Real Estate Information Archive


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Tax Value Vs. Market Value - The Difference

by Meghan Riley, Wilmington NC Real Estate

If they haven’t already, New Hanover County homeowners should be receiving their 2017 tax revaluations, the first since 2012. The delivery of the revaluations makes this a good time to touch upon a topic that we’ve discussed in the past – a home’s tax value vs. its market value. Do you know the difference?

When it comes time to list their home for sale, many owners are surprised to see that the listing price is not the same as the property’s tax value or tax assessed value (TAV). When a government (county, municipality, city, etc.) levies property taxes, it’s based upon a tax assessed value determined by an assessor. The tax assessor does not usually enter the home, but does visit the property and compares data from past years. The end result is usually a percentage of the total market value; however, there are occasions where the tax assessed value is more than the market value. The reason why can vary from location to location, but in New Hanover County it may be linked to when the home was assessed.

New Hanover County completes revaluations every 4 years and will only look at comparables from the year the assessment was completed. Market values can change year-to-year; so if a home is located in a neighborhood that was selling great the year it was assessed, but sales drop the next two years, the owners could find that their tax assessed value is less than the market value.

Market value or fair market value (FMV) is how much the home is likely to sell for in the current market. It’s determined by looking at other similar homes that have sold in the same area and relies on multiple factors, including number of bedrooms, number of baths, garage size, age of the home, heated square-feet, condition, location, and more. The more features the home has that appeal to buyers, the higher the market value. It’s good ole supply and demand.

Now, to confuse things even more, there is an appraised value. This is a value determined by a state licensed appraiser, and usually comes into play when and if the buyers need to finance their purchase. The appraisal assures the bank that the investment will be sound. Technically, this should be the same as the fair market value. However, appraisers are human beings and, like all human beings, they put their own weight of importance on different values. So, there’s always a chance that the appraised value will come out differently than the pre-determined fair market value. If it’s less than the assumed fair market value, the purchase price will need to be renegotiated to get the bank to approve the loan.

Going back to the delivery of the revaluations in New Hanover County…. Residential properties were scheduled to receive theirs mid-February with commercial properties due to be mailed by March 1. For the past 2.5 years, appraisers have been working to visit all 104,000+ parcels of land in the county. To assure accuracy, home owners were also sent questionnaires. The last evaluation was done in 2012 and is now scheduled to happen every 4 years.

Your Home Viewed By...

All joking aside...If you’d like to know the fair market value of your home in the Wilmington area, give us a call or send us a message through our contact page. We’re happy to complete a comparative market analysis. You can also check out our free online home value tool, which will provide you with a general monthly update on recent sales in your neighborhood.

Sellers, Don't Miss These Overlooked Places When Cleaning Your Home

by Meghan Riley, Wilmington NC Real Estate

When you’re preparing to list your home for sale, “Spring Cleaning” takes on a whole new meaning. We know how nerve-racking it can be to get your home looking its best. So, we’ve compiled some of our favorite cleaning resources, as well as a checklist of most overlooked places that we’ve seen while showing homes.

Most Overlooked Places

Ceiling Fan

A good rule of thumb when cleaning your soon-to-be-listed home is to step out of your shoes and view it with unfiltered eyes. This can be hard when you’ve lived in your home for so long. It may be a good idea to physically step out of your front door and re-enter with the mind frame that you’re seeing your home for the first time. You may even want to ask a good friend to tour your home like a buyer and give you feedback (just don’t get angry if it isn’t so great).

As you tour, ask yourself, what would you be looking at if you were buying? What would you test for functionality? Is there an area that you have grown blind to (messy kitty litter box, cluttered laundry room, dusty ceiling fans, etc.)? Try to be very honest with yourself.

On the exterior, the color of your siding can be pretty obvious. Dirty window panes, scuffed doors, and grungy trim too. What’s often overlooked are the areas that are either mostly out of view or up high. Eaves and gutters are two examples. If you’re standing at the right angle, you can see old spider webs, leaves, and gunk. These may not be obvious, but when you’re a buyer, it’s something you notice and can give the impression that the home hasn’t been maintained very well. Another example are light fixtures, especially security lights on the back of the home. You don’t really notice them until they’re on, but once they’re cleaned, can make your home look nice.

On the interior, dirty floors, dusty shelving, scuffed molding, and scummy showers are easily targeted when cleaning. However, it’s the less obvious dirt that will leave buyers with a bad feeling. When buyers enter your home, they’ll be looking at everything from the finish of the ceiling to the storage space in the closets. That means you should be more aware of what’s in between and out of sight, like in between the bathroom door and the frame where extra dust collects due to the higher amount of moisture in the room, or in window frames where bugs like to go and die. If you have cathedral or vaulted ceilings, definitely look up. It may be easier for you to ignore those cobwebs up there due to the height, but it’s probably much more worthwhile to find someone with a long vacuum extension to remove them.

Sometimes, it isn’t the home’s features that leave a bad feeling, but the owner’s belongings. For example, shower liners. They change color over time and can really look grungy. If you can’t get them sparkling clean, replace them prior to listing. Potted plants can also be a culprit. All those leaves love to attract cobwebs and loose hair. Make sure you clean them or they could make your home look neglected.

Often Overlooked Areas

We’ve created a checklist of the most overlooked areas in the home when it comes to cleaning. You can download the PDF here.

Know of another overlooked area? Leave it in the comments!

Best Cleaning Resources

Cleaning - Mop Bucket

There are so many cleaning resources out there. Just search “cleaning” on Pinterest (Wowzers!). Here are some of our favorites, organized by subject, for you to browse:

1. Cleaners

Store-bought cleaners are often filled with harsh chemicals. That’s why we like to go natural and simple when possible. Clean Mama is a cleaning and organizing site that has been around for a long time (since 2009). It has evolved into an extensive resource for anyone looking to simplify their home routine, including a whole section of their website devoted to DIY homemade cleaners. Also, make sure you check out the post about creating a cleaning caddy. A caddy can make it easier to stay on top of cleaning between home showings.

2. Step-by-Step Challenges

Keeping a home can be overwhelming, so we love it when someone breaks it down into manageable steps. Organize My House has done a great job doing that, especially with their challenges. They have a 30 Day Clutter Blitz to help simplify your life and home. They also have an email service you can sign up for that will send you daily tasks so you can tackle things a little bit at a time.

3. Cleaning Hacks

Buzzfeed has collected 31 hacks for tackling hard to clean places around the home, from your oven door to your stained porcelain sink. Good Housekeeping also has a gallery of 50 cleaning tips, like toothpaste gets marker stains out of wood and the trick to clearing a slow drain is baking soda and vinegar. Of course, you can always go straight to the experts – Merry Maids has a blog filled with tips, like how to clean hard-to-reach places and remove hard water spots.

4. Organizing

If you’re cleaning, chances are you want to do some organizing to stay on top of the mess. Many of the sites we’ve already listed have sections on organizing, but we have one more you should check out. Organizing Made Fun has been providing tips since 2010, and they’ve organized their tips by room. So, if you’re looking for some inspiration for a particular problem spot, this is the site to start.

If you’re a glutton for cleaning tips (like we are!), follow our cleaning board on Pinterest! Have a favorite go-to site for cleaning? Share it in the comments!


These resources will help get you on track for making your home visually presentable. If you want to delve deeper into preparing your home, we have a report called 44 Moneymaking Tips for Preparing Your Home for Sale. This doesn’t just focus on cleaning, but creating a home that buyers can imagine themselves in while getting you the most money possible for your home.

If you have a Wilmington area home that you’re considering selling, we also offer a complimentary home staging consultation with a professional home stager. Just give us a call or send us a message through our contact page. We’re happy to go over our marketing plan and all the good stuff that will get your home sold.

Don't Miss These Overlooked Places When Cleaning Your Home

Why It’s Smart for Sellers to List Early in 2017

by Meghan Riley, Wilmington NC Real Estate

Why It’s Smart for Sellers to List Early in 2017

Traditionally, home sellers list their homes in the Spring/Summer to take advantage of the height of the buying season. However, 2017 is already proving to be a year of change and economists are urging home sellers to list early if they want to sell under the most favorable conditions. Here’s why:

1. Nationwide, inventory has dropped considerably. Throughout 2016, we were facing low inventories that fueled quick sales and multiple offer situations. In New Hanover County, mid-July saw between 1,800 and 1,900 single-family homes on the market. In November, that was down to 1,600 to 1,700 single-family homes. Now, we’re at 1,400 to 1,500 single-family homes. As a result, competition among properties is decreasing.

2. Rising interest rates are building an urgency among buyers, who don’t want to miss out on locking in a great rate. Demand is higher than normal for this time of year, and we’re seeing it in the increase in requests for pocket listings. In our brokerage alone, there have been more buyer’s agents putting out feelers for upcoming listings than mid-2016 during the height of the busy season. They have buyers, but no listings that fit all their needs, so they’re looking for anyone who has been sitting on the fence about selling. This doesn’t mean that there are a bunch of desperate buyers floating around; however, it does mean that it’s a seller’s market.

3. Interest rates are forecast to rise later in 2017, and many sellers need to sell before buying another home. It will prove advantageous for them to sell early, so they too can get a lower interest rate when they purchase. While the increase won’t be dramatic, even avoiding a .5% hike can save a buyer thousands of dollars over the course of a loan.

Before a buyer makes a final decision about listing their home, we always recommend they get a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). This will tell them how homes similar to theirs are selling and will give them a good idea of what they could get if their home sold. While it may be a seller’s market, it does not guarantee that a home will sell for whatever amount they need. It’s important to enter the market educated and with reasonable expectations. Trying to sell a home for more than its fair market value will only result in it sitting on the market, because a buyer purchasing with financing has to prove to the bank via a third-party appraisal that the property is worth what it’s selling for. If the bank doesn’t agree that it is, they’ll refuse to finance the purchase.

If you’re thinking of selling in the Wilmington area, we’d be happy to create a CMA for you and discuss your options for selling. Give us a call at (910) 202-2546 or send us a message through our Contact page.

I Rent Out the House I Want to Sell. Can I Kick Out the Tenants?

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

I Rent Out the House I Want to Sell. Can I Kick Out the Tenants?Do you own an investment property that you’re ready to sell? If that property has tenants, it may not be the ideal selling situation. Tenants come in all degrees of cleanliness, upkeep, and cooperation. As the owner, you want the home looking as good as it can in order to sell it for the highest price, but you can’t guarantee that it will be presented the way you want or be accessible during prime showing hours, because you’re relying on people who have different priorities than you. So, what is the ideal selling situation? An empty home.

But, hold up! You can’t kick out your tenants just because you want to stage the home and have it open whenever you want. You have a legally binding contract with them. Unless you included special terms for the sale of the home in the contract, you have to honor the lease until its end and if the home sells before the lease ends, the new owner has to honor it as well.

Right now, before you list the home or start any preparations, is the time to have a talk with your tenants. Being upfront is the best way to nurture cooperation throughout the selling process. If you want them to provide a reasonable amount of access to the home, discuss what works best for their schedule and assure them their lease will be honored. It may even be a good idea to provide some incentive for their cooperation, like discounted rent or a monetary return at the end, because the property may be yours, but they will have to deal with showings, buyers driving by, and the occasional rude person who may wander into the yard to get a look around.

If the tenant would prefer to stay in the home for years to come, that could be a good selling point for other investors looking to purchase. A secure tenant means less work for the investor. All they have to do is metaphorically step into your shoes after the sale.

During the conversation with your tenant, if you get the feeling that they aren’t going to cooperate, you have two options: 1) Wait until after the lease expires to list the home or 2) offer to pay them to move out. The first option is probably the easiest, but be financially prepared to cover all debts associated with the property until the home sells.    

In most cases, if you respect the needs of your tenant, listing the home shouldn’t be an issue. The route you take really depends on your financial needs and the level of cooperation the tenant is willing to provide. Just make sure that the lease requirements are made very clear to potential buyers. Not everyone understands how leases work and accurate expectations are the best way to avoid issues with all parties involved. If the lease is not up until after the sale of the home, the buyers need to know they will not be able to move into the home right away. You will also need to make clear how the security deposit will be handled.

If you’re thinking about selling your Wilmington area home, give us a call! We’re happy to pull together a market value report and discuss your options. There’s no obligation. Give us a call at (910) 202-2546 or send us a message through our Contact page.

Stainless Steel and Granite Still Reign Supreme

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

Results from the 2016 Builder Practices Survey, the National Association of Home Builders’ Consumer Preference Survey, and a Houzz consumer survey show that granite countertops and stainless steel appliances still reign supreme when it comes to new construction. If you’ve been shopping for a new home (or have submitted yourself to hours of HGTV reruns like I did while on maternity leave), this may not come as much of a surprise. Everywhere you look there are MLS descriptions boasting stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. However, if you were shopping for a home 15 years ago, things would have looked much different.

Until the 1990s, granite was hard to get, which made it expensive and rarely used in interiors. Colors were very limited, because the granite was regionalized. If you lived in the Midwest, chances were you got red granite from Wisconsin. If you lived in eastern Canada, you were likely to get black and white (or salt and pepper) from Quebec. Even though it wasn’t believed to be the best material for kitchens due to natural fissures that could harbor bacteria, its rareness made it attractive.

Over the years, advancements in technology and trade made it easier to transport granite from other regions. This lowered the cost per square-foot and made more colors available, which also made it even more popular among homeowners. Granite is now globalized and suppliers can order it from numerous countries in addition to the U.S. and Canada, including Italy, India, China, Brazil, Norway, Russia, and Mexico. According to the NAHB, granite is found in 64% of newly built homes. It’s followed by laminate (14%), engineered stone (9%), solid-surface (9%), and other (4%).

Granite and Stainless Steel Kitchen

NAHB also found that 79% of appliances in new construction were made of stainless steel. They were followed by other (11%), black (6%), and white (4%). Like granite, stainless steel wasn’t popular 15 years ago, so what made it become so popular? It’s not as if stainless steel will make you cook better or make your kitchen look cleaner (have you tried cleaning off all those fingerprints?). To understand, you have to look back at the history of all kitchen appliances, including those used in restaurants.

For a long time, commercial grade appliances have been made of stainless steel. It’s a tough material that can take some abuse, which makes it a good choice for restaurant kitchens that see hundreds of hours of use per week, but not necessarily for home kitchens that see less than 25 hours per week. Megan McArdle at The Atlantic shared a relevant comment from a local blogger that stated:

On a fairly high end GE model I saw recently, it can come with one burner that can produce 17,000 BTUs on "power boil" -and the others do varying amount less. My low end oven can do at max 12,500 BTUs. A Garland heavy duty range (commercial grade) has burners that can produce 30,000 to 35,000 BTUs. They can also come with charbroilers that produce 90,000 BTUs. These type of appliances need a special wider gas line to work. They are more powerful than anything a typical consumer (except my mother) needs. They're like Clydesdales.

Yet, homeowners started to view these commercial appliances as a status symbol. If they had them in their homes, they were viewed as serious chefs with real connections for buying appliances. Appliance manufacturers caught on and started creating appliances with the same look, but on a retail scale. They weren’t as durable or powerful, but just as pretty as their commercial counterparts and more expensive than other finishes. So, basically, stainless steel is just a look that homeowners prefer, its popularity seeded by a status symbol. I don’t know about you, but I like it because it’s shiny.

Why do surveys like this matter to the real estate community? First, what tends to remain popular usually has a higher return on investment (ROI). If a homeowner is trying to decide on materials for a renovation or new home that they hope to sell in the future, they’re likely to make more money by choosing granite for long-term use. Second, while appliances have a shorter lifespan than granite, including stainless steel appliances in a home for sale right now could make it more appealing to buyers. Finally, it shows how real estate can evolve. 15 years into the future, kitchens could look much different than they do now, but it’s likely granite will still have a higher ROI than less popular laminate.

Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Wilmington area? Give us a call or send us a message through our contact page. We’re happy to discuss your options!

Stainless Steel and Granite Still Reign Supreme

What is “Buying a Listing”?

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

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

How is this ethically questionable? Consider this scenario…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does it Matter if My Real Estate Agent is Certified?

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Real Estate Agent Certifications & Abbreviations

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

Is the Garage Included in the Home’s Square-Feet?

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

Is the Garage Included in the Home’s Square-Feet? The total square-footage of a home is not always transparent to buyers when they’re searching online listings. That’s because the state real estate commission and the American National Standards Institute, Inc. (ANSI) have their own set of guidelines for what can and cannot be included in the home’s total square-footage, and that sometimes conflicts with the visual appearance of the home.

In North Carolina, a space must be considered as “heated living area” in order to be included. That’s defined as a room or space that is heated with a permanent unit, finished (walls, ceilings, and a ceiling height of at least 7 feet to building standards), and directly accessible from other living areas (through a door, stairway, or heated hallway). If an addition or conversion was completed without a permit, that square-footage must also be listed separately and noted in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) as not having a permit.

These restrictions mean some larger sections of the home must be left out, like the home’s garage, even if it’s currently being used as a makeshift family room or a workshop with a window cooling unit. If the area above the garage, traditionally an attic space with pull-down stairs, is also being used as an extra room, it too must not be included, unless finished to currents standards, hooked up to the home’s heating system, and accessible via a permanent staircase or hallway inside the main living area. In case you’re wondering, unfinished basements are held to similar standards.

It’s important to note that lenders and appraisers may view certain rooms of the home differently than how they’re listed in the MLS. Rooms that are adjacent to earth i.e. basements or rooms that are even partially below ground level due to a slope are labelled “below-grade” (the opposite is labelled “above-grade”). The below-grade rooms may not be included in the square-feet, even if finished, depending on the lender’s policies.  

Other states may also consider basements and attics as non-living spaces barring them from being included in the listing’s heated square-feet. However, in North Carolina real estate agents are not required to differentiate between above-grade and below-grade spaces as long as they fit the requirements for heated living area, but buyers and sellers should be made aware of these differences.

Even if a room is not included in the total square-feet, it can still add to the value of the home. A buyer may be willing to pay more for a home that has extra attic space or a basement than one that does not. That should be kept in mind when reviewing other homes on the market and determining the listing price for the property.

Are you thinking of selling your Wilmington area home? Unsure if a room will be included in the square-feet? Give us a call at (910) 202-2546! We’re happy to discuss how your home’s current condition can affect its saleability.

I'm Not Happy. Can I Cancel My Listing Agreement?

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

I'm Not Happy - Can I Cancel My Listing AgreementYou’ve signed a listing agreement with a real estate agent and listed your home or land for sale. Now, you aren’t happy with the services or you’ve decided it’s not the right time to sell, but you’ve signed a binding contract. Can you cancel?

The answer to this question depends on the state and brokerage. It’s very important for you to read the listing agreement and all accompanying paperwork thoroughly before making any decisions. Even though each state commission provides its own guidelines for listing agreements, the agent or brokerage (real estate company – Coldwell Banker, Re\Max, Keller Williams, etc.) may include additional terms and conditions. Despite these variations, there are certain stipulations that seem to be common from one state to the next.

First, the listing agreement is usually between the seller and brokerage, not the seller and real estate agent. Though you hired the real estate agent based on their experience and listing proposal, they have a fiduciary role in the agreement. It is their job to make sure that the brokerage’s responsibilities are fulfilled per the terms laid out in the agreement. Depending on the policies of the brokerage, the real estate agent may or may not hold the power to mutually terminate the listing agreement if asked.

Second, if you aren’t happy with the way your listing has been handled and the real estate agent refuses to cancel the agreement before the expiration date, you will need to speak with the managing broker or broker-in-charge at the brokerage. They are your real estate agent’s “boss”. They will assess the situation and decide the best course of action, which may be standing firm with the agent, assigning a new agent to handle the listing, or cancelling the listing agreement.

Third, even if your home is taken off the market, you may still be bound to certain stipulations. These could include paying any advertising costs already incurred, not relisting with another agent within a certain time period, and honoring the commission if any buyers are generated from marketing done while the home was listed. Again, this is why it’s so important to read the listing paperwork before you sign it. You need to have a clear understanding of your role and rights as the seller.

Finally, if you don’t feel the brokerage has handled your request for cancellation fairly, you can register a complaint with the local real estate commission. However, be forewarned that many listing agreements have a section devoted to mediation, litigation, and arbitration. You may agree to how a dispute is handled prior to one even arising.

If any portion of the listing agreement is unclear to you, it’s highly recommended that you consult an attorney. Only they – not a real estate agent, Realtor, broker-in-charge, or online source – can give you legal advice.

Ready to sell your Wilmington area home? Give us a call or send us a message through our contact page. We guarantee that, any time prior to the acceptance of an offer to purchase on your home, if you wish to terminate your listing agreement for non-performance, you may do so without question!

Join Us on Flipboard!

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

Flipboard LogoWe love making it easier for our followers to stay up-to-date with relevant information. That's why we're now on Flipboard!

If you're unfamiliar with Flipboard, it's a content aggregator - a way for you to collect articles, blog posts, and website pages to create your own "magazines". You can "flip" pages that you find interesting and save them for later in a visually appealing format. You can also follow people who often share pages that interest you. Available on desktop or your mobile device, Flipboard provides multiple ways to access the pages that matter to you.

We've found that Flipboard is a great way to organize some of our favorite home and real estate articles. In our magazines, we share tips for buying and selling, as well as home designs, home decor, DIY projects, local community information, and more. So, if you're looking for real estate tips or home decor ideas, come follow us on Flipboard. It's a great way to kill some time while you're sitting in the doctor's office or waiting to pick up your kids.

Below is our Homes and Designs Magazine.

Homes and Designs - The Cameron Team on Flipboard

View my Flipboard Magazine.

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Contact Information

The Cameron Team
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage
1001 Military Cutoff Suite 101
Wilmington NC 28405
Office: 910.202.2546
Toll Free: 800.522.9624
Fax: 910.795.4723

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Our office is located at:
1001 Military Cutoff Suite 101
Wilmington, NC 28405

(910) 202 - 2546
(910) 795 - 4723

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