The Best Time To Find Out Your Home’s Value Is When It’s…NOT FOR SALE

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If selling your home is around the next corner — or two — then now is a great time to find out what it’s worth. When you have no pressure to sell — such as when relocating on short notice or clearing a home-sale contingency clause to buy — it is the perfect time to learn what your home is really worth and what you can do to improve its selling price — for the near future.

Why find out what your home is currently worth when you’re not ready to sell yet? Perhaps you’re interested in learning its value in relation to your mortgage balance without the expense of a paid appraisal. Maybe it’s for insurance purposes, property taxes, estate planning or just curiosity. There are many valid reasons. Today’s market is ever-changing, and how much your home is worth has changed too.

Why find out what your home is currently worth when you’re not ready to sell yet? Perhaps you’re interested in learning its value in relation to your mortgage balance without the expense of a paid appraisal. Maybe it’s for insurance purposes, property taxes, estate planning or just curiosity. There are many valid reasons. Today’s market is ever-changing, and how much your home is worth has changed too.

Why find out what your home is currently worth when you’re not ready to sell yet? Perhaps you’re interested in learning its value in relation to your mortgage balance without the expense of a paid appraisal. Maybe it’s for insurance purposes, property taxes, estate planning or just curiosity. There are many valid reasons. Today’s market is ever-changing, and how much your home is worth has changed too.

When you learn what your home is worth in today’s market, you may change your mind and decide to sell. If you have a need — or you’re just curious about your home’s value — contact us at any time. We’ll answer all your real estate questions and provide you with a price opinion or CMA (comparative market analysis) to show you what it’s worth and how it compares with other recently sold homes nearby. Continue reading to learn why now is a great time to find out what your home is worth.

When your home isn’t for sale yet, it’s a great time to find out what it is worth. Without the pressure to sell, you can focus on your life and decide when you want to sell — on your own terms. Here are nine great reasons to learn what your home is worth in today’s market.

If you’re reviewing your homeowners insurance coverage, it’s good to know whether your policy will cover the true cost of rebuilding your home in case of disaster. Knowing the value of your home is one piece of the information puzzle.

Maybe you’ve recently reviewed your property taxes and are thinking of contesting them. The first step is finding out if your assessed value is in the ball park with market value. Knowing what your home is worth can help you determine if there are costly errors on your property taxes.

If you’re thinking of refinancing, but are unsure whether you have enough equity in your home to avoid paying PMI (private mortgage insurance) you might consider getting a CMA first to see where you stand. Although the CMA is not an appraisal, it’s a free method to get information that can assist you.

Wondering if it’s the right time to invest in remodels or upgrades? Before you move ahead with expensive projects, check your home’s value to ensure your improvements will fit the neighborhood and understand how your changes could affect your home’s value. Additionally, some homeowners discover that making the improvements would be more expensive (and stressful) than simply selling and buying a different home!

When your job is steady and secure, it’s a great time to focus on your home. And, although the CMA valuation is a snapshot in time — right now — you have that data to work with if career changes suddenly require you to relocate.

Has it been a while since you refinanced or purchased your home? A CMA is a good benchmark to compare what your home is worth in relation to your mortgage balance. If you’re underwater — owing more on your mortgage balance than your home is worth — it’s good to know this ahead of time if you need to sell quickly. Conversely, you might discover that your home is worth more than your mortgage — or close to break even — and now may be the market you’ve been waiting for to sell and move on.

Have your neighbors recently put their home up for sale? You may be wondering what they know that you don’t. Quench your thirst for information to find out what your home is worth and then determine if it makes sense for you to move too!

If your financial situation is precarious or has changed recently, you may want to be prepared with the knowledge of how much you can sell your (likely) biggest asset for. Knowing what your home is worth allows you to determine whether selling your home is a good move or staying put is the best option.

If you’re thinking of buying a home and you want an honest opinion on the property before making an offer, we can also represent you in the purchase and provide you with a market valuation on the home you’re thinking of buying. It’s a great starting point if you feel the home is overpriced.

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Understand The Three Stages of Foreclosure | 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.)

If you are thinking about buying a foreclosure, make sure that you go to the Register of Deeds and search the property for liens.  These are not posted online.  If there are liens on the property, you will be buying them as well.  To search foreclosures in the Wilmington NC area please visit . To get guidance if you are close to being in a short sale situation, please visit

We have a Certified Distressed Property Expert on our team. Call us and we would be glad to help.


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What’s So Special About “Location, Location, Location”?

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What do real estate agents mean when they say the three most important factors in selecting a house are “location, location, location”?

Door KnockerThe house is wonderful! But before you buy, carefully check the location to be sure this is the house you want to buy.

  • Consider destinations

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

  • 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 planned?

  • Check around the clock

Is rush hour traffic a problem? What will be the impact of special events like 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 this 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? Where are the 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?

  • 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.

Do you have home questions about a specific location? We can help. Call or e-mail us now. Kay Baker 910-202-3607 or

To search all Wilmington NC real estate please visit


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Peace of Mind | Buy a 2-10 Home Warranty | Wilmington NC real estate

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Whether you are buying or selling a home, it is a good idea to purchase a home warranty to give you peace of mind.  If you are selling, you can use the warranty as an incentive for the buyer.  I would highly recommend purchasing a warranty when you purchase Wilmington NC real estate, as this gives you 1 year to make sure things are working as they should.  Of course, a home inspection should be done before you purchase to let you see what exactly you are buying.  Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage Realty uses 2-10 Home Buyers Resale Warranty.  If a seller is purchasing a warranty, we can start the warranty at the time of actually listing the house.  The seller is covered during the listing agreement time, and for a extra fee the Seller’s AC/Heat Pump are covered as well.

Provided at the closing of your home or purchased directly from 2-10 HBW*, this warranty covers normal wear and tear to your home’s major systems (furnace, hot water heater, air conditioner, plumbing and electrical systems) and major appliances (refrigerator, oven, dishwasher, built-in microwave, disposal, trash compactor). Complementary to your homeowner’s insurance, your 2-10 HBW warranty covers the repair or replacement of the most frequent and likely home system and appliance breakdowns.

When a covered system breaks down, simply place a claim online or call their toll-free number, and we will immediately dispatch a contractor to make the repair. You pay the contractor a small service fee and we pay the rest for all covered items. You don’t have to hassle with finding a contractor or worry about negotiating the cost of the repair work. In the event that a covered system or appliance cannot be repaired, we will replace it with a system or appliance of comparable or better quality. It’s the perfect solution for today’s busy homeowner.  There are warranty plans for existing homeowners who are not planning on selling as well.

For more information please visit


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New Hanover County Financially Strong | Wilmington NC real estate

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The State of the County address was given this week by Chairman Jonathan Barfield Jr. and the news was good.  After thanking all involved including the County and City staff, as it is a group effort to make this county a great place to live, Barfield said tough measures were taken to insure to maintain the quality of this area.  The 1/4 percent raise in sales tax last year helped maintain the county budget even though it was a hard tough decision to vote the increase in.  The schools, parks and core services were mentioned as projects that the county has paid particular attention to.  New Hanover counties credit rating is golden.  That will help this county move forward and continue to grow.  To read the whole address read more here….

To view the video click here.

The great town of Wilmington NC is what we call home and to say we of proud of our town, would be an understatement.  To view Wilmington NC real estate please visit

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January 2011 Wilmington NC Real Estate Report

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January 2011 Wilmington NC MLS Report

Based on the winter weather we have had it is obvious that our real estate market still has the Winter Blues. Our average sales price has dropped 17% from December 2010; that is quite a fall. Most of the transactions that closed in January we put under contract in December. When you break down the sales that took place in January 2011 there is only 1 transaction that closed above $700,000. While in December 2010 there were 14 sold transactions over $700,000 and January 2010 there were 5 sold transactions over $700,000. This greatly affects our monthly average sales price, our current monthly average sold price is $194,425 for the month of January. This is the first time that the monthly average sold price has dipped under $200,000 in a looooong time.

January’s average sales price has managed to show a decrease of 17% from December. Sold units are down 119 units over last month (about 31%) and even with last January. In the month of January we saw a increase of 71 homes in our listing inventory, we have 4,718 homes on the market as of February 1st. This continues to put us in a strong buyer’s market with a listing inventory of just over a 17.8 month supply. With the low sales in January this affects our month supply with an increase of 5 months from last month with 12.6. Our average list price has started the year under $350,000 range; we are currently at $343,053. In January sellers paid concessions in about 30.6% of all the month’s transactions.  Our average days on the market are at 132 days. The list to sold ratio has improved some to 94.4% this number needs to continue to get better. The number of homes that sold in 15 days or less continues to remain very low, 11.3% of January sold homes. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 5.05% with an average 0.7 points for the week ending February 10, 2011. We have already hit the historic lows in mortgage rates and they are now on the rebound. Call me so I can show you or your clients how they can get the benefit of these rates. Have a great week and let me know what I can do to help you and your clients.

Despite all the media comments about our markets we are still lending money for residential mortgages. If a client has income and credit and some sort of down payment; they can get a mortgage. It goes to the basic three C’s – Capacity, Collateral and Character.


Listing Inventory

In January we saw a increase in listing inventory of 71 units. We are about 496 units under February 1, 2010 and 687 units under February 1, 2009. We have 4,718 single family homes for sale in our MLS. The average list price of $343,053 is down by $5,950 from last month. Please note the consistent winter dip in listings – see chart below.


Monthly Average Sold Price – this is not a pretty section

Our monthly average sold price is down by 17% from last month and down 9.7% from January 2010. Our average sold price is down by $39,939 from last month. January average sold price ($194,425) shows a decrease of 15.9% from year end 2010.


Monthly Sold Units

We are 2 units shy of matching January 2010 sold homes of 267, while this January we have sold 265 homes. I am sure as January gets closed out we will see the numbers increase over last year’s production. The number of sold homes is up 68 homes from January 2010.



Average Sold Price Year to Date

Year over year our year to date numbers have dipped a little.

2003 year end average sale price $ 186,137

2004 year end average sale price $ 210,048

2005 year end average sale price $ 254,080

2006 year end average sale price $ 264,498

2007 year end average sale price $ 273,408

2008 year end average sale price $256,498

2009 year end average sale price $234,379

2010 year to date average sale price $231,141

While our 2010 year end numbers are lower than year end 2009 they do show promising signs that our sales are on the upswing. Looks like we have a setback with January’s average sold price – $194,425


Rolling 12 months

Our rolling 12 months gives us a better look at our production. It helps to smooth out a month that jumps up and down. When we look at February 1st, 2010 to January 31st, 2011 we have 4,526 sold units and when we compare the year prior February 1st, 2009 to January 31st, 2010 we have a 87 unit gain (4,439 sold units). When we look at the same rolling 12 months for average sold price we see that we are only down by 2.0%. So the dates of 2/1/2010 to 1/31/2011 we have an average sold price of $229,930 while from 2/1/2009 to 1/31/2010 we had an average sold price $233,436.


Median Sold Price

Our Median sold price decreased this month by 12.5% from last month. Our national numbers lag by one month. Our median sales price continues its jagged path – up then down then up and now down. I am hoping that our January dip in median sold price is a onetime event. I am hoping we can see the national median sales price reverse its downward trend as well as WRAR’s.



Pending Sales – A sale is listed as pending when the contract has been signed but the transaction has not yet closed. Sales are typically finalized within one to two months from signing. With the new sales contract I am also counting Active Due Diligence and pending contracts. I look at the total pending units on a regular basis and this is how they chart out. Our pending index is dropping to our winter lows. In December we bottomed out about 575 units, we have since rebounded and have over 663 units that are pending – this is a 15% increase since the end of 2010.  With the new contract in place this is a good start to 2011.



Market Absorption rate – The number of homes sold in January, 265 divided by the current listing inventory, 4,718 gives us a 17.8 month supply of single family homes. This increased by 5 months from last month. We need to get this inventory back under 12 months supply. With a large inventory and the low sales in January this affects our market absorption. With rates where they are and plenty of inventory; we can get this number down.

List to Sold price ratio – the average list price of the sold properties is $206,188 and the average sold price is $194,425 for January which gives us a 94.4% list to sold price ratio – a good increase from last month. We have now managed to stay under 95% for over a year and several months. I want to quit counting the number of months and get this trend reversed.

Seller Concessions – We had 30.6% of sold properties report a sales concession for January, a increase of 4.2%. We want this number to go lower.

Days on Market – The average days on market for the sold properties is now at 132 for January. That is about 4.5 months to keep a property on the market. Only 11.3% of the properties were placed under contract in less than 15 days for the month of January.

Carolina & Kure Beach

There are currently 387 single family homes for sale and this represents little change from January 1, 2011 and 8.2% of our total WRAR inventory. The average list price is $390,006 and decrease of about $12,624 from January. In January there were 21 homes sold, divide that by the homes available and you have a 18.4 monthly supply of homes in Carolina and Kure Beach. The average sold price for the month of January was $230,953 and is down $37,893 from last month. When we look at a rolling 12 months for Carolina & Kure Beach we are up by 61 units and our sold prices are down 7.1% from the previous rolling 12 months.

This data was pulled on February 12, 2011, based on information from the Wilmington Regional Association of REALTORS Incorporated, for the period Jan. 1, 2005 through January 31, 2011.


The Market

Primary Mortgage Market Survey Press Release

30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage Rates Rise to 5.05 Percent Highest Level since April 2010

Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey®  which shows long- and short-term rates rising this week.

News Facts

30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 5.05 percent with an average 0.7 point for the week ending February 10, 2011, up from last week when it averaged 4.81 percent. Last year at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.97 percent.

15-year FRM this week averaged 4.29 percent with an average 0.7 point, up from last week when it averaged 4.08 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 4.34 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total cost of obtaining the mortgage.


Attributed to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Long-term bond yields jumped on positive economic data reports, which placed upward pressure on mortgage rates this week.

“For all of 2010, nonfarm productivity rose 3.6 percent, the most since 2002, while January’s unemployment rate unexpectedly fell from 9.4 percent to 9.0 percent. Moreover, the service industry expanded in January at the fastest pace since August 2005.

“As a result, interest rates on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rose to the highest level since the last week in April 2010.”

Freddie Mac

Source:  Wilmington MLS and David Flory Cunningham Mortgage

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The Real Facts of NC real estate | Wilmington NC real estate

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The National Association of Realtors have released their “For the Record” Nov/Dec 2010 issue of Real Facts about NC real estate.  Topics covered were Economy, Homeownership and Foreclosures.

NC unemployment rate has dropped steadily with NC being 3rd for declining rates.  September retail sales rose for the 3rd straight month.  Housing starts hit a 5 month high in September, 4.1% higher than September 2009.  Foreclosure rates fell and the NC Foreclosure Prevention Fund assistance will start being available in December to struggling homeowners.  Read more here…

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Cost of Living in Wilmington NC Drops Below Average |Wilmington NC real estate

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The latest costs of living results have come out for Wilmington NC.  The 2nd quarter cost of living index dipped slightly below average according to the national ACCRA cost of living survey.  The results put Wilmington at 98.6, based on the national average index of 100.  The first quarter average was right at 100.0. 

The Cost of Living Index measure differences in costs of services and consumer goods for middle class standard of living.  314 urban areas in the US participated in the study.  The study is conducted over a 3 day period, covering 90,000 prices of 60 different items.   The Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce posted the following chart detailing the scores compared to other Southern cities.

Click on chart for larger view.

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Wilmington NC Real Estate Market

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Wilmington NC Real Estate

It seems that the nationwide numbers in this week were not so good for the real estate market in May. The tax credit offered by Uncle Sam expired at the end of April and new home sales plummeted nationwide. But, Wilmington NC real estate is still ticking along pretty good. Our numbers for pending sales in May were up over April this year. We still have our fair share of foreclosures and short sales that are weighing heavily on prices, but overall we seem to be better off than most.

If you are a home seller in the Wilmington NC area, please keep in mind that you are competing with all the short sales and foreclosures in the marketplace. Buyers are out there, but they are looking for the best deal possible. And, they have choices. So, they will move on if they don’t get what they want.

And, if you are looking to purchase a home, now is the most perfect time in many years. Interest rates are at an all time low and everything is on sale! Start your search right here at You can search Wilmington, NC real estate by price, neighborhood, maps and more. We can also send you a detailed list of foreclosures and short sales .

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Wilmington NC Real Estate Market Shows Improvement

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Wilmington NC Real Estate

The real estate market in Wilmington is definitely showing signs of improvement in the number of homes sold and the list price for Dec 09 over Dec 08. And, our average sales price has decreased 9.6% over 4th quarter 08, and increased 5.3% over 3rd qtr 09. There was a 12% decrease in median sales price over 4th quarter 08 and.03% decrease over 3rd quarter.

Sales price to list ratio was at 94.3% in the 4th qtr 2009 and the 4th qtr had an increase in number of homes sold by 34.5% from 4th quarter 08. As we know a lot of these sales were primarily driven by the tax credit that was set to expire Nov 30, 2009.

Hopefully last year will be the year that the market has bottomed out and started to stabilize. And, 2010 should be the very best year in a long time, for home buying opportunities. Remember, first time home buyers tax credit has been extended and expanded to include repeat, move up buyers, prices are down 10% from 2008, foreclosures and short sales are excellent buying opportunities,  mortgage rates are at historic lows, and  there is a large inventory of homes for sale to choose from.

So, start your real estate search today at You can search by price range, map, schools, neighborhoods and more.

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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.