Get The Most Bang For Your Remodeling Bucks | Wilmington NC real estate

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Get The Most Bang For Your Remodeling Bucks

Thinking about making a change to your home? Be sure your remodeling dollars are well spent.
You certainly should focus on making your home a place you (rather than some future buyer) will enjoy living in. Still, it makes sense to remodel with an eye to maximizing the return you’ll get on your remodeling costs when the time does come to sell.
Consider the following suggestions:
1. Try To Fit In
Make sure your changes are consistent with the neighborhood. Don’t improve your home’s value more than 20% above the average value of homes in your area. If three bedrooms are standard and you are adding two more, you are not likely to get a very good return on your investment. Consider moving to a larger home rather than over-improving your current one.
2. Take The Middle Path
Shy away from highly decorative (or expensive) fixtures and designs. While a black-onyx wet bar and a mirrored wall might suit your fancy, it may make your home harder to sell later on. Remember, trendy colors and styles become stale all too soon (remember “harvest gold”?). Classic styles and neutral colors, on the other hand, stand the test of time. Express your individual taste with furnishings that you can take with you when you go.
3. Invest In Popular Improvements
Renovations with the best return include changes in the kitchen or bathrooms and room additions accomplished by adding on or enclosing a porch or garage. Tour similar homes that are for sale to see what kind of renovations your neighbors have made. Take a look inside some new homes, too. Builders know what today’s buyers are looking for; you may want to incorporate a few of the latest features in your home remodeling project.
4. Look At Your Moving Timetable
Will you be moving in a year or two? If so, shy away from major projects or personalized “luxury” updates such as saunas or art studios. You could end up spending extra money to reconvert the space if your buyers don’t like the results. Don’t start renovating if you expect a short-term stay, because long-term remodeling loans will deduct cash from your equity when you sell.
5. Find A Reputable Contractor
Look for a contractor with a solid track record doing the kind of work you’re looking for. Check for proof of insurance, licensing and bonding. Ask for references and contact several. Make sure you have a contract that spells out all of the details and possible scenarios — materials, periodic payments based on progress, completion dates, etc.

More on remodeling here…

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FSBO INCENTIVES: 12 Contract Options That Entice Buyers | Wilmington NC real estate

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Wrightsville Beach NC If you’re selling in today’s Wilmington NC real estate  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!

Let us know if we can help.

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Giving Tuesday | Dollars and Sense | Wilmington NC

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Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, after black Friday etc etc…. Tuesday  is the most important day.  There are many organizations locally that would love your support.  Check out for ideas.  Here are some ideas to think about while looking for charities to give too.

Check Out Your Charities Before Being Generous


Although most charities are honest and accountable to their donors, CharityWatch (formerly the American Institute of Philanthropy) says the holiday season often brings out a few “fly by night” operators ready to take advantage of your goodwill. To help you choose wisely and give more effectively, CharityWatch offers the following tips:

1. Know your charity. Charities are obligated to provide detailed information, including a mission statement and recent audited financial statements to interested donors. If a charity does not provide you with the information you request, you may want to think twice about giving to it.

2. Don’t be misled by familiar names. Some questionable charities use names that closely resemble the name of a respected, legitimate organization. Check out the charity with CharityWatch ( or other watchdog organizations before making a contribution.

3. Find out where your dollars go. Determine how much of your donation goes for general administration and fundraising expenses and how much is left for the program services you want to support. CharityWatch’s Rating Guide recommends that in most cases, 60% or more of your charitable donation should go to program services.

4. Do not respond to pressure. It’s your money, so don’t let yourself be pressured into contributing on the spot — or more than you want. You can always say no.

5. Beware of charities offering gifts. Direct-mail solicitations are often accompanied by address stickers, calendars or other “gifts” designed to increase donations. You do not have to make a contribution to keep these gifts, and it is against the law for a charity to demand payment for any unordered merchandise.

6. Avoid giving cash. Also, do not give your credit card number to a telephone solicitor or Internet site that you do not know. Always be sure to obtain a receipt or printed copy of your donation so you will have a record for tax purposes.

7. “Tax exempt” does not always mean “tax deductible.” Not all charities are eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions even though they may have tax-exempt status (for example, political organizations). Tax exempt means the organization does not have to pay taxes. Tax deductible means donors can deduct contributions to the charity on their federal income tax returns. Request the charity’s tax exempt letter to determine whether the organization qualifies for tax-deductible contributions. Or, use the IRS “Exempt Organizations Select Check” online tool — at — to see if donations to a particular organization are deductible.

Categories: #Giving Tuyesday, volunteer in wilmington NC, wilmington nc relocation, wilmington real estate stats, Wrightsville Beach NC

Last Minute Showing Notice on Your Home? | Don’t Fret – 10 Minute Checklist | Wilmington NC real estate

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Short-Notice Showings In 10 Minutes Or Less

Selling a home while living in it is not easy — if you want it to look its best when potential buyers come around. Still, with a plan in place, you can minimize the panic of short-notice showings. Here’s a checklist to help.

First Things First

• Tone it down! Turn off all electronics to cut down on noise.

• Make it bright! Turn on all lighting to illuminate every room. For daytime showings, open all window coverings.

• Clear the clutter! Stash magazines, newspapers and mail in a basket or box you can easily slip under a bed or tuck quickly in a dresser drawer.

• Stifle the odors! Be sure to remove the source, then open a window or door to let in some fresh air. If needed, place a small bowl of white vinegar or fresh coffee grounds in the area of the unpleasant smell to absorb odors.

• Round up the pets! Keep them safe, get them out of the way and make the buyers comfortable. Secure pets in their crates, outdoors or with you or a neighbor.

• Check floors! Use a hand vacuum or damp cloth to remove debris or spots. (Do a complete sweep-up if you have time.)

• Make it comfortable! Turn down the air conditioner a degree or two to make it cool and inviting inside. Circulate air with fans on low if you don’t have A/C.

Room By Room

• Kitchen: Clean and put away dishes (or hide them in the dishwasher). Wipe counters and fixtures.

• Bathrooms: Wipe counters, fixtures and mirror. Make sure toilets are clean and lids closed. Wipe down tubs and shower walls. Hang fresh towels neatly. Move toiletries under cabinet or into a closet.

• Bedrooms: Make bed (best done first thing every morning, just in case). Put clothes away in drawers, hang them in the closet or hide them in the hamper, washer or dryer.

• Children’s rooms: Gather toys, games and books, and put them back on bookshelves or in baskets and bins.

• Living or family room: Remove clutter; put away books; stash knickknacks and family photos out of sight.

• Entry way: Hang all coats, hats, umbrellas, keys and bags in a closet — not on wall hooks. Hide the shoes. Clear away papers and mail.

These little things will help the house show so much better.  Sometimes it is better to go ahead and show, as to not lose the potential buyer.  When they come back for a 2nd showing you will have more time to make it shine.  For more tips, please visit or call us 910-202-3607

Happy Selling.

Categories: Uncategorized, volunteer in wilmington NC, Wilmington NC Market Statistics, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington nc relocation, wilmington nc weekly events, Wrightsville Beach NC

What’s So Special About “Location, Location, Location”?

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What do real estate agents mean when they say the three most important factors in selecting a house are “location, location, location”?

Door KnockerThe house is wonderful! But before you buy, carefully check the location to be sure this is the house you want to buy.

  • Consider destinations

Where will family members go most often from this new location? How easy is it to reach those places from here? How accessible are schools, churches, grocery stores, medical care, public transportation, shopping malls, and neighborhood services?

  • Be sure rooms have a view

What is the view from the house and yard? Is the yard right for your anticipated activities? What uses are possible for nearby undeveloped land? Is a new road planned?

  • Check around the clock

Is rush hour traffic a problem? What will be the impact of special events like local high school games or church picnics?

  • Crash test the driveway

How easy is it to get into and out of the driveway?

  • Be service conscious

What utilities serve this property? Are the rates competitive? Do you want an all-electric house, or do you want gas or oil heat? Where will you get your mail? Where are the easements?

  • Dig below the surface

Is the soil stable? Is part of the property on a flood plain — if so, what is the history of floods on the property?

  • Visit the neighbors

How will you fit in with the neighbors? Do people seem to be friendly? Are houses well-maintained?

  • Read the fine print

If the community has special by-laws or architectural controls over changes to a house, what are the pros and cons?

Make a list of the positive and negative aspects of each property as you tour it. Assign priorities to important elements of the house’s location.

Do you have home questions about a specific location? We can help. Call or e-mail us now. Kay Baker 910-202-3607 or

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Desire Change in Your Life | Put your Home’s Equity to Work | Wilmington NC real estate

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Put Your Home’s Equity To Work

With Six Savvy Strategies

Do you have idle equity sitting in your home that could be building wealth instead? One of the great aspects of homeownership is that you increase your wealth every month by building equity in your home and reducing your tax bill at the same time.

After you’ve been in your home a few years, you may have some equity that you could put to work for you. Even if the property has appreciated by just a few percentage points per year, significant equity can build up fairly quickly. Just be sure you retain enough equity that you’ll be able to pay a real estate agent’s commission when you sell the home.

Home equity loans are the most common means of tapping a home’s value. In states where home equity loans are not allowed, however, you can still put your home’s value to work by refinancing it for more than you currently owe–a “cash out” refinancing.

The first way most homeowners think of using their equity is to pay off high-interest debt. That’s one popular option, but you could also invest that equity in other ways. Here are six more ways to put your equity to work for you.

1. Trade Up

Using your equity as a down payment for a larger home could make financial sense. If you’re in a $200,000 home now and it appreciates by 5% each year, your gain is $10,000 for the first year. In five years, that home would be worth $255,256. But in a $275,000 home, that same 5% growth would be $13,750 for the first year. After five years, the more-expensive home would be worth $350,977 — nearly $100,000 more than the less-expensive home.

Of course, you may not be able to count on 5% appreciation every year. It could be higher or lower, depending on the state of the economy and market conditions. Not to worry, though. Even 2% appreciation will still add up over time.

Using additional equity to trade up will allow you to put a significant amount of money down on your next home. That could allow you to own a home you never could afford before.

2. Downsize

Another way to use your equity is to scale down. With the recent changes in tax laws, homeowners may sell a home every two years and walk away with tax-free profits up to $250,000 (for singles) and $500,000 (for married couples). By scaling down, you can purchase a smaller, less-expensive primary dwelling, and use the extra cash for investments, debt reduction or even purchasing an investment property.

3. Second Home

The real estate market has been fueled during the past few years by retiring baby boomers purchasing second homes. Maybe now is the time to purchase that home on the beach, at the lake or in the mountains. We can refer you to a knowledgeable agent in a resort area to help you with this move.

If you know you’re retiring to a particular area in the next few years, study that market now. You may want to buy the home now while prices are still affordable. If you do, you could rent the home during the peak vacation season. Many second homeowners discover they can just about cover their annual property expenses by renting out during peak season.

4. Investment Property

While the stock market often bounces up and down, many investors feel comfortable with the security of real estate. Not everyone has extra money to play the stock market profitably, but landlords can enjoy income every month. The secret is selecting the right property and finding expert property management if you don’t want to manage the property yourself. We can help with both these issues.

Some buyers have found it beneficial to purchase a property in the area where their college-age children are going to school. Their child can help manage the units and share the housing with other students to defray costs. The young adults learn responsibility and property management skills, and you have a live-in manager to watch over your investment.

5. Shared Equity

Another way to put your idle equity to work is to lend it to an adult child as a down payment for his or her first home. Some parents maintain a co-ownership interest while the young adult makes the mortgage payments. At the time of the sale, the equity is then split between the two. This is called a shared-equity arrangement.

6. Remodel

If you really like where you’re living, but desire a few more amenities, consider taking cash out for remodeling or adding to your current home. The interest paid on some home equity loans is tax deductible, just as it is with your first trust. Give us a call to find out what financing options suit your situation best.

Call us, we are the experts with expert partners in mortgage and everything real estate related. 800-497-7325-3607 or . Sign up for our newsletters and our weekly TGIF Scoop on everything Wilmington NC!


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Baseball on the Riverfront | Say it’s So!| Wilmington NC real estate

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There is talk of a minor league baseball stadium being built on the riverfront in downtown Wilmington NC.  There has not been a baseball team in Wilmington NC since the Port City Roosters, a Southern League minor team which was a Double A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners Major Club in 1995.  Some of the players that wore the Roosters Uniform you might recognize : Red Sox captain Jason Varitek, pitchers Derek Lowe and Ryan Franklin, infielder Desi Relaford and outfielders José Cruz, Jr. and Raul Ibanez.

Chuck Schoninger, the CEO of USA InvestCo owns property on the riverfront, 35 acres which he hopes to develop into a marina, a hotel,  condos, restaurants and to top it  off a Minor League Baseball Stadium.  Schoninger will travel to China to present his plan to Chinese investors with a Federal Program called Employment Based Program Number 5, or EB5, that was started by George Bush in 1990 to entice foreign investment.  With the opening of the Wilmington NC Convention Center, this will make an addition to the growing and thriving downtown area. For a complete story from the Greater Wilmington Business Journal, read more here….

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Tis the Season to Volunteer | Wilmington NC real estate

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This time of year everyone is in a hurry trying to get all the shopping done, homes decorated and cards in the mail.  Take a minute to slow down.  Think of others and ask yourselves what you could do for someone else that might help them out at this time of year.  There are many organizations that need help, especially during the holidays. The feeling you get when you help someone else is the best present you could ever receive. So, here are just a few of the organizations that would love to hear from you.

Get involved in Wilmington volunteering!

Categories: Uncategorized, volunteer in wilmington NC, wilmington nc convention center, Wilmington NC Market Statistics, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington nc real estate, Wilmington nc schools, wilmington nc weekly events, worlds largest christmas tree

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