What is Included in the Closing Costs?

by seacoast_ashley 2. February 2014 05:34

When you obtain a mortgage, you need to pay fees - charged by lenders and third parties – related to the purchase of the home. These fees are called closing costs and are included on top of the cost of the home and down payment.

Closing Costs - House Calculator

Here is a list of common closings costs:

  • Credit Report Processing Fee
  • Loan Origination Fee (for processing loan paperwork)
  • Costs of Inspections (Termite, Home, etc.)
  • Appraisal Fee
  • Survey Fee
  • Property Taxes
  • Private Mortgage Insurance
  • Prepaid Interest
  • Prepaid Insurance
  • Discount Points
  • Title Insurance
  • Title Search
  • Escrow Deposit
  • Notary Fee
  • Courier Fee
  • Wire Fee
  • Underwriting Fees
  • Government Recording Fees

Closing costs typically run about 2-4% of the purchase price. So, if you purchase a home for $300,000, closing costs will run between $6,000-$12,000.

Within 3 days of applying for a loan, lenders are required by law to give borrowers a Good Faith Estimate (GFE). The GFE will list all of your closing costs, but these may change by the time of closing. Legally, they are allowed to change by 10%, so it’s important you take that into account when budgeting your purchase.

Before you sign the papers on your home, you will receive a HUD form that lists all of the fees to be paid. If the closing costs are higher than you expected and can afford, you can walk away from the deal. But, be warned, you will likely lose money, especially your earnest money.

If you are concerned about paying extra out of pocket for the closing costs, there are mortgage programs that do not require you to pay them. In this case, the lender will either raise the interest rate or fold the costs into the total purchase price of the home. Make sure you discuss this with your mortgage consultant.

If you have any questions about closing costs, ask your Sea Coast agent or mortgage consultant. Don’t have an agent, find one today.

Meghan Riley

What is Earnest Money?

by seacoast_ashley 26. January 2014 07:31

Writing Earnest Money CheckWhen a home is under contract, it’s removed from the market. This is good for the buyer, because it gives them time to do their inspections and due diligence without the threat of another buyer snatching the home out from under them. However, it can hurt how well a home sells by preventing other buyers from seeing it; therefore, a frivolous buyer can be a waste of time and money for a seller. When you sign a contract to buy a home, you make a deposit on that home. This is called an “earnest money deposit”, because it shows you are earnest or serious about buying the home. Many sellers won’t accept an offer without a deposit.

Depending on demand and the price of the home, earnest money can be up to 3% of the contract price. In Southeastern North Carolina, $1,000 to $2,000 is quite common, but your real estate agent will advise you on the most appropriate amount. Once the due diligence period is over, the earnest money is applied to your down payment and closing costs.

When you make an offer on a home, the earnest money is included in the contract, but the check is not deposited until the offer is accepted. The listing brokerage or closing attorney holds the money in their escrow account until the due diligence period is over or the buyer terminates their offer according to the guidelines outlined in the contract. If the buyer does not follow these guidelines and the contract falls through, the seller will receive the earnest money; however, if the buyer follows the guidelines and terminates the contract, the earnest money is returned to them.

Have questions about the earnest money check? Ask your Sea Coast agent. Don’t have an agent, find one today.

Is “REO” and “Foreclosure” the Same Thing?

by seacoast_ashley 26. January 2014 06:42

If you’ve been looking at listings online, you may have come across the abbreviation REO, which stands for Real Estate Owned [by a bank, credit union, etc.]. This is often used in connection with foreclosures. So, you may be wondering if an REO and foreclosure are the same. When searching for homes to buy, the simple answer is “yes”. They sell under basically the same conditions.

Foreclosures are properties (homes or pieces of land) that are currently going through a Coldwell Banker Foreclosure REOlegal process in which the lender has taken over control after the borrower did not make payments. At this stage, the lender tries to sell the home (or land) to recoup their losses. This can be done through an auction or traditional listing in the local MLS. Either way, the foreclosure process reaches its final stage when 1) the home sells and becomes the responsibility of that new owner or 2) the home fails to sell, becomes an REO, and is the lender’s full responsibility. So, basically, an REO is a home in the final stage of foreclosure.

Banks, credit unions, etc. are not in the business of being landlords and having a property on the books can look like mismanagement to shareholders, so they are usually very motivated to sell. That’s why foreclosures are often listed at the lowest price in the neighborhood or in comparison to similar homes.

Conditions of foreclosures vary from good to rundown and existing damages may or may not be repaired by the lender before the home goes on the market. Foreclosures sell “as-is”, so a low price doesn’t guarantee a good deal. They may need some work and aren’t always the best option for buyers who need something move-in ready. Of course, it’s a case-by-case or house-by-house scenario.

If you’d like to know more about foreclosures and REOs, ask your Sea Coast agent. If you don’t have an agent, find one now.

New Construction Community! The Walk at Sloop Point – Hampstead, NC

by seacoast_ashley 24. January 2014 02:59

Example Home from American HomesmithThe Walk at Sloop Point in Hampstead, North Carolina, is a new construction community from American Homesmith LLC and Hardison Building Company. Centrally located off Hwy 17 on Sloop Point Road, The Walk is only half a mile from Kiwanis Park and less than 5 minutes from Belvedere Country Club Golf Course. Residents can enjoy the beach, dining, and shopping at Topsail Beach and Surf City, both of which are less than 10 minutes away, or enjoy a cruise on the water thanks to the nearby public boat ramp on Lewis Road.  For even more entertainment options, Wilmington and Jacksonville are just about equidistant from the The Walk and the commute is a breeze.

There are 44 home sites planned for the community, due to be complete over 2 phases. Phase 1 is already underway and homes are selling quickly. Nature preserves and ponds are located throughout the community. A limited number of home sites back up to these special features, so buyers should be quick to reserve these lots while they can.

Example Home from Hardison Building CompanyBuyers will find a nice array of homes available in The Walk at Sloop Point. Both 1-story, 2-story, and 3-story home plans are available. Some of the features include covered porches, gas log fireplaces, granite countertops, ceramic tile backsplashes, 42” cabinets, hardwood floors, separate showers, marble vanity tops, crown molding, and custom wainscoting, as well as stainless steel appliances. Prices start in the low $200k’s. Both proposed and newly constructed homes are available, as well as home sites.

Want to know more about The Walk at Sloop Point? Ask your Sea Coast agent! Don’t have an agent? Contact onsite agent Christina Block.

Meghan Riley

How the Coastal Insurance Hike Could Affect You

by seacoast_ashley 21. January 2014 06:00

Don BullardDon Bullard of Don Bullard Insurancespoke at the Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage Wilmington office meeting today about the coastal counties insurance rate hike. If you own a home in one of the 18 coastal counties of North Carolina or are planning to buy, it’s important you educate yourself on this hike. Insurance companies want to raise the homeowner insurance rates by as much as 35% in many areas, because they’re afraid of losing their profits if North Carolina is hit by a large storm like Hurricane Sandy.

In his presentation, Don emphasized that no one should be panicking about the potential rate hike quite yet. Here is why:

  1. Rarely do the insurance companies get the full amount they’re asking for. They often ask for 3x the amount they really need.
  2. The approved amount is the cap, the amount insurance companies can go up to. Not all companies will adopt the hike and some of the providers Don Bullard Insurance works with didn’t adopt last year’s hike either.
  3. If the hike becomes a judicial issue and the courts decide that the insurance companies are asking too much, the amount homeowners are charged, including interest, will be refunded.

However, it’s important to note that, in the past, public feedback has had a big effect on the percentage approved. So, now is the time to voice your opinion on the matter. Here is how local zip codes could be affected:

Area Code Zip Codes Rate Increase
52A Eastern Coastal areas of Brunswick, Carteret, New Hanover, Onslow and Pender Counties   Zip codes: 28403, 28404, 28405, 28406, 28407, 28408, 28409, 28410, 28411, 28412, 28422, 28428, 28443, 28445, 28459, 28460, 28461, 28462, 28467, 28468, 28469, 28470, 28480, 28511, 28516, 28520, 28524, 28528, 28531, 28532, 28533, 28539, 28553, 28557, 28570, 28577, 28579, 28581, 28584, 28589   35%
52B Western Coastal areas of Brunswick, Carteret, New Hanover, Onslow and Pender Counties   Zip codes: 28401, 28402, 28420, 28421, 28425, 28429, 28435, 28436, 28447, 28448, 28451, 28452, 28454, 28456, 28457, 28466, 28478, 28479, 28518, 28521, 28540, 28541, 28542, 28543, 28544, 28545, 28546, 28547, 28555, 28574, 28582   -2.7%

Other counties can be found here.

If you’re worrying about being affected by the rate hike, Don said the best thing to do (right after you voice your opinion) is shop around. Take advantage of those companies that do not plan on adopting a rate hike. There are insurance providers that feel they already receive enough from their customers.

If you do shop around, please consider contacting our in-house insurance agent, Holly Angermeier, at (910) 332-1080 for a quote. Meghan Riley

When Selling Your Home, It Pays to Be Flexible!

by seacoast_ashley 20. January 2014 06:43

You worked hard tidying up the yard, de-cluttering your home’s interior, and giving it a fresh coat of paint. You even made those repairs you’d been putting off for a year. Then, you and your Realtor® settled on a competitive listing price for your home and he or she prepared some great marketing materials. Now, it’s been a month, showings have been few, and no offers have been made on the property. Agent Showing Home for Sale

What’s the problem?

The problem may be flexibility. When a home goes on the market, it needs to be seen to be sold. However, some sellers consistently put strict limits on when their home can be shown. Here are some examples:

  1. Never before noon.
  2. 48 hour notice required.
  3. Not between 8:00-9:00 a.m., 11:00-1:00 p.m., and 4:00-6:00 p.m. (all in one day).
  4. Never on the weekends.

While there can be some very good reasons for limiting showing options (the property is a vacation rental or the owner works nights), there can be some silly ones as well, like it’s the hour when Dr. Oz is on television.

If you’re limiting your time frame for scheduling, you need to be aware that you could be limiting the type of buyers who are able to see your home. For example, buyers often come into town on the weekends. If you don’t allow weekend showings, they won’t see your home. Even if those great marketing materials caught their eye and they’re sure your home would be perfect, they’ll likely choose to make an offer on the similar home around the corner that they were able to see.

You also don’t want to get caught up in the perfection trap. 48 hour notice may give you the time you need to clean the whole house, but maintaining the state of the home while it’s on the market and reducing the hours for notice will pay off quicker than trying to make the home look perfect. If you’ve done the right prep work, buyers will be able to look past a few dusty shelves. So, give yourself just enough time to pick up the toys scattered on the floor or to clean the dirty dishes in the sink, and let the home be shown.

Sometimes, limiting showings is the sacrifice you need to make when life circumstances make it difficult, but it's in your best interest to do what you can to get your home sold. If you have limits in place, but feel there may be some ways to make the showing schedule more flexible or are looking for ideas, speak to your Sea Coast agent. Our showing center has temporary showing options for days when your normal schedule may change and numerous ways to confirm appointments. Additionally, your agent can help facilitate showings under special circumstances, like when buyers are in town for only one day. They're here to help you sell your home, so don’t hesitate to ask for help.

If you don’t have an agent and have questions about putting your home on the market, feel free to Contact Us. We’ll connect you with an experienced agent who will be able to answer all your questions. Meghan Riley

January 2014 Coast In & Win Weekend!

by seacoast_ashley 15. January 2014 05:40

Open House Weekend Real Estate Coast In & Win

Have you heard about our “Coast In & Win Open House Weekend”? Here’s how it works:

Enter To Win $1000 Cash

Attend any of our open houses during our “Coast In & Win Open House Weekend” (every THIRD weekend of each month) to be entered to win a drawing each month.  One lucky winner will take home $1000! This is open to ALL of our open houses, from Southport to Jacksonville and everywhere in between.


Our open houses range from oceanfront homes in Carolina Beach and Oak Island, to sprawling ranches in Hampstead and Jacksonville. Here at Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, we’ve got a home for everyone!

Some of our previous “Coast In & Win Open House Weekend” winners include Casey Purcell, Tommy & Marty Younts, Anthony Craig, Rick Pearce and Lisa Brown.

YOU could be next! Come find your dream home with Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage!

(Oh, and don’t forget to follow us on TwitterFacebook and Google+ to stay updated in real time!)

Official Rules for Coast In & Win Promotion


2. Drawing will be held and the winner announced on the following Thursday after each Promotion (the “Promotion”) at the offices of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage – 1001 Military Cutoff Ste 101 Wilmington, NC 28405 – at or about 2:30 EST.

3. Drawing is open to all individuals who are residents of the U.S., are 18 years of age or older and who are registered in the Promotion. Employees and Agents of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage and their respective affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotions agencies involved in the promotion and their immediate family members and persons residing in the same household are not eligible.

4. You must be registered in the Promotion no later than 5:00 P.M. on the date of the Promotion to be eligible. For the purpose of registration and winning, each individual date of the Promotion shall be deemed a separate event so that registration for a prior promotion will not automatically register for the current or future promotions.

5. Only one entry per family per promotional property per promotional date. Registrants must provide either a daytime telephone number or email address to qualify for the prize drawing. Sponsor assumes no responsibility for lost, late, misdirected or incorrect entries, for malfunction of electronic equipment, computer hardware or software, problems related to transfer of registration information or other technical problems. All entries become the property of Sponsor and will not be returned.

6. Winner will be selected in a random drawing from all eligible entries actually received. The drawing will be conducted by Sponsor or its designee, under the supervision of Sponsor, the judge of the Promotion, whose decisions are final and binding in all respects. The winner will be announced at or about 2:30 p.m. EST. Winner will be notified by either telephone number or email address (or both) provided on form by winner. Initial notification will be deemed to have occurred at the time of any one or more of the following: a) 12 hours have passed after initial email transmission and Sponsor has received no delivery failure notifications from Winner’s email provider; b) time of voice message on any recording device used by Winner at phone number provided. Winner has seven (7) calendar days from initial notification attempt by Sponsor to accept prize. Acknowledgement of notification by Winner is deemed to have occurred when Winner notifies the Sponsor’s contest administrator at 910.799.3435

7. Winner will be required to appear in person at Sponsor’s corporate office (1001 Military Cutoff Ste 101 Wilmington, NC 28405) to accept prize and to sign an affidavit of eligibility and Liability/Publicity Release (except where prohibited) within ten (10) calendar days of prize notification but before receipt of prize or risk forfeiture of the prize. Winner agrees to be available for photography purposes at time of prize acceptance. Winner is responsible for all travel expenses incurred in appearing to accept prize. If winner is 18 or older, as required, but a minor in his or state of residence, winner’s parent or legal guardian must sign all required documents.

8. Prize: each Promotion event will award a prize of One Thousand Dollars and no cents ($1000.00). Odds of winning depend upon number of eligible entries received. Taxes, fees and all other expenses are the sole responsibility of the winner. Prize is not transferable. No prize substitution, except at Sponsor’s sole discretion. If prize become unavailable, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to award a prize of equal or greater value. Winner will be issued a 1099 tax form the value of the prize.

9. By accepting a prize, winner agrees: (i) to be bound by these Official Rules; (ii) that the decisions of the judges are final and binding; (iii) to use winner’s entry, name, likeness, photograph and any statements regarding the Promotion’s giveaways and prizes attributed to the winner for editorial, public relations, promotional and advertising purposes on behalf of Sponsor in all media worldwide, except if winner is a resident of Tennessee or otherwise prohibited by law and (iv) to release Sponsor, their parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, the service agencies and independent contractors of any of the above organizations and their respective directors, officers, employees and agents, including advertising and promotional agencies, from any and all liability, loss or damage arising out of their participation in the Promotion and with respect to the awarding, receipt, possession, use and/or misuse of any prize. Sponsor reserves the right to modify, suspend or terminate the Promotion, in its sole discretion, for any reason whatsoever including but not limited to, in the event it becomes infected by a computer virus or is otherwise technically impaired or in the event of any fraud by a participant or any other party. Subject to all federal, state and local laws and regulations. This Promotion is governed by the laws of the State of North Carolina, with venue in New Hanover County, North Carolina, and all claims must be resolved in the state and federal courts of Wilmington, North Carolina.

10. For winner’s name, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope for receipt not later than 10 calendar days after the award of any individual Promotion to:

Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage
1001 Military Cutoff Ste 101
Wilmington, NC 28405
Attn: David Benford

11. Sponsored by Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, 1001 Military Cutoff Ste 101 Wilmington, NC 28405

12. These Official Rules are available at www.SeaCoastRealty.com

Meghan Riley

New Waterfront Community! River Bluffs – Castle Hayne, NC

by seacoast_ashley 14. January 2014 05:17

View of Cape Fear River at River Bluffs River Bluffs, a new gated waterfront community along the Cape Fear River in Castle Hayne, is preparing for its inaugural property release scheduled to happen in March 2014. Located off Chair Road, the 313 acres being developed for the new community are full of beautiful hardwoods and amazing wildlife. 100 acres will be reserved for green space and nature preserves. Plus, with 3,000 feet of navigable river frontage, every resident will have direct access and plenty of gorgeous river views! 

In total, the community will have 750 single-family home sites with 221 available during phase 1. Homes will have southern architectural details (see example home rendering) and will be priced between $300,000 and $500,000 (lot included), and higher. Lots will range between 1/4 and 1/3 an acre, and will be landscaped with native plants. Most importantly, River Bluffs is a low-impact development utilizing techniques that prevent soil Example River Bluffs Homecontamination, poor water drainage, and excessive destruction of the surrounding ecosystem.

Recently, River Bluffs was approved for a 143 boat slip marina, of which 15 slips and a t-dock will be available during phase 1. The initial phase will also include a river club, riverside park, pool, general store, post office, boat ramp, and kayak launch. Later phases will include more parks, nature trails, a fitness center, and an organic farm that residents will be able to use.

For more information about River Bluffs, ask your Sea Coast real estate agent. Don’t have an agent? Contact River Bluff’s onsite agent, Meredith Jackson.


Meghan Riley

Buyer Tip: Don’t Forget Your Home Insurance!

by seacoast_ashley 13. January 2014 05:16

If you purchase a house with a home loan, you are required by the lender to secure insurance before your funds are finalized. This is to ensure that if something happens to the home, the bank’s investment will be covered. Not sure what that means? Basically, if the house burns down, insurance will give you a certain amount of money, depending on your plan, to help rebuild the home the bank has invested in and replace personal possessions lost in the fire. If the same house burns down and you don’t have insurance, the bank no longer has a product (the home) to sell in order to recoup the money they originally loaned. Of course, you, as a home owner, also want insurance. Not just because it will replace your personal possessions and pay for repairs when a home is damaged, but because you are still held responsible for the remainder of the loan, even if the house no longer exists. The same thing applies when you buy a car – even if you wreck your car leaving it un-driveable, you are still responsible paying off the remainder of any loan you took out to buy it. 

Don Bullard InsuranceTo make the buying process as easy as possible for our clients, Sea Coast has an in-house insurance agent of Don Bullard Insurance. Why is this any different than calling the 1-800 number on an insurance commercial or going online? When you call for a quote, you get a local agent. This can make a world of a difference when it comes to getting the best coverage and monthly payment, because she knows our area. Her office is also in the main branch of our company. For many agents, that means she’s a short walk away. So, when you or they have a question about your insurance, she can be reached. There’s no waiting on hold while your call is routed to an office in another state.

If you’re relocating to North Carolina, Noelle can help you with all of your insurance needs, because Don Bullard Insurance doesn’t just provide home insurance. They cover everything from auto to RV, and packaging insurance can often save you money. Noelle has helped many of our real estate agents get better rates on their own insurance.

Want more information? Ask your Sea Coast agent or give Noelle a call at (910) 202-4287.

States Where Americans Moved in 2013

by seacoast_ashley 10. January 2014 04:01


Where People Are Moving 2014On January 2nd, United Van Lines released its 37th Annual Migration Study, which tracks where their customers moved over the course of 1 year. The study revealed Oregon as the new number 1 state for inbound moves knocking Washington D.C. out of first place. After a 5 year reign, the capital fell to 4th place and tied with South Dakota.

Great news for North Carolina – our state came in at 3rd place for inbound moves. Home sellers should take note: for months, homes sold have outpaced homes listed and this is one reason why! If you’ve been thinking of selling, contact a Sea Coast agent to learn about your options.

As for the other side of the study, after over a decade of being on the outbound list, Michigan is no longer seeing a large movement of people leaving the state. It’s nowhere on the outbound list. 2013 saw New Jersey with the highest number of outbound moves. The Northeast, in general, saw the most outbound moves in the United States.

Graphic Courtesy of United Van Lines.


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