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Posts Tagged ‘Real Estate Agent Southport’

House Prices are on the Rise – It’s Time to Buy!

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Home Prices Up 5.67% Across The Country!

Home Prices Up 5.67% Across The Country! [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • Across the country, home prices are up by 5.67%.
  • Each state is appreciating at a different rate, however, which is important to realize if you plan on relocating to a different state.
  • Regionally, prices have appreciated year-over-year by as high as 8.15%.

Let the Coastal Realty Connections team help you find your next real estate purchase. Contact us today.  910-279-9398.

Is it time to buy or sell my home?

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New & Existing Home Sales Climb


Some Highlights:

  • Both New Home Sales and Existing Home Sales are up month-over-month and year-over-year.
  • Inventory remains low which continues to drive home prices up as demand continues to exceed the 4.7-month inventory.
  • The median price of new homes is up 12% from March 2015, while the median price of existing homes is up 6.3% from April 2015.

Take advantage of today’s market by contacting us. 910-279-9398.

Low interest rates – Now is a good time to buy

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Mortgage Rates Remain at Historic Lows


The latest report from Freddie Mac shows that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.61% last week, slightly down from the week before (3.66%), and nearly 20 points lower than a year ago (3.80%).

This is great news for homebuyers who are dealing with rising prices due to a low inventory of homes for sale in many areas of the country. Freddie Mac expressed their optimism for the rates to remain low throughout the spring in a recent blog post:

“We expect mortgage interest rates to stay well under 4% as we head into the heart of the spring homebuying season. We’re predicting it to be the best one in 10 years, which should provide even greater opportunities for first-time homebuyers.”

Below is a chart of the weekly average rates in 2016, according to Freddie Mac.

Mortgage Rates Remain at Historic Lows | Simplifying The Market

Rates have again fallen to historic lows yet many experts still expect them to increase in 2016. One thing we know for sure is that, according to Freddie Mac, current rates are the best they have been since last April.

Sean Becketti, Chief Economist for Freddie Mac recently explained:

“Since the start of February, mortgage rates have varied within a narrow range providing an extended period for house hunters to take advantage of historically low rates.”

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of buying your first home or moving up to your ultimate dream home, now is a great time to get a sensational rate on your mortgage. Let Coastal Realty Connections put their expertise and excellent customer service to work for you. Contact us today. info@coastalrealtyconnections.com / 910-279-9398.

Why it Makes Sense to Buy A Primary & Second Home

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Billionaire: Buy a Home… And if You Can, Buy a Second Home!


Three years ago, John Paulson gave a keynote address at the CNBC/Institutional Investor Conference. In his speech, he told those in attendance that he believes housing will continue its strong recovery for the next 4 to 7 years, saying that:

“The housing market has bottomed. It’s not too late to get involved. I still think buying a home is the best investment any individual can make. Affordability is still at an all-time high.”

When asked how the average person could take advantage of the current real estate market at the time, Paulson said:

“Buy a home and, if you can, buy a second home.”

Two years ago, Paulson reiterated his statement, saying:

“I still think, from an individual perspective, the best deal investment you can make is to buy a primary residence that you’re the owner-occupier of.”

Who is John Paulson and why should you listen to him?

Paulson is the person who, back in 2005 & 2006, made a fortune betting that the subprime mortgage mess would cause the real estate market to collapse. He understands how the housing market works and knows when to buy and when to sell.

What do others think of Paulson?

According to Forbes, John Paulson is:

“A multibillionaire hedge fund operator and the investment genius.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Paulson is:

“A hedge fund tycoon who made his name, and a fortune, betting against subprime mortgages when no one else even knew what they were.” 

So… Is what he said still true?

The core reasons behind Paulson’s statements still ring true today, but why does he believe homeownership is such a great investment?

Paulson broke down the math of homeownership as an investment:

1. “Today financing costs are extraordinarily low.”

The latest numbers from Freddie Mac show us that you can still get a 30-year mortgage at historically low rates of under 4%.

2. “And if you put down, let’s say, 10 percent and the house is up 5 percent,” as many experts predict, “then you would be up 50 percent on your investment.”

How many are seeing a 50% return on a cash investment right now?

Paulson goes on to compare the long term financial benefits of owning versus renting:

3. “And you’ve locked in the cost over the next 30 years. And today the cost of owning is somewhat less than the cost of renting. And if you rent, the rent goes up every year. But if you buy a 30-year mortgage, the cost is fixed.”

Bottom Line

Whenever a billionaire gives investment advice, people usually clamor to hear it. This billionaire gave simple advice – if you don’t yet live in your own home, go buy one.

Let the team at Coastal Realty Connections help you find the right primary or second home. Specializing in coastal real estate from New Bern, North Carolina to the beaches of Brunswick County. Contact us today and let us put our knowledge to work for you.

Buying a home – How Much Do I Need for Down Payment?

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One More Time… You Do Not Need 20% Down To Buy NOW


A survey by Ipsos found that the American public is still somewhat confused about what is actually necessary to qualify for a home mortgage loan in today’s housing market. The study pointed out two major misconceptions that we want to address today. 

1. Down Payment

The survey revealed that consumers overestimate the down payment funds needed to qualify for a home loan. According to the report, 36% think a 20% down payment is always required. In actuality, there are many loans written with a down payment of 3% or less.

Many renters may actually be able to enter the housing market sooner than they ever imagined with new programs that have emerged allowing less cash out of pocket.

2. FICO Scores

The survey also reported that two-thirds of the respondents believe they need a very good credit score to buy a home, with 45 percent thinking a “good credit score” is over 780. In actuality, the average FICO scores of approved conventional and FHA mortgages are much lower.

The average conventional loan closed in March had a credit score of 753, while FHA mortgages closed with a 685 score. The average across all loans closed in March was 722. The graph below shows how the average FICO Score required has come down over the last 12 months and has stayed around 722 for the last six months.

FICO Score Distribution | Simplifying The Market

Bottom Line info

If you are a prospective buyer who is ‘ready’ and ‘willing’ to act now, but are not sure if you are ‘able’ to, sit down with a professional who can help you understand your true options. Contact us today. 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.


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Although National Home Improvement Month is just around the corner. May is fast approaching. Want to get a jump start? The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) advises homeowners of the 10 most important steps to take before the remodeling project starts.

home remodel“The planning and researching phases of a project are the most critical steps in the remodeling process,” says Judy Moze, CR, GCP, NARI National president and president of Handcrafted Homes, Inc. in Roswell, Georgia. “The more knowledgeable and prepared a homeowner is, the more they protect themselves.”

What can a homeowner do to prepare for a remodel? NARI provides a top 10 list of steps homeowners should take before breaking ground on their next remodel.

1. Research your project. Taking time to research projects on the Internet and NARI.org will provide a good sense of what is involved such as price, scope of work, return on investment and new product/material options. Also, research property values in your neighborhood to make sure your project is in line with other homes in the area.

2. Plan project around the long-term. How long do you plan to stay in your home? How might your family structure change over time? Life can change quickly—these questions should be answered early on to ensure your project will fit your lifestyle long after it’s complete.

3. Set your budget. Deciding on a realistic budget and arranging finances to support your project are essential. This number needs to include everything—the project, products, contingencies, etc. Don’t be afraid to share this with your remodeler; professionals are respectful of a client’s budget and will create a plan around it, not over it.

4. Use advanced search for professionals. The online world makes it easy to gather information about strangers. Ask friends, family and neighbors for referrals and then spend time researching that person online. Professional remodelers take their reputation seriously and hold credentials beyond licensing, such as certifications, memberships in trade associations and additional training. Look for examples of press coverage or involvement in industry presentations or events. Check online reviews and social media to see how they interact with past clients and peers.

5. Ask the right questions. Time and cost are important, but getting the right information requires the right questions. Ask your professional remodeler about his educational background, training, specialties or past issues with clients. Ask about how the remodeling process will work.

6. Verify your remodeler. Don’t take their word for it. Check the information given to you such as references, license numbers, insurance information and certifications by calling providers to verify. Request a visit to an active client’s job site. Make it known that you are checking on him—a true professional considers that as a positive sign to working with a homeowner.

7. Review contracts word-by-word. A remodeling contract protects you and your remodeler. Homeowners should review this carefully. Professional remodelers have done this before, and know what should go in a contract. Homeowners are not as familiar with remodeling and should ask about terms if they don’t understand. Pay attention to details about change orders, payment, additional fees, timeline and responsibilities. If it’s not in the contract, it doesn’t exist.

8. Keep design in mind. Your design guides the entire project. Think about what you dislike about your current space and the intended use of the new space. Use Websites such as Pinterest.com and Houzz.com to gather design ideas. Make sure you can articulate specifically what you like about that design when talking to your designer. Professionals don’t recreate a photo—they incorporate accessibility, functionality, ease of modification, style and value into your design.

9. Make your selections. Deciding on products and materials is a larger process than most imagine. With so many options to choose from, product selections are one of the primary reasons for project timelines to get extended. Base decisions on quality, function, price, style and availability. Include selections in the contract to lock down pricing and keep your budget intact.

10. Create a communication plan. A common downfall in remodeling is lack of communication between homeowners and remodelers. Your remodeler should lay out a communication plan at the beginning of the project. If not, ask them to do so. This plan should clarify roles of everyone involved, communication methods, availability, and frequency of communication that is expected.

As an industry that struggles with a persistent negative perception of remodeling contractors, these tips serve both the industry and consumers in elevating real professionals from the pack.

For more information, visit www.NARI.org.

To learn more about Coastal Realty Connections or get more real estate information, please contact us at info@coastalrealtyconnections.com.

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…)

Thanksgiving Holiday Home Preparations

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      With Thanksgiving only three weeks away, many families are using the time from now to Thanksgiving Day to clean their home for guests, gather their recipes, and purchase ingredients. However, when hosting family and friends for Thanksgiving, it is crucial to be prepared for an assortment of issues that may arise. After all, there’s more to the holiday than just eating turkey and watching Football, and taking the necessary precautions can alleviate stress and ensure that guests have a memorable Thanksgiving holiday!

Before Guests Arrive

Evaluate All Appliances:

-Make sure that all appliances you are planning to use on Thanksgiving are in working order to avoid any malfunctions when preparing Thanksgiving dinner.
-Research the life expectancy of your most used appliances. Replace or fix any that may pose a threat.
Don’t use your oven’s self-clean cycle in the week before Thanksgiving, as it can be stressful on the appliance. Instead, use damp cloths to clean it to avoid a last minute break down.
-Check your oven’s temperature gauge. Place a thermometer on the middle rack, set the oven temperature, and when it heats up, verify that the temperatures match. If they don’t, make necessary repairs.
-Put less stress on yourself and your oven by using alternative appliances for side dishes, such as a microwave, toaster oven, crock pot, or grill. If there are no alternative options, ask your guests to bring a side with them.

Perform Basic Cleaning and Maintenance:

-Refrigerator: Clean condenser coils in the fridge with a coil brush, wipe down interior and door gaskets with baking soda and water, apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to gasket at hinge, clean the water and ice dispenser and soak the spill shelf in vinegar. Clear out old food to make room for leftovers.
-Dishwasher: For stainless steel tubs, run potscrubber cycle without dishes or detergent for 15 to 20 minutes. Then, interrupt the cycle and pour two cups of white vinegar to the bottom of the dishwasher. Close the dishwasher, and complete the wash. For plastic tubs, fill the detergent cup with three to four ounces of citric acid crystals and run the normal wash cycle. Follow up with a second wash cycle and include detergent.
-Microwave: Heat up one cup of water for three minutes on full power, and let it stand for five minutes after it is finished to allow the steam to soften the food. Then, wipe up the caked on food!
-Pantry: Organize and remove old food, spices, etc. not only to make sure you have enough room to store ingredients for the meal and other miscellaneous supplies, but also so that you don’t ruin the food with outdated, poor tasting spices.
-Overall: Tidy up bedrooms, bathrooms, and common areas that will accommodate your guests. In addition, make sure your home, especially your kitchen, is safe. Put household cleaners, sharp objects, lighters, and other harmful objects where they belong. Unplug appliances that aren’t being used, and wrap up the cord. If children are present, use backburners of the stove as much as possible, cover electrical outlets, or invest in a child safety gate to keep them out of harm’s way if necessary.

Take Inventory and Create a Detailed Grocery List:Turkey Meal

-Food: Organize the recipes that you plan to use in one book, and write a detailed list of ingredients you will need for each recipe. Look through your pantry, fridge, and freezer, and cross the items that you already have off your grocery list. Remember to check the expiration dates of all food products and spices, and replace expired items as needed.
-Cleaning Supplies: Make sure to have a full supply of cleaning products on hand in case any accidents occur. This includes laundry detergent, carpet cleaner, dish soap, kitchen and bathroom cleaner, etc., baking soda, non bleach detergent, ammonia, bleach, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, club soda, lemon juice, etc.
-Cookware and Utensils: Look through your cabinets and determine if you have enough Tupperware containers, plates, spoons, forks, knives, bowls, pots, and pans necessary to cook each meal, store leftovers, and accommodate each guest. Repair or replace any broken items that you need to use, retrieve items that you loaned out but were never returned, and sharpen dull knives.
-Seating and Eating Space: As soon as you have a head count on the number of guests you can expect on Thanksgiving, inventory your tables and chairs to make sure that they all have a place to sit and eat! If necessary, rent or buy tables and chairs, and repair defected items. Also, consider other tables, chairs, and household items throughout your home, and see if there is a way to convert them to temporary eating spaces.
-Storage: Before guests arrive, make sure any large scale projects in the kitchen are complete and do not occupy needed space. If applicable, create more room by adding temporary storage, such as a rolling island or mini fridge, or improvise with what you have, and use spaces such as the laundry room to store food and supplies.
-Prepare a Detailed Grocery List: Aside from food, spices, cleaning supplies, cookware and utensils, etc. there are other essential items that you don’t want to forget at the store, including garbage bags, aluminum foil, plastic wrap, coffee filters, batteries, etc.
-Make a note of store hours so last minute supplies can be purchased if needed.

Prepare Guest Rooms:
-If the rooms have not been used very often it may be helpful to change sheets.
-Check to make sure ample towels are in guests bathrooms (2 per person).
-Update toiletry items by ensuring lotions, etc. are still in date.
-Replace batteries as needed in clock radios, etc.
-Ask guest ahead of time if they have any special needs and prepare accordingly.

Thanksgiving Day Cleaning Tips:

Garbage Disposal:
-Remove build up in your garbage disposal by grinding harder items, such as fruit pits, ice, or small bones, that scrape the inside of the disposal and pipes before grinding any other foods.
-Flush food waste through the plumbing system and prevent debris from settling in pipes by running cold water for 30 seconds before and after each use.
-Throw away non-food items, grease, and fat that can clog the disposal.
-Take your time when cleaning up.

-Set up stations of plastic tubs, and fill them with soapy, lukewarm water. When you run out of room in the dishwasher, place dishes in the tubs until you can clean them or run another cycle through the dishwasher.
-Line baking dishes and pans with foil before you start preparing the food. Then, when you are finished and remove the foil, the dish will be nearly spotless and require minimal cleaning!

Then sit back and enjoy the time with your family and friends.

Thanksgiving Table Thanksgiving Porch Dining

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