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Three Things You Should Know Before Buying A House

Three Things You Should Know Before Buying A House

Ryan V. McNeill Buying a home is exciting, but the process is not always easy. There are expected and unexpected issues that may arise before, during and after the home buying process starts. Is now the right time to buy a home? What is a good amount for a down payment?  Should I buy now or wait? These are questions to consider before you move forward. No matter where you are living in North Carolina understanding these  three things will help you during the home buying process: Know Your Credit Score First things first! Your credit score plays an essential role in determining how you approach buying a home.  It reveals a lot about your income, debt, and potential to repay the mortgage. In a perfect world everyone would have high credit scores and qualify for everything, but that is not the way the world works. USNews.com shows some approximate credit scores mortgage companies look for to decide if a buyer will be approved for a specific loan. In some cases, like with Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans, borrowers with low credit scores have higher down payments. While your credit score is an important part of the home buying process that are other factors that control when and where you purchase a home. 2. Know Your Budget Now that you have your credit in check its time talk about a budget. All home buyers need a budget. After you factor in down payments, inspections, homeowner’s insurance, closing costs and other expenses, everything starts to add up. Things to take into consideration for your budget Gross pay (what you take...
Buying & Selling Homes

Buying & Selling Homes

Expect a Busy Spring on the Real Estate Front Research shows May and June are the busiest months for home sales. If you plan to buy or sell in 2019, here’s what the market experts are predicting: Interest rates will edge up a little higher. For many buyers, this will not be a deciding factor, but for those on the edge, it may force them to lower their expectations or wait to buy.Buyers will have more inventory to choose from than they did in 2018, but homes may take longer to sell, and sellers may not get multiple offers.Millennials are expected to be the largest group of buyers, accounting for 45% of mortgages. Many, but not all, will be first time home buyers. Expect this group to start their home search online. If you are selling a home, the online presence (high quality photos or a video tour) will be very important. They may also prefer homes in walkable neighborhoods.Home prices last year increased faster than incomes. This, combined with the interest rate increase, means affordability will remain an issue, especially for first time home buyers. They may need to look at smaller homes, townhouses, or manufactured housing.The new tax laws related to real estate may impact some buy/sell decisions for those with bigger mortgages and people living in states with high tax rates. Buying or selling a home can be an exciting time for many people. Understand that the process can take a little time. Buyers may not find a home they love on their first outing, while sellers may expect their beloved home to prompt an immediate...
Should You Buy or Lease Space for Your Business?

Should You Buy or Lease Space for Your Business?

Whether you own or manage an existing business or are considering a new start-up, you will likely need to decide whether to buy or lease space for your business. Commercial property transactions can be complex, and there are a myriad of things to consider before you make this decision. The search process can be intimidating, overwhelming and sometimes oversimplified. One recommendation I often provide to clients at this stage is to consider hiring a licensed real estate broker (experienced in commercial sales and leases) to serve as your agent in the search to purchase or lease. Where to Start in the Buy or Lease Decision The size and type of business you operate will be your starting point. Many small businesses are home-based with no need for an office or store front. If you are starting small and all your employees can work virtually, you may be able to delay your buy/lease decision and save some money. Even if you need to rent space monthly or quarterly for face-to-face meetings, this may be less expensive than obtaining permanent space. If your business will have customers coming to you (retail, restaurants, etc.), or if you need specialized equipment (i.e., manufacturing space or an IT server farm), then you will need to decide the best options to meet the needs of your business today and in the near future. 5 Things to Consider Whether you buy or lease space, location is critical. This will differ by type of business; for example, if you are opening a restaurant, you will likely want a busy location, visible from the road, with easy parking...
Technology and the Real Estate Closing

Technology and the Real Estate Closing

There is no doubt that technology and modern conveniences touch almost every aspect of our lives. The modern day consumer can purchase almost anything online, and with regard to a real estate loan closing our television promotes how easy it is to apply for a loan online or to close on your loan “faster than a speeding bullet.” At what point must the consumer ask the question, “What quality is being compromised for the sake of instantaneous gratification?” We suggest that real estate closings, loan closings and particularly title examinations involved in assuring those acquiring real estate are not to be compromised for the sake of speed and desire to be finished. Speed is not always synonymous with quality and correctness. In my years practicing law in North Carolina, and my years prior to practice assisting attorneys with real estate closings and completing title searches, I have encountered both simple title examinations and extremely complex title examinations. The complexity of the title exam does not discriminate due to the amount of the purchase price, whether it is a cash closing or financed through a loan. Despite the fact that many counties have conveniently provided public records for searching on the internet, every title is different and the time is different. This can be taken for granted by the seller, the realtor, the lender, the buyer, attorneys that do not engage in many real estate transactions, and by your friend who had a transaction that went smoothly in the past. For a title searcher with the goal of performing their task correctly, his or her goal going in is to...
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...