Buying a Home in the Off-season

Summer has long held the reputation for being more popular in terms of buying and selling a home, most often because it’s a more convenient time of year for families to take the time to pack up and move someplace new.

But if you have the means to control when you set out on your next adventure, have you considered buying a home during the off-season? Sure, it means having to settle in at the start of holiday events and in chillier weather, but purchasing a home in the off-season also has quite a few upsides that some home buyers overlook.

Less competition, more opportunities

Along with those purchasing a home, home sellers are often rare on the ground during the off-season. And while that may sound like a reason not to buy a house at this time, think of it this way; you have a shorter list of homes to view, and the sellers know it. So as you peruse the houses on your radar, with more time to really get a feel for the place before you sign on the dotted line, sellers are anxious to make the sale and get to where they need to be. This gives you the chance to initiate beneficial negotiations, with greater chances of being accommodated by the seller and his or her agent.

Market values and bidding

There’s something else to be said for fewer items on the market; when the seller is as limited as you are, he or she is more likely to bend on the resolve to get the same original asking price in your offer. So when it comes to negotiation and knowing the current market values – something your agent will certainly be able to help you with – you’ll be at an advantage to make a sale that’s fair to both you and the seller of the house you want to buy. Before you start looking at homes, sit down with your agent to get a decent idea of what you can expect in your new town, and then come up with a plan to use the season and the market to everyone’s benefit.

Getting to know the neighbors

When you move somewhere new over the summer, it’s not just the season for real estate; it’s also the prime time for taking a vacation! This means that while you settle into your home, it can be difficult to get your bearings in the neighborhood, as there is a constant fluctuation in who is home and who is abroad. But when you move in during the holiday season, you’re able to quickly learn who decorates as soon as possible, who likes to host the annual party, and so on. You and your neighbors will be thick as thieves in no time!

Purchasing a new house and picking up to move can be a stressful process, but sometimes it pays to wait for the right moment! With the help of experienced agencies like Intracoastal Realty, you can ease the way for you and your family to make yourselves right at home that much sooner. Contact us to get started!


House Flipping Tips and Tricks

You’ve heard the success story: a worn-down eyesore, an optimistic buyer, and a quick transformation followed by an even faster sale. Flipping houses can be a lucrative occupation, but it certainly isn’t an easy feat. If you’re interested in trying your hand in the market, you’ll want to keep a few insider tips in mind.

Don’t go it alone

From buying, to the renovations, and then to the actual sale of your project, it helps to have some experienced professionals on your side to help streamline the process. And if you’ve never tried to flip a house before, it’s even more important to have a helping hand or two at your disposal. Build your team by talking to real estate agents, contractors, and other seasoned homeowners you can trust to point you in the right direction.

Shop wisely

While it’s always incredible to watch a run-down property be remodeled into a functioning home again, be sure that you can put your money where your mouth is and that you don’t purchase too ambitiously. Before buying a house to flip, make a sound budget that you can easily stick to throughout the renovations. That way, you’ll know from the beginning how much you have to allot to the purchase itself and any costs incurred afterward.

Check your expectations

When the remodeling is done and you put the newly-decorated home back on the market, remember that the idea is to engage in a quick sale, not haggle over every nickel and dime. The success of house flipping lies in the ability to close each deal efficiently. As such, you probably won’t make very much off the first few sales. Don’t get discouraged! If you find that flipping houses is something you enjoy, keep a record of your successes and setbacks so that each time there are fewer surprises and more to gain!

Timing is everything

The housing market is in constant flux, so above all else, remember to be patient and time your purchases and sales accordingly! At this stage, an experienced real estate agent is your best bet in learning the ropes and optimal times for buying and selling property in your area. Flipping a house is only possible when the conditions are right for buyers, so you’ll need to catch those waves as they come.

If you’re ready to buy or sell a home, contact Intracoastal Realty and get connected with some of the most knowledgeable agents in the coastal North Carolina area!

 

 

 


New Year, New Home?

By this time in January, most people have gotten a decent start on all of the resolutions they vowed to keep in the year to come. Among all of your aspirations and plans, did you think to consider a long-term goal of moving into your dream house? If you begin the process soon, and team up with a capable realty agency like Intracoastal Realty for some professional assistance, you shouldn’t be too far away from getting settled.

Expectations

As with any achievable goal, setting your sights on a new house should begin with establishing reasonable expectations. Maybe instead of aiming for a 2018 move, you decide to take it easy on your budget and your schedule and make this the year you prepare yourself and your current home for a change of pace in 2019. If you know you’ll need to relocate for a job or a new education program, you might resolve to look for a new home only within certain areas so as to ease your daily commute.

Step-by-step

The key to executing any long-term change is to set milestones for yourself. They keep you on track and focused, while also giving you little accomplishments to celebrate. When it comes to buying a home, you’ll want to have a checklist of sorts for budgeting, paperwork, and everything in between. Luckily, we can help you with all of that!

Stay positive

Depending on the circumstances, your timeline, and what you require in a house, the process to find and purchase a new residence that fits you and your family can be a long one. The very best advice we can give for jumping into the next few steps is to remember to stay positive, even when there are setbacks or difficulties. Here at Intracoastal Realty, we work with you to try and minimalize complications, and to sort through them as they come.

If 2018 is your year to land a new home, let us guide you through the ins and outs of the housing market here on North Carolina’s coast! Contact Intracoastal Realty to get started on your resolution today.


What to Know When Buying on the Water

By Judy Royal

Many people dream their whole lives of living on the water. Who wouldn’t want the serenity of looking out your window to enjoy the ultimate view, not to mention having a body of water and its recreational opportunities right outside your door? Buying waterfront property is not only an investment; it’s a lifestyle. Especially in Southeastern North Carolina where the ocean calls so many to its edge, waterfront living is the pinnacle of real estate goals for lots of buyers. But there are many special considerations that go along with owning a waterfront piece of paradise. Educate yourself so you know exactly what to expect as you embark on acquiring your own waterfront property in the Wilmington NC real estate market.

Look into loans

It’s no secret that you will likely pay a premium to have the waterfront lifestyle that you’ve been working toward for many years. Because a home on the water is typically more expensive than a similar home in a standard neighborhood, you will probably need a bigger loan. Jumbo mortgages, which take longer to obtain than a regular home loan and are given by lenders to only the most qualified buyers, are one of the routes you may expect to go when buying a waterfront home. Start loan shopping early to be sure you can qualify and to allow plenty of time for the process.

Calculate hidden costs

The price you pay for your waterfront home is just the beginning. Perhaps more than any other type of property, there are many hidden costs associated with ownership of this type. In addition to the possibility of a homeowners association, which you will find in many other standard neighborhoods, a waterfront home is likely to come with much higher insurance and maintenance expenses. Especially in a coastal environment where hurricanes and flooding are common threats, waterfront homes often come with hefty insurance premiums due to the increased risk of damage from natural disasters. Maintenance costs are also likely to be more than what you’d pay for a similar home in another environment due to increased wear and tear and the need for special features such as storm shutters. Be sure to calculate all of these costs well into the future so you can protect your investment.

Talk to neighbors

Getting to know people who live in a community where you are thinking about buying is a good idea regardless of the type of neighborhood you are considering, but when it comes to waterfront this is a crucial thing to do. Potential neighbors can give you insight about safety, privacy, erosion, what to expect during hurricane season, how crowded the area will be during various seasons of the year, and more. A few conversations may help you decide whether a community will be the right one for you. Doing a little homework now can save you from experiencing some unwelcome surprises down the line when you’re already locked into a loan.

Examine the property

No matter how much you love a home, when you’re buying on the waterfront be sure you consider the land just as much as or more than the structure. After all, you can change a house but not the location. What’s water access like? Are you near a public walkway that might create lots of pedestrian traffic and noise? Where does your land end and public property begin? Is the area good for swimming? How do the tides affect your property? The latter is especially important if you live in a boating community where low water levels restrict the times in which you can use your watercraft. It’s a good idea to look at a survey of the land and a plot map, and talk to your real estate agent and possibly a real estate attorney to be completely clear about what you are actually buying.

Know the rules

If you’re planning to add a dock, seawall, or other feature to your waterfront property, find out what that will entail. You may have to deal with government agencies that have strict rules about what can be done, especially if there are any wetlands on your property. Also find out if there are any restrictions on the use of jet skis and other watercraft if that’s something you plan to enjoy on a regular basis.

Consider a waterfront specialist

Some real estate agents have special qualifications that make them a great choice for those looking to buy on the waterfront. It may be a good idea to look for those who specialize in waterfront transactions so they can share their expertise about the ins and outs of the process.

Are you ready for a waterfront home of your own? If you want to stop dreaming and find out if life really is better on the water, Intracoastal Realty is here to meet your Wilmington NC real estate needs. We are a full-service real estate brokerage operating since 1976, and we currently have 13 offices with over 400 agents and staff to serve Southeastern North Carolina, including the areas of Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Southport, Oak Island, Ocean Isle Beach, Leland, Hampstead, and Topsail Island.


New Construction or Existing Home? For Many Buyers, That Is the Question

By Judy Royal

So you’ve decided it’s time to buy a home in Southeastern North Carolina. There are so many decisions to make when it comes to the Wilmington NC real estate market. Chief among them is whether you want to start from scratch or find something already built. While there are a lot of really great reasons to opt for new construction, the process also has its share of drawbacks. Be sure to do plenty of research when deciding what is best for you and your family. The following are some things to consider:

Choose a builder

If you decide on new construction, your next decision will be whether you want to hire a custom builder or a higher-volume builder, also known as a production builder. A production builder constructs a community of homes based on a library of floor plans, each with limited personalization options. A custom builder can create a one-of-a-kind home that offers a greater range of design choices, albeit at a typically higher price and time commitment than a production home. While a production builder will likely offer you the opportunity to upgrade finishes and make other personal touches, the sky is the limit when it comes to a custom-built home. Want a feeding area for your dogs built into the lower kitchen cabinetry? How about a four-car garage? Anything you’ve ever wanted in a home is a possibility when you build a custom home. Obviously, all of these choices will not be possible if you buy an existing home.

Either way, be sure to do your homework when it comes to choosing the right builder for you. Check review websites, state licensing boards, and local court records for complaints, disciplinary actions, and lawsuits. Talk to previous customers to get a firsthand account of their experiences.

Know the community

Drive through neighborhoods to get a feel for an area. Find out crime rates. Research schools. Talk to other homeowners. Determine how long your work commute will be. Find out how many more homes will be built around you. If your entire community is new, you may be living amid ongoing construction for many months. When it comes to determining the community that you will call home for many years, you really can’t be too diligent. Be sure you will be comfortable making a life wherever you choose.

Time your move

Are you looking to pack your bags and put out your new welcome mat sooner rather than later? Then a newly constructed home may not be for you. Expect to wait several months or more for a home that is not yet under construction. Your move can happen much more quickly if you buy an existing home, so think about what your ideal time frame is. If you have one home on the market while you’re building another, you will have to make arrangements for a temporary place to live if the sale happens before you’re able to get into your new place.

Pick a landscape

Do you want mature trees that will shade your home in the summertime? New communities might not be able to offer this if existing foliage was not salvaged in the development process. It could take years for new landscaping to grow into itself, so decide how important this feature is to you.

Behold the Bells and Whistles

In a new home, you will likely have “smart” technology options that allow you to automate Internet, cable, speakers, an alarm system, etc. Also, new homes often use more eco-friendly paints and building materials, which can improve indoor air quality. An existing home, depending on its age, is much less likely to include all of these modern perks.

Estimate Your Bills

A newly constructed home will have new appliances, systems, insulation, and windows, which are more energy-efficient than what you’ll find in most older residences. This could mean a significant savings in your utility bills and more money in your pocket each month. If you are buying an existing home, it’s a good idea to ask the seller what you might expect to pay for your utility bills. An inefficient home, even with a much lower sales price, can cost you much more in the long run than one that is using modern processes to run optimally.

Think About Maintenance

Maintenance costs associated with an existing home can affect your budget significantly. A newly built home, with its untouched appliances, HVAC system, roof, etc. – requires much less upkeep than an aging residence and will allow you to better predict the monthly costs of home ownership. Thanks to warranties on your new items, you may not have to pay for any major repairs for several years.

Whether you’re seeking to buy a lot on which to build your dream home or something ready and waiting for you to move in, Intracoastal Realty is here to meet your Wilmington NC real estate needs. We are a full-service real estate brokerage operating since 1976, and we currently have 12 offices with over 400 agents and staff to serve Southeastern North Carolina, including the areas of Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Southport, Oak Island, Ocean Isle Beach, Leland, Hampstead, and Topsail Island.


Buying Your First Home? Here’s What You Need to Know

By Judy Royal

Congratulations! If you’re reading this, chances are you are about to start the process of making one of the biggest purchases of your lifetime: a new home. The Wilmington NC real estate market has plenty of first-time buyers eager to take advantage of the sea, sand, and sunshine Southeastern North Carolina has to offer. But before you hit the ground running to look at properties, it’s best to get your ducks in a row for what will be a hectic but exciting time in your life.

Who?

Navigating the often-confusing world of buying a home for the first time can be a daunting and downright terrifying experience. You’ll want someone you can trust to answer all your questions and concerns, not to mention look out for your best interests. Choose your real estate agent wisely. Ask friends and family for referrals. Talk to a prospective agent’s recent clients. Find out how long he or she has been in business. Familiarize yourself with what credentials (otherwise known as all those letters at the end of a name) mean. For instance, ABR stands for Accredited Buyer’s Representative, which means the agent has completed additional education in representing buyers in transactions.

What?

Before you start touring properties, think about what you really want out of your primary residence. Are you looking for privacy and a big yard? Or are you willing to share a wall and common spaces with neighbors in exchange for not having to worry about mowing grass and other exterior maintenance issues? This will help you narrow down your options to either single-family homes or condominiums/townhouses. Just bear in mind that the latter are more likely to have higher homeowners association dues as a tradeoff for the things you won’t have to deal with, so be sure to factor those into your budget.

When?

Speaking of budgets, you need to start saving well before you are ready to make an offer. Talk to a mortgage professional early in the process to ensure you are fiscally ready for this major step. Be honest with yourself about exactly what you can afford and stick to that range. If you don’t save at least 20 percent for a down payment, you’ll probably have to make mortgage insurance payments, adding to your monthly costs. Aside from the price of the home itself, other things to save for include the cost of property taxes, insurance, homeowners association dues, and regular maintenance. Many experts recommend budgeting at least 1 percent of the value of your home each year to cover routine maintenance. There are also potential emergency expenses, such as replacing a heating system or roof.

Where?

Be as specific as possible about the locations where you’ll consider living. Drive through neighborhoods to get a feel for an area. Find out crime rates. Research schools. Talk to other homeowners. When it comes to determining the community that you will call home for perhaps many years, you really can’t be too diligent. Be sure your search for properties includes only the locales where you will be comfortable making a life. After a tough day at work, you’ll want to retreat to a place that will make you feel safe, happy, and content.

Why?

If you’ve been renting for a while in an area you plan to call home for the foreseeable future, you might be a prime candidate for buying your first home. A smart real estate purchase can be a valuable investment asset for your long-term financial health by helping to increase your future net worth. Just be sure you are ready for the responsibility and commitment that comes with owning property. If you’re the type of person who wants the freedom to pack your bags and move to Key West after one really great vacation, then you might not be quite ready for home ownership.

How?

Most of us are not lucky enough to pay cash for our first home, so financing will likely be a reality. Think about the type of mortgage you want. Explore the pros and cons of a fixed rate vs. adjustable rate. Shop lenders to find the best deal on home loans. Your interest rate will play a huge role in the total price you pay for your home, so spending some time making comparisons now can pay off majorly in the long run.

Whether you’re in the market four your first or fifth home, or anything in between or above, Intracoastal Realty is here to meet your Wilmington NC real estate needs. We are a full-service real estate brokerage operating since 1976, and we currently have 12 offices with over 400 agents and staff to serve Southeastern North Carolina, including the areas of Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Southport, Oak Island, Ocean Isle Beach, Leland, Hampstead, and Topsail Island.


Selling Your Home, It’s a Business Decision

Blog Courtesy of Bobby Brandon, Broker/REALTOR® at Intracoastal Realty

Don’t Let Emotions Get in the Way!bobby-brandon-pp

When you purchased your home, you more than likely did so with lots of emotion, which is very normal. For example, you looked at homes with your real estate agent and narrowed it down to the two homes you like the best. Your kids probably ran through the house selecting which room would be theirs. You might have liked the backyard because that is where your family dog would get to play and be safe. You might have even like the kitchen space because it is large enough to have friends over and spend fun times together. Or this might have been the area of town that you had always wanted to live, etc.

These are all examples of emotions playing into the buying process. But now you are selling that same home. Once again, you are facing surfacing emotions. Hopefully, you have had a lot of great memories in the home you have spent so many years in and it might be a little hard for you to leave it. But a word of caution, when selling you should put your emotions to the side. It is now a business decision, and it all comes down to money.

Letting emotions get in the way is NOT a smart business decision. For example, you have negotiated with the buyer back and forth, and finally received the price you want. Now you and the buyer are fighting over the ten-year-old curtains in the home. You had it in your mind that you wanted to take the curtains with you, but this could be a deal breaker. As part of the negotiations, the buyer is asking for your grill, and you have your heels dug in NO. This minor conflict is the only thing that is stopping you from selling your home, obtaining the price you want and moving to the area in which you want to live. You could lose the entire deal over a $500 gas grill.

These are all examples of making an emotional decision verses a business decision. I have seen deals lost when emotions get in the way. I have seen deals go south over curtains and grills. Once the buyer has walked, the seller realizes what a bad decisions they have made and what it cost them in “winning the fight” (emotions). So remember, when selling, it’s all business!

For more information on buying and selling homes, go to www.BobbyBrandon.com. Bobby’s Team can provide expert advice and insight into current homes and land for sale in New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender County.

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Real Estate Shines as an Investment in 2015

A survey by The Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University reveals that when a family is buying a home they consider the financial benefits of homeownership along with the social benefits. The survey mentions things like:

  • Paying rent does not make sense
  • Home-ownership provides a good financial opportunity
  • Owning a home helps you building family wealth
  • Buying a home is investing in your retirement
  • Home equity gives you something to borrow against

So, how did home-ownership match up against other investments in 2015? Here is a chart that compares its return on investment against precious metals and the stock market last year:

Real Estate Shines As An Investment for 2015

Bottom Line

Not only did home-ownership offer all its social benefits. It also was a great investment financially.

Source: Harvard University. GoldPrice.org. CNBC. CoreLogic.