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

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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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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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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.

Categories: Uncategorized

Worlds Largest Christmas Tree | Wilmington NC real estate

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Wilmington NC Worlds Largest Christmas Tree | Star News Photo

Our world famous tree will not be lit again this year, but here is  a little history to bring back memories.  In 1928 “Hi Buddy” Wade, the town commissioner held a contest to find the best Christmas tree to light in Wilmington. Two local school children choose the tree at the Hilton Park. A Large Oak.  Each was rewarded with a $5 gold piece.  450 lights were used to decorate the tree.  The Worlds Largest Christmas tree lighting ceremony which has  been held every year since 1928 (except the one year during World War II) until 2010.  The age and health of the tree has been a concern in prior years.  The City of  Wilmington is doing renovations at the Sweeney plant next to the tree, and these are safety concerns as well.  To upgrade and accommodate changes to make the area around the tree safe is not in the City budget.

So, we will have to view the tree from afar, and visit the new tree and Santa’s house on the downtown Wilmington NC riverfront.  Until then, we can still say Wilmington NC had the “Worlds Largest Christmas tree” .

If you are in town and want to search Wilmington NC real estate – visit

Categories: Uncategorized, wilmington nc, wilmington nc convention center, Wilmington NC Market Statistics, wilmington nc real estate, worlds largest christmas tree

Soothing Medicine for your CONSCIENCE | Volunteer Wilmington NC Conscience Fairs 2015 | Wilmington NC real estate

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StarnewsMedia is hosting the 2015 Conscience Fair this year at the Cape Fear Community College Downtown Union Station.  If you have not selected a New Years resolution, you may  find one here at the fair.  Over 100 Non- Profits will be there with a whole list of needs.  A great time to scratch that “Volunteer” itch you have been having.  Wilmington NC is an awesome city and it is mainly because of it’s great people and giving attitude.  Join in, you will not be sorry.

The 2015 StarNews Media Conscience Fair is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb.7,  2015 in the Union Station at  Cape Fear Community College’s Downtown Campus.

More to follow on how to sign your non-profit up for the fair.

The following nonprofits were at the fair last year.

Cameron Art Museum; Beth Ann Scisco; 910-395-5999;
Wilmington Health Access for Teens; Mary Martin; (910) 202-4605;
NC Cooperative Extension; Leslie Wilson, 4-H Agent; 910-798-7660;
wilmington lions club; Dick Gerrish, Club Secretary; 910-791-3015;
Airlie Gardens; Flo Berry; 910-798-7566;
WINGS MINISTRY BACK PACK’s Full Of Blessings; Missy Settlemyre; 910-512-7643;
Wilmington SCORE; Sara Raleigh; 910-409-9865;
Wilmington CROP Hunger Walk; Marjorie Jennings; 910-392-0521;
Leading Into New Communities, Inc. (LINC); Lindsay Bouchard; 910-762-4635;
New Hanover County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT); Kristen Skinner; 910-798-6905;
GFWC-NC District 7 (General Federation of Women’s Clubs); Debbie Sheehan; 910 395-2176;
Kids Making It; Bonnie Gaynor; 910-763-6001 x102;
Community Boys and Girls Club; Nadya Saleh; 910-762-1252;
Sharing Our Bounty; Kerry Fitzgerald; 910-612-0390;
Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA); Melissa Sinclair; 910-763-3114;
Animal Warriors, Inc.; Liz Karlsmark; 910-292-9294;
Brunswick Family Assistance Agency; Lora E. Moree; 910-754-4766 x 103;
The Pilot Club of Wilmington; Ramona Andrews; (910) 612-0834;
Cape Fear Sierra Club; Zak Keieth; 321-356-6603;
Lower Cape Fear Hospice & LifeCareCenter; Chris Scott; 910-796-7927;
Wilmington Faith and Values; Amanda Greene, editor; 910-520-3958;
Assistance League of Greater Wilmington; Dolores Miller; 910-686-2833;
WHQR Friends of Public Radio; Michelle Crouch; 910-646-1640;
Interfaith Refugee Ministry; Christie Binzen; 910-264-7244;
Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center; Karen Laughlin; 9105206918;
Brunswick County Volunteer Center; Jayne Mathews; 910-253-2574;
YWCA Lower Cape Fear; Katie Tate; 910.799.6820;
CoastalCare; Kate Murphy; 910-550-2552;
Monty’s Home; Barb Raab; 910-259-7911;
Good Shepherd Center; Kristin Pollock; 910.763.4424 ext. 101;
First Book – New Hanover County; Carol Barre; 910-200-1441;
Cape Fear Literacy Council; Yasmin Tomkinson; 251-0911;
American Red Cross- Cape Fear Chapter; Wendy Flynn, Regional Director of Volunteers; 910-762-2683 ext 326;
Cape Fear Volunteer Center / Big Buddy; Annie M. Anthony; 910-392-8180;
Adult Scholars/OLLI UNCW; Geneva Reid; 910-251-5031;
LIFEGUIDE (requesting a booth next to Guardian ad Litem); Denny Smith; 793-3472;
Canines for Service; Laura Kranchalk; 910-362-8181;
Lump to Laughter; Connie Hill; 910-617-4455;
The First Tee of The Cape Fear Region; E.B. BARTLETT CHUCK KUEBLER; EB-910-367-1450 CHUCK-910-398-4231;
Wilmington Public Access Television, a project of Southeastern Alliance for Community Change; Steve Lee; 910-791-4877;
WARM, Inc.; JC Skane; 910.399.7563;
Guardian ad Litem Program – 5th District; Brandie Temple; 910-251-2733;
Project Linus; Sharon Black; 910-681-0452;
Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity; Melanie Kriksciun, Volunteer Coordinator; 910-762-4744,x105;
“Bread for Life…..” Ministry; R. Claudette Fiskin, M.S.W.; 910-343-5276;
Bellamy Mansion Museum of History and Design Arts; Jennifer Scott; 910.251.3700 x 103;
Poplar Grove Plantation; BJ Ryan; 686-9518 x 29 – work 470-2712 – cell;
Wilmington Multiple Sclerosis Support Group; Burt Masters, Co-Leader, Wilmington MS Spt Group, Greater Carolinas Chapter, National MS Society; (910) 38301368;
NC Coastal Federation-Stop Titan Action Network; Ted Wilgis; 910-509-2838; for all your Wilmington NC real estate needs.

Categories: wilmington nc weekly events

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

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

Well, your dreams might be misplaced.

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

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

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

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

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


Categories: Uncategorized

Lender Requirements When Purchasing a Home.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check out your value here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kay Baker | 1001 Military Cutoff Rd. | Ste 101 Wilmington, NC 28405 | | 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.