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Does the Outdoor Play Set or Swing Set Stay with the Home When It’s Sold?

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Does the play set stay with the home?If you’ve found a Wilmington home you want to make an offer on and there is a play set or swing set in the back yard, you should know that neither are listed as real property in the legal text of the contract (secured basketball hoops are). However, because most play sets/swing sets are cemented into the ground, they are considered fixtures and traditionally included as part of the home sale. Still, you may want to make sure it’s clear to the seller that you want the playset/swingset to stay with the home, so you don’t arrive on the day of move-in and find it missing, because they assumed otherwise. You can do that by listing it in the appropriate field of the contract when making your offer.

On the other hand, if you have found a home with a play set/swing set and you don’t want it, you’ll either have to request it be removed during negotiations or pay to have it removed after you have closed on the home. If a set is in good condition and able to be removed without being damaged, there are many parents and grandparents who will take it off your hands for free.

If you have any questions about buying a home in the greater Wilmington area, let us know! We’re just a phone call or email away!

Meghan Riley

Wilmington Weekly Update - Cape Fear Fair, Marquis Hills Sewer Project, 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:

That's right!! #Wilmywood is #1!! #10Best #USATODAY

A photo posted by @sheila_brothers on Oct 10, 2014 at 3:21am PDT


In Case You Missed It

Alan Jackson will be headlining the 2015 Azalea Festival as part of his 25th anniversary tour. His opening acts will be Jon Pardi and Brandy Clark. Tickets will go on sale online beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, November 8 and will be available at the festival office on Monday, November 10 at 10 a.m..Learn more at Port City Daily.

Tuesday night, CFPUA and New Hanover County presented the Marquis Hills sewer project to area residents. The project requires everyone within a certain distance to connect to the new sewer line. Construction will begin in January and included 727 service lines. Visit Star News Online to learn what homeowners will be paying to have their home connected.

Wilmington made two new lists. The first is Business Insider’s 14 Best Housing Markets For The Next Five Years. The list is based on the CoreLogic Case-Shiller report and the The cities are ranked by the projected annualized change in home prices between Q4 2012 and Q4 2017…The second list is Fox News’ Spookiest Cemeteries in the US. Two of our local cemeteries, Bellevue Cemetery and St. James Parish Cemetery, made the list.

If you aren’t happy with the way Duke Energy crews have handled local tree trimming, you may be happy to know the City of Wilmington isn’t either. Candy ApplesCouncil members are looking for ways to improve utility trimming, which they feel has left trees looking hacked and disfigure. Learn what they plan to do at Star News Online.

Coming Up

There’s a lot happening this week due to Halloween being Friday, but we have another big event happening, as well. It’s time for the Cape Fear Fair and Expo! There will be rides, games, livestock exhibits, a comedic hypnotist, a BMX bicycle stunt team, and more! It runs October 31 through November 9 at the Wilmington International Airport. See their website for hours.

Meghan Riley

A Look at Wilmington's Historic District

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

We were recently in downtown Wilmington visiting the Historic District. We visited the Riverwalk and the residential area where homes date back to the 1700s. Here's an album of pictures we compiled. If you like it, please follow us on Flickr.


Meghan Riley

Featured App: Good Housekeeping @ Home

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Featured App Good HousekeepingHave you ever wondered how to get a certain type of stain out of fabric? Or how to clean a specific type of surface, like cast iron or stainless steel? Then you may be interested in our Featured App, Good Housekeeping @ Home.

This simple app provides a searchable list of stains and cleaning solutions. It also has a Top 10 list for each. When you click on a topic, a screen pops up explaining the best method for cleaning and the cleaners you’ll need. I’ll admit that some of the solutions provided are basically “buy the appropriately labelled cleaner at the grocery store,” but there’s plenty of good insight in this app.

Good Housekeeping @ Home also has a section filled with pictures to inspire your home decorating. Topics range from house tours to decorating like you own a beachy getaway. I just wish the pictures expanded to fit your device’s screen.

Finally, you can get tips for gardening, organizing your home, choosing the best cleaning products, and making repairs/renovations. If you love to make your own stuff, there are DIY projects galore. There’s a lot of good information here right at your fingertips.  

Good Housekeeping @ Home is FREE and available to download at:

Android / Apple

Meghan Riley

The Hidden Costs of Buying a Home

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

The Hidden Costs of Buying a Home

If you’re a first-time home buyer, you may not realize just how much money you may need in order to purchase a home. We’ll give you a hint – it’s more than you expect. We don’t want to deter you from purchasing, but we want you to be prepared. So, here are 11 hidden, but not really hidden, costs of purchasing a home.

  1. Home Inspection. You don’t need to, but you really should have a home inspection when you put an offer in on a home. The home inspection will tell you if there are any damages or features in need of repair. The inspector won’t tear into walls, but will inspect anything he can access. The inspection will cost you a few hundred dollars depending on the size of the home, but it gives you some negotiating power and could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
  2. Pest Inspection. You will want to know if a home has termites or other potential pest issues, or signs of previous infestations, because they can cost you money. Just like the home inspection, this inspection will tell you if you’re buying into an existing problem.
  3. Appraisal. If you’re financing your home purchase, your lender will require an appraisal of the home to verify the fair market value. They don’t want to over invest in a home, because that will only cause them to lose money down the road.
  4. Survey. Your lender may or may not require you to have a survey completed so everyone knows the boundaries of the land. If they don’t, you may want to, especially if you plan on doing any exterior improvements, like installing a fence or building a garage.
  5. Closing Costs. These are miscellaneous fees needed to complete the closing of your home purchase. They include underwriting fees, discount points, processing fees, recording fees, title insurance fees, etc. Buyers typically pay 2-5% of their purchase price in closing costs. Many of these expenses should be outlined in the Good Faith Estimate provided by your lender. They may change slightly before closing depending on the day you close, but are not allowed to increase more than 10%. If you need help figuring out how much buying a home will cost you, don’t hesitate to ask your lender or Realtor. They’re there to help.
  6. Property Taxes. You’re probably already aware that you are required to pay property taxes, but you may not realize you may need to pay them at closing. How much depends on the date you are closing; so, if your closing is delayed, this could change.
  7. Home Insurance. Your lender will require that you obtain homeowners insurance before your mortgage is finalized. This includes any supplemental insurance, like the Wind and Hail Coverage that’s required in Coastal North Carolina.
  8. Homeowner or Condo Association Fees. Each HOA/COA has different yearly dues and joining requirements, their fees will differ according to their payment schedules. You should read their Restrictive Covenants/Rules and Regulations prior to closing so you’re fully aware of what’s required of you.
  9. Utilities. Not only will you have to pay to use the utilities after you move in, but you will need to pay a transfer fee, start fee, or an installation fee (cable), depending on the state of the utilities.
  10. Moving Expenses. Even if you’re just moving across town with the help of a few buddies, you’ll have to take into consideration the cost of a truck rental, gas, and packing materials. You should take the time to calculate the amount of personal belongs and furniture you’re planning to move, because you’ll need to pay for that upfront.
  11.  Gap Expenses. These are piddly expenses – those things you couldn’t possibly foresee having to pay for, like the screwdriver you need for installing your window coverings …or the air mattress you’re forced to invest in, because your moving truck broke down (we pray that doesn’t happen to you!)…or the lamp you need to buy to replace the one that broke in transit. It helps if you have some money set aside just in case an unexpected problem arises during move-in.

If you’re thinking of buying a home in the Wilmington area, we’d be happy to discuss your options. Just give us a call at 910.202.2546 or send us a message through our Contact page.

Meghan Riley

Monday Market Update - October 27, 2014

by Melanie Cameron, The Cameron Team

Monday Market Update - Fall - Dogs on BeachHappy Monday!  Wasn't it a beautiful weekend.  A HUGE shout out of congratulations to all the participants in this year's PPD Beach to Battleship Half and Full Triathlon....  What an incredible accomplishment and perfect weather to showcase Wilmington and all it has to offer.  The strength and dedication of these athletes is truly amazing!

The National Association of Realtors recently released it's existing home sales report. According to NAR, sales are at the highest level of 2014.    They are up 2.4% from sales in August.  Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economists said, " Low interest rates and price gains holding steady led to September's healthy increase." 

The median home price nationwide, $209,700 was up 5.6%.  This marks the 31st consecutive month with year over year price gains.  Also nationally, inventory is up 6% over last year representing a 5.3 month supply of inventory.  And in even better news, distressed homes accounted for only 10% of all sales in September, down from 14% last year.

All in all, still a good time to buy and sell!  If we can be of assistance with questions, concerns or guidance know we are just a phone call away.... 910-202-2546 or cameronteam@seacoastrealty.com

Melanie Cameron

Open House Etiquette for Buyers

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Buyer Open House EtiquetteIf you’re just starting your home search and aren’t sure what type of home you’re looking for, open houses are a convenient way to view homes without scheduling an appointment. It’s easy to daydream about homes you see on the internet, but, oftentimes, you can’t get a clear perspective on size and layout until you step into one. Viewing homes can take a lot of time, so the more you can narrow your needs and wants, the better. But it’s important to note there is some etiquette buyers should display when attending an open house:

  1. Be polite. Yes, you are a buyer and the home owner DOES want to sell their home, but they can just as easily tell you “no” as you can refuse to make an offer. So, it’s best for you to use all your manners while dealing with the hosting agent, who may or may not be their personal agent.
  2. Notify the hosting agent if you are working with another real estate agent. Realtors are required to follow a code of ethics and that includes upholding a level of transparency with other agents. They are not to provide any sort of counseling or advice, or pursue a business relationship with another agent’s clients. Additionally, any follow-up should be done through your agent.
  3. Give your name and contact info, if requested. After the Beverly Carter tragedy, you can be assured that there will be increasingly more agents implementing extra security measures, especially when they are completing job tasks that require them to be alone with strangers, like hosting an open house. Additionally, it’s important to track who enters the home in case any damages or a theft occurs. If you don’t want to be contacted about the home, let them know. They are required to abide by your requests.
  4. If you’re a neighbor, don’t be shy to admit it. After all, most agents can recognize a neighbor from a mile away. We’re not opposed to neighbors walking through the house. We recognize that they’re often a source for buyers, because friends and family want to live near each other. So, come, take a look, and let us know if you might have anyone interested.
  5. Consent to homeowner requests. If the hosting agent asks you to remove your shoes or wear booties, please be agreeable. You’re in another person’s home, and they have their own rules for keeping their home clean.
  6. Please don’t chat on your cell phone. It’s just a matter of courtesy to the hosting agent, who is there to answer your questions and show you the home. It can also be disturbing to other people viewing the home.
  7. Don’t touch anything. It’s expected that buyers will want to open cabinets and closet doors to see how much storage a home has, but don’t touch any personal belongings, especially the prized autographed baseball on display in the den or the desktop computer in the home office…just examples!

If you follow these simple guidelines, visiting open houses will be a breeze and, if you’re in the greater Wilmington area, you could win money by visiting homes during Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage’s “Coast In & Win” Weekends (keep an eye on our site for announcements).

Meghan Riley

Monday Market Update - October 20, 2014

by Melanie Cameron, The Cameron Team

The Cameron Team's Monday Market UpdateHappy Monday!  What a beautiful weekend.  Hoping you enjoyed every moment of it and made the most of the sunshine!

According to RISMedia, after years of debate, it appears US regulators are finally set to finalize and implement a more relaxed set of mortgage standards.   This is great news for the real estate industry.  We certainly won't see requirements go as soft as they did in the melt down of 2008 but hopefully this change will enable more responsible homebuyers to have access to safe and affordable credit.  The Federal Reserve has a scheduled "open meeting" on October 22nd with 5 other regulators and should be signing off on the agreement by the end of the month.  Stay tuned... we'll be watching this one closely.

If you're thinking about buying, we've got a list of "To Do's" for you.  Whether you're a seaoned buyer or a newbie, this list applies to you.

1. Know your credit/credit score -  You are entitled to one FREE report per year so get it.  Make sure your credit history is accurate and if not, start working on getting it fixed.   You want to correct any errors on your report BEFORE you are ready to buy.

2. Get Preapproved for a Mortgage -  Have your financials in order.  A preapproval is different from a prequalification.  With a true preapproval, the lender has checked your credit and verified the income information that you provided with your loan application.  Most sellers these days are wanting to see this and having it makes your offer that much stronger.

3. Budget your Finances - In the preapproval process mentioned above, you'll determine how much home you can afford.  How much you can "qualify" for and how much you want to spend may be completely different.  Budget your finances so you know what you can comfortably afford without over-extending yourself and stick with it.  Remember to include taxes, insurance, utilities, etc..... all are monthly expenses too.

4. Have the Home Inspected - A home purchase is a HUGE investment.  Have it thoroughly inspected by a licensed inspector.  They'll inspect all the major systems of the house including the roof, plumbing, and electrical.  We also recommend a termite inspection, survey and well and septic (if applicable).  If any repairs are completed by the seller, get proof (invoices) and always do a final walk through prior to closing when the sellers have moved out.

5.  Hire a TEAM of Professionals - Find an experienced and reputable Realtor, Mortgage Professional and Real Estate Attorney.   There is a lot that goes in to a home purchase.  Surround yourself with professionals that know the ins and outs of the process so the headaches are avoided and your interests are protected.

If you have any questions or comments, we're always here to help.  Contact us any time at cameronteam@seacoastrealty.com or 910-202-2546.

Have a great week!

Melanie Cameron

The Real Estate Truth Behind "Funny Farm"

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Chevy Chase Funny FarmHave you ever watched the classic comedy Funny Farm starring Chevy Chase and Madolyn Osborne? The story is centered on The Farmers, a couple who buy a farmhouse in rural Vermont after the husband quits his day job as a sports reporter to write the Great American Novel. Little do they know they are moving to a small town filled with eccentric characters. Quirky situations ensue and their marriage reaches a breaking point. They decide to sell the farmhouse and what arises is a situation that I think some homeowners wish they could pull off – a staged sale, town and all!

The Farmers realize that they won’t be able to sell their home if buyers get to know their neighbors and the townspeople. At the monthly town meeting, they tell the residents that they will donate $15,000 to the town and $50 to each person who acts like the iconic characters portrayed in Norman Rockwell paintings. The town agrees, but little do they know what kind of chaos will be created. Everyone wants their $50, so when the potential buyers arrive to get the grand tour with The Farmers, they’re subjected to a town that has been so transformed a normal person wouldn’t believe it (like the Christmas Carolers who stay outside the farmhouse singing all night). Yet, the buyers are so sold on the home’s perfect features that they are ready to buy the home and everything inside, including the dog!

Of course, as much as a homeowner would love to have that much control over the sale of their home, it’s unrealistic. The movie is based on a book that was popular in 1985. Today, buyers and sellers typically leave the negotiating up to Realtors, and they certainly don’t spend a night in the home. Paying off the town would most certainly break some misrepresentation laws and, in today’s economy, I’m not sure they would work that hard for $50.

Still, in typical Chevy Chase fashion, we get the chance to laugh at the honest truth. No home is perfect. In The Farmers’ case, the neighbors left something to be desired. When you list your home for sale, you can’t help but run every quirk and negative feature through your mind, and wonder, “Is this going to turn-off buyers?” But you need to remember – you bought the home for a reason, right? There was something about it that you loved and, even though you’re ready to move on, that’s still going to leave you a little biased.

One of the benefits of using a Realtor is that they are constantly in and out of houses seeing what buyers like and what’s getting sold. They can pinpoint potential issues and suggest ways to compensate for those negative features when marketing and selling the home. Some sellers can predetermine what might hold the home back from attracting a buyer, but it’s not uncommon for sellers to be surprised when they get negative feedback on their home. Maybe the feedback is for a feature that originally attracted them to the home, like the fancy fixtures that are now outdated, or maybe the neighborhood doesn’t have the amenities people are looking for now, but the market changes and Realtors are the best at staying on top of it.

If you’re thinking of selling your Wilmington area home, we would be happy to take a look and show you our marketing plan. We’ll share the weaknesses and strengths of your home, and suggest some easy changes you may want to make prior to listing it. Just give us a call at 910.202.2546 or send us a message through our Contact page.

 

Meghan Riley

Halloween Events Happening Around Wilmington

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Jack o' Lanterns

Halloween is prime event time in Wilmington. Non-profits hold fundraising galas, churches host "Trunk or Treats", schools put on haunted houses...there's really something for everyone! Here are some of our favorites.


Lyceum Academy Haunted House - $10

Every year, the New Hanover High School Lyceum Academy in Wilmington hosts a haunted house. This year’s theme is Twisted, a scary take on Alice in Wonderland. It’s open every weekend from now through Halloween with an extra day the Thursday before. More Info.

Haunted Library: A Spooky Storytelling Festival for Kids - FREE

The main New Hanover County Library on Chestnut Street in Wilmington will be hosting three floors of fun Halloween activities. The fun will include games, storytelling, dancing, face painting, and more. It only happens on October 25th (Saturday). More Info.

Trick or Treat Under the Sea - $11

This event at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is perfect for young children. Organizations setup booths throughout the Hands in Fort Fish Aquarium Alligator Tankaquarium and kids can collect candy at each one. There are also games and prizes, giveaways, a “haunted” forest, and live animal interaction. Also, make sure you check out the giant tank for a special treat. There are four nights of fun (October 23rd, 24th, 29th, and 30th). We suggest buying tickets in advance, because they sell out. More Info.

Poplar Grove Halloween Festival - $10-15

On the outskirts of Wilmington is the Poplar Grove Plantation and every year they host a Halloween event that includes a haunted manor, wagon rides, fortune teller, petting zoo, food, and inflatables. Each activity has its own fee and the daytime portion of the event is better suited for young children. More Info.

Bellamy Mansion Halloween Movie Night - $5

Enjoy the family-friendly Halloween movie Hocus Pocus and Alfred Hitchcock’s famous Psycho from the lawn of the historic Bellamy Mansion downtown. Bring blankets, chairs, coolers and candy. There will be popcorn, beer, and wine for sale. More Info.

Legacy Farms Haunted House, Woods Trail, and Corn Maze - $25.00

If you’re willing to travel an hour outside of Wilmington, there is a great event at Legacy Farms in Wallace. You can get the full Halloween experience with family-friendly daytime events (animals, face painting, inflatables, hayrides, corn maze, etc.) and PG-13 scares (haunted house, haunted woods trail, scary corn maze, etc.) in the evening. Dates and times vary, but most fall on the weekends from now through November 1st. More Info.

If your organization is hosting an event or you have a favorite of your own, please share it in the comments below!

Meghan Riley

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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