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3 Important Financial Tips for First-Time Home Buyers in North Carolina

Rent and lease prices are on the rise across the nation, and it is the leading cause for the increase in first-time home buyers here in the Triangle and across the United States. According to Zillow’s 2016 Consumer Housing Trends report, 50% of buyers are under age 36, and 47% of them are buying for the first time. This means there are an array of buyers in the market who need guidance from the local area experts, Flat Fee Realty NC.

Everyone knows that one of the biggest factors associated with buying a home is money. Buying a first home can be expensive, risky, and it can leave North Carolina homebuyers wondering if they’re making the right decision. Luckily, homebuyers in Wilmington, the Triangle, and Lake Norman have the expertise of Flat Fee Realty’s knowledgeable team of agents that are willing and ready to help buyers plan their financial investment in the right way.

Flat Fee Realty shares three important financial tips that are most important to first-time home buyers in North Carolina:  

  • Assessing geographic considerations: It’s all about location, right? Without proper planning, buyers may find their closing costs will skyrocket due to the applicable taxes in a specific area. The rates can vary across street names, so it’s best for buyers to be aware of the rates in their target locations and plan for them.
  • Avoiding Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): Most mortgage lenders prefer a 20% down payment on a new home. If buyers offer something less, they are likely forced into other fees instituted to protect the lender; this situation can include private mortgage insurance (PMI). A full down payment will help to reduce interest rates on the loan overall and avoid the extra monthly fee associated with PMI.
  • Making sound financial decisions: No one can truly predict the future, and there may be potential financial benefits ahead for a first-time home buyer that might convince them to shop out of their budgeted price range. However, anything can happen, and it’s best to not count on money that might not be there in the future. First-time buyers should be realistic about what they can afford need to stay within predetermined means.

Buying a home for the first time is a huge investment; and Triangle, Lake Norman, and Wilmington buyers deserve a local dedicated team on their side. Our agents at Flat Fee Realty can help first-time buyers plan their finances and make sure nothing comes as a surprise. Contact us today to see how we can help!

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

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3 Skills that Make Real Estate Agents Great

survey- tiramisustudios- freedigitalphotos.netAll real estate agents have some traits in common. Of course, every one of them can show homes, negotiate contracts, and attend closings. They all have access to the MLS and can get buyers to look at their listings. However, there’s a world of difference between a great agent and an average one.  The great agents are advocate for their clients.

The experienced agents at Flat Fee Realty want Triangle buyers and sellers to choose carefully. Below, we share three important skills that make a great agent:

  • The great will tell the inconvenient truths: Many agents tell their clients only what they want to hear, because they don’t want to risk losing a sale (or their commission). Unfortunately, glossing over problems doesn’t make them go away. Roadblocks in the selling process are very common, from negotiation faux pas to appraisal issues. A great agent will give you the straight news, and lay out no-nonsense options for moving forward. 
  • The great will make the process easy and simple: To the outsider, buying and selling real estate looks easy. The fact is, many challenges occur behind the scenes, with buyers and sellers often unaware of any issues. This is what the experienced agent will do for clients. Excellent agents are proactive. This foresight is what allows the agent to pave the way for a smooth transaction for their clients. 
  • The great will work hard, taking the time to do everything right for the client: By law, real estate agents are supposed to put client needs first. In practice, this doesn’t always happen (even if it’s unintentional). A great real estate agent should be able to fully explain their pricing and marketing strategy, taking into account the seller’s priorities (for example, selling quickly versus waiting for a higher offer). A great agent is interested in your ideal outcome, and if you are willing to wait for a better offer, they should be too. 

Every home is different, and so is every real estate agent! The only way to find an agent to fit a buyer’s or seller’s needs, preferences, and personality is to meet several and compare. Properly vetting and choosing a great real estate agent will go a long way to making any transaction seem as seamless as possible.

To find out how an agent from Flat Fee Realty can be your best advocate in the buying or selling process, contact us 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: tiramisustudio, Freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

3 of the Biggest Fallacies When Buying and Selling a Triangle Home

stockimages-telling a secret-freedigitalphotos.netMyths, fallacies, and sometimes outright falsehoods abound in the real estate industry. These old wives tales are frequently circulated amongst unknowing buyers and sellers, making them think twice about buying and selling. Usually, a little research is all it takes to uncover the truth, but they staying power of these stories is still surprising.

The fact-finding real estate agents at Flat Fee Realty are determined to educate buyers and sellers with the right three facts:

  • A home must be updated to sell: With so much new construction in the area, it’s easy to assume that if a home doesn’t have walk in closets, a kitchen island, or a third floor bonus room, it won’t sell. However, many homes in extremely desirable areas don’t have these features, simply because they were built years before those features became trends. While the sales price may or may not take this into account, many times all that’s necessary is a buyer with a vision. 
  • Condominiums and townhomes are harder to sell: Strictly by the numbers, it’s true that there’s more demand for detached, single-family homes, but those properties also usually appeal to a totally different market than their multi-family counterparts. The multi-family market is smaller, and financing restrictions can be tough to navigate, so be sure any professional involved is experienced with these types of properties. 
  • New construction means no problems: A lot of buyers think, similar to purchasing a new car, opting for new construction will guarantee maintenance free living (at least for a few years). Nothing could be further from the truth. Quality of construction varies widely (inspections only check for adherence to building codes, not quality), and the unknowns of a brand new, unfinished neighborhood are numerous. 

There are a lot of nuances to the real estate industry. Aside from that, trends, best practices, and laws are always changing. Perhaps that’s why most of these mistaken beliefs are so prevalent. It’s also why it’s important to have an expert agent assisting in the buying and selling process.

If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home, contact us today! Flat Fee Realty agents are waiting to make sure your decisions are based on logic, not urban legends.

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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

 

4 Reasons to Sell a Home during the Holidays and Winter Season

Gingerbread House- Serge Photography- freedigitalphotos.netAs real estate’s super busy seasons wind down, it’s common for Triangle sellers to question whether the winter is a good time to sell, and if it’s worth it to leave their home on the market. Popular wisdom says to take it off the market and try again in the spring, but there are actual many distinctive advantages to promote a home on the market in December, January, and February. The expert real estate agents at Flat Fee Realty want home sellers to wisely spend their time, energy, and money in the cool months of North Carolina.

The professionals at Flat Fee Realty share four important reasons why it’s a great idea to keep a home on the market in winter:

  • Homes look attractive during the holidays: With admittedly fewer buyers making the rounds, it’s especially important to impress the ones who do show up. During the holidays, homes usually feel warm, look inviting, and smell good. Holiday decorations can do double duty for home-staging.
  • Most buyers look online first: Before the rise of the internet, the short daylight hours and the occasional wintry weather made it less likely that buyers would want to see homes for sale. Since the vast majority of buyers view homes online first, every day of the year is good.
  • There is less competition: Inventory in the Triangle real estate market is already low, and as the holidays approach, sellers will take their homes off the market for various reasons. That will make the inventory even lower, putting the sellers that remain at a big advantage.
  • Buyers are more serious: People move to the Triangle every day and every week, regardless of holidays or seasons. With the busy holidays on everyone’s calendar, only the most serious buyers will make room in their already busy weekends to see homes. Chances are, if someone is looking to move in the winter, they have the incentive to do so. The seller wins when buyers are motivated.

While the Raleigh real estate market does still have its predictable highs and lows throughout the year, the traditional seasonal distinctions are becoming less and less important. There is only one selling and buying certainty. A home that’s not on the market will never sell.

Is this the season to sell or buy for you? The real estate agents at Flat Fee Realty help buyers and sellers navigate current real estate trends and date to make only the best decisions. Contact us 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: Serge Bertasius Photography, Freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

Top 4 “What to Do’s” for Using Social Media in Home Selling

house on computer-ddpavumba-freedigitalphotos.netAlmost everyone in the Triangle has a social media account on one of the top platforms like Google +, Twitter, and Facebook. Whether it’s used to keep up with distant family members, track ideas, find inspiration, or even find some childhood friends; social media is everywhere. And it is truly a positive aspect of our lives when used responsibly. These platforms can actually be serious tools for buying and selling homes. It is critical to get advice and guidance from our knowledgeable team of real estate professionals.

Take a look at the list below to find out how our agents at Flat Fee Realty share their ideas for successful home buying and selling:

  • Lay the foundation for the sale: There are some things you can do on your own to create social media pages for the Flat Fee listing, including professional pictures, a description, and maybe even a short video or virtual tour. Research and use hash tags in order to track buyers potentially relocating or looking for a property in the area.
  • Focus on friends: Don’t have thousands of friends, followers, or connections? Don’t worry. Take advantage of social media’s reach by sharing our Flat Fee Realty listing and asking friends to like and share with their friends too. This immediately expands the reach of a listing, without the stress and regret of indiscriminately adding random contacts.
  • Engage with followers: Hopefully, potential buyers will be “liking” the listing and commenting in just a day or two. Check the page every day in order to comment back, share more info, or answer any potential questions.
  • Don’t overshare: It might be tempting to vent about being ready to move out of the neighborhood, or asking for advice on negotiations, but resist the urge until checking with your Flat Fee Realty agent. Never risk giving away sensitive information that buyers could use to lower the sales price or gain other concessions. Once a house is under contract, you can delete the accounts.

New developments in the real estate market are happening all the time, and using social media to buy and sell homes is a tool many people use. Social media is a great way to expand the reach of your listing, create buzz about the home, and ultimately lead to a sale. Just make sure you work with your agent when you are contacted.

Social media can be an excellent sales tool, but it can’t work miracles and it does require a strategy. The Flat Fee Realty Team can help Triangle buyers and sellers focus their efforts for the maximum reward.

Contact us today to find out the best and most up-to-date strategies for buying and selling!

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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

4 Important Truths about Selling a Home in North Carolina

myth or fact- stuart miles- freedigitalphotos.netWe offer an important fact. Most people find the unknown a little bit scary, and homeowners in the Triangle and North Carolina are no different. It is an exciting 3rd Quarter in Triangle real market. And it might be the right time for many owners in Raleigh, Cary, Apex and vicinity to trade up. While envisioning a new home is easy, making the decision to sell a home is often difficult.

Our experienced real estate professionals at Flat Fee Realty share three very important facts about selling a home as we head to 2016:

  • Overpricing a home can help the neighbors more easily sell theirs: Every home for sale is in direct competition with other homes for sale in a neighborhood. If priced too high, it will never show up when buyers search in the range that it should be priced. It will show up in higher priced searches, along with a neighbor’s bigger, nicer homes. Not many buyers are willing to pay more for less.
  • Selling a home is often more than just a daily inconvenience: Every home seller has disruptions and inconvenience. Getting the home ready to sell; packing, and the interruption of daily schedules and activities are all part of moving. Keeping expectations under control will make the entire process easier.
  • Ignoring a home repair will cost more than the repair itself: Fixing a repair before a home is under contract is almost always easier and less expensive. Once a buyer notices the need for repair, they will use it to negotiate a lower sales price. They’ll think other repairs will be needed as well. They’ll want a bit more of a reduction to cover the cost.
  • Closing day is the final day: When closing day arrives, sellers must have all of their belongings moved out, leaving the home clean and in move-in condition for the buyers. Extra time isn’t allowed, unless of course a seller has negotiated this with the buyer. Of course, there’s a cost to this, as buyers will want financial compensation, or “rent”, if sellers want to stay in the home past closing.

There are countless myths surrounding the home buying and selling process, and sometimes it seems like everyone is an expert. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Experience counts in real estate. Working with a knowledgeable, reliable Flat Fee Realty agent is the best way to find out the straight truth about the sales process.

The real estate agents at Flat Fee Realty want to help Triangle buyers and sellers separate fact from fiction. Contact us today to find out the essential things to know before deciding to buy or sell a home.

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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

4 Important Traits that Help Sell a Triangle Area Home

Sold House- Stuart Miles- Freedigitalphotos.netAlmost everyone has heard at least one dreadful story about a real estate transaction gone awry, featuring a pushy, inexperienced or unethical real estate agent. So it’s no surprise that when home owners are ready to sell, some people in the Triangle decide to forego the agent relationship entirely and sell their home by-owner (FSBO). However, what they often fail to realize is that once that FSBO sign is in the yard, the owner IS the real estate agent (at least in theory).

That role comes with a lot of responsibility, and not everyone is naturally equipped to handle it. Brought to you by the top real estate agents at Flat Fee Realty, here are four essential personality traits a successful listing agent should possess:

  • A wide knowledge base: The Triangle real estate market is hyper-local and varies from neighborhood to neighborhood and even street to street in some places. Not only that, but it is constantly shifting. From the listing price to the marketing plan, specialized local market knowledge is a huge part of successfully listing and selling a home.
  • A bias towards extroversion: Being friendly and personable goes a long way, but it just isn’t enough when it comes to selling a home. A solid base of professional contacts and personal connections is an important part of bringing potential buyers into the picture.
  • Unfailing attention to detail: From the home staging to the paperwork, a good real estate agent is highly organized and able to dot the “I’s” and cross the” T’s”. Returning calls promptly, following up after showings, taking pictures from the best angle, and accurately completing complicated contracts are all areas that have the potential to trip up sellers who are not in the know.
  • Assertiveness: This can best be described as forcefulness tempered by a huge dose of politeness and diplomacy. A successful real estate agent is not afraid to speak up and advocate tirelessly for the best interests of their client, all while keeping emotions at bay.

Selling a home by private owner can work occasionally for some sellers. However, most of the time a frustrated owner ends up seeking the professional advice of a licensed real estate agent, after the home has been sitting on the market for weeks or even months on end. By that time, a dramatic price reduction might be necessary to renew buyer’s interest in a home that has been languishing on the market.

If the profile above doesn’t describe certain sellers, don’t despair. Whether you are thinking about selling on your own or seeking full-service representation, Flat Fee Realty can help! Contact us today for the most up to date information and guidance.

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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

The Pros and Cons of Renting Versus Selling

hoouse on scale- renjith krishnan- freedigitalphotos.netFall has arrived in Raleigh! Most Triangle homeowners welcome the cooler temperatures, but they sometimes bring a more relaxed real estate market. For this reason, some sellers contemplate renting their home, especially in popular neighborhoods, instead of selling. However, there are several important considerations to carefully weigh prior to making such an important decision.

For those home sellers who think they might be ready to become landlords, check out the pros and cons first, shared by the top real estate agents at Flat Fee Realty:

  • Every market is different: In general, home inventory is lower in autumn relative to the number of buyers out there, and rental demand is high due to the continuous growth of the Raleigh However, the real estate market is hyper local, and varies from one neighborhood to the next. To get a clear picture of the optimal sales price or rental rate, it’s important to consult with our Flat Fee team, each agent has the important information sellers need here in the Triangle.
  • Assessing financial goals: Home values have been on the rise for some time, so selling will probably free up some cash for many homeowners who decide to sell. Conversely, allowing a tenant to pay down the mortgage while the home continues to appreciate (and hopefully generating some cash flow in the process) can be very appealing. Risk tolerance and the ability to carry two mortgages will play a large part in the decision.
  • Taking the plunge: Not everyone is cut out to deal with tenants, and that’s okay. Hiring a professional property manager can alleviate a lot of the stress and time demands of being a landlord, but it comes at a price (think 10% of gross monthly rent). However, it will not get you out of the financial commitments. Having a decent amount of cash in reserve to finance major and minor repairs is non-negotiable.

For home sellers, the fall season and upcoming holidays aren’t always cause for celebration. It can mean access to fewer buyers, more time on the market, and a potentially (although not always) lower sales price. Like everything, becoming a landlord has both pros and cons. For home sellers who see real estate investment as a portion of their long-term financial strategy, it can be a great move. For everyone else, selling is probably the way to go.

Want to find out if selling your home is the best move? Flat Fee Realty can help! Contact us today to get financially solid, market-based advice on buying and selling.

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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

4 Points Triangle Buyers Must Ponder About Buying a Home As-Is!

house with hammer- fantasista- freedigitalphotos.netIn today’s Triangle marketplace, due to changes in the Standard Offer to Purchase and Contract, many homes across the region are listed for sale in as-is condition. In this situation, the home seller is not required to make any repairs, and it is the buyer’s job to determine whether to proceed with the purchase. However, purchasing a home in as-is condition is something that many buyers (especially first-timers) misunderstand.

To help buyers separate fact from fiction, the agents at Flat Fee Realty offer these four very important points for consideration:

  • Listing a home “as-is” benefits the seller: By listing a home in as-is condition, the seller is expressing an unwillingness to make repairs. Maybe the owner can’t afford it, or maybe it is the challenge of the back and forth of repair negotiations. Whatever the reason, the seller is released of responsibility (and in most cases, liability) for the condition of the home.
  • Determine risk tolerance: Buyers of as-is homes are often attracted to the comparatively low price as compared to a home in perfect condition. Buying any home is costly, and contains some element of risk, but buyers need to be sure that they understand the risks and are able and willing to make necessary repairs (sometimes immediately).
  • Use the due diligence period wisely: Today, when purchasing a home, what people see is what they get. Buyers will generally receive a property with no guarantee that is free from problems. The importance of using the due diligence period to obtain professional inspections cannot be overstated. However, even the most experience inspectors will not uncover every single problem.
  • Have a plan for repairs: If buyers have neither the cash nor the skills to make almost any type of repair, they may want to avoid an as-is home, and seek a property where repairs by the seller can be negotiated. If a buyer has carefully analyzed the seller’s disclosures and inspection reports, researched repair costs, and determined the home is a fit; it creates a solid plan for repairs (placing a priority on anything unsafe, and a lower priority on cosmetic issues).

Working with an experienced local real estate agents like the professionals at Flat Fee Realty provides home buyers with unbiased, valuable information regarding the risks and benefits of all properties they might consider. By carefully taking into account financial concerns, and risk tolerance, buyers can determine whether the deal offered by seller with an as-is property is worth a closer look

Real estate transactions can be fraught with minefields for both buyers and sellers. Need help navigating the process? Flat Fee Realty can help! Contact us today to get straightforward, to-the-point information on buying or selling.

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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: fantasista, Freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

The Truth Behind Open Houses Listing Agents Never Share!

stockimages fdpDrive around a Triangle neighborhood on almost any weekend and it’s typical to see a multitude of signs advertising open houses. It is understandable, with these common events, that many home sellers believe open houses are just marketing tools provided by listing agents. However, in direct contrast, a 2014 survey by the National Association of Realtors found that less than 10% of buyers found the home they would eventually purchase through an open house.

What is their true purpose of open houses? Below, the agents at Flat Fee Realty share three of the best-kept secrets in real estate.

  • Open houses are new agent training grounds: In the real estate business, it is common knowledge that new agents want to build relationships with more experienced and successful agents, and they often will offer to host their open houses. It allows them to get in front of potential buyers, learn the neighborhoods, and brush up on market trends.
  • Open houses help build client databases: Many buyers attending open houses are just beginning their home search and may be unrepresented by a buyer’s agent. With minimal effort, the hosting agent can establish a relationship and perhaps end up representing one of these buyers. If these buyers have a home of their own to sell, it’s a double bonus for the agent.
  • Open houses are less important than ever before: The heyday of the open house was years ago, when real estate websites didn’t exist and people only had access to listings from licensed real estate agents. These days, with Google and smartphones, the vast majority of buyers turn to the Internet for their initial home search, only visiting properties that have been carefully researched in advance before a visit.

Besides the hosting agents, there is one other group that benefits directly from open houses. They’re affectionately known in the industry as “Lookey Loos” and they are those individuals or couples who enjoy spending a beautiful Saturday or Sunday peeking into homes that they have no intention of purchasing. It is important to note that home sellers intent on finding the perfect buyer for their property, might reconsider the open house.

Want to know how to avoid paying an agent for services you don’t actually need? Our experienced agents at Flat Fee Realty routinely help home sellers in Apex, Cary, Raleigh and beyond, choose the services they need and want. Contact us today to find out whether a flat fee, limited service, or full services listing is right for your home!

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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