Want To Save Big Dollars? Pay Your Mortgage Bi-Weekly

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river2We get it. No one really enjoys making a mortgage payment each month. But here’s a secret: You can shorten the length of your mortgage loan without refinancing your loan to a shorter term.

You simply have to make bi-weekly payments.

Here’s how this works: Normally, you’ll make 12 mortgage payments a year, one each month. If you owe $1,000 on your mortgage each month, you’ll make 12 mortgage payments for a total of $12,000 a year. But if you split your payment into bi-weekly payments, you’ll pay $500 every two weeks.

This pays off in a big way: Because there are 52 weeks in a year, you’ll make 26 bi-weekly payments. That is equal to making 13 monthly payments in a year. That’s right, with the bi-weekly mortgage payment, you’d make one extra mortgage payment each year than you would when paying 12 standard monthly payments.

Bi-weekly payments reduce the payoff time of your mortgage loan. The number of months you chop off your mortgage varies depending on the size, interest rate and length of your loan. If you are paying off a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage loan of $180,000 with an interest rate of 4%, you’ll pay off your loan in 25 years and 11 months, eliminating four years and one month of payments. That means you’ll also save more than $20,000 in interest during the life of your loan.

Those are some compelling reasons to consider a bi-weekly payment plan. Call us today if you are interested. We’ll walk you through the process and help you make the right decision for your financial situation.

Categories: Mortgage, Mortgage 101, Mortgage choice, Mortgage ideas, Mortgage options, Mortgage points, mortgage rates, Mortgages, MPP mortgage, Uncategorized, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods

Top Selling House Tips | Serious Holiday Selling

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housebowThinking about waiting until after the hectic holidays to sell your home? Think again. Did you know that buyers looking for a home during the holiday season are some of the most serious buyers all year? So, if you’re thinking of selling, don’t wait until spring to list your home for sale. Clean, clear-out, fix-up and prep your home like you’re hosting a big holiday party. Your home will shine online and be tour-ready when that right buyer walks through the front door. After all, emotion sells homes. Few homes for sale are more appealing than a warm and cheery holiday home. Give yourself the gift of a quick holiday home sale.

Tip #1: Contact us to learn how we make holiday home selling easy.

Tip #2: Decorate, but don’t go over the top. Consider putting out just half of your decorations while it’s for sale. You’ll have more home to show and many fewer items to put away when you’re busy packing to move!

Tip #3: Focus on the outside. Make sure that your outside still looks inviting even though it’s winter. Be sure the front walkway is clean, clear and inviting with seasonal holiday décor.

Tip #4: Turn up the heat. Don’t skimp on the temperature. Turn up the thermostat to make it cozy and inviting. During an open house (where fireplaces can be closely monitored) consider a fire in the fireplace or warmed cookies in the oven.

Tip #5: Price it right and be flexible and open to all offers. The key to a home sale any time of year is making sure your price is realistic and takes into account the competition. We can help you set the right price to sell!

If you are in Southeastern NC, text “real estate” to 910-208-0556 and see your competition.

Categories: Holiday Selling, Sell your home during the Holidays, wilmington nc real estate, Wrightsville Beach NC

How To Jazz Up Your Home To Sell | Wilmington NC Real Estate

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1If you’re looking to sell your home, want to buy a new one or just moved into your home, take some tips from the interior designer pros to make sure your home gives off a colorful, but inviting vibe:

ACCENT COLOR Don’t paint a room in your favorite vibrant hue. Instead, buy accessories in your fave color and place them around a neutrally painted room. Eyes will travel around the room from each pop of color.

TIE ROOMS TOGETHER Using bursts of color in other rooms in the same manner will tie rooms together and give them a unified overall look. Choose different accessories to exude color for variety and interest.

NEUTRAL BASE Choose neutral colors for the walls and trim of each room, allowing you to easily change the color pops as your budget allows and color whims evolve.

LAYER COLORS If you chose bright blue accent pieces, throw in other shades of blue—both lighter and darker—to carry the hue through the room.

Tour other homes for sale, even new model homes, to get design inspiration on how best to stage your home for sale.

Categories: Staging your home, Uncategorized

PLAY SMART: Savvy Tips On Buying A Vacation Home :: Wrightsville Beach

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We’ve all thought about it while lying on the beach or inhaling the fresh mountain air: “Why don’t we buy a vacation home?” Owning a vacation home can be a good decision if you buy smart.

Great Reasons To Buy A Vacation Home

They provide another investment that includes a mortgage-interest tax deduction.

Sign up for your own portal for looking at Wilmington NC real estate at www.cbbaker.com

Whether you rent it out or not, you can deduct the mortgage interest as long as you use the home more than 14 days or more than 10% of the number of days the home is rented annually at a fair rental, whichever is longer.

Qualified second homes include houses, condominiums, cooperatives, mobile homes, house trailers, boats or similar properties that have sleeping, cooking and toilet facilities.

Here’s an interesting twist on the mortgage interest deduction: If you take out a home equity loan on your first home and use the funds to acquire your second home, the interest on the home equity loan is also deductible. That’s three mortgage interest deductions off your tax return!

Consult IRS Publication 936 for a complete discussion of how mortgage interest for a second home is deductible.

You can purchase your future retirement home now, at today’s prices.

Though your second home may be a vacation home now, if you buy right you can convert it into your principal residence later.

They can produce their own income.

Renting out a second home occasionally or often can help you pay for the property with OPM (other people’s money). Check with your tax advisor about how much of the upkeep and management expenses are deductible against your income.

Buying Tips From The Experts

Buy something within a reasonable distance.

Be sure you can get to your vacation home in a short amount of time. Before you make a final decision, travel the distance on a typical Friday afternoon to see whether the drive will be too much to deal with after a long work week.

Rent in the area several times before you buy.

If you really like a particular area, check it out during different seasons. This way you get to know the climate, people, pests, traffic patterns and other regional particulars first-hand.

Consult other owners.

Check with owners of nearby properties about public and private facilities, special maintenance required due to location or weather, the social climate, local development plans and prevalence of crime. Learning about the lifestyle of the area may help you narrow down your choices.

Think home first, investment second.

Although you may be able to generate rental income from your vacation home, it may not cover your ownership costs. (If you want to try real estate investments, give us a call to look at properties in the local area.)

Consider different styles of properties in a vacation area.

To minimize upkeep and have a more secure environment, a condo may be preferable to a single-family home. If you plan on converting it to a retirement home, consider what type of home you’ll want as a full-time residence.


Categories: Buying a Vacation Home, Figure Eight Island, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington nc real estate, Wrightsville Beach NC

HAPPY DANCE More Local Sellers Are Making Fast Moves To Closing

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Our local housing market is busy. You’ve probably seen a good number of “for sale” signs around town that were swiftly topped with “sold” signs. It’s not a mirage. And those sellers weren’t just lucky either.

The key to getting your home sold today is being an involved, educated seller. Sellers who actively participate and partner with their real estate professionals get their homes sold faster and for top dollar.

Sellers today know that getting their home ready for sale takes some effort. It’s worth it when buyers view their polished home online and then flock to the property—and like what they see. In this market, offers come easily when home sellers have done some fancy footwork ahead of time!

We can give you all the real estate advice you could ever need or want. The secret is to put the advice into action. If you’re serious about selling your home, call us now for a pre-listing evaluation.

We’ll work with you to set the right price and right strategy to meet your real estate needs and get your house sold. Stepping forward to closing can be easy…if you know the right moves. We’d love to do the home seller’s happy dance with you!

Choreographed Pricing
Your best foot forward is looking at recent solds in your area that tell us what homes like yours are selling for. We call them ‘comps,’ or comparable properties. Then we mix in the unique features of your home in relation to the larger market trends to price ahead of a rising or declining market.

As we choreograph your individual selling scenario, we’ll also use expired listings as an indicator of overpriced listings. Some homes may call for a paid pre-listing appraisal, if setting a slightly under-market price will attract more buyers. Finally, we’ll review competing listings—not that they will sell for those prices, but to position your home to advantage versus long-on-market wallflowers.

Ultimately, local market conditions and current homebuyers will determine what is a fair price for your home.

Clutter Shuffle
Before you list your home for sale, you’ve got to deal with your stuff. Sure, your clutter might be neat, it might be hidden under things and behind doors, but buyers will see it eventually, and it will distract them. Start on a clutter-busting plan before you put your home on the market. You’ll have less to move later, and your home’s true character will shine for buyers.

The Remodeling Twist
If your home doesn’t show like a model home, all is not lost. Don’t hurry into a major remodel, though. Many large-scale home improvements won’t pay you back at sale time, and some buyers may not like your choice of upgrades. Instead, consider giving buyers an upfront credit for new flooring, updating a half bath or whatever deficiencies your home has. One very worthwhile upgrade would be a fresh coat of neutral-color paint throughout the home.

Do The Stage-And-Slide
Once you get your home de-cluttered and all your small home projects are complete, take the best pieces of furniture from each room and arrange them to invite buyers in. If you need help, we can refer you to professional stagers who can make your home look stellar. For some long-time owners, moving out early and staging with select furniture can transform a ho-hum listing into an instant hit.

Waltzing Away
If you carefully heed professional advice to get your home cleared out, staged, prepped, priced right and open for inspections and appraisals, you’ll be ready to waltz to closing/settlement, and then do the happy dance to your next home.

Categories: wilmington nc real estate, wilmington nc relocation

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

HOME SEARCH 101: Tips For Locating The Right Schools

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To view Wilmington NC real estate by school search please visit http://cbbaker.com/schoolInformation

When it comes time to buy your next home, your decision will be based on dozens of criteria. If you’re like many home buyers, good schools will be at the very top of your list. Even buyers without children are often concerned about the quality of schools. They know property values often reflect the reputation of local schools-both public and private-and that a home near good schools may be easier to sell later on.

Plan Ahead

It pays to look at schools early in the house-hunting process so you can narrow your focus to particular neighborhoods. Consider the following approaches and available resources for determining whether a school or school district is right for you and your children.

Define Your Idea Of “Good”

{short description of image}The first step is taking an honest look at your child’s educational needs. Is he or she average, exceptional, or is there a learning disability to consider? What are the student’s interests and natural abilities? Cerebral? Artistic? Athletic? It won’t matter that a school is tops in math and science if your child’s educational focus is in language and fine arts. Identifying your child’s individual needs will help determine the types of programs and educational approaches you’re looking for in a school.

Get An Overview

You can tap the resources of several organizations to find out what schools are available in a particular area and how they rank compared with others in the system, the state and the nation. (See the side bar for details.)Take a look at the programs that would most interest or benefit your children. Is the local public school strong in those areas? If not, there may be good private-school alternatives in the vicinity.

Keep in mind that what you see on paper may not provide a complete picture of the school, its resources and the capabilities of its educational staff.

Identify The District

It’s easy to find out what public school district a house is in-the information is nearly always included in the MLS listing, available through your Realtor. Note, however, that school boards frequently re-draw districts. To help ensure a home is likely to remain in a particular district, you may want to find out how close it is to district lines-being central to a district increases your chances of staying there. Contact the local board of education to obtain a district map.

Go To The Source

Also ask the local board for any information available about the school system, special programs, etc. Many boards will provide you with standardized test scores, often broken down for each school and subject area. Private schools often provide test-score information and college-placement statistics as well.

See For Yourself

Make plans to visit the schools you are interested in. Schedule appointments with the principal and some of the teachers in your child’s grade. Inquire about school policies and procedures. Discuss your child’s strengths and weaknesses, asking how the school would handle them.

Interview The Neighbors

Perhaps the best way to investigate a school is to talk with parents whose children attend. Visit neighbors in the area and ask them to be candid about what they like and dislike about local schools.

Let Us Get You Started

We’ll be happy to provide the phone numbers and website addresses of the schools and districts in our area. Be aware, however, that complying with fair housing practices, we may not be able to provide you with all the information you seek. Discussing school quality can be construed as “steering” buyers to or away from particular neighborhoods, which could be viewed as discrimination-even if unintentional.That being said, we’ll do everything we can to support your efforts to locate the right home and the right schools to meet your family’s needs.


American School Directory: (800) 444-4488. P.O. Box 7003, Murfreesboro, TN 37133-7003.WebE-mail. With over 108,000 individual websites, provides every K-12 school in America (public and private) a free Internet presence and identity. Includes pictures, maps, art, information, calendars, etc.National Association of State Boards of Education: (703) 684-4000. 277 S. Washington St., Suite 100 Alexandria, VA. 22314. WebE-mail. Offers quick reference state profiles for basic education information and data taken from U.S. Department of Education statistics. Includes statistics to allow comparisons between a state and the national mean.

School Match: (800) 992-5323. 5027 Pine Creek Drive, Westerville, OH 43081. WebE-mail. For a fee, you can receive a report card on any public school or one of thousands of private schools in the U.S. At an additional cost, they will list up to 15 schools that match your criteria identified by their questionnaire. They also assist families with special-needs children and those moving overseas. All reports are confidential. If you are making a company move, your company may pay for School Match’s assistance.

Yahoo!: Web. You’ll find a state-by-state directory of schools and their websites, along with other useful information.

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

Categories: seach homes, Search by school district, search homes by school, Sell your home, Wilmington NC homes, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington nc real estate, Wilmington nc schools

How to Win the Mortgage Game When Relocating | Wilmington NC real estate

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Money Scale The single smartest move you can make is to put off Wilmington NC house hunting until you have a firm idea of your buying power. If you are pre-approved for a loan, you can save considerable time house hunting and mortgage shopping.

A pre-approved mortgage loan is an excellent guideline to help relocating home buyers know how much home they can afford. For the seller, pre-approval is proof that the buyer’s lender feels confident a loan commitment would not be a problem if all the financial documentation were in order.Pre-Approval Benefits:

  • Streamlines house hunting.
      A pre-approval identifies how much money the transferee can obtain, so precious time isn’t wasted looking at too-costly homes.
  • Offers peace of mind.
      You know for sure how much home you can afford, and there is little chance a lender will not make the requested commitment.
  • Prevents “house poor” homeowners.
      Pre-approval reduces the possibility of you becoming overextended and unable to meet payments later on.
  • Boosts bargaining power.
      Pre-approved buyers tend to be in an advantageous position when bidding against other buyers, as sellers like knowing your loan is guaranteed.
  • Pinpoints best mortgage option.
    The pre-approval process helps you identify ahead of time which type of mortgage best meets your personal needs.

Before you jump into planning your move, there are some terrific services we offer to relocating families moving into or out of our area. Let us help you take advantage of them. Send us an e-mail or give us a call. Please visit www.cbbaker.com for more information.

Categories: Mortgage options, wilmington nc foreclosures, Wilmington NC homes, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington nc real estate

Search for Foreclosures in Wilmington NC | Real Estate

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Welcome to our Free Wilmington NC Foreclosure Site.

These prices won’t last for long!

Foreclosure, short sale closeouts.

Many desirable properties sell within 48-72 hours of availability.

Be the first to know about these homes!

Foreclosures from $50,000 – $175,000  Click Here…

Foreclosures from $175,000 – $300,000 Click Here…

Foreclosures from $300,000 Click Here…

Click Here to search on your own

We will provide you with free daily updates on Foreclosures and Short Sales in the Wilmington area.  Save money and enjoy quick equity when you purchase a foreclosed  or a short -sale home.  You provide the price and what you are looking for, and we will put you on our automatic  listing alert service directly from our MLS system, so that only the homes that match your criteria will be emailed to you.  At your convenience look through the listings  and if one catches your eye, call us and we will make arrangements with the bank to get more information about the home. It’s just that simple.
Just fill out the email request below and leave the rest to us.

Our speciality in todays market is short sales, foreclosures and Bank owned property.  We are knowledgeable and up to date on how to get you the very best price. Just have questions about the real estate market, email us anytime and we will be glad to answer your questions or concerns.

This service is available for New Hanover County, Brunswick County & Pender County. Wilmington NC Real Estate searches can be done on our websitewww.cbbaker.com


Categories: Search foreclosures Wilmington NC, Short Sales Wilmington NC, waterfront wrightsville beach, wilmington beach homes, wilmington nc foreclosures, wilmington nc real estate


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When would-be home buyers walk through your front door, what greets them? If your entryway needs a bit of polish, take a moment to spruce it up and wow buyers at the first step into your home.

No closet? Consider placing an attractive umbrella stand and coat rack in the area to catch the odds and ends.

Brighten it up. A small lamp on a size-appropriate table is a must along with a tray to catch keys, mail and odds and ends.

A place to rest. If space permits, a stool, chair or bench is a great addition for taking off or putting on shoes, but also provides a moment to pause before heading out or in.

Warm it up. A beautiful rug underfoot can set the tone of the home and make a great first impression, while also catching bits of dirt at the door.

Don’t skimp on color. A splash of color on a cushion, a bold light fixture, a striking rug or even a new coat of paint on the front door can give a burst of expression that will be memorable and leave home buyers smiling.

Add texture. If the walls are bland, mix it up with a bold picture hung at eye level, a stencil accent to draw attention to a fun architectural feature, wallpaper or accents of wallpaper that can handle the wear and tear of a busy entry.

Don’t impede traffic flow. Ensure your entryway offers a clear, wide path for visitors to easily move further into your home.

To search all Wilmington NC real estate and for more seller advice, please visit www.cbbaker.com or on your mobile  – mobile.cbbaker.com


Categories: waterfront wrightsville beach, Wilmington NC Neighborhoods, wilmington nc real estate, Wrightsville Beach NC

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.