Home sellers heavily favor buyers who back their purchase offers with loan pre-approval because those contracts have a higher probability of going to settlement.
Home sellers heavily favor buyers who back their purchase offers with loan pre-approval because those contracts have a higher probability of going to settlement.
Most homeowners have a list of things they would like to do to change and improve their homes. But moving those plans off the list and into reality is often prevented by costs, especially for labor. That’s why so many homeowners have adopted the “do-it-yourself” approach. Should you?
Don’t think you have to be an expert in masonry, carpentry, plumbing and electrical work to make your own home improvements. You can get help from books, magazines, videos, the Internet, or you could take a class with hands-on instruction. A bonus: When you learn to remodel, you’ll become a better maintenance person, saving yourself future repair costs.
If you’re just developing your handyperson skills, here are a few tips for getting the job done right at a cost savings:
Start with modest projects,
especially those with low materials costs (e.g., painting). That way you can afford to redo the project if your first attempt isn’t quite up to snuff.
Research and plan before diving in.
Get the training you need or talk with experts, then outline each step of the process on paper.
Buy, borrow or rent the proper tools.
Having the right tools when you need them is critical to doing any job efficiently and well.
If you lack the skills, patience or time to do the entire project, just do part of it.
You can ask contractors for bids that list the cost of each phase of the project, from preparation to finishing, plus materials. You may be able to save a lot by knocking down a wall yourself, removing old flooring or painting a newly installed wall.
Work with the professionals.
By becoming one of the “crew,” you can cut the overall cost of the project and learn a lot in the process.
Figure Eight Island NC real estate comprises a beautiful coastal community offering the ultimate in privacy and security located just minutes from the conveniences of Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach. Whether you’re looking for waterfront/oceanfront real estate on Figure 8 Island, for your dream home or second home for a beach vacation of a lifetime, Kay Baker & Associates of Sea Coast Realty can help you find premier Figure Eight Island, North Carolina, real estate! Come and experience the beauty, serenity and casual atmosphere of Figure Eight Island for yourself.
Homes for sale on Figure Eight Island, North Carolina are unlike any other oceanfront property you’ll find anywhere. Located on the Atlantic Ocean and accessible only by a private bridge, Figure Eight Island, North Carolina real estate is known for its proximity to over five miles of sandy white beaches, sparkling blue waters and abundant natural resources. Yet the island remains untouched by commercial developments like hotels and shopping centers.
See listing and more here...http://www.cbbaker.com/figure+eight+island+real+estate
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.
There are many ways to reduce the amount of money you send each month to your mortgage company. You just have to know where to cut the fat. Check out these seven money-diet tips to discover how you can slim down your monthly mortgage payment.
1. Refinance to a lower interest rate. Even a half-percent drop in your interest rate could save you hundreds of dollars a year. Drop a whole percentage point, say from 6% to 5% on a $150,000 mortgage for 30 years, and you’ll save more than $1,100 annually. Get a lower rate and save even more! Remember, though, you may have to pay closing costs to refinance. Make sure you’ll live in your home long enough to recoup those costs.
2. Refinance to two loans. If you took out a jumbo loan (one that is larger than local conventional loan limits in your area) when you purchased your home, you probably paid a higher rate than what was then available for conforming loans. Currently, a non-conforming jumbo loan is anything higher than $417,000 in most parts of the country. If you want to refinance above that amount, you can get around the higher jumbo rate by taking out two mortgage loans instead.
For example, say you want to refinance $500,000. You could take out a first mortgage for $400,000 at the lower conforming-loan rate. Then, you would take out a second mortgage or home equity loan for $100,000. Although the rate on the second may be higher than rates available for a jumbo, you’ll be paying that rate on a comparatively small amount of money. Overall, your rate for the entire $500,000 in loans will be lower than for a jumbo. That will mean a lower total monthly payment.
3. Double up on a small down payment. Refinancing to two loans also makes sense if you put a small down payment on your home. If you paid just 10% down on a $150,000 property, for example, you’re probably paying a private mortgage insurance (PMI) premium with your monthly mortgage payment. Once you have 20% equity in your home, you can drop that payment (as we’ll discuss later). But with less than 20%, it might pay to refinance to a 75/15 mortgage. Under this scenario, you would take out a first trust for 75% of the home’s value and a second trust for 15% of its value. With neither loan showing less than 20% equity in the home, PMI won’t be required.
4. Review your ARM calculations. Industry experts say consumers can lose money to calculation errors lenders sometimes make when re-computing adjustable-rate mortgage payments as they change year to year. Dust off your closing papers and look up the current rate to find out what you’re supposed to be paying according to the adjustments and caps stipulated for your loan. If you find a mistake in your favor, contact your mortgage company to have your payment changed to the lower amount.
5. Drop Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). If you bought your home with less than a 20% down payment, you probably have private mortgage insurance. PMI can cost hundreds of dollars monthly on some loans. The Homeowners Protection Act of 1998 says your lender must automatically cancel PMI when your equity reaches 22% on the loan pay-down schedule. But you can also drop your PMI once your equity reaches 20% through market appreciation and payments. If your home has been appreciating, and you think you owe less than 80% of its current value, contact your lender. Chances are you’ll have to pay for an appraisal (about $300 to $400) to prove your home’s current worth. But after that, you’ll see monthly savings in a lower mortgage payment without the PMI premium.
6. Get a longer term. Although this method may not suit everyone, if you need to increase cash flow by reducing your monthly payment, you could extend the term of your current loan. For example, if your balance is down to $100,000 on a $150,000 30-year mortgage that you took out 18 years ago at 7.5% interest, your monthly principal/interest payment would be $1,048.82. If you refinanced the $100,000 12-year balance with a 30-year loan at even the same interest rate, the longer term would lower your principal/interest payment to $699.21. That’s a big drop in payment, but it also means you’ll be paying on your home 12 years longer than before refinancing. And, of course, your total interest expense on the purchase of that home will be much higher.
7. Correct an outdated tax assessment. You’re probably paying a portion of your annual real estate taxes with your monthly payment to your mortgage holder. Have you checked your tax assessment to make sure you’re not paying too much? The taxing authority could be calculating taxes on your house with incorrect information, e.g., counting an extra bedroom, bathroom or finished basement that you don’t actually have. This would increase your tax bill and your monthly payment. Keep track of your tax assessment and challenge it if it doesn’t reflect actual property values in your area.
When you apply for a mortgage, the lender must respond with a Good Faith Estimate of Closing Costs, which explains the costs you will likely have to pay at settlement. But the numbers on the form are estimates, and the final tally could be higher or lower.
Some of the more common charges are:
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.
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.
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.
To view Wilmington NC real estate by school search please visit http://cbbaker.com/schoolInformation
|When it comes time to buy your next home, your decision will be based on dozens of criteria. If you’re like many home buyers, good schools will be at the very top of your list. Even buyers without children are often concerned about the quality of schools. They know property values often reflect the reputation of local schools-both public and private-and that a home near good schools may be easier to sell later on.|
It pays to look at schools early in the house-hunting process so you can narrow your focus to particular neighborhoods. Consider the following approaches and available resources for determining whether a school or school district is right for you and your children.
The first step is taking an honest look at your child’s educational needs. Is he or she average, exceptional, or is there a learning disability to consider? What are the student’s interests and natural abilities? Cerebral? Artistic? Athletic? It won’t matter that a school is tops in math and science if your child’s educational focus is in language and fine arts. Identifying your child’s individual needs will help determine the types of programs and educational approaches you’re looking for in a school.
You can tap the resources of several organizations to find out what schools are available in a particular area and how they rank compared with others in the system, the state and the nation. (See the side bar for details.)Take a look at the programs that would most interest or benefit your children. Is the local public school strong in those areas? If not, there may be good private-school alternatives in the vicinity.
Keep in mind that what you see on paper may not provide a complete picture of the school, its resources and the capabilities of its educational staff.
It’s easy to find out what public school district a house is in-the information is nearly always included in the MLS listing, available through your Realtor. Note, however, that school boards frequently re-draw districts. To help ensure a home is likely to remain in a particular district, you may want to find out how close it is to district lines-being central to a district increases your chances of staying there. Contact the local board of education to obtain a district map.
Also ask the local board for any information available about the school system, special programs, etc. Many boards will provide you with standardized test scores, often broken down for each school and subject area. Private schools often provide test-score information and college-placement statistics as well.
Make plans to visit the schools you are interested in. Schedule appointments with the principal and some of the teachers in your child’s grade. Inquire about school policies and procedures. Discuss your child’s strengths and weaknesses, asking how the school would handle them.
Perhaps the best way to investigate a school is to talk with parents whose children attend. Visit neighbors in the area and ask them to be candid about what they like and dislike about local schools.
We’ll be happy to provide the phone numbers and website addresses of the schools and districts in our area. Be aware, however, that complying with fair housing practices, we may not be able to provide you with all the information you seek. Discussing school quality can be construed as “steering” buyers to or away from particular neighborhoods, which could be viewed as discrimination-even if unintentional.That being said, we’ll do everything we can to support your efforts to locate the right home and the right schools to meet your family’s needs.
American School Directory: (800) 444-4488. P.O. Box 7003, Murfreesboro, TN 37133-7003.Web. E-mail. With over 108,000 individual websites, provides every K-12 school in America (public and private) a free Internet presence and identity. Includes pictures, maps, art, information, calendars, etc.National Association of State Boards of Education: (703) 684-4000. 277 S. Washington St., Suite 100 Alexandria, VA. 22314. Web. E-mail. Offers quick reference state profiles for basic education information and data taken from U.S. Department of Education statistics. Includes statistics to allow comparisons between a state and the national mean.
School Match: (800) 992-5323. 5027 Pine Creek Drive, Westerville, OH 43081. Web. E-mail. For a fee, you can receive a report card on any public school or one of thousands of private schools in the U.S. At an additional cost, they will list up to 15 schools that match your criteria identified by their questionnaire. They also assist families with special-needs children and those moving overseas. All reports are confidential. If you are making a company move, your company may pay for School Match’s assistance.
Yahoo!: Web. You’ll find a state-by-state directory of schools and their websites, along with other useful information.
To view all Wilmington NC real estate please visit www.cbbaker.com
Welcome to our awesome town…
In case you need a couple more reasons to love Wilmington NC…
Wilmington NC is situated on the southeast coast of NC and is bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and the west by the Cape Fear River. The beauty and charm of Wilmington and the surrounding beaches equal or surpass any on the east coast. The many pristine beaches that we have to enjoy such as Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Topsail Beach, Oak Island and Ocean Isle Beach are sure to captivate your heart.
The area’s many miles of coastline, rivers and sounds offer a variety of watersports, boating activities, and quite a few harbors, marinas, and yacht clubs.
Being located within minutes of one of the most protected inlets on the east coast, Wilmington offers bountiful fishing opportunities within minutes. Masonboro Inlet is located between the Southern tip of Wrightsville Beach and Masonboro Island. Also, the many creeks and bays located off banks channel and the waterways are a fisherman’s dream. You will see them fishing for drum, trout, and flounder in the fall of the year.
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.
Wilmington is blessed with a beautiful and extensive historic district with magnificent and stately oaks, azaleas and oleanders. 230 blocks of downtown are on the The National Register of Historic Districts. The city embraces a lot of history and is fortunate that so much has been preserved.
I cannot speak highly enough about the real estate offered in and around Wilmington NC, from the River to the Sea! Wilmington offers many affordable neighborhoods such as Whitney Pines to move up neighborhoods like Covil Estates with amenities, to luxury gated communities such as Landfall, or golf course neighborhoods like Porters Neck, and waterfront neighborhoods with marinas and boatslips such as Turtle Hall or Shinn Point . The choices are all right here in our great port city of Wilmington NC.
You can truly enjoy golf year round at the many golf courses throughout the Cape Fear Region. Whatever your handicap, there are more than twenty courses in and around Wilmington that are a pleasure to walk. Some of the courses were designed by some of golf’s greatest names including Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, Fred Couples and P.B. Dye, among others.
For more than 50 years, Wilmingtonians have enjoyed the biggest celebration of the year, The NC Azalea Festival. From the parade, artwork, garden tours, street fair, and rich history, there is truly something for everyone to enjoy. This year the Azalea Festival will be held April 1-5th. Come have fun with us!
For all the history or military buffs, the USS Battleship NC is located just across the Cape Fear River from downtown Wilmington. You can tour the ship, take a history lesson, visit the museum or the ship’s store.
You will certainly never be bored with all the attractions to our area including the Zoo, numerous Museums, Cape Fear Riverboats, Airlie Gardens, Poplar Grove Plantation, Art galleries, live music and performing arts.
Wilmington is known for its many churches and their unique architecture. You will find one on almost every corner from any denomination you prefer.
Escape to the tropics! That is exactly how a visit to Bald Head Island will make you feel. Bald Head is located right off the Cape Fear River across from Southport, NC and only accessible by ferry or boat. The island is only traveled by golf cart and offers some of the most beautiful beaches and creeks around.
Figure Eight Island, NC is located just north of Wrightsville Beach, NC . It is a private island, only accessible by a swing-bridge with a gatehouse and is bordered by the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean. The island consists of 1300 acres and approximately 441 homes. Figure Eight Island today is a beautiful coastal community offering the ultimate in privacy and security and just minutes from the conveniences of Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach, NC.
Thalian Hall in Wilmington NC celebrated its grand opening October 12, 1858! 85 performances were presented that first year. At the time, it was the largest Theater South of Richmond, Va. Thalian Hall was known by many names in its early days such as “The Wilmington Theater”, “The Opera House” and “The Academy of Music”. Thalian Hall today looks largely the same as it did in 1858, with its rambling ornate architecture.
The NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher not only displays an assortment of waterlife, but also focuses on conservation of aquatic environments. The Aquarium is open to the public and is available for private events.
The mild climate of the Cape fear region is a big bonus for residents and visitors alike. Golfing, watersports and a multitude of outdoor activities can be enjoyed year round. However, there are four seasons and their transitions are usually spectacular.
You will always be in amazement of the southern culture and hospitality of the Southeast region of North Carolina. It is commonplace for southerners to stop on the street and ask you “how you are doing”. And, the courtesy of drivers will pleasantly surprise you.
New Hanover county is a good location for comfortable living and a thriving business environment. In fact, the Wilmington area was just ranked in the 6th position for cities with job and economic growth by Milken Institute.
Shopping is delightful with the many strip centers, Independence Mall, Cotton Exchange in downtown Wilmington and the new Mayfaire Town Center with all the name brand stores like William & Sonoma, J Crew, Pottery Barn, and more.
The schools in New Hanover county are some of the best in the country. The recent ABC scores and AYP results are indicative of our excellent schools.
UNCW has been named numerous times “Best in the Southeast” by the Princeton review and one of the top three ‘Best Values” by Kiplinger’s rankings. Wilmington College opened its doors in 1947 and was granted 4 year status in 1963 after moving to its present location on College Rd. UNCW presently enrolls nearly 12000 students.
Wilmington, NC is blessed with many museums such as the Cape Fear Museum, Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington’s Children’s Museum, Wilmington Railroad Museum and many more.
When the sun goes down in Wilmington, the downtown area lights up with neighborhood bars, pubs and restaurants. Not to mention the many restaurants and the like that have opened at Mayfaire Town center near Wrightsville Beach.
The Cape Fear region is rich in happenings around the area. You can choose from annual fishing tournaments, crafts shows, festivals like the Azalea Festival, Jazz Festival or Riverfest and at Christmas, the Holiday flotilla.
Wilmington or “Hollywood East” has hosted the production of more than 400 movies, miniseries and TV movies. In fact, more revenue has been generated from Wilmington NC productions than any other US city except Los Angeles and New York. Just to name a few One Tree Hill is filmed here, Sleeping With the Enemy, Divine Secrets of Ya Ya Sisterhood and Forest Gump.
Gardens by the sea best describes the lush formal gardens, lakes and magnificent oaks draped with Spanish moss. Airlie Gardens is home to the Azalea Festival garden party with its collection of over 100,000 azaleas. Airlie is also a popular setting for weddings, Airlie concerts, Oyster roasts, and enchanted Airlie during Christmas starting in November.
A pre-approved mortgage loan is an excellent guideline to help relocating home buyers know how much home they can afford. For the seller, pre-approval is proof that the buyer’s lender feels confident a loan commitment would not be a problem if all the financial documentation were in order.Pre-Approval Benefits:
Before you jump into planning your move, there are some terrific services we offer to relocating families moving into or out of our area. Let us help you take advantage of them. Send us an e-mail or give us a call. Please visit www.cbbaker.com for more information.