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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.

Should I Make Repairs to My Home Before I Get an Offer?

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

Should I Make Repairs to My Home Before I Get an Offer?You’re preparing to put your home on the market or it’s already listed, and you’re trying to decide if you should make any repairs. If you’re like most sellers, you want to put in as little money as possible before selling the home, because your goal is to make money off the sale. That’s understandable. After all, you have other things, likely your next residence, to invest money in. But are there any benefits to making repairs prior to receiving an offer on your home? The answer to your question depends on what’s wrong and how much you want to sell your home for.

A Realtor can complete a comparative market analysis of your home to determine its fair market price. This will take into consideration multiple factors, including: number of bedrooms, number of baths, heated square-feet, garage spaces, age of the home, upgrades, condition, etc. Some factors carry more weight than others and sold homes give insight into which will add more value to the property. The fair market price is what the home should be listed for when it’s put on the market.

If the fair market value is a little below what you were hoping, repairs may be the key to raising it a few thousand dollars. This really depends on other comparable homes that are currently listed and the repairs that your home will require. As much as we would love for buyers to focus on all the things that make a home great, truth is they’ll be focusing on all its flaws and even the smallest ones can be glaring in the eyes of a buyer. So, why not get rid of them before the home is shown? Fresh paint, repaired trim, tightened faucets, etc. can make a world of a difference by taking the focus off the flaws and putting it on the entire package.

Something to keep in mind – if you have experience with a trade (plumbing, carpentry, painting, etc.), you could save money by completing repairs yourself prior to an offer. After an offer is received and repairs are requested, most buyers will require that the repairs be made by an independent licensed contractor, which can be costlier.

Now, what about the larger repairs? Should you bother with those? That depends on your budget. Substantial home projects will require a large upfront investment and not all have a high return. Sometimes, the best action is to adjust the listing price of the home to make up for the investment in repairs the new owners will have to make. For example, a very common issue that we run into is the age of the home’s roof. Most buyers don’t want to deal with having the roof replaced right after purchasing the home. If concern with the roof shows up often in feedback, it’s a serious issue that needs to be addressed with either a price adjustment or replacement. A worthwhile replacement would depend on the cost, available funds, and how the home’s roof compares to others in the neighborhood.

Taking the time to make repairs to a home prior to listing will always have a positive impact on how buyers view the home. A home that appears to be well-maintained over the years will instill a sense of trust and value in buyers, which attracts higher offers and makes negotiations easier. It will also prevent the loss of marketing time that occurs when a home goes under contract and the deal falls apart over repairs. However, your needs and budget will not always allow for repairs to be made. The best course of action is sitting down with a Realtor and discuss your options.

If you’re thinking of selling your home in the Wilmington area, give us a call at (910) 202-2546. We’ll be happy to create a comparative market analysis and share with you our marketing plan. We pride ourselves in being upfront and honest about what you should expect when listing your home for sale.

“I’ve Listed My FSBO with a Realtor. Now what?”

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

“I’ve Listed My FSBO with a Realtor. Now what?”If you’re reading this, you either were or are currently trying to sell your home without the aid of a Realtor. If you’re like most FSBOs, you decided to go this route to either save money by eliminating a commission and/or you wanted more control over the marketing and showings. Either reason, you have decided or are considering listing it with a Realtor and want to know how things will change now that you are no longer the main point of contact.

First off, all marketing now falls on the shoulders of your Realtor. This is good for you, because you are no longer paying those upfront costs; however, it may make you a little nervous. After all, you’re relying on them to represent your home in the best light possible. Here are some things to be aware of when marketing with a Realtor:

1. Just because they are the gatekeepers to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) doesn’t mean you don’t have any say. If you feel certain features should be highlighted in the MLS description, discuss it with your Realtor. You’ve lived in the home (in most cases) and know it better than anyone.

2. Realtors are governed by a Code of Ethics and must abide by Fair Housing Laws. There are certain things that can’t be said in marketing. Most of these are common sense. Some you may not realize infringe on any laws. All in no way will prevent your home from selling.

3. Technology has its limitations. There are character count restrictions, photo restrictions, branding restrictions…and they’re different for each website. The biggest pain for us is the character count restrictions for the MLS. In order to maximize exposure and feed a listing to other websites, we have to stay under a certain number of characters. This really limits the features we can bring to the attention of buyers, but this restriction is the same for everyone in our company, as well as the other companies in our area that distribute to third party websites (Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, Individual Agent Sites, etc.). Our advice is to trust that the Realtor and his company know what they are doing.

4. Not all Realtors market the same. They choose to do what they think works. Some will pay for a professional photographer, others will take pictures themselves. Some believe open houses work, others think they’re a waste. Some will pay for expanded features on popular websites, others feel it’s fluff. That’s why it’s so important to interview agents before you hire them.

5. Generating marketing materials takes time. Flyers can take two days or more from the time the pictures are received. Professional booklets can take a week or two. Even websites can take 24-48 hours to display a listing from the time it’s entered into the MLS.

Before you start marketing with a Realtor, you’ll need to remove any advertisements you’ve posted for your home. If you’ve gone on to third-party websites like Zillow and claimed your home as a FSBO, you may need to surrender it to the Realtor so they can control how the home displays. It’s not always clear how the site handles listings when they’re fed from the MLS, so it may be a case-by-case situation.

Second, showings will now be handled by the Realtor. How this is done depends on the Realtor. We have a call center whose primary purpose is to take showing requests and confirm them with the sellers. There’s a myriad of ways communication can be handled. Sellers can confirm appointments by call, text, email, or the showing app. They can even deny showings and suggest a better time. Agents can enter time restrictions, as well as specific instructions for accessing keys and handling pets that may be in the home. This has made the whole process much more efficient and streamlined.

Third, all offers are made to the Realtor. They then present the offer to you. Realtors are required to present ALL offers, no matter how low they are. So, don’t feel offended. It’s your right as the home owner to know all of your options. The Realtor is there to remove emotion from the negotiating and provide facts to aid you in getting the most money for your home. They are not allowed to reveal any details of the deal to anyone outside of the transaction until such information becomes public knowledge the day the property closes and records. For more on this, we recommend reading “Working with Real Estate Agents”.  

Fourth, once an offer is accepted, the Realtor will handle all of the closing details – scheduling contractors, hiring the attorney to prepare seller documents, arranging for the title search, etc. They will negotiate repairs and make sure all necessary forms are filled out and signed. There are a lot of moving parts at this point and it’s their job (along with the buyer’s agent) to keep everything on schedule and your best interests protected. Expect a lot of communication at this point.

With something as large as selling a multi-thousand dollar property, it can be stressful to have another person handling so much for you. You have to put a lot of trust in them to handle things with honesty and integrity. If you find a situation like this daunting, make sure the agent you hire has an easy-out clause. For example, if you hire The Cameron Team and are not happy with the services we provide, you can cancel the listing contract any time prior to receiving an offer. We provide that in writing. There are other Realtors that have similar offers. Don’t hesitate to ask when you’re interviewing agents.

If you have any questions about selling your home in the Wilmington area, give us a call at (910) 202-2546 or send us a message through our Contact page.

You may also be interested in reading “Representing Your Best Interests” – how the results of selling For Sale by Owner compares to using a Realtor.

Should I Leave Cans of Paint When I Sell My Home?

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Should I Leave the Paint Cans for the Buyers?You’re getting ready to move out of your home and you’re now faced with a stack of cans from paint projects long past. What should you do with them? Leave them for the seller in hopes they’ll find use for them or dispose of them?

Disposing of paint cans is inconvenient: you can’t just throw them in the trash. They need to be taken to the recycling building on Highway 421. Unless you already need to haul trash to the nearby landfill, it means a trip out of the way. This is usually the point when some sellers try to defy the trash collector by filling the cans with sand and burying them in the weekly pickup, but this can bring a heavy fine.

Other sellers just leave the cans of paint without a second thought, but the fact is that the home is supposed to be completely cleared out of all personal belongings, except those agreed to in the offer to purchase. If the buyers see those cans prior to closing, they could rightfully refuse to sign the closing paperwork. Believe me, it’s been done before. So, you need to ask yourself if you want to risk losing thousands of dollars when the sale of the home falls through or if you would rather pay someone to take it to the recycling center.

Another option is asking the buyers if they want the cans of paint. If it’s the paint you used to freshen up the home prior to listing it, they may be interested in keeping it for later touchups. They may even be interested if it wasn’t recently used, but is still good, as long as it’s the paint currently on the walls or exterior. You just need to make sure it’s still good.

How do you know when paint is bad?

  1. The paint no longer blends when stirred.
  2. It’s completely dried up or has hardened on the bottom of the can.
  3. There’s a horrible rancid smell when you open the can.

If the paint has gone bad, you definitely shouldn’t ask the buyers if you can leave it behind. It’s your responsibility to dispose of it.

Remember, the key is to always ASK if the buyer wants the paint. This is something your Realtor can do for you. Just make sure you do it before the final walk-thru or you could face delays in closing.

Ready to buy or sell in the Wilmington area? Give us a call or send us a message through our Contact page.

Home Staging in Every Season

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

This infographic provides some simple reminders for staging the exterior of your home throughout the seasons.

Home Staging in Every Season

Don't forget, when you list your home with The Cameron Team, you get a complimentary 3-hour staging consultation with Carolina Sold By Design. Have a question, give us a call or send us a message through our Contact page.

5 Tips for Selling Your Home in the Fall and Winter

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

5 Tips for Selling Your Home in Fall and WinterWith the change of seasons comes different challenges that may affect your home’s sale. The fall and winter are some of the most challenging; however, small adjustments, to both your home and your approach, can really improve your chances of selling. Here are 5 tips to for selling your home in the fall and winter:

  1. Turn on the lights! During the fall and winter, the northern hemisphere of the Earth is tilted away from the sun making its light hit us at a different angle. Days are shorter and often gloomier, which can really affect people’s moods, but simple tweaks can counteract that for the people who enter your home and leave a positive impression. Before each showing, turn all the lights on in the home, even if it’s daytime. The brightness will naturally lift their moods, but don’t forget to clean all your light fixtures. Dust and dirt will become more apparent and negate the impression you’re trying to leave.
  2. Keep your yard groomed. It’s easy to neglect your yard in the fall and winter, because growth slows and plants die back, but it’s so important to maintain the home’s curb appeal. You should continue to maintain the yard. Trim bushes, remove dead foliage, and rake leaves in the fall, as well as throughout the winter. In Southeastern North Carolina, we don’t have to worry about snow too often, but some trees, like huge oaks, will drop leaves in the fall and at the end of winter. So, you may need to keep up with that. Also, remove lawn ornaments that look out of season, and clean up exterior furniture and decorations that look weathered, like birdbaths that have a tendency to turn scummy. Without all the green of summer, details like this become more obvious and detract from the home.
  3. Use the season to your advantage. You know what comes with fall and winter? Lots of nice, warm smells – cinnamon and cloves, apple pie, pumpkin pie, hot chocolate, etc. These incite happy feelings, the kind you want buyers to feel in your home. Before showings, bake a pie, burn a candle, or melt fragrance wax, so the scent is still lingering when the buyers arrive.
  4. Shape the perfect frame of mind. Expectations can set you up for feelings of success and disappointment. Throughout the year, the real estate market sees lows and highs. During the fall and winter, sales are naturally slower due to fewer buyers. School schedules are direct contributors to this, because parents don’t like to move their kids mid-year. If you realize this before listing your home, it’ll be easier to deal with the lower number of showings, but don’t take this as your home won’t sell. We usually see more serious buyers during the fall and winter.
  5. Be flexible and communicate with your real estate agent. There are a good number of holidays in the fall and winter. That means family events, houseguests, etc. If you’re going to have a solid month of people visiting and won’t be allowing showings, it’s probably best to take your home off the market. If it’s just for a week, let your agent know beforehand, so buyers are given plenty of notification through the MLS and the showing center. You’d be surprised how many people want to put in an offer the week before Christmas.

The key to selling in the fall and winter is to remain positive and diligent. Time and again, we see flexible owners and maintained homes resulting in successful sales before others. Of course, every situation is different and sometimes you need some creative brainstorming. If you have any questions about selling your home in the Wilmington area, give us a call at 910-202-2546 or send us a message through our website.

What Price Would You Sell Your Home For?

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

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

What price WOULD you sell your home for?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Electronic Signatures Make Paperwork Convenient

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

Electronic Signatures Make Paperwork Convenient for Buyers and SellersIn the past 10 years, technology has revamped every area of the real estate industry. The public sees this most readily in websites and virtual tours, and other modern marketing tools. However, it’s also taken hold of the behind-the-scenes portion of real estate, and has made the handling of paperwork easier for home buyers and sellers.

We’ve seen it oftentimes – an out-of-state buyer comes to Wilmington on a weekend trip to view houses. After leaving, they decide to put an offer in on one of the homes they viewed. In the past, this would have required typing up the paperwork and faxing or mailing the offer to the buyer, who would sign it and send it back. This could take considerable time, especially if the buyer didn’t have a fax machine or the paperwork got lost in the mail. In today’s real estate market, where homes are going under contract just days after being listed, delays in submitting signed offers can be costly.

Similar can be said for out-of-state sellers or sellers with strict work schedules. It’s not always possible to meet in person to sign the listing paperwork or pending contracts. This means sellers often face the same obstacles as buyers.

Nowadays, real estate agents can type up the offer paperwork and send it over email. Of course, this requires the buyer or seller to print off the paperwork, sign it, scan it, and email it back, and not everyone has the printer/scanner to do that, so they have to go to Staples, Kinkos, or the like to make it happen. If they’re located in a rural area, that can be just a much a hindrance as a fax machine or mail.

Luckily, electronic signature services such as Docusign and Dotloop now exist. These programs give clients the ability to sign and fill-out paperwork right on their screen. There’s no printing, scanning, faxing, etc. All clients are required to do is have an email address and it even works on mobile devices.

How does it work? Each service is a little different, but, basically, clients receive an email notifying them that they need to sign a document(s). They click a link in the email, choose a signature style, and then are walked through “signing”, including initialing, check marking boxes, and filling in text boxes as needed. Most actions require just a click to complete and each signature/initial is digitally secured. After all the paperwork is signed, they can choose to create an account, so they can retrieve the paperwork later on, but aren’t required to do so.

It’s important to note that electronic signatures aren’t always allowed. Short sales and bank owned homes usually require “wet ink” or hand signed paperwork due to bank policies. In that case, buyers and sellers need to be very prompt on getting paperwork returned, especially when it’s a foreclosure with a 3 day deadline for submitted offers. But, most often, digital services are an acceptable method for signing real estate paperwork.

The Cameron Team provides access to electronic signature services for our clients whenever possible. If you have any questions about buying or selling in the Wilmington area, give us a call or send us a message through our Contact page.

5 Tips for Being Ready for Every Showing

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

5 Tips for Being Ready for Every ShowingWhen your home is on the market, you want it to look great for every showing, but keeping up with the cleaning when you have other responsibilities, like work and family, can seem daunting. That’s why we’ve compiled 5 of our best tips for being ready for every showing. 

1. Identify the areas of the home that get dirty the fastest. Consider high traffic areas, locations where belongings are dumped at the end of the day (near the door, on the dining room table, on your child’s floor, etc.), and furniture with electronics that attract a lot of dust. Before you leave for work or whenever you get a call for a showing, go down this list and make sure each area is clean and tidy. Your tasks should also include:

A. Emptying trash cans 

B. Opening blinds/curtains to let in light 

C. Closing toilet lids 

D. Hampering dirty clothes so they’re out of sight

E. Washing and putting away dirty dishes

F. Storing away personal belongings, including bills, mail, and medicine

G. Scooping pet excrements in the back yard or litter box (if applicable)

2. Utilize bins and baskets to quickly hide clutter. Do you have soap and sponges you like to keep out on the kitchen counter? Put them in a basket, so you can quickly hide them under the sink. Have a child or dog, who like to play in the living room? Buy a couple large baskets to hide their toys inside. This approach helps to keep everything looking tidy with a limited schedule.

3. Keep a caddy of your go-to cleaning supplies. Wipes and Magic Erasers do wonders to make clean-up fast! Put them in a plastic caddy, along with other essentials like a toilet cleaner, and you can quickly go room-to-room as you work down the list you created in step 1. An electric sweeper can also do wonders if you have hardwood or tile flooring. 

4. Assign tasks. There’s a good chance you’re not the only one creating the dirt and clutter in your home. So, assign part of your cleaning list to everyone who lives in the home and is old enough to partake. Even just picking up will ease the headache of maintaining the whole home.

5. If you’re in the home right before the showing, turn all the lights on and open the interior doors, so the buyers feel welcome to tour the home. Also, make sure the home is a comfortable temperature. This is especially important if you have a smart thermostat programmed to turn the heat down at certain times during the day.

Of course, you should also have a weekly cleaning schedule, which includes vacuuming, dusting, and wiping down surfaces in the low traffic areas. But, if you keep to the tips above, that shouldn’t take much time at all. Also, realize that if you work with your Wilmington area Realtor to choose a fair market price for your home, you shouldn’t be keeping up this schedule for very long.

Thinking of selling your Wilmington area home? Give us a call at (910) 202-2546! We’d love to tell you about the services we provide home sellers.

How to Get Rid of Cigarette Smoke in a Home

by Meghan Riley, The Cameron Team

How to Get Rid of Cigarette Smoke in a HomeOne of the hardest obstacles to overcome when selling a home is cigarette smoke. It’s not just a matter of cleaning all of the surfaces in a home: it gets into the duct system and seeps into every inch of porous material inside the home. It’s a lot of hard work to get rid of and if the smoker continues to live in the home while it’s on the market, it’s a constant battle. Luckily, it’s not a hopeless situation. There are steps that a seller can take to get rid of the smoke.

  1. Clean out the duct work in the home. This will likely require a professional. Advanced Air Solutions in Wilmington comes highly recommended. Pricing depends on the size of the home.
  2. Cover the walls and ceilings with Kilz and a fresh coat of paint. This will help to kill the odor that’s ingrained itself in the major surfaces of the home.
  3. Deep clean the carpets with strong odor killing shampoo. It may even be best to pay a professional, because they likely have experience with smoke odors and know which professional grade products to use.
  4. Shampoo and/or scrub any furniture that will handle it. Read the labels and pre-test if unsure. The goal is not to wreck any finishes, but to make sure it’s clean.
  5. Wipe down all cupboards, counters, shelving, and fixtures. Don’t forget under the cupboards, inside drawers, and in high places, like ceiling fans. Smoke travels on air and air is in practically everything. Being thorough is key!
  6. Filter the air inside the home with an air ionizer, sometimes referred to as an air scrubber. A&I Restoration and Highland Construction use them to improve air quality inside homes and have done work with listings in the past. If there will be smoking in the home while it’s listed, it would probably be best to purchase an air ionizer to use every day.

Remember, it’s important to fix the problem and not just mask it, because a seller could get into hot water if the buyer determines they are being dishonest about any current issues with the home. Severe situations may require the flooring of the home to be replaced, but it’s best to first try the minor fixes. It may seem like an awful lot of work, but odors will greatly reduce the selling price of a home and could double the amount of days it spends on the market.

For more home selling tips, follow our blog! Have questions? Give us a call or send us a message through our Contact page.

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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

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