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Melanie Cameron, The Cameron Team

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Negotiating Repairs? Leave Out the Fluff!

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Negotiating Repairs? Leave out the Fluff! You’ve found the Wilmington area home you want to buy. You made an offer and it was accepted. Now, you’re in the Due Diligence Period and just had the home inspected. It’s time to negotiate repairs! This is one of the numerous hurdles a buyer and seller need to overcome to make it to the closing table. The seller wants to make as much money off the sale as possible and you, the buyer, want as perfect a home as possible. Let’s face it, no one wants a bunch of issues after move-in, but you both need to work together to find that happy middle spot. If not, one of you will be terminating the contract. So, what’s the best approach for negotiating? Leave out the fluff!

When a real estate agent lists a home for sale, they look at recently sold homes and currently listed homes that are comparable to the subject property. They then price the home according to the condition and features or, at least, suggest a price to the home owner who then has the final say. When a buyer places an offer on a home, it is implied they have taken into consideration the current condition of the property and have decided that all improvements they would need or like to do fit into their budget. Home inspections are intended to find unknown issues, those that will add onto the budget you, as the buyer, have already calculated. The repair request then addresses these issues and allows you to negotiate getting them fixed.

Too often, buyers decide that the repair request is their opportunity to ask for cosmetic fixes e.g. fresh interior paint, updated hardware, new hardwood floors to replace carpet, etc. These changes have no effect on the structure or functionality of the home’s systems. They’re fluff, a filler. While “fluff” implies light and downy, these items can weigh down your negotiations and potentially break the contract. So, cut out the fluff!

When you receive the home inspection report, each system and area of the home will be outlined with pictures and details explaining concerns. Look for the biggest, most important issues. Your real estate agent can advise you on what’s probably best to take care of now and what to address later on after you purchase the home. Be aware, your agent is NOT a general contractor, neither is the inspector. That’s why the home inspection will always tell you to have issues checked out by a licensed professional. However, an experienced agent can point you in the right direction for getting the most important items taken care of and refer you to some reputable professionals.

If you have any questions about the buying process, give us a call or send us a message through our Contact page. We’re happy to help!

Meghan Riley

Wilmington Weekly Update - NHRMC Lifeline Award, Fire Department Hires, and more!

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

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

Instagram of the Week:

In Case You Missed It

Duke Energy will be providing $15,000 in scholarships to Cape Fear Community College students that are enrolled in electronics engineering technology, electrical technology, industrial systems technology and computer engineering technology. The scholarships will be awarded based on financial need. Learn more at Port City Daily.

New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) has received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The award is given based on the quality of care provided to heart attack victims. It’s the highest award level that AHA presents. Learn more at Port City Daily.

A portion of Wilmington’s downtown Riverwalk will soon be closed due to safety concerns. The section as 18 S. Water St. between Market Street and Dock Street has been maintained by the city, but it sits on a privately owned base that is currently in need of repair. It’s unclear how long the section will be closed. The owners of the Brooks building are responsible for the upkeep of the base and have not made a commitment to do so. Learn more at Star News Online.

Wilmington Fire TruckThe Wilmington Fire Department has been given the OK to hire 6 new firemen. The approval comes after reports of stations being closed due to short staffing. They will begin training in October. Learn more at WWAYTV3.

Coming Up

Thursday is Board Game Night! Who doesn’t love a good board game? Well, Cape Fear Games provides a venue for you to meet up with other people who love board games. All ages are welcome. No experience is required. There are a TON of games to choose from. Board Game Night runs from 6 p.m. – 11p.m. Learn more at Cape Fear Games website.

Meghan Riley

Monday Market Update - September 15, 2014

by Melanie Cameron, The Cameron Team

Monday Market Update - Wilmington NCHappy Monday!  I hope you had a wonderful weekend and are off to a great start to the week.  We have the numbers in for August and we continue to see our market improve.

The average sold price in August was $256,489 which was a .6% improvement from last month and a 13.8% improvement from last year at this time.  The average list price was down slightly in August at $349,296.    Interest rates continue to be very appealing.  The 30 year fixed rate mortgage in August averaged 4.12% with .5 points.

We currently have 4,227 homes on the market which equates to a 6.7 month supply of inventory.  As Fall approaches, I think we'll continue to see a decline in the listing inventory.  In August, the average days on the market decreased slightly by 8 days to 116.  The list to sales price ratio for August was 96.2%.  We are back over the 95% mark for 5 months in a row now.

Our current year to date average sold price is $242,142 which is a 4.2 % improvement from year end 2013.  Definitely heading in the right direction.

Question, comments or concerns about the market?  Give us a call.  We're here to help and appreciate your business and friendship.  Have a great week!

Melanie Cameron

My Home Didn't Appraise. What Can I Do?

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

My Home Didn't AppraiseYour Wilmington area home is under contract, but you’ve just learned that the appraisal came back lower than the contract price. Now what do you do? Well, there are a few options depending on your motivation and the appraisal price.

  1. Challenge the Appraisal. There’s a chance that there’s either an error in the listed features of your home or the appraiser overlooked a comparable. The latter is especially possible if the appraiser is from out of town. So, you’ll need to provide the lender with a list of comparables. However, you should be warned that you need good proof to win an appraisal challenge and the buyers may not want to wait for you get it sorted out. If the difference in price isn’t that large, it may be more worthwhile to choose another option.
  2. Request a Second Appraisal. Depending on the loan and lender, you may be able to request a second appraisal, but be forewarned – someone needs to pay for it. It will likely be you. This can also take additional time, which may need to be negotiated into the contract.
  3. Accept the Appraised Value. If you’re ready to sell, you may want to just accept the results of the appraisal and agree to lower the purchase price. This way, you’ll be free to move on after the closing and the buyers will get the home they want.
  4. Terminate the Contract. If you don’t need to sell and the appraised value is going to leave you with too high of a loss, you may decide to terminate the contract and stay in the home. Most areas of Wilmington will see a 3-5% property value increase in the next few years, but you need to decide if that’s going to be enough to make up for your losses down the road. You also need to realize there is the risk that your property won’t have a value increase and you may not be any better off in a few years.
  5. Ask the Sellers to Pay or Agree to Split the Difference. You can always ask the buyers to split the difference or pay a minimum percentage (whatever you can afford). If they really want the home, they may be willing to bring this money to the table. Just keep in mind that no buyer really wants to pay more than a home is worth. If the difference is more than they can justify by desire and recoup in rising property values, it may not make any financial sense for them. After all, this money will come out of pocket, because the lender isn’t going to want to pay for more than the home is worth.

Remember, every case is different, so speak with your Wilmington Realtor about your best options.

Haven’t listed your Wilmington area home yet? Have questions about putting your home on the market? Give us a call or send us a message through our Contact page.

Meghan Riley

Another Reminder That Curb Appeal Matters

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Home with Bad Curb AppealAfter visiting with friends last night, I’m reminded of how much curb appeal matters. At the beginning of 2014, they purchased their home. It was a resale built in the early 90’s, and this was my first time seeing it. Their directions for finding the home were, and I quote, “First ugly house on the left.” Now, this wasn’t the first time they had told me the home was ugly, so I can openly admit – the home is ugly! But that’s one reason why they were able to get it close to $40,000 below the original listing price.

It’s not uncommon for buyers to see the front of a home and refuse to go in for a showing. It’s frustrating at times, but with buyers who have that strong of an initial reaction, it’s probably best to not waste any time looking at the home. I imagine this house was one that brought out that type of reaction in buyers, because the front has one of the most flat, boring exteriors I’ve ever seen on a home. There aren’t any shutters, the paint colors are drab, and the landscaping needs some work. It doesn’t reflect the interior at all.

As soon as you enter the home, the whole design does a 180°. There’s a giant great room with floor to ceiling windows and a second floor walkway, a big gourmet kitchen with a center island, a breakfast room and dining room, four bedrooms (including one with a loft), an oversized master suite, office, and bonus room. Plus, there’s a private balcony, screened porch, and in-ground swimming pool. This home is over 3,800 square-feet, but you wouldn’t know it looking at the front.

This home sat on the market for 7 months. Looking at it, I can only imagine how many times it was overlooked online due to the front picture. By our local Realtor association rules, we must make the front picture the first picture for all listings, so that’s usually the thumbnail that home buyers see in search results. Luckily, my friends’ tween daughter decided to look at it or they would have missed a great home with lots of character.

As soon as they looked at the interior pictures, they said, "We've got to see this house!" They did and quickly saw the potential. In case you’re wondering, they do plan on updating the front with new paint colors and architectural details.

This is just another reminder that, if you’re selling your home, curb appeal does matter and, if you’re searching for a home, digging a little deeper may bring you a good deal.

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

Meghan Riley

Wilmington Weekly Update - New Hanover County Tax News, UNCW a Top University, and more!

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

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

Instagram of the Week:

In Case You Missed It

U.S. World & News ranked UNCW as one of the top 20 regional universities in the South. It was also once again listed in the Top 10 for best regional public institutions. Learn more at Port City Daily.

New Hanover residents will soon be receiving this year’s tax bill. The taxes are due in September, but can be paid interest free until January 5th, 2015. Taxes that aren’t paid by then will accrue interest monthly. This year, New Hanover County has established a taxes payment plan. To prevent penalties, the plan is already included with each tax bill. If the set schedule doesn’t work for a resident, they can call the tax office and make other arrangements. Learn more at Port City Daily.

A developer has submitted plans for a new retail building on New Centre Drive. The building includes a plan for two restaurants and over 1,500 square-feet of retail space. The building is proposed for 2.3 acres near Target. Learn more at Star News Online.

Coming Up

Mark Morris Dance GroupEnjoy a performance by the famous and internationally praised Mark Morris Dance Group and Music Ensemble at UNCW’s Kenan Auditorium. Features include Italian Concerto, with a live performance of music by Bach; A Wooden Tree, which premiered in 2012 and featured Mikhail Baryshnikov (music by Ivor Cutler); Tamil Film Songs in Stereo, a pas de deux featuring contemporary Indian music; and Grand Duo, a signature Mark Morris piece featuring 15 dancers, pianist and violinist. Tickets range from $25-$45 and the performance starts at 8:00 p.m.. Learn more at UNCW’s website.

Meghan Riley

HOAs are Like Snowflakes…No Two are Alike

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

HOAs are Like Snowflakes...No Two are AlikeSo, you found a home in the Wilmington area that you like, but you’ve discovered it’s in a community with a homeowners association (HOA). Maybe you didn’t have a good experience with your last HOA or you don’t like the idea of your neighbors regulating how you use your property. Either way, you weren’t planning on having to deal with an HOA…but you just LOVE this house! You may be happy to know that no two HOAs are alike. You could say, they’re like snowflakes!

When HOAs were originally created they were meant to bring together homeowners who wanted to share the same type of living conditions. The same stands true today, but the type of living conditions and the amount of regulations vary from community to community. Some HOAs just want to maintain the common areas of the neighborhood, like the entryway, drainage ditches, park, landscaped dividers, etc. Others want to do all that and maintain a uniform look for all of the houses, so there are regulations on floor plans, paint colors that can be used, curtains that can be seen from the street, or fences that can or cannot be installed. These examples appear on either end of the spectrum, so there are plenty of less extreme options to choose from.

Just because a home is in the jurisdiction of an HOA doesn’t mean you should immediately rule it out. Your Realtor can retrieve the community’s Rules and Regulations prior to you making an offer on the home. This document will list everything you can and cannot do (park your boat or RV in the yard, add on to the home, install a swimming pool, etc.). This is the majority of the information you need in order to make a decision. You can also check out the HOAs’ website or Facebook page, if it has one, and talk to neighbors to get a better understanding of how the HOA is ran. HOAs aren’t for everyone, but you may find that even a small HOA is worth having if you want the guarantee that the community will look tidy.

Have questions about living in an HOA? Send us a message through our Contact page or give us a call!

Meghan Riley

National Geographic Names Wrightsville Beach One of “World's 20 Best Surf Towns"

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

World's 20 Best Surf TownsYou may remember, back in July 2014, National Geographic named Wrightsville Beach as one of “The Last Best American Beach Towns". Well, the NG love continues! They recently named Wrightsville Beach one of the "World's 20 Best Surf Towns". From America to the world, we're moving up!

According to National Geographic, Wrightsville's winning features are its "attitude and access" and describe the beach as "a mix of sleepy southern beach town and growing metropolis" with fun for the whole family. The article goes into more detail listing the best time to visit, as well as where to stay, play, and eat. See it on the National Geographic website.

Also on the list of 20 towns is Byron Bay in Australia, Florianópolis in Brazil, Santa Cruz in California, and Raglan in New Zealand. See the full list here.

Need beach rental? Check out United Beach Vacations and let them know The Cameron Team sent you!

Meghan Riley

Monday Market Update - September 8, 2014

by Melanie Cameron, The Cameron Team

The Cameron Team's Wilmington NC Market UpdateHappy Monday!  I hope you had a great weekend!

When I meet with home owners who are considering the sale of their home, one of the main questions I am asked is, "should I remodel and stay in my home or sell?"  If you are planning on doing major renovations, I'd recommend planning on staying for a while.  Don't make the mistake of overdoing renovations right before you go to sale because it'll be very difficult to recoup that money.  The following is an informative article from Realty Times that addresses these issues.


Pending home sales are down 7.3 percent from one year ago, according to the National Association of Realtors, and this trend is likely to continue until wages increase and credit becomes more available to average borrowers. Obtaining a mortgage is a daunting task these days, even for those with reasonable credit scores. Those in the market for a new home or planning to remodel their existing one should consider the following factors before committing to either option:


Local Market Conditions
There are two dynamics to buying a new home: selling your existing one, and then getting a good price and rate on the new one. Some markets are actually conducive to doing both smoothly and efficiently.


Las Vegas is the top market for sellers, experiencing a 33 percent year-over-year increase in asking prices from July 2013 to 2014, according to data compiled by Trulia. The Sin City also experienced a 5.2 percent drop in home values from April to July of this year. Part of this, again, can be attributed to the monetary policies of the Fed in 2014.


Regardless, homeowners who act quickly to sell in cities with significant year-over-year price gains (including most of Northern California, Salt Lake City, and Portland, Oregon) will likely walk away with enough cash for a down payment on a new home. The Bay Area in particular is a prime sellers' market. Despite high prices, inventories there remain low, which means homes are snapped up almost as soon as they become available.


Check with a local real estate agent to get details on both home prices and inventory in your area.


Counterproductive Upgrades
Steven Melman of the National Association of Home Builders told Market Watch that Americans spent $130 billion upgrading their homes in 2013, up 3.1 percent from 2012. But homeowners spent far less per project over the past four years. The average renovation so far in 2014 costs $4,000, down from $6,200 in 2010, according the American Express Spending and Savings Tracker.


Renovating is obviously less expensive than purchasing a new home. But the task is not without its own hurdles. The first step to remodeling a home is coming up with the capital to do it. Most people will need to take out a home equity loan or line of credit, which in turn creates new debt.


Homeowners should only consider remodeling if it will increase the value of their home over time. Adding smart home appliances, energy-efficient windows, and lighting are the most common renovations that almost always provide a good return. Consult the annual Cost vs. Value Report published by Remodeling magazine before starting any project.


Future Market Conditions
A study commissioned by the nonprofit urban leadership firm CEOs for Cities found that homes within walking distance of schools, malls, parks and other amenities are worth more than those in areas where you have to drive to get anywhere. Whenever you see construction projects happening near your neighborhood, find out what is being built.


Despite the negative reception Wal-Mart stores typically receive when being built, their overall positive effect on home values is difficult to ignore. Researchers at the University of Chicago and Brigham Young University found in a 2012 study that homes within a half-mile from new Wal-Mart stores experienced a 3 percent increase in property values. Research all current and future construction projects near your neighborhood before considering a sale.


The choice to buy new or remodel is a personal one. But exercising due diligence will ensure you're making the right decision.  Questions or comments?  We are always here to help.  Look forward to hearing from you.


Have An Awesome Week!
 

Melanie Cameron

Lowe's Holoroom: Home Improvement in 3D

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Lowe's Holoroom DisplayHow would you like to see your completed home remodel before you’ve ordered the materials? If you watch home makeover television shows, chances are you’ve seen the 3D renderings of proposed renovations created by the designers. You may have even seen some apps that provide a similar personal experience, but often lack real life products that you can actually purchase and are limited in the 3D experience. Well, Lowe's Home Improvement is planning on making things a lot easier for home owners starting later this year.

The NEW Lowe’s Innovation Labs have announced their first project called Holoroom. This innovative approach to home design combines augmented reality and 3D renderings to allow homeowners to better see the materials and products they want to use in their remodel. In the store, homeowners will choose the products that they want to use before stepping into the Holoroom to view their choices as if they were standing in the room at home. If they change their mind on a product, they can change it while they stand there. Once all of their choices have been made, they can then print out the room and take it home to show family and friends via a free augmented reality app. Not clear how this works? Here’s a video.


Lowe’s will start rolling out this augmented reality experience in select Toronto stores in late 2014. How quickly it will spread to other stores isn’t clear, but if it proves to be a beneficial tool for homeowners and raises Lowe’s profits, I imagine it won’t take long. It’s also going to be interesting to see how quickly other chains will start picking up technology like this.

What do you think of the Holoroom? Let us know 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

The Cameron Team - Wilmington North Carolina Real Estate

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

Toll Free: 800.522.9624
Fax: 910.795.4723

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