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

SELLERS MARKET – Why Every Home Doesn’t Sell

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Fence Series 3Wilmington NC has a healthy housing market—by most indicators a seller’s market—especially for homes that are priced to sell and in great condition.

As we move into the year-end season, there are no signs the market is shifting. Price remains critically important. Today’s sellers must avoid the pitfall of believing “everything sells.” Track market trends with a real estate pro—like us—and make sure your home’s sales price reflects what buyers expect—and will pay. If an offer doesn’t appear quickly, make a noticeable price improvement sooner—not later—if you expect to get your home sold.

Despite a great year so far, many prospective sellers still are not getting their homes sold. Here’s what our experience and local trends tell us:

Overpriced Listings. You can’t sell a home based on last year’s prices or national headlines that conflict with our area’s micro-trends. Don’t set a sales price based on the amount you want to cash out of the home. Pricing right is paramount to get your home noticed, toured and sold fast. The right price is one that buyers are willing to offer compared with other nearby homes currently for sale. Expired listings are often homes that aren’t priced right. You may be amazed at how many homes have lingered on the market longer than average—at all price points.

Condition. Is your home move-in ready? It will sell quickly because choosy buyers want a modern home in great condition. They’ll pay for it, too. If you have a list of fix-ups, needed updates and undone maintenance, buyers will notice and keep looking…right past your home.

Set The Stage. Clean and declutter each room. Make each space inviting and bright. If you’ve already moved out, rent or borrow furniture to give each room a purpose and focal point. Empty homes don’t sell.

Contract Kickouts. Perhaps the biggest reason not every home sells in this market is that some homes go under contract but never reach settlement. Those deals “kick out.” Maybe it’s the home inspection. Sometimes it’s buyer remorse. Often, financing for the buyer doesn’t come through…especially if the buyer isn’t preapproved or paid over market value in a bidding war. Whatever the reason, a significant number of contracts fall through without ever getting to closing—and if your home is priced right and in good condition, it’s got a better chance of not tripping over closing hurdles.

Going It Alone. If you’re trying to sell your home on your own, your property is not getting the marketing and exposure it could when you partner with a real estate professional. Today’s real estate market is healthy, but selling by yourself could mean lost time, lost money and a lost sale.

Bottom line for today’s sellers? Fixing-up matters. Staging matters. Savvy marketing matters. Negotiating experience matters. And—most important—pricing ahead of the market matters to be sure you get your home sold for top dollar in our market today. Contact us to discuss how we can turn your “for sale” quickly into “sold.”

Categories: Sellers Market, Wilmington NC Market Statistics

SMORGASBORD When You’re Ready For A Mortgage You’ll Have Plenty Of Choices

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jones 91011 268This is a great time to apply for a mortgage loan. Interest rates are still low. Many borrowers are able to qualify for rates under 4%. And even better? Mortgage lenders today offer a wide variety of loan types. Borrowers with solid credit scores should have little trouble finding a home loan that works for their varied financial situations.

Here’s a look at some of the choices on the most popular mortgage smorgasbord available today. If you need help choosing, give us a call. We’d be happy to discuss your options.

30-Year Fixed-Rate: The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) loan remains a favorite among borrowers. And why not? This mortgage comes with lower monthly payments because of its long life. Plus, the interest rate is fixed, so borrowers always know how much they’ll pay in principal and interest each month. (Your payments can still change, though, if taxes or insurance bills increase or decrease.) The downside? Because repayment is spread out over three decades, borrowers who pay off a 30-year loan in full will pay a lot more interest than those with different loan types.

15-Year Fixed-Rate: The 15-year fixed-rate loan comes with all the benefits of the 30-year version. But borrowers will pay far less interest each month because the repayment period is cut in half. The interest rates attached to 15-year mortgages are also lower than those that come with 30-year loans. However, because of the shorter term, a 15-year mortgage does come with higher monthly payments.

Hybrid ARMs: An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) features interest rates that are fixed for a certain number of years, often five, seven or 10. After that fixed period ends, though, the interest rate adjusts on a pre-set schedule according to the performance of whatever financial index the loan is tied to. Hybrid ARMs come in several varieties, but they all operate similarly: The 5/1 ARM, for instance, features a fixed-rate period of five years, while a 7/1 hybrid has a seven-year fixed period before the interest rate begins adjusting each year. The main benefit of these loans is the low initial interest rates that come with them. ARMs usually start with interest rates that are lower than those attached to fixed-rate loans. It’s important, though, for consumers to understand just how high their rate can jump each year once their loans enter the adjustable period and how that affects their payment—and ability to pay.

5/5 ARM: The 5/5 ARM is a relative newcomer. In this type of ARM, the interest rate is fixed for five years, then can adjust once every five years until the loan is paid off, the owner refinances it or the owner sells their home. This loan combines the low interest rate of an ARM with a bit of the stability that comes with a fixed-rate loan. Another variation is a 15/15 ARM.

Categories: Mortgage choice, Uncategorized

What is the single most important rule in house hunting?

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1604 CrowsLand-0503Want to know what the number one rule is when Wilmington NC home shopping? Well, many details must be considered in choosing your next home – style, size, price, location. It’s probably impossible to say which factor is most important. But one thing is certain – if you will be moving again in a few years, be sure you buy with selling in mind. Chances are, the items that make your new home a comfortable fit for you will also attract buyers later on.

Some special considerations for the short-term homeowner who has resale in mind:

  • Watch for growth potential
      Look for an established neighborhood that will be enhanced by future growth but not inconvenienced by it.
  • Look out for resale value
      Seek a prime neighborhood where houses sell well in any market.
  • Check out location
      Consider availability of all aspects of transportation; even those you may not use.
  • Schools are important
      Check for quality public schools, whether or not you have school-age children.
  • Green is good
      Look carefully at the lot for trees and greenery to buffer winter winds or summer heat.
  • Make room for visitors
      See if ample guest parking is available for you and your neighbors.

 

  • Privacy is a plus
      Consider how much privacy the house and lot provide.
  • Drive the commute before you buy

Check morning and afternoon drive time to work, schools, shopping, churches.  Call us 910-202-3607 or kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com

Categories: house hunting, Uncategorized, Waterfront Wilmington NC, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington nc real estate

GOT APPLIPHOBIA? Mortgage 101

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banjoYou know the old story: Mortgage interest rates are at near-record lows. But mortgage lenders are passing out fewer home loans. Strict loan qualification rules are a reaction to sky-high foreclosures that hit the lenders during the housing bust.

What’s wrong with that story? It’s not entirely true. Yes, mortgage rates are at low levels. But, no, mortgage lenders aren’t nearly as tight-fisted with home-loan dollars as some say. In fact, it’s far easier today to qualify for a mortgage loan than you might think.

Here’s some friendly advice: If you haven’t applied for a mortgage loan because you think your credit or income levels aren’t good enough, give us a call. There are mortgage programs available for borrowers of all kinds today. You may be surprised just how attractive a borrower you truly are in this market.

Here’s what you’ll really need to qualify for a mortgage loan. If you didn’t know how reachable these numbers are, don’t feel bad. You’re far from alone.

Credit score: You might have paid a few credit-card bills late. Maybe you forgot to send in your auto-loan payment one month. That’s not good, and it will drop your credit score. But know this: You don’t need perfect credit to qualify for a mortgage loan.

If your FICO credit score is 740 or higher, you’ll qualify for the lowest interest rates and the widest variety of loan programs. But even if your score is lower, you can still qualify for a mortgage loan. You’ll just have to pay a higher interest rate. Even if your score is under 600, you can still qualify for a mortgage loan insured by the FHA.

Down payment:
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now willing to back mortgage loans with down payments as low as 3% of a home’s final purchase price. Consider that $180,000 house again. A down payment of 3% on that home comes out to a more affordable $5,400.

Income: Many would-be borrowers think that they don’t make enough money for a mortgage loan. But mortgage lenders only care that your total monthly bills—including your new mortgage payment—equal 43% or less of your gross monthly income. This means that you don’t have to be a millionaire to afford a home today.

Self-employment: Others worry that because they are self-employed they won’t be able to convince lenders to loan them mortgage money. This isn’t exactly true. Lenders need to see proof that your income is consistent each year. Providing this proof might be more challenging if you are self-employed, but it is doable. Just send your lender copies of your most recent tax returns showing your annual income over the last three to five years. Your lender will look to make sure that your income has been stable, and hasn’t risen or fallen sharply during this time. Your lender might also ask for more information about your business—such as profit/loss statements. The quicker you can provide this information the faster the mortgage process will go.

We look forward to working with you!

Categories: Mortgage, Uncategorized

GOLF COMMUNITIES WILMINGTON NC REAL ESTATE

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GOLF COMMUNITIES WILMINGTON NC REAL ESTATE

golf wilmington nc

With our mild climate, you will truly enjoy year round golfing at the many golf courses throughout the Cape Fear Region . Whatever your handicap, there are more than twenty courses in and around Wilmington that are a pleasure to walk. Some of the courses were designed by some of golf’s greatest names including Jack Nicklaus, Tom Fazio, Fred Couples and P.B. Dye, among others. Some of the Wilmington courses are listed below.

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  • Wilmington Municipal Golf Course 311 S Wallace Ave. 791-0558

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or requests about golf homes for sale or golf course real estate in Wilmington, NC, or any location in the Cape Fear Region. We have lived here all our lives and can help match a neighborhood with a home and schools. We know where the best shopping is and all the main attractions. If you are looking for a second home or investment property in Wilmington, NC, there are still real deals in the great coastal area, but you will need a real estate expert to help you. We are experienced real estate professional’s who has decades of home buying and selling experience in golf properties in Wilmington, NC area.

Kay Baker Associates has the knowledge and experience to assist you in the purchase of your dream home in a golf course community.

Contact us today  in Wilmington, NC, at 1-800-497-7325 Ex. 3607 or kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com

Please click any of these golf course neighborhoods for the latest detailed information on Wilmington golf homes for sale.

Categories: Golf in Wilmington NC, Landfall, Porters Neck Plantation, wilmington nc real estate, Wrightsville Beach NC

Lender Requirements When Purchasing a Home.

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Perhaps you’re nervous about applying for a home loan. There’s good reason. Lenders’ requirements have gotten tougher, down payments higher and interest rates keep creeping up. But getting a loan today is easier than you might expect.

Be aware that there are many reasons that lenders cannot use to turn you down for a loan. If you are otherwise qualified for a home loan, a lender cannot reject your application for these reasons:

  1. If a female applicant is pregnant.
  2. If you are on paid family leave from your job.
  3. Based on your race, color, religion, sex, national origin or disabilities.
  4. Based on family status.
  5. Your reliable income is from part-time employment, Social Security, pensions and annuities.
  6. Your reliable income is from alimony, child support or separate maintenance payments.

If you are denied a mortgage, your lender must outline exactly why you were rejected. Acceptable reasons include “your income was too low” or “you haven’t been employed long enough.” Unacceptable reasons include “you didn’t meet our minimum standards” as that reason is not specific enough.

If you are wrongly denied a mortgage, contact the lender to reconsider your application. In addition, consider contacting your state’s attorney general office to see if state laws were violated and contact the appropriate government agency.  kaybaker@associates@ec.rr.com
or 910-202-3607.  Find us on www.cbbaker.com

Categories: Lender Requirements, Wilmington NC homes, wilmington real estate stats, Wrightsville Beach NC

“What Really Determines Your Home’s True Value In Today’s Market ”

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Looking at a home just by its address or public data rarely returns an accurate market value. Why? Because every property and pocket-market is unique. Here’s a quick refresher to see how the home you own—or the home you’re thinking of buying—stacks up in terms of local values and price trends.

Check out your value here.  www.WilmingtonHouseValues.com

Location, location, location. It’s not just a cliché because most homebuyers will pay more for a comparable home that is conveniently located near schools, place of work, public transportation, parks, etc.

Size of home. The number of bedrooms, bathrooms and total rooms in the home helps determine its underlying value.

Size of lot. A bigger lot often means that the home commands a larger price tag, especially in cities where open space is at a premium. Landscaping and hardscaping improvements (or lack thereof) can swing value up or down.

Amenities. If the home has special features that other homes don’t have or it has been upgraded, it may be worth more if the majority of homebuyers find these features desirable. Large, updated kitchens and baths, spacious and numerous closets, usable storage space, outdoor entertaining space, modern wiring, etc. often add value.

Age and condition. Newer homes are typically worth more than older homes because they often need less work to make them move-in ready. Well-maintained older homes, however, that have been remodeled and are located in a desirable area may bump the price tag higher.

Get professional advice. If you have any question about local home price trends—or your home’s potential selling price—contact us. We’d love to show you how our knowledge of local values can help you determine what your home is really worth in today’s market—and if selling your home or finding a new one fits your financial goals.Let us know how we can help. kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com or 910-202-3607

Categories: Sell your home, Selling Home, Selling your home, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods

Are there any inside tips on down payments for first-time buyers?

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Folks who are new to the home-shopping world need more than just good luck. You should, of course, save all you can for closing costs and a down payment. For further help:

  • Revisit your “wish list”

Reconsider what you’re looking for in a first home. Find out what you can afford now, and consider buying a starter home that requires a small down payment with the idea of moving up in a few years.

  • Take advantage of special programs

Look into special low- and no-down payment programs like loans guaranteed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Some areas also have local programs for low- and moderate-income families or first-time buyers, offering lower interest rates or down payments.

  • Gather gifts

Check with parents and relatives for monetary gifts that can go toward a down payment or closing costs. A 20% down payment can dramatically cut monthly costs and eliminate monthly mortgage insurance premiums.

  • Consider “sweat equity”

If you can fix up a home that’s in poor condition, you increase the value of your investment faster. Ask us about special combination loans that provide fix-up funds as well as purchase money.

  • Scour market for bargains

Call on us to research foreclosure properties, housing auctions and other homes available at below-market costs.

Want to know more? Click on “Ask Your Own Questions” or call or e-mail us today with questions of your own. We can tell you how much house you can afford, and we can help you get into your first home.

Categories: first time home buyers, Waterfront Wilmington NC, waterfront wrightsville beach, wilmington real estate stats

LINGO 101: Money-Saving Glossary To Key Moving Terms | Be informed

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Moving companies have a host of terms for the details of handling household goods.

A Short Glossary

    • Accessorial service. Packing, unpacking and services other than transportation.
    • Advanced charges. Fees paid for services performed by others. They’re added to the moving bill.
    • Bill of lading. The document for shipping goods.
    • Claim. The written statement requesting reimbursement for a lost or damaged item.
    • Contract number. Identifying number of a shipment. It’s found on the order for service and the bill of lading.
    • Consignee. The person at the destination receiving goods shipped by someone else.
    • Delivery spread. The period when a mover will deliver household goods.

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  • Destination agent. The agent who will provide services at the destination.
  • Flight charge. An accessorial charge — for moving goods up flights of stairs.
  • Freight bill. The amount indicating the actual cost of the move.
  • Gross weight. Total weight of the van and the shipment.
  • Linehaul. The transportation portion of the move.
  • Order for service.The document the customer signs authorizing the movement of goods.
  • Origin agent. The agent responsible for the packing and loading of goods.
  • Pickup spread. The period during which the mover will pick up goods.
  • Storage-in-transit (SIT). Temporary storage of household goods for not more than 90 days.
  • Tare weight. Weight of the van before loading.
  • Tariff. Price schedule on file with the Interstate Commerce Commission.
  • Valuation. The value the customer places on the goods when releasing them to the carrier.

To search for all Wilmington NC real estate please visit www.cbbaker.com

Categories: Uncategorized


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.