KEY TO SUCCESS | How To Choose Your Rental Property Tenants Wisely

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whitneyHow do you find responsible tenants who pay their rent on time, take care of your property, get on well with the neighbors and stay as long as you want them to?

Recruiting: Ask around to find potential tenants looking for a rental or advertise your property online to find them. Two proven ways to find good tenants is through tenant referrals or a reputable management service, which can advertise your property, efficiently screen applicants and refer people to you for a fee.

PERFECT RENTALSSuccess as a landlord starts with having the right rental property—one that appeals to renters, minimizes your costs, maximizes your income and is likely to appreciate in value while you own it. Wise investments start with the following tips:

1. Location. Be sure the property is in a location where rental demand is high (e.g., near public transportation, employment centers, etc.). Check vacancy rates and how long properties stay on the rental market.2. Property. Buy the type of property that is most desired by renters. In some areas, condos, townhouses or multi-family units may be easier to rent than single-family homes. In other areas, the reverse may be true.

3. Condition. Choose a property in good shape and easy to maintain. Excessive repair and maintenance expenses can seriously impact the profitability of your investment.

4. Demand. Find out what is predicted for the area’s rental market in years to come. Learn what plans are underway to change the neighborhood (e.g., road construction, industrial development, etc.) that might affect the value of or demand for your investment.

Setting Standards: Decide what your rental criteria are—then make sure you advertise the property accurately. Determine the following:

  • Rental price and rental period.
  • Minimum income requirements.
  • Security deposits for last month’s rent, damages, pets, etc.
  • Who pays which utilities.
  • Restrictions on pets, smoking and/or maximum number of occupants or cars.
  • Responsibilities for maintenance, repairs, yard upkeep and pest control.
  • Satisfactory personal and former landlord recommendations.

Applications And Screening: Make sure your application form asks for all the information you need. Ask applicants to show their legal identification and verify the information they’ve provided to you. Remember, although you do have the right to choose who lives in your property, the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on the applicant’s race or color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and handicap or disability. In ads: Describe the property, not the people.

TIP: Ask applicants for their credit reports with their application or permission to order a report directly from a credit reporting agency.
Categories: Choosing a rental client, Things to look for in a renter, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington real estate stats

PLAY SMART: Savvy Tips On Buying A Vacation Home :: Wrightsville Beach

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We’ve all thought about it while lying on the beach or inhaling the fresh mountain air: “Why don’t we buy a vacation home?” Owning a vacation home can be a good decision if you buy smart.

Great Reasons To Buy A Vacation Home

They provide another investment that includes a mortgage-interest tax deduction.

Sign up for your own portal for looking at Wilmington NC real estate at www.cbbaker.com

Whether you rent it out or not, you can deduct the mortgage interest as long as you use the home more than 14 days or more than 10% of the number of days the home is rented annually at a fair rental, whichever is longer.

Qualified second homes include houses, condominiums, cooperatives, mobile homes, house trailers, boats or similar properties that have sleeping, cooking and toilet facilities.

Here’s an interesting twist on the mortgage interest deduction: If you take out a home equity loan on your first home and use the funds to acquire your second home, the interest on the home equity loan is also deductible. That’s three mortgage interest deductions off your tax return!

Consult IRS Publication 936 for a complete discussion of how mortgage interest for a second home is deductible.

You can purchase your future retirement home now, at today’s prices.

Though your second home may be a vacation home now, if you buy right you can convert it into your principal residence later.

They can produce their own income.

Renting out a second home occasionally or often can help you pay for the property with OPM (other people’s money). Check with your tax advisor about how much of the upkeep and management expenses are deductible against your income.

Buying Tips From The Experts

Buy something within a reasonable distance.

Be sure you can get to your vacation home in a short amount of time. Before you make a final decision, travel the distance on a typical Friday afternoon to see whether the drive will be too much to deal with after a long work week.

Rent in the area several times before you buy.

If you really like a particular area, check it out during different seasons. This way you get to know the climate, people, pests, traffic patterns and other regional particulars first-hand.

Consult other owners.

Check with owners of nearby properties about public and private facilities, special maintenance required due to location or weather, the social climate, local development plans and prevalence of crime. Learning about the lifestyle of the area may help you narrow down your choices.

Think home first, investment second.

Although you may be able to generate rental income from your vacation home, it may not cover your ownership costs. (If you want to try real estate investments, give us a call to look at properties in the local area.)

Consider different styles of properties in a vacation area.

To minimize upkeep and have a more secure environment, a condo may be preferable to a single-family home. If you plan on converting it to a retirement home, consider what type of home you’ll want as a full-time residence.

 

Categories: Buying a Vacation Home, Figure Eight Island, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington nc real estate, Wrightsville Beach NC

BOUNCING BACK | Denied A Mortgage Loan? You Can Recover!

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It’s a sinking feeling: You applied for a mortgage loan only to have your lender reject your application. Now you feel like you’ll never be able to buy your dream home.

But don’t give up hope. Your lender rejected your application because it didn’t think you could afford a monthly mortgage payment of that amount today. That doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to afford a smaller loan now or a larger one in the near future.

Here are some tips for dramatically increasing your odds to earn approval next time:

Listen to what your lender says: Don’t shut out your lender just because it denied your application. Find out from your lender exactly why you were denied. Your lender is required to send you a letter listing a reason, but those reasons can be general. Ask your mortgage loan officer for more specific information. Once you know the problem—low credit score, low income—take steps to fix it.

Work on that credit score: Often, lenders deny a loan application because borrowers’ credit scores are too low. Fortunately, you can improve your credit score. You have to pay your bills on time each month and pay off as much credit-card debt as possible. It might take time—several months, or more—but you can steadily boost that three-digit score.

Time to go it alone? Maybe your credit score is high but your spouse’s or partner’s is low. It might make sense to apply for a mortgage loan on your own. Lenders will rely on the lowest credit score among applicants when deciding who does and doesn’t qualify for a home loan. Make sure, though, that your income alone is high enough to qualify for the loan you want. Remember, too, that the name of your spouse or partner can be on the home’s title, even if both of your names aren’t on the mortgage.

Pay off those debts: Lenders want your monthly debts— including your estimated monthly mortgage payments—to be no more than 43% of your gross monthly income. If your debt-to-income ratio was higher than this mark, pay off as much of your debt as possible before applying again for a mortgage loan. Lower debt levels could mean the difference between denied or accepted.

If you’d like to boost your odds of qualifying for a home loan, call us today. We’ll help you determine what steps you need to take to earn that mortgage.

Categories: Denied a mortgage?, Uncategorized

WHY WAIT? Contingencies Designed To Move A Sale Forward

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When you buy or sell a Wilmington NC home, there may be some delays before you can close and load up the moving van to say goodbye to your current neighborhood. These delays happen for a variety of reasons.

Sometimes a buyer is not able to make a decision to purchase. Contingencies are typically used to smooth acceptance of a contract without delaying the buying decision. Most contracts, for example, are contingent upon financing. This is for the protection of the seller as well as the buyer, because a seller doesn’t want to be tied to a buyer who can’t deliver.

Here are some common types of contingencies found in sales contracts:

Home inspection: Placed by the buyer, this type of contingency usually requires that a “satisfactory” home inspection must be conducted, before the buyer will go through with the purchase of a home. Somewhat related is buyer approval of required repairs, such as painting or roofing.

Financing: With today’s pre-approval for mortgages and all-cash buyers, this contingency is not as ubiquitous as it was in the past. However, some buyers will write a contract first, then determine if they can get the loan.

Home of choice: This is a seller’s contingency placed on a buyer’s contract. The seller may want to find another home and write a contract on it before agreeing to sell the home they live in. The buyer who agrees to this contingency will have to delay closing until the seller has purchased a new home.

Home sale: For financial or other reasons, some buyers may have to include this contingency, which gives them the opportunity to sell an existing home first, before completing a sales contract.

Contingencies can raise questions and need to be fulfilled before a contract can be settled. As your local real estate experts, we can give you more information on real estate transactions and what you might encounter in today’s market. Contact us to find out more.

Categories: home contingency, Move Sale of Home Forward, Uncategorized, wilmington nc, wilmington nc foreclosures, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington nc relocation

Online Tools | Starting The Mortgage Process? The Internet Is Your Friend

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cbbaker_002The Internet is a great tool for home buyers. It can help you find the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood. With virtual tools, buyers can even see the exteriors and interiors of homes that interest them, all without leaving their screens.

But did you know that the Internet is an essential tool for buyers who are ready to apply for a mortgage loan, too?

It’s true. The Internet makes applying for a home loan easier than ever.

First, there are plenty of mortgage affordability calculators and mortgage payment calculators available online. With these tools you can enter your basic financial information to determine how much of a mortgage payment you can afford to make each month. You can also enter the information you know about a potential mortgage loan—everything from the term/length of your expected loan to the amount you plan to borrow—to calculate the estimated size of your monthly payment.

You can also use several websites to get a feel for where the interest rates for various loan types—15-year fixed, 30-year fixed, adjustable-rate—stand at any given time.

And if you’re still looking for a home—and you know how much mortgage you can afford and, therefore, how much you can spend on a new residence—you can use national real estate sites such as our MLS public link, Realtor.com, Trulia and Zillow to get a ‘starting point’ estimated value of any home in the neighborhoods that interest you. Don’t forget, we can refer you to local real estate professionals to find the home of your dreams in person.

Remember, though, that the Internet is a useful tool. It’s not a substitute for working with a skilled mortgage loan officer who can guide you through the process of applying for a loan. When you’re ready to get real-world figures, contact us today. We’d be happy to help you find the perfect mortgage loan. Call us tel:1-910-202-3607

or email – kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com

 

 

Categories: wilmington beach homes, Wilmington NC homes, Wrightsville Beach NC

What is the single most important rule in house hunting?

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1604 CrowsLand-0503Want to know what the number one rule is when Wilmington NC home shopping? Well, many details must be considered in choosing your next home – style, size, price, location. It’s probably impossible to say which factor is most important. But 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 short-term 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 houses sell well in any market.
  • Check out location
      Consider availability of all aspects of transportation; even those you may not use.
  • Schools are important
      Check for quality public schools, whether or not you have school-age children.
  • Green is good
      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.

 

  • Privacy is a plus
      Consider how much privacy the house and lot provide.
  • Drive the commute before you buy

Check morning and afternoon drive time to work, schools, shopping, churches.  Call us 910-202-3607 or kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com

Categories: house hunting, Uncategorized, Waterfront Wilmington NC, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington nc real estate

FAMILY MOVE: Tips For House Hunting With The Kids

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Parents Carrying Child

Child experts agree it’s a good idea to involve the children when a family makes relocation plans. You may have mixed feelings about taking the kids house-hunting, however. (It’s hard enough for just two people to decide on a new home!) Here are a few pointers that may help:

Narrow The Field First

The kids don’t need to visit every potential Wilmington NC house on the list. If possible, wait until you’ve selected two or three serious prospects before bringing the children along. In any case, limit your kid-accompanied tours to three houses or less per day.

Provide Behavioral Guidelines

{short description of image}Remind the kids to treat the owners and their property with respect. Make sure the kids stay in the same room with you at all times and that they “keep their hands to themselves.”If the owners are present, your family members should also keep their thoughts about the house to themselves until after you leave the property. Making positive comments in the presence of the owners could work against you when negotiating the price, while negative comments could spark a hostile reaction, causing the owner to sell to another buyer.

Make The Kids Your Secretaries

If they’re old enough, your children can each keep a log of the homes you look at, including detailed information about the house — location, size, types and numbers of rooms, etc. Have them describe they’re feelings about the house, too, particularly what they think it would be like to live there.

Locate The Nearest Playground

A post-tour trip to the park (or local mall, if you have teenagers) can be a great motivator for good behavior and a nice way to get to know the area. Walking the streets in the neighborhood will also give you and the kids a better feeling for the local lifestyle and whether there are other children the same age as yours in the area.

Offer Entertainment

Bring along books or games to help your kids through the “I’m bored” stage. If you’ll be driving for extended periods, bring some audio books or favorite music.

Time Your Tours For Success

Plan to look at houses early in the day or just after (certainly not during) nap time. Be prepared with snack foods and drinks to keep energy levels up.

Let Them Know Their Input Counts.

Although the final decision is yours, your children will feel better about the move if they know you value what they think about their potential new home and neighborhood.

 

Categories: Buying House with Kids, wilmington nc, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington nc relocation

Holding Title – Options For Ownership in Real Estate

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72adf455If you are buying a home with another individual (or more than one), it’s important to understand the different ways to hold title to the property. Before closing/settlement, be sure to review how to hold title so that the title company or attorney will be able to title the ownership interests in the manner you desire.

Sole Ownership

One person holds title singly to the home regardless of marital or business partnership status. If married, the spouse of the property owner may have to sign a quitclaim deed that denies the non-owning spouse any rights to the home.

Joint Tenants (JT)

Most married buyers hold title to their homes as joint tenants. Both owners own equal shares. The ownership of the home goes to the surviving co-owner and does not go to the heirs of the deceased.

Tenants-In-Common (TIC)

Tenants-in-common provides owners with more flexibility. Either owner can sell a share of the property without permission of the other owner. If the business partnership or romantic relationship ends, selling the property is much easier.

Many unmarried buyers take title as tenants-in-common. Tenants in common can also hold different amounts of interest in the property (60%–40%, 80%–20%, etc.). This arrangement is especially useful for real estate investors.

Titling as TIC, deceased owners can leave their share of the home to their children or other heirs instead of their spouse.

Tenants-By-The-Entirety (TBTE)

This form of title, available to spouses in some states, assumes the husband and wife are one person for legal purposes. It is similar to Joint Tenants with right of survivorship in that when one spouse dies, the deceased’s share automatically goes to the surviving spouse, even if the Will says otherwise. Simply put, with Tenants-By-The-Entirety neither spouse can transfer his/her half to someone else without the other spouse’s approval — something Joint Tenants with right of survivorship and Tenants-In-Common can both do.

Trust

Once a home is held in a trust, all property is handled the same as if it wasn’t in a trust until one of the property owners dies. The trust outlines how property is to be handled after death and in most cases—unlike wills—trust terms are never made public. Trusts are often very hard to challenge in court, also unlike wills.

Community Property

Some states allow owners to hold title as community property. Wills must indicate upon an owner’s death if the home passes to the spouse or to someone else.

Before you buy your home, consult with financial and tax professionals, as well as a local real estate attorney, to learn the best way to hold title to your home.

Categories: Holding Title, Home Ownership Options', Uncategorized

MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL…Who has the Fairest Kitchen of All

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1604 CrowsLand-0503It’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.

Categories: Awesome kitchen

Bank Scams | Keep Your Money Safe With These Easy Tips

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Keep a close eye on all transactions in your checking, savings, mortgage, credit card and brokerage accounts on a regular basis, not just when statements come out. More tips:

  • Never open email attachments or click on links in email that appear to come from your bank or other financial entities.
  • Only provide sensitive data such as social security numbers, account numbers and personal info on phone calls that you have initiated.
  • Only visit your bank’s website by typing the web address directly into your browser window.
  • Before recycling, shred all paperwork that has sensitive info on it.
  • Remind all family members who have access to your accounts to follow the above rules at all times.
  • Keep an extra close watch on elderly family members who may not be as savvy about protecting their sensitive banking info.

If in doubt, contact your financial institution with anything—account activity, mail, calls, email—that look suspicious to you.

Categories: Bank scams, protect your info, Uncategorized


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.