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Monday Market Update - Home Staging Tips

by Melanie Cameron, The Cameron Team

The Cameron Team's Monday Market UpdateHappy Monday!  Hope you had a great weekend!  Hoping everyone is back in the swing of things with school and looking forward to cooler weather.

One of the key parts of selling a home and getting top dollar for it is to have it look appealing to would be home buyers.  Home staging has been a trick that has worked well for me as a listing agent for years.  So much so that I've incorporated a FREE 3 hour consultation for sellers that list their home with me.  If you are considering selling your home, here are some ideas that will help you get top dollar in any market.  This is an article from "Realty Times" that gives you an idea of the tips you'll get from a home stager.

Getting ready to sell your home?  It would be awesome to hire a home stager. 

Home stagers are paid to furnish a home and help it look its best.  What they create isn't so much the ideal living environment but rather the idealized one - one which there are no awkward furniture arrangements, toys on the floor, crumbs on the countertops, or surprises in the toilet.  It's not maintainable for most people every day, but boy does it work when selling your home.

Stagers typically have furniture and accessories at their disposal - not to mention interior design degrees.  But they can cost hundreds - even thousands of dollars.  Fortunately, you can achieve great results by using some of their tricks.

CLEAR IT OUT AND CLEAN IT UP

THe first step in preparing any home for sale is to clear it out and clean it up, getting rid of clutter and personal items and scrubbing it down.

"Decluttering - and having a pristine home from top to bottom are the no brainers that can make your real estate look better than the house down the block,"  said Better Homes and Gardens.  "Your home must be cleaner and less cluttered than it's ever been.  You need to banish not just the day to day buildup (the mail, the shoes, last seasons clothes, the dog hair), but also several years of accumulation."

Removing kids toys, outdated furnishings and excessive knick knacks can help.  Whatever you can't sell or donate, box up and store at a friend or relative's house, or rent a storage unit for a couple of months.  Or, if you can do so neatly and without compromising your garage space, stack them along a wall.

DEPERSONALIZE

A house that reflects your personal style from floor to ceiling and all over the walls (and every other surface) will have a hard time appealing to buyers.

"Prospective buyers won't be able to picture themselves in the house if they're surrounded by dozens of photos of your children and grandparents," said Bankrate.

UPDATE THE BATHROOM

Not everyone has the funds for a big bathroom renovation prior to selling.  Smart changes can make a big difference.

"Avoid dated tile painting.  Bathroomms sell houses, but dated tile in a bathroom doesn't.  A low cost alternative to replacing the tile is to use paint,"  said HGTV.  "First coat the tiles with a high-adhesion primer.  Next, brush on a special ceramic epoxy covering.  For a fraction of the cost of new tile, you will have an up to date bathroom that brings in big bucks."

PAY ATTENTION TO DESIGN DETAILS

After you've cleared away the clutter, you want to focus on creating simple, elegant designs.  It's easier than it seems.  "For a visual impact on a table without a lot of fuss, remember a design basic:  Groupings of odd numbers always do the trick!  Three of a kind, like hurricane jars, filled with something as simple as pinecones. makes a ridiculously easy and dynamic table scape," said Kathie Jane Interiors.

UP YOUR CURB APPEAL

Make sure you make a great first impression, or you might not have an opportunity to make a second impression.  "You may have spent hours making sure the kitchen is clean, and doing so is worth the effort," said Bob Vila.  "But remember, the facade is the first part of your house a potential buyer will see.  A little landscaping can go a long way.  Strapped for time?  Potted plants placed around the front door will add welcome charm to your entry way."

PAY ATTENTION TO ODORS

We get used to our environment, so we might not notice that musty smell or cat box aroma.  Have your Realtor or trusted friend do a walk through and give you an honest assessment - not just of the way the house looks, but how it smells.  Then take action to improve it.  Start by steam cleaning the carpets and any upholstered pieces that need it.

DON'T IGNORE THE WINDOWS

Windows that are cloaked by outdated or heavy window coverings can negatily impact the image your home projects.  Open the blinds and replace drapes with inexpensive versions that will let the light in and frame the views.  "Need to dress up a window but don't want to shell out big bucks for window treatments?  Here's a trick: use place mats," said HGTV.  "First apply a hook and loop fastener to the place mats and attach them in a row to a basic curtain rod.  Now that the place mats are attached to the curtain rods, pin them together at the bottom, and  you'll have a stylish valance that costs about $12."

UPGRADE THE FURNITURE

Giving your home a fresh clean look with new furniture can make it feel more modern and appeal to more buyers.  Don't have the money for new stuff?  "Try giving worn out pieces a pick me up with new pillows or a slipcover," said Bob Vila.

While you're at it, take a look at your furniture layout too.  "Your preferred setup may not be the most appealing one to would be buyers.  Where logical, opt for a social layout that makes it easy to envision the space enjoyed among family and friends."

GIVE ROOMS A SINGLE PURPOSE

That home office that doubles as a guest room is useful, but when it comes time to sell your home, pick one and run with it.  "Potential buyers are confused by extra rooms that have a mishmash of uses," said HGTV.

The Cameron Team has partnered with Carolina Sold By Design to offer  a staging consultation to our sellers.  They'll give you tips like the ones mentioned above and also let you know how you can best use items you already have to help stage your home. 

Thinking of buying or selling?  We welcome to help you with all of your real estate needs.  We look forward to helping you!

Have a great week!

Featured Community: Laurenbridge, Wilmington

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Located off Masonboro Loop Road is a brand new community by Steven’s Fine Homes called Laurenbridge. This community has just 34 home sites, and boasts curb appeal and a front porch lifestyle. Plus, it’s just minutes from Monkey Junction, the Intracoastal Waterway, and area beaches.

Laurenbridge LogoLaurenbridge has two-story new construction homes with luxury details starting at $340,000. They include four new floor plans from Steven’s Fine Homes, each in the Coastal Craftsman style that includes a front porch for that ideal Southern feel, and range from 2,547 - 2,901 heated square-feet. Features vary between plans, but may include: Hardi siding, 36” cabinets, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, coach lights, soft close drawers, crown molding, oil rubbed bronze fixtures, ceramic tile, laminate wood flooring, wainscoting, double vanities, 9’ ceilings, gas log fireplaces, walk-in closets, bonus rooms, and more! Of course, each home maintains the quality, energy saving construction of Steven’s Energy Wise program, so new owners will be receiving some of the best pocket-friendly features.

View Homes for Sale in Laurenbridge.

Laurenbridge Example HomeAll of the lots are bordered by mature trees, heightening the privacy of each home. There are no city taxes and the low monthly HOA fee covers maintenance of the common areas, including road maintenance (see the community’s covenants and restrictions for all of the details). Plus, the community is convenient to area boat ramps and marinas.

Buyers who enter the purchase process early are given the most options for customizing their home, so don’t wait to take a tour. Give us a call at (910)202-2546 or send us a message through our Contact page. We can answer all of your questions about buying a home in Wilmington and arrange a walk-thru of the model home in Laurenbridge.


OPEN HOUSE: 4409 Fireside Ct, Wilmington

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Stop by for a tour of this home and have all your questions answered. Also, don’t forget that every Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage open house you visit gets you entered in Coast In & Win for the chance to win $500!

4409 Fireside Ct - BexleySaturday, August 29
4409 Fireside Court

Wilmington, NC 28412
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Realtor Judy McGuire will be hosting an open house this weekend at our listing located in Bexley!

Property Details:
Located in the popular community of Bexley, this 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath home has 2,593 sq.ft. of living space, including a bonus room located over the garage. It features newly refinished hardwood floors, new carpet, and fresh interior paint. The living room, kitchen, dining room, and office all have 12ft ceilings. Natural gas serves the gas pack, water heater, stove, and gas logs. Plus, storage won’t ever be an issue with tons of attic space included. The home is wired for a security system and a 1-year home warranty is included for added peace of mind. The outdoor space is just as pleasing with a private fenced back yard and an irrigation system. Bexley has beautiful tree-lined streets with sidewalks, and is located close to downtown, NHRMC, Cameron Art Museum, Halyburton Park and the Gary Shell Cross City Trail.

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

Wilmington Weekly Update - Local High School Improvements Announced

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

A large-animal veterinarian hospital has been proposed for 24 acres on N. Kerr Avenue by Veterinarian Ginger Reagan of Reagan Equine. The property would include a barn, grazing fields, a riding ring, and a veterinary office. Property owners around the parcel have been notified of the Reagan’s intentions. The project requires rezoning approval from New Hanover County. Learn more at Wilmington Business Journal.

Both Hoggard High School and Laney High School will be receiving improvements in 2016 and 2017 due to last November’s $160 million bond. The projects will include two new gymnasiums, a new media center at Laney, and an expanded lunch room at Hoggard. Learn more at WWAY TV3.

Local eateries, Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn, Winnie’s Tavern, The Fork N’ Cork, and Tazy’s Burgers, as well as Wilmington in general, were recognized for their food in multiple “Best of” lists. Learn more at Wilmington Business Journal.

The developers of Autumn Hall on Eastwood Rd have announced they’re moving forward with the next phase of the community, which will add 32 single-family homes. Also in the works is Dungannon Village, which is the community’s commercial complex. Learn more at Wilmington Business Journal.

SCA HelmetComing Up

The Shire of Seareach, the local branch of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), is hosting a Medieval Demonstration in the Equestrian Ring at Hugh MacRae Park in Wilmington from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 29. The event includes a variety of the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe. Themes include history, fashion, combat, and games. Learn more at What’s On Wilmington.

Know Before You Owe: The New Mortgage Disclosures

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Know Before You OweIf you’ve bought a home in the past and are planning on doing so again, you will find that the financial part of the process has changed. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has been hard at work to make it easier for buyers to understand the financial breakdown of buying a home so they can make better informed decisions. In the industry, these changes are most often referred to as the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule or “TRID”, but it’s much simpler than the name implies.

The biggest changes in the new mortgage process come as newly revised forms. Prior to TRID, there were four disclosures used. In the beginning stages of the application process, the consumer received a Good Faith Estimate and a Truth in Lending Disclosure Statement, which broke down all of the potential financial costs and terms of the loan. These two forms have been consolidated into a Loan Estimate. At the time of closing, the consumer was then provided with A Settlement Statement (HUD-1) and a Truth in Lending Disclosure Statement, which gave the final numbers of what would be paid. However, the HUD-1 didn’t mirror the Good Faith Estimate, so borrowers found it difficult to track changes between what they were told they were going to pay at the beginning and what they actually owed at the end. So, the HUD-1 and Truth in Lending Disclosure Statement have been consolidated into a Closing Disclosure that mirrors the Loan Estimate.

Loan Estimate ExampleAfter the Loan Estimate is received and the consumer has done their shopping around, they must notify the lender of their intention to proceed. This needs to be done within 10 days of the original estimate, because, after that time frame, the lender doesn’t need to honor the initial terms and a new Loan Estimate with the most recent figures must be drawn up.

The lender is not allowed to charge any fees prior to the borrower’s notification, except for a reasonable fee for pulling the credit report. Previously, they could ask for payment information prior to notification, but that is no longer allowed. Only after the lender is notified, can they take the borrower’s credit card info or check and charge their fees. These usually include an application fee, appraisal fee, and other processing fees.

If anything significant changes before closing, the lender may generate a new Loan Estimate. Reasons for a new disclosure include a change in credit score, a new down payment, additional income undocumented on the application, etc. Anything minor, like a bill paid that was not included in the original estimate, will not warrant a new Loan Estimate. This will guarantee a higher accuracy rate.

Additionally, Lenders are now required to provide the borrowers with the Closing Disclosure 3 days prior to the scheduled closing. This will allow the borrowers enough time to review all fees and terms, and make needed changes. If there are any large mistakes that cannot be fixed within 3 days, an additional 3-day review term will be required and the borrowers cannot waive it. This is meant to prevent the borrowers from making any decisions while under pressure.

These changes will be enforced starting in October, but some lenders are already adopting the forms in anticipation of the transition. If you’d like to know more, the CFPB has set up an informative site with a breakdown of all the changes called Know Before You Owe. On their site, you can see blank versions of the new forms, a side-by-side comparison, and a clickable graphic so you can learn about all of the costs. They’re also providing a Loan Tool Kit that will walk you through the process of choosing a loan and estimating all the costs of buying. It’s really a GREAT resource, so make sure you check it out. It’s one step in knowing your rights as a consumer.

If you have any questions about buying a home in the Wilmington area, give us a call or send us a message through our Contact page.

What You Need to Know About the New TRID Mortgage

Monday Market Update - A Real Estate Professional Can Make a Huge Difference

by Melanie Cameron, The Cameron Team

The Cameron Team's Monday Market UpdateHappy Monday and Happy first day back to school to most kids in this area!  Hoping you were able to get out and enjoy this great weather we had this weekend.

Winging it on your own with a home purchase today is much harder than it has been in the past.  It has never been more important to seek out a Real Estate Professional who is an expert in the mortgage world, home inventories, home values by neighborhood and area, market trends and is a great negotiator.  It's just as important to find a trusted Real Estate expert as it is to find the best lawyer or doctor.  It can make a huge difference during the purchase process and it can pay you huge dividends down the road.  Here is an article that was published in "Realty Times" that speaks to the importance of hiring a professional Real Estate expert for your home purchase.

Getting a purchase closed in today's market is complex.  The real estate market has changed greatly from only a few years ago.  Buyers face many more hurdles including stricter financing, low housing supplies, higher mortgage rates, and rising prices.

To negotiate today's challenges, you need a real estate professional to help you close the deal.  A good real estate professional understands current market conditions.  He or she has house by house neighborhood experience and can help you obtain the right home at the best price and terms.

Your agent can help you find a home quickly,  Not only do real estate agents have access to the local multiple listing service,  they also share knowledge of homes coming onto the market with their colleagues.  Your real estate professional will tell others about your requirements for a home so they can also be on the lookout for you.

In fact, networking is one of the biggest industry advantages.  Many homes are bought and sold without a sign ever going in the yard.  But, for homebuyers to be shown the latest homes on the market, or to hear about homes about to come on the market, there has to be a strong relationship between the buyer and the real estate professional.

If you want to be the buyer positioned to make first and best offers on the most desirable homes, make certain your agents know you are committed.  How do you show you're serious?  There are several ways.

Get prequalifed with a lender.  Share your financial records so you know exactly how much home you can buy.  Your agent won't go over your limit because it would be a waste of time to show you homes you can't afford to buy.

Work with only one agent.  You can do this by signing a buyer's representation agreement, if it's customary in your area.  If not, show your loyalty by telling other agents you may meet at open houses or socially that you are represented and give them your agent's name.

Don't shop for homes without your agent.  If you want to look at open houses or builder homes, invite your agent to go along.  If your agent can't go, make sure you register your agent's name with builder sales reps and open house sellers agents.

Be loyal.  Real estate professionals work primarily on commission.  If the deal of the century is about to come on the market, who do you think your agent will tell first - the buyer with five other agents or the buyer who is loyal?  If you're playing agents against each other thinking you'll get people to work for free and that you'll have your pick of homes to choose, you're wrong.  Agents talk, and they'll find out they're working  for the same buyer.  If you want great service, show appreciation, confidence and commitment.

Once you find the house you want, the work really begins.  You'll have to navigate negotiations, loan approval, seller's disclosures, inspections with environmental and structural reports, and so on.  From helping you make a reasonable offer, to providing for the discovery and disclosure of material facts, your agent can help protect your interests.

Buyers and sellers are natural adversaries,  Agents must be skilled negotiators and problem solvers, as well as  anticipate problems before they happen.  Pride, ignorance, or stubbornness can get in the way of a fair deal for both sides.

Your agent will share your risk, and will make sure you go into any home purchase with your eyes wide open.  Take advantage of the greatest homebuying resource available - your own real estate agent.

As always, thanks for your continued support and business.  Have a great week and we look forward to helping you with all your real estate needs.

What Price Would You Sell Your Home For?

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Have you been monitoring the home sales in your neighborhood? Are you not seeing the sale prices that you would need to make it possible for you to move? Please know, there are many people in your situation. They’d like to move to be closer to family or adopt a more fitting lifestyle, but they don’t want to short sale their home or foresee themselves making enough profit to cover the relocation. Sound familiar? Well, we at The Cameron Team want to know…

What price WOULD you sell your home for?

Why do we care? The local real estate market has about a 5 month supply of homes. That is a tight supply and, on more than one occasion, we’ve had to do some real digging to find a home meeting a client’s needs. We don’t mean searching every Active home in the Multiple Listing Service. We mean contacting the owners of homes that never sold, asking our social media followers for help, and sending out emails asking for pocket listings. It’s been a little exhausting at times.

So, we want to put this out in the open…

If you have a desire to sell, but aren’t 100% happy with the sale prices you’ve been seeing, go to our website and fill out the form to tell us what price you would sell for.

What Price Would You Sell Your Home For? Of course, be realistic. Our intention is to have a go-to list of potential home sellers in case one of our current buyers isn’t finding a home that fits their needs. As much as we’d like to sell your 1,200 square-foot home for $500,000, it probably won’t happen. Unless, of course, this home is on 6 acres of prime waterfront property.

 In this market, you just never know what may happen. So, don’t hesitate to notify us of your ideal sale price. Even if we don’t have a buyer right now, we may sometime down the road, and we don’t want you to miss out on a chance to make your dreams happen.

If you have any questions, you can always reach us at (910) 202-2546!

OPEN HOUSE: 7300 Liston Court, Wilmington

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Stop by for a tour of this home and have all your questions answered. Also, don’t forget that every Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage open house you visit gets you entered in Coast In & Win for the chance to win $500!

7300 Liston Ct - Wendover NorthSaturday, August 22
7300 Liston Court
Wilmington, NC 28411
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Realtor Judy McGuire will be hosting an open house this weekend at our listing located in Wendover North!

Property Details:
Spacious 5 bedroom, 3 bath home with an open floor plan in Wendover North! This lovely home includes a second floor bonus room and game room/lounge area with plumbing in place for a wet bar. Features include engineered tigerwood hardwood flooring downstairs; a large mud room and laundry room; family room with gas fireplace and built-ins; and a chef’s kitchen with a double oven, tile backsplash, and tons of cabinet and counter space. The first floor master suite includes a walk-in closet, double vanity, and extra-large tile shower. One more bedroom and bath are located downstairs, and three bedrooms and one bath are located up. Positioned on a corner lot with a fenced back yard and detached shed, this home is in a convenient Ogden location, in a great school district and close to everything!

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

Featured Community: Georgetowne, Wilmington

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Are you looking for a home with WOW factor? There’s a good chance you’ll find it in the community of Georgetowne in Wilmington, NC. Stately brick homes with manicured lawns line quiet streets. Islands and greenspaces with beautifully groomed landscaping highlight the amenities and street features, and, despite the majority of development taking place in the 2000s, mature trees provide shade throughout the area.

The average home in Georgetown has 4 bedrooms, 3 baths and 3,342 square-feet of living space. Home prices range between $200,000 and $800,000 with an average of $340,000. The average lot size is close to half an acre and most homes include a garage*.

Home styles include Georgian, Traditional, and Transitional, both 1 and 2 story. Interior details include columns, coffered ceilings, trey ceilings, arched doorways, hardwood floors, crown molding, chair rail molding, etc. Features include bonus rooms, sun rooms. home offices, fireplaces, first-floor master suites, gourmet kitchens, and more! Many of the homes are custom and have their own special features, like in-home theaters and libraries.

Georgetowne Example HomeView Homes for Sale in Georgetowne.

Georgetowne is located off S. College Road right behind Cape Fear Academy. Nearby is Halyburton Park, Echo Farms Golf Course, and Monky Junction with its collection of shopping, restaurants, and medical facilities. It’s 16 minutes from Carolina Beach and 18 minutes from Wrightsville Beach.

The community itself includes a swimming pool and playground. So, Georgetowne has a homeowners association and a monthly fee for handling the common area maintenance.  If you have any questions about this or a particular home on the market, give us a call or send us a message through our Contact page.

*Info taken from the MLS at the date of posting. This may change over time. New stats can be provided upon request.

Wilmington Weekly Update - New Mobile App for New Hanover Schools

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

Wilmington City Council is allocating funds for a feasibility study for a plan to move a 5 mile stretch of railroad tracks across the Cape Fear River to prevent trains from moving through major areas of the city. If moved, the trains would have a straight shot to the international port and the current tracks could be used for a public trolley system providing transportation for 10,000 homes to downtown. Learn more at Port City Daily.

A new policy now allows community gardens on city land. This includes vacant lots and green spaces in parks. Groups will need to apply to install gardens. They don’t need to be nonprofits, but must demonstrate they have the resources to sustain it and the garden’s purpose must be for the greater good, not commercial gain. The land in question also cannot be within 1 mile of a grocery store. Learn more at Star News Online.

New Hanover County Schools Mobile AppNew Hanover County Schools is getting a new mobile app that will connect schools and teachers. Each school will have its own version of this app with information specific to that school. Parents will be able to read the latest news and receive push notifications when schedules change (example. Inclement weather causing school closings). There will also be an electronic signature feature that will allow parents to read and sign documents right on their phone. The app will be available the first day of school. Learn more at Port City Daily.

New Hanover County is testing out new extended stop arms on 10 school buses. The arms will stretch into the next lane in an attempt to stop drivers who pass school buses. The arms are designed to break off, but will still damage the driver’s car. Learn more at Star News Online.

Coming Up

Billy Bob Thorton & the Boxmasters will be playing a concert at Ziggy’s by the Sea at 9:00 p.m. this Saturday, August 22. Yes, THAT Billy Bob Thornton, known for his roles in Fargo and Monster’s Ball. Tickets are $20-$25. Learn more at Ziggy’s by the Sea.

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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