniences of Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach. Whether you’re looking for waterfront/oceanfront real estate on Figure 8 Island, for your dream home or second home for a beach vacation of a lifetime, Kay Baker & Associates of Sea Coast Realty can help you find premier Figure Eight Island, North Carolina, real estate! Come and experience the beauty, serenity and casual atmosphere of Figure Eight Island for yourself.

Homes for Sale in Figure Eight Island, NC

Homes for sale on Figure Eight Island, North Carolina are unlike any other oceanfront property you’ll find anywhere. Located on the Atlantic Ocean and accessible only by a private bridge, Figure Eight Island, North Carolina real estate is known for its proximity to over five miles of sandy white beaches, sparkling blue waters and abundant natural resources. Yet the island remains untouched by commercial developments like hotels and shopping centers.

See listing and more here...http://www.cbbaker.com/figure+eight+island+real+estate

 

Categories: Figure Eight Island, Gated Island NC, Waterfront Wilmington NC, wilmington nc real estate, Wrightsville Beach NC

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

Schools | Neighborhood | Why is it smart to size up the schools before buying a house?

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Why is it smart to size up the schools before buying a house?

ChalkboardWhen you buy a house, you also buy into the area schools. Why should schools influence the home choice of even childless couples? Resale values. Families will often spend thousands of dollars more for a home located in a better school district.

  • Start with statistics
    Typically the best place to start is with research that relies heavily on statistics like test scores, high school graduation and college attendance rates, student-teacher ratios and spending per pupil. This data can give a snapshot of the condition of a school or school district over the recent past. Ask your real estate agent, informed friends and school-finding services.
  • Visit, walk-through, ask
    If you have children and want to find out what the schools will be like for them, you need to visit the schools and see how well they are run, how ancient or modern are the buildings, and how well equipped they are. Pay attention to class size and teacher workload and whether enrichment courses are offered. You also need to talk to school staff to see what problems exist or are looming ahead. Budget cuts, a demographic shift in the area or local development that overwhelms schools with new students — all can change the quality of schools.
  • Decide for yourself
    Even if the schools are the best in the state, you should look for what is best for your children. Some youngsters need a small, quiet school where individual efforts are rewarded, others thrive in a large, cosmopolitan atmosphere. Or your children may need personal attention to help cope with special learning styles.
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We’re a little tight on cash. How can we shift some settlement costs to reduce out of pocket expenses?

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Piggy BankSome buyers reduce the cash needed at settlement by scheduling closing at the end of the month. But there are several other ways to save on closing costs that may work better in the long run.

  • Skip late-month settlement

      Since interest on the loan is paid to the end of the month at settlement, the interest payment gets lower as you get closer to the end of the month. But another approach is to wait a few days until the beginning of the next month. That way, you’ll need to pay more up front at settlement, but you’ll gain a whole month’s delay before the first full mortgage payment is due, because mortgage interest is paid in arrears, after the month has passed.

 

  • Reduce out-of-pocket cash

      Another way to reduce the cash needed at settlement takes some advance planning. By negotiating with the seller, the buyer may be able to pay more for the home and finance it, while the seller puts an equal amount toward out-of-pocket settlement costs.

 

  • Finance closing costs

      A third option is to find a lender who will finance closing costs by wrapping them into the mortgage. This method may, however, cost more over the long run, as lenders often will then charge a higher interest rate for a “no closing costs” loan.
Categories: closing on a home, homes, wilmington, Wilmington NC homes, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington nc relocation, Wilmington nc schools

BUYING POWER :: Lock-In A Low Mortgage Rate Now To Save More

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www.WilmingtonNC-realestate.com

Rising interest rates adversely impact a homebuyer’s buying power. Say a buyer can afford a $200,000 home at a 4.5% mortgage interest rate. If the interest rate moves up one percentage point to 5.5%, that same buyer would only be able to afford a home priced at $179,000, meaning a $21,000 or 10.5% reduction in buying power.

To keep your buying power strong, and hedge against a rise in interest rates, lock-in your mortgage rate as soon as you can. The key is making sure your loan is likely to be approved because lenders don’t want to lock loans that are going to be rejected. Find out from your lender exactly what documents are needed to get your loan approved and get those documents collected and submitted quickly. If you’re pre-approved for a loan already, you might be in better shape to lock-in a mortgage rate sooner rather than later.

Time is money. Protect yourself, your financial situation and your buying power with an interest rate with which you can live with for the long term.

Categories: Wilmington NC homes, Wilmington NC Market Statistics, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington real estate stats, Wrightsville Beach NC

MONEY DIET :: 7 Easy Ways To Reduce Your Loan Payment And Increase Your Savings

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There are many ways to reduce the amount of money you send each month to your mortgage company. You just have to know where to cut the fat. Check out these seven money-diet tips to discover how you can slim down your monthly mortgage payment.

1. Refinance to a lower interest rate. Even a half-percent drop in your interest rate could save you hundreds of dollars a year. Drop a whole percentage point, say from 6% to 5% on a $150,000 mortgage for 30 years, and you’ll save more than $1,100 annually. Get a lower rate and save even more! Remember, though, you may have to pay closing costs to refinance. Make sure you’ll live in your home long enough to recoup those costs.

2. Refinance to two loans. If you took out a jumbo loan (one that is larger than local conventional loan limits in your area) when you purchased your home, you probably paid a higher rate than what was then available for conforming loans. Currently, a non-conforming jumbo loan is anything higher than $417,000 in most parts of the country. If you want to refinance above that amount, you can get around the higher jumbo rate by taking out two mortgage loans instead.

For example, say you want to refinance $500,000. You could take out a first mortgage for $400,000 at the lower conforming-loan rate. Then, you would take out a second mortgage or home equity loan for $100,000. Although the rate on the second may be higher than rates available for a jumbo, you’ll be paying that rate on a comparatively small amount of money. Overall, your rate for the entire $500,000 in loans will be lower than for a jumbo. That will mean a lower total monthly payment.

3. Double up on a small down payment. Refinancing to two loans also makes sense if you put a small down payment on your home. If you paid just 10% down on a $150,000 property, for example, you’re probably paying a private mortgage insurance (PMI) premium with your monthly mortgage payment. Once you have 20% equity in your home, you can drop that payment (as we’ll discuss later). But with less than 20%, it might pay to refinance to a 75/15 mortgage. Under this scenario, you would take out a first trust for 75% of the home’s value and a second trust for 15% of its value. With neither loan showing less than 20% equity in the home, PMI won’t be required.

4. Review your ARM calculations. Industry experts say consumers can lose money to calculation errors lenders sometimes make when re-computing adjustable-rate mortgage payments as they change year to year. Dust off your closing papers and look up the current rate to find out what you’re supposed to be paying according to the adjustments and caps stipulated for your loan. If you find a mistake in your favor, contact your mortgage company to have your payment changed to the lower amount.

5. Drop Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). If you bought your home with less than a 20% down payment, you probably have private mortgage insurance. PMI can cost hundreds of dollars monthly on some loans. The Homeowners Protection Act of 1998 says your lender must automatically cancel PMI when your equity reaches 22% on the loan pay-down schedule. But you can also drop your PMI once your equity reaches 20% through market appreciation and payments. If your home has been appreciating, and you think you owe less than 80% of its current value, contact your lender. Chances are you’ll have to pay for an appraisal (about $300 to $400) to prove your home’s current worth. But after that, you’ll see monthly savings in a lower mortgage payment without the PMI premium.

6. Get a longer term. Although this method may not suit everyone, if you need to increase cash flow by reducing your monthly payment, you could extend the term of your current loan. For example, if your balance is down to $100,000 on a $150,000 30-year mortgage that you took out 18 years ago at 7.5% interest, your monthly principal/interest payment would be $1,048.82. If you refinanced the $100,000 12-year balance with a 30-year loan at even the same interest rate, the longer term would lower your principal/interest payment to $699.21. That’s a big drop in payment, but it also means you’ll be paying on your home 12 years longer than before refinancing. And, of course, your total interest expense on the purchase of that home will be much higher.

7. Correct an outdated tax assessment. You’re probably paying a portion of your annual real estate taxes with your monthly payment to your mortgage holder. Have you checked your tax assessment to make sure you’re not paying too much? The taxing authority could be calculating taxes on your house with incorrect information, e.g., counting an extra bedroom, bathroom or finished basement that you don’t actually have. This would increase your tax bill and your monthly payment. Keep track of your tax assessment and challenge it if it doesn’t reflect actual property values in your area.

 

Categories: Mortgage ideas, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington nc relocation

Buying a Foreclosure? What every buyer should know

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factfiction

FORECLOSURE:
What Every Buyer Must Know

 In today’s market, you’ll hear lots of terms used to describe “bargain” properties – distressed, short sale, pre-foreclosure, auction, REO, bank owned, foreclosure, foreclosed, and more. Confused? That’s understandable. Some of these terms are interchangeable, some are not, and some cover a whole range of bargain property types.

To understand the terms, it’s important to understand the three stages of foreclosure:

  1. Pre-foreclosure stage. This stage begins when the homeowner falls behind on home-loan payments (or sometimes other terms of the loan). Lenders may wait for a second, third or even fourth missed payment before sending the homeowner a Notice of Default — which becomes public record. The homeowner then has a given period of time to respond to the notice and/or come up with the outstanding payments and fees — sometimes by selling the home in a pre-foreclosure sale, also known as a distress sale. (If a judicial procedure is required, it occurs after the notice of default is given.)One type of pre-foreclosure or distress sale is a short sale — when proceeds from the sale of a home are less than the amount of mortgage still owed to the homeowner’s lender. A lender-approved short sale (or short payoff) occurs when the homeowner’s lender agrees to accept the proceeds of the home sale as satisfaction of the mortgage owed, even though proceeds are less than the outstanding debt.
  2. Foreclosure stage. At this stage, the former homeowner may or may not have been evicted — depending on state law — when the lender puts the home up for public auction (after a judgment of foreclosure in those states requiring judicial procedure).If the home sells at the foreclosure auction, (sometimes called a sheriff’s sale, trustee’s sale or step sale) money from the sale is used to pay off the costs of the foreclosure, taxes and other prior liens, service charges and advances, interest and principal on the mortgage, late charges or fees, and liens recorded after the first mortgage. Any amount left over is paid to the borrower (former homeowner). When proceeds from the sale are less than the various amounts owed, the lender may be able to hold the borrower responsible for the difference (deficiency judgment).
  3. Post-foreclosure stage. When a property that does not sell at auction — either because no one bid on it or because bids did not meet the lender’s or agency’s minimum price — the property becomes real estate owned (REO) by the lender or government agency that guaranteed the loan (such as FHA/HUD, VA, etc.). You’ll also hear the term bank-owned applied to these properties, whether they are owned by an actual bank or some other type of lender. (Be aware: The term REO also applies to properties purchased by companies from employees who didn’t sell their home on the market before relocating, which is to say that not all REOs are foreclosed properties.)Once the lender or agency has repossessed a property following a failed auction attempt, the home is put back on the market. Most REO properties are listed for sale through real estate brokers and placed on the Multiple Listing Service.

At this stage, the foreclosure process is complete, and the property may be accurately described as a foreclosed property, while in the first two stages the home is in foreclosure and should be referred to as a foreclosure property. (You’ll find, however, that real estate writers and others sometimes misuse this terminology; be sure to ask if you are unsure what stage of foreclosure a particular property is in.)

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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.