Thursday, December 31, 2015

What Can You Buy for $200,000 near Wilmington NC? Part 1: Carolina Beach

What's for Sale for $200,000 in Carolina Beach?

                                                                                       Carolina Beach Harbor
       I recently saw a blog showing what kind of home you can buy for $200,000 in each of the 50 states. There was one home featured for each state. I thought that was kind of silly since there would be vast differences between what $200,000 might get you in, say, an economically depressed rural area compared to an affluent urban neighborhood in any particular state.  Silly... but I still looked at all 50 photos!
       It did get me thinking. As a real estate agent operating in the Wilmington NC area, I know there are areas here where you can buy a nice home for $200,000 (although the inventory is tight for homes in that range and under).  In some other locations (like Landfall or Wrightsville Beach) you aren't likely to find anything at all at that price.  I decided I would do a series of posts examining different neighborhoods in and around Wilmington and show you what you can buy for $200,000 here.  I'd love some feedback.  Are you pleasantly surprised? or disappointed with what's available at that price?
        Since so many people who consider moving to the SE Coast of North Carolina are thinking about the beach lifestyle, I'm starting with the Carolina Beach/Kure Beach/Ft Fisher area -- aka Pleasure Island.  This is a vibrant, family-friendly beach community south of Wilmington that combines small, traditional beach cottages, new-construction luxury homes and ocean-front condos.  There is a significant population of full-time residents as well as an abundance of vacation rentals. The town of Carolina Beach has a bustling boardwalk, downtown and harbor area, as well as quieter communities a few blocks from the water.   Lovely Kure Beach, just south of Carolina Beach, boasts the oldest fishing pier on the Atlantic Coast.  This is considered a quieter, more sedate community than Carolina Beach -- but the residents still sure know how to have fun.  (Just ask me about the annual neighborhood shaving cream fight!) An added bonus for homeowners is that much of the town of Kure Beach is above the flood zone.  A little further south is the Ft Fisher State Recreation Area, where you can enjoy a beautiful undeveloped beach, the Ft Fisher History Museum, or the NC Aquarium.  From the southern tip of Ft Fisher, you can take the ferry to the historic town of Southport.
        There are lots of great reasons to live or vacation on Pleasure Island.  Now, here's a sampling of what you can buy for $200,000.  Although occasionally an older, small cottage may become available, most properties at this price point will be condominiums.  Click on the links below for all the details.    And give me a call if you'd like to see these or other properties for sale on Pleasure Island!

Condo overlooking Otter Creek Yacht Club

2-bedroom Condo across the street from beach access

3-bedroom mid-town Condo

Condo with views of Carolina Beach Yacht Basin

Written by Mary Lynn Blake, Realtor, Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage
Wilmington and Carolina Beach, North Carolina

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Financing a Multifamily Home -- Yes, You Can!

Lisa Prevost, writing for The New York Times, said this all so well I just wanted to share her article.  This is great info -- and it may just tip you toward buying this charming duplex in the Historic District of Wilmington NC.  

 413 Church St., Wilmington NC$249,000MLS# 529904

Video - 413 Church


CreditThe New York Times 

For buyers willing to take on the role of landlord, multifamily properties can be one of the more affordable ways into pricey housing markets.
On both conventional Fannie May loans and loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, a portion of the anticipated rental income can be added onto the borrower’s income at application, “which helps people qualify for more house than they normally would,” said John Prom, a branch manager for HomeBridge Financial Services in Manhattan, which does a high volume of multifamily loans in the other boroughs.
The loans are available for owner-occupied properties with two, three or four units. Properties larger than that would require a commercial loan.
Seventy-five percent of the estimated market rent to be generated from the property, as determined by an appraiser, is added to the borrower’s income, Mr. Prom said. His typical clients for these loans are first-time buyers and midlevel earners, like police officers and teachers.
“They live in one unit for a while, and when the property goes up in value down the road, they sell and move, or rent out their unit and buy something else,” he said.
On F.H.A. loans, borrowers can put as little as 3.5 percent down, but on three- and four-families, the loan must be “self-sufficient.” This means that the adjusted rent total must be enough on its own to cover the monthly mortgage, including principal, interest, taxes and insurance, said John Walsh, the president of Total Mortgage Services of Milford, Conn.
The minimum down payment on conventional loans is usually 15 percent for two-unit properties, and 25 percent for those with three or four units, he said.
Freddie Mac’s "Home Possible"program does allow lower down payments of 5 percent on a duplex and 10 percent on three- and four-families for income-qualified borrowers, Mr. Walsh said. Borrowers’ income may not exceed 100 percent of the area median income.
Mr. Walsh emphasized that many lenders place overlays, or additional restrictions, on multifamily loans that make it harder for first-time buyers to qualify. Some won’t add rental income onto the borrower’s qualifying income if the rental units are vacant or the buyer has no experience as a landlord, he said.
“It has lightened up a lot as the market has improved, but there are still a lot of lenders who have these overlays,” he said. He suggested that buyers who are turned down by one lender try again with ones that specialize in these loans.
The reserve requirements are higher on multifamily loans, said Michael McHugh, the senior vice president for retail lending at Freedom Mortgage in Melville, N.Y. Lenders may require that the borrower have as much as six months’ worth of mortgage payments in the bank, depending on how much money the buyer is putting down and other factors affecting the riskiness of the loan.
Interest rates are fairly consistent with single-family loans, typically around an eighth of a point higher on a three- or four-family, he said. The conventional loan limits on multifamily properties vary by geographical region. In the metropolitan New York area, the limits are $800,775 for a duplex; $967,950 for a three-family; and $1,202,925 for a four-family.
While multifamilies can be a good entry point for first-time buyers, Mr. McHugh cautioned that buyers without landlord experience should think twice before taking on a property with three or four units.
“The rental market is not that easy,” he said. “Sometimes being a landlord is not all that it’s cracked up to be, speaking from personal experience.”

Monday, December 7, 2015

Wilmington's Best Holiday Lights

Want to know where to find fun, fanciful and festive holiday lights in the Wilmington area?

If you're anything like my family, some time between now and Christmas you'll be driving through the neighborhoods to look for the best Christmas light decorations.  Here's a great website that will help you find those enterprising homeowners who love to light up their homes.