Luxury Stunner in Winston Salem!

1385 Pheasant Lane-2-edit.jpg

1385 Pheasant Lane  |  Winston Salem

Absolutely stunning estate home sits on almost an acre in the prestigious Mill House Place gated community. Walking into this palatial home feels like one is stepping into a luxury resort, perfectly appointed, and features: 14 foot coiffured ceilings, a phenomenal chefs kitchen, main level master suite with spa-like amenities including his/her closets,temp-controlled bath floor, 3-car main level garage. Other distinctive traits include: an incredible lower level terrace equally as lovely as the main level.

http://bit.ly/1385PheasantLn 

Just Listed in Crow Hill!

5305 Mercia-1.jpg

5305 Mercia Court  |  Winston Salem

Majestic brick 2 story home in Crow Hill! Located on a large wooded lot, close to shopping, restaurants and only minutes to downtown Winston Salem! Stunning open and airy rooms flow perfectly for entertaining. Chef's kitchen with double ovens and stainless steel appliances. Amazing main level master with sitting area! Attention to details with  built-ins, mouldings, tray ceilings, plantation shutters and so much more! Main level 3 car garage. Relax on the comfortable deck overlooking a park-like setting! 

http://bit.ly/5305MerciaCt 

Spring Cleaning Organization Tips

shutterstock_380743111-700x473.jpg

As you clean your home to prepare for the spring season, you may be feeling overwhelmed. Organizing the process can alleviate your angst as well as streamline the process to finish quickly. Follow these simple tips to organize your spring cleaning efforts.

Create a kit  Fill a bucket with basic cleaning essentials such as all-purpose and glass-cleaning sprays, sponges, towels and other items you might find useful. This will allow you to transport all your supplies around your home as you clean. 

Use a checklist  Create a checklist for the spring cleaning tasks that you wish to tackle. This will not only prepare you to complete your cleaning in a timely manner, but it will also help you understand everything that needs to be done. 

Determine focus areas – Determine focus areas to clean. These can be tasks such as decluttering or dusting, or cleaning surfaces such as textile furniture or countertops. Creating these focuses will allow you to streamline your cleaning efforts for a faster finish.

Contributed by Ashley McKenzie-Sharpe  

Phone: 336-748-4599    |    ashleym@fairwaymc.com

Rising Prices Help You Build Your Family’s Wealth

20180417-Share-STM.jpg

Over the next five years, home prices are expected to appreciate, on average, by 3.6% per year and to grow by 18.2% cumulatively, according to Pulsenomics’ most recent Home Price Expectation Survey.

So, what does this mean for homeowners and their equity position?

As an example, let’s assume a young couple purchased and closed on a $250,000 home this January. If we only look at the projected increase in the price of that home, how much equity will they earn over the next 5 years?

20180417-STM-ENG.jpeg

Since the experts predict that home prices will increase by 5.0% in 2018, the young homeowners will have gained $12,500 in equity in just one year.

Over a five-year period, their equity will increase by over $48,000! This figure does not even take into account their monthly principal mortgage payments. In many cases, home equity is one of the largest portions of a family’s overall net worth.

Bottom Line

Not only is homeownership something to be proud of, but it also offers you and your family the ability to build equity you can borrow against in the future. If you are ready and willing to buy, find out if you are able to today!

A Tale of Two Markets

Two-Markets-STM-ENG-1046x1354.jpg

Some Highlights:

  • A trend that has been emerging for some time now is the contrast between inventory & demand in the Premium & Luxury Markets vs. the Starter & Trade-Up Home Markets and what that’s, in turn, doing to prices!
  • Inventory continues to rise in the luxury & premium home markets which is causing prices to cool.
  • Demand continues to rise with low inventory in the starter & trade-up home markets, causing prices to rise!

What Is Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)?

20180410-Share-STM.jpg

When it comes to buying a home, whether it is your first time or your fifth, it is always important to know all the facts. With the large number of mortgage programs available that allow buyers to purchase homes with down payments below 20%, you can never have too much information about Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).

What is PMI?

Freddie Mac defines PMI as:

“An insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage. It’s a monthly fee, rolled into your mortgage payment, that is required for all conforming, conventional loans that have down payments less than 20%.

Once you’ve built equity of 20% in your home, you can cancel your PMI and remove that expense from your mortgage payment.”

As the borrower, you pay the monthly premiums for the insurance policy, and the lender is the beneficiary. Freddie Mac goes on to explain that:

“The cost of PMI varies based on your loan-to-value ratio – the amount you owe on your mortgage compared to its value – and credit score, but you can expect to pay between $30 and $70 per month for every $100,000 borrowed.” 

According to the National Association of Realtors, the average down payment for all buyers last year was 10%. For first-time buyers, that number dropped to 5%, while repeat buyers put down 14% (no doubt aided by the sale of their homes). This just goes to show that for a large number of buyers last year, PMI did not stop them from buying their dream homes.

Here’s an example of the cost of a mortgage on a $200,000 home with a 5% down payment & PMI, compared to a 20% down payment without PMI:

20180410-STM-ENG.jpg

The larger the down payment you can make, the lower your monthly housing cost will be, but Freddie Mac urges you to remember:

“It’s no doubt an added cost, but it’s enabling you to buy now and begin building equity versus waiting 5 to 10 years to build enough savings for a 20% down payment.”

Bottom Line

If you have questions about whether you should buy now or wait until you’ve saved a larger down payment, let’s get together to discuss our market’s conditions and help you make the best decision for you and your family.

Spring Cleaning Tips for a Sparkling Home

shutterstock_184215752-700x467.jpg

Spring is here, and there is no better time to break out those cleaning supplies and give your home a deep scrub. Spring cleaning is a terrific way to revitalize your home’s interior! The best first step is to declutter all areas and throw away or donate things that you no longer need. Follow these simple spring cleaning ideas that will leave your home sparkling:

Cabinets – Over time, your kitchen and bathroom cabinets can collect buildup from grease, hair products and other residue. While you may not be able to see this buildup, you will certainly be able to tell a difference when it is gone. To safely clean your cabinet doors, use a “cabinet cream” that will remove grime and leave the wood moisturized.

Refrigerator – If you have a stainless steel refrigerator, use a wax-based aerosol spray to make the surface shine. For the interior, remove all shelving and clean with soap and water. Use a sponge or warm cloth to wipe down all interior surfaces that can’t be removed, and then put all shelves back in their place. This will give you a good opportunity to organize the contents of the refrigerator and maybe even discover some things you didn’t know were hiding. A box of baking soda will help neutralize any odors, as well.

Oven – Begin by removing any loose pieces of burnt food that may be stuck to the interior of your oven. For any pieces that cannot be easily removed, try spraying them with ammonia. For the interior surfaces, sprinkle baking soda and add a small amount of vinegar. Then, let the mixture bubble, and remove with a sponge.

Hardwood Floors – While many people mop their hardwood floors weekly, this can actually damage the floors. Every month, try using a wet mop. Dry cleaning methods such as sweeping and using a Swiffer should be utilized weekly. For a deep clean of your hardwoods, use a wood-cleaning product, but make sure to dilute according to the directions.

Carpet – Begin deep cleaning your carpets by vacuuming to remove any dust and dirt particles. Next, you will need to shampoo using a carpet cleaner. These can be rented hourly from most local hardware stores, or you can hire a professional to come in and clean.

Tiled Surfaces – Bathroom floors, showers, kitchen backsplashes and other tiled surfaces can become grimy and accumulate mildew. Tile is best cleaned with a cleaner labeled as “neutral pH.” For grout, use a water and baking soda cleaning solution.

Contributed by Ashley McKenzie-Sharpe  

Phone: 336-748-4599    |    ashleym@fairwaymc.com

Boomerang Buyers: Most Qualify for Financing in 2-3 Years

20180404-Share-STM.jpg

According to a new study from Lending Tree, Americans who have filed for bankruptcy may be able to rebuild enough credit to qualify for a home loan in as little as 2-3 years.

This is in stark contrast to the belief that many have that they need to wait 7-10 years for their bankruptcies to clear from their credit reports before attempting to apply for either a mortgage or a personal or auto loan.

The study analyzed over one million loan applications for mortgages, personal, and auto loans and compared borrowers who had a bankruptcy on their credit report vs. those who did not to find out the “Cost of Bankruptcy.”

The study found that 43.2% of Americans who filed bankruptcy were able to repair their credit back to a 640 FICO® Score in less than a year. The percentage of those who achieved a 640 FICO® Score increased to nearly 75% after 5 years. The full breakdown of the findings was used to create the chart below.

20180404-STM-ENG1.jpeg

Americans who were able to repair their credit scores to a range of 720-739 within three years of filing were able to obtain the same financing options as those who had never filed bankruptcy.

According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, 53.5% of those who were approved for a home loan had FICO® Scores between 600-749 last month. This is great news for Americans who are looking to re-enter the housing market.

20180404-STM-ENG2.jpeg

Raj Patel, Lending Tree’s Director of Credit Restoration & Debt-Related Services had this to say:

“People may think that filing a bankruptcy would put you out of the loan market for seven to ten years, but this study shows that it is possible to rebuild your credit to a good credit quality.”

“LendingTree’s research found that very few bankruptcy filers have a harder time [obtaining a mortgage] than those who have not filed for bankruptcy.”

Bottom Line

If you are one of the millions of Americans who has filed for bankruptcy and think that you have to wait 7-10 years to make your dream of returning to homeownership a reality, let’s get together to find out if you qualify now.

Just Listed in Kinderton!

Brookstone_Just Listed.jpg

164 Brookstone Drive  |  Bermuda Run

Amazing offering in Kinderton! This stunning home located on a prime large cul-de-sac lot with a water view - located near Davie Medical Center, shopping and restaurants! Open floor plan flows perfectly for entertaining. The spacious main level master bedroom has a lovely tray ceiling and fireplace! New carpet in master, new HVAC system. Relax outside in the backyard gazebo or use the pool and other neighborhood amenities! This is the one you have been looking for!

http://bit.ly/164BrookstoneDr 

Just Listed in Greenbrier Farm!

Wing Haven_Just Listed.jpg

110 Wing Haven |  Winston Salem

Elegant 4 BR/4.5 BA home in beautiful popular Greenbrier Farm offers charm and class from the moment you arrive.  Home features generously sized kitchen and great room, main level master bedroom, craft room, walkout basement. Stunning mechanic's garage! Relax on the screened-in porch overlooking amazing professionally landscaped backyard or enjoy the amenity of the neighborhood pool.

http://bit.ly/110WingHavenCir 

Under Contract!

UnderContract_Fallbrook.jpg

1025 Fallbrook Lane  |  Lewisville

Lovely 2-story home in popular Arbor Run presents a warm and inviting place to call home. Features include elegant living and dining areas, recently updated kitchen, spacious master suite with gorgeous trey ceiling and master bath w/jetted tub and separate shower. Gorgeous millwork and mouldings throughout. Walk up attic for extra storage! Finished basement area would make a great recreation room, playroom or office. Relax on the back deck overlooking a beautiful backyard with fence!

http://bit.ly/1025FallbrookLn 

UnderContract_NorthField.jpg

145 North Field Drive |  Bermuda Run

Adorable meticulously-kept 3 BR / 2 BA ranch located close to hospital, restaurants, and the bustling town of Clemmons! Abundant natural light accents the bright & airy open living area with vaulted ceilings. Open kitchen with lots of storage! Snuggle up in front of the fireplace on cool nights or relax outside in the beautiful private patio area on those warmers days. 

http://bit.ly/145NFieldDr

Just Listed!

145 North Field_Just Listed.jpg

145 North Field Drive |  Bermuda Run

Adorable meticulously-kept 3 BR / 2 BA ranch located close to hospital, restaurants, and the bustling town of Clemmons! Abundant natural light accents the bright & airy open living area with vaulted ceilings. Open kitchen with lots of storage! Snuggle up in front of the fireplace on cool nights or relax outside in the beautiful private patio area on those warmers days. Hurry! This one won't last long!

http://bit.ly/145NFieldDr 

Buyer Demand Still Outpacing the Supply of Homes for Sale

20170327-Share-STM.jpg

The price of any item is determined by the supply of that item, as well as market demand. The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) surveys “over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions” for their monthly REALTORS Confidence Index.

Their latest edition sheds some light on the relationship between Seller Traffic (supply) and Buyer Traffic (demand).

Buyer Demand

The map below was created after asking the question: “How would you rate buyer traffic in your area?”

20180327-STM-ENG1.jpeg

The darker the blue, the stronger the demand for homes in that area. Only four states had a ‘stable’ demand level.

Seller Supply

The index also asked: “How would you rate seller traffic in your area?”

As you can see from the map below, 25 states reported ‘weak’ seller traffic, 21 states reported ‘stable’ seller traffic, 3 states and Washington D.C. reported ‘strong’ seller traffic, and only 1 state reported ‘very strong’ seller traffic. This means there are far fewer homes on the market than what is needed to satisfy the buyers who are out looking for their dream homes.

20180327-STM-ENG2.jpeg

Bottom Line

Looking at the maps above, it is not hard to see why prices are appreciating in many areas of the country. Until the supply of homes for sale starts to meet buyer demand, prices will continue to increase. If you are debating listing your home for sale, let’s get together to help you capitalize on the demand in the market now!

Just Listed in Sherwood Forest!

4010 Loyelisa Ct_Just Listed.jpg

4010 Loyelisa Court  |  Sherwood Forest  |  Winston Salem

This breathtaking custom home sits on a private park like setting in lovely Sherwood Forest. The luxury buyer will appreciate the attention to detail including custom stone fireplace and 300 year old reclaimed hardwood floors. This home boasts warm and inviting oversized rooms - perfect for entertaining! Large chef's kitchen is a gourmet's dream! Enjoy the comfortable screen porch or cozy up to the outdoor fireplace on those cooler nights. Plenty of room for storage or future additions. 

http://bit.ly/4010LoyelisaCt 

5 Reasons Why to Sell This Spring!

20170326-Share-STM.jpg

Here are five reasons listing your home for sale this spring makes sense.

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase…and are in the market right now! More often than not, multiple buyers are competing with each other to buy a home.

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing inventory has declined year over year for the last 32 months and is still under the 6-month supply needed for a normal housing market. This means that, in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in the market. This is good news for homeowners who have gained equity as their home values have increased. However, additional inventory could be coming to the market soon.

Historically, the average number of years a homeowner stayed in their home was six but has hovered between nine and ten years since 2011. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners will be given the freedom to move.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until this other inventory comes to market before you decide to sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Today’s competitive environment has forced buyers to do all they can to stand out from the crowd, including getting pre-approved for their mortgage financing. This makes the entire selling process much faster and much simpler as buyers know exactly what they can afford before home shopping. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, the average time it took to close a loan was 45 days.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If your next move will be into a premium or luxury home, now is the time to move up! The inventory of homes for sale at these higher price ranges has forced these markets into a buyer’s market. This means that if you are planning on selling a starter or trade-up home, your home will sell quickly, AND you’ll be able to find a premium home to call your own!

Prices are projected to appreciate by 4.8% over the next year according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

5. It’s Time to Move on With Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

Are You Aware of How Much Equity You Have in Your Home? You May Be Surprised!

20180320-Share-STM 2.jpg

CoreLogic’s latest Equity Report revealed that 675,000 US homeowners regained positive equity in their homes in 2017. This is great news for the country, as 95.1% of all mortgaged properties are now in a positive equity situation.

U.S homeowners with mortgages (roughly 63% of all the properties) have seen their equity increase by a total of $908.4 billion since the fourth quarter 2016, an increase of 12.2%, year over year.”

Price Appreciation = Good News for Homeowners

Frank Nothaft, CoreLogic’s Chief Economist, explains:

Home-price growth has been the primary driver of home-equity wealth creation. The CoreLogic Home Price Index grew 6.2 percent during 2017. The largest calendar-year increase since 2013. Likewise, the average growth in home equity was more than $15,000 during 2017, the most in four years.”

He also believes this is a great sign for the market in 2018, saying:

“Because wealth gains spur additional consumer purchases, the rise in home-equity wealth during 2017 should add more than $50 billion to U.S. consumption spending over the next two to three years.”  

This is great news for homeowners! But, do they realize that their equity position has changed?

A study by Fannie Mae suggests that many homeowners are not aware that they have regained equity in their homes as their investment has increased in value. For example, their study showed that 23% of Americans still believe their home is in a negative equity position when, in actuality, CoreLogic’s report shows that only 4.9% of homes are in that position (down from 6.3% in Q4 2016).

The study also revealed that only 37% of Americans believe that they have “significant equity” (greater than 20%) when in actuality, 83% do!

20180320-STM-ENG 2.jpeg

This means that 46% of Americans with a mortgage fail to realize the opportune situation they are in. With a sizeable equity position, many homeowners could easily move into a house (either larger or smaller) that better meets their current needs.

Fannie Mae spoke out on this issue in their report:

“Homeowners who underestimate their homes’ values not only underestimate their home equity, they also likely underestimate 1) how large a down payment they could make with their home equity, 2) their chances of qualifying for mortgages, and, therefore, 3) their opportunities for selling their current homes and for buying different homes.”

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many Americans who is unsure of how much equity you have built in your home, don’t let that be the reason you fail to move on to your dream home in 2018! Let’s get together to evaluate your situation!

Open Houses for Sunday, March 18th

100 Rosedown Ct._Open House.jpg

100 Rosedown Court | Winston Salem

Greenbrier Farm executive home sits on a hard to find flat fenced lot! Fabulous great room is an entertainer's delight with lovely arch windows and built-ins. A main level bedroom could be used as a home office complete with a full bath. The master bedroom suite, on the upper level, is huge with new flooring. Walkout basement & 5th BR/bath complete this wonderful home. Neighborhood amentities include trails, pool, ponds stocked with fish and more! 

http://bit.ly/100RosedownCt  

1025 Fallbrook_Open House.jpg

1025 Fallbrook Lane  |  Lewisville

Lovely 2-story home in popular Arbor Run presents a warm and inviting place to call home. Features include elegant living and dining areas, recently updated kitchen, spacious master suite with gorgeous trey ceiling and master bath w/jetted tub and separate shower. Gorgeous millwork and mouldings throughout. Walk up attic for extra storage! Finished basement area would make a great recreation room, playroom or office. Relax on the back deck overlooking a beautiful backyard with fence!

http://bit.ly/1025FallbrookLn 

104 Brampton Court_Open House.jpg

104 Brampton Court  |  Winston Salem

Don't miss seeing this Allerton Place beauty that is move-in ready! Immaculate with neutral finishes throughout awaiting your personal decor style. Kitchen island, beautiful sunroom, master bedroom with ensuite w/sep garden tub and shower. Updates throughout this 4BR, 3.5BA home with large basement room and nice deck and patio area overlooking backyard.  

http://bit.ly/104BramptonCt

To Survey Property or Not to Survey Property

AdobeStock_35870519.jpeg

First a little information on the different types of surveys.  The most common type of survey when purchasing property is a location survey.  This includes the boundaries of a property according to the description in the recorded deed, along with any improvements within the boundaries, such as the house, outside buildings, fences, streets and drives.  A map showing the boundaries and improvements within the boundaries is prepared and any missing corner markers are replaced. It will also address the issue of whether the property is in a flood plain.   Some other types of surveys are topographic surveys, site planning surveys, subdivision surveys, construction surveys and GPS surveys.

The cost of surveys will vary and is influenced by factors including, but not limited to size and shape, density of property, etc.

The only persons who may legally perform a valid survey in NC are those who are actively licensed by the NC Board of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors.

Why have a survey?  Buyers who order a survey can, for a relatively small price, have peace of mind concerning boundaries rather than relying on the sellers or  third party statements regarding property lines.  As a Realtor, I always recommend to buyer clients that they obtain a survey, but the ultimate decision rests with the buyer or the buyer’s mortgage lender.

Contributed by Carol Hudson

Broker-in-Charge, Karin Head Realty

7 Factors to Consider When Choosing A Home to Retire In

20180314-Share-STM.jpg

As more and more baby boomers enter retirement age, the question of whether or not to sell their homes and move will become a hot topic. In today’s housing market climate, with low available inventory in the starter and trade-up home categories, it makes sense to evaluate your home’s ability to adapt to your needs in retirement.

According to the National Association of Exclusive Buyers Agents (NAEBA), there are 7 factors that you should consider when choosing your retirement home.

1. Affordability

“It may be easy enough to purchase your home today but think long-term about your monthly costs. Account for property taxes, insurance, HOA fees, utilities – all the things that will be due whether or not you have a mortgage on the property.

Would moving to a complex with homeowner association fees actually be cheaper than having to hire all the contractors you would need to maintain your home, lawn, etc.? Would your taxes go down significantly if you relocated? What is your monthly income going to be like in retirement?

2. Equity

“If you have equity in your current home, you may be able to apply it to the purchase of your next home. Maintaining a healthy amount of home equity gives you a source of emergency funds to tap, via a home equity loan or reverse mortgage.”

The equity you have in your current home may be enough to purchase your retirement home with little to no mortgage. Homeowners in the US gained an average of over $14,000 in equity last year.

3. Maintenance

“As we age, our tolerance for cleaning gutters, raking leaves and shoveling snow can go right out the window. A condominium with low-maintenance needs can be a literal lifesaver, if your health or physical abilities decline.”

As we mentioned earlier, would a condo with an HOA fee be worth the added peace of mind of not having to do the maintenance work yourself?

4. Security

“Elderly homeowners can be targets for scams or break-ins. Living in a home with security features, such as a manned gate house, resident-only access and a security system can bring peace of mind.”

As scary as that thought may be, any additional security and an extra set of eyes looking out for you always adds to peace of mind.

5. Pets

“Renting won’t do if the dog can’t come too! The companionship of pets can provide emotional and physical benefits.”

Evaluate all of your options when it comes to bringing your ‘furever’ friend with you to a new home. Will there be necessary additional deposits if you are renting or in a condo? Is the backyard fenced in? How far are you from your favorite veterinarian?

6. Mobility

“No one wants to picture themselves in a wheelchair or a walker, but the home layout must be able to accommodate limited mobility.”

Sixty is the new 40, right? People are living longer and are more active in retirement, but that doesn’t mean that down the road you won’t need your home to be more accessible. Installing handrails and making sure your hallways and doorways are wide enough may be a good reason to look for a home that was built to accommodate these needs.

7. Convenience

“Is the new home close to the golf course, or to shopping and dining? Do you have amenities within easy walking distance? This can add to home value!”

How close are you to your children and grandchildren? Would relocating to a new area make visits with family easier or more frequent? Beyond being close to your favorite stores and restaurants, there are a lot of factors to consider.

Bottom Line

When it comes to your forever home, evaluating your current house for its ability to adapt with you as you age can be the first step to guaranteeing your comfort in retirement. If after considering all these factors you find yourself curious about your options, let’s get together to evaluate your ability to sell your house in today’s market and get you into your dream retirement home!