LOOKING FORWARD Real Opportunities In Real Estate This Year

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Whether you’re looking to buy your first—or 15th—home, this year holds many opportunities for you. And, if you need to sell this year, the same holds true. 2017 is looking to be a great year for sellers, buyers, investors and those who need to relocate or settle down with a second home, too.

How is that possible? First, financing continues to be available to a wider group of consumers as lenders increasingly work to open up some qualifications. Secondly, interest rates continue to sit near historic lows, making mortgages affordable for many. Lastly, with rents increasing in many regions, it makes more sense to buy a home than it does to rent one. (And, if you’re an investor, with rising rents, it makes more sense to grow your rental property portfolio this year.)

Additionally, your credit plays a big role in landing affordable financing, so we’ll give you the year’s scoop on how to monitor your credit report and protect your identity and financial details in light of all-too-frequent data breaches.

Free stock photo of wood, light, house, luxuryAnd, if you’re just staying put in your home, we’ll give you the remodeling outlook for the year, too.

No matter your real estate plans, we are here for your home-related needs. Contact us. We’re eager to work with you this year!

SMART CHOICE

When It Makes More Sense To Buy Than Rent

In many areas today, rents are rising faster than home prices. In such situations, it often makes more sense to own a home than to rent someplace to live. Even when renting and owning seem like a wash, owning can still come out ahead.

Consider these facts as you look at buying a home in 2017:
  • Don’t forget how the mortgage interest you’re paying will likely benefit you at tax time. (Consult with a tax adviser for details specific to your situation.)
  • If you plan to live in the same place for a length of time, your home is likely to appreciate so that at sale time, you’ll find yourself with a gain, or at least break even in many cases.
  • Buying gives you a home that you’re free to customize as you wish, while also giving you a place to put down roots and get involved in the community.
  • Depending on the financing you choose for your home purchase, your monthly home mortgage amount may be fixed from 15 to 30 years, allowing you to budget for other expenses more easily.
  • Renting puts money in the pockets of your landlord while paying off a mortgage results in a home paid off, and resulting in no more monthly mortgage/housing payments.

Consult with a local mortgage professional (contact us for recommendations) to get preapproved for a mortgage. Then let’s talk about home shopping! kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com 

Categories: buying a home, real estate, Uncategorized, wilmington nc, Wilmington NC homes

Five Ways To Get The Best Interest Rate

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Free stock photo of black-and-white, man, hurry, reflectionsToday’s real estate market continues to be a busy one, thanks in part to mortgage interest rates that remain near historic lows, allowing buyers to afford more home. Despite this, it’s still important to watch interest rates to ensure you get the best deal.

(If you need recommendations for great local lenders, please let us know!) Here are in-the-know tips to help you get the best rate for your mortgage.

1. ACT FAST
Lock in an interest rate today. There’s no sense pining over rates of yesterday because they are old news and unlikely to return. If you’re nervous your home won’t close in the typical 30 days, pay to extend your rate lock.

2. GRAB A DEAL
Even with slightly higher interest rates, your buying power is still strong. The difference between an interest rate of 4% and 4.5% on a $200,000 30-year mortgage is only $58 more per month.

3. SCALE BACK
If your proposed mortgage payment makes you nervous, step back and think about finding a home with a smaller price tag. You may have to give some on space and/or location but your monthly budget will thank you.

4. ADJUST
If you aren’t sure how long you’ll be living in your next home, consider a hybrid or adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) that offers an initial fixed lower rate for a specific amount of time (three, five, seven years, etc.) before a single adjustment or annual changes.

5. GOOD SIGNS
Closely examine the area where the home is located. An improving local economy with stable and increasing jobs, vibrant schools and nearby conveniences increases the likelihood that the home will appreciate over time. Besides your home being a great place to live, you might also make a profit when it comes time to sell!

Categories: Uncategorized, wilmington nc real estate

The Secret to My Open House Success

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Free stock photo of house, windows, plants, doorIn today’s real estate environment, more than ever, open houses are an effective open house marketing strategy. But, just to advertise the home in the Sunday paper and post a sign is not enough. An effective marketing campaign for open houses will prove to be a very successful open house and hopefully bring buyers to the table. Read the rest of this entry

Categories: Home Selling, Uncategorized

Mortgage Planning For The New Year

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Free stock photo of eye, macro, human, seeA new year is nearly here. That means it’s time to take a closer look at your mortgage loan.

You might not give much thought to your home loan, other than to pay it on time each month. But remember that your mortgage bill is probably the largest payment that you are responsible for each month. It makes sense to review your loan details to make sure that it is still the best fit for you and your family—and your budget.

Here are our recommendations for possible changes to make to your mortgage loan in 2017:

Time to refinance? Your mortgage interest rate might already be low, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t save potentially hundreds of dollars every month with a refinance. As a general rule, if you can shave a full point off your interest rate, you’ll save enough money each month to make the cost of a refinance worth it.

Call us today to ask whether you might qualify for a lower interest rate. We’d be happy to study your loan to determine whether a refinance might make financial sense for you.

Shorten your loan term? You don’t have to refinance merely to earn a lower interest rate. You can also refinance to reduce the term of your loan. If you are now paying off a 30-year fixed-rate loan, for instance, it might make sense to refinance to a 15-year or 10-year fixed-rate loan.

Yes, shortening your term will usually result in a higher monthly payment. But you’ll also potentially save tens of thousands of dollars in interest during the life of your loan. If you’re ready to reduce the amount of interest you’re paying each month, refinancing to a shorter-term loan could be a smart move. Again, contact us if you’re ready for a shorter-term loan. We can help you determine if this is a wise financial step.

Pay a bit more? Another way to reduce the amount of interest you’ll pay over the life of your mortgage is to pay a bit more each month than is required. Even paying $100 more toward your loan’s principal balance each month can dramatically reduce the amount of interest you’ll pay. Just make sure to indicate that the extra money you are sending in is earmarked to pay down your principal balance. There should be an option for this on your payment stub or your online payment plan.

Categories: Mortgage, new year, refi, Uncategorized

NEGOTIATE: How To Buy The Home You Love At The Price You Want

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2Found the house of your dreams? Now the negotiations begin.

The agent you’re working with can guide you through the process of making a purchase offer. You’ll want to start by learning as much as you can about how much the property is worth.

Check the comparables

Your agent has up-to-the-minute price data at hand to help you analyze any comparable properties; just ask. Although every home is unique, here’s some of what makes a home “comparable” to the one you’re considering purchasing:

same neighborhood;
same age and condition;
same size lot;
same home style–equivalent living space, number of rooms and baths;
similar terms of sale.

Follow sales price trends

Ask about recent pricing trends in the neighborhood. Specifically, what has been the average difference between listing price and sales price for recent sales of comparable homes? What is the ratio of assessed tax value to market value?

Offer what you think the house is worth

Some asking prices have built-in padding, but others are already priced to sell. You could lose a well-priced home with a low-ball bid. Remember, a lower mortgage interest rate will allow you to borrow more and pay a higher price for a home without increasing your monthly payment.

Spell out the details

Consider getting a pre-purchase appraisal and home inspection. The appraisal will give an independent valuation of the house, and the inspection will help identify any potential problems you may have overlooked. Consider including a contingency making the contract subject to a satisfactory appraisal and inspection.

Evaluate contingencies

The contract can also be contingent upon an attorney’s review, previous home sale, and acceptable mortgage loan terms, etc. Contingencies are typically used to smooth acceptance of an offer without delaying the final decision. Too many contingencies, however, weaken your bargaining position.

Know what’s important to you

Prioritize the elements of the sale on paper (“must” and “want”) and decide where you have negotiating room–what you’ll give up or accept in exchange for a concession. Items frequently negotiated include adjustments for needed or requested repairs, what personal property stays and what goes with the seller, points and closing costs, and move-in date. Knowing exactly what you want and where you are willing to bargain is your most important negotiating tool.

Put everything in the first purchase offer

If the first offer is accepted it may be too late to add anything. Include a financial statement. Do all negotiating in writing with a deadline for a response, often 48 hours. You are free to cancel an offer until it is accepted by the seller. Require that your binder or deposit be held in an escrow account with the interest credited to you.

Be Patient

Negotiating could take several days. Be patient; you won’t want to rush into one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make.

We can help

If you’d like help finding your dream home, please call or e-mail us. We’ll help with your home search and will give you all the important information we can provide to help you make the right offer for the right home.

Categories: buying a home, The Art of Negotiating, Uncategorized, wilmington nc real estate

A KING’S RANSOM? Why The MARKET (Not Sellers) Determines The Sales Price Of Your Home

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It’s no secret, pricing a home in today’s market can be difficult. Despite what some home sellers believe—that their “castle” is worth more than recent comparable sales in their area—homebuyers are the driving force in determining the true value of homes.

frontPricing a home higher than advised to “test the market” often proves a waste of a seller’s time—and of buyers’ time too. Smart homebuyers comparison shop to learn the local real estate scene, and will offer only what the home is worth today—not what other homes sold for a few months ago, not what the seller paid for it years ago and not the combined prices of all the upgrades and improvements made to the property.

A realistic price—sometimes slightly lower than the competition—attracts buyer activity right from the first moment your home hits the market. The more interest in your home, the more opportunities for offers. The positive energy from early activity today is likely to put your home in demand—and can create multiple offers and a quick sale.

Remember, the converse is also true—a too-high price can turn your attractive home into a white elephant. More and more buyers in this market will pass on an overpriced home because they know they can get more for their money elsewhere. The longer your overpriced home stays on the market unsold, the more likely it is buyers will start suspecting something more is wrong with it beyond just the price. In today’s market, the old maxim is more true than ever: Price sells!

Throw out those old calculations and numbers and sit down to face the reality of our local market today. As real estate professionals, we can help you see where home prices are right now, learn what buyers are purchasing and offering for similar homes in our area and suggest a price point that will get your home sold quickly. Here are several more tips to maximize market value.

Be Realistic

If you are a seller who bought at the peak of the market and now needs or wants to sell, being understanding is the name of the game. In many cases, you may not be able to sell your home for the same price at which you purchased it. Stand back from those numbers and realize you have had a number of good years in your home, living there and enjoying it, making it your own. Now it’s time to move on to your next stage in life. To get there, your home must be sold for whatever buyers determine it is currently worth—which may not be what you paid for it.

Make It A Steal

If you are ready to sell and your house is in great condition, aggressive pricing will get your home sold quickly. Look at your competitors, and then consider pricing your home slightly under them. When your home is crowned with that “for sale” sign, interest will be highest as buyers see the true deal they have before them. Buyers will view your home as not just a good deal or a bargain, but a steal! A bidding war may even ensue, bringing your home’s final selling price up in the process.

Super Staging

Home staging—making your home look inviting and picture perfect—is effective in getting your home sold. It’s hard erasing your personal touches from your home, but it’s needed if you want buyers to see your home as if it were a royal palace. Great staging makes it easy for buyers to picture themselves living, relaxing and entertaining in your home—as well as owning it! Hiring a professional home stager is often well worth the money as a stager’s work will encourage buyers to linger and like your home enough to make an offer. With the right price and right look, your home is as good as sold!

Walk In Buyers’ Shoes

If you’re looking to really understand where to position your home, step back and be as critical as a potential homebuyer. Analyze what the flaws are in your home—that to this day still bother you—and remedy them. If you can’t fix the problems, such as location, needed major remodeling or items that are still not updated or fixed, adjust your asking price accordingly. We will guide you.

Serious About Selling

If you are ready to sell your home, be sure to price it right from the beginning. Waiting for multiple price reductions to finally hit the correct market price can cost you time, money—and many lost buyers. If you have a home for sale that is not garnering any interest, let alone offers, slashing the price significantly is more effective than small, incremental drops. A home that drops its price by 10% to 20% will be seen by a new buyer pool searching in that different price range—where buyers will actually consider it.

Look For Guidance

In today’s market, it’s imperative to have a professional alongside you when you sell your home. We can help you determine the best price to make your home sell quickly so you can move on. We know our local market, what buyers are looking for—and at what price points—and what makes homes sell today.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

ALL THE RIGHT MOVES The Best Strategy To Get To SOLD!

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Does your game plan require you to sell your home before you can make your next move in life? If so, you need a strategy to get the best price for your home in the shortest amount of time.

It’s like playing a game of chess: Successfully selling your home requires a combination of thought, planning, preparation and some good moves.

Think through your moves and determine your timeline. In the meantime, start prepping your home for sale—earlier is better—by thoroughly cleaning and decluttering every single space. Ditch excess belongings by donating, selling or pitching them. Box seldom used items and store them in an out-of-the way space, or, better yet, off-site. Create curb appeal that makes buyers want to get out of their car as soon as they see your home. Stage your home to create inviting spaces in which buyers want to live—and own. Predict when you’ll have to negotiate an offer and be flexible with your terms. If you practice all these moves, your game will end with a successful sale.

Learn how to master selling a home. It will open doors to your next move. Remember, as your real estate professionals, we can help you as you contemplate every single move!

Winning Requires Planning

If you’re looking to get your home sold quickly and for the best price, it takes some planning. Just like in chess, you’ll need to study the competition. See how your home stacks up against the ones already on the market. Consider your property’s location, amenities, age and condition as you visit these homes.

Take mental notes on what staging ideas make a room look warm and inviting. Recreate those in your own home. Determine what feature(s) your home has that the competition does not—and make that element pop in your own home. With a clear plan, you’re on your way!

The Game Board

The game board for chess is the same for all players, just as every home seller has access to the same set of information: data from recently sold, listed and expired homes; local economic conditions; housing demand; nearby competition; etc. It’s how you use this information that can give you an advantage.

Using the data, you can make an informed decision when pricing your home to sell fast. We can help you determine the price that buyers will find realistic and invite action, that is, a purchase offer. If you price too high, your home will languish; pricing it right or just under will create interest to get the selling game off on a good start!

Manage Your Time Wisely

Professional chess players are under time pressure to make each move. Home sellers have their own personal timeline dictating when they need to have the home sold. No matter how tight of a timeline you face, we can help.

Plan carefully for each move you make: prepping the home for sale; studying local data to determine a price; timing to put the home on the market to reach the greatest number of homebuyers; and getting the signed contract to closing/settlement uneventfully. It’s never too early to start planning to sell your home!

A Better Position Can Help

Going it alone in the real estate market can be overwhelming. Rely on real estate professionals—like us—to guide your moves through the entire selling process. We’ll cover the details and give you a play-by-play of every strategically important move you need to make. We’ll also tell you what to expect from buyers. Contact us. We look forward to helping you make the right moves to win the selling game!

Call us we would love to help.  Or visit www.cbbaker.com for more Wilmington NC Real estate information.  910-202-3607 kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com

 

Categories: Get a House sold!, Sell a House Quick', Selling Houses, Uncategorized, wilmington nc real estate

Do You Know How You Can Profit Using “OPM” and Leverage?

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Home ownership remains an important investment for most people, thanks in large part to the use of OPM (“Other People’s Money”) to gain “leverage.” Here’s how leverage works.

  • Assume that a family bought a home five years ago for $80,000. They put up 20% of the purchase price ($16,000) and borrowed the 80% ($64,000) balance. Now, they manage to sell the house for $120,000. Their relatively small cash investment has reaped the benefit of the increase in value of the entire property. The $16,000 cash investment has resulted in a profit of $40,000.
  • Compare this with an investment in common stocks. Federal regulations require that an investor put up at least 50% in cash. Therefore, the leverage is not as high as for the home buyer. If the investor put up $40,000 to buy $80,000 in securities and sold the stocks five years later for $120,000, the return would have been less substantial.
  • Taxes, selling costs and other factors would change these figures in the “real” world, but the principle of leverage would remain the same. If you want to increase the return on your home investment as much as possible, let OPM go to work for you.

If you want to increase the value of your house hunting time and energy, let us go to work for you. We can help steer you through the complexities of contracting, financing and closing.

Visit www.cbbaker.com for more information.

Categories: OPM, Uncategorized

Masonboro Island Wilmington NC

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Masonboro Island NC

Masonboro Island is an 8 mile long uninhabited island on the southern North Carolina coast between Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach and is part of the National Estuarine Research Reserve. Masonboro Island, only accessible by boat, is enjoyed by campers, surfers, anglers, and bird-watchers alike. The reserve consists of about 5000 acres, which about 4400 acres are tidal marsh and mud flats. The most northern end at Masonboro Inlet is the most popular area with its sandy beaches and protected waters. Any summer weekend you will see many boaters and campers prepared for a few days on the beach with tents, grills and water toys in tow. Read the rest of this entry

Categories: Buying Wilmington NC real estate, Uncategorized, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods

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


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.