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How Market Conditions Affect Home Sales

by Melanie Cameron, The Cameron Team

The Cameron Team's Monday Market UpdateHappy Monday!  I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.  The weather here was wonderful.  The Wrightsville Beach Holiday Floatilla was amazing as always  and the Christmas Season is definintely in full swing!  A special shout out to our friend and client, Mark Dillon for his Top Gun entry in the Flotilla.  He won in his category for boats over 22ft. Congratulations Mark and crew! 

If you are considering the sale of your home, then the following article from Realty Times is a must read.  Selling your home for top dollar and in the shortest period of time is not always easy if you miss the market.  This article will give you some good guidelines for home sale success.

A Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) can tell you what buyers recently paid for homes similar to yours, but that's not all you need to know to choose the right listing price.  You need to know the market's appetite for your home, and that can only come from an overview of your community's current market conditions.

Market conditions are like a weather report; it helps you predict what the current crop of buyers will do.  Using this knowledge, you can price your home to sell quickly, and for the most money possible.

Why is a quick sale important?  The right price generates a bumper crop of buyers.  If you price your home too high compared to other similar homes, you'll appear to be testing the market. Buyers will assume that you're going to be difficult in negotiations.

Here's what you need to know - what kind of market are you in?  Market conditions are formed by buyers attitudes, made sunny or cloudy by jobs, incomes, mortgage interest rates, and overall consumer confidence.

It's possible that your community could have buyer's and seller's markets simultaneously.  For example, your neighborhood may be hot, while the subdivision a mile away is stone cold.

A Seller's Market is characterized by confident buyers, short "days on the market" and low inventory levels of less than six months on hand.  This usually results in high prices.

A Buyer's Market is characterized by longer "days on the market" and high inventory levels of seven months' supply or more.  To get buyers to come in from out of the storm, sellers must offer incentives such as seller paid closing costs or lower prices.

The market conditions will tell you the long and short term trends.  If the market is heating up, you can ask a little more for your home.  If the market is cooling, you may need to price your home slightly under the market in order to attract more buyers.  

One thing you should absolutely not do is ignore market conditions.  It's said the market is always right.  If you price your home too high, you'll know when you get few to no showings.

That's why it's important to ask your real estate agent for occasional market updates as well as a fresh CMA.  You'll get a better idea of what your home will sell for and how long it will take you to sell.

If you would like an idea as to what your home would be worth on the market today, go to the web site,  This website will give you a look at your homes current market value.  Unlike Zillow,  this information will be accurate and based on the Wilmington home market area.  Once you have signed up, it'll also send you a revised analysis monthly.  

Have an awesome week and as always, thanks for your continued support and friendship!

Have a Vacant Home? Beware of These Scams!

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Have a Vacant Home? Beware of These Scams! I was reading a blog this morning from a real estate broker on ActiveRain, and I thought it important enough to make mention of. The blog, “It's another one of those firsts . . . This one is important.”, written by Mike Cooper, a real estate agent from Winchester, VA, was a description of a recent experience he had with a scam in which a roofer was hired by an alleged buyer to give an estimate on a roof replacement for a home he was buying – Mike’s listing. The roofer was contacted through a site that charges for leads. He went out to the house, noticed Mike’s sign in the yard, but went ahead and did the estimate for the alleged buyer. The roofer was suspicious, but there were no red flags yet, so he proceeded with caution. It wasn’t until the buyer said he wanted the roofer to get started with the work and was paying with a deposit via credit card was the roofer sure it was a scam. The alleged buyer requested the roofer’s merchant account information for the deposit, which was probably where the scammer was going to make his money. The roofer verified this was a scam when he contacted Mike and learned that this was not a real buyer.

It’s not uncommon for buyers to get estimates on large projects prior to finalizing a home purchase. This is part of the Due Diligence Period, the timeframe in which they can do further research into the affordability of the home. However, it is uncommon for there not to be some other party involved to protect the interests of the seller and their property – a real estate agent, transaction coordinator, etc. – and no work on the home is to take place prior to the deed recording in the buyer’s name.

So, why was this home targeted? The listing photos showed that the home was vacant. If you own a vacant home that’s listed for sale, you should make it a routine to stop by the home on a weekly basis. If you aren’t in the area, you should make sure you have a neighbor and your real estate agent monitoring the home. If the roofer hired to work on Mike’s listing hadn’t been so ethical or diligent in protecting his business, chances are that home would have been involved in a real mess.

Other scams that affect vacant homes are fake rental listings. Scammers will steal pictures and information from homes currently listed and post fake rental ads on Craigslist and Zillow. They make their money collecting a deposit from the potential renter or even going as far as breaking into the home, changing the locks, letting the people move in, and collecting a monthly rental payment. Yep, we’ve had one of our listings appear in a rental ad, but we were quick to find out and report it to the site owners. They removed it promptly and the only harm done was being contacted by a potential renter.

The internet has made it incredibly easy for criminals to access public information about homes and homeowners to create scams such as this, but careful monitoring can help prevent their efforts from coming to fruition. If you ever see something – if it’s an online rental ad or activity at a home – that doesn’t seem quite right, it never hurts to do a quick online search and call the listing agent. Scammers are becoming increasingly creative in their efforts to steal from others, and we see something new every year. Better safe than sorry!

North Carolina Holiday Flotilla at Wrightsville Beach

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

North Carolina Holiday FlotillaLiving next to the Intracoastal Waterway provides some unique holiday experiences. One of them is the North Carolina Holiday Flotilla at Wrightsville Beach. Instead of a traditional lighted street parade, locals decorate their boats and traverse the Intracoastal Waterway. The boat decorations can be very elaborate and exciting, especially for the little ones. You can see pictures here.

The flotilla starts at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 28 with a short spurt of fireworks. It begins at the south end of Wrightsville Beach, does a U-Turn at Banks Channel Bridge, travels up Mott’s Channel, and then turns right to pass by Blue Water Grill and The Bridge Tender. It ends beyond the pass to Lees Cut.

If you don’t have a private residence from which to view the flotilla, there are locations along Banks Channel Bridge, the two South Harbor Island mini-parks, and the west side of Waynick Boulevard. You can also view it over dinner at one of the restaurants along the route or visit the Blockade Runner Sponsor Tent where the judges will be set up.

Approximately 30 minutes after the last boat passes, there will be a fireworks display opposite of Blockade Runner Beach Resort. You can also make it a day event by visiting the Festival in the Park, which happens from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Wrightsville Beach Park, and features kids games, vendors, and food.

If you can’t make the flotilla, there will be a traditional lighted street parade in Downtown Wilmington during the first weekend of December.

How Equity Builds in a Home

by Melanie Cameron, The Cameron Team

The Cameron Team's Monday Market UpdateHappy Monday!  I hope everyone is looking forward to the Thanksgiving holiday and have fun plans on the agenda.  Whatever your plans, blessings to you and your family for a wonderful Thanksgiving!

The Keeping Current Matters (KCM) Blog had an interesting article this morning that explains how important homeownership and equity help build wealth that I wanted to share.

There are many reasons, both financial and non-financial that homeownership remains an important part of the American Dream.  One of the biggest reasons is the fact that it helps build family wealth.  Recently, Freddie Mac wrote about the power of home equity.  They explained:

"In the simplest terms, equity is the difference between how much your home is worth and how much you owe on your mortgage.  You build equity by paying down your mortgage over time and through your home's appreciation.  In a nutshell, your money is working for you and contributing toward your financial future."

They went on to show an example where a person bought a home for $150,000 with a down payment of 10% ($15,000), resulting in a loan amount of $135,000.  The buyer secured a 30- year fixed rate mortgage at 4.5% with a monthly mortgage payment of $684.03 (not including taxes and insurance).

After 7 years of making mortgage payments and assuming the historic national average of 3% per year home appreciation:

Amount Borrowed $135,000

Principal Paid $17,515

Amount Outstanding $117,485

Appraised Value $185.003

Amount Outstanding -$117,486


And that number continues to build as you continue to own the home.

Bottom Line:  Home equity is important to building wealth as a family.  Referring to the first scenario above, Freddie Mac explained:

"Now, if you continued to rent, and made the same payment of $684.03 per month, you'd have zero equity and no means to build it.  Building equity is a critical part of homeownership and can help you create financial stability."

If you want to explore your options of creating wealth through homeownership, we are here to help.

Have a great week and as always, The Cameron Team is here for all your real estate needs.

Happy Thanksgiving!

10 Stunning Christmas Front Porches

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

The Christmas Season is upon us once again, which means it's time to put up those decorations! Are you looking for a way to freshen up your exterior decor? Here are some stunning front porches decorated for Christmas that are sure to have you humming your favorite carols. Make sure you click through the sources, because many of them have additional pictures to oogle at.

The Classic Christmas Look

Who else other than Pottery Barn would be able to replicate the iconic Christmas front porch? Their staff does such a great job staging their products. I love how they even have packages on the front steps, like presents were just delivered.

The Classic Christmas Look

Source: Pottery Barn.

Toy Soldier & Candy Canes

If you are a fan of "Babes in Toyland", chances are you'll like this front porch featuring a giant toy soldier and classic glass ornaments. Okay, they may not be glass, but sure look like it. There are also some candy designs woven in and the red/light green color scheme makes it look even more vintage.

Toy Soldier & Candy Canes

Source: Family Holiday.

Christmas Candle Lanterns & Pine Cones

Better Homes and Gardens is another good source for Christmas inspiration. Here, the designer utilized the door's tall, long lines and incorporated candle lanterns that mimic them. Pine cones and berries provide a nice rustic, earthy look that harken back to an older style of decorating.

Christmas Candle Lanterns & Pine Cones

Source: Better Homes & Gardens.

Christmas Porch with Warm White Lights

I'm really loving the white lights with the greenery for the holidays. The earth naturally provides us some beautiful decorations. This is a chance to showcase them while still maintaining that Christmas sparkle.

Christmas Porch with Warm White Lights

Source: Dawn Hearn.

Multidimensional Christmas Decor

The designer of this front porch really utilized its depth and varying architectural elements to create an eye-catching display. First, there's the giant green garland with bows. Next, you're drawn in to the arch of flowers and ribbons. Then, the light fixtures. Finally, your eyes rest on the poinsettias on the doors. Multidimenional and charming.

Multidimensional Christmas Decor

Source: Twin Design.

Country Christmas

Chalkboards are all the craze right now. DIYers are using chalkboard paint on everything from walls to furniture. It's even making its way onto front porches for Christmas. Here, the chalkboard is decorated with a Christmas phrase and paired with some rustic touches - firewood, a vintage sled, and lantern - to create a country feel.

Country Christmas

Source: Cottage in the Oaks.

Christmas Magnolias & Ice Skates

Heres's a front porch with a Southern touch. Incorporated into the traditional pine garland are Magnolia leaves. Add to that some ball ornaments, ice skates, and a vintage sled, and the look is complete!

Christmas Magnolias and Ice Skates

Source: Between Naps on the Porch.

Rustic Joy

This front porch is perfect for homeowners who don't like to overembelish for the holidays. It's simple with a touch of vintage, but still really makes a statement.

Rustic Joy

Source: Olde Green Cupboard.

Christmas Arch

These homeowners already had a frontdoor with beautiful lines, which they accented with gorgeous garland, a wreath, and Christmas Trees.

Christmas Arch

Source: At the Picket Fence/Home Talk.

Finally, who better to demonstrate coastal Christmas decor for your front porch than our local Wrightsville Beach Magazine?

Wrightsville Beach Magazine Coastal Christmas

Again, if you want more Christmas decorating inspiration for your front porch, click through to the source sites. They have a lot to share! Once you have created your holiday display, please come back and share in the comments. We'd love to see!

10 Stunning Christmas Front Porches

Carolina Beach Boardwalk to Be Extended

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Location of Carolina Beach Boardwalk ExtensionThe Town of Carolina Beach has received approval to extend the Carolina Beach Boardwalk from Harper Avenue to Pelican Lane. Representatives met with North Carolina Coastal Resources Commission in Atlantic Beach on Tuesday and presented their plans, which they revised multiple times to comply with requests made by the commission to preserve features of the beach. The extension will add 875 feet and will have many of the same features that the already existing section has – benches and swings.

The new extensions will run in front of mainly businesses and the Hampton Inn, but it will also pass in front of some existing residences, such as the Cabana de Mar condo complex. Some of the owners expressed opposition to the project. You can see their concerns at Port City Daily.

There is no set timeline for the completion of the extension, but anyone looking to purchase a single-family home or condo in that area of Carolina Beach should be aware that there will be construction happening along that stretch in the foreseeable future, because the project is already funded with grant money. Some may consider it a benefit, because access to the beachfront businesses will be improved; others may see it as a detriment due to the change in public access. Either way, it will affect property values, positively or negatively.  

October Sales Numbers for Wilmington Real Estate

by Melanie Cameron, The Cameron Team

The Cameron Team's Monday Market UpdateHappy Monday!  Hope you had a great weekend and are looking forward to gearing up for the Holiday Season.  Less than 6 weeks to go before Christmas!  Where does the time go?

October sales #'s are in and we continued to see strong numbers in our area.  637 homes sold in October with an average price of $257,201.  Our average sold price is up 3.6% from year end 2014.  Our listing inventory had it's fifth decrease this year, it decreased by 100 units.  We currently have 3,854 single family homes on the market with an average list price of $370,845.

We currently have about a 6 month supply of single family home inventory and the list to sale price ratio stands at 96.4%.  We have now been over a 95% list to sale price ratio for the 19th month in a row.    Our average days on the market increased by 1 day from September to 105 days.

When we look at the first 10 months of the year we have 6,322 sold units which is up 15.2% over last year at the same time... pretty strong!

I've been asked a lot recently, "Is now a good time to list your home over the holidays?"  My response is that we typically see the quantity of showings decrease over the holidays but the quality increases.  My experience has been that if a buyer is looking for a home over the holidays, they are pretty serious about buying.   Likewise, there is not as much competition this time of year as many sellers are "Waiting until after the holidays to list"... so you have to make a decision of hitting the market before your competition does in January or waiting it out.  We are happy to discuss your options.... just give us a call.

Have a great week and as always, Thank you for your business and we look forward to helping you with all your real estate needs.

Have a great week!

Wilmington's Cost of Living Down in Q3

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Downtown Wilmington StoresGood news! Wilmington’s cost of living decreased in the third quarter of 2015!

According to the national ACCRA cost of living survey, the City of Wilmington stands overall 4 points below the national average (100 points). In individual categories, Wilmington was below average for the cost of housing, and miscellaneous goods and services, but was above-average for health care, transportation, and utilities. The city was at the national average for the cost of groceries.

See how Wilmington has done in the past and how it compares to other cities in North Carolina at Wilmington Business Journal.

Repairing Your Credit: Don't Get Scammed

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Repairing Your CreditAmericans spent years recovering from the recession and are now trying to purchase homes. Many face credit issues that have lowered their credit scores and some may be desperate to make them go away, but it’s important for consumers to know that there are untrustworthy people out there who may be looking to cash in on their credit issues. They’re running scams with the promise that they can raise credit scores. Some sound legit, but aren’t, and we don’t want you to fall for them.

If you’re being offered a deal where money exchanges hands in return for your credit score going up, chances are that it’s a scam. According to Housingwire and Freddie Mac, fraudsters have created schemes connected to the new FICO Score Open Access for Credit & Financial Counseling program. This program helps consumers learn about healthy credit management by providing their FICO score and a collection of educational materials. The fraudsters are contacting the consumers directly and offering to help them dispute defaulted debt in exchange for money. This is something that the average person can do on their own, but many find difficult. So, to offer help sounds almost legit, right? The consumers may even see their credit score go up, but it’s only temporary as the techniques they use rely on the creditor accidentally missing the dispute before the credit score is adjusted, which the creditor can always rectify later on. So, in the end, the consumer sees no real benefit from it.

Freddie Mac is warning consumers of another high-risk scam that most people will recognize as fraud right away. Criminals acting as credit counselors are encouraging consumers to falsely claim identity theft for past defaulted debt. In these instances, consumers have even gone as far as creating false documents to support their claims, but credit companies take such claims seriously and investigate them thoroughly. When they do, they discover the truth and the consumer is charged with fraud. All chances of getting that loan that drove them to desperation is squashed, not to mention the jail time and money they must pay out. The risk isn’t worth it.

Another big scam that Freddie Mac is warning consumers about involves credit privacy numbers (CPN), also known as credit profile numbers or credit protection numbers. CPNs are nine-digit identification numbers that can be used instead of a Social Security Number. They‘re assigned to celebrities, politicians, and people in witness protection, because the numbers can’t be traced back by the average person. Due to their exclusivity, most people don’t understand how they work and that has allowed for fraudsters to take advantage of consumers with bad credit. Basically, they sell CPNs with the promise that the consumer can create a whole new credit history based on that number. However, what they’re really doing is selling stolen social security numbers or CPNs that belong to real people, because CPNs have to be tied to a real social security number.

While recent statements from Freddie Mac don’t mention it, it’s also important to note that past scams similar to the CPNs have included the use of an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Anyone who doesn’t own a company may not be familiar with EINs. These are numbers used for identifying businesses and tracking their taxes. They can’t be used in place of social security numbers, but fraudsters have convinced people that they can be used to create a separate identity. It just isn’t true.

We fully understand how desperate and overwhelmed people can feel when it comes to their credit history, but there are better ways to improve a credit score. We know some knowledgeable, competent lenders that will take the time to advise you on the steps to take to clean up your credit and get approved for a home loan. It may take some time, but you’ll be protected from scams and “services” that will only make your credit harder to clean up. We are ALWAYS willing to help you out. Just give us a call or send us a message through our Contact page.

Buying a Home is All About the Numbers

by Melanie Cameron, The Cameron Team

The Cameron Team's Monday Market UpdateHappy Monday!  I hope you had a fantastic weekend and enjoyed the warm weather we had on Saturday!  

Since the "bubble burst" of the real estate industry and the revamping of lending practices a lot has changed.  I'm in the process of buying a home now and going through the process has been a reality check for me for what our clients go through.  I found a great article in Realty Times, "Applying for A Mortgage?  Know Your Numbers" that I wanted to share for anyone considering a purchase or going through the process currently and finding it tough to navigate.

When you buy a home, it's all about the numbers.   Your mortgage rate is based on your credit scores, debt-to-income, and how much of a down payment you can afford.  

Know you credit scores:  Your credit scores can fall between 300 and 850.  Lenders use these numbers, which are compiled by three credit bureaus and Fair Isaac to give them a quick snapshot of your credit-worthiness.

Lenders are still in a low-risk mood and are requiring fairly high credit scores from borrowers.  To qualify for the best mortgage interest rates, such as benchmark 30 year fixed rate, your credit score must be approximately 720 or more.  To find out what your credit scores are, visit,, the site where you can get free copies of your credit report and scores.

Know your income-to-debt ratio:  To qualify you, lenders use two ratios - income to mortgage debt and income to total debt.

To qualify for a 30 year fixed rate conforming loan that is federally insured (FHA), your income to mortgage debt can be no higher than 29% of your gross annual income.  If you make $5000 gross income per month, your house payment, including principal, interest, hazard insurance and property taxes, should be no larger than $1450.

If you're carrying credit card debt, student loans, or pay child support, your monthly debt service must be counted.  to get the income to total debt ratio, multiply your monthly income by 41%.  If you gross $5000 per month, your total debt - including your house payment - can be no larger than $2050.  That means to qualify for a $1450 house payment, your other debt payments can be no higher that $600 per month.

Know Your Down Payment:  For most loans, your credit scores affect down payment requirements.  If you have a high credit score, you can get an FHA -guaranteed loan with only 3.5% down, but if your scores are low, you may be required to put as much as 10% down.  FHA loans with less than 20% down require mortgage insurance that will not be discharged unless the home is refinanced or sold.

Conventional loans are sold by banks as securities to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with the best rates only available to consumers with 20% down.  You can obtain both FHA or conventional loans with less money down, but expect to pay a mortgage insurance premium, which reduces the risk for the lender. 

Where your down payment originates also makes a difference to lenders.  If you have saved the money yourself, or it comes from a recent real estate transaction, lenders tend to be more relaxed than if your parents are giving you the money as a gift.

All these numbers have to dovetail and make sense to the lender, so you can comfortably afford the home you want to buy.

Are you thinking of buying? Need help navigating the mortgage industry?  We are here to help! Just give us a call and we'll gladly put you in touch with a knowledgable, competent lender who can explain the process of financing and help find the best loan program for you.

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

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 1125




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