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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 

 

 

6 Tips to Sell a Home in the Tight Triangle Market

Rocking Chair Porch, khongkitwiriyachan, freedigitalphotos.netNorth Carolina summers are great for a lot of things: cookouts, days at the beach, and campfires are just a few of them. And although the warmer months tend to see a large uptick in real estate activity, it is a very active time for home sales. Increased inventory, higher interest rates, and lower investor demand mean that the peak season can benefit local buyers, not sellers. While selling in the summer can be tricky, there’s still a lot of potential for homes priced correctly and properly marketed. The dedicated listing agents at Flat Fee Realty want to help sellers in Raleigh, Cary, and the beyond get the highest price for their homes in the least amount of time.

Check out these six important tips from Flat Fee Realty:

  • Let the light in: Take advantage of longer daylight hours by removing heavy draperies and leaving blinds open.
  • Stay open late: In the summer, many buyers are apt to skip out of work a little early and stay out later. Although it might not be convenient, consider being amenable to twilight or evening.
  • Use natural fragrances: While vanilla and cinnamon are popular cold-weather scents, summer calls for lighter, airier varieties like those from fresh cut flowers or honeysuckle vines. As an added benefit, these delicate scents won’t overwhelm sensitive noses.
  • Keep the air moving: North Carolina summers are notorious for heat waves. Offer weary buyers a respite from the heat by keeping the AC a touch cooler than normal. If any rooms feature ceiling fans, make sure they stay on.
  • Create outdoor living spaces: If the home features protected outdoor areas, like a screened porch or patio with an awning, move some indoor furniture outside to highlight its livability.
  • Accent accordingly: Change out dark throw pillows, rugs, and decorative accents for light or bright summer hues.

The top season to sell real estate is the spring, followed by the fall. The summer months come in third, due to the many distractions like summer vacations, school breaks, and other activities. But life doesn’t wait, and many sellers simply need to sell in June, July or August. For those motivated sellers, the tips above are just a few of the steps to lure summer buyers out of their hammocks and into a contract.

One thing not mentioned above? Choosing the right real estate agent! The listing agents at Flat Fee Realty provide the professional guidance necessary to close a sale in any season. Contact an agent at Flat Fee Realty 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: khongkitwiriyachan, Freedigitalphotos.net

 


 

3 Factors Home Buyers Should Disregard When Shopping for a House in the Triangle

home search, hywards, freedigitalphotos.netFor many Triangle and Raleigh home buyers (especially first timers), viewing and comparing homes can be overwhelming. From separating wants from needs to holding out for the “perfect” home, most buyers experience some degree of frustration along the way. To complicate the process, some buyers have long and sometimes unrealistic lists of must-have features, causing them to miss out on otherwise great opportunities. The agents at Flat Fee Realty want to help home buyers in Raleigh, Cary, and the surrounding areas focus on what’s important.

Our FFR team offers three important factors home buyers should disregard when looking for that dream house:

  • The seller’s decor: It seems silly to disregard an otherwise great home due to the color of the walls or outdated light fixtures, but Flat Fee Realty agents see this happen all the time. Don’t confuse the seller’s taste in design with the suitability of the home itself. One homeowner’s play room could be another’s home office, so ignore easily changeable items and focus on more or less permanent features, like layout and room size.
  • Home warranties: In the competitive Triangle real estate market, some sellers offer incentives like home warranties to stand out from the crowd. While a warranty does offer some benefits and provide peace of mind, be careful to not give it more weight than it’s worth. A warranty only covered specific systems in the home and provides for discounted repairs (often from approved service providers)—don’t confuse it with insurance.
  • Square footage: Many buyers are unyielding when it comes to a specific amount of square footage. While this might be true in broad terms (most people wouldn’t want to squeeze a family of five into a 1000 square foot home) focusing on a specific number could disqualify a number of suitable homes. A well-thought-out layout often makes a smaller home feel larger, while a poorly-designed home can mean wasted square footage (and dollars).

Touring homes can be a lot of fun for buyers, but also it can be very overwhelming. The one strategy Triangle buyers can apply is to make the process of searching for a home easier and more productive. Focus on what’s important. Keeping non-negotiable needs at the top of the mind and remain flexible on everything else. This method will be key to a low-stress home buying experience.

Having trouble figuring out what’s important? The buyers and sellers agents at Flat Fee Realty are here to help.

Contact an agent at Flat Fee Realty today!

**

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: hywards, Freedigitalphotos.net

 

This entry was posted in Selling and buying homes in the Triangle and tagged As-is homes, Buyers, Cary, Cary home sales,discount real estate, Flat Fee, For sale by owner, FSBO’s, Holly Springs, Home buying, Home inspections, Home selling, Houses for sale in the Triangle, Morrisville, Multiple listing service,Posted in Selling and buying homes in the Triangle | Tagged Apex home sales, Raleigh, Real estate commissions, Realty,Sellers, Showings, The Future of Real Estate!, Triangle custom homes, Triangle home sales, Triangle real estate, Triangle schools. Bookmark the permalink.

 

 

4 Budgeting Tips for Triangle Home Buyers

Home Repair, freedigitalphotos.netWhen it comes to purchasing a home in the Triangle, expenses can quickly add up. The mortgage, taxes, insurance, and closing costs are enough to make any buyer, new or experienced a bit nervous. Not only that, but the expenses don’t end at the closing table with the realtor and the lawyer. Home maintenance, improvements, and unexpected repairs can all significantly impact a homeowner’s budget. Flat Fee Realty wants Triangle home buyers to be aware of the true cost of home ownership before they buy.

Flat Fee Realty offers four points of consideration our experienced agents think potential buyers should be aware of as they look for a new home:

  • An emergency fund is essential: Unexpected expenses can wreak havoc on anyone’s finances. And when it comes to certain home repairs (say, the A/C goes out in July), putting them off may not be an option. While the ideal size for cash reserves depends on the age, size, and condition of the home, experts recommend putting away 1-5% of the home’s purchase price.
  • Age is more than just a number: The age of a house is probably the most important factor used in determining a home repair budget. This is especially true when it comes to mechanical systems and structural items. Buyers interested in homes older than about 15 years should be aware that major repairs (like a new roof, hot water heater, or HVAC system) could be in the near future.
  • Consider a home warranty: Many new homes include a warranty, and some sellers choose to offer one as a selling point. Home warranties offset some of a buyer’s risk by covering specific systems in the home and usually offer discounted repairs from approved service providers. Home warranties shouldn’t be confused with insurance. They may provide peace of mind but they won’t cover the full cost of repairs.
  • Practice proper prevention: All homes will eventually need repairs, but the best way to delay them is by practicing proper preventative maintenance. Most typical maintenance tasks can be accomplished with a little elbow grease, and quickly addressing small items prevents them from turning into larger (and more expensive) issues.

Purchasing a home is one of the largest financial transactions a person can make. Before jumping in, remember to take a look at the true cost of home ownership—not just the purchase price, but long-term expenses as well.

Wondering if home ownership is the right financial choice for you? Contact the experienced agents at Flat Fee Realty today!

**

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: khunaspics, Freedigitalphotos.net

3 Red Flags to Watch for When Choosing a Triangle Realtor

Danger Sign, Stuart Miles, freedigitalphotos.netChoosing a real estate agent to list a home is kind of like dating. It requires both trust and commitment, and depending on how long it takes a home to sell, it might be a long-term relationship. And if the association doesn’t feel right at first, it’s probably not going to get better. Despite these realities, many home sellers put little to no thought or effort into choosing a Triangle agent to represent them in what will likely be one of the largest financial transactions of their lives.

Flat Fee Realty wants Triangle homebuyers and sellers to make an informed choice when choosing a listing agent. Be on the lookout for these three common red flags:

  • The agent is a friend or relative: With thousands of agents practicing in Raleigh, Cary, and the surrounding areas, it’s likely that many buyers and sellers have a personal relationship with at least one real estate agent. While it is certainly admirable to want to give business to those nearest and dearest, tread carefully in the decision. If problems arise, it can be difficult to address them with a good friend or family member, leading to resentment or damage to the relationship.
  • The agent is part-time, or does real estate “one the side”: For buyers, time is of the essence in today’s hot real estate market. From showing homes to submitting and negotiating offers, buyers need an agent who is available at almost all times. For sellers, an agent that actively follows the market daily and is available for last-minute showing is a necessity. A part-time agent is unlikely to give each client the time and attention they deserve.
  • The agent is unfamiliar with the neighborhood or property type: The real estate market is hyper-local, varying from town to town and even neighborhood to neighborhood. It’s essential to choose an agent familiar with the area, since he or she may already be in touch with buyers looking for a similar home, or sellers with homes not yet on the market. Likewise, when selling a condominium or purchasing an investment property, opt for and agent experienced with that type of product.

When it comes to choosing the right real estate agent, it pays to do the appropriate research and compare a few agents. Get recommendations from friends, coworkers, or family members, and note which agents are buying and selling in your neighborhood. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and don’t be dazzled by a slick listing presentation only to find out there’s nothing under the surface.

Whether a buyer or a seller exploring the benefits of a flat fee listing or in need of a full-service agent, Flat Fee Realty has everyone covered. Contact the experienced agents at Flat Fee Realty today!

**

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 Often Unseen Costs of Selling a Home in the Triangle

Purchase agreement- phasinphoto, freedigitalphotos.netMost home sellers in the Triangle want to price their home for the most money possible in the shortest time; all while avoiding expensive costs, fees, and commissions. An agent’s commission is the obvious one, but there are many other not-so-obvious costs involved in selling a home. Flat Fee Realty wants sellers to understand all of the costs involved in selling a home. Below, some often overlooked costs to consider:

  • The agent’s marketing strategy: An effective marketing strategy is an important part of attracting enough potential buyers to generate solid, serious offers. A poor marketing strategy will needlessly prolong a home’s time on the market, with holding costs quickly adding up. Not only that, but the price reductions and low offers that inevitable follow will further reduce a seller’s profit.
  • The agent’s pricing strategy: If an agent’s pricing strategy is not effective, the home will sit on the market for longer than necessary. An improperly priced home may encourage low offers, and also necessitate price reductions. Buyers will note the reductions, which in turn will encourage more low offers.
  • Holding costs: A home sitting on the market will cost the sellers every single day in terms of a mortgage payment, interest, property taxes, and utilities. Additionally, sellers who have already purchased their new home are forced to double up on these costs until their former home is sold.
  • Closing costs: Many sellers forget about paying prorated property taxes, homeowner association fees, recording fees, transfer fees, and more. Additionally, some mortgages have a prepayment penalty, which requires payment of a fee if the mortgage is paid off prior to a specified date.

The true cost of selling a home involves a lot more than an agent’s commission. Every cost reduces the seller’s potential to make a profit; sometimes leaving them with less money than expected after closing. Sellers wanting to keep the most money possible after the sale of their home should contact the experienced agents at Flat Fee Realty today!

The savings begin with you.

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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: phasinphoto, Freedigitalphotos.net

3 Reasons Down Payments are Important to North Carolina Home Sellers

house with money, ddpavumba, freedigitalphotos.netThe Triangle’s spring real estate market is heating up, and buyers are looking for ways to strengthen their offers and stand out among their competition. One popular piece of advice is for buyers to increase the size of their down payment. Many buyers wonder why this would make a difference to sellers, since sellers receive payment in full at closing regardless of how much down payment there is in the sale. Flat Fee Realty wants buyers to know that it’s what happens before closing that makes a difference to sellers.

Here are three reasons sellers prefer a larger down payment:

  • A larger down payment makes the appraisal easier: For all sales financed with a mortgage, the lender performs an appraisal to justify a home’s purchase price and the loan amount. If the appraisal is too low, they won’t fund the mortgage, making the sale impossible. A larger down payment decreases the loan-to-value ratio, making the appraisal more likely to go through without any issues.
  • Down payment size indicates a buyer’s level of commitment: While the days of 0% down loans aren’t completely gone, there has been an unmistakable trend towards larger down payments. More money down usually signifies a greater commitment to the property, putting anxious sellers at ease. Motivated sellers want assurance that they won’t have to deal with additional showings, more offers, and ultimately, more stress.
  • A larger down payment (sometimes) means a more qualified buyer: In reality, a buyer putting down 5% can be much more financially qualified to purchase a home than s buyer putting down 20%. Credit issues, employment, and other factors come into play. But in seller’s minds, the fact that a buyer has amassed a decent amount of cash signified a level of financial and personal responsibility (whether or not this is true is anybody’s guess).

Each of these scenarios comes down to one important factor: the ability to close the transaction. In the end, there’s no real difference between a down payment of 0% or 50%, as long as the sale goes through. Logical or not, a larger down payment simply gives many sellers peace of mind.

Home buyers and sellers are surprised to find out that although real estate transactions have a financial aspect to them, there is a lot of psychology as well. If you’re looking for a stress-free buying or selling process, contact the experienced agents at Flat Fee Realty 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


 

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!

**

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 Questions that Need Answers Involving Mortgage Insurance

stockimages, freedigitalphotos.net (3)Most types of insurance work like this: Clients pay a monthly or annual premium, and in return, insurance companies agree to assume financial responsibility and the risk in certain situations. While the traditional coverage is something that the insurance companies (and their clients) hope they’ll never need to use, it’s just one of life’s necessities.

Mortgage insurance works a little differently. And it can be confusing to homebuyers in the Triangle who aren’t sure what it is, let alone whether they’ll need to pay for it.

The professional agents at Flat Fee Realty want their clients to be as informed as possible. Below, we help to answer three common questions about mortgage insurance*:

What is Mortgage Insurance?

With mortgage insurance, the borrower still pays a premium, but they’re not exactly paying to for their own protection (and they don’t even get to choose the insurance company). The policy actually protects the lender in case the borrower defaults on the loan. So the question is not whether a borrower “needs” mortgage insurance, but rather if the lender will require it.

When is Mortgage Insurance Necessary?

Borrows usually will be required to purchase mortgage insurance if they make a down payment of less than 20%. The amount of the mortgage premium depends on the size and type of loan, but usually costs between 0.5 and 1% of the loan amount. Mortgage insurance can be private or public, depending on the type of loan.

How Can Borrowers Get Rid of It?

Most homeowners are responsible borrowers, and think that making on-time payments is the best way of getting the mortgage insurance requirement removed as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case:

  • Private mortgage insurance automatically terminates when the loan balance reaches 78% of the original value of the home according to the amortization schedule. Extra payments won’t help homeowners cross that threshold any sooner. However, if the 78% mark is reached more quickly, a borrower can request that the insurance be removed.
  • Public mortgage insurance terminates when the loan balance reaches the same 78% threshold, but not sooner than 5 years into the loan. The borrower is going to pay mortgage insurance for at least 5 years.

Mortgage insurance is often an unwelcome (and unplanned) expense for many borrowers. When determining what type of mortgage payment is affordable, be sure to include mortgage insurance as part of those costs (along with the principal, interest, property taxes, and homeowner’s insurance).

Concerned about potential pitfalls in the home buying or selling process? Let the experienced agents at Flat Fee Realty explain how they can make the process easier than ever. Give Flat Fee Realty a call today!

*This post is for informational purposes and should be considered for reference only. We suggest consulting a financial specialist with experience in mortgage insurance if needed.

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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 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!

**

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