Next Tax Season | Work From Home? It Pays Off At Tax Time

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birdflyingTime to plan for next tax season.  If you keep records, schedule appointments and carry on other such activities from your home office, some common home-office expenses, such as utilities, insurance, repairs, cleaning and depreciation, may qualify for a deduction, even if you do the actual work in another location. Be aware, however, any depreciation claimed after May 6, 1997, will be taxed at 25% if the residence is sold for a gain, whether or not the property has been converted to personal use.

Starting in 2013, there is a simplified home office deduction calculation to bypass maintaining detailed expense records. Simply deduct $5 for every square foot of home office space used, up to a maximum of 300 square feet or $1,500. This simplified expense is recorded on Schedule C rather than Form 8829 which allows you to separately deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes on Schedule A.

TAX TIP: If you (or your family) use your home office for non-business purposes, it cannot be claimed on your tax return. To claim home-office deductions, the space must be used exclusively for business purposes.

BONU$ ARTICLE

PROPERTY LOSSES

Disasters Hurt: Get What You Deserve At Tax Time


If you lost property due to an accident, storm, fire, flood, drought or other unforeseen occurrence, you may not have to report insurance proceeds if you use the proceeds to replace the property within a specified time. Additionally, if the home was located in a federally declared disaster area, you can claim the loss on your tax return in the year of the loss (2015) or for the preceding year.

TAX TIP: Local and state property taxes may also be abated in some cases. Consult IRS Publication 547 “Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts” to find out more.

We are here to help.  Just let us know.  910-202-3607 or kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com

Categories: #Taxes, Home Office, Uncategorized, Wilmington NC homes, Wrightsville Beach NC

Smart Strategies To Make A Home Inspection Work For You

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Whether you’re buying or selling a home (or both), pay special attention to how a home inspection can serve your interests. A professional home inspection protects both buyers and sellers from legal action sparked by problems found after a home is sold.Buyers have long been advised to include a home inspection contingency in their purchase offers. The cost–$300 or so–is well worth the information it buys, protecting the purchaser from costly surprises later on. In fact, many homes harbor problems their owners aren’t even aware of until a professional inspector points them out. (That’s why some savvy sellers have been getting their homes inspected before putting them on the market.)

Inspection Contingencies

A sales contract may include one of two types of inspection contingencies:

    1. A “general contingency” inspection clause stipulates that the contract is contingent on the buyer conducting a “satisfactory” professional home inspection. The contingency specifies a certain number of days for the buyer to conduct the inspection and report back to the seller, and allows the seller time to respond to the inspector’s findings.

With a general contingency clause, if the buyer dislikes anything in the inspection results and chooses not to go forward with the transaction, the contract is null and void. Obviously, this type of contingency favors the buyer.

  1. A “specific contingency” spells out particular criteria that must be met before the buyer can back out, e.g., the owner’s failure to fix a problem identified by the inspection. The buyer can’t just walk away for any reason. Although not ideal for buyers, this type of contingency offers more protection than no home inspection clause at all.

Checking It Out

The most reputable home inspectors are members of The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) and are bonded, licensed and insured.

What do these professionals look at? ASHI Standards of Practice require that an inspection evaluate the following:

  • Structural Components
  • Exterior
  • Roofing o Central Air Conditioning
  • Heating
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Insulation and Ventilation
  • Interiors

It’s equally important to understand what a professional inspector is not supposed to do.

An inspector can’t tell you everything you want to know about a house. Remember, inspectors are generalists who have a fair amount of information about all home systems but usually are not experts on any of them.

Professional inspectors are not supposed to fix problems they find. How much would you trust someone if you knew they were looking for a repair job while searching for defects in the home? If a major problem is found, ask a reputable contractor how much it would cost to repair or replace it.

Don’t expect the inspection report to include the condition of every single nail, electrical wire or piece of plumbing. Inspectors check out the overall systems, not all the joints and nail pops (unless they are visible).

Inspectors can’t give you the reason for the defects they find. Their job is to find defects, not to explain them.

Don’t expect a listing of cosmetic concerns–that’s the buyer’s job.

The inspector has no way of telling how long a system will last and shouldn’t volunteer an opinion about it. The inspection is not intended to be a guarantee of future performance.

Non-Contingent Inspections

As many real estate markets in the nation have heated up, buyers have increasingly been making purchase offers without including a home-inspection contingency. In an active market, this strategy can help make your offer more attractive to a seller, even though it puts you at risk for purchasing a home with problems that could be expensive to correct.

If you’re considering foregoing the home-inspection contingency, think seriously about having the home inspected anyway. Finding out ahead of time what you’ll need to fix will help you budget more realistically for your home purchase. For example, you may want to make a smaller down payment so you’ll have the cash you need for repairs.

Another reason to order a non-contingent inspection is if you’re thinking about purchasing a home warranty. These warranties can afford you some protection in case a system in your home malfunctions, but they will not cover “pre-existing defects.” If something does go wrong later, your home inspection report can help you prove to the warranty provider that the problem did not exist when you purchased the home.

Seller Benefits

Especially in slow markets, sellers do well to order home inspections (and make needed repairs) before putting their homes on the market. Being able to show that your home has a clean bill of health can encourage purchase offers from skittish buyers and speed your contract settlement.

Even if you’re selling in a seller’s market, you may want to accept a contract with an inspection contingency or have your home pre-inspected. Letting buyers know about defects you don’t intend to correct will help provide protection against legal action later. More and more buyers have been filing after-purchase lawsuits against home sellers for major defects found in homes that were not inspected before settlement. Whether such lawsuits are successful or not, they represent a real hassle for sellers.

Give us a call if you have any questions about ordering professional home inspections. We would be happy to provide you with a list of reputable inspectors in the area.

 

Categories: home inspection, Uncategorized, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington real estate stats

Do You Know How to Choose the Street Where You Live?

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IMG_9452When you’re looking for your first home to buy, remember: Where your home sits is as important as what the home is like.

Here are some of the questions we always ask when we’re checking out a new listing. Naturally, we pass what we know about properties on to people shopping for homes, but you, too, can have these considerations in mind:

  • What is the traffic like on the road where you’d like to live? What are future plans for road development, if any?
  • What are the plans for surrounding property? (Answers are sometimes common knowledge, but often they must be looked up in the town hall offices where maps, charts and proposals are available.)
  • Where is the nearest public transportation?
  • How far is the home from schools, shopping, recreation, religious and cultural centers (depending on individual preferences)?
  • How far is the home from a particular place of work and what kind of commute is available?
  • What do local taxes (state, county and town) amount to and how are they calculated?

One of the best ways to “get the feel” of various neighborhoods is to drive through them, noting the kinds of homes, yards and people. Knowing the territory as well as we do, it’s a pleasure for us to guide prospective homebuyers on comparative neighborhood shopping trips. If you’d like to learn more about our area, send an e-mail or give us a call.

More TipsTo help you prepare for the responsibilities of owning a home, we’ve put together a FREE e-Report entitled First Time: How To Buy The Most Home For Your Money. Click the link to get your FREE copy now!
Categories: Uncategorized

SELLERS MARKET | Why Every Home Doesn’t Sell

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apThis is a healthy housing market—by most indicators a seller’s market—especially for homes that are priced to sell and in great condition.

As we move into the year-end season, there are no signs the market is shifting. Price remains critically important. Today’s sellers must avoid the pitfall of believing “everything sells.” Track market trends with a real estate pro—like us—and make sure your home’s sales price reflects what buyers expect—and will pay. If an offer doesn’t appear quickly, make a noticeable price improvement sooner—not later—if you expect to get your home sold.

Despite a great year so far, many prospective sellers still are not getting their homes sold. Here’s what our experience and local trends tell us:

Overpriced Listings. You can’t sell a home based on last year’s prices or national headlines that conflict with our area’s micro-trends. Don’t set a sales price based on the amount you want to cash out of the home. Pricing right is paramount to get your home noticed, toured and sold fast. The right price is one that buyers are willing to offer compared with other nearby homes currently for sale. Expired listings are often homes that aren’t priced right. You may be amazed at how many homes have lingered on the market longer than average—at all price points.

Condition. Is your home move-in ready? It will sell quickly because choosy buyers want a modern home in great condition. They’ll pay for it, too. If you have a list of fix-ups, needed updates and undone maintenance, buyers will notice and keep looking…right past your home.

Set The Stage. Clean and declutter each room. Make each space inviting and bright. If you’ve already moved out, rent or borrow furniture to give each room a purpose and focal point. Empty homes don’t sell.

Contract Kickouts. Perhaps the biggest reason not every home sells in this market is that some homes go under contract but never reach settlement. Those deals “kick out.” Maybe it’s the home inspection. Sometimes it’s buyer remorse. Often, financing for the buyer doesn’t come through…especially if the buyer isn’t preapproved or paid over market value in a bidding war. Whatever the reason, a significant number of contracts fall through without ever getting to closing—and if your home is priced right and in good condition, it’s got a better chance of not tripping over closing hurdles.

Going It Alone. If you’re trying to sell your home on your own, your property is not getting the marketing and exposure it could when you partner with a real estate professional. Today’s real estate market is healthy, but selling by yourself could mean lost time, lost money and a lost sale.

Bottom line for today’s sellers? Fixing-up matters. Staging matters. Savvy marketing matters. Negotiating experience matters. And—most important—pricing ahead of the market matters to be sure you get your home sold for top dollar in our market today. Contact us to discuss how we can turn your “for sale” quickly into “sold.”

Categories: #Spring Time To Sell, Sellers Market, Uncategorized, Waterfront Wilmington NC, wilmington nc

69th NC Azalea Festival Wilmington NC 2016 | Get Your Party Hat On.

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69th NC Azalea Festival Wilmington NC 2016 | Wilmington NC real estate

 

 Join us for the 69th NC Azalea Festival in Wilmington NC. April 6 – 10 .

 

 

“The North Carolina Azalea Festival is Wilmington’s annual community celebration and the largest festival of its kind in the state. Founded in 1948, the Azalea Festival has emerged as Wilmington’s premier event.

Each April, a full week of natural beauty, big-name entertainment, festive galas, fun family events and Southern hospitality come together to showcase the charms of the Wilmington area. For community pride and springtime pageantry, the North Carolina Azalea Festival has no equal!

The Festival’s concerts, fairs and special events are viewed by more than one million people each year, in person and through media coverage. More than 200,000 are estimated to attend the annual two-day street fair, while more than 100,000 gather to watch the Festival parade. Each event is a celebration, beginning with the traditional arrival of Queen Azalea at the official opening of the five-day event. Stars glitter throughout town as Southern belles and their escorts promenade through lush gardens at the annual garden party. Everywhere the blooming azaleas offer colorful testimony to the rich heritage of coastal Carolina.”

Here is a sampling of the schedule for this years festival from the festival website.

  • Azalea 5K/10K/Kid’s Run

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    2APR2016
    The North Carolina Azalea Festival 5K/10K & 1 mile-Kid’s Run is an annual event hosted by the Cape Fear Volunteer Center. Kids, dogs, and costumes are welcome! All proceeds from …

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  • Azalea Sweep

    2APR2016
    The Azalea Sweep is an event that takes place a week or two prior to the Azalea Festival. Officers, committee members, and volunteers get together and clean various places where …

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  • Queen’s Coronation

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    6APR2016
    The Queen’s Coronation is an annual event where the Queen is officially crowned the North Carolina Azalea Festival Queen Azalea. In attendance are the Festival Celebrity Guests as well as: City …

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  • Brigade Boys & Girls Club Community Visit

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    7APR2016
    Each year the Azalea Festival Queen Azalea, Celebrities, and Official Party visit a community organization to help spread the Festival spirit.  We were proud to visit the Brigade Boys & …

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  • Celebrity Reception

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    7APR2016
    The Celebrity Reception provides sponsors of the Festival a close and personal opportunity to see and meet Queen Azalea, Celebrity Guests, and other Festival Dignitaries.  A relaxing luncheon on sprawling …

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  • School Visit

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    7APR2016
    Each year the Azalea Festival Queen Azalea, Celebrities, and Official Party visit a local school to share the Festival spirit.  The school works year-long to prepare a program and showcase …

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  • The Avett Brothers

    7APR2016
    When you’re receptive to the forces around you, you’ll notice there’s something powerful in the air. It’s that feeling of inspiration to which The Avett Brothers consistently remain open.” It’s a spirit …

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  • After Garden Get Down

    8APR2016
    The After Garden Get Down at Bluewater Grill is a fun, dockside party on Friday, March 8th from 2-5 PM, immediately following the Airlie Luncheon Garden Party.  Guests enjoy live music by Darryl …

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  • Airlie Luncheon Garden Party

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    8APR2016
    The premier event in Wilmington, the Airlie Luncheon Garden Party is one you can’t miss! Join us and 2,500 of our closest friends as we kick off Spring with big …

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  • Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Garden Tour

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    8-10APR2016
    The Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Garden Tour © is sponsored by the Cape Fear Garden Club, Inc. The tour has been featured in SOUTHERN LIVING and is one of …

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  • City RockFest Tour

    8APR2016
    Join us for the City RockFest Tour 2016 with Seventh Day Slumber, Decyfer Down, Childen 18:3, Spoken, & Disciple, presented by: McDonalds, McAnderson’s Inc. and the North Carolina Azalea Festival.Read More…

  • Juried Art Show

    8-10APR2016
    Over 100 North Carolina artists and national artists present fine paintings at the Annual Juried Spring Art Show and Sale.  The Art Show is a long-standing tradition of the North …

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  • Snoop Dogg with Doug E. Fresh

    8APR2016
    Multi-platinum artist, actor and entertainment icon Snoop Dogg is at the forefront of popular culture with award-winning albums and songs, multiple films, lifestyle products, philanthropic efforts, and digital ventures, including …

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  • Street Fair

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    8-10APR2016
    The North Carolina Azalea Festival Street Fair Presented by Wells Fargo is a free, family event with over 330 arts and craft vendors, 40 food vendors, 2 stages, a Children’s …

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  • USCGC Diligence Tours

    8-10APR2016
    Tour times are: Friday from 12:30 PM  – 15 minutes before sunset Saturday/Sunday from 10:00 AM  – 15 minutes before sunsetRead More…

  • Boxing

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    9-10APR2016
    The North Carolina Azalea Festival Boxing Tournament showcases some of the finest boxers from the National and International level of competition & from the military branches. Queen Azalea & VIP …

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  • Chase Rice with Kane Brown

    9APR2016
          Chase Rice When he takes the stage to perform, Chase Rice pulls no punches. “You’re gonna be mine and I’m gonna be yours for an hour and …

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  • Coin Show

    9-10APR2016
    A fun filled family event! Children are given free foreign coins to learn about currency and foreign countries. More than 30 dealers from several surrounding states are on hand to …

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  • Fireworks

    9APR2016
    A favorite Festival event, the fireworks are presented over the majestic Cape Fear River. Come early to pick out your best viewing spot!Read More…

  • Historic Home Tour

    9-10APR2016
    The North Carolina Azalea Festival Home Tour is an annual event held by the Historic Wilmington Foundation. Proceeds from the Home Tour will advance the Historic Wilmington Foundation’s efforts to …

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  • MGC Parade Mile

    9APR2016
    Welcome to the MGC Parade mile. Local law firm McAngus Goudelock & Courie is teaming with Go Time and the North Carolina Azalea Festival to put on a one of …

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  • Parade

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    9APR2016
    The Azalea Festival Parade continues to be one of Southeastern North Carolina’s largest annual event, with over 100,000 viewers each year. Our traditional parade route flows right through the heart …

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  • Patrons’ Party Gala

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    9APR2016
    The Patrons’ Party Gala is the grand finale for sponsors of the Azalea Festival.  A black-tie event filled with wonderful food displays and dancing to the sounds of the hottest …

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  • Street Fair Children’s Area

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    9-10APR2016
    The Street Fair Children’s Area is family fun for everyone! Games, children’s craft projects, and a stage dedicated to children’s performances all await you at the Cotton Exchange.   Saturday …

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  • Street Fair Multicultural Stage

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    9APR2016
    We invite the public to join us for a unique, family-friendly multicultural experience on Saturday and Sunday, April 9th and 10th. The kick-off of the multicultural festivities goes global beginning …

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  • USS North Carolina Battleship 75th Anniversary Celebration

    9APR2016
    Join us and our “living history crew” – active Marines in WWII attire bringing the Battleship to life on Saturday, April 9th! At 1:15 PM, there will be a Special …

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  • Festival Finale

    10APR2016
    Bluewater Grill is kicking off their Waterfront Music Series by hosting the Festival Finale on Sunday, April 10th, the last event of the North Carolina Azalea Festival. Back of the Boat will provide …

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From Last Years Festival

azalea

While you are in town, please visit our mobile site mobile.cbbaker.com to view our fabulous real estate offerings.  Or online www.cbbaker.com

Categories: 65th Azalea Festival, 67th Azalea Festival, azalea festival, Wilmington NC homes, wilmington real estate stats

Selling Your Home? Clean and Clear |If In Doubt, Throw It Out

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2If you’re selling your home or buying a new one, moving is on the calendar in 2016. It’s best to get started now, going through all your stuff to decide, “Is this really worth hauling to my new home?”

The more you’re able to clear out now, the less you’ll pay in mover fees! Here are some top tips to get clean and clear now.

PAPER

  • Financial papers. Generally, tax-related documents should be kept for seven years. Other bills and statements, if not tax-related, can be kept to show a one- to two-year trend.
  • Warranties and product instructions. These should stay with the items they’re for—so leave them behind with property that conveys to the next owner.

ELECTRONICS

  • Plan a run to electronics recycling if you have any old cords, chargers, connectors in a miscellaneous box you haven’t touched in ages.

HAZARDOUS WASTE

  • Chemicals. Moving companies won’t move hazardous items. If your garage, basement or shed contains bug/weed killers, paint, oil, and other solutions, give them away to those who will use them properly or turn them in to hazardous waste. Do not dump these items down the sink, sewer or into the ground.
  • Medicines. Old medicine can be turned into hazardous waste facilities or some police stations. Don’t flush them down the toilet or sink.

HOUSEHOLD

  • Clothing. Clothes that aren’t able to be worn again can be recycled into rags. Check for textile recycling in your area. Clothes in good shape can be sold at consignment shops or donated to shelters and second hand shops.
  • Décor. You might have boxes of old framed prints, vases, figurines, etc. kicking around. Take these items to the local second hand shop or donation center.
  • Linens. If the items are still usable, consider donating them to a homeless shelter or second hand shop or pet shelter. If they’re threadbare, textile recycling.
  • Furniture. Online selling sites, second hand shops, shelters working with people in need, and friends are great outlets for decreasing the amount of furniture you own.
Categories: #Spring Time To Sell, selling, Selling your home, Uncategorized, wilmington nc real estate

TIMING: Seven Buying And Selling Secrets To Know Before You Relocate

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The secret to a successful relocation is timing — synchronized buying, moving and selling. Good timing just takes a little advance planning that puts you in control. Here are seven relocation secrets to make your move work smoothly for you.

1. Sell First

Ideally, you should sell your current home first in order to have all your financial resources available to purchase your next home. You want to avoid waiting until the closing on your new home forces you to sell your old home under the gun. Note that in some markets today, houses are moving so quickly that sellers will not even consider taking a contingency clause that postpones their sale until the buyer’s home sells. Setting the right price for your home and having a customized marketing plan are your best bets for bringing about a quick sale.

2. Find Out What You Can Afford

{short description of image}While your house is on the market, look at what’s available to buy within your price range in your destination area. Your perfect house is out there, but take as much time as you can to find it. It’s not just the house you’ll have to live with — you’ll want to find out about the neighborhood, the schools, proximity to shopping, etc. before you commit to your next home.

3. Shop For A Loan Before You Shop For A House

Try to lock in the best rate you can find. Get pre-approved for financing so you have more bargaining power when you bid on a house. With a pre-approved loan, you’ll be able to go to closing on your new house faster.

4. Coordinate Settlements And Moving Dates

Try to move directly from the old home to the new one. Sometimes you can rent back the old property for a few days or weeks if closing on the new one is delayed. Another alternative is an interim move to an apartment for a short time while waiting to close on the new house.

5. Begin Fix-Ups And Pre-Sale Improvements Early

Have any needed work completed before your house goes on the market. Consider having a home inspection early in the fix-up process so you know what’s important to repair or replace before you set the sales price for your house.

6. Work Closely With Your Agent

Make sure every “i” is dotted and every “t” crossed on time for both closings. You may save time and money for the buyer of your old home with lower “re-issue” fees by referring them to the previous providers of inspections, surveys, title insurance, etc. The information is in your settlement papers. And, if it’s a busy season, line up appointments in advance with the people you’ll need to close on your new house.

7. Avoid The Last-Minute Rush

Call us early. We’ll gather information and provide it to you quickly so you can make informed decisions and workable plans.

Categories: #selling homes, Buying Wilmington NC real estate, Showcasing your home, Uncategorized

Show it off |Staging Your Home To Sell Doesn’t Have To Be Costly

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3De-cluttering, reorganizing and returning rooms to their showcase role can help sell a home. But what if you’ve already moved out?And, renting or buying brand new furniture and accessories would break the budget? Remember, leaving behind some homey, welcoming pieces in an otherwise empty home can mean the difference between sold and stagnation. Or, ask friends or neighbors to lend furniture pieces or accessories. Then put these homestaging tips to work:

  • Set up a small end table and chair, a small bistro set, and a comfy chair draped with a throw to provide potential buyers the homey feel they’re looking for.
  • Small tables create great focal points when topped with a book, vase or small knick knack.
  • Keep a painting, picture or mirror hanging on select walls for interest.
  • A vase of silk flowers in the kitchen, an artful display on the mantel or birch logs in the fireplace and/or a small table at the entry way brighten up a home.
  • An area rug or throw rug can add warmth and dimension to a room.
  • Use an old table—covered with a long tablecloth—as a dining table set with some dishes.
  • An artful umbrella propped in an entryway corner, a clean welcome mat or a small wreath on the door can alsocreate a great first impression.
  • Suggest office space or sitting area in a large corner of a bedroom, living room, or basement with a small desk and lamp.
  • Stage a single robe, suitcase or hatbox to accent a walk-in closet.

It doesn’t take much to make a home look well cared for, lived in and inviting. Take a moment to look around your home to create focal points of interest in various rooms and spots.

Categories: Showcasing your home, Staging your home, Uncategorized

INVEST YOUR RENT: Why Pay Your Landlord’s Mortgage?

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1604 CrowsLand-0503The only one who benefits from a rent check is the landlord. Renters never see that money again, while homeowners usually profit when they sell. In addition, renters can’t use any of their rent payment as a tax deduction, like homeowners can. If you or someone you know is renting, it’s time to put that rent check to better use!The mortgage-interest deduction is probably the best financial argument for buying rather than renting. Consider this example:If you can afford a mortgage payment of $1,000 (principal and interest only), you can buy a house for $151,426 if you put 10% down on a 30-year mortgage at 8% interest. (Currently rates are 4%)  If your payments started in January, you would pay $10,862 in interest for the first year in the home. That entire amount is deductible on your federal income tax return! Assuming you are in the 27.5% tax bracket, you would save $2,989 in taxes, or $249 per month. So your $1,000 payment is really only $751 when you factor in the homeowner’s tax advantage.

Can A Renter Really Afford To Buy?

The real question is whether renters can afford not to buy. The tax savings alone make the purchase of a home a wise financial decision. But let’s go a step further.

Using the same example, a 10% down payment would create an immediate equity of $15,142. Assuming the $151,426 house grows in value by just 3% a year, in five years it would be worth $175,544. The original loan amount would then be down to $129,565, yielding an equity of $45,980. In addition, remember the nearly $3,000 tax savings every year. The total value of your equity and tax savings would be almost $61,000 after five years.

Pick A Loan

To take advantage of the financial benefits of homeownership, renters must first find out how much buying power they have. We can help. Call us for information about the whole range of mortgage options now available, including low- and no-down-payment loans, and programs that allow buyers wrap home-improvement costs and closing costs into the mortgage.

Plan Ahead

Although some lenders allow buyers to use up to 41% of monthly income to purchase a house, beware of becoming “house rich and cash poor.” Be sure to budget for homeownership costs beyond the mortgage, including expenses for:

moving
decorating and furnishing
homeowners insurance
property taxes
homeowners association fees (if any)
utilities-power, water, sewer, cable, trash pick-up
yard tools, supplies and general upkeep
home repairs, supplies, cleaning and upgrades.

Today, homeownership is a wonderful dream-come-true for more people than ever before. Let us help turn those dreams into a home to be proud of.

Categories: Purchase a home, Stop paying your landlords rent, Uncategorized, User friendly home designs, wilmington nc relocation

MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL… Who Has The Fairest Kitchen Of Them All?

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2

It’s not a fairy tale, but the truth: Great-looking kitchens are magnets that lure potential buyers into a home. When your home is on the market, the kitchen must look its best—online and especially in person. Since so much time is spent in this room, it’s critical today to focus on the kitchen—and make it look terrific.

First: Prepare to make a mental switch—the home is no longer the center of your family’s life, but rather, a property for sale. Second: Make your property truly show its value. More than a magic wand, you may need to do some serious housework.

By their nature, kitchens are prime targets for clutter, wear and grime. (What other room do we fill with so many gadgets?)

Here are some great tips on how to stage your kitchen to sell your home:

Stash Counter Stuff

Clutter—even if the counters and floors are sparkling clean—makes a kitchen look smaller. Clear all small appliances from the kitchen countertops—even the coffee maker, toaster, blender, etc. While your home is on the market, find a place to stow your counter stuff…then treat yourself to java or breakfast out.

Utensils, spices, canisters, tissues, chargers, TV, even countertop microwave should be stored, leaving the counters open and clean. Make sure mail, homework, and newspapers don’t collect in the kitchen. Designate a special shelf, drawer or box as a drop zone for this always-growing pile.

Focus On The Fridge

Remove everything from your bulletin board-cum-fridge door. Pack up the magnets, calendars, to-do lists, photos, kids’ art, homework and postcards. Put them in a special box marked ‘Fridge Art,’ so you can find them again after you move. Don’t forget to store away all the stuff from the top of the fridge, as well. Then mop the top down with a wet cloth and mild soap.

While you’re at it, this would be a good time to clean out the refrigerator. You’re going to throw out all the excess condiments and mystery freezer bags when you move anyway. Why not sooner than later? Don’t lose the overall effect of a sparkling kitchen when a potential buyer opens the refrigerator door to find old food and stains.

Universal Shine

Once you’ve defeated the clutter, it’s time to clean up. Cabinets collect grease and grime, but we sometimes don’t see it. Give your cabinets and appliances a deep cleaning outside and in. Buyers love a sparkling oven and microwave ready to receive their own dishes. Replace any outdated or worn cabinet hardware and tighten loose hinges and knobs.

While your home is on the market, switch to pumps for liquid hand soap and dish liquid. There’s nothing more off-putting than a bar of soupy soap. When you’re working the tile and walls, remove pictures, frames and patch hanger holes. Toss the old sink mat. Store (or toss) that drying rack—for now put wet dishes in the dishwasher rack to dry. For every showing, display unused dish towels.

Check your lighting and fans in the kitchen and make sure that all bulbs and switches work because buyers will.

The Nose Knows

Unpleasant smells are a turn off to buyers. Take out the garbage and recycling—daily. Potpourri and air fresheners are a plus. To clear cooking aromas burn a candle or put out fresh coffee grounds in a dish. Run a lemon through the disposal to freshen the air before a showing. Same goes for the sink full of dishes; do them every day or load them in the dishwasher or, while your home is on the market, use disposable dinnerware.

Get A Professional Opinion

Kitchens can be a heavy traffic zone. Even if you declutter and clean up, some kitchens can still look ‘used.’ Visit a new home model to see how appealing an immaculate kitchen can be. Or flip through any home design magazine. Imagine you’re getting your kitchen ready for a photo shoot—which you are. Count on us to advise you if a makeover makes top-dollar marketing sense.

When you’re ready to list your home for sale, contact us. We’ll work with you to show you how to showcase your entire home in ways that will make buyers write that perfect purchase contract…which is the point.

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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 © 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.