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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 

 

 

The Important Difference Between Buying and Selling Agents in the Triangle


The very hot Triangle real estate market is buzzing with spring activity; potential sellers and buyers have many questions as to how the process works. Flat Fee Realty has the buyer’s and seller’s agents that can help owners and buyers have a great experience.

Now, what is the difference between the buyer and seller agents. Regardless of the situation, our team at Flat Fee Realty believes that Triangle sellers and buyers in the Raleigh, Cary, Apex and the entire region will benefit from having an experienced and local agent by their side.

The two key roles that buyer’s and seller’s agents play during the real estate process are extremely important:

  • Seller’s Agent: The seller’s agents are also known as listing agents, and they will represent the seller throughout the selling process. They will strive to get the best deals for the seller, and they will often make suggestions during the selling process for making the home look its best. This process can include the staging for photographs, updates to the home to make it more desirable to buyers in the market, and other related strategies. Seller’s agents are also legally required to disclose important information about potential buyers, to minimize last minute surprises.
  • Buyer’s Agent: Buying a home in the Triangle is a milestone for many people in their lives, and it’s typically the first major financial decision they will make. Buyer’s agents protect buyers, and help them understand the often-complicated terminology used in contracts. This guidance helps them to more easily navigate the local housing market. Our Flat Fee Realty agents will help buyers get the best price for the home and point out any issues that need to be addressed during inspections and appraisals.

Buyer and seller agents are integral to the home buying process in the Triangle area. Our agents at Flat Fee Realty are eager to help each party have the best experience and save the most money. Contact us today to see how we can help you buy or sell your home!

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This important real estate blog 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

Find and like us on Facebook!

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

Photo: Mastersenaiper, pixabay

4 Important Tips to Increase Triangle Home Values

3d house and arrow graph. Growth in real estate

It’s the perfect time of year for Triangle homeowners to sell their homes with Flat Fee Realty. The 2017 real estate market across the Raleigh area is booming with activity and change.

While an array of potential buyers looking for homes across the Triangle, many potential sellers will want to ensure their houses are in their best shape with many attractive features to appeal to buyers. Luckily, this doesn’t have to be a time consuming, or confusing, ordeal for homeowners. There are several simple recommendations to help boost the value of Triangle homes before listing them!

Flat Fee Realty recommends four important home selling tips that can increase home value:

  • Improve the curb appeal: A home’s landscaping is the first thing a potential home buyer will see. Making minor improvements to the home’s exterior can have a big impact on whether buyers will want to stop and take a tour. Sellers should make sure their lawns are in good shape by keeping it tidy, so trim the hedges and keep the grass cut to give the home a good face.
  • Update the fixtures: Many homes still have the original builder’s fixtures in place. Buyers today may not be drawn to them and it could affect their perception of the home, giving it an outdated feel. Simply update faucets or light fixtures, maybe new knobs for cabinets, and buyers will be more attracted.
  • Cut energy costs: There are many buyers in the market who value sustainable energy and like to see it implemented. Adding a few technical features, like a smart power strip that knows when to turn appliances and lights off at certain times, is a great way to appeal to buyers with a conservative approach to energy consumption.
  • Perform regular maintenance: Sellers should keep up with regular maintenance so buyers aren’t distracted by small projects. Replace or clean carpets; make sure there isn’t mold or termite damage. These issues are small but can sway a buyer to go with another property if it means less work for them.

There are numerous other ideas for sellers to consider when trying to increase home value before putting it on the market. Our experts at Flat Fee Realty are able to guide Triangle sellers in the right direction so they can make good decisions. Contact us today to see how your home’s value can increase with a few minor improvements!

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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

Find and like us on Facebook!

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

Photo: 45619109, http://depositphotos.com/

 

 

 

4 Real Estate Myths that Survive in the Triangle

The real estate market in the Triangle is bubbling with activity as we move into the Spring of 2017. Our agents and market professionals at Flat Fee Realty want buyers and sellers across the region to be fully informed as they prepare to buy and sell. The focus of this week’s real estate blog post focus is on dispelling a few lingering myths that seem to still permeate the Triangle.

Four myths that our Flat Fee Realty Team wants to share to prospective home buyers and home sellers in the Triangle are:

  • Open Houses will sell a home, guaranteed: There is a wide variety of people who attend open house. Some people attend these showings on a regular basis just to get ideas. Most often, interested buyers will typically schedule a second visit with one of our agents a more personal and intimate view of the property. That said, open houses serve a purpose.
  • Buyers get better deals on their own: Buyers may think they’re saving money by not paying commission to a buyer’s agent, but this simply isn’t the case. Houses listed have total commission included in the list price, so buyers aren’t avoiding commission costs by going solo.
  • Sellers save money by listing FSBO: Sellers who choose to list their home as For Sale By Owner are usually interested in saving money. Unfortunately, most buyers are wary of FSBO listings, and it takes a lot of effort to market and show the home that sellers promote on their own.
  • Listing above market rate will result in a higher sale price: Many Triangle buyers and agents avoid most properties that are listed above market rates for variety of reasons. It’s simple to lower the price, but sellers also must be aware that homes listed for an extended period of time draw buyer concern. Listing at a reasonable market price will see more activity and more visits.  

The real estate industry varies state by state, and there are always changes and additions to existing laws that can make home selling a challenge at times. Our Triangle market and our Flat Fee Realty team provide great opportunities as we head into the spring selling season!  Call us and meet with one of our local industry experts; contact us today!

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

Photo: Pixabay

The Future of Real Estate!

Flat Fee Realty

919 342 5230

Find and like us on Facebook!

Contact Us!

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

4 Important Home Showing “No No’s” for Triangle Home Sellers

Triangle homeowners are eager to take advantage of the exciting real estate market in 2017. With so many newcomers flocking to Raleigh as well as Apex, Cary, Holly Springs, Fuquay Varina, and Morrisville; there will be plenty of interested home buyers looking for the perfect home.

Since there are lots of things to think about when preparing to sell a home, our agents here at Flat Fee Realty want to share some insider information. For example, plenty of sellers know how to prepare for a home showing, but do they know what not to do for a showing?

The four most important home showing “no-no’s” to keep in mind while a house is on the market in the Triangle are:

  • Lingering homeowners: Quite frankly, it’s rude to hang around when potential buyers and their agents come to view the home. Sellers can put unnecessary pressure on visitors or make the entire visit an awkward situation.
  • Bad or overpowering smells: Odors can be a big turn off for buyers. Scents that linger long after cooking, pet odors, and cigarette smoke; they are common offenders. Sellers, who have gotten used to their own home, may be unaware of odors that have settled in; but buyers will notice them immediately. Also, some people have allergies to perfumed scents, so don’t use oil plug-ins or air freshening sprays.
  • Dirt or clutter: It’s not expected for sellers to keep an immaculate home at all times. Life happens, and for families on the go it’s hard to keep up with every speck of dirt. However, there shouldn’t be mountains of dirty laundry, rings around the toilets, overflowing trash cans, and unmade beds. Those details will impact the buyer’s perception of the home, usually in a negative way.
  • Loose and wandering pets: Animals are a blessing. Yet, beware that some buyers, or agents, may have pet allergies or fear of animals. Also, dogs and cats can be unpredictable, and if they feel threatened in any way there’s no telling what could happen. Best to be on the safe side and keep the pets in a secluded area or with neighbors where they can’t be disturbed.

Don’t let the stress of selling a home create any mistakes. Get the house show-ready with the help of our real estate experts from Flat Fee Realty! Contact us today to see how we can help.

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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

Find and like us on Facebook!

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

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3 Questions about Mortgage Insurance from Triangle Home Buyers

2017 is gearing up to be a great year for real estate in the Triangle region! Home buyers and sellers alike will have many opportunities if they live in the Raleigh area markets. Of course, there are a few important items to consider before buying a home, and a very important one is the mortgage and private mortgage insurance (PMI).  

This insurance is applied to mortgage loans that protect the lender in case of a borrower default. In most cases, buyers must have this insurance. However, our real estate experts at Flat Fee Realty want to empower new buyers by making sure they are aware and informed about how this works.

Flat Fee Realty offers three important questions to ask when applying for a mortgage:  

  • Why is it required? Buyers with less than 20% equity are required to opt-in for mortgage insurance. The good news is that these premium rates are usually affordable, in the 0.5%-1% range of the total loan being borrowed. Lenders will want this applied to ensure they’re protected in the event that the buyer defaults on the loan.
  • Is it necessary for every loan? In this kind of equity situation, the answer is yes. Conventional loans through banks will have arrangements for the insurance to be set up through a private company where rates may vary based on credit score or loan amount. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans have the insurance paid directly to them, generally with the same rate applied no matter the credit score, including an upfront payment factored into closing costs and then monthly payments thereafter.
  • Will the insurance ever go away? It is possible. Removing private mortgage insurance (PMI) requires being up-to-date with monthly payments as well as reaching the date when the principal balance of the mortgage falls below 80% of the original home value. After that, the Homeowners Protection Act gives buyers the right to request a PMI cancellation.

If the real estate and housing market is confusing, don’t feel pressured to look for a home and related products without expert help.  Our knowledgeable agents with Flat Fee Realty will help everyone navigate the real estate market in 2017. Contact us today to meet our remarkable team!

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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

Find and like us on Facebook!

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

Photo: Tumisu, pixabay

 

 

3 Important Reasons Why Ringing in the New Year with Flat Fee Realty Makes Cents!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone! Selling a home can be a stressful endeavor for Triangle homeowners during the Holiday Season and into the New Year. The housing market in Raleigh and the surrounding area has many prospective buyers looking for homes in the Capital City, Apex, Cary, Morrisville, and Holly Springs among others.

Listing a house “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO) might seems like a good idea for home sellers who think they will be saving and making money when the sign goes up. It is not as easy as it is in theory; often the reliance on a real estate agent knowledgeable in local and the Triangle market will be an advantage.

Our real estate market experts at Flat Fee Realty explain three reasons why FSBO is as much of a challenge as it is a risk for home sellers and buyers:  

  • The FSBO market is often a challenge: A fairly recent study by the National Association of Realtors reports that sales of homes listed as FSBO accounted for only 9% of all home sales; the FSBO market peaked at 14% in 2004. Smaller numbers mean more challenge.
  • Marketing is never easy: A local Flat Fee Realty professional knows the market and the listings. Yard signs, Facebook postings, and newspaper ads may seem like the current methodology for selling a home, but relying on these strategies can place a novice seller at a disadvantage. Plus, working with Flat Fee Realty can boost the chances of a qualified sale; listing the home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a great factor.
  • Limited availability for potential buyers: Many potential buyers can place multiple demands demand on the seller, and at a moment’s notice. For Triangle working professionals and parents, this can be a problem both with schedule and time. Having an expert Flat Fee Realty agent can minimize stress and manage the showings.

Listing as home “For Sale by Owner” can have considerable drawbacks that can affect selling success.  For those looking to sell a home across the Triangle, please contact our expert agents at Flat Fee Realty for exceptional service and insight into the Triangle housing market.

May everyone have the most wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year! 

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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

Find and like us on Facebook!

Contact Us

Terry@FlatFeeNC.com

Photo: Flat Fee Realty in Morrisville

 

5 Tips for Selling a Home in the Triangle during the Holidays and the Winter Season

FFR - Nov 3 Pic - 100216603It’s no secret that the spring and summer are most popular seasons for real estate sales in the Triangle and Central Carolina area. Beautiful North Carolina weather and long daylight hours mean that homebuyers are out and about in full force. In contrast, most sellers will face a few challenges when placing a home on the market in the late fall or winter season. Flat Fee Realty wants sellers to be successful no matter what time of year they are selling.

Our FFR team suggests these five tips to sell quickly and for the most money, even during the slow seasons:

  • Invite buyers in out of the cold: Be sure to create a warm and inviting experience when showing the home. Make sure all lights are on, that the inside heat is comfortable, and even light the fireplace if possible. Consider using aromas that evoke relaxation, like cinnamon or apple pie.
  • Use the holiday season to an advantage: Appeal to buyer’s emotional side by helping them envision spending the holidays with their family in their new home. Stage the home with all-purpose holiday decorations, like potted poinsettias, twinkling white lights or evergreen garlands.
  • Consider a pre-listing inspection: A seller’s inspection brings any potential issues to light and allows for their resolution early on. The holiday season tends to prolong a closing process already prone to delays. Don’t let last minute maintenance issues postpone the transaction. Slower processes create buyer’s remorse.
  • Avoid liability: Winter weather can create hazardous conditions for buyers and sellers. Keeping steps and walkways snow and ice-free to prevent slips and falls. Protect against maintenance issues (like frozen pipes or falling tree limbs) to ensure the home remains in marketable shape.
  • Price correctly: Although winter buyers may be more motivated, there are definitely fewer of them. To attract the most buyers, start out with a realistic asking price. Remember, homes that undergo several price reductions usually sell for much less than if the home was priced correctly in the first place.

With the right sales strategy (and a great Flat Fee Realty Agent) winter can still be an excellent time to sell a home. Cool weather buyers tend to be more motivated, and there is less competition, since many Triangle sellers often take their homes off the market until the warmer months and spring. Regardless of when you sell, Flat Fee Realty wants all sellers to land the best deal possible, no matter the time of year.

Wondering if November and December are is the right months to sell? Give us a call 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: ddpavumba, 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