Tips for Selling Your House on a Budget

Selling your house can be stressful, to say the least. There’s a lot of effort that goes into prepping your home for the market — not to mention the money! Need some tips on selling your house on a budget? We’ve got you covered. Check out this list to get you started.

1. Take Better Pictures

This is an extremely important first step! Think about it: where do most people start their home search? Online. If you don’t have photos or your photos are blurry or low-quality, you’re going to instantly lose buyer interest. The internet is the new first impression when it comes to selling your home. Some quick tips on photographing your home to sell include: using a camera other than the one on your phone, taking pictures from doorways or corners to best show the depth of a room, taking pictures at times where your house has the most natural light and avoiding any filters, photo touch-ups or special lenses that might change the way your house actually appears.

2. Make Sure Storage Isn’t Stuffed

If you happen to have extra storage — such as a garage, outdoor shed, attic, walk-in closets, etc. — you want to make sure that these areas don’t look crowded or overstuffed. Highlight these areas by lightening up the load in terms of junk! The plan is to move anyway, so go ahead and take this opportunity to get rid of some things you no longer need (and definitely don’t need to pack up with you) or rent in some storage space to stow any non-essential items away. You also want to make sure these areas look clean, dry and well-maintained. Buyers shouldn’t be reminded of any patching up or cleaning they might have to do in order to actually utilize these spaces.

3. Prep for Snoopers

People are going to open up your cabinets. That’s just a reality of putting your house on the market. So make sure that kitchen cabinets, medicine cabinets, closets, drawers or shelves are neat and tidy. If you have personal items that you don’t want potential buyers to see, such as medications, a quick purchase on opaque organizer boxes should do the trick. Go through clothes and be honest with yourself — if you haven’t worn it in over a year, you’re probably not going to wear it. Get rid of it, and make some extra space. Adding some inexpensive wire shelves and storage items to closets or cupboards can also help to accentuate these areas that buyers are likely to check out.

4. Let There Be Light

Prepare for open houses by opening up shades and drapes to let in some natural light! Check that windows are clean and the view out isn’t obstructed by grime or smudgy fingerprints. Wipe down window sills, which, as we’re sure you already know, are notorious collectors of dust and muck. It might also help to spring for some sheer or light-colored drapes or window fixtures to help create a feeling of brightness in your home. And definitely make sure all light bulbs work, light fixtures are clean (especially those ceiling fans) and maybe even swapped out for newer fixtures. Bathroom light fixtures, for example, tend to be very affordable and can make a huge difference, particularly in small bathrooms, when selling your house on a budget.

5. Update Your Kitchen

If your house is pretty structurally sound, or if you’re planning on allowing a budget for repairs if it’s not, then invest any “renovation” money in the kitchen. Kitchens are a major selling point for houses! If you can afford it, swapping out old countertops with new ones, adding a new appliance or installing new hardware on kitchen cabinets goes a long way in improving a buyer’s impression. Quick (and affordable) fixes like replacing peeling linoleum can also help to freshen up your kitchen as well!

6. Brighten Up Your Home

Sometimes it’s hard to notice the everyday marks and scuffs that accumulate over time in your home, but you need to think about what your house will look like in new eyes. Mr. Clean® Magic Erasers are, well, magic, and do an excellent job of removing any smudges on walls, door frames, trim and handles. Adding a coat of bright white paint to trim can also help to really brighten up a room. If your carpets are looking worn, either rent or hire professional help to give them a good cleaning, replace them altogether, or include a new carpet allowance for buyers — this actually gives them an opportunity to start adding their own touches to what will hopefully be their next home.

7. Create Space

Even if your house is spacious in terms of square footage, clutter and bulky furniture can really downplay this attribute. Remove any clutter or non-essential furniture, buy some floor-length curtains (to give the illusion of taller ceilings) and try out a striped rug if your house is feeling a bit cramped. You can also try out some feng shui decorating tips, by making sure all your furniture isn’t all crammed into corners or against walls, for instance.

There you have it! Selling your house on a budget can be done; you just have to put that noggin to work and get creative. If or when you need an agent by your side, drop us a line or give us a call at (800) 533-1840, and we’ll be happy to help!

Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Waterfront Home

Think selling a waterfront home is a no-brainer? Think again.

We’ve covered general tips for selling a house before, what about selling a waterfront home? While selling a waterfront home has similarities to selling a house say, in the suburbs, there are distinct differences that need to be accounted for. Though waterfront homes are a coveted item for buyers, they don’t just sell themselves. Learn what missteps to avoid (and correct) here!

1. Choosing the Wrong Agent

You’re going to need an agent on your side for this, specifically, one with experience selling and dealing with waterfront homes. Though appraisals aren’t necessarily a must for every home getting ready to enter the market, they are extremely valuable for waterfront homes, particularly because the value of waterfront homes differs so vastly from one home to the next based on their location, amenities and so forth. In light of the overall price of the home and the associated costs that tag along with selling, appraisals should be considered money very well spent.

Agents should conduct a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) in order to determine the value (and, subsequently, the asking price) of the home. Factors that should be included in this assessment include:

  • Location (naturally)
  • Waterfront size, or the size of the body of water that the property is located on/near.
  • Amenities of the property, such as docks, beaches, etc.
  • Frontage, the land the bridges the property and the water, or the general amount of land surrounding the property. Agents need to consider the amount of frontage, as well as its condition. Is it available for recreational use? Is it even and easy to traverse, or steep and sloped?

2. Pricing Too High

Waterfront homes will almost always possess a higher value than your average landlocked home. This does not automatically garner an astronomical listing price though! The factors mentioned above will do much to determine what a fair asking price should be, in conjunction with a recent appraisal. People are generally more willing to spend more on waterfront properties, but they also expect a certain amount of amenities and property requirements before doing so. When selling your waterfront home, make sure it lives up to the listing price. If all your property has to offer is a view of the water, it should not be listed alongside the likes of houses with private beaches and docks. Again, appraisals do much to determine the right price from the get-go.

3. Neglecting “Water” Appeal

You’re probably familiar with the term “curb appeal,” and that still applies to waterfront homes. Additionally, however, is “water appeal,” the view of the house from the water. While investing in a clean, tidy house by view of the street is a must, so is investing a picturesque view from the water. Other elements to pay heed to are:

  • The condition of docks. Are docks covered in green film? Or are they bright and clean? Are they safe? Do they look inviting?
  • “Pristine” shores. Whether it’s just seaweed or literal garbage, both “clutter” shores (And one is bad for the environment, a major no-no when trying to sell your waterfront home!) Make sure shores aren’t littered with big debris that would deter potential buyers.
  • Water access. How accessible is the water from your home? Do you have a dock? Can you launch a boat from it? Is the water deep enough? Is there a place for new buyers to lounge or fish?
  • Waterfront visibility. This is a big one. Almost all buyers looking for a waterfront home are envisioning themselves waking up to the view — but can they actually see the water from the house? Make sure overgrown shrubs are kept at bay and windows are crystal clear!

4. Lackluster Marketing

An experienced agent will do more than just sell the house, they’ll sell the lifestyle! A waterfront home is a lifestyle, so missing this detail is a major mistake. Listings should include all amenities, whether physical (like docks) or activity-based (such as the fact that the home is conducive to backyard water skiing, for example). They should include descriptions of the view, and the natural beauty. Better yet — they should include pictures of said natural beauty.

Waterfront homes should feature photography or videos of both the home’s interior and exterior, as well as the surrounding property, so that potential buyers, especially those that may be searching for their dream waterfront home from afar, can better visualize all that the property has to offer. Listings should also be advertised via a variety of platforms. A sign in the frontyard won’t cut it, and neither will a solitary listing. In order to get all eyes on your waterfront home, agents should employ multiple strategies via social media, housing web platforms and more.

5. Skipping Important Details

It’s not exactly surprising that waterfront homes can be more susceptible to the elements, and that means flooding. If your waterfront house needs flood insurance, this is a detail that needs to be conveyed early on in the process, and not at the final moment before everyone signs paperwork. Flood insurance on a waterfront home can drastically change the mortgage payments that buyers can expect, so waiting can lead to either lost buyers or major delays at the time of closing. Buyers also need to be made aware of circumstances such as whether or not the property has a holding tank, septic tank or access to public sewers. If the home uses a tank, buyers need to know when it was last pumped.

Selling a waterfront home certainly has its advantages, being as desirable as they are among buyers, and with these tips, selling yours should be relatively stress free!

Looking for a helping hand to sell your waterfront home? Drop us a line or give us a call at (800) 533-1840. Being so close to the coast, we have lots of experience in this area!

Top 5 Tips for Selling Your House in Wilmington NC

When it comes to selling your house, you’ll find there’s no shortage of people who have an opinion on the matter or “insider” tips — and sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming! So, we’ve provided a simple, basic stepping stone to help you sell your Wilmington NC home to get you started. And, as always, we are here to answer any questions you may have to help you with your home-selling journey!

1. Throw “Don’t judge a book by its cover” out

Oftentimes, sellers become so focused on prepping the inside of their house, that they forget about the outside — and this is a big no-no! The outside of your home is a first impression for potential buyers, so make sure it looks presentable and inviting. Here are just a few quick fixes for updating your house’s exterior:

    • Make sure your yard is neat, tidy and trimmed. Wilmington NC homes can’t all be blessed with luscious green grass (thanks to our sandy soil) but you can make sure weeds and brush are removed, and maybe put out a couple of bright, potted plants.
    • Wash your house. The salty air and humidity can contribute to dingy-looking exteriors, so it might also be worth your time to invest in a pressure washing service to breathe some life into your home’s facade by making sure fences, decks and siding are free from grime.
    • Spring for a can of paint. Nobody’s saying you need to repaint your entire house, but you’d be amazed at how effective a fresh coat of paint on peeling shutters or an old front door can be! Add a new welcome mat and maybe a seasonal wreath or flag, and your home instantly looks more inviting.

2. Help the buyer “see themselves” inside

The majority of buyers need help visualizing themselves actually living in your home — even though you love the way you’ve decorated your home, now is the time to minimize personal touches for a more neutral setting. Think of it as setting up a “blank canvas” for buyers. Clear up clutter, make any minor repairs that are needed, tidy up kitchen cabinets and shelves, and opt for a few more cleaning sessions than usual. You can even hire a professional stager to go through your home and update the decor and make suggestions according to their very professional staging eye. Skeptical? Get a better idea of the benefit of home stagers in another article of ours here.

3. Find the right asking price

This is extremely important. Determining the best price to ask for your home can determine how much room you have to negotiate with when it comes time to consider your offers. Figuring out the price that’s right for your house depends on several different factors: the value of your property, how much you need from the sale of it (especially if you are planning on purchasing a new property), the budget of potential repair costs that buyers may ask for before purchasing and closing costs.

It’s good to get an idea of your ideal price on your own, but what’s the best way to determine the right price? Talk to a REALTOR®. Not only can they help you navigate the aforementioned factors, but they can also integrate their up-to-date knowledge of how the market is performing right now, and how that’s likely to affect your sales process. For Instance, at Intracoastal we keep a weather eye on the Wilmington NC housing market, as well as trends taking place nationwide. So not only can they help you settle on the best asking price for you home, but they can help you determine when the prime time to sell is.

4. Determine when to sell

As mentioned previously, this is another instance wherein having a REALTOR® can be beneficial. Now, most people can get a general idea of what their local housing market is doing with a few Google searches, but a REALTOR can provide you with in-depth information to guide you on when to get your house on the market, as well as how much to ask.

Now, for example, is an excellent time to sell in Wilmington NC; the demand for houses in certain price points and locations exceeds the supply, making this seller’s market with the potential for higher prices and possibly multiple offers. Real estate sales in the area are up over 17 percent compared to this same time last year, meaning buyers are active and the market is hot! Combine that with the fact that interest rates are remaining low (with a 30-year mortgage averaging interest rates as low as four percent), and you have more qualified buyers out there ready, and able, to move!

5. Be ready!

Looping back to the cleanliness and curb appeal of your home, make sure you are ready when a potential buyer actually wants to see your home. You may not always have a full 24 hours between showings, but you don’t want to miss the opportunity for a buyer to see your home. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

    • Find a place for your pets. It’s best to arrange for them to spend the day (or just the time spent showing the house) at a neighbor’s house, at doggy daycare or with a pet boarding service (which is offered as a service by many Wilmington NC vets, so ask yours!).
    • Swap showing responsibilities. If you’re living with a spouse or significant other, determine set days wherein one is responsible for pulling the house together and the other is not. This can help lighten the load, and you can designate days based on your schedules.
    • Clean regularly. You may have to clean up more than you usually do, but this can make the showing process so much easier if your house is already ready for visitors. Before you leave your house, clean off bathroom and kitchen counters, make sure beds are made, clothes are in hampers or drawers where they belong and surfaces are uncluttered. When you get the chance, make sure to vacuum or sweep regularly, dust, and wipe down your counters and sinks.

Now is the time to sell! If you’re ready to get started and need a helping hand selling your Wilmington NC home, contact us today to find the agent for you!

Best Time To Buy Real Estate: October

Ever wondered what the best month, or best time of year to purchase a new home is? If you’re currently in the market for a new home, one of the questions that you often consider is when is the best time to get the best deal. Short of partnering with a reputable real estate agent and REALTOR®, one of the most important things in the home buying process is confidence that you are getting the best deal on the price of the home and the best mortgage available.

Most REALTOR®s will tell you that the better time is to purchase in the winter or in the fall to get the best deal. The logic behind that advice is simple: less competition. Most markets peak in the summer months, and as fall rolls around, it lends way to a less populous playing field, and allows you to be more competitive in your negotiation. Many home purchases are for families and revolve around the school year calendars. Families don’t typically look to uproot their family during this time as the activities and commitments of a hectic back-to-school schedule simply won’t allow it.

A few things influence buying decisions including the begin of the school year and holidays. Once your children reach the age to attend school, where your home falls into public school district lines becomes increasingly important to ensure the best district and education for your children. This may include relocating to get into a district of their choosing as well as relocating closer to be in closer proximity to public schools for convenience as well as relocating to for private schools.

That being said, RealtyTrac analyzed over 32 million sales of single family homes and condos since 2000 and found that the best bet in real estate is in the month of October.With more than 2.7 million sales closed in October over the past 15 years, the sales prices averaged 2.6 percent below the average estimated full market value at the time of the sale. In many markets, there is a dip in the real estate activity cycle in October and November.

Right behind October are February, July, December and January, which are obviously all fall and winter months with the exception of July. July is quite the surprise as many will tell you that July is prime time to sell, but hasn’t been revered as the best time to sell historically.

As days get shorter in the fall and winter months starting in November, the real estate market generally slows a tad.  With less hours of daylight comes a changes for seller to be able to showcase their home in the best possible light. Many sellers are advised to take their homes off the market until spring, but sometimes, the exact opposite advice is given especially if the seller is very motivated to sell. There are generally fewer buyers so the competitive landscape of the market changes as well.

The data analysis from RealtyTrac also points out that the worst month of the year to close on a home purchase is April. Generally, buyers end up spending an average of 1.2 percent more for homes, which could deem April a great month to close for sellers.

Best Day of the Week to Buy Real Estate

Monday may not be the favorite day for many, but in the real estate market, this should be a buyer’s new favorite day to close on their home. Buyers averaged a discount of 2.3 percent below market value when closing on a Monday. The second-best choice is a Friday, where buyers averaged a discount of 2.0 percent. Steer clear of closings scheduled on Thursdays as data shows that it is by far the worst day of the week with only 1 percent discount, with Wednesday not far behind at 1.4 percent discount and Tuesday nearly a full percentage point discount at 1.9 percent.

Top 10 Days For Buying Real Estate with a Discount

While this data is important and interesting, the best day to buy varies by market and these statistics are national averages across major metros. Out of more than 100 metro areas analyzed, 37 had their best day to buy average in the fall months of September, October, and November and 44 had their best day to buy in the winter months of December, January and February. Holidays contribute tremendously to the trend of October being a great month as most sellers are motivated and do not want to go through the holiday season with their homes on the market. There are exceptions to every rule and if you are looking to purchase or sell a home in Seattle market your home to sell on April 1, San Diego: August 20, Pittsburgh: March 17, and Cleveland: June 13.

Check out this interactive tool to show what the best day to buy is in your market:

Data provided by: RealtyTrac


Economic Impact of Every Home Sold [Infographic]

Keeping Current Matters recently released an Infographic showcasing data from NAR’s Economic Impact Study. The infographic focuses on the impact on a state’s economy each time a home is sold.

The national average is an economic impact of $57,500 and North Carolina is not far behind with an economic impact of $48,000. Once you know the number for your state, the next natural question becomes what are consumers spending their money on to get to that number of $48,000.

The infographic from Keeping Current Matters breaks it down and shows that the money typically goes to the following areas:

  • Home Construction
  • Real Estate Brokerage
  • Mortgage Lending
  • Title Insurance
  • Rental & Leasing
  • Home Appraisal
  • Moving Truck services
  • Furniture
  • Appliances
  • Remodeling
  • Restaurants
  • Sporting Games

As many who have been through the process of purchasing a new or secondary home, such a large purchase generally triggers a set of events and many of them are financially motivated and have a positive impact on the local, state, and national economy. Everything from the time you purchase your home and through the relationship you’ve established with your real estate agent to building a home and all of the costs associated with the actual purchase bring dollars into the local economy.

If you think back through the process that you went through to purchase a new home, it is very clear that there is time and money being invested in that purchase whether it be traveling to new locations to explore different areas, towns, cities and subdivisions, or going to restaurants and sporting games while you are giving your new location a trial run by fully immersing yourself in its culture.

If you are in the process of finding a new or secondary home, use our online search or take a moment and download our mobile app which will showcase all of the properties available as you are out and exploring potential home sites and neighborhoods within our communities. Our app is the next best thing to having an Intracoastal Realty agent right there beside you during the home buying process.

If you are looking for resources to learn more about the different aspects of our area, check out our area information page. We’ve provided details on areas from Pender County to New Hanover County to Brunswick County and all of the towns and communities in between. Once you’ve narrowed your search, it is simple to search for properties in some of the most popular areas as well as we have created easy search pages to show you everything available in those areas.

Here are some links to some popular destinations in the greater Wilmington area:

Bald Head Island | Brunswick County | Brunswick Forest | Carolina Beach | Figure Eight Island | Forest Hills | Hampstead | Kure Beach | Lake Waccamaw |Landfall | Leland | Magnolia Greens | New Hanover County | Oak Island | Ocean Isle | Pender County |Porter’s Neck | Shallotte | Southport | St James Plantation | Surf City | Topsail Beach | Waterford |Wilmington | Wrightsville Beach

If you’re searching for some great local resources, check out these tips we’ve compiled for home buyers:

Buyer Services
7 Tips to Buying A Home
Relocation Services including Relocation Assistance, Relocation Tips and our Relocation Team

If you’re in the process of moving into your new home or are looking for a list of preferred service providers for our area, check out our list that we have compiled to help with every step of the real estate process, whether buying, selling, renting or managing a property that you own for resrouces in the greater Wilmington, NC area.

Source: Keeping Current Matters September 2015

Home Staging Helps Sellers See Homes Through Buyers’ Eyes

Most people become so accustomed to their own homes that they have trouble seeing them objectively when it’s time to put them on the market. That’s why, whenever I list a home, I always hire a professional home stager to help the client prepare for the sale.

Home staging, to me, is taking a look at your home through the buyer’s eyes. I’m so convinced of its importance that I pay for the stager as one of the services I offer as the listing agent. The most important idea I want every seller to understand is that their house should appeal to as many buyers as possible.

Thoughtful staging helps the house to sell faster, and to earn more money. That’s why nearly all of my clients accept my offer, and are glad to work with the stagers.

They take time with the sellers and help them decide how best to get the home ready to show. That includes the obvious things like cleaning and de-cluttering. It includes steps to make the house feel lighter and brighter, and to enhance its curb appeal. And, as much as any homeowner loves the touches that make a house into a home, it’s important to de-personalize your living spaces.

Why should that matter?  When prospective buyers are looking at your house, you want them focusing on the house and its features, not distracted by your collectibles or a wall covered with family photos. It can be hard to see a home’s possibilities if it’s too full of personal items, and dominated by the current owners’ individual tastes.

This doesn’t mean you have to erase every trace of your personality from the house. You still want a home to feel like a home. But buyers need to be able to visualize their own possessions in each room. They shouldn’t have to think too hard about what a house would look like without all the seller’s decorative touches.

And first impressions go a long way. Sure the buyers look at the house, but they also look at the way the house shows. It also often gives buyers a sense of condition of the things they cannot see.  If the home is neat, tidy and organized, that also tells the buyer that the owner has cared for the house, and is likely to have kept up with general maintenance such as cleaning out the gutters, inspecting the crawlspace and changing HVAC filters regularly.

Most of the steps a stager recommends can actually help the owner get ready for the move. For instance: Removing family artifacts, hobby material or other excess items is just a matter of starting the packing process sooner rather than later. Everything that can be boxed up and stored in advance of the sale is something that won’t need to be packed afterward.

Staging can have costs, but they absolutely pay for themselves. Professional carpet cleaning, touching up scuffed trim and repainting a dark room in a brighter color are typical examples that can add up to 1 or 2 percent of the house’s value. But national statistics show these steps will add 8 to 10 percent to the sale price. A seller can expect to get back three dollars for every dollar spent. A well-staged house will sell quicker, too.

The staging process takes about two hours. The stager will go through the house with the seller, offering room-by-room advice about how to freshen and brighten the space, and improve how foot traffic flows. Typical recommendations include removing or rearranging furniture, and adding accents that can help a room look its best in a photograph.

My stager likes to see greenery in every room, just because a photo that includes flowers or a houseplant is more likely to catch a buyer’s eye in an internet listing. Remember that 90 percent of the potential purchasers are going to see it online before they step foot in the house.

The same principle applies to the exterior. A stager will always start by addressing landscaping, with simple suggestions like strategic placement of flowers, to add to the property’s appeal to the drive-by shopper.

For a house that’s not occupied, staging is vital. When walls and floors are mostly bare, it’s especially important that they look clean and fresh. We try to avoid leaving a house completely empty. The stager I hire has furnishings that she can place in a vacant property, for a small fee, to help it look warmer and more inviting.

Have a question about buying, selling or any other real estate matter?  Let me know and I’ll address it in a future article.

Michelle Clark
Intracoastal Realty
Direct: 910-367-9767
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Vanessa Rieker: Why Now is the Time to Sell

Most homeowners are still waiting until the spring time to either get their houses back on the market or list them for the first time.  However, the consequences of waiting could be drastic. Now is the time to sell. If sellers wait, they will have more competition, risk losing a multiple-offer situation that can occur with the influx of buyers, and risk not getting the highest price for their property.

Look at the market right now. In a regular scenario, neither a buyers market or a sellers market, 5 to 6 months of inventory is the norm.  Right now, in several neighborhoods of Wilmington, we have less than 3 months of inventory. That is seller’s market territory. In this scenario, buyers that are looking are eager to get under contract and move in the next month or two are willing to pay closer to asking price if not full price. Why? Because the competition is very low and they have less to choose from, even though everybody knows that houses sell more in the Spring and Summer time — before school starts. The buyers are approved now, and they don’t want to risk the opportunity to get into the neighborhood they want and in the home of their dreams. They don’t want to miss this window of opportunity of getting the rates their lenders are offering. They don’t want to wait for what else comes on the market, because experts are telling them that prices are just going to go up. They also are paying attention to the market and have noticed that renting is actually more expensive than owning, they are not gaining equity by renting,  rent prices are going up, and they are just helping someone else pay their mortgage.

If they are selling now, and have the chance of getting more for their property TODAY, they also have the BIG opportunity to gain on the other side of the transaction. They WILL buy their next home in a lower price, so in other words they will break even or even better, and they will gain more equity faster.

Some homeowners will object also because their yards do not look as pretty as they will in the Spring. Okay, who is buying just the yard?! Chances are there is the one buyer who will, BUT most likely everybody else that looks at their property is buying the HOUSE.

Rainy days are not great to show either, but BUYERS will see it as an opportunity to be able to see any concerns on water leakage, standing water on the yard, drainage in the streets, and so forth.

Remember those buyers today are the ones who missed their chances of getting in their dream home last year; buyers today might be the ones who were waiting for their finances to be in place before coming out to buy.  They are ready, they are informed, and they don’t want to compete with the Spring buyers either.

TODAY is the right time to sell!

Rieker, VanessaVanessa Rieker
Broker/REALTOR at Intracoastal Realty
Direct: 910-795-6193

How to Price Real Estate

Spring is near, so here are some great tips for pricing real estate! As of the writing of this article we have two full months of 2014 under our belt and the numbers say that the real estate market is continuing to perform well on a steady rebound from the “bursting of the bubble”.  As is the case with any subject that is heavily measured by performance numbers there are so many ways to report and interpret the data.  In this short article I will give you the local facts and then my opinion regarding those facts.  Notice I said I will give you the “local” facts, this is important.  Real estate is very local, in some cases local means the county or the city and other cases it means specific streets.  Keep that in mind as you will naturally want to read this data then apply the facts to your own personal home or property.  If you want a true value of your specific property you will need to drill down even further than the level of statistics I am quoting here.  You will attain this level of detail by utilizing the services of a professional real estate broker/REALTOR and/or a real estate appraiser, who will prepare for you a customized Comparative Market Analysis (CMA).  Now for the facts.  Note these numbers represent all single family homes/condos/town houses in New Hanover County, North Carolina.

Units Sold

The number of properties sold (units) in February 2014 was 419 which is UP 25% over January 2014 and equal to the number sold in February 2013 (same month last year).  This is good news because it shows a normal healthy trend of increasing sales as the winter season heads towards spring and summer – we would expect to see this.  It also means that the market is performing at the same level as last year, which was a good year!

Average Sold Price

$222,579.00 is the average sold price for February 2014.  This is UP 2.0% from January 2014 and UP 2.3% from February 2013.  This is also good news.  Please understand, however, that this is an AVERAGE and averages can be affected by selling more homes priced higher than the average versus homes lower than the average.  So don’t automatically think that this means the value of your particular home is up by 2.0%…maybe it is or maybe it is up more than that or possibly not up that much.  This is where it is very important to consult a professional to do an analysis of your home’s specific location and condition to determine actual market value.

Listing Inventory

The number of single family properties actively for sale on the market as of March 1, 2014 was 3778 which is up 18 UNITS from January 2014 and up 8.1% from the same time last year.  We would expect to see an increase in properties for sale as we enter the spring market.  The increase from last year seems to indicate that more owners are encouraged by the health of the market and are ready to sell their home and in some cases by another one.  The other thing to note is that these increases are slight – which is good; we do not want a flood of inventory because that would negatively affect the supply and demand relationship thus causing downward pressure on values.

Average List Price

$353,640.00 is the average list price – in other words the “asking price”.  This is up by $10,507.00 over January 2014.  This, too, is to be expected this time of year.  I always think it is interesting to notice the difference between the average sales price ($222,579.00) and the average sold price ($353,640.00).  This obviously means that many of the higher priced homes don’t sell as frequently as the lower priced homes.  It also could, and probably does, indicate that many of the homes for sale on the market are overpriced.  A note to sellers…its either time or money, like everything else in life…if you want a faster sale then usually it means lowering your asking price accordingly.

Days on Market

The average time it takes a home to sell is 135 days.  This is up by 11 days from January 2014.  We would rather see this one go down instead of up but I am not concerned that this is a trend.  As long as the market does not get flooded with inventory we should see this number go down as we move into spring.

In summary, we have sales UP and average sold price UP.  These two are the main bright spots.  The seasonal trend of increased number of homes for sale and asking price for those houses is to be expected and is normal.

AshleyGarnerArticle by:
Ashley Garner
Broker/REALTOR at Intracoastal Realty
Direct: 910-409-0861

Top 5 Reasons to List Your Home Today

Many homeowners are waiting until the Spring ‘buying season’ to list their homes for sale. Here are five reasons why that might not make sense this year, and why you might be better off if you list your home today!

1.) Demand Is High

Homes are selling at a pace not seen since 2007. The most recent Existing Home Sales Report by theNational Association of Realtors (NAR) showed that annual sales in 2012 increased 9.2% over 2011. There are buyers out there right now and they are serious about purchasing.

2.) Supply Is Low

The monthly supply of houses for sale is at its lowest point in our area since 2005/2006. The current month’s supply is down significantly from the same time last year. Historically, inventory increases dramatically in the spring. Selling now when demand is high and supply is low may garner you your best price.

3.) New Construction Is Coming Back

Over the last several years, most homeowners selling their home did not have to compete with a new construction project around the block. As the market is recovering, more and more builders are jumping back in. These ‘shiny’ new homes will again become competition as they are an attractive alternative to many purchasers.

4.) Interest Rates Are Projected to Inch Up

The Mortgage Bankers’ Association has projected mortgage interest rates will inch up approximately one full point in 2013. Whether you are moving up or moving down, your housing expense will be more a year from now if a mortgage is necessary to purchase your next home.

5.) Timelines Will Be Shorter

The dramatic increase in transactions caused many challenges to the process of buying or selling a home in 2012. We waited for inspections, dealt with last minute appraisals and prayed that the bank didn’t ask for ‘just one more piece of paper’ before issuing a commitment on the mortgage. There are fewer transactions this time of year. That means that timetables on each component of the home buying process will be friendlier for those involved in transactions over the next 90 days.

These are five good reasons why you might want to list your home today instead of waiting.

Open House Etiquette

Intracoastal Realty Open-House-Sign

Visiting open houses is a great way to get a feel for an area if you’re in the market for a home. This time of year is a very busy time for open houses. Following these simple Rules of Open House Etiquette will help you get the most out of your open house visit. Remember that you are a guest in someone else’s home, so common rules of decency apply.

Remove shoes at the door
Oftentimes an open house hosts will place a big basket by the front door to hold visitors’ shoes. Occasionally stretchy disposable shoe covers are provided for open house guests. The point is to preserve the cleanliness of the property. This is also a good reminder to wear clean, matching socks without holes!

Children and Strollers
Strollers can easily bump furniture and interior finishes as well as roll in dirt and germs. Park the buggy outside, or stow it in the car while you tour the home. And if you bring children along, make keep them in sight. Open guests are liable for any breakages or damages that were caused during their visit.

Leave pets at home
If you cannot help but bring your pet along, leave him in the car while you view homes, and don’t leave any evidence of his presence in a homeowner’s yard.

Sign in when you arrive
As a rule, the open house host will have a guest register or clipboard list for visitors to sign upon entry. Even nosy neighbors must sign in. This is common courtesy and a security measure

Save food or drinks for later.
Please don’t bring these in the open house! If refreshments are provided, stay in the kitchen or area where this occurs, rather than moving through the entire home with plates or cups in hand.

Don’t take photos without permission
Open house guests must respect the privacy of the homeowner. Don’t start taking pictures or video of the property, without first asking the host for permission. Typically a printed brochure is available and has property photos. If you have to take a photograph of any special features just ask the open house host first.

Ask before trying out bathrooms
It’s best to deal with this prior to the open house. But, in an emergency, politely ask the hosting agent for permission to use the bathroom before using it. Be as quick and as discreet as possible and leave the area as clean as you found it.

Avoid monopolizing the host
The host may be welcoming several visitors at once. Sometimes it may be hard to find all the answers you need while touring a crowded home. This is when a brochure and agent’s phone number or email address comes in handy to contact them later.

Withhold negative comments If you can’t say something nice…wait until you leave to say it! Be courteous and don’t offer criticisms about the home.