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

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

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

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

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

Stash Counter Stuff

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

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

Focus On The Fridge

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

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

Universal Shine

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

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

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

The Nose Knows

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

Get A Professional Opinion

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

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

Categories: Uncategorized

WEEKEND DIY 2016 | Take Advantage

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birdflyingIf you have a free weekend, take advantage of it to improve your home. You don’t need a lot of time or a stack of cash to make a big change to your living area this year.


Painting: If you’re not up to changing the colors of an entire room but still want to use color to make an impact, consider accenting a single wall to draw your eye to that area. Alternatively, paint a hallway, a closet or a small area to define a play space, office or other nook.

Rugs: Measure and visualize how an area rug can tie a room together. Find a suitable rug for a living room, dining room, bedroom or other area that needs some warmth.

Shelving: Are your closets a mess? Take measurements and visit your local home improvement store to get new shelving or an organizing system for your closet and start your new work week with order in your life!

Touch up: Sometimes a new coat of paint on trim is all that’s needed to enliven a room. Clean the trim, tape and paint. Work in defined sections so you can call a room—or two or more—complete before Monday dawns.

Categories: DYI Weekend, Remodel your home, Uncategorized, Wilmington NC homes, Wrightsville Beach NC

LOOKING AHEAD | Rising Rates? Who Knows? For Now They’re Still Affordably Low

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 www.WilmingtonNC-realestate.com or www.cbbaker.com

river2It’s easy—when you’re ready to buy a home and apply for a mortgage loan—to become obsessed with interest rates. How high will the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loan rise in 2016? How about on a 15-year loan?

The truth is, no one knows what interest rates will do in 2016.

This isn’t unusual. No one knew what rates would do last year, either. Remember the predictions that mortgage interest rates would soar in 2015? Those predictions turned out to be incorrect. In the fourth quarter of 2015, the nationwide average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was still under 4%. And the average rates on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages were under 3.5%.

There’s no guarantee that rates won’t rise throughout 2016. But this is important to remember: As 2016 kicked off a new year, average interest rates were still near historic lows. So even if rates do rise this year, they’ll have to jump significantly not to be nicely affordable by historic standards.

Outlook: Small changes in interest rates won’t impact your ability to afford a mortgage by much. If you take out a $150,000 30-year fixed-rate loan at 3.8%, your monthly payment—not including taxes and insurance—will be around $700. If the rate on that same loan increased to 4.1%, your monthly payment—again excluding insurance and taxes—would rise to $724. That’s a difference of about $24 a month or about $288 a year.

The message here? Yes, it’s better to buy while interest rates are low. But don’t let an obsession with rates keep you from pulling the trigger on your dream home this year. The odds are high that mortgage rates throughout 2016 will remain at attractive and affordable levels.

Categories: 2016 Interest Rates, Looking Ahead 2016, mortgage rates, Uncategorized

2016 Inside Tips For Our Local Real Estate Market And How To Come Out Ahead

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lotus_bud_free_photo-690x457Just how does homeownership affect our lives, our money, our future? Home is more than shelter, after all. Our homes say a lot about who we are…and they are one of our biggest financial investments.

This month’s Special Report explores the issues local owners, buyers and sellers face in 2016—and details priceless “insider tips” to help you make the most of our upcoming housing market.

We hope you’ll find this information useful, and then call on us for the latest trends and opportunities in your area. Rest assured. You can rely on our expertise and extensive network of contacts to make sure you get the most out of this year’s local real estate market. (Please keep in mind the figures we use in this issue are for illustration only. Interest rates change often; please contact us for the latest rates and terms.)

Keep reading to learn more about our 2016 real estate market…and how you can come out ahead as home owners, homebuyers and home sellers.

Home Sellers: Who Will Buy Your Home?

What does today’s homebuyer look like? You might be surprised. Results from a survey of first-time homebuyers done last summer by Zillow show that homebuyers have evolved over the years.

Most first-time homebuyers…

…have rented for about six years before buying a home. This means they may have done a lot of research to figure out exactly what kind of home they want. Buyers are educated and savvy. Make sure your home is move-in ready.

…are older and less likely to be married, with an average age of 33. Selling your home to a family may not always be the case. Appeal to the single lifestyle with ease of use and convenience, pointing out features that save any homeowner time, money and hassle.

…buy expensive first homes and spend more relative to their income than in the past 40 years. These buyers likely have better jobs, steadier income and may not begin with “starter homes.” Median income nationally for this group is around $53,000 and, on average, they spend about 2.6 times their salary on their first home. No matter the price point, buyers in the coming market are looking for value and know when a home is priced right.

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Kay Baker Associates | 1001 Military Cutoff | Ste 101 Wilmington, NC 28405 | kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com | 910-202-3607 | Fax 910-338-2428

Copyright © 2017 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.