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3 Points Home Buyers Must Assess When Home Shopping in North Carolina

Happy Halloween, everyone! It is a great season of fun as we head to the holidays. For many Triangle, Lake Norman, Charlotte, and Wilmington home buyers, shopping for a new home and location can be very challenging. Fall is the perfect time for making a change, and there are many homes on the market in the regions of North Carolina we serve! It is important, especially for first time home buyers to separate wants and needs. Unfortunately, there is no “perfect” home; yet there are so many places to live that improve lifestyle and opportunity! Some home seekers have an unrealistic list of must-have features and this causes them to miss out on a great upgrade for an ideal home. Our expert agents at Flat Fee Realty want to help home buyers across North Carolina find the best available home this time of year. We will help every prospective buyer know the variables of what is important when looking for a home.   

Our Flat Fee Realty experts offer three important issues home buyers should deemphasize when looking for a new home:  

  • The home’s decor: It truly does not make sense to disregard a home due to interior paint color and fixtures. An original homeowner’s taste in design is a simple fix and it should not affect the house’s suitability. A baby’s room could become a home office. Do not focus on changeable items and temporary situations. 
  • Home warranty: In the competitive North Carolina real estate market, some sellers will offer incentives. While a new home warranty does offer benefits and provides basic peace of mind, be careful to be over-influenced. A warranty only covers specific systems in the home and provides for discounted repairs; do not confuse it with insurance. 
  • Interior space: Many buyers want a specific amount of square footage, but flexibility will allow suitability. An open floor plan can make a smaller home feel larger, and townhomes offer advantages as well.

Open houses can be a lot of fun for buyers, but there is a lot to think about. The one strategy home buyers in the Triangle, Lake Norman, Charlotte, and Wilmington can apply is to keep things simple.  Focus on the basics of what is important. Keeping non-negotiable needs the top priority and assess the possibilities of everything else. This advice is central to a low-stress home buying experience.

Our team can help. And our buying and selling agents at Flat Fee Realty are here across North Carolina to begin the process!  

Contact an agent at Flat Fee Realty today!

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Happy Halloween! This post on selling and buying a home in the regions of the Triangle, Raleigh, Lake Norman, Charlotte, and Wilmington is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended for informational purposes only.  

The Future of Real Estate! 

 Flat Fee Realty 

919 342 5230 (Raleigh and the Triangle)
910 225 7721 (Wilmington, Carolina Beach)
704 659 3560 (Lake Norman, Charlotte)

Photo: Pixabay

Contact Us 

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com 

 

 

4 Common Myths about Real Estate Agents in the Triangle: A Must Read

FFR Pic- Stockimages- freedigitalphotos.netThere are a few professions that have historically served as inspiration for an array of humor.  Automotive salespeople, attorneys, and yes, real estate agents. All have all had their turn in the humor department. Seriously, many people have heard both good and bad stories about working with real estate agents; just what is true and what is not? The professional real agents at Flat Fee Realty want home buyers and sellers in Cary and the Triangle to remember the following about real estate agents.

Flat Fee Realty shares four common myths about real estate, along with the straight truth:

  • Realtors and real estate agents are the same thing: Although the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, not all real estate agents are realtors. Earning a license in North Carolina makes someone an agent. A Realtor is an agent who is also a member of the National Association of Realtors. Realtors must adhere to an additional set of high standards and ethics beyond the legal requirements of North Carolina.
  • The higher a home’s selling price, the more money an agent makes: This is technically true, but it’s a misunderstanding. The home would have to sell for tens of thousands of dollars more to make any material difference in an agent’s commission. Consider that an increase of $10,000 would only net most agents an extra $150. Honest realtors and agents simply are not going to risk reputations over a few hundred bucks (or any amount, for that matter).
  • Agents recommend certain professionals because they get a kickback: If agents recommend a home inspector, a closing attorney, or other professional to a client, it’s almost always because they have worked with these individuals (often for years) and can vouch for their service excellence. It is important to note that it is unethical for agents to get any kind of incentive or favor from a vendor; it’s also illegal according to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures ACT (RESPA).
  • Agents must show homes to anyone who calls: A buyer’s agent isn’t obligated to show homes to clients unless there is a signed representation agreement in place. Typically, the agent would also require a pre-approval or pre-qualification letter. These documents show that buyers are serious and have the funds to complete a home purchase, ensuring the agent isn’t wasting his or her time.

It’s understandable why prospective home buyers and sellers would believe these common misconceptions. After all, buying or selling a home here in the Triangle is a complex financial and often emotional transaction fraught with worry and anxiety. However, that is exactly the reason it is essential for buyers and sellers to work with the right real estate agent.

Need help separating fact from fiction regarding the home buying or selling process? Give Flat Fee Realty a call today and let our realtors and agents earn your trust!

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This post on selling and buying a home in the Triangle is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended for informational purposes only. 

The Future of Real Estate!

Flat Fee Realty

919 342 5230

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

Photo: Stockimages, freedigitalphotos.net

3 Options Everyone Should Know About Real Estate Appraisals

FFR- Jan 19 Pic- Stuart MilesMost Triangle-area buyers and sellers think that the purpose of a real estate appraisal is to determine the real value of the home. In reality, an appraisal is an important tool that banks and other financial institutions use to help them make lending decisions. An appraisal justifies the purchase price of a home, so a low appraisal can have an effect on the entire transaction. This situation can sometimes result in big problems for buyers and sellers alike.

Flat Fee Realty wants buyers and sellers in Cary NC and the surrounding Triangle to know the options when an appraisal threatens to affect a potential deal:

  • Appraisers sometimes err on the safe side: Appraisers are held to a high professional standard and can be held accountable for their opinion of a home’s value. In the case of foreclosure, the appraiser could be held liable by the bank for over-appreciation. To avoid this risk, appraisers may be conservative with their figures, sometimes leading to a too-low appraisal.
  • Appraisals can contain mistakes: Sometimes, an appraisal that’s too low to meet the loan requirements can be the result of a simple error. Incorrect measurements or a transposed figure during data entry are seemingly benign errors that can cost home buyers their loan.
  • Appraisers and agents work together: It’s usually in everyone’s best interest that a given transaction moves forward, and problems with the loan can be disconcerting for everyone. Many times, a good appraiser will contact a home’s listing agent (who knows the property inside and out) if the appraisal is low. Together, they can verify measurements, make sure every detail is listed, discuss comps, and otherwise work together to get the value up.

In order for a financial institution to proceed with a buyer’s loan, the home’s appraised value must meet or exceed the agreed-upon purchase price. When this doesn’t occur, the entire transaction is at risk. An experienced agent is a lifesaver when it comes to challenging low appraisals, or any of the other complex issues involved in buying and selling real estate.

Need assistance navigating the buying or selling process? Flat Fee Realty is here to help. Give us a call with your questions today!

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This post on selling and buying a home in the Triangle is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended for informational purposes only. 

The Future of Real Estate! 

Flat Fee Realty 

919 342 5230

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

Photo: Stuart Miles, Freedigitalphotos.net

3 Ways Schools Affect Home Prices Here in the Triangle

FFR- Oct 6 Pic-10060061 pic 1 10-14The Triangle area is a hotbed for education here in North Carolina. With top-ranked public and private institutions, teaching hospitals, and world-class research centers, there’s no better place to live if education is a priority in a move or relocation. It’s not just post-secondary schools that get top billing in the Triangle; the local school districts are highly rated as well. Consider that four of the top 10 public high schools in North Carolina are in the Wake County School System, according to US News and World Report rankings.

How much do schools affect home prices? Let’s take a look at these statistics researched by Flat Fee Realty:

  • In a recent survey by Realtor.com, 91% of prospective homebuyers said that school district boundaries were an important part of their home search. 
  • That same survey found that over half of buyers are willing to boost their budgets for top quality schools, paying 6-30% more for a home within the boundaries of their desired school. 
  • Another recent study found that homes in areas with the best schools command about $50.00 more per square foot than homes in average districts.

Based on this information, buyers and sellers are correct in thinking that being in the right district can give their sales price or budgets a bump. But what is the “right” district? While a client’s first instinct might be to simply ask their real estate agent, they might not get the information they’re looking for. Many agents deflect questions about school quality to avoid ending up on the wrong side of the Fair Housing Act (this could be construed as steering). Instead, they point buyers and sellers to independent resources such as these:

  • For public schools, visit the National Center for Education Statistics, or the official site for NC Public Schools. 
  • For public, private, and independent schools, org has a lot of information. It also includes consumer reviews.

When buying or selling a home, everyone knows that location is paramount. And a significant part of this is the local school quality, even for buyers and sellers who do not have children.

Need help assessing the market value of your home? Give us a call! 

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This post on selling and buying a home in the Triangle is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended for informational purposes only. 

The Future of Real Estate! 

Flat Fee Realty 

919 342 5230

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

Photo: ddpavumba, Freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

 

 

 

The Independent Triangle 5 Step Seller’s Guide To Showing A Home

FFR- Sept 22 Pic- 10066250When a Triangle homeowner chooses to sell a home without the assistance of a real estate agent, they are usually looking to save money on an agent’s commission. However, independent sellers also understand that savings can sometimes be a challenge for the significant time and effort that must be spent to market and sell the home. One of the many necessary tasks is showing the home to interested buyers and their agents.

To make the most of each and every showing, independent sellers in North Carolina should follow these five tips from Flat Fee Realty:

  • Set the stage: When it comes to making an excellent first impression on buyers, nothing beats a well-staged home. Make sure the entire home is clean and in good repair, but don’t stop there. Consider taking an uninvolved person (like a neighbor) through the home to get a different perspective. For more staging advice, read our blog post on the topic here.
  • Give prospective buyers space: Resist the urge to tag along, rattling off a list of the home’s features. A home will sell itself without any persuasion by the owner, and heavy selling is a turnoff to buyers. Stay at a respectable distance and be available for questions, but otherwise let buyers lead the way.
  • Point out “hidden” features: While there’s no need to state the obvious (“this is the kitchen…”), feel free to draw attention to upgrades that aren’t readily visible. For example, maybe the air conditioning system was recently replaced, or the master bath has thermal floors.
  • Ask for feedback: Sellers can learn from every showing. However, buyers can be reluctant to give feedback (especially if it’s negative) directly to a seller. To encourage buyers to linger, consider leaving a stack of preprinted questionnaires or a guestbook in the kitchen next to a bowl of candy or snacks.
  • Reconsider open houses: Open houses can add to a home’s exposure, but there’s little hard data suggesting that they regularly lead to sales. Agents typically hold open houses because clients expect them to, and to bring themselves more business (by offering their services to unrepresented buyers and sellers who attend). So, if you don’t have the time or inclination to host an open house, don’t stress about it.

Selling a home independently requires a seller to wear many hats. Sellers become a sales, marketing, and customer service team. If it sounds overwhelming, well, sometimes selling a home is just that. For homeowners who want to sell by owner, or those looking for a full service partner, Flat Fee Realty can do what it takes to get a home sold. Give us a call!

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This post on selling and buying a home in the Triangle is brought to you by the team at Flat Fee Realty and is intended for informational purposes only.

The Future of Real Estate!

Flat Fee Realty

919 342 5230

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

 

Photo: Renjith Krishnan, Freedigitalphotos.net