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

OPTIONS: Ten Savvy Ways To Pay For A Home Today in Wilmington NC

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Different buyers have different mortgage needs. Fortunately, lenders today offer many mortgage options to choose from. Chances are you’ll find a mortgage plan that works for you.spartanburgBecause points, fees and interest rates vary, check with us or your lender for specific information on the type of loan you are considering. The “snapshot” interest rate examples shown here are for illustrative purposes only and may not reflect current rates. For simplicity, all examples here use a $100,000 sales price. Monthly payments are for principal and interest only (taxes, insurance and condo/homeowner fees would increase your payment).

Adjustable-Rate Mortgage.

The interest rate is adjusted up or down periodically based on a financial market index (such as Treasury bills). Monthly payments start lower than for fixed-rate mortgages. The initial rate is set for a specified period — 1, 3, 5, 7, or 10 years — and then rates adjust on a schedule, say, annually. The adjustments generally are limited by annual caps and a life-of-the-loan cap.

Down Payment: $10,000
Mortgage Amount:< $90,000
Term of Loan: 30 years
Interest Rate: 7% (until first rate adjustment)
Monthly Payment: $599 (until first rate adjustment)

Fixed-Rate 30-Year Conventional Mortgage.

A fixed-rate conventional loan is made by a commercial lender for 30 years. Monthly payments (excluding taxes) remain unchanged for the life of the loan. Some lenders allow mortgages with as little as 5% down, but require private mortgage insurance for loans with less than 20% down.

Down Payment: $10,000
Mortgage Amount: $90,000
Term of Loan: 30 years
Interest Rate: 8 1/2%
Monthly Payment: $692

Fixed-Rate 15-Year Conventional Mortgage.

This is similar to the 30-year conventional mortgage, except the loan is repaid in half the time. Interest rates are typically lower than for a 30-year loan, and interest paid over the life of the loan is less, but the monthly payments are usually somewhat higher. Government-backed loans — VA and FHA — are also available in 15-year terms.

Down Payment: $10,000
Mortgage Amount: $90,000
Term of Loan: 15 years
Interest Rate: 8 1/4%
Monthly Payment: $873

Two-Step Loan.

This 30-year loan is a cross between the ARM and a conventional loan. The mortgage carries a fixed rate for 5, 7 or 10 years and then adjusts to market interest rates once for the remainder of the loan. The initial rate is generally lower than a fixed-rate conventional mortgage, but the second step of the two-step mortgage is often conditional on the lender’s approval.

Down Payment: $10,000
Mortgage Amount: $90,000
Term of Loan: 30 years
Interest Rate: 8 1/8% (for first 2 steps)
Monthly Payment: $668 (until adjustment)

Federal Housing Authority (FHA) Loan.

These are government-insured loans so homeowners can make a smaller down payment than on conventional loans. The limits on FHA loans are high enough to handle moderately priced homes in many parts of the country. FHA loans are assumable for future buyers who qualify.

Down Payment: $10,000
Mortgage Amount: $90,000
Term of Loan: 30 years
Interest Rate: 8 1/4%
Monthly Payment: $676

VA Loan.

These are loans for qualified veterans backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs with low or no down payment required. These mortgages are subject to the VA mortgage funding fee, depending on the size of the down payment. VA loans can be combined with second mortgages and are assumable to qualified buyers.

Down Payment: $10,000
Mortgage Amount: $100,000
Term of Loan: 30 years
Interest Rate: 8 1/4%
Monthly Payment: $751

Seller Financing.

Sellers may take back a loan against their equity in the property in the form of a first or second mortgage. One approach to owner financing is to use a balloon mortgage calculated and repaid for 5 or 7 years as a 30-year mortgage, but then the balance of the loan is due in a lump sum.

Down Payment: $15,000
Mortgage Amount: $85,000
Term of Loan: 5 years
Interest Rate: Negotiable
Monthly Payment: Depends on rate

Assumable Mortgage.

A buyer takes over the existing mortgage — usually FHA, VA or ARM — at its current interest rate, with the concurrence of the lender. An assumption may have a lower rate than those currently available, and taking over the mortgage may save on closing costs. The down payment makes up the difference between the sales price and the balance on the loan.

Down Payment: $30,000
Mortgage Amount: $70,000
Term of Loan: Time remaining on loan
Interest Rate: Same as seller had
Monthly Payment: Same as seller was paying

Wrap-Around Mortgage.

Here a new mortgage incorporates an older, assumable loan to help bridge the gap between the loan balance and home sales price. The interest rate is often below market, but higher than the rate the old mortgage carries. Payments are made to the new lender or the seller, who forwards part of the payment to the first lender. The term of the mortgage is the time remaining on the original loan.

Down Payment: $10,000
Mortgage Amount: $90,000
Term of Loan: Time remaining on original loan
Interest Rate: 9%
Monthly Payment: $724

Buy-Down Mortgage Plan.

The seller or a third party provides additional cash to the lender in exchange for a lower interest rate for the buyer. Approaches vary among permanent buy-downs, multi-year and graduated plans.

Down Payment: $10,000
Mortgage Amount: $90,000
Term of Loan: 30 years
Interest Rate: 6 1/2% (initial)
Monthly Payment: $568 (until subsidy diminishes or expires)

Call us, we can help get you started.


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2015 OUTLOOK Haven’t Refinanced Yet? Better Hurry. Rates Might Rise In 2015

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stack_of_cashMortgage interest rates were still at historically low levels near the end of 2014. The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey said that the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loan ended up in the low 4% range last year. And the average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate loan finished at an even more attractive low 3% range by New Year’s.

But how long will rates remain low? If you haven’t refinanced your mortgage loan yet should you? How high could interest rates climb in 2015?

The unsatisfying answer? No one really knows. The truth is, no one can predict with any certainty where interest rates will head in 2015. But there is a consensus among economists: Rates have been incredibly low for a long time. They’ve been so low, in fact, that there is nowhere for them to go but up. And this means that homeowners who’ve been dawdling on refinancing their mortgage loans need to act quickly before rates start to trend upward.

Freddie Mac predicts that the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage may hit 5% by the end of 2015. The Mortgage Bankers Association is predicting the same thing.

And those are the conservative estimates. Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®, has said NAR expects the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to come in as high as 5.5% by the end of 2015. And if that isn’t shocking enough, Bill Conerly, an economist who frequently writes for Forbes, says he wouldn’t be surprised if the 30-year-fixed average rate rose to 6% by the end of 2015.

Our advice? Don’t put off refinancing any longer.

Here’s why. If you owe $180,000 on your 30-year fixed-rate loan and your interest rate is 4%, your monthly mortgage payment—not counting insurance and taxes—will be about $859. If your rate on that same loan was 6%, your monthly payment—again not counting taxes and insurance—would rise to about $1,079. That’s a difference of about $220 a month, or $2,640 a year.

The good news? There is still time to refinance. You can make the process move smoothly by gathering your necessary paperwork today. To close a refinance, we’ll need copies of such documents as your last two paycheck stubs, last two years’ worth of income-tax return statements and last two months of bank-account statements.

There’s more good news. Housing prices have steadily been rising in most markets across the country. This means that a growing number of homeowners have more equity in their residences. The more equity you have in your home—20% or more is ideal—the easier it is for us to close your refinance. And even if you don’t have much, or any, equity, we might still be able to refinance your loan. Government programs can help.

So don’t delay. The days of low 4% interest rates on 30-year mortgage loans might be numbered. The longer you wait to refinance, the lower your odds of qualifying for one of these historically low interest rates.

For more helpful tips, please visit

Categories: Refinancing, wilmington nc real estate

10 Biggest Selling Mistakes and How To Avoid Them | Wilmington NC real estate

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For more Wilmington NC real estate Seller and Buyer advice, please visit or on your phone

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

Do You Know Where Your Mortgage Money Comes From? | Wilmington NC real estate

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Mortgage companies and banks are working overtime these days processing new mortgages – which raises an interesting question: Will they ever run out of money to lend?

The chances of that happening are virtually nil, thanks to a highly complex investment market for mortgages that has grown immensely since the 1970s. The key players in this game are “Fannie Mae” (Federal National Mortgage Association), “Ginnie Mae” (Government National Mortgage Association), and “Freddie Mac” (Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.). These agencies, along with several private companies, turn homeowners’ mortgages into investment vehicles for individuals, pension funds, insurance companies and other large institutions. Altogether, these investment groups make up the bulk of what is known as the “secondary market.”

When a bank or mortgage company writes a mortgage, the loan is lumped with other mortgages in a bundle (or “pool”) that is often sold to one of the agencies. With the sale of the mortgage, the bank or mortgage company again has money to lend to another home buyer.

Fannie Mae, Ginnie Mae, and Freddie Mac differ as to the type of mortgage bundle they buy and in the type of investment vehicle they use to attract investors. But the process they use is the same: Assembling large packages of mortgages and issuing securities backed by the mortgages.

While the original lending bank may no longer hold the mortgage it gave to a home buyer, it still services the loan. That means collecting the monthly payments, keeping escrow accounts to pay for insurance and property taxes, and – through the agencies or companies that issued mortgage-backed securities – paying investors.  Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage is a full service real estate company with in house mortgage brokers from Alpha Mortgage.  Contact  us about all your Wilmington NC real estate needs.  Visit to search or catch us on mobile at


Categories: Financing a Home Purchase in Wilmington NC, Uncategorized, wilmington nc, wilmington nc convention center, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington nc weekly events

Choosing A Contractor | Homework First | Wilmington NC real estate

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Thinking of updating your kitchen? Re-doing your bath? Adding on to your home? Most likely, you’ll need to hire a home improvement contractor.

You can start your search for a contractor by talking to friends, family members or neighbors who have used a contractor recently. Ask if they would recommend the person or firm they used. To verify each contractor’s reputation, ask these questions:

• Did the contractor begin and end on time?
• Did the contractor try to minimize disruption of your family? How?
• How do you score the contractor on both technical expertise and finished appearance of the project?
• Did the contractor work neatly and clean up at the end of each workday?

Once you have a list of prospective contractors, do some research on your project by reading do-it-yourself magazines and manuals. You don’t need to know how to do the job yourself, you just need an idea of the work involved.

Now it’s time to ask at least three contractors to bid on your project. As you talk through the proposed improvement, ask what special or unexpected problems could arise and ask how the contractor would resolve them. If a contractor is vague or dismisses your question, scratch him off your list.

When adding rooms, rearranging the kitchen, moving walls or performing other major improvements, spend the extra money for a design professional. Be sure anyone who works on your house is licensed and insured.

Once you receive the bids, review them carefully. Don’t automatically go with the lowest bidder. You may get a better job or the contractor may use better materials when you pay a little more.

Write the contract to include exactly what the project will entail, how much it will cost, and at what points payments will be made; how changes in plans will be handled; the quality of materials to be used; the beginning and ending dates and sanctions for tardiness.

Keep on top of the project, checking progress and the quality of workmanship. If you are unhappy with something, talk to the contractor immediately. Make sure all changes from the original contract are made in writing and keep in mind that changes may affect the schedule and delay completion.

If possible, have your chosen contractor do a small job first, so you can learn first-hand the quality of work and what it’s like to have that person temporarily take over a part of your home.

We have concierge list of contractors in the Wilmington NC area that we would be glad to share with you.  Just email me at and we will get it right out to you.

Have fun with your project!

Categories: Buying Wilmington NC real estate, contractors in wilmington nc, wilmington nc, wilmington nc convention center, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington nc real estate

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

To Live on the Water is Devine! | Wrightsville Beach Beauty

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Wrightsville Beach is a hidden gem that we treasure for it’s clear crystal clear waters, quaint atmosphere and wonderful people.  With Banks Channel, ICWW and the Altlantic ocean at our fingertips what is there not to like.  Great restaurants, a couple of shops and fishing piers provide entertainment for all.  We are pleased to  share with you our newest waterfront listing just in case you are interested in Wrightsville Beach.

Spectacular dream home on Banks Channel with over 4100 sq. ft. of gorgeous living area. 5 bedrooms and 4.5 baths in a well thought out open, floorplan with ELEVATOR. Incredible views await you from most every room including large decks from the owners suite and main living area. Vintage inspired kitchen w/bead board cabinets, Champaign and cream granite counters, kitchen island with built-in gas, downdraft cook top, and 2 raised breakfast bars. And a breakfast room with uninterrupted views of the channel and your private pier with floating dock and 2 boat lifts. One is a 13000 lb. lift for your fishing machine and the other a 3000 lb. lift for smaller pleasure craft. A recently new bulkhead was installed along the beautiful backyard with sod, knockout roses and other indigenous shrubs and bushes. The large owners suite has beautiful Brazilian Cherry floors and a fireplace that is shared with the spa like master bath offering unsurpassed views from the 2 man whirlpool and separate walk shower.

Over 4100 sq. ft. 5 BR, 4.5 bath dream home on Banks Channel with private pier, floating dock/gazebo and 2 boat lifts. Incredible Views. Prepare to stay awhile, because you have just found your new home.



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Want to buy short sale real estate | Use a Wilmington NC Certified Distressed Property Expert |

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If you find that you are in need of help with your own home financial situation, or you would like to help someone out of their financial situation by purchasing a short sale,  rely on us to help.  Certified Distressed Property Expert can guide you through the selling and the buying process in a far more knowledgeable and timely process than doing it yourself.  Contact us NOW, by signing in below and we will contact you immediately to start the process of selling your home as a short sale or  looking for short sales to purchase. A free list of current short sales and foreclosures will be emailed to you.  Please sign in here.

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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

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.