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Posts Tagged ‘Carolinas Connect Realty’

5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Pro

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5 Reasons To Hire A Real Estate Pro


Whether you are buying or selling a home, it can be quite an adventurous journey. You need an experienced Real Estate Professional to lead you to your ultimate goal. In this world of instant gratification and internet searches, many sellers think that they can For Sale by Owner or FSBO.

The 5 Reasons You NEED a Real Estate Professional in your corner haven’t changed but have rather been strengthened due to the projections of higher mortgage interest rates & home prices as the market continues to recover.

1. What do you do with all this paperwork?

Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true Real Estate Professional is an expert in their market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality.

2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?

According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, someone who knows what these actions, are to make sure that you acquire your dream?

3. Are you a good negotiator?

So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. However, after looking at the list of parties that you need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll realize the value in selecting a Real Estate Professional. From the buyer (who wants the best deal possible) to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, there are at least 11 different people that you will have to be knowledgeable with and answer to, during the process.

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?

It is important for your home to be priced correctly from the start to attract the right buyers and shorten the time that it’s on the market. You need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home to give you the truth as to your home’s value. According to the National Association of REALTORS, “the typical FSBO home sold for $208,700 compared to $235,000 among agent-assisted home sales.”

Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional.

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?

There is so much information out there on the news and the internet about home sales, prices, and mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to in order to competitively price your home correctly at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a low-ball offer?

Dave Ramsey, the financial guru, advises:

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.”

Hiring an agent who has their finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying/selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line

You wouldn’t replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic. Why would you make one of the most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a Real Estate Professional? Contact us today and let us help you buy or sell. 910-279-9398.

Sales Price Versus Appraised Value

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Every house on the market has to be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then to the bank. With escalating prices, the second sale might be even more difficult than the first.
A recent post on “The Home Story”, a site published by Fannie Mae, explained the difference between the price a seller may get for their home and the value an appraiser might assign the property.

The Sales Price

Of course, most sellers want to maximize the value they get for the house. However, the price they set might not be reflective of the other comparable homes in the neighborhood. As the article stated:

“People tend to view their homes emotionally, and that can become quickly apparent when they decide to sell.”

That doesn’t mean that the home won’t necessarily sell for that price.

A seller can set an asking price and actually have a buyer agree to that price. However, that value may not be necessarily in agreement with what most buyers are willing to pay. For example, one person can view a property, determine it is exactly what they are looking for and well worth the asking price, whereas another person could look at the same property and feel the asking price is too high.

Steven Corbin, Director of Valuation in Fannie Mae’s CPM Real Estate division gives an example:

“Someone may have driven by the property countless times, and they really want to live in that house. So in reality they may overbid for that property. This would be a situation where the actions of a specific buyer do not represent the actions of a typical buyer.”

The Appraised Value (or Market Value)

Fannie Mae explains what they look for when appraising the house:

“When a contract is established on a property, an appraised value is determined by a professional real estate appraiser. The appraiser works on the lender’s behalf to determine that value by taking many factors into consideration, including the neighborhood, the value of properties of similar size and construction, and even such things as the type of fixtures on the premises and layout of the floor plan.”

Corbin adds:

“From a lending perspective, a bank would want to know the probable price a typical buyer would offer for the property. That’s what an appraiser would set as the market value.”

The Challenge when Sales Price and Appraisal Value are Different
If the appraiser comes in with a value that is below the agreed upon sales price, the lending institution might not authorize the mortgage for the full amount a buyer would need to complete the transaction.

Quicken Loans actually releases a Home Price Perception Index (HPPI) that quantifies the difference between what sellers and appraisers believe regarding value. The HPPI represents the difference between appraisers’ and homeowners’ opinions of home values.

Currently, there is approximately a 2% difference between what homeowners believe their home to be worth and what appraisers value that same home. On a $300,000 sale that would be a $6,000 difference. That could be a challenge that might prevent the home sale proceeding to the closing table.

Quicken Loans Chief Economist Bob Walters recently commented on this issue:

“The more homeowners are in line with appraisers, the easier it will be to refinance their mortgage and easier for those looking to buy a home. If the two are aligned, it eliminates one of the top stumbling blocks in the mortgage process.”

Bottom Line

Every house on the market has to be sold twice; once to a prospective buyer and then to the bank (through the bank’s appraisal). In a housing market where supply is very low and demand is very high, home values increase rapidly. One major challenge in such a market is the bank appraisal. If prices are jumping, it is difficult for appraisers to find adequate comparable sales (similar houses in the neighborhood that closed recently) to defend the price when performing the appraisal for the bank.

With escalating prices, the second sale might be even more difficult than the first. That is why we suggest that you use an experienced real estate professional to help set your listing price.

Let us help you determine your asking or buying price by contacting us at Coastal Realty Connections.


Source: Reposted from Current Affairs.

Wilmington NC Home Sales Jump 13 Percent

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Wilmington NC Home Sales Increase 13%

Wilmington NC home sales finished last year with an increase of nearly 13 percent over 2014, according to statistics released Monday by the Wilmington Regional Association of Realtors.

The number of Wilmington NC home sales increased by 849 in 2015, from 6,555 to 7,404 in a nearly 13 percent jump, as buyers took advantage of historically low interest rates in a market where some price points are in shorter supply. The figure is the highest year-end number for units sold since 2006, WRAR’s Multiple Listing Service statistics show.

“We’re gaining ground,” said Don Harris, the 2016 president of WRAR.

He said he expects the direction to continue this year. “Interest rates are still low,” Harris said, noting a recent quote of 4.125 percent.

The rates for Wilmington NC home sales are forecast to increase a little, possibly by the fourth quarter of this year, he said. (more…)

Brunswick County Luxury Home Market Strong

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Brunswick County, North Carolina, Coastal Connection Realty

Brunswick County, North Carolina

According to a recent article in the Wilmington Business Journal, luxury home sales ticked upward as November came to a close.

Six homes in the $1 million range sold in Brunswick County and three in the same category in New Hanover during the month of November, according to a luxury home market report released this week.

As of Nov. 30, there were 164 homes for sale in New Hanover and 84 in Brunswick with asking prices exceeding $1 million, stated the report, compiled from local MLS statistics by Wilmington-based firm Just For Buyers Realty.

In Brunswick, 33 of those listings were on Bald Head Island, while New Hanover’s were also in locations known for higher priced property: 31 in Landfall, 29 in Wrightsville Beach and 23 on Figure Eight Island.

The luxury market in general has been healthy in recent months in the Wilmington area and surrounding communities, Realtors say.


Most affordable NC housing markets

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Coastal Realty Connections

According to Coldwell Banker’s annual Home Listing Report, Ocean Isle Beach costs the most, while Elizabeth City is the most affordable housing market.  The report uses average listing price of a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home over 2,700 US markets. The report shows that an average home price for a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in North Carolina is $232,748. Within our area the beach communities of Ocean Isle Beach, Sunset Beach, Oak Island, Topsail Beach area, Wilmington and Winnabow all fall above the average.


Selecting The Right Retirement Community

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4b5f527d172ec62d74822ae28c2f35dfWhen thinking about retirement, choosing a location can be an overwhelming decision.  How do you narrow down the choices?  The very best place to retire for you might be on a beach…or in the mountains…or near family…or in the same house you’ve lived in for years. It’s a personal decision that no one else can make for you. However, if you haven’t already settled on a retirement destination, an objective analysis of your options can help narrow your search.

In order to get started, we suggest that you start by thinking about the lifestyle you are looking for.  Remember to take into account that you may not need to be close to “work” anymore.  The time you used to spend commuting and working will be “free time” now.  So if you don’t have to be close to work, what services and recreation do you really need to be close to?  The beach, golf courses, nature, marina access and grand kids are some of the responses we hear when talking to clients ready to retire.  Some of the other topics that may be of equal importance are climate (4 seasons), proximity to an airport, healthcare, cost of living and tax benefits.  All of these points of interest are reasons that so many “Baby Boomers” are choosing to move to North Carolina.

Once you have selected the area of the country, trying to find the perfect spot that offers everything you want may still prove to be difficult.  Geared towards retirees, many developers have opted to design planned communities which offer location, amenities and an active lifestyle.  Define “active”, it means something different to almost everyone which is why you will find planned neighborhoods with equestrian centers, marinas, golf courses, spas, airplane runways, racquet clubs, golf cart only islands, dog parks, community gardens, dining and shopping.  With all of these options, no wonder people can be overwhelmed.  From my experience the most common question when discussing retirement location is “how will I meet new friends”? Leaving an area where you have worked and raised a family, the relationships and ties to that area can be hard to relinquish.  One thing is certain though, moving into a planned community will give you so many opportunities to make new life-long friends.  Social clubs and events are the best part of planned communities and the best way to find people with similar interests.  Retirement is called the “golden years” for a reason!  It should be the best time, totally dedicated to you and what you love to do, even if it is sitting on your porch reading a book.

Now you have decided on the area and type of lifestyle you want, it is time to visit that area and explore the possibilities.  Be flexible and adventurous!  Get out and meet the locals.  Ask them what they enjoy most about living there.  If you golf, schedule a tee time and request to play with members so that you have another opportunity to get information from someone that has been in your shoes.  It is also important to talk to a local REALTOR.  This is where you will get the best area info, tax rates, home values and the “ins and outs” of the area.   REALTORS can also represent your interests as the buyer, when visiting planned communities.  What most buyers don’t realize is that when you walk into an onsite sales office, those sales agents represent the seller, not you.  Protecting your interests and personal information is the best and main reason that people elect to use REALTORS for buying homes.  Don’t we all want our own personal advocate?  A REALTOR has a duty to the client they are representing and that relationship can greatly benefit a buyer.  Be open and honest about your goals for your new home and listen to suggestions and comments from your REALTOR.  Once you have brought your REALTOR up to speed, jump in the car and visit some of the communities that meet your criteria.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions or say no to something that doesn’t interest you.  As you visit these neighborhoods, walk through model homes and share your thoughts on design, lay out, size and location.  Sometimes seeing what you don’t want will solidify in your mind what you do want.  Visit the amenities in the community, ask about the Home Owners Association Bylaws and Dues so you have an idea of your financial commitment above and beyond the price of your home. When you think you have found the perfect community learn about the proximity to the services that are most important to you.  If you still have the warm and fuzzies then start looking more specifically at homes or house plans that you can customize.  This is really where all the fun begins!southport-03


Best places Entertaining Dogs

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If you are “owned” by a dog, then you know how important it is to have the perfect home for your four legged friend.  Everything from the number of stairs to a fenced back yard can come into play when looking for the ideal home for your furry family members.  Most homes can be modified to accommodate special needs for pets but more importantly is the neighborhood pet friendly?  Some planned communities are thinking ahead and including dog parks as an amenity for residents to enjoy while some provide sidewalks and trails where you can exercise your dog on-leash.   Once you have pinpointed your area of interest, stop by a park or pet store and ask pet owners if they recommend any neighborhoods or communities that they know to be dog friendly.  Other pet owners are usually very happy to share information like their favorite pet store, veterinarian, groomer and their favorite place to take their own dog.  You can also drive around a specific neighborhood taking note of the number of homes with dogs or if there are folks out walking their dogs.  This is often a good indicator of a dog friendly neighborhood.  Keep in mind if you are considering a planned community or neighborhood with a Home Owners Association, you will want to obtain the Bylaws and Restrictions to make yourself aware of any rules that might not work for you and your pet.  Fencing for example, may be required to be constructed of certain materials or may have height restrictions. Just make sure you know what is or isn’t permitted.

If you are relocating to a whole new town, make sure that you inquire about local ordinances and license laws. Since animal welfare laws are different in every city, it will be important to know before you buy or rent, what is expected from you as a dog owner.  Certain cities in the country even have bans on particular breeds which may prevent you from living in city or county limits.  As always it is important to be informed!  Hopefully you are working with a REALTOR who should be able to help you navigate your pet friendly quest.

If you live in Brunswick or New Hanover Counties and are looking for a fun new place to take your dogs for some exercise and play time, there are a surprising number of options!  If you dog is considered part of the family, then you know how hard it is to leave them at home sometimes. Along the south eastern coast of NC, Oak Island is a year round, dog friendly beach.  Other area beaches allow dogs on leash only during certain times of the year, deemed as “off season.”  You might also be surprised to find out there are dog-friendly restaurants and bars too!  Here are some of our favorites!

Dog Parks

PM Pups at dog park shallotte approved (1)

Bald Head Island
North Bald Head Wynd

Oak Island Dog Park
Dolphin Street, between 47th and 46th Streets


Holden Beach Dog Park
146 Scotch Bonnet Dr
Holden Beach, NC 28462


Shallotte Dog Park
5550 Main St,
Shallotte, NC 28459


Town Creek Park
6420 Ocean Highway East in Winnabow  

Abbey Nature Trail
10200 Hwy 17 N
Wilmington, NC


Ogden Dog Park
Market St and Gordon Rd
Wilmington, NC, US
(910) 798-7620


Hugh McRae Park-Dog Park
1799 S College Rd
Wilmington, NC, US 28403
(910) 798-7630


Wilmington Dog Park
3405 Park Avenue (Within Empie Park)



Dog Friendly Restaurants and Bars (outdoor seating)


The George on the Riverwalk in Wilmington,         Front Street Brewery, Wilmington
Java Dog Coffee House, Wilmington                                     Rucker John’s on Carolina Beach Rd.
Brusters Real Ice Cream-Wilmington                                    Dairy Queen Wilmington
Lazy Pirate-Carolina Beach                                            Gibby’s Dock and Dine-Carolina Beach
Casa Matta-Carolina Beach                                             Seawitch Café and Tiki Bar-Carolina Beach
Fishy Fishy Café-Southport                                            Calabash Deli, Calabash
Fibber McGee’s-Sunset Beach                                           Shagger Jack’s-Oak Island
Inlet View Bar and Grill-Shallotte                                 San Jose -by Lowes Foods in Shallotte

Now get out there and have some fun with your furry friends!!!

Why we have the Cape Fear River Pilots

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Since Europeans first viewed the area, the river known ominously as the Cape Fear has been vital to the fortunes of both buccaneers and businessmen. History shows it was the pirate Stede Bonnet – by most accounts a poor sailor who already had been convicted as a pirate and pardoned – who may have realized the river’s name. After returning to piracy, he tried to escape capture in the early 1700’s by hiding up the Cape Fear. But he forgot the first rule of pirates – always have more than one escape route. Bonnet was caught as soon as the British reached the mouth of the river.

Union vessels didn’t have as much luck with the blockade runners of the Confederacy, who continued to escape capture and bring needed supplies back to the port at Wilmington during the Civil War. In fact, Wilmington was the last port open to blockade runners. When it finally fell in early 1865, it signaled the end of Confederate hopes.

Since then, though, most seagoing traffic hasn’t needed an escape route – merely a North Carolina berth. That meant the Cape Fear River in Wilmington, and the deep water harbor at Morehead City. When North Carolina’s first major port development began in the 1850s at Morehead City, harbor pilots began bringing in ships through Beaufort Inlet.In Wilmington, the river pilots became crucial during the Union blockade of the South during the Civil War. They would steam down the coastline and bring back needed supplies to the port, making Wilmington the last port open to blockade runners.Graphic Cape Fear Pilot Assoc (2)

In the years before modern dredging and channel deepening of the river, known ominously as the Cape Fear, captains used local pilots to maneuver the sandbars at the entrance of the harbor and of Frying Pan Shoals, more than 20 miles offshore. “Think of the captain of a large ship at Cape Fear as a blind man entering an immense, strange house, cluttered with unfamiliar furniture and other hazards, with only one entrance and one exit,” writes Jim McNeil in Masters of the Shoals.

Because of the pilots’ daring runs and narrow escapes, they often were romanticized in publications as “dandies of the town,” according to an article excerpted in Masters of the Shoals. “They wore fine ruffled shirts, tight fitting boots, long black coats and plug hats,” the author writes. “Every boy hoped someday to become a pilot.” “Without pilots, captains would be burdened. There is so much paperwork involved in every port visit, and (captains) go to so many ports around the world that they can’t know each river and port,” says Kirby. Federal regulations say that all “coastwise seagoing vessels propelled by machinery and subject to inspection” must be under the direction of a qualified pilot, along with vessels “not authorized by their certificate of inspection to proceed beyond (a specified) boundary line which are in excess of 1,600 tons, propelled by machinery and subject to inspection.” In more understandable terms, that means: “Every freighter, every big ship you see coming in this port has got a pilot in it,” said Scott Aldridge, river pilot and former president of the Cape Fear River Pilots Association.

In the Port of Wilmington 90 miles south of Morehead City, eight river pilots guide ships from a sea buoy in the Atlantic Ocean, past Bald Head and Jaybird shoals, and up the Cape Fear River.
“You have to navigate all the turns and bends in the river,” said Wes Kirby, then president of the Wilmington/Cape Fear Pilots Association. “Every bend has localized shoaling.” As river pilots bring the ships close to their berth in the Wilmington port, the docking pilots take over and use tugboats to push the vessel alongside its berth. Docking pilots also use tugs to undock vessels and turn them around so they can head down the river and out to sea.

Pilots have been around North Carolina ports for hundreds of years.

“Without pilots, shipping would come to a halt.”

sourced: Cape Fear Pilots Association – Wilmington,NC

When Empty Nesters Downsize

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Graphic for Empty Nester Blog (2)Life is a journey. Couples buy the big house when they start their families. But when their kids fly the coop, they’re stuck with a too-big house that no longer meets their needs or fits their lifestyle. The thought of starting over can be daunting.

Over the years after helping scores of empty-nesters downsize, we’ve found that folks sometimes lose their way during this phase. Here are our top three tips to help keep everyone on track:

• No one loves your stuff as much as you do.
The first three things we tell empty-nesters to do to get their home ready for market is to de-clutter, de-clutter, de-clutter. It’s amazing how many things one can accumulate over a lifetime. As we age, we also tend to hold onto things as they connect us with our past. We know first-hand. We lost our dad almost 20 years ago, and to this day, our mom still refuses to throw out any of his belongings. Unfortunately, things that we think are important to our children may not be, and things that we think are disposable may have tremendous intrinsic value to our loved ones.

Here’s how you can fight the urge not to purge:

• Hire a professional. If you have found excuses for the last 25 years not to purge, it’s unlikely that you can do this alone.Many of our clients work with professional organizers and/or estate sales companies to help them get through this process. A professional organizer can help you sort through decades of paperwork and belongings in an organized and systematic way. A professional estate sales company can help you sort through which items have value and which do not, and then sell them for you.
• De-clutter on the front end. If you get something new, throw something old out. One in, one out. If you have too much stuff, change the ratio. For example, if you buy a new shirt, get rid of two or three old ones.

The good news is that de-cluttering is a cathartic process. While the journey of de-cluttering can be emotionally difficult, our clients routinely feel free and less burdened when they are done. In fact, the vast majority of our clients tell us that they wish they had done it years earlier.

• Move when you can, not when you have to. Don’t stay too long.
It’s easy to do. You’ve raised your family in a home, and have a lifetime of memories there. It’s a growing trend for empty-nesters to modify their homes — by installing elevators and creating wide spaces to accommodate wheelchairs, for instance — to meet their needs as elderly people. Unfortunately, not every house can be adequately modified. And modifications can’t erase all the unneeded space in the family home.

It happens way too often — elderly homeowners start to lose the ability to maintain the house, whether for financial, physical or other age-related reasons. That’s when bad things start to happen. Some people refuse to leave their multi-level homes, despite the advice from their doctors and often, their spouse and/or grown children. It usually takes a calamitous event — such as a tumble down a staircase, an illness or injury or financial ruin — to force the issue. By then, it’s far more difficult, painful and almost always financially sub-optimal. If your loved ones are raising these issues with you, take them seriously and be honest with yourself. After a certain point, being stubborn is not just about engaging in an existential conversation with your grown children, it can be downright dangerous.

Have the tough conversations while everyone is healthy. No one likes to talk about estate planning. It brings up very tough conversations and intergenerational differences and conflicts. We get it. However, it is infinitely easier to have these conversations when everyone is healthy and the conversations are more “hypothetical.” Once someone is diagnosed with a terrible illness or has their health deteriorate, the last thing anyone wants to do is to talk about estate planning.

Bottom line: Have meaningful conversations with your loved ones while everyone is healthy, and understand who really wants what. It’s much more fun to gift things while you’re alive and healthy, then after you’re gone.