LOOKING FORWARD Real Opportunities In Real Estate This Year

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Whether you’re looking to buy your first—or 15th—home, this year holds many opportunities for you. And, if you need to sell this year, the same holds true. 2017 is looking to be a great year for sellers, buyers, investors and those who need to relocate or settle down with a second home, too.

How is that possible? First, financing continues to be available to a wider group of consumers as lenders increasingly work to open up some qualifications. Secondly, interest rates continue to sit near historic lows, making mortgages affordable for many. Lastly, with rents increasing in many regions, it makes more sense to buy a home than it does to rent one. (And, if you’re an investor, with rising rents, it makes more sense to grow your rental property portfolio this year.)

Additionally, your credit plays a big role in landing affordable financing, so we’ll give you the year’s scoop on how to monitor your credit report and protect your identity and financial details in light of all-too-frequent data breaches.

Free stock photo of wood, light, house, luxuryAnd, if you’re just staying put in your home, we’ll give you the remodeling outlook for the year, too.

No matter your real estate plans, we are here for your home-related needs. Contact us. We’re eager to work with you this year!

SMART CHOICE

When It Makes More Sense To Buy Than Rent

In many areas today, rents are rising faster than home prices. In such situations, it often makes more sense to own a home than to rent someplace to live. Even when renting and owning seem like a wash, owning can still come out ahead.

Consider these facts as you look at buying a home in 2017:
  • Don’t forget how the mortgage interest you’re paying will likely benefit you at tax time. (Consult with a tax adviser for details specific to your situation.)
  • If you plan to live in the same place for a length of time, your home is likely to appreciate so that at sale time, you’ll find yourself with a gain, or at least break even in many cases.
  • Buying gives you a home that you’re free to customize as you wish, while also giving you a place to put down roots and get involved in the community.
  • Depending on the financing you choose for your home purchase, your monthly home mortgage amount may be fixed from 15 to 30 years, allowing you to budget for other expenses more easily.
  • Renting puts money in the pockets of your landlord while paying off a mortgage results in a home paid off, and resulting in no more monthly mortgage/housing payments.

Consult with a local mortgage professional (contact us for recommendations) to get preapproved for a mortgage. Then let’s talk about home shopping! kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com 

Categories: buying a home, real estate, Uncategorized, wilmington nc, Wilmington NC homes

Five Ways To Get The Best Interest Rate

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Free stock photo of black-and-white, man, hurry, reflectionsToday’s real estate market continues to be a busy one, thanks in part to mortgage interest rates that remain near historic lows, allowing buyers to afford more home. Despite this, it’s still important to watch interest rates to ensure you get the best deal.

(If you need recommendations for great local lenders, please let us know!) Here are in-the-know tips to help you get the best rate for your mortgage.

1. ACT FAST
Lock in an interest rate today. There’s no sense pining over rates of yesterday because they are old news and unlikely to return. If you’re nervous your home won’t close in the typical 30 days, pay to extend your rate lock.

2. GRAB A DEAL
Even with slightly higher interest rates, your buying power is still strong. The difference between an interest rate of 4% and 4.5% on a $200,000 30-year mortgage is only $58 more per month.

3. SCALE BACK
If your proposed mortgage payment makes you nervous, step back and think about finding a home with a smaller price tag. You may have to give some on space and/or location but your monthly budget will thank you.

4. ADJUST
If you aren’t sure how long you’ll be living in your next home, consider a hybrid or adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) that offers an initial fixed lower rate for a specific amount of time (three, five, seven years, etc.) before a single adjustment or annual changes.

5. GOOD SIGNS
Closely examine the area where the home is located. An improving local economy with stable and increasing jobs, vibrant schools and nearby conveniences increases the likelihood that the home will appreciate over time. Besides your home being a great place to live, you might also make a profit when it comes time to sell!

Categories: Uncategorized, wilmington nc real estate

Mortgage Planning For The New Year

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Free stock photo of eye, macro, human, seeA new year is nearly here. That means it’s time to take a closer look at your mortgage loan.

You might not give much thought to your home loan, other than to pay it on time each month. But remember that your mortgage bill is probably the largest payment that you are responsible for each month. It makes sense to review your loan details to make sure that it is still the best fit for you and your family—and your budget.

Here are our recommendations for possible changes to make to your mortgage loan in 2017:

Time to refinance? Your mortgage interest rate might already be low, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t save potentially hundreds of dollars every month with a refinance. As a general rule, if you can shave a full point off your interest rate, you’ll save enough money each month to make the cost of a refinance worth it.

Call us today to ask whether you might qualify for a lower interest rate. We’d be happy to study your loan to determine whether a refinance might make financial sense for you.

Shorten your loan term? You don’t have to refinance merely to earn a lower interest rate. You can also refinance to reduce the term of your loan. If you are now paying off a 30-year fixed-rate loan, for instance, it might make sense to refinance to a 15-year or 10-year fixed-rate loan.

Yes, shortening your term will usually result in a higher monthly payment. But you’ll also potentially save tens of thousands of dollars in interest during the life of your loan. If you’re ready to reduce the amount of interest you’re paying each month, refinancing to a shorter-term loan could be a smart move. Again, contact us if you’re ready for a shorter-term loan. We can help you determine if this is a wise financial step.

Pay a bit more? Another way to reduce the amount of interest you’ll pay over the life of your mortgage is to pay a bit more each month than is required. Even paying $100 more toward your loan’s principal balance each month can dramatically reduce the amount of interest you’ll pay. Just make sure to indicate that the extra money you are sending in is earmarked to pay down your principal balance. There should be an option for this on your payment stub or your online payment plan.

Categories: Mortgage, new year, refi, Uncategorized

What is the difference between loan pre-approval and pre-qualification?

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Pre-approval and pre-qualification are steps ywww.cbbaker.comou can take to line up your mortgage loan before you start house hunting in Wilmington NC. They are different, so read on:

Pre-approval:

  • is actually applying for, and getting, a conditional commitment for a mortgage loan up to a specific amount of money.
  • is usually good for 60-90 days.
  • applies, even though you might not have chosen the home you will buy.
  • often requires a loan application fee.
  • gives you bargaining power, because it tells the seller you are ready to buy and able to get financing.

Pre-qualification:

  • is the result of a lender taking a cursory look at the buyer’s income, credit history and assets.
  • states the buyer probably could afford to buy up to a certain limit.
  • does not include a loan commitment.
  • tells sellers you’re serious about buying and their house is in your price range.
  • usually costs no more than the credit report fee.

Some advantages of pre-qualification and pre-approval are:

  • A pre-approval or pre-qualification can speed closing because the paperwork for the loan has already been started.
  • You will begin learning about the financing process, and any problems that might arise can be resolved early.
  • You know in advance how much you can borrow.
  • Your offer is more attractive to the seller, because the seller won’t have to guess about whether you can afford the house.

Where do you begin when it’s time to look for a new house? Start by calling or e-mailing us with your home-buying questions. We can give you an idea of how much home you can afford to buy, then you can follow up with your local lender.

Categories: Pre-Approval for Loan, Pre-Qualification, wilmington nc real estate, Wilmington NC real estate stats 2014, wilmington real estate stats

PUZZLING IT OUT Take Note Home Sellers: Tax-Free Gains

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Every year holiday dates come and go on the calendar. You’ve likely enjoyed celebrating a number of holidays with family and friends recently. Most everyone looks forward to these holidays.

There’s also one big, looming date, however, that isn’t a holiday—even though it’s marked in red on almost every calendar: Tax Day, April 15. If you’re like most taxpayers, you dread this date because it means you have to pull together a myriad of financial documents spanning the past year and make some sense of them, which isn’t a fun task.

If you own a home, you can relax because that home provides you with many financial advantages at tax time. You may not realize this, but it’s true. Homeownership is made affordable for many families because of how Uncle Sam’s tax deductions result in the federal government contributing from 10% to 39.6% (depending on your tax bracket) toward monthly home mortgage interest and property tax payments.

In this special TAXES edition of the newsletter, we have outlined some basic home-related tax facts you should be aware of. Be sure to consult a tax professional for complete information applicable to your specific situation.

 

taxTaxpayers who sell their principal residence can pocket—tax-free—as much as $500,000 in profit if they file federal taxes jointly or $250,000 if they file singly. The property must have been owned and used as their principal residence for any two of the prior five years. Homeowners can shelter the profits on the sale of a home as often as once every two years. If the two-year use and ownership tests are not met, but the home is sold because of special circumstances (i.e., health problem, job loss, etc.), the exclusion is prorated. Otherwise, gains above $500,000 or $250,000 are taxed at current capital gains rates plus may be subject to an additional 3.8% surtax, depending on income.

Note: In effect since January 1, 2013, the Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT) applies a 3.8% surtax to certain types of net investment income of individuals, estates and trusts that have modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) exceeding certain thresholds. For individuals, the MAGI threshold for a single filer or a person filing as head of household (with qualifying person) is $200,000; for married filing jointly or for a qualifying widow(er) with dependent child, $250,000; for married filing separately, $125,000.

The 3.8% tax is applied to whichever amount is less—your net investment income or the amount your income exceeds the applicable threshold. For example, if a couple’s net investment income is $200,000 while their MAGI is $300,000 ($50,000 above the applicable threshold), the 3.8% tax would be applied to the $50,000 in excess of the threshold.

For home sellers with MAGI above the applicable threshold, the 3.8% tax may be applied to your home-sale gains that exceed your home-sale gain exclusion ($500,000 for married joint filers, $250,000 for single filers). If your MAGI amount above the threshold is less than your un-excluded home-sale gains plus net income from certain other investments, you would only owe the 3.8% tax on the excessive MAGI amount (NIIT applies to the lesser of extra income or extra gains). You can still take either $250,000 or $500,000 in profits from your home sale tax-free.

TAX TIP: Income from rental property, gains from the sale of a second home and gains from the sale of an investment property would be considered part of net investment income (and possibly subject to the NIIT) to the extent that gains are not otherwise offset by capital losses. Browse to http://bit.ly/IRSNIIT for further details.

We are here to help.  Text us 910-617-0309 or 910-520-5090

kaybakerassociates@ec.rr.com

Categories: #Spring Time To Sell, Real Estate Tax Tips 2016, Uncategorized, wilmington nc real estate, wilmington nc relocation

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

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

 

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

Top Secrets to Being a Successful Realtor

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In this real estate market that we have today, we need to constantly remind ourselves of our strong work ethic and conduct.

Best strategy for Realtor success

1. Treat this Job as a real job.

2. Be persistent.

3. Don’t take no for an answer.

4. Stay focuses on our business.

5. Don’t get distracted by others.

6. Stay out of office politics.

7. Learn how to get things done quickly.

8. Be a decision maker.

9. Have the courage to admit your mistakes and move on.

10. Have some fun along the way. Read the rest of this entry

Categories: Realtor tips

Don’t Let a Bad Lender or Attorney Ruin Your Real Estate Closing

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As a long time local Realtor, I have seen many closings get postponed or never closed due to the fault of a lender or an attorney. Many times a purchaser will get to the day of closing and the lender will then start asking for additional documentation. These documents should have been requested 2 to 3 weeks prior to closing. I have often put these buyers in touch with a reputable lender that could get the loan documented and closed in a matter of days. Remember, a good buyer’s agent will put you in contact with lenders that can usually get the job done quickly. Read the rest of this entry

Categories: Buying Wilmington NC real estate


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.