Need to Renovate? A Mortgage Loan That Can Help Pay For Your Home’s Renovations

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1Want to renovate your home’s 20th century-era kitchen? Or maybe you’d like to build that master bedroom of your dreams. You can—with the help of two mortgage programs designed to help homeowners pay for renovations designed to improve the value of a residence.

Fannie Mae offers the HomeStyle Renovation Mortgage, while the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) provides the 203(k) Program. Buyers can take out these mortgages when buying a new home. But they can also refinance their existing mortgage loans into a HomeStyle or 203(k) loan if they need to make improvements to their current homes.

These loans allow consumers to borrow more than a home is worth, as long as you use the extra money you are borrowing to pay for home repairs or renovations.

For instance, if borrowers want to buy a $150,000 home, they can take out a HomeStyle or 203(k) loan for $175,000. They can then use that extra $25,000 to fund the renovation of an aging kitchen or add another bathroom.

Borrowers will have to work with consultants who will study borrowers’ renovation plans and make sure that the homeowners are using the money for the repairs they promised to make.

But that extra work is worth it if it allows you to improve the value of your home while making it a better place to live for you and your family.

If you have questions about these loan programs, don’t hesitate to call us. We can help you determine which program is best for you. And we can guide you through the application process for both types of loans.

Don’t Keep It To Yourself!
After you’ve read and reviewed this newsletter, we hope you’ll pass it on to those you know who are thinking about selling or buying a home this year. They’ll appreciate you thinking about them, and we’ll certainly appreciate the referrals. Your positive word-of-mouth is greatly valued. Thank you!


Categories: Get a Mortgage to Renovate, Uncategorized, wilmington beach homes, wilmington nc, wilmington real estate stats

WHY WAIT? Contingencies Designed To Move A Sale Forward

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When you buy or sell a Wilmington NC home, there may be some delays before you can close and load up the moving van to say goodbye to your current neighborhood. These delays happen for a variety of reasons.

Sometimes a buyer is not able to make a decision to purchase. Contingencies are typically used to smooth acceptance of a contract without delaying the buying decision. Most contracts, for example, are contingent upon financing. This is for the protection of the seller as well as the buyer, because a seller doesn’t want to be tied to a buyer who can’t deliver.

Here are some common types of contingencies found in sales contracts:

Home inspection: Placed by the buyer, this type of contingency usually requires that a “satisfactory” home inspection must be conducted, before the buyer will go through with the purchase of a home. Somewhat related is buyer approval of required repairs, such as painting or roofing.

Financing: With today’s pre-approval for mortgages and all-cash buyers, this contingency is not as ubiquitous as it was in the past. However, some buyers will write a contract first, then determine if they can get the loan.

Home of choice: This is a seller’s contingency placed on a buyer’s contract. The seller may want to find another home and write a contract on it before agreeing to sell the home they live in. The buyer who agrees to this contingency will have to delay closing until the seller has purchased a new home.

Home sale: For financial or other reasons, some buyers may have to include this contingency, which gives them the opportunity to sell an existing home first, before completing a sales contract.

Contingencies can raise questions and need to be fulfilled before a contract can be settled. As your local real estate experts, we can give you more information on real estate transactions and what you might encounter in today’s market. Contact us to find out more.

Categories: home contingency, Move Sale of Home Forward, Uncategorized, wilmington nc, wilmington nc foreclosures, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington nc relocation

FAMILY MOVE: Tips For House Hunting With The Kids

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Parents Carrying Child

Child experts agree it’s a good idea to involve the children when a family makes relocation plans. You may have mixed feelings about taking the kids house-hunting, however. (It’s hard enough for just two people to decide on a new home!) Here are a few pointers that may help:

Narrow The Field First

The kids don’t need to visit every potential Wilmington NC house on the list. If possible, wait until you’ve selected two or three serious prospects before bringing the children along. In any case, limit your kid-accompanied tours to three houses or less per day.

Provide Behavioral Guidelines

{short description of image}Remind the kids to treat the owners and their property with respect. Make sure the kids stay in the same room with you at all times and that they “keep their hands to themselves.”If the owners are present, your family members should also keep their thoughts about the house to themselves until after you leave the property. Making positive comments in the presence of the owners could work against you when negotiating the price, while negative comments could spark a hostile reaction, causing the owner to sell to another buyer.

Make The Kids Your Secretaries

If they’re old enough, your children can each keep a log of the homes you look at, including detailed information about the house — location, size, types and numbers of rooms, etc. Have them describe they’re feelings about the house, too, particularly what they think it would be like to live there.

Locate The Nearest Playground

A post-tour trip to the park (or local mall, if you have teenagers) can be a great motivator for good behavior and a nice way to get to know the area. Walking the streets in the neighborhood will also give you and the kids a better feeling for the local lifestyle and whether there are other children the same age as yours in the area.

Offer Entertainment

Bring along books or games to help your kids through the “I’m bored” stage. If you’ll be driving for extended periods, bring some audio books or favorite music.

Time Your Tours For Success

Plan to look at houses early in the day or just after (certainly not during) nap time. Be prepared with snack foods and drinks to keep energy levels up.

Let Them Know Their Input Counts.

Although the final decision is yours, your children will feel better about the move if they know you value what they think about their potential new home and neighborhood.


Categories: Buying House with Kids, wilmington nc, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington nc relocation

25 Reasons to Love Wilmington NC

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1. Beautiful Beaches and Waterways

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.


2. Boating

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.

3. Fishing

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.

3. Masonboro Island

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.

4. Historic Downtown Wilmington NC

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.

5. Wilmington NC Real Estate

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. Read the rest of this entry

Categories: Figure Eight Island, Uncategorized, wilmington nc, Wilmington nc schools, wilmington nc weekly events

10 Tips Smart Wilmington NC Condominium Shoppers Should Consider

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There may be no such thing as a perfect condominium, but you can probably come close to your ideal. With the help of an experienced real estate agent, you can check out the following criteria to locate the right condo at an affordable price: For Sale Sign

Look at common areas:

  1. A condo situated in a neighborhood on the upswing, not the downslide; convenient to shopping, cultural and recreational facilities and good schools. (Even if you have no children, you may someday have a potential buyer who does.)
  2. Ample parking areas, as invisible as possible – especially from the front entrance.
  3. Whether high-rise or two-story, a structure that is sound and attractive.
  4. All public and private entrances equipped with double-lock systems. Electronic surveillance, where possible.
  5. Convenient and discretely placed laundry facilities, community rooms, saunas, locker rooms, game rooms, individual storage spaces and spots for trash.

Consider the private areas:

  1. Well-placed air-conditioning and heating units.
  2. Soundproofed walls, ceiling and floors.
  3. Well-padded, good-quality carpeting.
  4. First-rate kitchen and bathroom appliances and facilities.
  5. A kitchen equipped with an exhaust fan for cooking fumes.

If you’re thinking of looking at condominiums, e-mail us or give us a call. We’ll be glad to help show you what’s available in our area.

Categories: Buying a Condo, Uncategorized, wilmington nc, Wilmington NC homes

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

LOCATION: The Most Important Questions Every Buyer Should Ask

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Buying in Wilmington NC?

It’s a maxim in real estate that the three most crucial factors in selecting a house are “location, location, location.” It’s also true! No matter how wonderful the house is, the location is key to how well you’ll like living in it and how well it sells when you’re ready to move on. Before you buy, carefully check the following factors to be sure the house you like is really the one you want to live in.


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

Figure Eight Island

Figure Eight Island

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 or commercial development planned?


Check around the clock
Is rush hour traffic a problem? What will be the impact of special events such as 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 the 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? Are there any 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 and what would flood insurance cost?

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. If you have questions about a home’s location, we can help. Call or e-mail us now. Here are some affordable home neighborhoods.

Categories: first time home buyers, wilmington nc

Color Your Walls With The Right Mood

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Many studies have proven that people generally reabanjoct to color in very predictable ways–especially the color of their surroundings. Of course, those reactions are not always the same for everyone; some people associate certain colors with experiences unique to themselves. On the whole, though, you can choose wall colors in your home to help evoke or enhance different reactions–in yourself and others.

Moods Colors
Coziness light shades of yellow, orange, and red
Cleanliness white
Comfort deep purples, pink
Coolness blue, white
Cheerfulness yellow
Energy darker shades of yellow, orange, red
Playfulness primary colors (bright red, blue, yellow)
Serenity green, blue, light gray, beige
Refreshment green
Hunger red, orange, brown tonews

For more tips please visit

Categories: Color your world, wilmington, wilmington nc, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington nc real estate

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

Tools and Gadgets For Holiday Home Gifts

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When it comes to home repairs, maintenance and fix-ups, having the right tool for the task at hand can spell the difference between a quick job well done and a frustrating ordeal. If you have a “handyperson” (willing or not) on your holiday gift list, here are some great gifts you could contribute to his or her arsenal of equipment–if he or she hasn’t already discovered them.


  • Cordless Power Drill

(9.6 volt or more) with two rechargeable batteries. Likely to become the most oft-used tool in the box!

Drill bit set (100 piece or more)

to handle any challenge-ceramic, concrete, specialty head shapes, etc. With quick-snap adaptor, even better.

Portable tool organizer

of heavy-duty canvas or rip-stop fabric. Belt, vest or bucket offers ready access to tools, often with dozens of varying pocket sizes.

Universal socket wrench

can adjust to any size, both metric and standard, due to flexible pin design. Some come with power adaptors for electric drills/screwdrivers.

Spring hose

(50′ or longer) takes the weight and the winding out of watering tasks, yet stands up to wear and tear.

Pressure washer

for concrete, siding, outdoor furniture, decks, vehicles and much more. Even inexpensive, lower pressure models (about $80) are effective enough for most tasks.

Electronic stud finder

finds the wood, not just the nail holding it in place. Some come with laser leveling devices.

Carpenter’s level

comes in handy for everything from tree houses and fencing to hanging picture on the walls.

Sanding sponges,

in various texture grades, offer a tough, rinseable, reusable sanding surface, particularly useful with drywall and spackling compound.


Categories: Tools, wilmington nc

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.