Rehab Junkie? Buying A Fixer-Upper? An FHA 203k Loan Might Be Right For You

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jones 91011 278You’ve found your dream home. Only one problem: Its foundation is sinking and it needs a new roof. The purchase price is right, but you’re worried that you’ll never be able to afford all those repairs.

Here’s some good news, though: The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers a loan product designed for buyers who want to purchase and renovate a fixer-upper.

An FHA 203k loan lets you borrow enough money to not only buy a fixer-upper, but to repair it, too. So if your home costs $150,000, and contractors estimate that you’ll need $50,000 to modernize an outdated kitchen and repair a leaking roof, you’ll be able to borrow enough to both buy the home and fund repairs.

Here’s how it works: Say you come up with a down payment of $5,250 on the $150,000 home. That would leave you with a mortgage loan of $144,750 with a typical loan product. With an FHA 203k loan, though, you can add in contractors’ estimated cost of repairs. You, then, could borrow $194,750 to cover both the purchase of the home and the needed repairs.

If you’re in the market for a home that needs some TLC, give us a call. We’re happy to discuss the FHA 203k program with you. We can help you determine if the program is a good fit for you and the home you want to buy.


Categories: Fixer Upper Loans, Sell your home, Wilmington NC homes, Wilmington NC Market Statistics, Wrightsville Beach NC

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

Worlds Largest Christmas Tree | Wilmington NC real estate

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Wilmington NC Worlds Largest Christmas Tree | Star News Photo

Our world famous tree will not be lit again this year, but here is  a little history to bring back memories.  In 1928 “Hi Buddy” Wade, the town commissioner held a contest to find the best Christmas tree to light in Wilmington. Two local school children choose the tree at the Hilton Park. A Large Oak.  Each was rewarded with a $5 gold piece.  450 lights were used to decorate the tree.  The Worlds Largest Christmas tree lighting ceremony which has  been held every year since 1928 (except the one year during World War II) until 2010.  The age and health of the tree has been a concern in prior years.  The City of  Wilmington is doing renovations at the Sweeney plant next to the tree, and these are safety concerns as well.  To upgrade and accommodate changes to make the area around the tree safe is not in the City budget.

So, we will have to view the tree from afar, and visit the new tree and Santa’s house on the downtown Wilmington NC riverfront.  Until then, we can still say Wilmington NC had the “Worlds Largest Christmas tree” .

If you are in town and want to search Wilmington NC real estate – visit

Categories: Uncategorized, wilmington nc, wilmington nc convention center, Wilmington NC Market Statistics, wilmington nc real estate, worlds largest christmas tree


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Sometimes a $1,000 disaster can be prevented with a $4 hose. That’s the finding of many homeowners who end up paying a lot for repairs that could have been prevented with just an ounce of inexpensive prevention.

One of the best places to check first is any place in your home that can be damaged by water. A survey by the American Society of Home Inspectors found that 40% of home maintenance problems are related to water. Water seeping into the basement or crawlspace, leaks from neglected washer and dishwasher hoses, and leaking pipes can leave you wet and poor.

Pay attention to the following items in your home regularly:

Water Threats
• Check for leaks from appliance hoses (washer and dishwasher), connections to the hot water heater and humidifier, outside spigots, exposed plumbing. Tighten all connections.

• After a heavy rain, check for water in attics, basements and crawlspaces. Make repairs as soon as the area is dry.

• Backed-up gutters can cause water to seep back up into the attic. The solution is simple, though: regularly remove leaves and debris from the gutter system.

Electrical System
• Check the circuit breakers about every six months.

• Check switches when lights seem to blink when the switch is touched.

• Keep wall-socket plates secure and replace broken ones.

A/C and Heating System
• Check these systems at least once a year; have them cleaned and serviced. You could save thousands in repair/replacement bills later, and improve operating efficiency thereby lowering monthly costs.

• If you have a fireplace, make sure it is professionally inspected and cleaned annually. Wood-burning fireplaces can cause creosote to build up in their chimneys–a dangerous fire hazard.

For more information please visit

Categories: Wilmington NC homes, Wilmington NC Market Statistics, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington nc relocation

BUY OR WAIT? Check The Answer That’s Right For You | Wilmington NC real estate

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There’s no right or wrong answer when you ask: “Is it the right time to buy a home?” For some, it’s a great time to buy—while for others, the answer is not as clear cut. There are lots of check marks that make buying favorable, but some unknowns as well. We’re here to help you sort out the right answer for you.

Today’s real estate market is affordable for many. Interest rates are still near historic lows, which means your money buys more home than it will when rates rise. With stable employment, a decent down payment and a good credit history, you’re likely to qualify for a mortgage.

The selection of homes available locally is improving because the overall economy has encouraged more owners to sell. Because of this, your odds of finding the right home for you are higher today. Also, homebuyers now have many financing options because lenders offer a variety of loan programs that allow buyers to choose their mortgage term and interest rate to ensure the loan is affordable today—and tomorrow.

Should you buy a home today?
There are many reasons why it might be a good time for you, personally, to buy real estate today. How many reasons can you check off?

☑ I need a tax break.
Paying mortgage interest and real estate taxes may provide you with a sizable deduction on your income taxes. Consult a financial professional to review your tax return and see the impact owning a home (or a larger home) could have on your tax bill.

☑ My household income is likely to grow.
Up for a raise in the not-too-distant future? In line for a promotion? If your career—or your partner’s career—is on an upward trajectory, your growing income will offset any increases in real estate taxes, insurance or interest rate down the road.

☑ I’m ready to put down some roots.
You may feel ready to sink deeper roots in one location and become more vested in our community. If you’re looking to call our area home for five years or more, it may make sense to buy a home or move up to a larger one.

☑ I have been saving for a rainy day.
If you’ve been stashing away money for a down payment for some time, consult a mortgage lender to determine how much home you can comfortably afford to buy (ask us for lender recommendations). Calculate if your savings cushion is enough to cover unexpected maintenance costs or other emergencies after the down payment is paid.

☑ I need a home that will grow with my family.
If the home you can afford today has enough bedrooms to accommodate future children, children who are returning home, elderly family members or a work-at-home situation, it may be the right time for you to buy.

☑ I’ll be receiving some money.
If you are receiving a large legal settlement or a family member has presented you or your partner with a sizable monetary gift or inheritance, you might be able to buy that home you’ve only dreamed of before now.

☑ I follow a budget.
With your finances in order and personal spending in check, you likely have a realistic budget to know how much you can safely spend on housing.

☑ My debt situation is under control.
If you had student loans and they’re nearly paid off, college-age kids that are close to graduation or credit card debt that is near a zero balance, it might be time for you to think about buying a home.

☑ I’m just ready.
If you’re ready to buy a home, it’s time to contact us. We can show you local homes that fit your finances and your family. We can work with you to determine which one meets your needs best. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Categories: Buy Now or Wait, Wilmington NC homes, Wilmington NC Market Statistics, wilmington nc real estate, Wrightsville Beach NC

BUYING POWER :: Lock-In A Low Mortgage Rate Now To Save More

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Rising interest rates adversely impact a homebuyer’s buying power. Say a buyer can afford a $200,000 home at a 4.5% mortgage interest rate. If the interest rate moves up one percentage point to 5.5%, that same buyer would only be able to afford a home priced at $179,000, meaning a $21,000 or 10.5% reduction in buying power.

To keep your buying power strong, and hedge against a rise in interest rates, lock-in your mortgage rate as soon as you can. The key is making sure your loan is likely to be approved because lenders don’t want to lock loans that are going to be rejected. Find out from your lender exactly what documents are needed to get your loan approved and get those documents collected and submitted quickly. If you’re pre-approved for a loan already, you might be in better shape to lock-in a mortgage rate sooner rather than later.

Time is money. Protect yourself, your financial situation and your buying power with an interest rate with which you can live with for the long term.

Categories: Wilmington NC homes, Wilmington NC Market Statistics, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington real estate stats, Wrightsville Beach NC

Spring! A Great Time To Move | Best Move Options

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More Options Abound For Today’s Homebuyers And Sellers

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. Wilmington NC real estate 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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: waterfront wrightsville beach, wilmington beach homes, wilmington nc, Wilmington NC homes, Wilmington NC Market Statistics, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington nc relocation, Wrightsville Beach NC

DESIGN: User-Friendly Designs For Now And Tomorrow

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You don’t have to be elderly or handicapped to appreciate the designs manufacturers are coming up with to make life easier. Think, for instance, how many times you’ve taken advantage of the ramps in sidewalk curbs designed for wheelchairs. They’ve made it easier to ride a bike and push a stroller—and even simply walk across the street. Likewise, we all can enjoy:
    • refrigerators with adjustable-height slide-out shelves to eliminate bending and reaching

  • lettering on controls and instructions large enough to read without squinting or hunting down a pair of glasses
  • non-skid cutting boards
  • contoured knife handles requiring less pressure to cut food
  • playing-card shufflers
  • tabletop book and newspaper holders
  • lamps that turns on and off by touching their base or clapping
  • lever adapters on faucets and doors to make opening and closing easier
  • bent-handled hairbrushes and long-handled bath brushes
  • easy-grip, spring-band scissors that open by themselves after you snip
  • Velcro fasteners on shoes
  • needle threaders
  • large-numbered, lighted key-pads for telephones
  • swivel seats to ease getting in and out of a chair
  • motorized chairs that lift you to your feet.

Some of these things can be found in pharmacies and department stores. For other ideas, browse through specialty catalogs.

Categories: User friendly home designs, Wilmington NC homes, Wilmington NC Market Statistics, wilmington nc weekly events

Justice 4 ALL | Free Legal Advice from North Carolina Bar Association Foundation | Wilmington NC real estate

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 The 6th Annual Justice 4 ALL day will be this Friday March 1, 2012 from 7 am – to 7pm. 

North Carolina residents may call in with any legal question they may have and they may be offered referral resources.  The NC Bar lawyers will have the phones manned with volunteers.  There are  7 call centers in NC.  These are the numbers to call for your area of the State.

N.C. residents who reside in the viewing area of the stations are encouraged to call the toll-free numbers and view coverage of the event throughout the day. Personal visits are not permitted, and calls to the call center’s normal phone numbers cannot be transferred. Asheville: (800) 289-0013; Charlotte: (866) 616-4255; Greensboro: (877) 391-6179; Greenville: (888) 616-0614; Raleigh: (800) 424-9725; Wilmington: (888) 442-3428; Spanish-Language Call Center: 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., (855) 455-4255.

If you need Real Estate advice, please call us 800-497-7325-3607 or email – please visit

Categories: free legal advice, justice 4 ALL, Wilmington NC Market Statistics, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington nc weekly events, worlds largest christmas tree, Wrightsville Beach NC

2013 Wilmington NC real estate Market | Setting the sales price | Inventory is Low

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The Market has been hot and the inventory is low.

Right Sales Price For Seller Is Buyer’s Call

Proper pricing is critical to a timely sale in any market. Yet, some home sellers today still want to set their price in relation to what their neighbors have sold for or are asking now, sometimes ignoring current market conditions and the differences between homes. When pricing a home — especially in today’s housing market — we find it’s helpful for sellers to understand what governs a buyer’s decision to purchase.

Here’s a quick look at how buyers view price:

  • Monthly payments are usually more important to buyers than the sales price.

  • The “out of pocket” cash needed at settlement/closing is a big factor with buyers.

  • All buyers want to cash in on a good deal.

  • Buyers have often shopped the competition and know how your home compares.

  • Buyers recognize value and shy away from overpriced homes.

  • Buyers don’t want to pay for your mistakes (paying too much when you purchased, over-improving the home, poor-quality remodeling jobs, etc.).

  • Buyers have no interest in how much money you need to realize from the sale to make your next move.

  • Buyers who work with a buyer’s agent mean business. They are ready to negotiate and close a deal.

Look at your competition and compare… for all your Wilmington NC real estate needs.

Your Future Is Now
No matter what your 2013 move may be in real estate, we have you covered. Our professional services can help you sell your home and find a new home to love — or help you with a smart investment purchase. We are your go-to people for all your real estate needs all year long. Feel free to contact us whether you’re just in the information-gathering stage or you’re ready to make your move. We look forward to working with you!
Categories: Wilmington NC Market Statistics, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington nc relocation

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.