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

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

What is the difference between loan pre-approval and pre-qualification?

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Pre-approval and pre-qualification are steps ywww.cbbaker.comou can take to line up your mortgage loan before you start house hunting in Wilmington NC. They are different, so read on:

Pre-approval:

  • is actually applying for, and getting, a conditional commitment for a mortgage loan up to a specific amount of money.
  • is usually good for 60-90 days.
  • applies, even though you might not have chosen the home you will buy.
  • often requires a loan application fee.
  • gives you bargaining power, because it tells the seller you are ready to buy and able to get financing.

Pre-qualification:

  • is the result of a lender taking a cursory look at the buyer’s income, credit history and assets.
  • states the buyer probably could afford to buy up to a certain limit.
  • does not include a loan commitment.
  • tells sellers you’re serious about buying and their house is in your price range.
  • usually costs no more than the credit report fee.

Some advantages of pre-qualification and pre-approval are:

  • A pre-approval or pre-qualification can speed closing because the paperwork for the loan has already been started.
  • You will begin learning about the financing process, and any problems that might arise can be resolved early.
  • You know in advance how much you can borrow.
  • Your offer is more attractive to the seller, because the seller won’t have to guess about whether you can afford the house.

Where do you begin when it’s time to look for a new house? Start by calling or e-mailing us with your home-buying questions. We can give you an idea of how much home you can afford to buy, then you can follow up with your local lender.

Categories: Pre-Approval for Loan, Pre-Qualification, wilmington nc real estate, Wilmington NC real estate stats 2014, wilmington real estate stats

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

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…

Categories: Financing a Home Purchase in Wilmington NC, Home Selling, Managing your debt, Screen Gems Studio, Showcasing your home, Technorati Profile, volunteer in wilmington NC, wilmington nc, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington nc real estate

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

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

How to Win the Mortgage Game When Relocating

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The single smartest move you can make is to put off house hunting until you have a firm idea of your buying power. If you are pre-approved for a loan, you can save considerable time house hunting and mortgage shopping.

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:

  • Streamlines house hunting.
      A pre-approval identifies how much money the transferee can obtain, so precious time isn’t wasted looking at too-costly homes.
  • Offers peace of mind.
      You know for sure how much home you can afford, and there is little chance a lender will not make the requested commitment.
  • Prevents “house poor” homeowners.
      Pre-approval reduces the possibility of you becoming overextended and unable to meet payments later on.
  • Boosts bargaining power.
      Pre-approved buyers tend to be in an advantageous position when bidding against other buyers, as sellers like knowing your loan is guaranteed.
  • Pinpoints best mortgage option.
    The pre-approval process helps you identify ahead of time which type of mortgage best meets your personal needs.

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. 910-202-3607 or kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com

Categories: Pre-Approved Mortgage, Uncategorized, wilmington nc real estate, Wrightsville Beach NC

PLAY SMART: Savvy Tips On Buying A Vacation Home

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Great Reasons To Buy A Vacation Home

Figure Eight Island

Figure Eight Island

They provide another investment that includes a mortgage-interest tax deduction.

We’ve all thought about it while lying on the beach or inhaling the fresh mountain air: “Why don’t we buy a vacation home?” Owning a vacation home can be a good decision if you buy smart.

Whether you rent it out or not, you can deduct the mortgage interest as long as you use the home more than 14 days or more than 10% of the number of days the home is rented annually at a fair rental, whichever is longer.

Qualified second homes include houses, condominiums, cooperatives, mobile homes, house trailers, boats or similar properties that have sleeping, cooking and toilet facilities.

Here’s an interesting twist on the mortgage interest deduction: If you take out a home equity loan on your first home and use the funds to acquire your second home, the interest on the home equity loan is also deductible. That’s three mortgage interest deductions off your tax return!

Consult IRS Publication 936 for a complete discussion of how mortgage interest for a second home is deductible.

You can purchase your future retirement home now, at today’s prices.

Though your second home may be a vacation home now, if you buy right you can convert it into your principal residence later.

They can produce their own income.

Renting out a second home occasionally or often can help you pay for the property with OPM (other people’s money). Check with your tax advisor about how much of the upkeep and management expenses are deductible against your income.

Buying Tips From The Experts

Buy something within a reasonable distance.

Be sure you can get to your vacation home in a short amount of time. Before you make a final decision, travel the distance on a typical Friday afternoon to see whether the drive will be too much to deal with after a long work week.

Rent in the area several times before you buy.

If you really like a particular area, check it out during different seasons. This way you get to know the climate, people, pests, traffic patterns and other regional particulars first-hand.

Consult other owners.

Check with owners of nearby properties about public and private facilities, special maintenance required due to location or weather, the social climate, local development plans and prevalence of crime. Learning about the lifestyle of the area may help you narrow down your choices.

Think home first, investment second.

Although you may be able to generate rental income from your vacation home, it may not cover your ownership costs. (If you want to try real estate investments, give us a call to look at properties in the local area.)

Consider different styles of properties in a vacation area.

To minimize upkeep and have a more secure environment, a condo may be preferable to a single-family home. If you plan on converting it to a retirement home, consider what type of home you’ll want as a full-time residence.

Call us 910.202.3607 or kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com or www.cbbaker.com

Categories: Buying a Vacation Home, Uncategorized, wilmington nc, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington real estate stats, Wrightsville Beach NC

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

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

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

PAPER

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

ELECTRONICS

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

HAZARDOUS WASTE

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

HOUSEHOLD

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


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.