Sweet Home Carolina Realty Blog

Jan. 3, 2019

5 Reasons To Get Pre-approved

Posted in Buying, Mortgages
Dec. 31, 2018

Questions about buying or selling?

A new year is just around the corner, do you have questions about buying or selling a home in 2019? Wondering what your home is worth, or if that home you’ve had your eye on is worth the asking price? Contact us and we will be happy to help navigate this often confusing process.

Posted in Buying, Selling
Dec. 18, 2018

Why Houses DO NOT Sell in a Strong Market

As we approach the end of the year, many homeowners find themselves asking the question, “If we’re currently in a strong real estate market, why won’t my house sell?

Below are the 5 most common reasons why a listing contract will expire:

1. The Price

Sometimes when the market is hot, homeowners attempt to set their listing price higher. Their hope is that a motivated buyer will be willing to pay any price for a house in their desired neighborhood! Sellers must remember, though, that in today’s market a house must be sold twice; first to the buyer and then to their bank.

A buyer can agree to pay the homeowner’s asking price, but after the bank conducts their appraisal, the price might need to be adjusted. The bank will only give the buyer a mortgage for the value of determined in the appraisal.

Sellers must also keep in mind that today’s homebuyers are well-educated. Before they look to buy a house, they have already seen many houses online. They’ve done their research on the neighborhoods they are interested in, including information on the school districts in the area.

They will know if your house seems overpriced and will not waste their time considering it. This is why it’s so important to make sure that your home is priced right from day one on the market!

2. The Condition of the House

In many areas, builders are taking advantage of the lack of inventory of homes for sale by building new houses. These newly constructed homes create competition for existing homes in the market. For this reason, many homeowners are making renovations and updates to their homes to compete with the new construction in their marketplace.

Most agents recommend that homeowners declutter their houses before putting them on the market. Buyers want to be able to imagine themselves living in the home instead of focusing on the current homeowner’s decor.

It’s important to take care of the small problems like dripping faucets and torn screens, while also remembering to remove any posters hanging in your teenager’s bedroom. Making sure your home is in perfect condition will make buyers fall in love with it and will ultimately help you get the right price for your house!

3. Seller’s Motivation

Why did the seller put their house on the market in the first place? Is the seller’s motivation still the same as it was when they first listed?

If homeowners are really motivated to sell, they will make sure their houses are both priced right and in good condition. The seller’s motivation will push them to consider all offers and help them make the right decision for their family’s future.

4. Marketing Plan

Having a marketing plan is important! According to NAR’s 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 95% of buyers searched online for a home last year. The days of looking for a newspaper ad or yard sign in your preferred neighborhood are over.

If you want to sell your home, you need a real estate professional who understands your local market and knows how to promote your home online. Something as simple as using pictures taken by a professional photographer can make a huge impact in advertising your home!

5. Lack of Communication with Your Agent

Keeping an open line of communication with your agent is crucial in getting your home sold with the least amount of hassles, in the right amount of time, and for the right price! From the beginning, establish a continuous line of communication with your agent, and make sure you review your agreement often to see if any changes need to be made. For example, adjusting the selling price!

Bottom Line

There are houses selling every single day because they are listed at the right price, have the right marketing plan, and are staged for the sale. If for some reason your home didn’t sell and you’re still motivated to get it sold, contact a local real estate professional who can help you figure out the reason your house isn’t selling!

 

courtesy of Keeping Current Matters
Dec. 12, 2018

5 Star Award Winner

Karen Lambrinides has won the 5 Star Award for excellence in Real Estate and has been featured in the December issue of Charlotte Magazine. 

Five Star Professional conducts market research to define and promote professional excellence.  The five star designations assists consumers in selecting a service professional that other consumers say provides exceptional client satisfaction and service.  

 

Posted in Real Estate News
Dec. 11, 2018

First-Time Buyer Interest Strong Despite Rising Interest Rates

Interest rates are rising. According to Freddie Mac the current rate for a 30-yr fixed mortgage is 4.81%, which is up a nearly a full percentage point from a year ago. While some were concerned the rising interest rates would have a negative impact on the market, particularly with first-time homebuyers, it looks as if the changes in interest rates are doing little to dampen buyer demand.

According to First American’s most recent Real Estate Sentiment Index (which explores how sensitive first-time homebuyers are to rising interest rates), mortgage rates would have to hit 5.6% before first-time buyers delay entering the market. And because mortgage rates aren’t predicted to rise that drastically anytime soon, we shouldn’t see any negative impact on buyer interest in the coming months.

The Takeaway

If you’ve been hesitant to list your home thanks to fears that rising interest rates will limit the number of buyers, there’s nothing to worry about. Buyer demand is showing no signs of slowing.

Posted in Buying, Mortgages
Dec. 3, 2018

Sweet Home Carolina Realty Receives 2018 Best of Charlotte Award

Press Release

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Sweet Home Carolina Realty Receives 2018 Best of Charlotte Award

 

Charlotte Award Program Honors the Achievement

 

CHARLOTTE December 3, 2018 -- Sweet Home Carolina Realty has been selected for the 2018 Best of Charlotte Award in the Real Estate Services category by the Charlotte Award Program.

Each year, the Charlotte Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Charlotte area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2018 Charlotte Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Charlotte Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Charlotte Award Program

The Charlotte Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Charlotte area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Charlotte Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.

 

SOURCE: Charlotte Award Program

Posted in Real Estate News
Nov. 20, 2018

5 Tips For Selling Your Home Around Thanksgiving

The majority of people think the best time to sell a home is during the summer. Children are out of school which makes it much easier for parents to relocate and start a new life in their new home. In actuality more than half of homebuyers do not have children or have children that are out of the house. There are far less numbers of homes for sale during the holidays which makes the demand for a quality home that much higher.

1. Make Curb Appeal a Top Priority.

By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, trees have started to lose their leaves. This makes maintaining the exterior of your even more of a priority. Bare trees result in a more exposed home, so touch up the paint, clean the gutters and spruce up the yard. Keep buyers’ safety in mind as well by making sure stairs and walkways are free of leaves.

2. Avoid Clutter at All Costs.

Family visiting during Thanksgiving can add quite a bit of clutter to the home. In the case that a potential buyer wants to view the home, eliminating this clutter couldn’t be more important. If family has taken over a bedroom that’s usually used for storage, it can be wise to invest in a storage unit. These are not expensive and can be rented for a month or two while the home is on the market. Clutter decreases the perceived size of the home which could be a deciding factor whether a buyer puts an offer in or continues their search.

3. Appeal to the Buyer’s Imagination.

Creating a warm atmosphere during Thanksgiving and the holidays when your home is being sold can do a couple of things. The potential buyers could imagine themselves celebrating their own Thanksgiving in the home. This isn’t the time to put up huge amounts of decorations but rather enough to get into the spirit of the season. Warm colors should be abundant and those quirky holiday decorations that some families put up in their homes during certain holidays should be kept in the attic.

4. Price The Home To Sell.

Pricing the home to sell during the holidays is extremely important. If you accepted a new job and need to relocate by the end of the year this multiplies in importance. Many buyers if in the same situation will want to put an offer in around the Thanksgiving holiday. This will reduce the stress of trying to find a home during the Christmas holidays when many people travel for extended periods. Closing quickly will also allow you to write off closing costs during this year’s tax season.

5. Select an Experienced Real Estate Agent.

Picking the right agent is important regardless of what time of year that it is. During the holidays it’s more important as many facets of selling a home can be impacted by the holiday breaks. I’d love the opportunity to earn your business! Remember: Selling your home during the Thanksgiving and holiday season isn’t impossible. Taking care of the small details leading up to the sale will only increase your chances of considering offers with your turkey dinner. Happy Thanksgiving and good luck selling this holiday season!

Posted in Selling
Nov. 12, 2018

9 Ways Home Flipping Shows Mislead Viewers

We all know the premise of home-flipping shows: An investor buys a veritable dump and then, with the help of a team of ready-and-willing contractors and landscapers, transforms it into the best-looking home on the block. Next, that intrepid buyer turns around and sells it for a hefty profit. Sounds like a straightforward formula for financial success, right? Well, not quite.

What makes for entertaining television doesn't always translate into a win beyond the high definition flat screen. The following are nine ways home-flipping shows mislead viewers. So, if you're considering turning this into your next career or even a side gig, you may want to separate fact from fiction first.

1. Tight turnarounds aren't always realistic

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In order to realize as large a profit as possible, it's important to flip the property as quickly as you can, otherwise paying the mortgage, taxes, and insurance quickly chips away at your bottom line. While sales tend to happen quickly on TV, the reality is that even if you have a willing buyer, getting pre-approved and securing the financing doesn't happen overnight. For anxious sellers, that ticking clock is a constant reminder that every passing day means a little less money in their pockets.

2. Finding a dedicated team isn't easy

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As far too many homeowners know, not all contractors are created equal. For the most part, the artisans who make their way onto home-flipping shows are trustworthy, knowledgeable and willing to work nearly round-the-clock to get the job done. In reality, contractors may be working on multiple projects simultaneously and may disappear for days at a time. And as we all know, time is money.

3. DIY doesn't work for everyone

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Part of the appeal of these home-flipping programs is the ease with which the whole property comes together. But it's more than just the time-lapse photography that makes it seem like anyone with a tool belt can renovate like a pro. While you might be tempted to take a DIY approach to keep expenses low, remember, these people know what they're doing, whereas most homeowners are experts at other things. Sometimes tackling a task yourself will end up costing you more than if you'd hired the right person for the job.

4. When trouble strikes, it's not so easy to resolve

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Even with a careful home inspection, surprises (not the good kind!) pop up when you least expect them. Yet, if a sink hole opens and threatens to swallow a sunporch, home-flipping show teams are ready to fix that issue like it's no big deal. When it happens to non-TV-star homeowners, it's not always easy to find the right subcontractor -- especially when you're under time constraints. And, once you do, can you even afford to deal with whatever unpleasant shocker has come your way? If you have to go back to the bank for more money, that will impact your timeframe and ultimately your profit. (See number 1.) Home-flippers on TV seem to have bottomless bank accounts. Must be nice, right?

5. Materials don't arrive simultaneously

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When home-flippers begin a project, all the requisite materials are on-site and ready to go. If only this were the norm! Anyone who's ever fallen in love with a special order item knows that it's almost impossible to find everything you like in stock and ready for delivery. Some contractors are reluctant to start a renovation until all the supplies are in, which, again, can hurt your timeline and your profit.

6. The back-and-forth is all done behind-the-scenes

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Never mind the fact that homes showcased on these programs never seem to lack for buyers, in many instances there doesn't seem to be any haggling to speak of when it comes to the asking price. Leaving out the art of negotiation does viewers a disservice as it makes it appear that buyers can't wait to pay full price -- or above it.

7. The math is fuzzy

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In order to reap the biggest profit, you need to buy below market value, sell above it, and not put more money into the renovation than you'll get back. As if that equation weren't complicated enough, on television, you don't always hear about the costs of buying or selling, inspection and appraisals fees, and other expenses that go into both sides of the transactions. Leaving out some numbers conveniently inflates the profit.

8. Costs vary by area

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Renovating a bathroom in rural Tennessee is going to cost much less than it would in, say, Manhattan. Not only will the labor be less expensive, but the materials and delivery charges will also skew lower in non-metropolitan areas. Of course, none of that is addressed in the show and most often estimates on TV are far lower than those you'd gather in real life.

9. You can over-renovate

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Once you're in the home improvement groove, you may be tempted to splurge and really go all out, but you have to resist the temptation to overdo it and put in more money than you'll ever get back. In the quest to make your flip as fabulous as possible, you never want to lose sight of the the reason you started this project: to make money. Consider the return on investment for each improvement you make.

Nov. 5, 2018

Something You Should Know Before Looking At A New Construction Model Home

Picture yourself out for a drive one weekend. You see a sign that says:

New Construction Homes! Models Starting At $XXX,XXX Next Right!

Maybe you’re actively looking for a house, or maybe it’s just a spur of the moment urge, but you follow the signs to the model home. You park. You walk into the model home. The builder’s sales rep asks you to please sign in. You sign in. Ouch. You may have just made a costly mistake...

It’s Not Like I’m Buying One...

Most people don’t think twice about signing in when they visit a model home. They figure, what’s the harm? It isn’t like I’m signing something to actually buy one. I just want to take a look, and it’s not like they’re asking me to sign my life away. But sometimes you do end up buying one. You get the bug. You fall in love. You picture yourself in this lifestyle. Next thing you know, you’re making an offer on the spot. Or, maybe you leave, but you can’t stop thinking about it the whole ride home so you decide you’re going to buy one. Either way, if you decide to buy one, having signed in with the builder, you may have signed away your right to involve your own real estate agent represent and advise you.

Is A Real Estate Agent Even Necessary?!

Some people question whether it’s even necessary to have their own real estate agent involved in the purchase. They feel like they’re an unnecessary middleman. After all, the builder has a sales rep. They feel like they “found” the house, not a real estate agent. The builder or their representative can handle the paperwork. And, ideally, not having an agent will perhaps give them some leverage to negotiate. Others just don’t even think to bring their real estate agent with them or didn’t want to “bug” them to go see a house they could easily get in to see. They just stop in on a whim, and once the ball gets rolling, they feel like they can’t involve their agent, or they might even be “encouraged” by the builder not to. And they figure, what’s the big deal... the builder or their rep can handle everything. And some people feel like real estate agents just want to latch onto the deal to make a commission, while doing very little, since the builder and / or their rep can handle the paperwork and process.

It’s More Than Just “Finding” And Pushing Papers...

Sure, a buyer can “find” a new construction house on their own. And a builder or their sales rep can certainly handle the paperwork. But the value of having a real estate agent on your side isn’t just about “finding” you a house (new construction or not), or filling in a few blanks on a contract and pushing the papers through the process. It’s about their knowledge, advice, and representation. Okay, some agents out there may just want to get a few papers signed and wait for closing day to get a commission check. And, yes, you’re probably better off not involving an agent like that in the purchase of new construction. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t find and have an agent who truly understands new construction (and real estate overall) on your side. A good agent can help you:

  • Avoid costly mistakes
  • Get everything you can and should get from the builder
  • Advise you as to whether buying a particular home is the best or right choice for you
  • Offer alternatives you may not have otherwise considered
  • Help you choose the best lot and model in a development for your own enjoyment and future resale value
  • Keep the builder and building process in check
  • Advocate for you when issues arise with the builder

 

Oct. 25, 2018

Americans Choose Real Estate As Best Investment For 5th Straight Year

The results are in: the best long-term investment you can make? Real Estate.

Each year, Gallup surveys Americans to find out what they believe to be the best investment options for building long-term wealth. And in their most recent survey, Americans overwhelmingly chose real estate, making this the fifth year in a row real estate tops the list.

Thirty-four percent of Americans surveyed chose real estate as the best long-term investment option for building wealth, which is nearly ten percentage points ahead of the next investment choice on the list, stocks (which came in at 26%).

The results of the Gallup survey, and the fact that real estate has been chosen as Americans' top investment choice for five years running, is a clear indicator that faith in the real estate market has bounced back since the Great Recession (when gold was a much more popular investment option).

 

The Takeaway

With consumer confidence clearly indicating stability in the market, there's never been a better time to purchase a home—and make a long-term investment in your future.