HEALTHY HOME: The Top 10 House Maladies To Avoid

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babyhandWhether you’re selling a home or looking to purchase one, you’ll want to make certain the home in question is in good physical condition. Check out the following list of the 10 most common home “health” problems identified by members of the American Society of Home Inspectors in a recent survey.

1. Improper surface grading and drainage.

Inspectors rated this problem the most troublesome, with 35.8% of those surveyed listing it as their top issue. Responsible for household maladies, such as leaky basements or crawl spaces, grading and drainage problems can be fixed either by regrading the ground away from the house or replacing gutters and down spouts.

2. Improper electrical wiring.

This was rated the most common problem by 20% of the inspectors surveyed. Some inspectors reported that 70% to 80% of electrical wiring in homes is installed incorrectly — mostly by do-it-yourselfers. Noted problems included insufficient electrical service, inadequate overload protection and amateur (sometimes dangerous) wiring connections.{short description of image}

3. Roof damage.

Leaking roofs ranked third in the survey, resulting most often from old or damaged shingles or improper flashing and drainage. Asphalt shingles, the most commonly used shingle type, last between 20 and 30 years — about the same life span as wooden shake shingles. For longevity, try slate shingles, which can last 100-plus years!

4. Heating systems.

Most sales contracts require that heating systems be in working order, so it’s an item that must be dealt with if it fails the home inspection — which often happens, according to the ASHI survey. Problems include broken or malfunctioning controls, blocked chimneys and unsafe exhaust disposal. Don’t overlook heating system problems — they can be dangerous if left unattended.

5. Poor overall maintenance.

Although the survey found this problem common, it is truly avoidable. Signs of poor maintenance include: cracked, peeling or dirty painted surfaces; crumbling masonry; makeshift wiring or plumbing; and broken fixtures and appliances.

6. Structural problems.

This category includes damage to structural components such as foundation walls, floor joists, rafters and window/door headers — often caused by some of the five problems already listed.

7. Plumbing.

Common problems include faulty fixtures and waste lines and the existence of old or incompatible piping materials.

8. Exteriors.

While exterior flaws may not have structural significance, defects in windows, doors and wall surfaces can cause discomfort to residents via moisture and air penetration. The most common exterior problems are inadequate caulking and/or weatherstripping.

9. Poor ventilation.

It is possible to “overseal” a home, resulting in excessive interior moisture, which can lead to rotting and failure of structural and non-structural elements.

10. Miscellaneous.

Included here were interior elements — usually cosmetic. They were mentioned so infrequently by respondents that they did not rank individually in the survey.Fortunately, many of the most common problems in homes are far from fatal — they can often be fixed quickly and inexpensively! The point is to fix them early, before they cause significant damage to your home.

Call us 910-202-3607 for more information and tips. Or visit www.cbbaker.com

 

 

Categories: #selling homes, #Spring Time To Sell, Healthy Homes, Uncategorized, wilmington nc real estate

SELLERS MARKET | Why Every Home Doesn’t Sell

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apThis is a healthy housing market—by most indicators a seller’s market—especially for homes that are priced to sell and in great condition.

As we move into the year-end season, there are no signs the market is shifting. Price remains critically important. Today’s sellers must avoid the pitfall of believing “everything sells.” Track market trends with a real estate pro—like us—and make sure your home’s sales price reflects what buyers expect—and will pay. If an offer doesn’t appear quickly, make a noticeable price improvement sooner—not later—if you expect to get your home sold.

Despite a great year so far, many prospective sellers still are not getting their homes sold. Here’s what our experience and local trends tell us:

Overpriced Listings. You can’t sell a home based on last year’s prices or national headlines that conflict with our area’s micro-trends. Don’t set a sales price based on the amount you want to cash out of the home. Pricing right is paramount to get your home noticed, toured and sold fast. The right price is one that buyers are willing to offer compared with other nearby homes currently for sale. Expired listings are often homes that aren’t priced right. You may be amazed at how many homes have lingered on the market longer than average—at all price points.

Condition. Is your home move-in ready? It will sell quickly because choosy buyers want a modern home in great condition. They’ll pay for it, too. If you have a list of fix-ups, needed updates and undone maintenance, buyers will notice and keep looking…right past your home.

Set The Stage. Clean and declutter each room. Make each space inviting and bright. If you’ve already moved out, rent or borrow furniture to give each room a purpose and focal point. Empty homes don’t sell.

Contract Kickouts. Perhaps the biggest reason not every home sells in this market is that some homes go under contract but never reach settlement. Those deals “kick out.” Maybe it’s the home inspection. Sometimes it’s buyer remorse. Often, financing for the buyer doesn’t come through…especially if the buyer isn’t preapproved or paid over market value in a bidding war. Whatever the reason, a significant number of contracts fall through without ever getting to closing—and if your home is priced right and in good condition, it’s got a better chance of not tripping over closing hurdles.

Going It Alone. If you’re trying to sell your home on your own, your property is not getting the marketing and exposure it could when you partner with a real estate professional. Today’s real estate market is healthy, but selling by yourself could mean lost time, lost money and a lost sale.

Bottom line for today’s sellers? Fixing-up matters. Staging matters. Savvy marketing matters. Negotiating experience matters. And—most important—pricing ahead of the market matters to be sure you get your home sold for top dollar in our market today. Contact us to discuss how we can turn your “for sale” quickly into “sold.”

Categories: #Spring Time To Sell, Sellers Market, Uncategorized, Waterfront Wilmington NC, wilmington nc

Selling Your Home? Clean and Clear |If In Doubt, Throw It Out

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If you’re selling your home or buying a new one, moving is on the calendar in 2016. It’s best to get started now, going through all your stuff to decide, “Is this really worth hauling to my new home?”

The more you’re able to clear out now, the less you’ll pay in mover fees! Here are some top tips to get clean and clear now.

PAPER

  • Financial papers. Generally, tax-related documents should be kept for seven years. Other bills and statements, if not tax-related, can be kept to show a one- to two-year trend.
  • Warranties and product instructions. These should stay with the items they’re for—so leave them behind with property that conveys to the next owner.

ELECTRONICS

  • Plan a run to electronics recycling if you have any old cords, chargers, connectors in a miscellaneous box you haven’t touched in ages.

HAZARDOUS WASTE

  • Chemicals. Moving companies won’t move hazardous items. If your garage, basement or shed contains bug/weed killers, paint, oil, and other solutions, give them away to those who will use them properly or turn them in to hazardous waste. Do not dump these items down the sink, sewer or into the ground.
  • Medicines. Old medicine can be turned into hazardous waste facilities or some police stations. Don’t flush them down the toilet or sink.

HOUSEHOLD

  • Clothing. Clothes that aren’t able to be worn again can be recycled into rags. Check for textile recycling in your area. Clothes in good shape can be sold at consignment shops or donated to shelters and second hand shops.
  • Décor. You might have boxes of old framed prints, vases, figurines, etc. kicking around. Take these items to the local second hand shop or donation center.
  • Linens. If the items are still usable, consider donating them to a homeless shelter or second hand shop or pet shelter. If they’re threadbare, textile recycling.
  • Furniture. Online selling sites, second hand shops, shelters working with people in need, and friends are great outlets for decreasing the amount of furniture you own.
Categories: #Spring Time To Sell, selling, Selling your home, Uncategorized, wilmington nc real estate

PUZZLING IT OUT Take Note Home Sellers: Tax-Free Gains

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Every year holiday dates come and go on the calendar. You’ve likely enjoyed celebrating a number of holidays with family and friends recently. Most everyone looks forward to these holidays.

There’s also one big, looming date, however, that isn’t a holiday—even though it’s marked in red on almost every calendar: Tax Day, April 15. If you’re like most taxpayers, you dread this date because it means you have to pull together a myriad of financial documents spanning the past year and make some sense of them, which isn’t a fun task.

If you own a home, you can relax because that home provides you with many financial advantages 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 special TAXES edition of the newsletter, we have outlined some basic home-related tax facts you should be aware of. Be sure to consult a tax professional for complete information applicable to your specific situation.

 

taxTaxpayers who sell their principal residence can pocket—tax-free—as much as $500,000 in profit if they file federal taxes jointly or $250,000 if they file singly. The property must have been owned and used as their principal residence for any two of the prior five years. Homeowners can shelter the profits on the sale of a home as often as once every two years. If the two-year use and ownership tests are not met, but the home is sold because of special circumstances (i.e., health problem, job loss, etc.), the exclusion is prorated. Otherwise, gains above $500,000 or $250,000 are taxed at current capital gains rates plus may be subject to an additional 3.8% surtax, depending on income.

Note: In effect since January 1, 2013, the Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT) applies a 3.8% surtax to certain types of net investment income of individuals, estates and trusts that have modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) exceeding certain thresholds. For individuals, the MAGI threshold for a single filer or a person filing as head of household (with qualifying person) is $200,000; for married filing jointly or for a qualifying widow(er) with dependent child, $250,000; for married filing separately, $125,000.

The 3.8% tax is applied to whichever amount is less—your net investment income or the amount your income exceeds the applicable threshold. For example, if a couple’s net investment income is $200,000 while their MAGI is $300,000 ($50,000 above the applicable threshold), the 3.8% tax would be applied to the $50,000 in excess of the threshold.

For home sellers with MAGI above the applicable threshold, the 3.8% tax may be applied to your home-sale gains that exceed your home-sale gain exclusion ($500,000 for married joint filers, $250,000 for single filers). If your MAGI amount above the threshold is less than your un-excluded home-sale gains plus net income from certain other investments, you would only owe the 3.8% tax on the excessive MAGI amount (NIIT applies to the lesser of extra income or extra gains). You can still take either $250,000 or $500,000 in profits from your home sale tax-free.

TAX TIP: Income from rental property, gains from the sale of a second home and gains from the sale of an investment property would be considered part of net investment income (and possibly subject to the NIIT) to the extent that gains are not otherwise offset by capital losses. Browse to http://bit.ly/IRSNIIT for further details.

We are here to help.  Text us 910-617-0309 or 910-520-5090

kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com

Categories: #Spring Time To Sell, Real Estate Tax Tips 2016, Uncategorized, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington nc relocation

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?

Contingencies

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

Wilmington NC SPRING MARKET Making A Move May be Easier Than Ever Before

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In this Wilmington NC spring market, making a move may be easier than ever before. Thanks to improvements in the real estate market, employment options, housing choices and personal finances, more people today are moving to where they want to live, not where they have to live.

In fact, moving today is easier than you think. Local home sellers are finding their priced-right homes selling, allowing them the freedom to relocate down the street, to the other side of town, across the country or around the world. Plenty of buyers are out there right now, taking advantage of our springtime temperatures and increased inventory. Many want to start their new life in a new home by the beginning of summer.

What’s moving today’s buyers? Job situations for many have changed for the better. (As always, employment is a major factor driving home sales.) One reason is that more and more people are working from home, and breadwinners are less tied to living near work. Now they have the flexibility to move to where their family wants to be located, where their favorite activities are based (think sports, outdoor opportunities), and where they have relatives and friends.

Don’t miss out. If it’s time for you to make a move, now is a great time. Keep reading to learn how to make the best move to a location that is the best for you!

What Comes First?

If you’re going to move, get your home ready for sale first. We can assist you with that task, helping you create a to-do list to attend to little things that buyers notice. Plus, nail down must-do bigger items that need attention before your home goes up for sale. Although some sellers don’t care to attend to these items, to get the best price for your home, it’s important to make your home an attractive, move-in-ready property.

BEST MOVE:

Take time to thoroughly go through your home and highlight any issues that a buyer’s inspection may later find. It is wise to remedy any problems before the home goes on the market. Additionally, we can advise you whether a home warranty would help make your home desirable to the greatest number of homebuyers.


BEST MOVE:

Bring in a home stager to make your home as close as possible to looking like a model home. Home stagers do a great job of using what you own to make your home’s spaces look friendly, usable and roomy for potential buyers.


BEST MOVE:

It’s often best to sell your home first, while you look but before you buy in your new location. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but it allows you to know exactly how much money you have available to buy your next home. Shop while your home is for sale, and if you find that perfect home, consult with your mortgage lender to see if you can make the move financially before selling your current home. A bridge loan may help get you there.

Where Are You Going?

If you’re still deciding where you’re going to move to once you sell your home, you need to do some research…pronto. To judge places to live, it’s wise to visit multiple times to dig into the area, understand transportation and education options, the employment situation, housing types and costs, and true cost of living.

BEST MOVE:

Even if you’ve lived in a specific location before and want to move back, realize that time changes things. It’s still ideal to visit the area and confirm your move choice.Take time to research and make sure the move is a good fit for you—and your entire family. Yes, you can always move again, but as you know, it does require time and money to pick up again if you find you aren’t happy with your new location.We know our area well. We can advise you about the types of homes available here and their price ranges. We can guide you to local information that provides reliable details on schools, shopping, transportation, entertainment, outdoor space, you name it.If you are moving out of our area, we can connect you with a top-quality real estate professional in your new location to assist you in not only getting the home you want there, but the information you need to make an informed housing decision.Some online help is always valuable. Check out websites that provide school information, walkability, traffic and crime reports, etc. Many sites provide the information for free, but some require subscriptions to view details. Remember, we can help you with finding specific details on our local area—just ask.

How To Whittle Down?

If you’re making a move to improve your situation, you want to move with only what matters most to you and your family. Before you put your home up for sale, it’s important to start going through your belongings and categorizing what is most important to keep.

Create areas to collect giveaway items (for charities, friends, family, etc.) while you evaluate your belongings.

If you have items of value you want to sell, start early and don’t underestimate the amount of time needed to sell items online, through garage sale(s), auction or classified sites or even through nearby newspaper classifieds. Have a plan in place for items that don’t sell.

Decluttering can uncover a lot of stuff you didn’t know you had, but still want. Box up items that you currently don’t have room for and store them off-site, either at a friend’s or family member’s home or in a rental storage unit.

BEST MOVE:

When boxing up items for off-site storage, be sure to pack them well the first time. When you’re ready to move with them, you won’t have to open and repack everything to safely survive a longer move.


BEST MOVE:

If you are likely to replace large/heavy items, such as appliances, a dining room set, couch or bedroom set, shortly upon arrival at your new residence, you may want to sell or give these items away before you move to cut down on the hassle and expense of moving them. Look for a local charity that helps homeless and disadvantaged families.
Categories: #Spring Time To Sell, wilmington beach homes, wilmington nc, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington real estate stats, Wrightsville Beach NC


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.