Will Interest Rate Increase Impact Spring Home Sales?

Will Interest Rate Increase Impact Spring Home Sales?

In mid-March, the Federal Reserve announced a .25% rate increase, the first of what is expected to be three small interest rate increases in 2017. According to NerdWallet, mortgage rates prior to the 2016 election were around 3.75%; after the election, rates began to inch upward in anticipation of rate increases by the Fed. For that reason, yesterday’s announcement did not cause an immediate jump in rates. Rates in North Carolina for a 30-year mortgage are currently around 4% (see current NC mortgage rates at Bankrate.com). Experts expect mortgage rates may be in the 4.6 to 4.8% range by the end of the year, though those estimates could be impacted by changes made by the current administration. Spring in North Carolina typically sees a jump in home sales. The rate increase is not expected to have a big impact on the market, but may cause potential buyers to re-evaluate the amount of house they can afford. Rates are not expected to decrease in 2017, so anyone looking to buy, sell or refinance may wish to do so early in the year. Seller’s Checklist Here are some things to remember if you are considering selling your home this spring: Look at your home with a “buyers eye.” The half-finished repair job that doesn’t bother you may detract buyers. If there are outstanding maintenance issues, take care of them before you put the house on the market. Clean and declutter to make your house look larger and better. Trim bushes, cut grass and spruce up your yard. A welcoming pot of flowers on the porch is always a good idea. Make...
Common Landlord-Tenant Concerns

Common Landlord-Tenant Concerns

By E. Drew Nelson, Attorney Home ownership rates in the United States reached an all-time high of 69.20% in 2004; while there have been a few upticks, there has been a gradual decline in home ownership over the past decade. During the fourth quarter of 2016, the average home ownership rate was 63.7%[1]. Some people rent because they cannot afford to purchase a home, while others do so for convenience – they may move frequently and like the flexibility of renting, or they may prefer having a landlord to handle all the maintenance and repairs on the property. Whether you are a tenant (also called the renter or lessee) or the landlord (the owner or lessor), having a signed lease agreement provides protection for both parties. If you will be renting a property from another party, here are some common things to look for: What is the term? Commonly leases may be for 12 months, but you may find leases that are written for shorter (or longer) terms, or operate on a month-to-month basis. What are the notice requirements? If you wish to terminate the lease or not to renew it, how much notice must you give to the other party? Can you terminate the lease verbally or via email, or do you have to sign a form at the rental office? Many leases have automatic renewal clauses, so you may end up obligated for another 12 months if you do not provide sufficient notice in the form the lease specifies. Are there extra costs involved? A friend leased an apartment that required all tenants to pay for valet...
Real Estate Title Search FAQs

Real Estate Title Search FAQs

Our real estate attorneys often get questions about the need for a title search (and the related expense). We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions about title searches / title examinations. Q: Why should I get a title search by an attorney when purchasing residential or commercial real estate? A: For most people, real estate transactions involve large dollar amounts. As a buyer, you want to do everything possible to protect yourself in these types of transactions. There are a number of reasons to have a title examination: Need to identify whether there are existing deeds of trust, judgment liens, tax liens, past due county taxes or other liens of record that interfere with a purchaser getting clear title for the property; Need to identify whether the seller is competent to transfer title or contract for the sale of the property; Need to identify whether there are any restrictive covenants that outline or restrict the use of the land; Need to identify whether there is a homeowners’ association, and whether there are dues or potential obligations that may arise with the ownership of the property; May identify a recorded survey or plat, which may assist a purchaser in visualizing the boundaries of the property or any established easements and right of ways for the property; May identify any easements and right of ways that the property is subject to, or easements and right of ways that benefit the use of the property; Determines who the parties are that need to join in the execution of a deed to convey all interest, right and title to the property...
What Do I Need to Know About Renting (or Renting Out) a House?

What Do I Need to Know About Renting (or Renting Out) a House?

By Gary J. Bowers, Attorney at Law In North Carolina, many people are connected to the residential rental world. Most individuals rent an apartment or house before purchasing a home, and even parents with a child in college who is renting a place to live off campus find themselves with residential landlord/tenant questions. On the other side of things, some people have investment properties that they lease, and some have inherited an older home they desire to fix up and rent to supplement their income. Do you need an attorney for these transactions? Below are some instances that may offer a direction for both tenants and landlords of when to seek legal counsel. Instances when a residential tenant should consider consulting with a legal professional: Written lease agreements can be complex and may contain clauses that strongly favor the landlord. I recommend the tenant consult a legal professional to review and explain the provisions of the written lease agreement before signing it; For assistance with notice to the landlord for repairs, with notice of the tenant’s intention to vacate the premises, and with notice of the tenant’s intention to terminate a lease; While leasing the premises, the tenant encounters an issue with the leased premises that makes the premises uninhabitable or not suitable for living; If the tenant receives a notice for past due rents or notice to vacate, and has questions about the proper procedure or his/her rights; and If the tenant has questions regarding the status of his/her security deposit. Instances when a residential landlord should consider consulting with a legal professional: If you, as the landlord,...
Gary Bowers to Present Landlord-Tenant Seminar

Gary Bowers to Present Landlord-Tenant Seminar

Lexington, NC – Local attorney Gary Bowers of Brinkley Walser Stoner will speak at the Women’s Resource Center of Greensboro on Tuesday, September 15 on Understanding Landlord – Tenant Legal Issues. The event is free and open to the public. “Lease agreements can be lengthy and confusing,” says Bowers. “Many people sign them without reading and understanding the details. I’m pleased to be able to share some of the basics and answer questions individuals may have – whether they are landlords or tenants.” The session will cover topics regarding lease agreements, security deposits, summary ejectment and other Landlord-Tenant law issues. Bowers will conclude with a question and answer session. The event is open to women and men ages 18 and over. It is free, however registration is required. The seminar is scheduled for 9/15/15 from 5:00 – 6:45 p.m. at the Women’s Resource Center of Greensboro, 628 Summit Avenue, Greensboro, NC 27405. Childcare is not provided. Please register by calling (336) 275-6090. Brinkley Walser Stoner prides itself on providing new and cutting edge legal counsel built on a foundation of knowledge and integrity. Brinkley Walser Stoner’s attorneys are first and foremost counselors, advising clients on their legal rights and options for appropriate solutions. Practice areas include business law, real estate, litigation, elder law, estate planning, injury and disability, criminal defense, traffic and DWI, banking, family law, municipal, governmental, and education law, among others. Brinkley Walser Stoner is an AV rated firm by Martindale-Hubble®. The firm has offices at 10 LSB Plaza in Lexington and in the First Citizen’s Building, 620 Green Valley Road, Suite 306, in Greensboro. Visit Brinkley...
What Does the Closing Attorney Do?

What Does the Closing Attorney Do?

By Gary Bowers, Attorney Whether buying a house or refinancing your existing mortgage, you the purchaser/borrower may ask what is the role of the closing attorney? There are five primary functions handled by the closing attorney during a real estate transaction: Title examination: The purchaser and lender will both want a clear title for the property. Upon receipt of a real estate purchase agreement or a request from a bank or mortgage broker, the closing attorney will begin to check the title to the property being sold. The title examination is for the purchaser and the lender to evaluate title to the real estate. The purchaser will need to know whether there are certain restrictions to use, easements, encroachments or whether the title is marketable and clear for the seller to transfer to purchaser. The closing attorney will identify any existing mortgages against the real estate that will need to be satisfied at closing in order to transfer good title. The lender will want to have an overview of what liens, judgments and mortgages, if any, exist that must be addressed prior to or at closing so it can secure a 1st lien position on the real estate. Also, the title examination provides the lender’s underwriters with opportunity to raise concern with the status of the title. Title insurance: Title insurance protects the purchaser and the lender in the event a future problem is found with the title. Once the title examination is completed, the closing attorney prepares an opinion on the title that is offered to a title company for the issuance of a title binder, which is...