LOCATION: The Most Important Questions Every Buyer Should Ask

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Buying in Wilmington NC?  www.Wilmingtonncrealestate.com

It’s a maxim in real estate that the three most crucial factors in selecting a house are “location, location, location.” It’s also true! No matter how wonderful the house is, the location is key to how well you’ll like living in it and how well it sells when you’re ready to move on. Before you buy, carefully check the following factors to be sure the house you like is really the one you want to live in.

Location:

Consider destinations
Where will family members go most often from this new location? How easy is it to reach those places from the house? How accessible are schools, churches, grocery stores, medical care, public transportation, shopping malls and emergency services?

Figure Eight Island

Figure Eight Island

Be sure rooms have a view
What is the view from the house and yard? Is the yard right for your anticipated activities? What uses are possible for nearby undeveloped land? Is a new road or commercial development planned?

 

Check around the clock
Is rush hour traffic a problem? What will be the impact of special events such as local high-school games or church picnics? Crash test the driveway. How easy is it to get into and out of the driveway?

Be service conscious
What utilities serve the property? Are the rates competitive? Do you want an all-electric house, or do you want gas or oil heat? Where will you get your mail? Are there any easements?

Dig below the surface
Is the soil stable? Is part of the property on a flood plain? If so, what is the history of floods on the property and what would flood insurance cost?

Visit the neighbors
How will you fit in with the neighbors? Do people seem to be friendly? Are houses well-maintained?

Read the fine print
If the community has special by-laws or architectural controls over changes to a house, what are the pros and cons?

Make a list of the positive and negative aspects of each property as you tour it. Assign priorities to important elements of the house’s location. If you have questions about a home’s location, we can help. Call or e-mail us now. Here are some affordable home neighborhoods. http://www.cbbaker.com/affordableHomes

kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com

Categories: first time home buyers, wilmington nc

SHOWCASING: Set The Stage For A Quick Sale

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Remember the last time you visited a Wilmington NC new home development? How did you feel touring the model? Usually, pleasant memories come to mind about how well the home looked. That’s because it was “showcased” properly.

You can do the same thing when you prepare your own home for sale.

Home showcasing is not about remodeling, fixing up or making your home look sterile. Instead, it focuses on amazingly simple steps to make your home show like a model without spending a lot of money. The secret is setting the stage, which helps potential buyers imagine themselves and their families at home in your “home for sale.”

Strip Down And Build Up

The first step is to clear the set. Take out extraneous furniture, decorations, pictures, etc. Take each room down to its most basic form, opening up the living space as much as possible. Then build it back up to the way you want it to look, as simply as possible, and without clutter.

Make the strip-down process simpler by stowing packed boxes in a staging area like the garage, or by renting a storage space to hold extra furnishings while your home is on the market. In essence, pack up early.

Props

{short description of image}When building the set, try to make each room tell a story. Help potential buyers see themselves in each room. A clever arrangement of props will make it easy for buyers to imagine writing a letter at the desk in the kitchen, clicking on the television and enjoying a bowl of popcorn, turning on the stove and preparing a holiday repast.

Themes for a room can help you narrow down how to display it. You can, of course, stage the room as you use it now, or choose a particular motif, i.e. Southwestern, country style, international. Or you could pick an activity to illustrate on your stage, i.e., relaxed office or library, gourmet cooking, resort or vacation living. What would you like to do in that room? Place the props needed for those activities throughout the room.

Lighting

Lots of lights open up a room and gives it a larger appearance. If you’ve been using 50 watt bulbs, move up to 100 watts. If a large living room has only one lamp, move in another. Open curtains. Add mirrors. When it’s being shown, the home should be bright. Brightness gives a showy feel. And your home is now center stage!

Do Your Homework

Ask what buyers are looking for in your community. What are they saying about the homes they don’t buy? And what is it about the homes that are selling that makes them so popular? By determining your ideal target buyer, you will better understand how to merchandise your home. Our experience in your specific neighborhood can help you answer all these questions and more.

Aroma Therapy

Almost as important as how a home looks is how it smells. Ask a close friend to walk through your home — objectively — and take a whiff here and there. Are there any offensive odors? Is it too perfumy? Too drab? Stale? Musty? Are there pet odors (which should be fixed — not covered up!)? What can you do to impress potential buyers with aroma therapy?

When it comes time to sell your home, you’ll want to work with a real estate professional who knows all aspects of the selling process — including showcasing. Call us today to talk about how we can help you display your home to sell for the best possible price!

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GOLF COMMUNITIES WILMINGTON NC REAL ESTATE

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GOLF COMMUNITIES WILMINGTON NC REAL ESTATE

golf wilmington nc

With our mild climate, you will truly enjoy year round golfing at the many golf courses throughout the Cape Fear Region . Whatever your handicap, there are more than twenty courses in and around Wilmington that are a pleasure to walk. Some of the courses were designed by some of golf’s greatest names including Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, Fred Couples and P.B. Dye, among others. Some of the Wilmington courses are listed below.

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  • Wilmington Municipal Golf Course 311 S Wallace Ave. 791-0558

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or requests about golf homes for sale or golf course real estate in Wilmington, NC, or any location in the Cape Fear Region. We have lived here all our lives and can help match a neighborhood with a home and schools. We know where the best shopping is and all the main attractions. If you are looking for a second home or investment property in Wilmington, NC, there are still real deals in the great coastal area, but you will need a real estate expert to help you. We are experienced real estate professional’s who has decades of home buying and selling experience in golf properties in Wilmington, NC area.

Kay Baker Associates has the knowledge and experience to assist you in the purchase of your dream home in a golf course community.

Contact us today  in Wilmington, NC, at 1-800-497-7325 Ex. 3607 or kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com

Please click any of these golf course neighborhoods for the latest detailed information on Wilmington golf homes for sale.

Categories: Golf in Wilmington NC, Landfall, Porters Neck Plantation, wilmington nc real estate, Wrightsville Beach NC

Moving : Smoothing the Way for Uprooted Children

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www.WilmingtonNC-realestate.com

If you’re moving with children, you may anticipate some (or a lot of) resistance. Take heart. You can make the uprooting and resettling more palatable by following a few of these suggestions:Child Packing Toys

  • Don’t jump to the conclusion that your children will, in fact, resist moving. They might surprise you and jump at the chance to make a new start. At any rate, don’t bring up the subject defensively. Deliver the news with a positive attitude.
  • If, however, the announcement causes real trauma, sympathize sincerely. Listen to the anticipated difficulties and search for solutions together.
  • Don’t disallow expression of those understandable feelings of hurt, anger and frustration. Instead, tactfully try to put a time lid on the emotional period. Let your kids know that you, too, feel sad and frustrated at times. Talk about how to deal with sadness and fear.
  • If possible, consider making your move during the school year. This will give your children a chance to make new friends immediately. Moving during the summer has advantages, too, but can proglong grieving many long, lonely months in a strange town – and increase the grieving about separation from old friends and former haunts.
  • Be as lenient as possible regarding long-distance calls to “back home.”
  • Enlist your children’s participation in the details of the move. Try to keep them from feeling they have no control over events.
  • Encourage your children to join groups, clubs and other organizations in the new location that are in line with their special interests.
  • Look for as many avenues of “adventure” as you can find to convince your children that doors are opening rather than closing. On house-hunting trips, bring back lots of photos, literature and brochures – especially about things they are concerned about. Better yet, take the children along on house-hunting trips, if possible.

Relocation can be difficult for the whole family. Let our professionals take care of the complicated details of buying or selling, while you take care of your family. E-mail us for the help you need to make family relocation a smooth move.

Categories: Moving, Relocating with Children

2015 OUTLOOK Haven’t Refinanced Yet? Better Hurry. Rates Might Rise In 2015

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stack_of_cashMortgage interest rates were still at historically low levels near the end of 2014. The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey said that the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loan ended up in the low 4% range last year. And the average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate loan finished at an even more attractive low 3% range by New Year’s.

But how long will rates remain low? If you haven’t refinanced your mortgage loan yet should you? How high could interest rates climb in 2015?

The unsatisfying answer? No one really knows. The truth is, no one can predict with any certainty where interest rates will head in 2015. But there is a consensus among economists: Rates have been incredibly low for a long time. They’ve been so low, in fact, that there is nowhere for them to go but up. And this means that homeowners who’ve been dawdling on refinancing their mortgage loans need to act quickly before rates start to trend upward.

Freddie Mac predicts that the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage may hit 5% by the end of 2015. The Mortgage Bankers Association is predicting the same thing.

And those are the conservative estimates. Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, has said NAR expects the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to come in as high as 5.5% by the end of 2015. And if that isn’t shocking enough, Bill Conerly, an economist who frequently writes for Forbes, says he wouldn’t be surprised if the 30-year-fixed average rate rose to 6% by the end of 2015.

Our advice? Don’t put off refinancing any longer.

Here’s why. If you owe $180,000 on your 30-year fixed-rate loan and your interest rate is 4%, your monthly mortgage payment—not counting insurance and taxes—will be about $859. If your rate on that same loan was 6%, your monthly payment—again not counting taxes and insurance—would rise to about $1,079. That’s a difference of about $220 a month, or $2,640 a year.

The good news? There is still time to refinance. You can make the process move smoothly by gathering your necessary paperwork today. To close a refinance, we’ll need copies of such documents as your last two paycheck stubs, last two years’ worth of income-tax return statements and last two months of bank-account statements.

There’s more good news. Housing prices have steadily been rising in most markets across the country. This means that a growing number of homeowners have more equity in their residences. The more equity you have in your home—20% or more is ideal—the easier it is for us to close your refinance. And even if you don’t have much, or any, equity, we might still be able to refinance your loan. Government programs can help.

So don’t delay. The days of low 4% interest rates on 30-year mortgage loans might be numbered. The longer you wait to refinance, the lower your odds of qualifying for one of these historically low interest rates.

For more helpful tips, please visit www.cbbaker.com

Categories: Refinancing, wilmington nc real estate

Color Your Walls With The Right Mood

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Many studies have proven that people generally reabanjoct to color in very predictable ways–especially the color of their surroundings. Of course, those reactions are not always the same for everyone; some people associate certain colors with experiences unique to themselves. On the whole, though, you can choose wall colors in your home to help evoke or enhance different reactions–in yourself and others.

Moods Colors
Coziness light shades of yellow, orange, and red
Cleanliness white
Comfort deep purples, pink
Coolness blue, white
Cheerfulness yellow
Energy darker shades of yellow, orange, red
Playfulness primary colors (bright red, blue, yellow)
Serenity green, blue, light gray, beige
Refreshment green
Hunger red, orange, brown tonews

For more tips please visit www.cbbaker.com

Categories: Color your world, wilmington, wilmington nc, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington nc real estate

LOWER RATE: Seven Smart Ways To Reduce Your Mortgage Rate

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Predicting interest rates in today’s economy is at least as hard as winning in Las Vegas. But even if rates are on the rise, there are a number of options you can exercise to get the lowest rate possible on your home loan. Consider the following strategies.

1. Consider An Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM)

{short description of image}Even though the rate on your loan may fluctuate, an ARM will allow you to enjoy a lower monthly payment at the outset. Traditional ARMs adjust every year, but ARMs now exist to suit just about everyone with 3- and 5-year adjustment periods, even a single adjustment at the 7-year mark.

2. Float Down

Financial products introduced recently will lower your rate if market rates fall, but won’t raise it if rates creep up again.

3. Quick Close

If you can settle on your loan quickly (say, 30 days or less), some lenders will agree to shave percentage points off your rate.

4. Lock In

If you fear rates are going to rise, lock in early before they do. Some lenders allow a float-down option, but with an up-front fee.

5. Pay Points

If you’re willing to pay some interest up front (known as points), you can get a fixed-rate mortgage with a lower interest rate.

6. Stay Awhile

If you agree to keep the same loan for five years or longer, some lenders will cut their interest rate. If you do move or refinance before the agreed-upon deadline, you may have to pay a penalty of about 1% of your loan.

7. Use Good Credit To Negotiate

Do you have A-1 credit? If so, you’re a hot commodity for lenders. They may even be willing to reduce closing costs to get your business. If interest rates are firm, ask for a reduction in fees for document preparation, processing, courier services, copying, underwriting, appraisal or application. Other reductions might include: fewer or no points, lender’s attorney’s fee, commission rate (for mortgage brokers) and the credit check fee. On an adjustable rate mortgage, ask for a lower starting rate.With so many options available, you may need a professional to help you choose the best program for your situation. Call us today to see what’s available in your area.

 

Categories: Lower your Mortgage, Mortgage, Mortgage 101

Special Tax Issue | Wilmington NC real estate

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The Taxes IssueJust like clockwork, tax time hits us right after some of the mwilmington nc real estateost enjoyable times of the year where we spend time with family and friends, perhaps enjoy a few days off work, and just relax. Then reality hits: Resolutions must be made! You need to eat better, exercise more, and (gasp!) get control of your finances. Now. In the new year.

Relax. If you own a house, your home is helping you out big time financially at tax time. You may not realize this, but it’s true. Homeownership is made affordable for many families because of how Uncle Sam’s tax deductions result in the federal government contributing from 10% to 39.6% (depending on your tax bracket) toward monthly home mortgage interest and property tax payments.

In this edition, we have outlined some basic home-related tax facts you should be aware of to make the most of available tax savings. Be sure to consult a tax professional for complete information applicable to your specific situation.

Work it Out.

Is your home office deductible?

If you keep records, schedule appointments and carry 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.

SMART 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.

 

Categories: home tax, tax advantage, Taxes 101, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington nc relocation

16 Things Every Home Buyer Should Know About Adjustable Rate Mortgages – But Shouldn’t Be Afraid To Ask

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www.WilmingtonNC-realestate.com

When Wilmington NC  home buyers go shopping for the best Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) they can find, these are the 16 essential things they should ask about:

Up/Down on Paper

  1. The initial interest rate or “qualifying” rate.
  2. The length of time the interest rate and monthly payment will remain the same as at the start. Also the length of time between rate and payment adjustments.
  3. The index to which the ARM is keyed (Treasury bills, etc.)
  4. The current index level.
  5. The margin percentage between the index and the mortgage interest rate.
  6. How the index and margin are combined to arrive at a loan interest rate (both initial and adjusted rates).
  7. The adjustment (if any) to be made in interest rate and monthly payment, if the index remains the same.
  8. Whether or not the loan has an interest rate cap (limit). If so,
    1. the limit to the increase in the interest rate at the time of each adjustment,
    2. whether or not there is a carryover to the next adjustment period of any increase in the index rate that goes over the specified limit, (that is, can increases be applied in subsequent years when the rate increase is below the cap), and
    3. whether or not a periodic rate cap applies to the first adjustment and/or rate decreases.
  9. Whether or not a life-of-the-loan interest rate cap is available. If so, the minimum and maximum rates.
  10. Whether or not a periodic payment cap is available. If so, ask about:
    1. the maximum monthly payment increase possible at any adjustment, and
    2. the payment cap, does it apply to the first payment adjustment?
  11. The initial annual percentage rate (APR) of the loan, which may fluctuate in later years.
  12. In case of negative amortization, how often the loan is recast to pay off the increase in principal. After recasting, the limit (if any) on the amount of increase in payment.
  13. Whether or not negative amortization may occur if an interest rate increase causes a monthly payment to accrue over the cap limitation. Whether or not the payment cap applies to any increase caused by periodic recasting of the loan because of negative amortization.
  14. Whether or not the loan can be assumed by a future buyer. If assumable,
    1. the qualifications involved, and
    2. whether or not the original interest and payment caps will hold. If not, the specifications for new caps.
  15. Whether or not the ARM can be converted to a fixed-rate loan at any time.
  16. Whether or not the loan has open-end credit.
  17. If you would like a further explanation of ARM features, give us a call or send an e-mail question. We’ll be glad to discuss this sometimes-complicated subject with you.

 

Categories: Adjustable Rate Mortgages, Wilmington NC homes, wilmington real estate stats, Wrightsville Beach NC

How much money should I plan to take to settlement?

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Pennieswww.WilmingtonNC-realestate.com

It’s difficult for anyone to say exactly how much money you will have to take to settlement, because some expenses are pro-rated right up to closing. Federally-required settlement-cost estimates help, but they are only best guesses. It’s wise to be prepared for some unexpected closing costs. Some of the expenses typically paid at settlement are:

  • Prepayments of related costs, such as a year of hazard insurance and several months advance on property taxes. Rather than closing fees, these are escrow items required by many lenders.
  • Points and interest rate, which are the most variable expenses, and could change on the morning of settlement unless the buyer has a locked-in loan rate.
  • Interest on the loan, property taxes, homeowner association dues, and other costs the homeowner normally prepays or pays on a set schedule. A change in settlement date can dramatically alter the amount due on these items.
  • The cost of title insurance is another expense paid at closing. Often, purchasers are given the option to buy a piggyback policy that protects them, just as the mandatory policy protects the lender’s claim in case of a dispute over title. The cost to the buyer is not usually listed on pre-settlement estimates, but is generally paid at closing.

Some of the items listed on settlement sheets may have already been paid, such as credit report fees, loan origination fees, survey of the property, etc.

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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 © 2015 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.