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

RESALES: Hidden Advantages Of Previously Owned Homes

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Although many people prefer to buy new homes, the vast majority of buyers prefer resales. According to the National Association of Realtors, 75% of homes sold are resales.When home buyers ask us about the merits of buying an “old” versus a newly built home, we show them how resales offer some of the best values in the market today. The news gets better when they see the wonderfully diverse resale selection of appealing styles and sizes in may locations and price ranges. Plus, when the owner goes to sell an “old” home, they have what most buyers are looking for.

Here are some of the advantages that make “old” homes so popular:

Size Appeal

Older homes often have more space inside and out than new homes. Inside, resale homes may have more square footage and higher ceilings; outside, resale lot sizes are typically larger.

Close-in convenience

Many resale homes are in older neighborhoods, which are closer to downtown business districts and shopping. New communities are often a distance away from cities and commute times may be much longer.{short description of image}

Cost savings

Resale homes generally are less expensive than similar new homes. One reason could be that resale sellers have more bargaining room than builders who must make a return on the high costs they recently paid for land and building materials. In fact, a NAR study found resale sellers accepted a median drop of $4,000 from their asking price while builders’ median drop was only $500.

More green space

For tree lovers, resales are a big draw. Older homes typically have mature trees and plantings, unlike what’s found in new neighborhoods.

What you see is what you get

There is no guesswork with older, established neighborhoods. Buyers can research and tour the schools, sample the shopping, and check out the neighbors. In a new-home subdivision, buyers might not want to live with the noise and dirt of construction, may wonder about future development, or deal with possible long bus rides to existing schools and little or no nearby shopping.

Lots of Extras

Many resale buyers cash in on “extras” the owner has already put in, which can save big money. Typical money-saving extras: fenced yards, decks, pools, play sets, window treatments and appliances.We would be happy to assist you with your house-hunting needs. A resale home can be an excellent value for a buyer in today’s market. Call or e-mail for more information.”

 

Categories: Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, Wilmington NC real esatate, Wrightsville Beach NC

How to Win the Mortgage Game When Relocating

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lotus_bud_free_photo-690x457www.cbbaker.com

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

Next Tax Season | Work From Home? It Pays Off At Tax Time

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birdflyingTime to plan for next tax season.  If you keep records, schedule appointments and carry on other such activities from your home office, some common home-office expenses, such as utilities, insurance, repairs, cleaning and depreciation, may qualify for a deduction, even if you do the actual work in another location. Be aware, however, any depreciation claimed after May 6, 1997, will be taxed at 25% if the residence is sold for a gain, whether or not the property has been converted to personal use.

Starting in 2013, there is a simplified home office deduction calculation to bypass maintaining detailed expense records. Simply deduct $5 for every square foot of home office space used, up to a maximum of 300 square feet or $1,500. This simplified expense is recorded on Schedule C rather than Form 8829 which allows you to separately deduct mortgage interest and real estate taxes on Schedule A.

TAX TIP: If you (or your family) use your home office for non-business purposes, it cannot be claimed on your tax return. To claim home-office deductions, the space must be used exclusively for business purposes.

BONU$ ARTICLE

PROPERTY LOSSES

Disasters Hurt: Get What You Deserve At Tax Time


If you lost property due to an accident, storm, fire, flood, drought or other unforeseen occurrence, you may not have to report insurance proceeds if you use the proceeds to replace the property within a specified time. Additionally, if the home was located in a federally declared disaster area, you can claim the loss on your tax return in the year of the loss (2015) or for the preceding year.

TAX TIP: Local and state property taxes may also be abated in some cases. Consult IRS Publication 547 “Casualties, Disasters, and Thefts” to find out more.

We are here to help.  Just let us know.  910-202-3607 or kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com

Categories: #Taxes, Home Office, Uncategorized, Wilmington NC homes, Wrightsville Beach NC

WEEKEND DIY 2016 | Take Advantage

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birdflyingIf you have a free weekend, take advantage of it to improve your home. You don’t need a lot of time or a stack of cash to make a big change to your living area this year.

 

Painting: If you’re not up to changing the colors of an entire room but still want to use color to make an impact, consider accenting a single wall to draw your eye to that area. Alternatively, paint a hallway, a closet or a small area to define a play space, office or other nook.

Rugs: Measure and visualize how an area rug can tie a room together. Find a suitable rug for a living room, dining room, bedroom or other area that needs some warmth.

Shelving: Are your closets a mess? Take measurements and visit your local home improvement store to get new shelving or an organizing system for your closet and start your new work week with order in your life!

Touch up: Sometimes a new coat of paint on trim is all that’s needed to enliven a room. Clean the trim, tape and paint. Work in defined sections so you can call a room—or two or more—complete before Monday dawns.

Categories: DYI Weekend, Remodel your home, Uncategorized, Wilmington NC homes, Wrightsville Beach NC

What are the basic steps to selling my home? Wilmington NC real estate

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  • 1
  • Do your homework.
      Visit our website to size-up the homes-for-sale competition, read home selling articles on our site, consider reading a book on home selling, attend some seller’s Open Houses in the your area (ask us or see the local newspaper).  www.cbbaker.com
  • Hire a specialist.
      As neighborhood real estate agents that specialize in listing in your area, we know what it takes to sell in this market. We welcome your call!
  • Set the price.
      Ask your agent for an analysis of the local market and an opinion of the best price range for your home.
  • Set a marketing strategy.
      Have your agent discuss a marketing plan and include the main elements in the listing presentation.
  • Get the house ready.
      With your agent, take a hard, objective look at your home. Prioritize what needs to be done, and decide how much you can spend in time and money to make it look its best before opening it up to buyers. Get rid of all clutter and put some of your stuff in storage to make the rooms and closets roomier. Put together an information packet on local amenities, your utility bills and other helpful information.
  • Consider finding a reliable real estate attorney.
      The attorney can help review all the paperwork.
  • Keep on top of the process.
    Stash some quick clean-up supplies close at hand, and do a fast run-through before letting a prospective buyer preview your home. Also, keep a notebook handy with a record of everyone who has come through (and their agents), and inform your agent after each visit. This can speed the follow-up that your agent will do.

 

Categories: Selling your home, Steps to Sell your home, Uncategorized, Wilmington NC homes, Wrightsville Beach NC

Giving Tuesday | Dollars and Sense | Wilmington NC

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

Check Out Your Charities Before Being Generous

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. “Tax exempt” does not always mean “tax deductible.” Not all charities are eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions even though they may have tax-exempt status (for example, political organizations). Tax exempt means the organization does not have to pay taxes. Tax deductible means donors can deduct contributions to the charity on their federal income tax returns. Request the charity’s tax exempt letter to determine whether the organization qualifies for tax-deductible contributions. Or, use the IRS “Exempt Organizations Select Check” online tool — at www.TinyURL.com/a72f74x — to see if donations to a particular organization are deductible.

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

Top Selling House Tips | Serious Holiday Selling

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housebowThinking about waiting until after the hectic holidays to sell your home? Think again. Did you know that buyers looking for a home during the holiday season are some of the most serious buyers all year? So, if you’re thinking of selling, don’t wait until spring to list your home for sale. Clean, clear-out, fix-up and prep your home like you’re hosting a big holiday party. Your home will shine online and be tour-ready when that right buyer walks through the front door. After all, emotion sells homes. Few homes for sale are more appealing than a warm and cheery holiday home. Give yourself the gift of a quick holiday home sale.

Tip #1: Contact us to learn how we make holiday home selling easy.

Tip #2: Decorate, but don’t go over the top. Consider putting out just half of your decorations while it’s for sale. You’ll have more home to show and many fewer items to put away when you’re busy packing to move!

Tip #3: Focus on the outside. Make sure that your outside still looks inviting even though it’s winter. Be sure the front walkway is clean, clear and inviting with seasonal holiday décor.

Tip #4: Turn up the heat. Don’t skimp on the temperature. Turn up the thermostat to make it cozy and inviting. During an open house (where fireplaces can be closely monitored) consider a fire in the fireplace or warmed cookies in the oven.

Tip #5: Price it right and be flexible and open to all offers. The key to a home sale any time of year is making sure your price is realistic and takes into account the competition. We can help you set the right price to sell!

If you are in Southeastern NC, text “real estate” to 910-208-0556 and see your competition.

Categories: Holiday Selling, Sell your home during the Holidays, wilmington nc real estate, Wrightsville Beach NC

PLAY SMART: Savvy Tips On Buying A Vacation Home :: Wrightsville Beach

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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.

Great Reasons To Buy A Vacation Home

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

Sign up for your own portal for looking at Wilmington NC real estate at www.cbbaker.com

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.

 

Categories: Buying a Vacation Home, Figure Eight Island, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington nc real estate, Wrightsville Beach NC


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.