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Melanie Cameron, The Cameron Team


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Wilmington Weekly Update - Economy News, Laser Tag at the Battleship, and more!

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Our weekly round-up of news stories making their way around Wilmington, North Carolina.

Instagram of the Week:

In Case You Missed It

The density policy regulating bars in downtown Wilmington is set to expire next month, but city council members are moving to renew it. With aid from the ABC Board, the policy was developed 4 years ago to lower the density and capacity of bars downtown to improve public safety. Wilmington city council members and bar owners believe the policy has done its job and would like it to continue. Read their reasoning at Star News Online.

Next Glass, a company developing an app that provides customized wine and beer recommendations, has seen great growth. So much so, it’s moving out of UNCW’s MARBIONC facility to 21 N. Front Street where its lab and office spaces will occupy 2 floors of the historic building. Learn more at Star News Online.

Members of Wilmington City Council and the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners met to prioritize tasks for improving the local economy based on a report by Garner Economics. These tasks include supporting a film tax credit, combining area marketing with Pender and Brunswick Counties, supporting new and established small businesses, and adding to quality of life amenities. See what this all means and how they prioritized them at Port City Daily.

For the 2014-2015 school year, Roland-Grise Middle School classroom placement has been transitioned to the cluster model. That means the AIG (gifted) students are no longer placed in their own classrooms and are now learning alongside students of other learning abilities. This has upset parents of the AIG students, who believe their students will be bored or feel held Battlefield Live Wilmington Picture of Participantsback. See the schools response at Star News Online.

Coming Up

Join the folks of Battlefield Live Wilmington as they host Laser Tag at the Battleship on Saturday, August 30. Starting at 1:00 p.m., older children, teens, and adults can participate in open play for $7-$10. The event will happen in Battleship Park, adjacent to the Battleship North Carolina, and ends at 5:00 p.m.. Learn more at Battlefield Live Wilmington’s website.

Meghan Riley

Can I Take Pictures While Viewing Homes?

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Can I Take Pictures While Viewing Homes?In this day and age of technology and the internet, privacy for home sellers has become a sensitive topic. Over 90% of home buying is done with the aid of internet searches and online websites making pictures king. For a period of time, a seller has to live with their home electronically “open” to the public. Strangers can see their furniture, belongings, and home layout. Even if they take the steps to put the personal stuff away, it’s enough to make some people paranoid. But exposure is part of the selling process. Buyers need to see a home in order to know if they want to buy it (that’s a given). However, there’s some etiquette that buyers should abide by when viewing homes and part of that concerns taking their own pictures (or video).

The MLS Photos

Most sellers work very hard to make their home shine in the listing photos. After all, this is their chance to give a great first impression. But it’s also one point in the listing process when they get to control their family’s privacy. In doing so, they may remove personal items from the home or choose to refrain from showing a specific room to limit its exposure to the public. One example is a child’s room. By leaving the child’s room out of the marketing it allows the child to keep their toys and décor (their comfort zone) during a time that can be very stressful for them. It also protects them from predators who may troll listings. Further safety measures are taken in the form of restricted data, Realtor intervention, and showing logs and instructions.

Taking Photos While Viewing Homes

For most buyers and in most circumstances, the MLS photos should be enough for the first showing, but we realize that there are some circumstances when additional photos may be needed. These include when:

  1. An out-of-town relative is paying for the home and they want to clearly know what they may be investing in.
  2. The listing agent hasn’t supplied many photos and the buyer needs a few quick shots to remember what they like best about the home.
  3. The buyer needs a better shot of a room than the one supplied in order to make comparisons.

Additional photos should not be taken unless the buyer is seriously considering the home and should never be shared on social media. This includes selfies.

Respecting the Seller’s Privacy

As guests in a stranger’s home, buyers should always give their privacy the utmost respect. Yes, the seller wants to sell their home. Yes, the buyer is interested in purchasing the home. But until the deed is recorded, it’s not the buyer’s home, it’s the seller’s and they need to protect their privacy.

Remember, if a buyer is truly interested in making an offer on a home, they’ll want to maintain a good relationship with the seller. It will help loads when it comes time to negotiate. When in doubt, the buyer’s agent can always ask the listing agent if the seller would mind a few photos. This will at least give them the knowledge that pictures of their home will be “out there” and provide them the chance to remove additional personal items.

If you have any questions about listing, buying, or protecting your privacy during the real estate process, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us a message through our Contact page.

Meghan Riley

Monday Market Update - August 25, 2014

by Melanie Cameron, The Cameron Team

The Cameron Team Monday Market UpdateHappy Monday!

For some of you, that’s also Happy "Back to School Week”, because this is the start of the school year for traditional schools in the Wilmington area. We’re excited to see what the new school year will bring and we hope the transition back into the school schedule goes well for all of you parents out there, as well.

Now, onto the Monday Market Update…

Over the past 10 quarters, cash sales have accounted for 39 percent of all home sales on average. While this proved beneficial for home sellers, it wasn’t always great for buyers, especially those purchasing entry-level homes. The majority of cash buyers are investors and the focus of their sales is usually entry-level homes, because they rent out the quickest and can yield the most return. In multiple-offer situations, cash offers also often beat out those that are financed. Needles to say, first-time buyers have had some competition the past two years.

But there’s good news! RealtyTrac has reported that all-cash sales dropped from 42% down to 37.9% in the second quarter of 2014. While this still remains above the old average of 35.7%, it hints toward an improvement for home buyers who have faced competition from cash buyers. Now, add that to the dropping interest rates and you have a great time to buy!

If have any questions about buying a home or need the number of a reputable lender, let us know! We’re happy to help!

Have a GREAT week!

Melanie Cameron

National Median Home Size Leveling Off

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Median Home Size Leveling OffI’ve written in the past about how home sizes have changed over the past 60+ years and how it reflects the overall expectations of American society. My last post on the subject was in 2012. Since then, we’ve seen some changes.

For one, the median home size of newly constructed homes began to increase. This would make someone think that the housing crash didn’t have as much of an impact on the way Americans viewed affordability as we originally thought; however, to fully understand this trend, a person needs to look at the whole picture.

The Great Recession made it more difficult for first-time buyers to enter the real estate market, despite programs created to fuel housing sales. The hardest hit were the young people who went through college in the early 2000s only to graduate into a job market where there were no longer enough career positions to sustain them. Burdened with student loans, they were forced to move back in with their parents. Only now is that segment showing an increase in home purchases.

While the first-time home buyers faced an increase in obstacles, the buying power of people “moving up” remained relatively steady. So, larger homes and luxury homes continued to be sold driving the median home size closer to 2,500 sq.ft.. That’s close to the ideal home size right before the recession hit. However, the buying market continues to change.

More first-time buyers and “Millenials” are making their way into the real estate market, and they’re bringing their recession experiences with them. That means more modest new homes are being built, which is causing the median home size to level off. Will this eventually push the median home size down? Only time will tell.

Did the recession affect how you buy? Is your next purchase a move-up or downsize?

Meghan Riley


How Do I Find Out if My North Carolina Home Was a Meth Lab?

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

How To Find Out If A Home Was a Meth LabHonestly, I hate that I even had to type that title, but the fact is that homes used as methamphetamine labs have been getting a lot of coverage in the past few years due to the lingering health effects they can have on people who move into them after the home has been fixed up. Many toxic drugs are used to create meth and they can’t be contained. They seep into every wall, piece of wood, foot of carpet, length of drapery…even the exterior ground. No room in the home is safe and exposure can lead to respiratory issues, skin burns, cancer, birth defects, and death, just to name a few. It’s scary, but only a little over half of the states in America require disclosure during a sale and those laws differ from state-to-state (only about 17 states require landlords to tell tenants). Some states don’t even require disclosure if the home has been “decontaminated”, but there isn’t a national standard by which decontamination is determined so a house in one state may have more lingering chemicals than another and still be considered safe.

Luckily, in North Carolina, homeowners and real estate agents are required to disclose if a home has been used as a meth lab, even if it’s been decontaminated. The catch, obviously, is that if they don’t know, they can’t disclose and the law protects them if the new homeowners discover after the sale that the home was a meth lab, unless you can prove they knew otherwise. So, it’s recommended you do your research before you buy a home. Hey, that’s what the Due Diligence Period is for, right?

So, how do you know if your home was a meth lab? You can start by searching the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) National Clandestine Laboratory Register, which lists contaminated properties state-by-state as reported by law enforcement officials. You can also search the Department of Justice seizures database. It’s not as well organized, but it lists where drugs were recovered. Finally, talk with neighbors if you suspect something amiss with property. Most will share if they saw wrongdoings or questionable behavior.  

Thankfully, we haven’t had any issues concerning clients and meth labs in Wilmington, but noting activity on our website, there are still plenty of people who are concerned. Hopefully, this answers some of your questions!

For more information, visit this North Carolina Public Health Meth FAQ.

Meghan Riley

Featured Community: Mallory Creek Plantation, Winnabow

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Located on River Road SE (133) in Winnabow, just outside Leland on the way to Southport, is the developing community of Mallory Creek Plantation. Three single family home communities have already been completed and four more are in the building process, so there’s a nice mix of resale and new homes available for purchase. The developers have done a wonderful job giving each sub-community its own character through the featured home plans. If you need a specific style or feature, you’ll likely find it here.

There are multiple builders in Mallory Creek Plantation – American Homesmith, Howard Builders, Terry F. Turner – but most of the homes built there are done by Stevens Fine Homes. They have an excellent history of providing energy efficient, well-built homes. They make sure to go above and beyond building codes to help home owners save on their monthly energy bills. So, if you’re buying new construction or one of their resales, you can feel confident you are purchasing a good home.

Cove Landing and The Grove feature single-family brick homes with 3 bedrooms, 2-3.5 baths, bonus rooms, and 2 car garages. The open floor plans range from 1,420-2,332 sq.ft.. South Brook and The Pines feature Craftsman and European style two-story homes with 3-6 bedrooms, 2.5-4 baths, 2 car garages, and floor plans that range from 1,950-4,014 sq.ft.. Depending on the plan and features, homes range from the $170's up into the $300's. You can buy homes already built or choose the lot, plan, colors, finishes, etc. You have plenty of options to choose from!

There’s also a new townhome community at Mallory Creek called Tyler’s Cove. Built by Terry F. Turner, they are 2 and 3 bedroom one-story townhomes. Each has an open floor plan, 1 car garage, screened porch, and patio. They are a great option if you’re looking for low maintenance living.

View Homes for Sale in Mallory Creek Plantation

Mallory Creek Swimming PoolMallory Creek Plantation’s amenities are excellent. The community has a competition sized swimming pool, low country club house with a kitchen (available by reservation), playground, and walking trails. Sidewalks and streetlights provide safe paths for walking, and the utilities are all underground. Plus, the Brunswick River Park (boat ramp, playgrounds, and picnic areas) is just down the road and Historic Downtown Wilmington is only 10 minutes away over the Cape Fear River, so there is plenty to do!

If you'd like to see a home for sale in Mallory Creek Plantation or have questions about the different communities, give us a call at 910.202.2546 or send us a message through our Contact page. We'd be happy to help!

Meghan Riley

What the New FICO Score Formula Means for Wilmington Home Buyers

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Fico Score 9 Home BuyersYou may have heard last week that FICO has rolled out a new formula for determining credit scores. This formula is called FICO® Score 9 and its main purpose is to differentiate medical debt from non-medical debt.

Have you ever been rushed to the hospital with an emergency only to find out that your stay won’t be covered by your insurance? You suddenly have thousands of dollars of medical debt – debt that was accumulated not from neglect or poor management, but circumstances outside your control. Medical debt is also often sent to collections, not because a person can’t pay, but because of insurance billing problems. The people who developed FICO® Score 9 realize that not all debt is created equal and are trying to provide some perspective on that in the form of numbers by putting less weight on medical debt.

If your only debt is medical collections, the FICO® Score 9 press release states that your median score will go up 25 points. This is about equal to the amount that a U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report stated last year was the difference between scores of people with medical and non-medical debt of the same amount. The USCFP believed that people with medical debt were being overpenalized. You can learn more about that and see industry insider perspectives here.

FICO® Score 9 also implements a new way to analyze people with limited credit history. Instead of scoring on a black and white scale that says a person did or did not repay a debt, it quantifies debt and classifies it into different degrees to better determine the chances of a person repaying a debt. This helps the lender better understand a home buyer’s expected behavior and may help the buyer qualify for more options.

It’s important to know that the new formula won’t be established overnight. You won’t be able to sign on to your favorite credit report site tomorrow and see your new score. FICO® Score 9 is expected to be fully available to home lenders by the end of the year, but they aren’t required to adopt it. They reserve the right to test it to see if it provides a more reliable prediction of consumer behavior than FICO® Score 8. So, you may not see it in use until the second quarter of 2015. Still, many in the finance industry see it as a step in the right direction for credit scores. A few expect no real change. But only time will tell!

Are you thinking of buying a Wilmington area home? Want a referral for a reputable lender? Give us a call or send us a message through our Contact page.

Melanie Cameron

Wilmington Weekly Update - Updates to NHCS Reassignment Policies, UMX Zoning, and more!

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Our weekly round-up of news stories making their way around Wilmington, North Carolina.

Instagram of the Week:

In Case You Missed It

Slice of Life, which recently took over the Masonic Hall building in Historic Downtown Wilmington, has proposed an open-air addition to their building. After seeing renderings of the concept, which they determined to be too suburban, the Historic Preservation Committee was ready to deny Slice of Life’s request. However, they agreed on a continuance that would allow Slice of Life to develop a plan that would be more in line with what they would allow. Read more at Port City Daily.

If you live in Barnard’s Landing, Silva Terra, and Silver Lake, or along Bald Eagle Lane, good news concerning your home insurance may be in order. New fire hydrants are being installed! Your home’s proximity to a fire hydrant can have a direct affect on your home insurance rates. Check out the article on Port City Daily to see if it applies to you.

Pooch Plunge Wilmington NCNew Hanover County Schools changed the requirements for school reassignments for the 2014-2015 school year. They also released the results of the Read to Achieve summer program that was established to help nonqualifying third graders get promoted to fourth grade. Read about the latest school board meeting on Star News Online.

An expansion of the recently established Urban Mixed-use zoning, which is already in use in older parts of Wilmington, has been approved for expansion. Under the expansion, landowners with tracts 5 acres or larger can ask for their property to be rezoned to UMX. The property needs to be within city limits and the owner will need to have some sort of conceptual plan to get it approved. Learn more at Star News Online.

The City of Wilmington pool schedule has changed. All but the Northside Splashpad will be closed weekdays. The new hours are noon to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday through the end of the season. The city also scheduled Legion Stadium’s Pooch Plunge. See all the dates and times on Port City Daily.

Coming Up

This Saturday night, the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher in Kure Beach is hosting the Glow in the Shark Sleepover, a new neon night of fun specially geared to tweens. By the light of the jellies, children ages 10 to 13 get to learn about marine science (bioluminescence), meet aquarium animals, and play games supervised by trained staff. Dinner, snacks and breakfast will be provided. The event runs from 6pm Saturday to 9am Sunday. Preregistration is required as space is limited Tickets are $65. Learn more at the aquarium’s website.

Meghan Riley

Who Pays for the Oil in the Fuel Tank?

by Melanie Cameron, The Cameron Team

Who Pays for the Oil in the Fuel Tank at Closing?A Wilmington area home goes under contract. The fuel tank attached to the home still has oil in it. Come the day of closing, who pays for that oil?

According to section 2 (“FIXTURES”) of the North Carolina Offer to Purchase, there are a number of items “included in the Purchase Price free of liens”. These include “fuel tank(s) whether attached or buried and including contents, if any, as of Settlement”. If the fuel tank is leased, it should be written into the contract as an exception, because it’s not technically owned by the home owner and cannot be sold.

Owned or leased, the home owner has the right to exclude the contents and ask for the buyer to pay for them, but that doesn’t guarantee they will agree to such terms. Resolving an issue of “floating oil”, so to speak, can be tricky and it may put a kink in negotiations, so it’s imperative for the home owner to determine how important it is to them to recoup that fuel. Sometimes it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie.

Have more questions about this? Give us a call or send us a message through our Contact page.

Meghan Riley

Monday Market Update - August 18, 2014

by Melanie Cameron, The Cameron Team

Monday Market Update - The Cameron TeamHappy Monday!  Back from vacation and at it full force.  A special shout out to my Team Members for keeping everything under control while I was gone!  Love you guys!  Well, schools following the traditional calendar start back next week.  I can't believe the summer has gone by so fast.  It's been a great one but there are still a lot of warm weather days ahead....

Numbers for July are in and the market continues to show good numbers in our area.   The average sold price for July was $254,522 which was a 1.5% improvement from June and a 4.5% improvement over last year at this time.  Looking at the year after year average sold prices, we saw a decline in the yearly average sales price from 2008 through 2012.   It was not until last year, 2013, that we saw a slight improvement and we are on pace this year to also see an improvement.   Our pending index stands at 1,135 units... pretty impressive!

Our listing inventory has increased by 46 units and is currently at 4,251 which equates to a 6.6 month supply of homes.  The average days on the market stayed the same as it was in June, 125 days.  The 30 year fixed rate has also remained stable.  For July, it averaged 4.14% with an average of .7 points. The average list price for July was down slightly from last month to $351,352,  The list to sale price ratio is still pretty good and is at 96.2%.Melanie Cameron

As we head into Fall, listing inventory tends to drop as do the number of buyers looking.  The ever optimist that I am though is quick to point out that, while the quantity of buyers is less in the Fall/Winter months, the quality tends to be better.  Why, you ask?  My thought is that buyers that are looking at homes in the Fall (especially towards October and through the holidays) are serious buyers and must HAVE to move.  Likewise, with less inventory, the good ones are going to go fast so if you're considering putting your home on the market, let's talk strategy sooner rather than later.

Have a great week and thanks as always for considering The Cameron Team for all your real estate needs.

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Contact Information

The Cameron Team
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage
1001 Military Cutoff Suite 101
Wilmington NC 28405
Office: 910.202.2546
Toll Free: 800.522.9624
Fax: 910.202.2875

The Cameron Team - Wilmington North Carolina Real Estate

The Cameron Team
Coldwell Banker
Sea Coast Advantage
1001 Military Cutoff, Suite 101
Wilmington, NC  28405
Office: 910.202.2546

Toll Free: 800.522.9624
Fax: 910.202.2875

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