What are the essential steps every first-time buyer should know?

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KeyIf you think it’s about time you bought a home instead of renting, a little homework before you start looking will increase your odds of finding the best buy for you. First, you must educate yourself about the home buying process. You can take a class or pick up books from your local library. Also be sure to read the real estate sections of your newspaper to familiarize yourself with properties and prices in your area. Consumer magazines that focus on the home can also be a good source of information.

Here are some things you will want to do:

  • Separate needs from wants

      What are your priorities for your next home? How important are public transportation, community facilities, on-street parking, lot size, privacy? How many bedrooms and baths will you need? Will you need a space for a home office? How important are quality neighborhood schools?

  • Investigate neighborhood prices

      What neighborhoods feature homes in your price range? Are there areas you may have overlooked? With the help of a trusted real estate agent, you may discover neighborhoods and home types you may not have considered. We’ll introduce you to a wide range of possibilities and help you find the home that best suits your needs.

  • Determine how much house you can afford

      It’s tough to home shop if you don’t know what you can afford. Together with a reputable lender, we can help you determine how much home you can afford and which loan program will maximize your buying power. Also, by getting pre-approved for a loan before you start looking for your first home, you’ll be a better prospect in the seller’s eyes.

  • Shop for the best loan

      Which type of loan is best for you? Will you be in the house several years and benefit most from a long-term fixed rate, or do you want a lower, short-term rate because you plan to move soon or expect your income to increase rapidly over the next few years? You may want to interview several lenders to learn about the many mortgages available.

  • Check out interest rates

      What are current local mortgage interest rates for 15-year and 30-year fixed rate mortgages, and for 1-, 3- and 5-year adjustable rate mortgages?

  • Dig up your down payment

      Know where your down payment cash will come from. If it’s coming from stocks, go ahead and sell them. If Aunt Mabel is loaning you the money, get it in hand so you are ready to go.

  • Relax and let an experienced real estate agent to help you through the process

    Buying your first home can be an overwhelming experience, but, with the help of a professional real estate agent, you can easily manage the process and confidently close the deal.

Chances are you can answer a couple of these questions on your own, but you may need some assistance with others. If you do, please call or e-mail us. We can make sure you have the preliminary house-hunting information you need.

I Have A Dream | Martin Luther King Parade Downtown Wilmington NC 2014

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This year’s Martin Luther King parade will be held in downtown Wilmington NC. and it is expected to be bigger than ever.  Over the years the parade and festivities have grown and a new venue should allow more visitors.
The MLK Parade Monday – January 20, 2014 Parade Begins 11:00 NOON Historic Downtown Wilmington Parade starting point: Front St. & Hanover St.  Here is parade route if you would like a pick a spot to watch.  Route

There are many local events leading up to the parade on Monday.  Some of them are:

Friday January, 17 2014 6:30 PM MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. ANNUAL BANQUET  Wilmington Convention Center 10 Convention Ctr. Dr. Wilmington, NC  Guest Speaker: N.C.  Supreme Court Justice Cherie Beasley  Tickets: $50.00 click to close frame

Saturday January, 18 2014 9:00 AM N.A.A.C.P. / MLK BREAKFAST  UNCW Warwick Center UNCW  Main Campus Wilmington, NC  Guest Speaker: Rev. Curtis Gatewood NAACP HK on J Coordinator Saturday January, 18 2014 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM KIDS FUN DAY  WILLIAM E. MURPHY SPORTS COMPLEX 401 S. 8th Street Wilmington, NC  presented by the: Wilmington Parks & Recreation Dept. (Fun, games, face painting, refreshments for all ages)  Saturday January, 18 2014 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM CAR & BIKE SHOW AND SOUL FOOD COOK-OFF (for grown folk)  WILLIAM E. MURPHY SPORTS COMPLEX 401 S. 8th Street Wilmington, NC  (Best Mortorcycle and Best Antique Car awards)  click to close frame

For more information please visit the website  http://www.mlkjrcelebration-senc10.com/index.htm

Enjoy….

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2013 in review | Wilmington NC Real Estate Blog

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,900 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

17th Annual Lumina Daze | Wrightsville Beach NC real estate

lumina wrigthsville beach
Lumina Daze at Wrightsville Beach

17th Lumina Daze


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Blockade Runner Beach Resort

Wilmington Big Band, Dixieland All-Stars, 
The Imitations

From the Wrightsville Beach Museum website:

Click here for 2013 EVENT SCHEDULE

Live auction in addition to the popular Silent Auction.  Live Auction Items Include:

    • Historic Downtown Package – 4 trolley passes, 4 Historic House Museum 3-House passes, an item from the gift shop from each of the 3 houses.
    • Marine Max – boat cruise for an evening
    • Shrimperoo for up to 25:  Courtesy of Lackey Builders, Inc., DC North, Middle of the Island Catering, and Greenville Loop Seafood
    • Painting by Betty Brown
    • Jamis Earth Beach Cruiser Bike
    • Kingoff’s Jewelers – diamond bezel pendant, 14K white gold
    • Stand Up Paddleboard and Paddle
    • Recognition / Memorial Plank in Wrightsville Beach Museum Boardwalk

Silent auction items include:

    • Airlie Gardens – “Summer Fun for Four” includes cooler, blanket, 4 coozies and 4 tickets to one concert in the Airlie Concert Series or admissions to the Gardens
    • Harbor Island Garden Club Harbor Way Gardens Pathway Brick and a HIGC Cookbook
    • Motts Channel Seafood gift basket – gift certificate, t-shirt, cheese grits, cocktail sauce, seafood breading.
    • LM Restaurants gift certificates, t-shirts, canvas bags, coozies, key rings
    • Bill Creasy – photo of Harbor Island, circa 1929
    • Las Olas Mexi-Q Grill gift certificate
    • One Hour Tennis Lesson – with Charlie Owens
    • Necklace by Kay Morgan
    • Two tickets to Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tour Sunset Cruise
    • “Day at the Beach” photo art by Mike Bryand
    • Green Goddess Essentials Basket from Green Goddess Essentials
    • Taste of Wrightsville Beach  – two passes, from Wrightsville Beach Foundation
    • Gift Certificate from Great Outdoor Provision Company
    • Four Personal Training Sessions with Shay Duval – “A Body to Live For”
    • Four Guest passes to the Children’s Museum of Wilmington
    • Three full-day passes for Deep Sea Fishing on “Vonda Kay”
    • Gift Certificate and Dog Treats from Unleashed – the dog and cat store
    • Men’s Seiko Divers Watch
    • Lady’s Seiko Divers Watch
    • Handmade Sterling Silver and Inlaid Opal Surfboard Pendant with Chain
    • Handmade Sterling Silver and Inlaid Opal Dolphin Pendant with Neck Wire
    • Sterling/Gold Mahdi pendant with chain
    • Greenville Loop Seafood Gift Certificate
    • Personal Chef for an evening meal
    • Lovey’s Natural Foods and Cafe Gift Basket

How To Look For The Most Affordable Mortgage | #Wilmington NC real estate

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With lenders quoting a wide variety of interest rates and points, smart mortgage shoppers take a close look when comparing borrowing costs. Sometimes it turns out that the lowest interest rate isn’t necessarily the best buy. Here are some tips: Loupe

  • Compare borrowing costs.
      The simplest way to compare borrowing costs is to ask the lender for the actual annual percentage rate (APR) – the true interest on the loan. The APR consists of the simple interest rate, plus all other charges imposed by the lender. It’s not at all unusual for the APR to be substantially higher than the rate quoted by the lender. What’s more, a simple rate quoted by one lender, although higher than another lender’s advertised simple interest rate, may turn out to have the lower APR.
  • Count the points.
      For the shopper who wants to take into account the cost of points (each point is equal to 1% of the loan amount), an simplified rule of thumb comes in handy: Each point is roughly equal to an interest rate increase of 1/8 of 1% over a payback period of 30 years. Thus, a lender offering a 10% rate with no extra points is offering a better deal than the lender offering, say, a loan at 9 7/8% plus two points. Which is best for you depends on how long you plan to live in the house.

Please call or e-mail us today. We can help you get through all the steps of home buying and selling with the least amount of confusion possible.  Search All Wilmington NC real estate on http://www.cbbaker.com

BIG Remodeling Pays Off Better…. to a point| Wilmington NC real estate

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It shouldn’t be a surprise that some Wilmington NC remodeling projects increase a home’s value. What’s news is that homeowners who spend the most on remodeling get a higher rate of return on their investment, according to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.Rates Of Return
Results of the Center’s recent study indicate that projects costing 20% or more of the home’s initial value yielded an average home price appreciation of 23%. Homeowners who spent 10% to 20% of their home’s value on remodeling saw a more modest price increase of 12%. Spending 5% to 10% of home value achieved a 7.5% price increase, an outlay of 2% to 5% earned a 6% increase, and spending 2% or less on remodeling improved home prices by 2.5%.

Tapping Equity
The remodeling industry has been booming for several years, fueled by steady home price appreciation in many areas of the country. As home values have increased, homeowners have been tapping their equity to finance remodeling projects, which in turn have further increased their homes’ values. In addition, home improvements have promised a better return in recent years than many other investment options.

Major Improvements
Larger projects–such as room additions and kitchen makeovers undertaken by upper-income homeowners–have helped push the remodeling industry to a record of more than $135 billion spent in 2002. Established baby boomers are choosing to remodel rather than move away from friends, relatives and work venues. Immigrants and 20-somethings have been taking advantage of low mortgage rates to buy starter homes, then improve them according to their tastes and needs.

Caution Advised
If you are tempted to spend a lot improving your home in order to get the best return, be careful not to “over-improve.” Real estate experts advise that the return on your remodeling investment is likely to be lower if your remodeled home exceeds the value of comparable properties in the area by more than 20%. (Give us a call to find out what your home would be worth after remodeling.)

Done well and wisely, your remodeling project could result in a more comfortable home to live in and a nice financial return when you sell. If, however, your remodeling project will take the value of your home well beyond that of neighborhood homes, you might be better off selling your current home and buying a new one with the amenities you want.

TIMING: Seven Buying And Selling Secrets To Know Before You Relocate

Wilmington NC real estate

The secret to a successful relocation is timing — synchronized buying, moving and selling. Good timing just takes a little advance planning that puts you in control. Here are seven relocation secrets to make your move work smoothly for you.

1. Sell First

Ideally, you should sell your current home first in order to have all your financial resources available to purchase your next home. You want to avoid waiting until the closing on your new home forces you to sell your old home under the gun. Note that in some markets today, houses are moving so quickly that sellers will not even consider taking a contingency clause that postpones their sale until the buyer’s home sells. Setting the right price for your home and having a customized marketing plan are your best bets for bringing about a quick sale.

2. Find Out What You Can Afford

{short description of image}While your house is on the market, look at what’s available to buy within your price range in your destination area. Your perfect house is out there, but take as much time as you can to find it. It’s not just the house you’ll have to live with — you’ll want to find out about the neighborhood, the schools, proximity to shopping, etc. before you commit to your next home.

3. Shop For A Loan Before You Shop For A House

Try to lock in the best rate you can find. Get pre-approved for financing so you have more bargaining power when you bid on a house. With a pre-approved loan, you’ll be able to go to closing on your new house faster.

4. Coordinate Settlements And Moving Dates

Try to move directly from the old home to the new one. Sometimes you can rent back the old property for a few days or weeks if closing on the new one is delayed. Another alternative is an interim move to an apartment for a short time while waiting to close on the new house.

5. Begin Fix-Ups And Pre-Sale Improvements Early

Have any needed work completed before your house goes on the market. Consider having a home inspection early in the fix-up process so you know what’s important to repair or replace before you set the sales price for your house.

6. Work Closely With Your Agent

Make sure every “i” is dotted and every “t” crossed on time for both closings. You may save time and money for the buyer of your old home with lower “re-issue” fees by referring them to the previous providers of inspections, surveys, title insurance, etc. The information is in your settlement papers. And, if it’s a busy season, line up appointments in advance with the people you’ll need to close on your new house.

7. Avoid The Last-Minute Rush

Call us early. We’ll gather information and provide it to you quickly so you can make informed decisions and workable plans.