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

So You Want To Buy A Foreclosure? | Understand The Three Steps | Wilmington NC real estate

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What Every Buyer Must Know

 In today’s market, you’ll hear lots of terms used to describe “bargain”
properties, distressed, short sale, pre-foreclosure, auction, REO,
bank owned, foreclosure, foreclosed, and more. Confused?
That’s understandable. Some of these terms are interchangeable,
some are not, and some cover a whole range of bargain property types.


Foreclosure Overview:

To understand the terms, it’s important to understand the three stages of foreclosure:

  1. Pre-foreclosure stage. This stage begins when the homeowner falls behind on home-loan payments (or sometimes other terms of the loan). Lenders may wait for a second, third or even fourth missed payment before sending the homeowner a Notice of Default — which becomes public record. The homeowner then has a given period of time to respond to the notice and/or come up with the outstanding payments and fees — sometimes by selling the home in a pre-foreclosure sale, also known as a distress sale. (If a judicial procedure is required, it occurs after the notice of default is given.)One type of pre-foreclosure or distress sale is a short sale — when proceeds from the sale of a home are less than the amount of mortgage still owed to the homeowner’s lender. A lender-approved short sale (or short payoff) occurs when the homeowner’s lender agrees to accept the proceeds of the home sale as satisfaction of the mortgage owed, even though proceeds are less than the outstanding debt.
  2. Foreclosure stage. At this stage, the former homeowner may or may not have been evicted — depending on state law — when the lender puts the home up for public auction (after a judgment of foreclosure in those states requiring judicial procedure).If the home sells at the foreclosure auction, (sometimes called a sheriff’s sale, trustee’s sale or step sale) money from the sale is used to pay off the costs of the foreclosure, taxes and other prior liens, service charges and advances, interest and principal on the mortgage, late charges or fees, and liens recorded after the first mortgage. Any amount left over is paid to the borrower (former homeowner). When proceeds from the sale are less than the various amounts owed, the lender may be able to hold the borrower responsible for the difference (deficiency judgment).
  3. Post-foreclosure stage. When a property that does not sell at auction — either because no one bid on it or because bids did not meet the lender’s or agency’s minimum price — the property becomes real estate owned (REO) by the lender or government agency that guaranteed the loan (such as FHA/HUD, VA, etc.). You’ll also hear the term bank-ownedapplied to these properties, whether they are owned by an actual bank or some other type of lender. (Be aware: The term REO also applies to properties purchased by companies from employees who didn’t sell their home on the market before relocating, which is to say that not all REOs are foreclosed properties.)Once the lender or agency has repossessed a property following a failed auction attempt, the home is put back on the market. Most REO properties are listed for sale through real estate brokers and placed on the Multiple Listing Service.


At this stage, the foreclosure process is complete, and the property may be accurately described as a foreclosed property, while in the first two stages the home is in foreclosure and should be referred to as a foreclosure property. (You’ll find, however, that real estate writers and others sometimes misuse this terminology; be sure to ask if you are unsure what stage of foreclosure a particular property is in.)

Here is a list of current foreclosures in the Wilmington NC real estate area  Click Here for List…

For a list of Short Sale Homes Click Here….

To search the Wilmington NC MLS, please visit


Categories: Buy a foreclosure in Wilmington NC, Buying Wilmington NC real estate, Wilmington NC Market Statistics, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington nc weekly events, worlds largest christmas tree, Wrightsville Beach NC

The Spirit of Christmas is to Give of Yourself …

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Merry Christmas from Our House to Yours.

Spend time with family and friends, enjoy them richly.  Along the way find a way to help new friends.  This is the time of year that we must remember that it is the giving that is so rewarding.  Giving of your time, crafts, good deeds and helping others.




I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. 

~Charles Dickens

Christmas is a necessity.  There has to be at least one day of the year to remind us that we’re here for something else besides ourselves.  ~Eric Sevareid

Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree.  In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.  ~Larry Wilde

Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.  ~Washington Irving

This December,
That love weighs more than gold!
~Josephine Dodge Daskam Bacon

Categories: ability park, Merry Christmas Wilmington Nc, Uncategorized, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington nc weekly events, worlds largest christmas tree, Wrightsville Beach NC

The Rental Market Is Hot | Become an investor at the right time | Wilmington NC real estate

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5 Basics for Building Wealth

Through Investing in Rental  Property

There are some people that have decided to rent instead of purchase until they find exactly the right house and price for them.  The flip side of this coin is that there are renters out looking.  There are homes and investor properties that are priced right, that could produce a positive cash flow.  If you have been thinking about becoming an investor, now might be the time. 

With a relatively modest amount of capital and income, you can profit from real estate investing – once you recognize the chief elements of the rental-property marketplace: Blueprints

  • Taxes may be inevitable, but they are also controllable. In rental properties, you currently benefit from cash deductions for financing, management and operating costs as well as non-cash deductions for depreciation. You also benefit from possible lower long-term capital gains tax rates or tax deferral.
  • Leverage involves multiplying your profits by financing as much of your investment as possible and reducing your down payment, thereby limiting the amount of cash tied up and increasing your tax deductions.
  • “Positive cash flow” means income either before or after taxes. A savvy investor knows how to turn “negative cash flow” into positive, by maximizing rent through various strategies and through depreciation deductions.
  • Appreciation, the result of selling at a higher price than you bought, appears to be a trend that shows no signs of abating. In investing, the important thing is to choose property in a location where prices are rising more than in other areas.
  • Equity, the difference between the property value and the remaining loan balance, brings a profit either through refinancing or sale. Timing is a key consideration in maximizing equity profits, since the longer you own property, the fewer tax breaks available to you.

If you’re thinking about investing in your future through real estate, call or e-mail us for professional assistance in finding the right property for your situation.  Please feel free to visit  You can view properties by price, neighborhood, map and zip code.  If you have a question, do not hesitate to contact us.

Categories: Investment Property Wilmington NC, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington nc weekly events, worlds largest christmas tree, Wrightsville Beach NC

Get Your Blues On | Cape Fear Blues Festival 2011

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Studebaker John

The 16th annual Blues Festival is this weekend.  Everywhere around town, the Blues shall be heard… The kick off party is on the Henrietta III at 7:30pm Friday July 29.  There will be music on the dock by Rick Toby.  Catered heavy appetizer buffet, cash bar and a 2-hour sunset cruise along the historic Cape Fear River.  Tickets are available at Wilmingtontickets. Three different Blues Bands will perform on the cruise.  Post Cruise party at Rusty Nail.   For a full list of events and bands please visit www.  The weekend will be fun and eventful. Talent everywhere.

Studebaker John and the Hawks… listen here….

While you are in town, if you see real estate that interests you, let us know.  On your phone text 14059 to 44133 to search Wilmington NC real estate or go to  Have fun!

Categories: azalea festival, cape fear blues festival, Uncategorized, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington nc weekly events, worlds largest christmas tree, Wrightsville Beach NC

Lazy Days of Summer | Safety Tips | Wilmington NC real estate

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Safe At Home For The Summer

The song says that living is easy in the summertime, but don’t let the lazy days of summer lead to accidents. Keeping you and your family safe is just a matter of following simple precautions. Here are some tips for ensuring your family’s good times and good heath:

Beware of the cutting edge. Lawnmowers and other power tools can cause serious injuries. When you’re mowing your lawn, keep children out of the area, and don’t allow children to ride on a mower.

Before mowing, take the time to move outdoor furniture, toys, sticks or other obstacles out of the way. Especially if you have children or pets, you don’t want to turn your back on an idling mower to move objects.

If your older child will be helping you out this summer by mowing the lawn, make sure he or she understands how to safely operate the equipment. Read all instructions and warning information together.

Always turn a mower off before attempting to unclog debris from the blade.

Tend to the fire. Grilling food outside is a wonderful way to escape the heat of the kitchen. Keep children away from grills or open fires. You should always have water on hand in case a fire gets out of control.

Lighter fluid should be off-limits for children.

Be safe about food handling. Never return cooked meat to a container that has held raw meat. Keep coolers in the shade and add ice to them as needed. Keeping drinks and food in separate coolers will cut down on the number of times the food cooler is opened.

Watch out for other living things. Insect bites and bee stings can be reduced by dressing children in shoes and clothing that is light in color. Make sure you know what is growing in your yard. Teach children about poisonous plants and berries so they know what plants not to touch, pick or eat.

Beat the heat. The dog days can be deadly. When the temperature tops 90 degrees, fans alone will not be able to cool a home. If you don’t have air conditioning, get out of the house and head for air-conditioned public places, such as libraries or shopping malls. Taking a bath or shower in tepid water will help you keep your cool. Stay well-hydrated, and make a point to check on elderly friends or neighbors who may be especially susceptible to heat-related illness.

Best wishes for a safe and happy summer!


Categories: Uncategorized, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington nc weekly events

New Mortgage Rules July 21 | Wilmington NC real estate

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More Credit Score and Credit Report Transparency | Mortgage Match News.


According to Mortgage Match new rules will make it mandatory for Mortgage Lenders to give mortgage applicants credit scores and credit report factors used during the loan application process.  If a Mortgage Lender quotes an applicant an interest rate and points that the loan will cost and there is a difference between interest rate and costs quoted to other applicants the loan officers will be required by Federal law as of July 21 to:

“–Tell you that you received a less favorable offer because of negative information in your credit bureau files;


–Provide you the actual credit scores used for your rate quote;

–Disclose the name and contact information of the credit reporting company that supplied the scores that led to your less favorable quote;

–Provide consumer education materials explaining credit scores, how they are used, and how your own score ranks against other applicants, plus the credit file factors that may have depressed your score. For example, if maxed-out credit cards and late payments are in your files, they could play significant roles in lowering your credit scores” per Mortgage Match.

The applicants will be able to have access to their credit report and the whole loan application process will become more transparent for the applicant.  Consumer education materials will be available for the applicant, so they can see why they were turned down, or received a higher interest rate.  They will have the right to obtain a  free credit report if turned down for the loan.

Categories: wilmington nc, Wrightsville Beach NC

July 4th at Masonboro Island | efforts pay off

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Masonboro Island NC on July 4th

The efforts of in educating people who visited Masonboro Island on the weekend of the 4th was successful.  The volunteers went around in red shirts and handed out trash bags so the people could take their trash with them.  Richard Johnson the founder of says “that we do not need any more rules.”  The crowds and the trash from prior years celebrations caught the eyes of lawyers looking to make rules for the Island Reserve.  The group stepped up and helped police the island.  The crowds were smaller and well behaved this year, so their efforts seemed to have worked.  Thank you for your dedication.

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 to  masonboroMasonboro Island, normally calm and peaceful, has recently seen a little too much partying and alchohol consumption on big Holiday weekends such as July 4th and Labor Day. Boaters from all over the Southeast join in on a big party weekend.  So, if you plan to visit the island, be sure to keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum and take your garbage with you.

Masonboro Island is also located only minutes from the mainland where you will see prestigious waterfront communities with private docks, marinas, and boat ramps for homeowners. One of the most conveniently located communities to Masonboro Island is Shinn Point, located straight across from Masonboro Inlet, which is one of the most protected inlets on the East coast. From Shinn Point, you can be in the ocean in just minutes for a day of deep sea fishing or just cruise over to Masonboro Island and relax in the sun.

For complete details on all waterfront communities in Wilmington, NC or Wilmington, NC real estate, please feel free to contact me or go to my website at

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Is this the Best Time to Lock in Your Interest Rate | Wilmington NC real estate

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The proverbial question every buyer who is in the loan process has is “Is this the best time to lock in my rate”.  The rates are creeping up but still under 5%.  Well, Warren Buffett, one the wealthiest and most highly successful investors  is “locking” in now.  His Berkshire Hathaway Company just sold $1.5B in fixed debt, mostly in 10-year Notes, in order to refinance their adjustable rate loans.  Mr. Buffett has not made comments on the move – but it is clear to us that he sees rates gradually moving higher over time as the US economy improves.   Business Week states “The market scrutinizes Buffett’s moves very closely and this would indicate he’s thinking interest rates in the longer term may go up,” Vijay Chander, Hong Kong-based head of credit strategy at Standard Chartered Plc, said in a phone interview. That’s consistent with our house view that the U.S. economy is improving.”

“The world’s most successful investor locked in interest payments on most of the debt as a report showed U.S. manufacturing expanded in December at the fastest pace in seven months, spurring confidence the world’s biggest economy is gaining momentum. Former Federal Reserve Governor Frederic Mishkin said yesterday that while the central bank will complete its $600 billion bond-purchase program, a third round of so- called quantitative easing to spur growth is unlikely”

So, buyers it is a great time to buy a home and lock in with a great wait.  It looks like the rates will probably be holding steady or increasing.  Search 24/7 on .  Call and we can send you instant emails when something in your price range hits the market. Happy Buying.

Categories: Uncategorized, Wilmington NC Market Statistics, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington nc real estate

Economists See Signs of Stonger Recovery | Wilmington NC real estate

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Good news is a blessing to hear.  The latest report in the New York Times  states that even thought the recession is “officially over” the latest measures to spur the economy on has many forecasters and policy makers expressing optimism that the recovery will gain substantial momentum in 2011.  The growth projections for next year have been raised by economists in universities and on Wall Street.  Retail, factory orders and industrial orders have increased.  The unemployment, while still high is on a downward trend. consumer confidence is getting stronger, large corporations are reporting healthy profits and the Dow Jones industrial average reached a two year high this week.  May this upward trend continue well on into 2011.  Merry Christmas and a very peaceful New Year to all.

Kay Baker & Associates

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Kay Baker Associates | 1001 Military Cutoff | Ste 101 Wilmington, NC 28405 | | 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.