The Cameron Team Real Estate Blog

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"2015 Sales Team of the Year"


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 1276

When Can I Enter My New Home?

by Meghan Riley, "2015 Sales Team of the Year"

When Can I Enter My New HomeIt’s Closing Day and you have the keys to your brand new home. Chances are that you have a lot to get done before you settle in – cleaning, painting, installing, moving – you name it! Even new construction homes need a little bit of prep before you start setting up furniture and filling the kitchen cabinets. So, it’s completely understandable that you are itching to get into your new home, especially if your closing is on a Friday afternoon and you’re limited on time for getting a tradesman into the home. But there is one important thing you need to understand:

Keys do not equal a right of entry.

It doesn’t matter if your insurance company says your home insurance is going into effect that day or that the utilities are being turned over that day. Until the sale records with the county, you are not the official owner and chances are, if the home burned down from something you did, your insurance wouldn’t cover it, because you are not the owner.

While many buyers define the closing by the moment they sit down at the attorney’s table and sign the paperwork, a closing is actually a series of events. Once all of the paperwork (title, mortgage note, mortgage deed, closing disclosure, etc.) is signed, the attorney needs to record the sale at the county, but they can’t do that until they’ve received all of the funds for payment of the house and fees stated on the closing disclosure. If there are any delays on receiving those funds, the sale may not be recorded until the next business day.

Most of the time, there are no issues getting a home recorded and closed on the same day, but it’s important to know that entering the house prior to this happening is trespassing, unless you have written permission from the sellers. If you foresee needing access to the home in the middle of closing day in order to have something delivered, installed, or cleaned, make sure you make arrangements with the sellers in advance. But understand that they don’t need to give you access, as they are still liable and may have their own moving plans.

In conclusion, it's best to wait to enter the home until your Realtor or the attorney calls to tell you the sale has recorded. Until then, try to tie up any loose ends you can without entering the home scheduling appointments, transferring utilities and services, last minute packing, arranging meals during the busy moving time...

If you’re looking to buy in the greater Wilmington area (New Hanover, Pender, or Brunswick County), we’d be happy to guide you through the process. Just give us a call or send us a message through our contact page.

How to Brighten Up a Dark Room without Breaking the Bank

by Meghan Riley, "2015 Sales Team of the Year"

Do you have a room in your house that makes you feel like you’re meditating in a Jedi temple? Don’t worry, there are ways to brighten it up that don’t involve installing more windows or tubular skylights, or making other major structural changes. Just apply some of these techniques and your room will be taken from the Jedi Temple on Lothal to the gardens of Naboo.

Okay, maybe not completely, but it will certainly be brighter!

Aust Architect - Master Bedroom with Low Light1. Repaint the Walls

Repainting the room a light color is the first step in brightening up a room. Dark colors, even accent walls, can make the room feel smaller and darker. You don’t need to go stark white, but keep it a light shade. If you want to make the room look even larger, make two parallel walls the same, slightly darker color than the others. This creates depth.

Need color ideas? Check out this great blog post from Kylie M. Interiors - 7 Great Colours for a North Facing or Northern Exposure Room.

2. Paint the Ceiling White.

If the room has dark beams, a dingy white coloring, or some other color of the rainbow, painting it all white will make the ceiling feel higher and help brighten the overall look of the room. It will also help reflect light better than a dark or faded ceiling.

3. Lighten Up Your Window Coverings

Dark drapes and brown blinds can block much needed natural light from coming in. Instead, change out your window coverings for white blinds, light colored roman shades, or sheer drapes. The right option will award you privacy while not overtaking the windows.

4. Improve Your Light Fixtures

Depending on the current state of the room, you may want to completely change out some light fixtures with ones that allow more light to shine through. That includes getting rid of opaque glass, thick frames, and oversized fixtures that block light. If you’re lucky, you may be able to get away with just changing out some shades for lighter ones and/or painting the ceiling fan white.

5. Change Out Your Lightbulbs for Something Brighter

Switch out your old bulbs to something with a higher number of lumens. This doesn’t mean you need to change the color of your bulbs. If you prefer a soft white over a bright white, you can still choose that. Higher lumens just means that the bulb emits more light. LEDs provide a wide variety of high lumen bulbs to choose from and they use less energy, so less money out of your pocket.

6. Optimize Your Lighting Plan

Where it’s possible, direct light fixtures toward walls and ceilings. This will make the light bounce around the room rather than just shine straight upwards or downwards. Also, try to decorate with metallics. They naturally reflect light and will expand how far light reaches.

My Domaine - Scandinavian Apartment7. Declutter and Remove Bulky Furniture

“Stuff” can absorb light and block it from spreading around the room. Keeping décor and furniture minimal will help keep the room from feeling like a cave. If you can, clean out whatever you don’t need and replace bulky furniture with pieces that you can see through – think skinny legs, glass tops, open shelves, etc. Light colored finishes also help.

Scandinavian interior design is a great source for furniture and decor ideas for dark rooms, because Scandinavian countries have adapted to long, dark winters. Just check out this Scandinavian apartment on MyDomaine and you'll see why.

8. Cover Dark Floors

Dark floors, like dark paint, can absorb light; however, refinishing floors can be expensize and painting over them with paint may not be the best option for you, especially in a high-traffic area. Instead, try to break up the dark flooring by covering it with a light colored rug or two. It'll not only give the room some style, but the light colors will reflect the light. 

9. Add a Mirror

Hanging a mirror on a wall helps to reflect light around the room. Now, when it comes to mirrors, bigger isn’t always better. That means installing a floor-to-ceiling mirror won’t necessarily make the room feel huge or incredibly bright. It may just mean you’ve set yourself up for a future of chronic headaches. Still, a mirror with a really nice frame can have a positive impact on the brightness of a room.

These are just some tips for brightening up a dark room. Have a good idea to share? Leave it in the comments!  

How to Brighten Up a Dark Room without Breaking the Bank

Tuesday Tally from Scotts Hill Village, Wilmington

by Meghan Riley, "2015 Sales Team of the Year"

Melanie Cameron presents this week's Tuesday Tally from the brand new development of Scotts Hill Village in Wilmington. Learn more about this community and see how the Wilmington real estate market is performing for the week of 10/25/2016. You can also see information on 2 other brand new communities here.

Open House - 5024 Crown Point Lane

by Meghan Riley, "2015 Sales Team of the Year"

Stop by for a tour of this home and have all your questions answered. Every Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage open house you visit gets you entered in Coast In & Win for the chance to win $500!

5024 Crown Point LaneSunday, October 30
5024 Crown Point Lane

Wilmington, NC 28409
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Realtor Rachel Belch will be hosting an open house this weekend at our listing located in Masonboro Forest!

Property Details:

Elegant Colonial-inspired home in popular Masonboro Forest! This beautiful 4 bedroom (4th is F.R.O.G.), 3.5 bath property features a great room with a gas log fireplace, vaulted ceilings, and built-ins. Additionally, there’s a formal dining room, large eat-in kitchen, pantry, and wet bar, as well as two offices (one located on each floor). All baths have been updated with new granite and fixtures. The first-floor master suite has new tile and a frameless shower door. Overlooking the back yard is a heated and cooled sunroom/four seasons room. Conveniently located off Masonboro Loop Road, this custom home community includes a clubhouse, tennis courts, and playground for only $180/qtr. It’s also zoned for the ever popular Parsley Elementary School, Myrtle Grove Middle School, and Hoggard High School District. For added peace of mind, a 1-year home warranty is included. Welcome home!

Click here for a map, more details, and pictures!

What is “Buying a Listing”?

by Meghan Riley, "2015 Sales Team of the Year"

What is “Buying a Listing”? Have you ever heard the real estate slang “buying a listing”? No, we’re not referring to the actual act of purchasing a home. We’re speaking of the ethically questionable act of listing agents securing listing agreements by agreeing to whatever listing price the seller presents.

How is this ethically questionable? Consider this scenario…

Say you’re getting ready to list your home for sale and are interviewing agents to list the home for you. You’ve been on Zillow looking at their estimates, adding up the costs of all the updates you’ve made, analyzing your current mortgage statement, and calculating what you’ll need to purchase your next home. You now have a certain selling price that you want to get cemented in your mind.

The first agent you interview takes a look around the home and shows you their listing presentation. They don’t present any recently sold homes (comparables), but they tell you they’ve sold a lot of homes in your area and are very familiar with how homes are going. They give you a listing price that tens of thousands below what you had your mind set on. You feel like you’d be giving your home away.

The second agent your interview also takes a look around the home, shows you their listing presentation, and tells you that they are familiar with the neighborhood. They’ve brought print-outs of comparables, but now that they’ve seen the home, they plan on taking a closer look at the recently sold homes. When they call you the next day, they give you a listing price that’s higher than the first agent, but still not exactly where you wanted to be. You aren’t 100% pleased.

The third agent you interview does much the same as the first two agents. They look at the home, give their listing presentation, and may show you some recently sold homes. Then, they ask you what price you are hoping to sell at. Amazingly, it’s quite close to what they were going to propose and they agree to list the home at the price you are wanting.

Who would you choose? Probably, the third agent, right? But, let’s look at what the third agent is likely thinking…

I need to build up my listing inventory. This house is sellable and could bring me buyers (future clients). Once it’s on the market for 30 days, if there haven’t been any viable offers or showings, we can just lower the price. Right? I’ll just go with their preferred price, even though it will be much higher than similar homes.

It’s quite possible that the third agent truly believes that your home will sell at the price you want, but it’s very important that you take a levelheaded approach to pricing your home for the market. If the agent shows you homes that are larger, more updated, and with better features, and tells you that you can list your home for the same price, take a step back and think about what might happen if you overpriced your home.

First, it will sit on the market and the listing will grow cold. In real estate, time is money. The longer the home sits on the market, the more buyers and real estate agents will wonder if there’s something wrong with it and that’s a stigma you don’t want your property to gain. Then, showings will decline and later buyers will either avoid the home, assuming the seller is outright stubborn or the home is in bad shape, or try to take advantage of any desperation that may have set in from the house not selling. Finally, In an effort to appeal to buyers, you’ll end up spending more money on updates and cosmetic features than you would have if you’d just priced your home at fair market value right off the bat. That’s assuming your desire to sell remains months down the road.

In the end, you are the one who decides what your home will be listed at. It’s the job of the agent to provide you the facts (similar homes sold and material fact, not hearsay), so you can make what you feel is the best decision. Just don’t ignore those facts or let your decision get clouded by emotions, or it could cost you.

The third agent may be a risk you’re willing to take in pursuit of money, but keep in mind that a good real estate agent will be upfront with you on the true market value of your home. Some will be willing to work with you if you agree to be flexible. That means adjusting the listing price according to showing feedback and activity. Other agents will pass on the listing if the gap between fair market value and your listing price is too large. After all, most agents pay for the marketing of a listing well before they make any money off of it. If the home doesn’t sell, that’s money they’re out. So, they too want the home to sell.

If you’re thinking of selling your Wilmington area home and want an honest opinion on its fair market value, give us a call at (910) 202-2546. We may not always tell you what you want to hear, but we’ll always be upfront about your options and mindful of your best interests, and we’ll do it with a smile!

Tuesday Tally from Masonboro Forest, Wilmington

by Meghan Riley, "2015 Sales Team of the Year"

Melanie Cameron presents this week's Tuesday Tally from the community of Masonboro Forest in Wilmington, NC. Learn what makes this neighborhood great and get the Wilmington real estate market stats for the week of 10/18/2016.

Featured Community: Masonboro Forest, Wilmington

by Meghan Riley, "2015 Sales Team of the Year"

Off Masonboro Loop Road in Wilmington is the beautiful community of Masonboro Forest. Centrally located in New Hanover County, it’s a convenient drive to area golf courses, shopping, and dining, and 15 minutes to the beach. It’s also a very short drive to Masonboro Yacht Club and Marina, and Trails End Park, which has a public boat ramp.

Masonboro Forest consists of 3 neighborhoods - Stratton Village, Craven's Point, and Masonboro Forest Estates. There are a variety of home styles, including: Traditional, French Provincial, Lowcountry, English cottage, and Georgian. The subdivision of Stratton Village consists of brick patio homes with rear-entry garages. This community is in no way cookie cutter. Each home is unique while maintaining the overall polished feel of the neighborhood.

Homes in Masonboro Forest range from 1,500 to 5,300 square-feet (3,200 on average) with 3 to 6 bedrooms and 2 to 5 bathrooms. Most homes have 2 car garages and sit on .30 to .40 acres (the patio homes average .18 acres). While vinyl/wood siding may be used for exterior accent walls, the homes are mainly brick.

Masonboro Forest Example HomeThere are over 200 homes in Masonboro Forest and recent sales have occurred between $245,000 and $620,000*. Interior features that may be found here include: two-story foyers, great rooms, formal dining rooms, crown molding, trey ceilings, fireplaces, built-in shelving, granite countertops, kitchen islands, breakfast rooms, dressing counters, his and her vanities, separate showers, Jacuzzi tubs, formal living rooms, sunrooms, screened porches, and both open and traditional floor plans. Think “stately” and “elegant” when imagining these homes.

View homes for sale in Masonboro Forest.

Masonboro Forest has an excellent set of amenities, including a large clubhouse, Olympic-sized swimming pool, tennis courts, and a playground. A few ponds and its location near the marsh affords a selection of the residents waterfront properties. From the marshfront properties or nearby Trails End Park, it’s a short ride to the Intracoastal Waterway and Masonboro Island.

Masonboro Forest Swimming PoolAt the time of this post, Masonboro Forest is zoned for the ever popular Parsley Elementary School, Myrtle Grove Middle School, and Hoggard High School District. However, planned school improvements and redistricting does happen every few years. You can double-check the school locator and see the most recent school report cards here.

If you’d like to learn more about Masonboro Forest or would like to be setup to receive email alerts when new homes come on the market, give us a call at (910) 202-2546 or send us a message through our Contact page.

*Note: All data shared in this blog post was pulled from the MLS at the time it was written. For an update, contact The Cameron Team.

6 Unique Countertops

by Meghan Riley, "2015 Sales Team of the Year"

Have you ever experienced the relaxing effects of water running over a rocky stream bed? It’s hard not to be mesmerized by the rippling motion and quiet whoosh of water. So much so, that it’s hard to ignore a moment that brings it forth so vividly. That’s exactly what I experienced when I first saw Golden Marinace Granite Countertops.

Marinace granite is a slab that looks like individual stones. It’s not man-made. It consists of individual rounded petrified stones called “clasts” that have been naturally cemented together by a finer grained black material. It’s believed that glaciers played a part in the tumbling of the stones before they were cemented together. Because the clasts are made up of different materials, there are 100s of colors in each slab, but each seem to fall into a general color theme – green, red, gold, or black.

The Golden Marinace Granite Countertops that I saw were part of a kitchen renovation by Shoreline Cabinet Company in Wilmington, North Carolina. I was blown away by the shimmering gold details and fluid-like motion the clasts seemed to have. This probably wasn’t the first time I’d ever seen marinace granite, but it was the first time I felt drawn to make note of it.

Golden Marinace Granite Countertop - Shoreline Cabinet Company 

Golden Marinace Granite Countertop - Shoreline Cabinet Company

Granite countertops commonly found in homes for sale in Wilmington have a mottled pattern to them. So, the Golden Marinace Granite Countertops installed by Shoreline got me thinking about other exotic countertop styles that may be available. Here’s what I found.

Wood Stone Granite

Wood stone is another rare style of granite countertop. The pattern looks like the rings that grow in the interior of a tree and reminds me of tree ring wood floors where whole trees are cut crosswise and pieced together, instead of lengthwise as boards. The granite comes in warm colors ranging from yellow-gold to mahogany, and the density of the rings varies with each slab.

Wood Stone Granite - Granite Grannies 

Petrified Wood

While wood stone granite just looks like wood, there’s actually petrified wood that you can buy to use as a countertop. Over millions of year, the layers of the trees were replaced with minerals making them hard as rock while maintaining the cellular structure. The most sought after version is from Africa and contains rare specimens of petrified wood blended together with magnificent ammonites and chambered nautilus.

Petrified Wood from Africa 


I don’t know about you, but as a kid, I loved geodes. Their crystal insides and rainbow colors were beautiful. Now, you can get whole countertops made out of them and there’s just as many color schemes to choose from. Some designers even backlight them, like in this photo. The results are very cool.

Geode Kitchen Countertop 

Concrete Inlay

As a material, concrete is very durable. They are not, however, the prettiest; but they do have one interesting advantage over other countertops – they can be customized. Dying is one option. Another is inlays – gemstones, sea glass, metal die cut shapes, glass blocks, shells, etc. The countertop pictured here is from JM Lifestyles and is concrete inlaid with fiber optics. Just think of all the possibilities!

Concrete Inlay - Fiber Optics - JM Lifestyles 


Glass is a common building material, but isn’t often used as a countertop, not like granite or laminate. It’s hard to keep clean of fingerprints and is more prone to cracks than stone options; however, it can be a fun kitchen accent. This blue glass has been textured to resemble water. In this kitchen, it’s only used as a ledge, but similar glass has also been used for topping kitchen islands. This style is the perfect option for beachside homes or anyone who has home décor inspired by the ocean.

Glass Kitchen Countertop - Downing Designs 

If you’re looking to add a unique touch to your kitchen, consider a rare countertop material. The options listed above are all uncommon and fit multiple budgets. Choosing one is sure to make the kitchen your favorite room in the home.

Do you know of another exotic or rare countertop material? Share it in the comments!

6 Unique Countertops

Does it Matter if My Real Estate Agent is Certified?

by Meghan Riley, "2015 Sales Team of the Year"

Does it Matter if My Real Estate Agent is CertifiedHave you ever seen a Realtor’s name presented like this?


Yep, those are all certifications. Each certification means the agent passed a test after going through a set number of class hours on a specific subject. These classes are meant to provide skills that will enrich their business and the services they provide for clients. Many of these classes are provided by the National Association of Realtors®. Some are provided by an organization in the association’s extended family, but all are approved by the governing body of Realtors®.

So, say you’re getting ready to sell a property – does it matter if the agent you choose is an Accredited Land Consultant or a Certified Distressed Property Expert? It really depends on the circumstances. Most properties – homes and land – can be sold without need for any special certification, because the knowledge needed to do so is provided through core classes and continuing education required by the state real estate commission, as well as day-to-day experiences.

Where these certifications really pay off is in highly specialized real estate segments, like distressed properties (short sales, foreclosures, etc.). Financial and government institutions have put in place a lot of requirements and steps for selling distressed properties – forms to use, a timeline of submission, restrictions on when offers can be made, who can approve a contract, how parties need to sign paperwork, where the documents need to be uploaded, what repairs can be made, etc. It can get to be very confusing (and frustrating). Training on how to handle distressed properties can help the whole transaction go smoother.  

Another highly specialized segment that can see the benefits of a certification is luxury properties. These higher priced properties often come with a specific target market and marketing plan that agents don’t see in the more active lower priced properties. Training can provide an agent with a better understanding of the needs of the buyers and sellers in this price range, as well as the extra features that accompany these types of homes.

One more segment that could benefit from a certificate is military relocation. Unless a real estate agent is or was a military member, chances are they won’t be fully educated on the processes and procedures for relocating with the United States Military. Training can help a real estate agent guide members of the military through the decision-making process, including the services available specifically to them.

If an agent’s certification isn’t related to the above segments, it doesn’t mean that it’s any less valuable. Every course is an opportunity for a real estate agent to improve their skills and gain knowledge that will garner more money and a smoother transaction for their clients, as well as a better experience for everyone else involved (co-broke agents, lenders, attorneys, etc.). We just want to assure you that the lack of a certification does not mean that your agent isn’t good or doesn’t know what they’re doing. Some of the best knowledge comes from real world experience and the training provided right within their brokerage (Coldwell Banker, Re\Max, etc.).

Want to know more about buying or selling real estate in the Wilmington area? Give us a call at (910) 202-2546 or send us a message through our Contact page.

Real Estate Agent Certifications & Abbreviations

ABR – Accredited Buyer Representative
– At Home with Diversity
ALC – Accredited Land Consultant
– Accredited Management Organization
– Broker Price Opinion Resource
– Coldwell Banker Previews
– Certified Buyer Representative
– Certified Commercial Investment Member
– Certified Distressed Property Expert
CHMS – Certified Home Marketing Specialist
– Certified International Property Specialist
CLHMS – Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist
CNS – Certified Negotiation Specialist
CPM – Certified Property Manager
CRB – Certified Real Estate Broker
– Counselor of Real Estate
– Certified Real Estate Team Specialist
– Certified Relocation Specialist
CRS – Certified Residential Specialist
– Certified short sale Specialist
e-PRO – Internet Professional
GREEN – National Association of Realtors Green Designation
GRES – Graduate Real Estate Society
GRI – Graduate REALTOR® Institute
MRP – Military Relocation Professional
NAR – National Association of Realtors
Performance Management Network
– Pricing Strategy Advisor
– Member of the National Association of Realtors
RENE – Real Estate Negotiation Expert
RPAC Realtors Political Action Committee
– Resort & Second-Home Property Specialist
– Short Sales & Foreclosure Resource
SRES – Senior Real Estate Specialist
– Seller Representative Specialist

Melanie Cameron Among 100 Most Influential Real Estate Agents in North Carolina

by Meghan Riley, "2015 Sales Team of the Year"

The Cameron Team is excited to announce that Team Leader Melanie Cameron was recently named one of the 100 Most Influential Real Estate Agents in North Carolina by Real Estate Executive Magazine!

Real Estate Executive Magazine conducted a “comprehensive analysis of the leading real estate companies in each state” to generate the list of awardees. The nationally recognized publication stated that it seeks “to recognize and celebrate the service, dedication, and hard work that real estate agents put into building their companies and serving their clients.” 

Real Estate Executive Magazine

Melanie has been a real estate agent in Wilmington, NC, since 1994. She has been a consistent top producer at Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, ranking in the Coldwell Banker International Presidents Elite Circle for multiple years. The Cameron Team was also the “2015 Sales Team of the Year”.

Click here to learn more about Melanie and read testimonials from past clients. If you have any real estate questions, you are welcome to give her a call at (910) 202-2546 or send her a message through our Contact page.

100 Most Influential Real Estate Agents - Melanie Cameron - NC - 2016

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 1276




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: 910.795.4723

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