Carolina Plantations Real Estate Blog

Universal Design Concept Evolves

Oak Island real estateThe phrase “Universal Design” refers to a wide range of architectural and construction ideas and products aimed at producing residential homes that are optimally accessible to both the able-bodied and the physically disabled.

Universal design elements include such things as:

•    No-step entry doorways
•    Homes without stairs
•    Wide doorways (32"-36") and hallways (36"-42")
•    Pull handles instead of knobs on cabinetry
•    Under-cabinet lighting
•    Closets with adjustable rods and pullout shelving
•    Lever door handles instead of knobs
•    Walk-in showers and bath tubs

The “universal design” concept evolved from earlier “barrier-free” concepts, the broader accessibility movement, and adaptive and assistive technology. Universal design seeks to blend aesthetics as well as functionality into products.

As life expectancy increases and modern medicine increases the survival rate of persons with significant injuries and illnesses, there is a growing interest in universal design by many forward-thinking architects, home builders and remodelers.

More homes are now being built with “universal design” features that will help baby-boomers stay in their homes as they age. Perhaps the most interesting facet of the “universal design” concept is how quickly younger families are beginning to ask for such “ease-of-use” features in the homes they are considering building or buying.

We have some beautiful Oak Island real estate in North Carolina. Give us a call at Carolina Plantations and we’ll show you available properties. We’re sure to have Oak Island real estate that will meet your needs for now and for long range.

Selling a Home in the Off-Season

Southport real estateNot everyone who relocates to the coastal area of North Carolina has the luxury of buying a home while they are here during the summer when the appeal of our coastal lifestyle is most obvious. If you need to sell a home or condominium during the off-season, there will still be buyers. You just may need to put a little more effort and creativity into the task of selling your home during this time.

Everyone who has ever sold a home has heard the usual advice: Find a good agent, be aware of local home values, remove personal items and de-clutter the home. Touch up the paint, remove old wallpaper, be out of the home during showings, and keep your pet out of the way. That is all good advice, but it’s not always enough. You may need to go a few “extra miles” to achieve success, however if you’re selling a home in the off-season.

Keep these five things in mind from the moment you start planning to sell your home:

1. Know Your Bottom Line: If you need to sell quickly, stay ahead of the market by pricing your home a bit lower than the comparable homes.

2. Get Involved: Just because you’re working with a realtor doesn’t mean you can’t do some of your own leg-work. Internet-based social media sites have opened limitless new strategies to sell your home. Consider using sites like Craigslist, Facebook, Flickr, Zillow and YouTube.

3. Accept Outside Services: Take advantage of a wide range of services, that could help you streamline the buying and selling process such as a home “staging” service that can help you show your home at its best.

4. Sweeten the Deal:  Sometimes it takes some out-of-the-box ideas to seal a deal. You might sweeten the pot by offering to pay some or all of a buyer’s moving expenses, for example.

5. Be Flexible: Home sellers should be willing to make concessions, especially in the off-season. That means not haggling over minor repairs or refusing to leave behind the chandelier your potential buyer loves.

If you have Southport real estate that you want to sell or you’re interested in looking at Southport real estate give us a call at Carolina Plantations and we’d be happy to talk over your needs and desires in detail with you.

The Right Investment Choice

Carolina Shores real estateBeautiful North Carolina and its Carolina Shores real estate has become the retirement destination for many. The comfortably moderate winters and warm summer climate are delightful alternatives to the harsh Northern temperatures. Famous nearby Sunset Beach and Myrtle Beach, plentiful state parks and of course the fisherman’s dream — the Atlantic Ocean — are close by. Close proximity to the numerous entertainment attractions found in Myrtle Beach make Carolina Shores real estate very appealing to investors the world over.

Owning property in Carolina Shores is desirable for anyone who wants to see value for their dollar while escaping the harsh, cold weather experienced elsewhere in the U.S. However, North Carolina real estate is also attractive for astute, real estate investors. While other investment vehicles like stocks and bonds have been battered in recent years, keen individuals rightly still consider real estate a prime investment avenue.

You may have searched elsewhere in the state and found that the buying opportunity is truly great for Carolina Shores real estate. If you have chosen this perfect slice of North Carolina for you and your family, then you should consider a number of different factors related to your convenience and quality of life. Whether you are looking for frontage on a golf course or good schools and shopping in quiet neighborhoods, this is the town to live in. Whatever your style and passion you will find the perfect home to compliment your standard of living right here in Carolina Shores, North Carolina, where the sun shines brightly thus making Carolina Shores real estate also a shining investment for you.


Qualifying for a Mortgage

Sunset Beach real estateFannie Mae’s latest version of Desktop Underwriter (DU), their automated-underwriting engine that must be used by every lender to approve loans if they want to be able to sell them to Fannie, requires you to increase your income and pay off your debt to have the best chance at mortgage approval.

This year’s release dropped the maximum debt ratio allowed from 50% to 45%. This is significant because it drops the home price for which a buyer will qualify. In the case of a lower-end buyer with 10% down (and at the debt ratio limit) it takes roughly 11% off of the home price they can consider. There can be a huge difference between homes at $350,000 and those available for $300,000.

For a buyer at 50% debt ratio who considered putting 30% down on a $400,000 home in early December and decided to wait until after the holidays to make an offer, they now need to get the seller down to $300,000, because that is what they now qualify for. Unless they received an 11% pay raise as a Christmas bonus that is. The good news is that this change does not apply to FHA loans.

Fannie has also changed the way revolving debt is treated. Previously, if a borrower was pushing the debt ratio limit, and had a balance on their credit card that they were willing and able to pay off, they could do so and the monthly payment that went with that card balance would not be counted in their debt ratio.

Now, if a borrower needs to pay off a revolving account to qualify, they must also close that account and provide documentation that they have done so, or the payment will still be counted against them.

If you’re interested in seeing Sunset Beach real estate in North Carolina give us a call at Carolina Plantations and we’ll show you some properties. We’re sure to have Sunset Beach real estate that will meet your needs and desires.

How to Sell Your Home Quickly

Calabash real estateIn the last few years, the average time it takes to sell a home has increased dramatically. Many make a blanket statement and blame the economy but it’s specifically due to credit lines tightening up and unemployment rising. At this time, sellers need to be more competitive and flexible than ever before to get their home sold in a reasonable amount of time.

What affects the average time of a house on the market?

Price: An asking price that is too high can drastically impact your ability to sell your home quickly. Your real estate agent can provide you with the most recent comparable sales in the area and information on the local market so that you can make the best initial decision on list price.

Condition: Fix all nail holes, carpet stains, get rid of odors and pet stains. Clean your house from top to bottom, windows and doors included and de-clutter. The less of your stuff buyers have to look at in your home the more they are able to envision themselves in it.

Location: Where your home is located will go a long way to determining how quickly you may be able to sell. Homes that are adjacent to or back up to busy streets, power lines, commercial property, etc. are going to have a more difficult time selling.

Take all of these factors into consideration and remain as flexible and patient as possible and you will get your home sold. Just remember that it only takes one buyer!

If you’re interested in looking at Calabash real estate in North Carolina give us a call at Carolina Plantations and we’d be happy to show you some properties. We have Calabash real estate to meet the needs of just about any potential homebuyer.

Ideally Situated For The Golf Lovers

Brunswick Forest NC real estateIf you love golf then you’re going to really love our Brunswick Forest NC real estate. Brunswick Forest's Cape Fear National® offers 18-holes of championship golf in a setting of unmatched beauty. Magnificent forests of mature oaks, maples, pines and magnolias create an old-world feel experienced only on the most seasoned courses. This Tim Cate-designed course features several bridges cut through the wetlands, three waterfalls, beach bunkers, native grasses and wildflowers, all adding to the aesthetic beauty of the golf course.

Renowned architect Tim Cate has designed this course as dramatic as the landscape itself. The layout winds through heavily undulating land and sweeps past breathtaking expanses of cypress, pines, maples, oaks and magnolias. Visually strong with abundant water features, each of the holes is laid out to dazzle the eye and challenge the golfer of every level.

A 7,000 square foot clubhouse features locker rooms, a pro shop, indoor and outdoor dining and related amenities, making the overall golf experience as gracious off the course as on.

Premier golf course home sites along Cape Fear National® are now available. Pick out the Brunswick Forest NC real estate home site of your dreams today overlooking this spectacular course. From their front doors, the half- to one-acre home sites overlook Cape Fear National's sixth hole, which requires a challenging shot between two large ponds. A natural area behind the building sites provides a private backyard setting with views through to the course beyond.

Things To Consider Before You Paint

Holden Beach real estateMany times when people purchase Holden Beach real estate the first thing they want to do before moving in is to paint the walls a color that will reflect their personality and what they dream of. Here are some things to consider before you paint your new Holden Beach real estate.

First, take into account the size of each room you will be painting. A bold wall color with a warmer tone can make a room feel much more intimate and cozy, especially if the room is larger. A cooler shade of color can push out the walls of a small room, making it appear larger than it is. Don't be afraid to use a bold shade in a smaller room. A vibrant shade can bring dimension to the smallest space.

Secondly, think about the mood you want to create when you use a bold wall color. Certain shades typically evoke specific reactions from people. For instance, most people find green Holden Beach real estateshades calming and yellow energizing. If you are painting a bedroom, you probably want to create an atmosphere of rest and retreat. In a kitchen, you may prefer a vibe that says lively and energetic. Your choice of wall color can communicate many different feelings.

Thirdly, when you go to look at paint samples, take an accent or accessory with you that you would like to use in the room. Then choose several paint samples that work with the colors in that item, whether it is a pillow, vase or piece of artwork. This is a great starting point for picking bold wall colors if you aren't entirely sure about the colors you want.


Interest Rates at Record Lows

Leland real estateFixed mortgage interest rates have hovered at record lows for a third straight week. Interest rates are likely to fall even further now that the Federal Reserve said it would shuffle its holdings to drive down long-term interest rates.

The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage was unchanged at 4.09 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac. That's the lowest rate seen since 1951. The average rate on the 15-year mortgage ticked down to 3.29 percent. Economists say that's the lowest rate ever for the loan.

A drop in mortgage rates could provide some help to the economy if more people would refinance. When people refinance at lower rates, they pay less interest on their loans and have more money to spend, thus boosting the economy overall.

But many homeowners with good jobs and stable finances have already refinanced in the past year. The average rate on the 30-year fixed loan fell to 4.17 percent last November, and to 4.15 percent last month. Both were previous lows.

In the small town of Leland, North Carolina, you’ll discover a lower tax rate on Leland real estate plus easy access and convenience to shopping. Located only 5 miles from historic Wilmington, NC, it’s the fastest growing town in the northern area and has doubled in size since first being incorporated in 1989. Leland real estate is home to an abundance of amazing natural beauty, championship golf courses, over 50 places of worship and a vibrant business community.

Benefits of Oceanfront Living

Ocean Isle Beach real estateOwning a piece of Ocean Isle Beach real estate brings you countless benefits you might have never considered. To be able to walk out your door and across the sand to the beach where you feel the fresh ocean breeze in your face is a dream come true for many people. The magical and healing properties the vast ocean brings to all who live near it is absolutely wondrous. Everyone feels more alive, healthy, energized and full of gratitude here. Residents and visitors alike are happier it seems.

There is such a difference in attitudes and outlooks on life than those who live in cities and the northern climates. To have the ocean as a view everyday rather than a skyscraper or mounds of snow clearly has a calming affect on the brain waves. It is an indisputable fact that those that live near the ocean are overall more happy people.

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, having the Atlantic Ocean at your disposal allows for quickly putting your kayak, canoe, surfboard or sailboat in at a moments notice. Exercise abounds everywhere and there’s plenty to do whether you golf, bike, or just want to walk the beach.

Shells and driftwood are great additions for your new beach decor in your coastal Ocean Isle Beach real estate and much less expensive than in specialty beach shops. All in all, living by the ocean really does make people happier and aspires them to live richer, more fulfilled lives.

Join Us For Pumpkin Day

Shallotte real estatePumpkin Day, a celebration of the Fall season, takes place on Saturday, October 15 at Indigo Farms, Calabash. There's plenty to do with old farm games, hayrides, hay maze, a pumpkin patch pick-your-own pumpkins, paint pumpkins, pony rides, pig races (Indigo Farms stock pig racing, Naspig series) bluegrass music, and food. Little people's village, box train, corn stalk tipi, straw house. Lots of photo opportunities, too,  with scarecrow characters, barnyard and farm animals. Farm market with decor items, flowers, pumpkins, baked goods, produce, Indigo's apple cider and grape juice. There is no admission fee but some activities, such as hayrides, pick-your-pumpkins, and pumpkin painting, do have fees. The pumpkin patch is open Saturday mornings and all during the event days. Tours and nighttime hayrides are by reservation. Don't miss this exciting day!
This is an example of the small-town festivals and events that are always taking place somewhere in Brunswick County. When you make the decision to purchase Shallotte real estate you choose to make your life just a little bit better, just a little more people-friendly.
Shallotte is centered between Wilmington, NC, and Myrtle Beach, SC, with the commute to either city being roughly 30 to 40 minutes. If Shallotte real estate is what you’re seeking, you’ll be approximately 10 minutes from Holden Beach, Ocean Isle Beach, and Sunset Beach too.

Enjoying Fabulous Golf Course Views

Crow Creek Real EstateGolf course communities like Crow Creek in Calabash, have become a common feature in the Coastal Carolinas. Living with fairway frontage offers some excellent benefits such as outstanding views, having access to golf in an instant, a quality home in a safe neighborhood of other quality homes, and nobody building right up behind you.

Golf course communities, while similar in some ways, are all quite different from one another. Some have their main focus on the golf course itself, while others are residential neighborhoods foremost, with the course as a side benefit. It might surprise you to know that a fair number of residents in golf course communities don't even play golf. While the idea of the typical golf course community homeowner being a retiree and their golfing friends, many younger families are buying Crow Creek Real Estate for its beauty, quality and safety. They are buying a lifestyle and a home with excellent appreciation value.

Depending upon where your home is located, there certainly is the risk of stray balls ending up in your yard or through your window. Living on the golf course means being all right with golfers coming onto your property to retrieve the occasional off-target ball. In general, most homeowners find these risks are worth the benefit of living in such a peaceful and beautiful location.

Crow Creek Real EstateThere is Crow Creek Real Estate available as close or as far from the greens as you wish. Not all homes in a golf course community are right on the green. There will be lovely homes across the street and within a few blocks of the course itself that still have all the conveniences of the close proximity to the course and the great neighborhood, but without the risk of stray balls and people walking on your property.

Buying a home behind a green, or right next to a tee box, as opposed to a few yards up from it, may allow you to avoid the highest risk of having your home visited by stray balls. There is some evidence that indicates that homes on the right side of the fairway are hit more often by erroneously sliced balls.

The golf course community of Crow Creek is conveniently located in Calabash, North Carolina. Anchoring this community is the beautiful Crow Creek golf course, complete with 18 holes, driving range and putting green. The new 14,000’ clubhouse was recently opened and is setting the standard for golf course clubhouses with it’s Low Country architecture and amenities, that include a pro shop and restaurant open daily, including evenings. If you would like to take a look at available Crow Creek Real Estate, give us a call at Carolina Plantations. We’d be happy to show you around.

Come For a Day, Stay Forever

Brunswick county real estateBrunswick County, North Carolina, is full of adventure, romance, history, and lots more! It’s the perfect place for retiring or vacationing, and there’s plenty of Brunswick county real estate ready and waiting for you right now.

People love Coastal Carolina in part because the area is stunning and there are activities galore. Fishing, boating, golf, beaches, and museums — the area is rich in all these things and more. When you discover Brunswick county real estate, you discover a way of life and a place to live unlike any other. You'll find a wealth of outdoor and indoor delights for the entire family, upscale dining, marinas just waiting for that boat you've always wanted, hiking and biking trails, and just about any kind of recreational activity you could possibly want.

Brunswick County has been rated one of the top 10 beach vacation spots for families. The Intracoastal Waterway here is surrounded by family activities, Holden Beach is a great family beach waiting for discovery, and the area is chock full of parks, museums, shopping, and outdoor activities for every member of the family. Visit just once and you'll want to stay forever. There are still great opportunities to buy Brunswick county real estate in the area, so the entire family can retreat, regroup, and relax any time you choose.

Go ahead and picture yourself retiring to this area. The golf, the sun, the beaches, and the area's cities and beach towns beckon to you. You'll never run out of activities to do here, and it's quickly becoming a favorite spot for baby boomers looking for that perfect retirement location.

Why invest in real estate in this area? Because it's an investment that will last a lifetime. Whether you choose to retire to the Carolina Coast or use your home as a second vacation destination, your investment will grow over time. Real estate prices have increased all over the country, but they are still reasonable here. Brunswick County has the highest home price appreciation in the Carolina's, so your investment today will reap even more rewards in the years to come.

This Could Be Your Next Home

Sea Trail Plantation Real EstateAs one of the founding golf plantations in Brunswick County, North Carolina, Sea Trail Plantation was established over 20 years ago. The plantation is located on a beautiful 2,000 acre parcel of land just footsteps from the famous Sunset Beach high rise bridge. The surrounding area is filled with natural ponds, views of the beach and the Intracoastal Waterway, beautiful and majestic Live Oaks, rolling hills and a slight breeze coming off the ocean. The Sea Trail Plantation Real Estate here offers some of the most beautiful homes in a safe and secure community.

Sea Trail offers its residents an unprecedented location with its proximity to Sunset and Ocean Isle Beaches along with the Town of Calabash. Here, you’ll find a cozy and casual atmosphere ideal for those searching for just the right combination of beach and golf. Just minutes away you’ll also find the riverfront town of Little River, SC and the Grand Strand at Myrtle Beach.

Rated as one of the top golf resorts in the country, Sea Trail Plantation offers its residents a lot more than just championship golf. There’s top-notch amenities including indoor and outdoor pools, walking trails, restaurant, fitness center, tennis court, and lots more. Sea Trail offers a complete list of activities from bridge clubs to water aerobics. As for Sea Trail Plantation Real Estate, there are single family homes, condos and Townhomes to choose from as well as plenty of residential home sites.

Sea Trail Plantation Real Estate

When it comes time to hit the links, Sea Trail has 3 unique and playable courses: Rees Jones, Willard Byrd and Dan Maples. These courses offer golfers amazing vistas on every tee box. If you need to book a conference or large meeting, the Sea Trail Convention Center on-site offers world class convention facilities.

Once you're ready for a tour of one of America’s Top 50 Golf Communities, call Carolina Plantations Real Estate and we’ll be happy to show you what we have available today for Sea Trail Plantation Real Estate.

Helpful Tips on Moving

St James Plantation real estateEvery year more and more people are moving into new homes. In the U.S. alone there are millions of families moving locally and relocating long distance. If you are moving because your company is relocating, your move is organized and paid by your company. But if you have just purchased a new home because you have chosen to life elsewhere or you are retiring and going south, then the burden of moving rests on your shoulders.

If you haven’t found your new home yet, we urge you to take a look at our St James Plantation real estate. But even if you have, read on. There is much to learn about getting help with the whole process of moving. There are many places that will help you with your move, and following are some great resources you can use.

Did you know that you can get free maps, relocation guides, addresses of quality real estate companies and several How To guides that can be quite handy for your move?

The local Chamber of Commerce is a great place to get maps as well as relocation guides for the area you’re moving to. They either provide this to you for free or for a very small, nominal fee. You can get information about the city you are relocating to, about the facilities, the educational system, even the type of churches available near your location. You can also get some useful checklists that you can use for your move.

St James Plantation real estateAMSA is the American Moving And Storage Association. They are an organization that includes over 3,000 professional moving companies of high caliber that you can contact with confidence. If you check out the association's website, you will find several How To guides specifically catering to your moving needs.

In addition, the AMSA website includes a list of Certified Moving Consultants which are sales professionals who are experts at moving. They have taken and passed a certification exam. Every year they pay year a fee and re-take the certification exam with new updated information they are required to know.

Our sales professionals at Carolina Plantations would be happy to talk with you about your plans for relocating to the area. We have some beautiful St James Plantation real estate we’d love to show you.

Types of Mortgages Available

Winding River Plantation real estateBuying a home will be the most expensive purchase many people will make in their lifetime as well as their most complicated purchase. Having a good understanding of the types of mortgage available and determining which mortgage is most suitable for you is important before buying Winding River Plantation real estate.

Unless you are a cash buyer you will need to obtain a loan to purchase a property. Most loans come from a bank, credit union or mortgage company. In some cases the person selling the home provides the buyer a loan. A good place to start the process for finding a mortgage is online. There are quite a few websites that allow you to comparison shop mortgage rates.

Winding River Plantation real estate loans are available in fixed rate and adjustable rate. With a fixed rate loan the mortgage rate stays the same for the entire life of the loan. With adjustable rate mortgages the interest rate is fixed for a period of time then adjusts every year after.

The most popular type Winding River Plantation real estate loans are fixed rate loans because the borrower knows exactly what their interest rate and monthly mortgage payments will be.

Among the fixed rate loans are 15 year, 20 year, and 30 year loans. There are two types of fixed mortgages, conventional mortgages and jumbo mortgages.

Conventional mortgage loans are mortgages that meet certain criteria set out by Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). There is a maximum dollar mortgage loan limit set for each county in the United States.

Jumbo mortgage loans are for home loans that have a dollar amount higher than conventional loan amounts. Jumbo rates are higher because third party investors demand a higher premium due to the extra risk of a jumbo loan.

Adjustable mortgages have a fixed rate period and then the mortgage rate changes every year after. The most common are 5/1 adjustable loans. With a 5/1 loan the rate is fixed for the first 5 years and then adjusts every year after. Other common adjustable loans include 1 year, 3/1, 7/1 and 10/1. There are yearly caps and lifetime caps on how much the rate can adjust.

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