CONTRACT: Who’s Offering What, When And How For Your Home?

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The exciting moment when an offer to purchase your home comes in can also feel a little overwhelming. One common first impulse is to ask “How much are they offering?” While price is an important factor, it’s also important to sit back and look at the big picture when negotiating a sale. Consider the following:

Buyer’s Financial Situation

Is the buyer qualified?
What is the buyer’s annual income and employment history?
How much down payment and closing-cost cash is available and what is its source?
What type of financial debt is there? Car loans? Credit cards?

Financing Method

Are the loan type and interest rate specifications realistic for current economic conditions?
Is the length of time requested to obtain a loan realistic? Forty-five days is often considered a typical time frame. It allows enough time to process papers, but also allows you to put the home back on the market promptly if things fall through.

Your Costs

How much does the buyer want you to contribute toward closing costs?
What will your net proceeds be? Add up any points, taxes or fix-up expenses requested and deduct them from the contract price to determine if your final profit is what you need to make your move.

Your Calendar

Does the buyer’s proposed settlement date give you enough time to select your next home and obtain financing?
If you can’t move to your next home promptly at settlement, can you rent back from the buyer to stay in your home a while longer?


Must the buyer sell a home before buying yours? You may not have the time to wait while they sell.
What add-ons does the buyer want? Curtains, lawn equipment, swing sets? All of this can affect your final net proceeds, or be used as bargaining chips, or both.We’re here to help. We’ve been through the contract negotiation process countless times. We can help you cut to the chase and come up with a mutually acceptable contract.


Categories: #Spring Time To Sell, Contract on your home?, inventory your home, Mortage options, Uncategorized, wilmington beach homes, wilmington nc real estate, Wrightsville Beach NC

TWO-MINUTE DRILL: Timely Tips For Short-Notice Home Showings

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It’s a seller’s worst nightmare…the sink is full of dishes, the baby is crying — and an agent calls: “We’ll be there in two minutes. I have the perfect buyer for your house.” Before that overwhelming feeling of panic sets in, don’t despair! Here’s a quick roundup of easy pick-up tips to get your house in show-time shape in minutes.

Have A Game Plan

    • Assign responsibility for each room to a family member.


      When the “last-minute dash” starts, each person knows which room to straighten.

    • Plan your get-away.
    Know where you’ll go when you vacate the house for show time. Take the kids to the library, park, playground or to visit friends. Do your grocery shopping, pick up the dry cleaning or run other errands.

Whole-House Strategies

    • Perk up your carpets.
      Eliminate stray crumbs and dirt with a quick pick-up by a hand-held vacuum.

    • Turn on the lights.
      Light up dark corners and hallways. Even on sunny days, rooms show better when brightly lighted.

    • Open curtains and blinds.
    Let in as much natural light and good views as possible.

Kitchen Quickies

    • Use paper plates.
      A lot of people house hunt on their way home from work — at dinner time. Eat on, then toss, paper plates to avoid unsightly dirty dishes and speed clean-up time.

    • Put dinner in cold storage.
      If you’re caught with dinner on the table, shove the plates into the refrigerator. Re-heat in the microwave when prospects have gone.

    • Simmer some spices.
      Prepare a pot of cloves, cinnamon sticks and water. With only minutes to spare, bring your spices to a rapid boil, turn back immediately to simmer and your home will have a warm, inviting smell.

    • Try microwaving instead of baking.
      Keep your oven free of spatters by switching to microwave dinners.

    • Drain dishes in the dishwasher.
      Air-dry hand-washed dishes in the upper rack of the dishwasher to keep the sink and counter clutter-free.

    • Add sparkle and shine with spray cleaners.
    Wipe out cooking spills with a quick squirt of a grease-cutting spray cleaner and rub with a paper towel.

Laundry Disguises

    • Use the washer as a hideout.
      Put your dirty clothes in the washer until you have time to launder. Same goes for clean clothes that you don’t have time to fold — let them sit in the dryer instead of in a messy pile.

    • Try a laundry-basket disguise.
    If you have more laundry than you know what to do with, drop it in a basket, fold two large bath towels and place on top, and presto — laundry goes from messy to neat.

“Junk” Catchers?

    • Use under-bed storage boxes.
      For last-minute pick-ups, under-bed boxes are great catch-alls for toys, books, dirty socks, etc.

    • Have a bail-out box.
    Eliminate a frantic search for keys, wallet, dog’s leash and shoes when you are leaving to let the agent show the house. Keep a small box with pertinent items stashed in a handy place such as the coat-closet floor.

Make A Final Check?

Run through the home room by room, from top to bottom, to make sure everything is in tip-top shape.These are just a few of the ways to make your home sparkle and shine in a matter of minutes. If you are considering selling and would like more ideas on how to make your home show in its best possible light, please give us a call!


Categories: Uncategorized

The Big Decision | Four Key Benefits That Come With Every Mortgage Loan

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It’s a big decision: Taking on a monthly mortgage payment is no small matter. That payment will probably become a homebuyer’s biggest expense. And what if you can’t pay on time? Get sick? Lose a job? Divorce? You could see your credit score plummet.But there’s another side to taking on a first mortgage loan. Not only does such a loan allow a renter to become a homeowner—that mortgage also brings with it several financial benefits, everything from big savings at tax time to a boost in your credit score.If you’re debating whether it’s time for a mortgage loan—or know someone who is—peace of mind comes from understanding the benefits of that loan.

Mortgage interest deduction: Tax time is no fun. But if you are paying off a mortgage loan, your tax bill might become smaller. That’s because the interest you pay on your mortgage loan is deductible on your income taxes. You can deduct the interest on up to $1 million worth of home-mortgage debt, whether that debt has helped you buy a first home or a second one. You can only claim this deduction if you itemize your taxes, and you’ll have to determine if it makes more sense to take the standard deduction. But for many new homeowners, the mortgage-interest deduction is a welcome financial relief at tax time.

The power of equity: When you pay down your mortgage loan, you build up equity. For instance, if your home is worth $250,000 and you owe just $150,000 on your loan, you have $100,000 worth of equity in your home. You can tap into that equity through a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC) to fund anything from home repairs to college tuition to a cruise around the world. Interest on equity loans of up to $100,000 is also tax deductible. Just make sure you pay your home equity loan or line of credit back on time; if you don’t you could lose your home.

A credit boost: You might never pay your insurance bills late. You might never miss a utility bill or a cable payment. But these regular payments most likely won’t boost your credit score. That’s because they aren’t reported to the three national credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. And only TransUnion and Experian have begun collecting rental payment information. But one payment that is always reported to the credit bureaus? Your monthly mortgage payment. If you continually pay this bill on time, you can watch your credit score rise at a steady clip. And today, having a high credit score is a necessity when you want to take out additional credit at low interest rates.

Control: If you rent, your landlord can raise your monthly payment whenever your lease comes to an end. If you take out a fixed-rate mortgage loan, though, your monthly payment will fluctuate only slightly over its lifespan. That’s because your principal and interest payments are set when you take out a fixed-rate loan. All that can change is the amount you pay for homeowners insurance and property taxes, which is why your mortgage payment might rise or fall slightly during its life. This gives you more control over an ongoing, large monthly expense, and can make budgeting an easier task.


Categories: Mortgage 101, Uncategorized, wilmington beach homes, Wilmington NC homes

Decorating | Choose Wallpaper With The Future In Mind

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wallpaperThere’s nothing quite like wallpaper for warming up a room and giving it character. It isn’t without its drawbacks, though, as a design element. For one thing, the cost of buying and installing wallpaper is considerably higher than for painting-making it a longer-term design choice. When color and design styles change, or your personal tastes do, removing wallpaper can be quite a project, yet a necessary one before re-wallpapering or painting can be accomplished.

If you really want the distinctive look of wallpaper, consider the following tips to maximize your long-term satisfaction:

Choose washable wallpapers for kitchens, bathrooms and kids’ room, where marks and stains are likely to occur.

The size of the pattern should match the size of the room: small patterns for small rooms, large patterns for large rooms.

Think about using wallpaper on just one wall of the room to add personality with less expense (and less removal hassles later).

Select wallpaper patterns with relatively few or neutral colors (e.g., white on beige) to maximize the variety of furnishing colors that can coordinate with your choice. (This is particularly important if you expect to sell your home within a few years.)

Before buying or ordering any paper, purchase a large swatch and tape it to your walls at home to see how it will coordinate with your furnishings. (Often, wallpaper companies will charge a restocking fee for returned rolls.)

Order enough paper so you’ll have at least one additional roll of the same print run in case you need to make repairs later on.

Categories: decoating, Decorating with wallpaper, Uncategorized, wallpaper, Wilmington NC homes, Wrightsville Beach NC

INCENTIVES: 12 Contract Options That Entice Buyers

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If you’re selling in today’s market, you want to make your house outshine the competition. Buyers are most likely to choose your house if it offers something special. Here are 12 ways to make sure you land a “Sale, Sweet Sale.”

A Spoonful Of Sugar

1. Offer a warranty.

Purchase a buyer’s home warranty to protect against future problems.

2. Help with closing costs.

Cash-poor buyers concerned more with out-of-pocket costs than monthly payments will especially appreciate this one.

3. Consider financing help.

Provide seller financing or buy down the buyer’s mortgage rate for the first year.

4. Help with utilities.

Pay some or all estimated utilities for 6 or 12 months.

5. Help with fees.

Pay a year’s condominium or homeowners association fees.

6. Pre-pay memberships.

Buy a one-year pool or community golf club membership, cable TV subscription, or other recreational activity.

7. Consider a moving allowance.

Pay the buyer’s documented moving expenses, or provide an allowance toward moving costs.

8. Treat them to window treatments.

Offer redecorating cash for new carpet or drapes.

9. Mow down any objections.

Buy a lawn-maintenance service for a year, or offer a riding mower if the lot is large.

10. Give them a dock on the bay.

If you live in a waterfront community, offer to rent a boat slip for a year.

11. Reimburse buyer the cost of points.

{short description of image}This is often a double benefit for buyers, who save both on the points themselves and on their federal taxes. The IRS now allows buyers to deduct the cost of seller-paid points as a Schedule A mortgage expense.

12. Price your home below comparable properties.

Prove your home’s good value by having an appraisal done and setting the price below the appraised amount.

Call on us for more ideas of ways to make your home the sweetest one on the market. We’ll create a customized marketing program to help get your home sold in any market!

Categories: 2-10 home warranty

Free Access | Know Your FICO Credit Score

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Know Your FICO Score

Did you know you can now access your actual FICO credit score—for free—through your mortgage lender or credit card issuer? Thanks in part to a major decision by FICO—the company that created the credit scoring system used to determine FICO credit scores—there is now no need to pay for getting your credit score.

Previously, the only way to see your FICO score was if you were denied a loan or were approved for a loan with higher interest rates and/or less favorable lending terms than others.

Now, FICO Score Open Access allows you to request your credit score for free if you have a credit card with Barclaycard U.S. or First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO/First Bankcard)—two of the 10 largest credit card issuers in the U.S. Another option for accessing your score is through a mortgage lender who uses the FICO scoring system. Discover Card plans to print customer’s FICO scores on their monthly statements. Other lenders and banks are expected to make credit scores available as well; look for announcements.

The free scores are updated every month and are accompanied by an explanation of the top-two factors driving your actual credit score. For example, if the top-two factors affecting your score are total amount of debt and late payments, you can make a concerted effort to pay down debt and pay bills on time to improve your credit score.

Categories: Credit Score, Uncategorized

Home Inspections | Should you get one when you purchase a home?

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Take A Peek With A Pro To Get To Know Your New Home

It’s always wise to rely on a home inspection to know the home you’re buying won’t surprise you with unexpected and/or expensive repairs after settlement/closing.

We can help you find local, trusted home inspectors to be sure you get inspections done quickly after the purchase offer is accepted.

If at all possible, arrange your schedule to accompany inspectors during the home inspection. It will give you an opportunity to ask questions and understand the home before home inspection reports are issued.

In most cases, home inspectors provide a report shortly after the inspection is completed. If you have a special timeline to accommodate, inform inspectors ahead of time. If an inspection or report is delayed, we can work with the seller to ensure that your home-purchase offer isn’t canceled or delayed further.

After reports are delivered, whether or not you accompanied the inspectors, prepare a list of questions for the inspectors and arrange a phone conference with them. After your questions are answered, your real estate professional can work with you to address any new questions with the home seller.

The key information to know is what time frame you have to negotiate with the seller for price adjustments and/or repairs after the inspections are complete. Remember, in some cases, inspection reports will not yield any surprises, and the home purchase will proceed as planned to closing/settlement. In other cases, you may have just cause to walk away from a home due to inspection-report findings. Our experience and knowledge will help you make the best homebuying decisions for your situation.

Categories: home inspection

Keep Your Kitchen From Eating Your Income

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Kitchens are energy-intensive rooms thanks to modern appliances designed to make life, and eating, easier. The U.S. Department of Energy offers the following tips for cutting energy consumption in the kitchen without sacrificing convenience.


Skip the pilot light. If you’re thinking of replacing your current range or oven with a new gas model, opt for a unit with an electronic ignition. Pilot lights burn gas–and money–24 hours a day.

Check the flames. If gas is being burned efficiently by your range or oven, the flames should be blue. If they’re yellow, call in a professional to have the unit adjusted or repaired.

Clean range burners and pans. Clean burners and pans reflect heat better, thus using less energy.

Turn off early. Electric ovens retain heat for quite a while after they are turned off. By turning the heat off several minutes early, you can use the residual no-cost heat to finish cooking your food.

Use small appliances. Using a toaster oven–for foods that fit–cuts energy consumption more than 50% compared with a full-sized oven. You can also save money by using fast-cooking appliances-microwaves and pressure cookers.

For more helpful homeowner tips, please visit

Categories: Energy saving kitchens, Wilmington NC homes

House Hunting | Steal a Deal | Wilmington NC real estate

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Homebuyers Can Still Get A Great Price Even In Today’s Rising Market

Today’s Wilmington NC housing market is well into recovery mode in most areas of the country. Along with rising home prices, mortgage interest rates have also been inching up. If you are among the would-be homebuyers who are ready to come to the party before it’s too late, don’t despair. There are still many opportunities available to steal a great home at a great price—whether you want to buy your first home, a move-up home, a vacation property or an investment property to rent out.

The key is knowing what types of properties still offer bargains in our market. Here are some of the best places right now to focus your search to get a great price:

  • Pre-foreclosure sales occur when borrowers find they can no longer afford to pay their mortgage; they sometimes have a window of time to sell their home before their lender starts the foreclosure process. Because time is of the essence, these “short sale” homeowners often lower the property’s price and offer attractive terms to invite a quick sale. 
  • Foreclosure auctions involve homes where a homeowner has defaulted on the loan and the lender is selling the property at public auction (sometimes called a trustee’s sale or sheriff’s sale). Auction sales are often listed in local newspapers. 
  • Post-foreclosure sales. These homes include real estate owned (REO) by lenders and corporations. Lender REOs are foreclosed properties that did not sell at auction. Corporate REOs are usually homes purchased from a corporation’s employees who were transferred before the properties could be sold. Most post-foreclosure properties are listed with real estate agents in the area. 
  • Government-owned properties include homes that previously had loans backed by the federal government through programs sponsored by entities such as Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Once these loans are in default, the lender takes over the property. Then, the government entity pays off the loan and takes possession of the property. Government-owned homes are generally listed on the agency’s website or in the newspaper. The bidding process is conducted through real estate brokers who have taken the government agency’s training program. While government-owned homes are sold “as is,” HUD may escrow part of the sales price to bring a property up to its standards to qualify for a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan. 
  • Tax sales result when homeowners fail to pay their property taxes. The taxing authority schedules the tax sale at which a buyer can bid the amount owed in taxes (or more) and, if the bid is accepted, take ownership of the property. Even then, the original homeowner may have time to redeem the property (by paying the outstanding taxes, penalties, etc.). The rules of these types of sales vary from one locality to the next, so it is essential to be familiar with local processes. 
  • Fix-up properties generally are in disrepair and are often sold “as is,” with the discounted price reflecting their condition. Paying for a professional home inspection is especially important when considering these types of “sweat equity” properties. 
  • Estate sales result when people who have inherited properties decide to sell them. Many prefer to sell them “as is” to quickly liquidate the estate. Those who view the inheritance as a windfall may be more interested in a fast sale, and less concerned about the sales price. 
  • Divorce sales come on the market as part of a divorce settlement. As with estate sales, the owners may value a speedy sale over a higher price. 
  • Builder close-outs occur when builders approach the completion of a housing development. Eager to move on to the next project, builders may lower prices or, more frequently, offer valuable incentives such as free upgrades of appliances, fixtures, materials or custom build-outs.

Remember, price is just one part of the equation. You’ll want to ensure that these types of properties won’t surprise you with unanticipated and costly physical challenges or legal issues. Working with an experienced real estate professional will help you find a great deal and navigate through the purchase process.

In addition, securing a mortgage with a monthly payment you can afford is critical to any successful home purchase. Call on us to find the right loan program for your low-cost high-value home purchase.

Categories: Buy a foreclosure in Wilmington NC, Uncategorized, Wilmington NC homes

10 Surefire Ways The Right Price Will Sell Your Wilmington Home!

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Today’s spring Wilmington NC real estate market may look a lot like previous home-selling springs to many home sellers and buyers. Except it isn’t.

Yes, there’s a new crop of homebuyers. Yes, some have lists of “must-haves” and timetables to move into their next home. Yes, others are just tire-kicking, curious if they can find a better location, nicer condition, cheaper, smaller or bigger home than they currently have. And, yes, as the weather warms up more homebuyers will come out in numbers, searching for their perfect “dream” home.

Every spring, visions of dollar signs dance in local sellers’ minds. It’s understandable. Sellers are eager to get on with their lives and move to their next home. Many market factors are, unfortunately, beyond sellers’ control. Interest rates. Regional economy. Community amenities. Neighborhood schools. Property location. Home style. Floor plan. Transportation options. Etcetera.

The most powerful factor in your home sale, however, is within your control: Price.

Boil it all away and price is what sells homes today. We help home sellers, like yourself, price their home to sell in any market, in any neighborhood and in any season of the year. The right price—carefully crafted—is what will get your home sold. Let us show you some insider secrets this spring. Keep reading to find out how important the right price is to ensuring your home sells.

Think Price Range: You want your home to stand out, but will pricing it at a round number knock it out of the search results for homebuyers looking under that figure? Craft your listing price to keep your home in front of the widest group of buyers. Priced right, it might even spur a bidding war, resulting in multiple purchase offers.

Forget Your Receipts: Ultimately the marketplace will determine value. That’s why the right price is not the sum of all the investments you’ve put into your home in terms of improvements, upgrades and changes. This tally total should not factor into your home’s final listing price.

Buyers Don’t Care About Your Expenses: A homebuyer doesn’t care about your mortgage balance, second mortgage or what you need to clear monetarily in the home sale. Buyers view your home in today’s market compared to other homes of similar size, style and quality in your neighborhood and choose the best value.

Local Data Is Priceless: We can provide you with up-to-the-minute data to support your home’s listing price. Reviewing recently sold prices for comparable homes, expired listings and listed homes will help you zero in on your home’s right price.

Open Up To Negotiation: If you feel your sales price is set and final, think again. Homebuyers will expect you to negotiate. If you shut down and refuse to entertain any offers except full-price bids, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment—and an unsold home.

Treat Your Home Like A Product: Your home holds many dear memories, but at sale time, you need to separate yourself from sentimental thoughts and approach the home sale strictly as a business transaction. You’re selling a product and the homebuyer is your customer. Emotions are not part of your right price.

Price It Right From The Start: Don’t think testing the waters with a higher price when you first list leaves you room to negotiate. This strategy will cause your listing to languish with few, if any, buyers coming to tour your overpriced home. Serious buyers know they can get more home for their money elsewhere. Rather than offers with room for negotiation, you’ll simply get no offers.

Unwanted Stuff Might Be Treasured: Think about what items you will want to convey, that is, sell with the home upon closing/settlement. Identify these items before listing so homebuyers might appreciate these “extras” and put your home at the top of their serious list. Consider big-ticket or custom items such as playground equipment, large sectionals, wall mirrors, chandeliers, window treatments, firewood, patio furniture or lawn equipment. (Tip: Consider holding out a few desirable items to throw in at negotiation time to make your counteroffer look even more inviting.)

Make Sure Your Home Is Ready: The right price will bring lookers. Turn them into buyers by making your home look its best. This means de-cluttering, deep cleaning, staging, great online photos, being flexible for showings at short notice and keeping up the spotless, ready-to-sell, move-in-ready look until you get that signed purchase offer in-hand.

Give Some Security: Sweeten your right price with a home warranty to cover major systems and major price tag problems if something should fail in the first year with the new owners. Hire a home inspector before you list to check off all the little things that need attention and get a handyman to fix all needed items. If you get an appraisal done before listing, share it with potential homebuyers to show them that your home price is “priced to sell” in line with current appraisals and that getting financing at your listing price shouldn’t be an issue for the buyers.

If you truly want to get your home sold quickly and at the best price, it pays to work with a real estate professional like us. We can give you all the data you need to nail down the right price to get your home sold today!

Categories: Uncategorized, wilmington nc, Wilmington NC Commercial Real estate, Wilmington NC Market Statistics, Wrightsville Beach NC

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.