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How Families Facing foreclosure in Charlotte can Find Hope

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Homeowners in North Carolina who are at risk of foreclosure may be concerned about losing their homes if they are unable to pay their mortgages. For someone already experiencing financial difficulties, the prospect of foreclosure, bankruptcy, or even homelessness could be extremely stressful. Families facing foreclosure in Charlotte have hope.

Whether you’re nervous about foreclosures due to loss of a job, the coronavirus pandemic, or an unexpected and expected life event, struggling homeowners in Charlotte, NC can find organizations that provide resources to prevent foreclosure.

Who Can Help?

If you’re behind on your mortgage payments but have not yet received a notice of foreclosure proceedings, you still have options to avoid foreclosure on the property in the first place. Some options are available to any homeowner in America, and others are specific to the city of Charlotte or the state of North Carolina.

Free Assistance for North Carolina Homeowners

NC residents can find advice from several statewide and federal programs. Consumers with lower income may have more benefits, including financial assistance.

the State Home Foreclosure Prevention Project

Families in Charlotte concerned about the prospect of foreclosure can reach out to a program called the State Home Foreclosure Prevention Project, as the first step to avoid foreclosure.

This program, which is under North Carolina Housing Finance Agency administration, can provide a housing counselor to reach out to your lender on your behalf. If you’re a low-income homeowner, you may also qualify for free legal services.

This type of assistance can be a great place to start, because the program makes use of HUD-approved counseling agencies across NC. HUD-approved means that the employees would be certified by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, which ensures their recommendations and advice would be in line with federal and local regulations.

the American Rescue Plan

The American Rescue Plan has already provided many citizens with direct financial help in the form of a relief check during the coronavirus pandemic, but what homeowners may not know is that there were also funds allocated to help with mortgage payments and utilities.

In North Carolina, the NC Housing Finance Agency is administering the NC Homeowner Assistance Fund, which uses the money provided by the ARP to avoid mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures. If your primary residence is in North Carolina, you may be eligible for:

1. housing payment assistance

People who own a single family home, a condo, a mobile home, or a townhouse, could get money to help them pay on their mortgage when they’re in a period of financial difficulty.

2. mortgage reinstatement money

Even if homeowners are already in the foreclosure process, there is money available to help them pay back some late payments or other costs that may come up when they’re in negotiation with a lender to prevent foreclosure.

3. other related costs

It may be that in order to be able to afford your mortgage payments, you’ve had to use money that would have otherwise been used for things like property taxes or homeowner’s insurance. The NC Homeowner Assistance Fund can help account for the cost of these subsidiary expenses.

community link

Community Link is an organization in Charlotte that helps homeowners, renters, and even persons experiencing houselessness. Their Foreclosure Avoidance Counseling may be just the thing a Charlotte homeowner needs to steer clear of the foreclosure process.

Options to Avoid Foreclosure

Don't give up sign on foreclosed house in North Carolina

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If a North Carolina resident reaches out to a program like those above, they may recommend some foreclosure prevention tips that apply no matter your location. North Carolina citizens could try some of their strategies to prevent the foreclosure process from getting too far along.

Contact Your Lender

The bank or mortgage company that services your loan doesn’t benefit from mortgage delinquencies any more than the borrower does. They are investors, and, as such, have an incentive for you to stay in your home. After all, if you lose your home, they lose the mortgage.

Since it’s in everyone’s interest – the borrower, the investors, even the city – to keep you in the property, one of your first calls could be to your business (or businesses) in charge of your mortgage. They have several options to avoid foreclosure:

1. a forbearance

A forbearance means that you will pay less or nothing on your mortgage for an agreed-upon period of time. At the end of that time, you’d usually make one payment of the total amount owed on the loan up to that point.

This could be a good strategy for someone who has experienced a temporary setback but expects to be in a good financial situation again soon.

If someone is expecting a large monetary windfall, such as an inheritance or a bonus from their job, this may be a good choice, as they’ll be sure to be able to pay when the forbearance period is over.

2. a loan modification

If you don’t expect to have access to more cash anytime soon, the lender may allow you to restructure your loan so that you can afford payments. They may work out a lower interest rate, a longer loan term, and/or add the missed payments on to the bulk of the loan.

All of these can result in a lower monthly payment, allowing the owner to catch up without having to worry about losing the home.

3. refinancing

Another option for lower monthly payments is refinancing. In this case, rather than changing the terms of an existing mortgage, you would get an entirely new mortgage on the same property.

The new loan would be for much less, since you’d have already been paying on the previous mortgage. If you still have good credit, refinancing could be quite beneficial.

If You Can’t Keep the Home

family playing in backyard before house goes for sale

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Even if you aren’t able to stay in your North Carolina property, foreclosure isn’t the only option. In some cases, it’s preferable to explore short sales or even bankruptcy rather than allowing the foreclosure process to end in a sale.

Until the sale, the property isn’t actually considered “foreclosed”, but with some advance planning you may be able to sell the home in a way that is less damaging to your credit.

1. a Short sale

If you can get your loan servicer to agree to the deal, you may be able to sell the house in something called a short sale. This is when the lender agrees to accept less for the property than the house is worth, and you are responsible for the difference between the price you sell it and the amount remaining on the mortgage.

There are, of course, closing fees and other paperwork required, but if you just aren’t going to be able to get the cash to rescue the mortgage, this can be an option that prevents a big hit to your credit.

1. bankruptcy

For families in North Carolina who can’t stop the foreclosure proceedings from starting and who won’t have the cash to pay it off in time, bankruptcy may actually be a better choice than allowing the foreclosure to continue.

Chapter 7 isn’t as likely to allow someone to keep the home, but it could buy some time to work out another option, such as refinancing. In Chapter 7, assets are sold off to satisfy the consumer’s debts.

Chapter 13 may be a better option, as it allows owners to retain their assets and instead provides a system for working out repayment options on all debts. Often, this results in the cancellation or reduction of some debts and creates a plan to pay off the others.

Bankruptcy in any form is going to be a hit to one’s credit, but it will still be less than the damage one might suffer from a foreclosure sale. It’s not the first choice for most people, but it may be a useful option to have on the table.

For Homeowners in Charlotte, North Carolina, There is Help

green grass field with trees during daytime in North Carolina

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If a homeowner has found it difficult to keep up with their bills, it can be stressful to realize their house could be lost to foreclosure. However, struggling families in NC have other ways to handle a potential foreclosure apart from letting the lender control whether or not their home is sold out from under them.

Knowing where to look for services that provide assistance to homeowners can make the difference between being forced to foreclose and striking a deal with the lender to pay off the mortgage loan with better financial support.

If you’re a single family home owner in the city of Charlotte, there are agencies and services specifically set up to help you avoid foreclosure without spending all your income on legal services and fees. A homeowner only needs to be aware of the funding and assistance available to help with their loans.

10 Creative Ways to Avoid Foreclosure

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Most people will experience some form of financial issues at one time or another, and if those problems result in falling behind on your mortgage payments, you may be looking for creative ways to avoid foreclosure.

Even if you’re so far behind on your monthly payments that you’re facing foreclosure, in most cases, there is an answer that will help you avoid foreclosure or bankruptcy. The key is knowing who to contact and where to look for help with your mortgage. Borrowers may not be aware of all their options to avoid foreclosure.

1. Try Your Lender First

The first step to avoid foreclosure is to contact your mortgage lender. Lenders have an incentive to keep the current homeowner on the mortgage, as foreclosure proceedings can be costly and may prolong the time period in which they are not receiving mortgage payments.

loan modificationS

It’s possible that your lender agrees to a loan modification, a type of refinancing process in which the loan terms are adjusted to make it possible for the borrower to make their mortgage payments. You may be offered a longer term for the loan, or you may pay some of the debts you’ve accrued over the next several months, adding the debt in installments to your monthly payments.

Loan modification could be a great way to avoid foreclosure without needing to make any adjustments to your ability to stay in the property. Check with your lender first to find out if a loan modification is the best option for you.

forbearance

A forbearance allows the homeowner to delay all or part of their mortgage payments until some agreed-upon date in the future. The most important thing for the client to know about this option is that it is not loan forgiveness. The amount you owe will remain the same, but you can delay your payments until you’re in a more favorable financial situation.

Usually, this process is more well-suited to a borrower who is experiencing acute financial issues – a sudden and unexpected large expense, for example – but who generally has the financial ability to handle their mortgage.

At the end of the term of the forbearance, homeowners are expected to pay the debts as a lump sum, i.e., all at one time. If you accept a forbearance, it would likely be wise to search for ways to handle this unpaid balance when it comes due.

2. Foreclosure Prevention Programs

foreclosure prevention visual

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There are organizations that take a special interest in helping homeowners at risk of foreclosure. If you have begun to default on your loan, you may find assistance from a local or national program

Be aware, however, that there are unscrupulous companies that may market services to prevent foreclosures to a homeowner facing foreclosure. They will look for a client who is unaware of their scams or shady practices in the past. Look for programs backed by the government and rated highly among every past client.

Disaster Assistance

If homeowners have fallen behind on payments due to a disaster, particularly if your loan is financed through Fannie Mae or another federally-backed program, you may be eligible to stop foreclosure with money set aside for disaster relief.

If your financial issues are due to a designated disaster, search for services that provide disaster relief in your market. They may have programs for foreclosure prevention for your property.

Programs for Seniors or Veterans

Borrowers who fit into certain groups, such as senior citizens for veterans of the U.S., may be able to obtain assistance with their mortgages from local or state programs designed to help that group specifically.

You may find a website for a federal program that is a fit for your situation, or you could contact your bank to find out if there is a local program that could help you.

3. Help from an Attorney

Some people may find the process of seeking out an attorney to be stressful or daunting. However, an attorney may be a useful resource for avoiding foreclosure or navigating the court system if the foreclosure process has already begun.

As above, be sure to check into the experience an attorney has with the foreclosure process. Some lawyers try to find a vulnerable client who is just trying to keep their house. Reputable practitioners will work with lenders and the bank to help the homeowner stay in their home.

A potential client should look for an attorney who works pro bono in this arena. There are incentives in place for lawyers to act in the best interest of their clients, so don’t make an agreement with someone who is selling their service without a record of good results for the client.

4. Selling Your Home (without a foreclosure sale)

person calculating mortgage forbearance

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You may have thought that staying out of foreclosure means staying in the home. However, some property owners find that it’s preferential to sell the house before a foreclosure sale becomes necessary.

A foreclosure sale is the final outcome of the foreclosure process. It may be more beneficial to everyone to consider a short sale instead. This is an option before pre foreclosure has begun. So, how does a short sale work?

short sales

The short sale process involves an agreement between the lender and the homeowner to sell the property for less than the remaining mortgage balance. In a short sale, the lender keeps the property, and the borrower is only responsible for the difference between the money left to pay on the mortgage and the price the buyer will pay once the property is sold.

Short sales aren’t always the most attractive option, but they can allow the owner to start fresh without getting involved in a foreclosure auction or needing to declare bankruptcy. Sometimes, the lender or the potential buyers may even offer financial incentives for selling the home in good condition.

The bank or other lender has to approve of a short sale in order to be able to sell the home in this manner. Provided that bank approval goes through, the buyers and the sellers can come out better off in a short sale.

5. Reinstate Your Loan

For people who found themselves behind on their mortgages but who aren’t currently in financial distress, they could simply submit a payment for the overdue amount. This is also an option for those who experience a sudden windfall, such as an inheritance or other sum of money all at once.

6. Deed in Lieu

Another option that allows an owner to avoid foreclosure, though without retaining the home, is a deed in lieu of mortgage. In this case, the lender will take the deed to the property in place of the remaining mortgage amount.

A deed in lieu could be in the best interest of a tenant who sees no possibility of catching up on payments in the future and wishes to be able to walk away without significant debt. There will still be an impact on the credit of the borrower, but it is not as significant as would be caused by foreclosure.

7. File for Bankruptcy

Depending on the type, bankruptcy could allow someone to keep their home. Chapter 7 is designed to give someone time to sell off their assets in order to balance their debts. However, Chapter 13 is another way for a person to remain in their home.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is essentially another type of repayment plan. Be cautioned, though, that filing bankruptcy is a long, complicated process and repayment could take up to 5 years, sometimes more.

Under Chapter 13, some debts may be eliminated entirely, and others could be reduced. Even if the foreclosure has already begun, bankruptcy will halt the proceedings and allow you to restructure items owed.

8. Re-Evaluate Your Finances

Sometimes, the most effective way to head off financial troubles before even getting to pre foreclosure is to find out if there are ways to increase the amount of funds available to you. Depending how much time is left in the loan term, it may be possible to “tighten the belt” for a few months without changing one’s lifestyle in the long term.

Examples of places to look for opportunities to increase your cash on hand could be:

  • Subscriptions
    • Many people find that they are paying an automatic monthly fee for subscriptions they aren’t even using. Generally, these aren’t large costs of themselves, but they could add up overall.
    • Check your bank and credit card statements for any recurring charges for things you don’t use or don’t need.
  • Memberships
    • Like subscriptions, some people are still paying for a membership they don’t make use of. Gym memberships are the prime example of this sort of passive loss of funds.
  • Unused Items
    • Have you been meaning to hold a yard sale or list something on a for-sale site? If you’re looking to free up some funds, now might be a good time to get them sold.

9. Make Credit Work for You

man holding money saved for foreclosure

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In some cases, particularly if you still have good credit, it may be a good choice to acquire a low interest rate loan or to see if there are expenses that could be transferred to credit cards. Transferring a large balance from one credit card to a card with a period of no interest could buy someone as many as 18 months to concentrate on other costs.

Likewise, paying any utilities or other household expenses using a card with a low interest rate or a long period of no interest. That way, the cardholder can make the minimum payment for a period of time, until they’re able to get their feet under them financially.

10. Get Help from the Experts

There are all manner of organizations and programs designed for exactly the purpose of helping people stay in their homes. A HUD-approved counselor can help people understand and navigate the sometimes difficult and often overwhelming world of mortgages and foreclosures.

Seek out an expert with the certification and backing of the federal government to ensure you’re getting advice that suits your unique situation. A counselor certified by the Department of Housing and Urban Development will be most likely to have the knowledge and expertise necessary for helping someone at risk of foreclosure.

Creative Ways to Avoid Foreclosure

Whether you’ve already received notice of pre foreclosure or are just a couple of payments behind and concerned about the possibility of foreclosure, it’s not too early to take the first step toward avoiding foreclosure.

Sometimes a homeowner ends up in pre foreclosure or even bankruptcy simply because they don’t know their options! You may be able to avoid an unwanted sale with just a little more information. There are all sorts of creative ways to avoid foreclosure and many people and organizations who can advise a homeowner facing foreclosure.

What to do When You Need to Sell an Investment Property in North Carolina

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Owning a rental property in North Carolina can be a great investment providing you with extra income, but you might be considering selling for several reasons.

Maybe the costs of owning investment properties have increased. Maybe you are moving out of the area and don’t want the hassle of rental properties. Maybe you’ve had a major life change. Or maybe you are in need of immediate cash flow. 

Whatever the case may be, if you own an investment property in North Carolina and are looking to sell there are many considerations to take into place.

Know The Real Estate Markets

It’s important to know the current housing market conditions in North Carolina. If your property is in a prime location, real estate investors will take note. Your investment property might be located in the city, country, or small town that is the ideal location for others interested in real estate investing.

Is it a Buyer’s Market or Seller’s Market?

Identifying trends in the housing market can be figured out by researching the following:

  • number of homes for sale in your area
  • how many days homes are on the market
  • examining list prices to sale prices

One of the most important questions to ask when determining your real estate market is whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market. If there is a high demand for houses and minimal properties for sale, the market is more advantageous for sellers.

Even though real estate investors want markets with favorable buying conditions (a buyer’s market) don’t get discouraged when selling your investment property. Planning and patience is key when looking to sell a property investment.

Learn About the Economy and Job Markets of The Area

It’s important to study the demographics of the area to know if your property in North Carolina will bring in a potential property investor. Those interested in real estate investing will look for the following:

  • Unemployment Rates
  • Occupancy Rates
  • Rental Conditions

A city or town in North Carolina that has a favorable job market and a secure economy will bring in more residents. This will allow for more rentals in the area whether it’s single family homes or a condo.

Know The Neighborhood

minimalist photography of house shot in front of chain fence

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After determining the market and studying the demographics of the area, examine the neighborhood for any and all conveniences. Is public transportation nearby? Are the roads in good condition? How close are schools? These are all factors that will help sell investment property in North Carolina.

Learn About Tax Laws

When selling rental properties, be mindful that taxes on investment properties are different from primary residence sales. So what’s the difference?

If you sell a home that was your primary residence, you usually do not have to pay taxes on the net proceeds of the sale. However, those tax breaks are not extended to the selling of investment properties.

money, home, coin

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Capital Gains Taxes

It’s reasonable to assume that your investment property has increased in value throughout the time you’ve owned it. This means that you will make a profit once it sells. This is called capital gain. 

If you’ve owned your rental property for less than a year, the profits would be treated as short-term capital gains. This means you will be taxed at the same rate as your income.

If you have owned the investment property for more than a year, your profit would be treated as a long-term capital gain and you would be taxed at a lower rate.

Other Factors to Consider

If your taxable income is less than $80,000, you do not have to pay capital gains taxes. 

Maybe you are looking to re-invest the money from this investment property into another one in a different location. It’s possible to defer capital gains taxes with a 1031 exchange. This means you have a fixed amount of time to find a similar property for investment purposes.

You can also avoid capital gains taxes with the IRS “ownership and use” test. This means you would need to have the following:

  • Owned the property for at least two years
  • Lived in the property as your primary residence for the past two out of five years

Once you’ve decided which route is the best for your investment property, it’s time to start planning the next step.

Be Honest With Your Tenant

Once you’ve determined you want to sell your investment property, you will need to take into consideration if there is a tenant already occupying the property. There are several different ways in which you can be mindful of your renters.

house keys to investmen property in NC

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Ask Tenants to Vacate Before Listing Property

It’s important to keep in mind if you have renters occupying your property once you have started the process to put it on the market. You can try to work out an agreement where they vacate before it’s listed but notice is required.

Month-t0-month leases often require landlords to inform tenants anywhere from 30 to 60 days to vacate the home. Make sure to check with the NC state law regarding this process.

If your renter is resolved on staying put in the property, you will need to honor their lease agreement. In nearly all states, lease agreements are transferred with the sale of your property. The new owner cannot make changes to the lease agreement until it expires. Again, check with NC state law regarding this process.

The most important part of dealing with your tenants is to communicate. Remember to be kind and conscientious to your renters if they need to stay while you find a buyer. Simple things like giving them ample warning before a showing, maintaining the yard, and informing them once the property sells will help during the process.

Good Tenants Make Good Selling Points

If you already have good tenants in your property, this could become a good selling point. Some property management companies or real estate brokerage firms will look for the right property investment which already has a cash flow.

When listing the property, make sure you are ready to answer these questions:

  • What is the monthly rent?
  • How long have the current tenants lived there?
  • Do the tenants pay the rent on time?
  • What utilities are covered by the tenants?
  • When does the current lease or contract expire?
  • Do the current tenants maintain the property in a good condition?

Be honest with your tenants when you know you are about to list your property. Let them know that potential buyers will be coming through the property. You can offer small incentives like gift cards to keep your tenants happy during this process.

Make Necessary Repairs

While there might be buyers who will purchase your investment property without repairs, it might not be a bad idea to upgrade and make small repairs. You might be trying to sell your property investment in North Carolina quickly, but making necessary repairs could produce a higher price.

man cleaning investment property in NC

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What If I Can’t Make Repairs?

If you can’t make repairs due to time or money issues, you could still potentially find investors. An investor or buyer might look for a property investment that needs work in order to get a lower purchase price.

Another item to consider is if your property is currently empty. Renovations and repairs might take time, meaning you will be losing out on rental income during that time.

Benefits of Making Repairs

If you do have time and money to make repairs and upgrades, you could possibly bring in buyers willing to pay more for your NC investment property. As the seller, it might be in your best interest to increase your property value by installing new flooring, applying fresh paint, providing new appliances, and making sure there is access to high speed internet.

These types of repairs and upgrades could yield a higher cash return on your property investment.

Questions to Ask Before Making Repairs

Before you begin spending time and money on repairs, make sure to consider these questions:

  • WHAT IS THE CURRENT CONDITION OF THE REAL ESTATE MARKET? ARE INVEstment properties IN HIGH ENOUGH DEMAND WHERE YOU CAN SELL?
  • Do you have current tenants? CAN YOU WORK AROUND TENANTS IN ORDER TO MAKE REPAIRS?
  • Will the property have to be empty for repairs, meaning you will lose rental income?
  • What tax considerations do I need to take into account? knowing the difference between repairs and improvements will help make your decision.

Stage Your Property

First impressions matter. Even if you can’t make all of the necessary repairs to your property, there are plenty of ideas below to help you get started.

Curb Appeal

Make potential buyers notice your property from the get-go! Whether you have single family homes or a condo to sell, one of these items will work for you when staging your property.

  • Apply a fresh coat of paint to the front door and/or shutters
  • replace house numbers
  • cut the grass and clear out any weeds
  • add a welcome mat
  • consider planting seasonal flowers in any flower beds
  • add to your living space by placing outdoor chairs on the front porch

Kitchen and Bathroom Ideas

Properties that have updated kitchen and bathrooms tend to be noticed more in today’s market. Not all renovations have to break the bank! Take a look at some ideas that work when staging your property.

  • keep counter space clear and wipe them down.
  • update cabinets with a fresh coat of paint.
  • replace hardware like faucets and door knobs. If you can’t replace it, make sure to clean and make it shine!
  • remove hard water stains and clean the grout or tile.
  • consider replacing the shower curtain and adding new bathmats.
  • add a hand towel next to the bathroom sink along with a candle and fancy soaps.
  • place all personal belongings in the medicine cabinet or cabinet.

Emphasize The Best

Highlighting all of the potential space and features of your property is key. Too much furniture can make a home seem smaller than it actually is. Consider these other ideas when staging your property.

  • cut back any unnecessary furniture items. This will free up more space making it easy for buyers to walk around the property.
  • highlight focal points like a fireplace, office space, or walk-in closet.
  • clear off the coffee table.
  • remove any personal items like family pictures, diplomas, or kids’ artwork.
  • If you allow pets in your rental property, make sure pet odors and dander are nonexistent.
  • hire a professional stager and/or photographer to take photos.

While all of these items might not be relevant to your investment property, staging your property before listing could possibly help the sale.

Set the Right Price

Many buyers will search for an attractive place that is located in a big city or metro area with access to numerous amenities. If your investment property in NC fits this criteria, setting the right price is key for other investors and realtors alike.

north carolina town with house for sale

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Finding the right realtor can help when listing your property. Real estate agents know home values in NC and can help with properties like rentals. There are also real estate agents who specialize in buying and selling investment properties.

Real estate agents who specialize in property investments in North Carolina can help with the following:

  • knowing and understanding today’s housing and renting trends
  • tax laws on investment properties

You can also choose to sell to real estate investors. When selling to a real estate investor, you can sometimes expect a cash close. Investors might also purchase your property as is, eliminating the need for repairs.

Last But Not Least

Selling your investment property in NC does not have to be as stressful as you think! Search for the right information regarding the market and tax laws, notify your tenants of your intention, stage the property, and list. There are always others looking to invest in real estate. Before you know it, your property will be sold!

October Market Update

Fall Brings Rising Inflation and Falling Home Prices

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The economy is a bit of a Rorschach test – does inflation mean that the market is about to bottom out, or is it a correction after years of rising home prices? It’s the same as the balloon above – is it being inflated or deflated?

The news of inflation is on everyone’s minds right now, across every industry and in every sector. How high prices will get and whether this continued rise will result in a recession is the biggest question. There’s no way to know, but there’s also no reason for panic – not by a long shot. 

Most economists are hedging their projections of a crash, or even a fast fall in any of the markets. It seems fairly reasonable to believe that this is not another housing bubble that will burst the way that we saw things fall apart a dozen years ago. What’s important to remember here is that a repeat of the last housing crisis is impossible today because there are different regulatory safeguards in place that won’t let it happen that way again. 

Just because a plunge like the 2008 bottoming out won’t happen again, that doesn’t mean that something else unexpected isn’t out of the question. After all, no one could have foreseen the pandemic. Inflation is rising higher and faster than it has in decades, and that is meaningful. Whether this is the correction, or whether there is some other correction coming like a steam train down the tracks towards home buyers, sellers, and investors is the cloud that looms over us. 

Unfortunately, the only way that we’ll know for sure is to live through it. Real estate might not be rising in value the way it was a year ago, but it is still rising. The flattening of the curve should be comforting, not intimidating. Most of the factors that pressed on the market to push prices so high are still in play. Things like low inventory and supply issues aren’t going anywhere, and the market will have to continue to account for the real world ramifications of those ongoing problems. 

For good or ill, the economy is moving. Where and how fast you think it will go has everything to do with your personal perspective. 

Why Foreign Investors Keep Buying U.S. Real Estate

money from foreign real estate investors

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All over the world, the real estate market is in a state of upheaval. From the roiling chaos of Chinese mega-investment companies going under, driving societal change and protests, to the continued struggle for peace in Ukraine that’s pushing Europe through its biggest military scare since World War II, real estate is increasingly at a breaking point internationally. All of this comes directly after the huge gains during global real estate shortages in the pandemic, and none of it seems to be getting better. With a marked exception – the United States

Supply chain disruptions continue to play havoc with the worldwide supply of new homes, as well as the ability of older housing units to be retrofitted for current homebuyers. While this is still going on in the United States, in the aftermath of the pandemic, domestic markets are continuing to improve. This despite rising inflation that threatens to push the broader economy towards recession. In fact, inflation in the United States is starting to cool off, even if it’s painful and heart wrenchingly slow.

Recently, a report by AFIRE (Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate) found that seventy-six percent of foreign investors planned to increase their buy into domestic markets for commercial real estate in the next year. In even better news, eighty-two percent said they planned to increase their long term investments over the next decade in U.S. holdings. On top of that good news, a report by CBRE Group showed that investments into the American real estate market from foreign holders was up sixteen percent in the second quarter of 2022 to a solid $6.5 billion. 

These two metrics clearly show the interest that foreign investors have in the domestic real estate market in the United States, but they’re only half of the story. The big question isn’t whether or not outside money is coming into United States real estate, it’s why this money is continuing to flow stateside despite downturns in the world market. 

A major driver of this economic reality is the confluence of a high priced domestic market with high interest rates that continue rising as the Federal Reserve works to combat inflation. These two factors combine to mean that potential homeowners in the United States are unable to buy, especially as the market cools and interest rates grow. Because so many Americans are shut out of homeownership, they are forced into renting. Multi-family rental properties are especially attractive to foreign investors, as these are easily managed offshore and thus offer a hands-off option for international investors.

It’s not just housing that’s a hot ticket for international investors, though. Warehouse and industrial space both offer many of the same benefits as multi-family housing, but there’s the additional benefit that commercial real estate has a longer lifespan and lower overall risks. Right now, warehouse and industrial facilities in the U.S. are at a high premium, with different market pressures that are far less volatile than those in the housing market. 

Commercial real estate in the U.S. is among the most transparent in the world right now, according to JLL’s Global Real Estate Transparency Index. This is another big boon for potential outside investors who seek stable, comfortable investments. 

Particularly in the wake of the pandemic, investors are interested in finding stability. The U.S. real estate market offers the whole package for both housing and commercial real estate buyers who want to come across the border. 

How to Winterize a Vacant Home

winterizing a home

Image by Blake Carpenter via Unsplash

With cold weather coming on, homeowners with second homes and investors alike need to consider how to winterize real estate that no one is going to be living in over the next few months. While it’s true that the winter of 2022-2023 is forecast to be mild, nonetheless, there are important steps that all homeowners should take.

Failing to safeguard a vacant home in the winter can result in the need for expensive repairs due to damage from burst pipes or animals getting in to find shelter. No one wants to open up an empty home to find that there are problems lurking for them inside. If the intent is to sell the house, these kinds of repairs can slow down the sale process and even turn buyers off. In the case of a vacation home, repairs can add huge stress to what should be a relaxing time. 

  • Check your water supply. 

This is by far the most important step, and it’s the one that will prevent the biggest headaches for you. 

The best solution is to turn off the water. Don’t just turn off the water in the house under the sinks – find the main valve and turn it off. If you’re on well water, be sure that the well pump itself is well insulated as well. If you’re on municipal water, you can ask someone with the municipality to schedule water turn off now, and then water back on in the spring. Make sure you drain all the water from the pipes by running the water till it stops if you do this, otherwise the water in the pipes can still cause them to burst.

The other option is to leave a trickle of water, a steady flow, at the water intake closest to the place that it comes into the house, and then also at the point farthest from where it enters the house. 

  • Lower your heat

If you’re going to leave your heat on, which is not strictly necessary, make sure you turn it to 60. This will doubly ensure that no pipes freeze if you still have some water on, and it will also keep your heating bills from going through the roof. 

  • Unplug everything

When you winterize your home, everything should be unplugged. This means appliances, electronics, clocks, and anything else that might be around. This will prevent potential electrical issues, especially as power sometimes flickers on and off in the winter months.

  • Throw away all trash & open food.

Take some time to make sure that there’s no trash and no open food anywhere in the home. Double check food containers that are in the pantry that are not in heavy plastic, as they could invite vermin to come into the home for a snack while the house is empty. Anything that could be chewed through easily needs to be gone. 

Whether it’s because you’re closing up a vacation home for the winter, a family who’s inherited a home from a loved one who’s passed on, an Airbnb owner in a cold part of the country, or an investor who’s decided to hold off till the spring housing market to sell a vacant home, making sure that the property will be in good condition in the spring is an important step that will save you time and money. As grandma used to say – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

Understanding the Impact of Hurricane Ian on Real Estate in the Southeast

flooding from Florida hurricane

Image by Wade Ellis via Unsplash

Hurricane Ian devastated large parts of Florida, and it caused havoc across much of the coast of South Carolina and Georgia. One of the hardest hit areas was the West Coast of Florida, where Tampa and Fort Myers are full of residents who suffered from the storm. Lee County in Southwest Florida, is home to Cape Coral and was struck by significant flooding. Osceola County saw major flooding as well, as did communities up and down the Gulf of Mexico.  

What’s most striking about the flooding that category 4 hurricane brought to these places is that a high percentage of residents in this area carry hurricane insurance coverage, but not flood insurance. In fact, many homeowners are not aware that flood insurance is generally a separate expense that’s additional to their standard policy. Though some areas like Miami require flood insurance, and though Florida has one of the highest rates of flood insurance in the country, there’s still a huge gap. This lack of coverage is expected to be a major burden on families across the area, who will have to rely on FEMA to support their rebuilding efforts at best, or to potentially have to leave their homes. 

Ian’s storm surge rose as high as 12 feet in many parts of the West Coast of Florida. The storm surge brought ocean water far inland, to places that generally would not be in danger of flooding from a storm. This hurricane was so powerful that it almost reached category 5 status, the highest level a hurricane can reach. 

Florida implemented hurricane resistant building codes just after the turn of the millennium in 2001, but those codes don’t apply to existing structures – only to new builds. Even though they’ve been in place for two decades, many of the homes in Florida are not built to withstand a storm like this. Winds from Hurricane Ian reached 155 miles per hour. 

The fallout from Ian is likely to be long-lasting. There was already a housing crunch in this area of Florida, thanks to a combination of inflation and pandemic-related housing shortages. While the shortage of housing for residents of the booming West Coast of Florida had begun to ease in the last year, those gains are likely to roll backwards with this storm. 

Per data from CoreLogic, Inc., it’s projected that 7.2 million homes across Florida will be impacted by flooding from Ian when everything is counted. Those homes are projected to be worth $1.6 trillion, causing a major impact on the Florida real estate market and the overall economy. In a market that’s been tight for quite some time, this event will mean that many people are now without homes altogether. By the same token, investors in Florida are likely to see a significant impact as well. 

Rebuilding will take years. Though hurricanes are common in Florida, Ian was one of the strongest that has ever hit the state – only five category 5 hurricanes have made landfall in Florida in the last 125 years. While Ian didn’t quite make it that high, it was close enough to leave a huge impact on the residents of the Sunshine State. 

Wild Homes – Sunny Surrounded by the Sea

Image via Zillow Gone Wild

Florida is known for its beautiful homes, but it’s also known for its high population density, especially near the ocean. What if you could go all the way into the ocean? 1 E Sister Rock Island offers just that.

With four bedrooms and three bathrooms, there’s space for bringing friends over by boat for a weekend visit. The kids can lounge by the outdoor pool before jumping into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The inside of the home is beautifully appointed, with a generous kitchen and warm, spacious bedrooms that have open views of the wide ocean. 

Image via Zillow Gone Wild 

Located in the Florida Keys, this extraordinary home is separated from the main islands, but is not so far as to be inaccessible from the dock nearby. It’s a quick boat ride from the private dock on the island over to the mainland for supplies or to enjoy the local culture. It might sound tempting to just stay on this island, however; After all, who would want to leave this beautiful place?

Image via Zillow Gone Wild

At just over two thousand square feet, this home is big enough for a family to live in comfortably and without being bothered by the neighbors. There’s a wraparound covered porch to provide shade from the heat, and generous sand bars stretching out from the outer stone ring. This place is perfect for a quiet getaway that’s truly away from everyone and everything. 

Included on this private Florida island is a helipad and one bedroom guesthouse with separate bathroom as well as bunk beds for anyone who needs to have some private time on this private island. 

Recently, this home was listed on the Florida MLS for just over $11,000,000, however it’s certainly worth far more than that for the kind of peace of mind that comes with having a place that you can truly call your own. 

What Repricing Means for Small Real Estate Investors in the U.S.

interior of a home for repricing

Image by Douglas Sheppard via Unsplash

There are two ways to look at repricing in investments – either as a rich opportunity or a terrifying liability. For the last two years, real estate has seen an incredible repricing cascade, with prices continuing to go up year over year, month over month, and even day over day. That consistent rise has become so embedded that many investors have been lulled into the feeling that this is just the way the market is. Long time investors, both small and large in scale, know that repricing can go both ways. 

With inflation continuing to go higher, prices on real estate have finally started to level off. The normal summer slow down that has for the past two years simply meant a slight decline in the precipitous rise of home prices was significantly more in 2022. The frantic frenzy of homebuying is starting to relax as lenders become more cautious, buyers become more cautious, and investors work to get their footing back. 

What’s so different about the most recent real estate repricing is that it is in reaction to the drastic swing up in prices. Prior to this we saw sellers attempt to push negotiations for a higher price even on deals that already seemed to be done. The fascinating thing is not that sellers sometimes attempted to make those close-to-contract deals, but that they were so broadly successful in getting desperate buyers to sign for a higher price or additional gives even after those deals were seemingly set.  

Now, repricing is going the other way, and those same hardline, last minute repricing moves that were so prevalent with sellers are starting to be seen with real estate buyers. Many of these reactions are to changes in interest rates that land in the middle of a deal, after negotiations but before the pen has been put to paper. In large investment deals, this is on a highly magnified scale. For example, Innovo Property Group walked away from a deal that it had put a deposit down on for the HBSC tower in Manhattan, giving up $35 million. This is a mega money example, but the same thing is happening for small investors who find themselves butting up against sudden rises in the cost to borrow money

Multifamily properties are being affected as well, including down to smaller investors. Though investing capital into multi-family pieces continues to be a smart bet, particularly with rent increases that generously cover the cost of higher interest rates. This is especially true with tactics like 1031 exchanges, which avoid capital gains tax by deferring it through a quick sale. 

The core of real estate investing is always going to be to buy low and sell high. With repricing opportunities available to buyers who are willing to put themselves out there in a market that has constantly changing interest rates, there’s more opportunity that meets the eye to increase the bottom line on small and medium sized real estate investments. 

Preserving the Deal in an Uneven Real Estate Market

men making a real estate deal

Image by Sebastian Herrmann via Unsplash

Buying a home for the last couple of years has often involved chasing deals that never seem to materialize, with so many buyers leaping in with offers that seem out of reach for the average family. Now, rising interest rates have homebuyers sometimes struggling to get the keys to a home before the rates shift up again, playing havoc with the loan. 

There are some things that homebuyers can do to keep their real estate deal from falling through. Here are strategies for home buyers who don’t want to get caught on the wrong end of today’s uneven real estate market. 

  1. Lock in your interest rate.

Pursue your lender for a locked in pre-approved interest rate before you bid on a home. This is most easily done with things like FHA loans from the government, which are especially formulated for first time buyers. However, there are lenders who will work with buyers to lock in a loan rate, particularly if the homeowner is willing to be flexible on other aspects of the loan, like upfront point payments. 

  1. Check regularly with potential lenders

Buyers who have been pre-approved for a loan are under no obligation to stick with that lender throughout the buying process. It’s a good idea to look around to other lenders every few weeks to find out what the rates are at competitors. This could result in a decision to apply for another loan, or it’s also something buyers can take to their current lender as leverage for negotiating.

  1. Handle low appraisals with resolve

An unfortunate problem in the real estate industry  from the last few years that continues to hold on is the issue of low home appraisals. This happens when a home comes back as appraised for lower than the agreed upon price. The big piece here is not to get in over your head with a too-high mortgage. Try to negotiate with the seller for a lower price, or be ready to walk away from the deal.

  1. Take advantage of the declining market

Home prices are coming down, and that’s obviously a good thing for buyers. Don’t give up the search for another property because you are under contract. Almost a quarter of buyers have pulled out of a contract deal in 2022, and with good reason. If you find a home that better suits your needs before the contract is inked, it’s better for you to take it than to pay too much for a comparable property.

Staying diligent and continuing to be flexible through your home buying process will help you to respond to market changes quickly.

What does a Million Dollar house in Charlotte look like in late 2022?

Charlotte, NC skyline

Image by Clay Banks via Unsplash

The huge rise of prices for property across the country means that million dollar homes just aren’t what they used to be. Twenty years ago, homes with listing prices of over a million dollars tended to be either incredibly luxurious in more rural areas, or slightly more modest homes in urban areas. Today, a million dollars doesn’t stretch anywhere near as far as it did then, and places like Charlotte, NC are home to housing that often rises to the seven figure mark.

In 2022, Charlotte’s million dollar homes actually look like more modest, upper middle class buildings as opposed to opulent, palatial spaces. Homes listed for a million dollars in the area tend to be around three thousand square feet and have four to five bedrooms. When you consider that this size is well suited for a typical family of four, it offers a stark reminder of how high the housing market has risen. 

What is interesting about homes in this price range, not just in Charlotte but across the country, is that they tend to be new construction. This speaks specifically to the supply chain problems that have plagued the United States real estate market for the last three years. New homes are still highly desirable, and they are still hard to come by. 

Scarcity in the Charlotte housing market is going to continue to drive housing prices higher, which means that a million dollar homes are going to continue to be more modest than they were just a few years ago. If inflation continues on the same path that it’s been on for the last six months, there’s no question that the million dollar housing market will continue to look more like a frustrating reality and less like a daydream for home buyers across the country. Shrinkflation isn’t going anywhere.  

Ask Connect – Fix the foundation or sell the house?

foundation of a house for sale

Image by Fons Heijsbroek via Unsplash

Dear Connect,

I’ve owned a rental property for the last five years, and every year my profit margin gets squeezed. I understand that I should be making money on this home, but I can’t in good conscience charge someone the market rate and get the kind of profit that I would net while potentially putting a family in a situation without housing. Clearly, being a landlord is not what I’m cut out for. 

On top of these near losses, I recently found out that there are significant issues with the foundation that will cost me a huge amount of money to fix. I recently had a family vacate the property, so now is definitely a good time for me to let it go. My issue is that I’m conflicted about whether to go ahead and put it up for sale as-is or to fix the foundation and then put it on the market. 

The structural problems won’t be an easy fix, I know that. I also know that it’s not necessarily important for me to have the house move-in-ready in order to sell it to an investor or a family that wants to take on this issue. I recognize that I’ll have to give up some of the profit in order to sell it without making the repairs, and I’m absolutely ok with that. The house is not safe with the foundation as is, but can I in good conscience just let someone else deal with it?

Sincerely, 

A man with a shaken foundation.

Dear Shaken, 

The first thing to remember here is that you are a person with a strong moral compass. It’s always good to hear about landlords who want to do the right thing for their tenants. On that front, get out of the rental business if you don’t want to be in it. 

On the other front, you’re best to have a structural engineer come in and give you a detailed evaluation of what the problem is. With that in hand, you can negotiate with any potential buyers. There’s no reason for you to pursue the repairs if you don’t want to deal with the timeline or the stress of those repairs. You’re right that you won’t get as much money if you don’t do the repairs, but you’ll also save your precious time. 

Balancing Grief and Finances When Selling Inherited Property in Florida

Image by Kulli Kittus via Unsplash

For someone looking to sell inherited property, Florida law, as well as federal law may dictate part of the process, but the real difficulty comes in navigating the probate process while also navigating the grief of losing a loved one.

If you’re looking at selling an inherited home, in this case a Florida property, there are some things to consider for a hassle free sale. To sell property efficiently and with as little emotional distress as possible, it may help to know a little bit about what to expect and where you can find assistance.

Will You Go Through the Probate Process?

courthouse with probate court

Image by Markus Spiske via Unsplash

One thing that may be helpful to determine towards the beginning is whether or not you’re likely to need to go to Florida probate court. There are several factors that influence whether a property is held in probate or not, so one of the first things to check has to do with how the real estate was inherited.

inheriting by will

If you inherited property because someone left it to you in their will, you are likely to need to go through the probate process. Provided they are the only person on the deed, all the paperwork should go relatively smoothly.

Even if there are no difficulties with the inherited property in Florida, you may not be able to sell the house for over 4 months.You’d have to wait until the legal title is cleared before selling an inherited home, so despite a smooth probate process, be aware that it can be a significant period of time before it’s legal to sell the house.

inheriting by DEED

If it’s an inherited house in which you are already on the deed, and you are the only remaining person on that deed, you probably don’t need to go through the probate process.

For example, if the deceased person owned the home jointly with their parent or child as co owners, that person should need no more than to file the death certificate in public records to be able to sell the home.

Another case in which someone might be on the deed, even if they’re unrelated to the decedent, could be a “life estate” situation. A life estate is when a person is added to the deed while the homeowner is living under the condition that the homeowner can stay in the home until they pass away.

inheriting by TRUST

If you inherited property by being named in a trust, the need for a probate proceeding depends upon whether or not the deceased person has a spouse or children living.

If not, you can likely either sell the house, if you’re the only person named, or sell it and divide the sales proceeds among the other family members if more than one person is named in the trust.

What is Probate?

question mark on probate process in Florida

Image by Mark Fletcher-Brown via Unsplash

If you are going to need to go to probate, it can be helpful to know what that process involves. Probate is the process of discovering and distributing the deceased’s assets, and it is overseen by a court.

personal representative

If the deceased left behind a will, they likely assigned a “personal representative”. A personal representative is the person in charge of things like notifying heirs of the probate process and identifying, managing, and selling assets. If there is no will, or if a personal representative isn’t named, the probate court will assign an appointed personal representative.

Probate court

Once the probate process nears its end, the personal representative will go before a probate judge, who will approve the probate proceeding. If everything is in order, the judge will sign off on the successful administration of the assets and will allow them to be distributed according to the paperwork.

Tax Implications

inheritance and estate tax

When inheriting a house in Florida, it may be helpful to know that there is no inheritance tax in the state. However, it is still possible you’d wind up paying taxes for other reasons, if you inherit and then sell inherited property.

It’s possible you could pay a federal estate tax, but only if the home is worth more than $12 million. If the inherited property meets that criteria, federal estate tax is only due on the amount over $12 million that the property is worth.

Even if a property does result in federal taxes being charged, the taxes would be paid out of the estate sale and not directly by the seller.

capital gains tax

In Florida, most of the time, inheritors don’t pay income taxes on inherited homes. The value of the house sold is typically not considered eligible for income tax.

However, if the inherited property increases in value, it’s possible that the difference will count for taxable income and that you’d owe capital gains tax on that amount. If the inherited house is worth more when you sell it than it was upon the date of the decedent’s death, you may have to pay capital gains tax on the difference.

Note that the capital gains tax generally comes into play only when the value of the home changes after it was inherited. There is a process called “step up on basis” that sets the value of the home at what it was worth on the day of death.

This can be quite beneficial to the family member or interested parties in the inherited home. If the inheritor had to pay capital gains on the difference between the last value of the home – for example when the deceased person got their mortgage on it – and the value at the time of sale, the increase could be very expensive.

income tax

As with the value difference above, if the inherited property receives rental income in the period between the death and the sale of the inherited house, you may have to pay income tax. Although the property itself doesn’t count as income for federal income tax purposes, if it is generating rental income, you may still be required to pay taxes on that income.

If the value of the real estate is left unchanged between date of death and date of sale, no income tax should be charged on the inherited home.

property tax

When you inherit property, there is a system in place to address property taxes. It’s possible the property taxes will increase quite a lot, particularly if the decedent’s home had not been revalued since the original mortgage.

If the market value of the home has increased significantly, property taxes will likely be owed on a newer, larger market value. This is one reason it can be beneficial to sell real estate quickly.

Homestead Status

boy and girl standing near window looking outside at homestead property in Florida

Image by Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash

Florida has a set of regulations around homestead property that may come into play when selling an inherited home. For a property address in Florida, a homestead exemption may apply to the inherited home, depending on the legal ownership.

What is the homestead exemption?

Homestead law protects someone living in a home from having their house taken to pay off their debts. So, if you’re living in a home and can’t pay off creditors, they usually wouldn’t be allowed to confiscate and sell your house.

If the inherited property is real estate that was the primary residence of the deceased, it’s processed a little differently than other categories of the deceased’s assets.

a homestead is not part of probate

If an inherited house is a homestead, it is set aside and is not considered to pay off debts. Creditors may not liquidate a homestead for payment.

Instead, the home or the proceeds from the sale of the house will go to the heirs and trustees determined by the Florida probate court.

non homesteaded property

If the inherited house is not the primary residence of the deceased – if deceased persons are real estate investors, for example, and the house is an investment property – it will not qualify as a homestead.

For this type of real estate, creditors may be able to engage a selling process in order to recover debts. In cases like these, it’s likely a better choice to get advice from a real estate agent familiar with such transactions.

unclear status

If, for some reason, there is a party who wants to dispute homestead status – either because the creditor believes the inherited house does not qualify as a homestead and can therefore be liquidated to pay debts, or if an heir thinks it should qualify – they can request an order determining homestead status.

If the status is unclear, a court can determine whether the inherited property qualifies as a homestead or not, for the purposes of executing the will or otherwise resolving assets.

Selling an Inherited Home

man writing on probate forms in Florida

Image by Scott Graham via Unsplash

Often, those grieving a recent loss have an emotional attachment to an inherited home. It can be stressful to figure out how to handle the repairs needed, clearing the home of memorabilia and other personal property, and finding a buyer.

Because of the high emotional energy of the process of selling inherited property, finding a real estate agent – and even a real estate attorney – can be of the most benefit.

the state of the home

One thing to determine when selling an inherited property is whether to do any repairs needed or to sell as is. Depending on the property address, it may be easy to sell the house as is, particularly if real estate investors want to buy houses in the area.

Selling a home in its current state may be more difficult with a traditional mortgage company, but there are many cash home buyers who offer cash to buy houses. If such an organization tries to offer cash for the property, check around to ensure it’s a reputable cash buyer.

cash home buyers

Heirs can sometimes get a fair cash offer from these cash home buyers, but it’s generally a good idea to be sure everyone’s on the same page. If you’re selling the house as is, check with the buyer to ensure they are not expecting changes or repairs.

Sometimes, the buyer will agree to cover closing costs or offer other incentives to close. Check with your real estate agent about the possibilities.

Using the Available Resources

photo album shown in inherited home in Florida

Image by Laura Fuhrman via Unsplash

Selling an inherited home can seem overwhelming. Making sure everyone’s on the same page, dealing with the physical reality of a home that may contain a lot of memories, and managing one’s personal feelings about death is a lot for anyone to handle.

For this reason, it’s great to have some tools and resources available to help. Getting advice from knowledgeable sources, like real estate professionals, can help take some of the burdens off the shoulders of the family of the deceased.A little knowledge can go a long way when trying to manage expectations. Heirs in Florida may find benefit from articles and advice from trusted sources while navigating this difficult time.

5 Steps to Sell a Run Down House in Charlotte

Image by Tama66 via Pixabay

Are you looking to sell a run-down house in Charlotte but worried about the stains, shutters, and siding? Do you need to sell an unwanted property or sell your house fast? In today’s market, those anxious feelings are common in those looking to sell a house in less-than-stellar condition.

While it’s true that some properties require more renovations than others, there are plenty of real estate solutions for your Charlotte house. Keep in mind that you’re not alone in wondering if your house can sell in today’s market. Charlotte homes are quickly selling and you could get a great price if you sell your home.

Read the tips provided below to learn more about selling a run-down house in Charlotte, NC.

  1. Know the Condition of Your Home

When using the term “poor” or “bad” condition for a house, remember that it’s a sliding scale that can be interpreted in different ways. While your home may be in “poor” condition, it is also an investment opportunity to others. Let’s see where your home falls on the scale. 

Uninhabitable/Condemned

Many factors can make a property uninhabitable. These issues include but aren’t limited to:

  • Structural Issues
  • Electrical Issues
  • Plumbing Issues
  • Mold, Asbestos, or Lead
  • Extreme Roof Damage
  • Intense Chimney Damage
  • Deficient HVAC System 

These items can lead to a home being too dangerous to inhabit. 

Major Repairs Needed

If your home is visually in need of repairs, it can still be considered in “poor” condition. 

  • Extensive Roof Damage
  • Considerable Foundation Issues
  • Damaged Flooring
  • Broken Kitchen or Bathroom
  • HVAC System Issues 
  • Electrical Issues 

While these conditions don’t necessarily deem your home non-livable, there are still issues that need to be fixed. 

Updates Needed

The last category is cosmetic updates and small repairs that are needed to improve your home and your curb appeal. Your home might still be considered in “poor” condition if you need to change any of the following:

  • Out-of-date Kitchen 
  • Out-of-date Bathroom
  • Paint 
  • Fixtures 
  • Flooring 
  • Landscaping

Home sellers can make small repairs such as changing the light fixtures and applying a fresh coat of paint to help spruce up your property.

  1. Know Your Options
charlotte, sky scape, city scape

Image by Carissa Rogers via Pixabay

Now that you have an idea of the condition of your home, the next step is to figure out your selling options. 

Option 1: Sell Your Home As-Is 

One selling method that is appealing to Charlotte cash home buyers would be “sell as is,” meaning your property is left unchanged. Repair costs can add up. If you are feeling frustrated, tired, and stressed out knowing that you have too many repairs and not enough time and money, you can sell your house as is. If selling your house quickly is important, selling as-is would also be in your best interest.

Selling your Charlotte home as-is can also lead to a cash offer. There are real estate investors and cash buyers who are looking to buy burdensome houses and will pay cash to buy your property. An investment firm or direct buyer will buy houses and often give a fair all cash offer.

With a direct sale, you can typically expect a fast closing without having to pay realtor commissions. Closing costs are also usually paid by the investors. If you have a cash offer, you can also expect a quicker closing date on your house.

Not all buyers will provide a fair cash offer but there is another selling option.

Option 2: Investing in Major Repairs

If you’re up to the challenge of making major renovations and repairs on your Charlotte home (and if you have time and money), investing in repairs would bring in more traditional homebuyers and could potentially yield a higher price for your home. This can be time-consuming but you would be helping homeowners in the long-run.

Examples of major repairs would be updating a kitchen or bathroom, replacing flooring and windows, and providing new appliances. When you invest in major repair costs, you can expect more money on your return investment.

  1. Make Cost-Effective Repairs

If you can’t invest in a large home renovation, don’t stress! There are still minor repairs and small changes that can make a world of difference when selling your home. One of the best things you can do is provide the interior of your home with fresh paint. A fresh coat of paint will show your buyers the potential of the interior of your home. 

plumbing, pipe, wrenches

Image by Stevenpb via Pixabay

Other small repairs to your property would be to change the doorknobs and other small fixtures around your house. Make sure all fixtures have working lightbulbs so your house literally lights up inside! If you can’t replace the flooring, you can always use a stain remover instead. 

If you are ready to take photos of your property so you can sell, make sure to declutter all items and clean up the interior as much as possible. Simple solutions like putting away items on countertops and cleaning the sinks will make a huge difference. 

Lastly, maintain a well-kept yard where the grass is cut and any items like garbage cans and storage bins are placed out of sight. 

  1. Highlight the Positive

Many homes come with a unique selling point. It could be a walk-in closet, extra storage room, large pantry, or space for a home office. Whatever key feature you think is important, make sure to highlight that in your home.

Emphasize those selling points when you stage your home. Hiring a professional photographer to take photos of your property will help homeowners when selling. Chances are you have plenty of features in your home that can be appealing to home buyers.

Scaffold on new construction in Charlotte

Image by Pixeltweaks via Pixabay

Your neighborhood may also be a selling point for potential buyers. Is there a corner market where the owner knows your name? A cafe within walking distance? What about a nice walking or jogging path? A Charlotte real estate agent can help highlight appeals of your property address. These key positive influences can provide potential buyers with a certain charm about your home and neighborhood. 

  1. Be Fair and Patient

Once you’re ready to list, remember to ask for a fair price. Charlotte real estate agents can help set a selling price, offer open houses to increase traffic to your home, and provide help to homeowners who are looking to quickly sell their property for an affordable price. Try not to under or over sell your property. This could lead to your house being on the market for longer than intended. 

realtor, real estate, real estate agent

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This leads to the last tip: be patient. Selling a run-down house requires work and patience. Keep in mind that some buyers want a house they consider to be “move-in ready.”

But don’t get discouraged! Selling a run-down home in Charlotte is completely possible. While the entire process can be overwhelming, the right buyer for your Charlotte home is out there.

I Got an Unsolicited Text to Buy My House – What Should I Do?

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Have you been getting unwanted texts from unknown numbers looking to buy your house? Are you worried if these unsolicited text messages are real or a scam? Many homeowners are in the same situation.

Unsolicited offers are typical in a hot real estate market. An unsolicited offer often comes from an agent, investor, or company who wishes to buy a property from homeowners that are not actively looking for a buyer.

If your home is not on the market, it can be confusing as to why someone is making an unsolicited offer on your property. Let’s break down why homeowners are receiving unsolicited offers, who is making them, and what you can do about them.

Why Am I Getting These Texts?

Because real estate is currently in a seller’s market, there aren’t enough houses for the numerous buyers. According to Freddie Mac, the U.S. had a deficit of 2.5 million units in 2018, which grew to 3.8 million by 2020. (I’m not sure if this is correct to add in sources?) The median price of existing homes has also risen to $403,800, according to the National Association of Realtors, making competitive markets spring up. This means buyers are competing against multiple offers in order to purchase a home.

Think of an unsolicited offer as modern-day cold calls. Homes in coveted neighborhoods tend to sell quickly. If someone rides by your neighborhood and likes your house, they might seek out a real estate agent for help. The real estate agent would then in turn send unsolicited offers to buy your house. Buyers don’t want to wait for desirable homes to hit the market.

On the other hand, investors tend to look for homes where they can make a deal. They will search for properties where they can provide a cash offer (often under the value of your home), fix it, and sell for a profit.

The demand for homes and shortage of properties could possibly explain why there are more unsolicited offers now than before. So while your home is off market, buyers are out there who wish to purchase your property.

Who Is Sending These Texts?

It can be confusing and bothersome to get unsolicited offers from multiple sources. Knowing who is behind sending these texts can help understand why it’s happening in the first place.

Property owners might receive phone calls or be on direct mailing lists in addition to receiving unsolicited text messages. If you receive unsolicited offers, you are probably wondering who is behind them. Let’s take a look at the different categories below.

Scams

We’ve all received texts from unknown numbers offering or asking for all kinds of deals. If you’re getting a text from someone asking to buy your property and there’s no company, investor, or agent connected to it, chances are it’s a scam.

One major scam to be aware of is “white knight.” Also known as a foreclosure rescue, a “white knight” scam is when a buyer will offer a loan to the homeowner in exchange for signing over the deed or title. This would help the homeowner avoid foreclosure.

However, once the homeowner is ready to pay back the “white knight,” they could have disappeared, sold the property, and possibly tried to force eviction proceedings.

Again, be wary of texts that do not have any kind of company, investor, or agent associated with the number. Always research who is contacting you before responding.

Wholesalers

While wholesalers could be working for a legitimate company, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have your best interests when offering to purchase your home.

What exactly is a wholesaler? If real estate investors don’t have the time to find properties, they will seek out wholesalers to do all the work.

More often than not, wholesalers will send homeowners an unsolicited offer that is lower than the market price. Wholesalers and investors work together to ensure they are buying low on the property so they both make a profit. 

Cash offers are often made so the deal can be handled quickly. In most deals, wholesalers will make the offer on behalf of an investor. However, sometimes wholesalers will purchase your property outright and sell it directly to an investor in order to make a profit.

Real Estate Investors

There are plenty of TV shows that boast house remodels and flipping. Investors will contact homeowners with unsolicited offers, sometimes involving cash. Investors will likely fix up a home and flip it to either sell for a profit or keep it as a rental property.

Just like wholesalers, investors will offer less than market value in order to make a profit. Investors might be house flippers or home buying companies that exclusively deal with cash offers when they buy homes.

Real Estate Agents

Unsolicited offers don’t always come from the ones listed above. A local real estate agent might work with their homebuyers to make offers on a coveted home or neighborhood. An agent might send an offer to make an off market deal to avoid a bidding war in a competitive market.

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What If I Want to Sell My Home?

Even if you haven’t considered selling your home in recent years, a cash offer might be enticing. However, you should always do your research first by taking into consideration the items below.

Get Help From Professionals

Working with real estate professionals will help when learning your property’s fair market value. A real estate agent can also help you determine the profit if you sell your house on the open market. Remember that real estate agents work for your best interests and will try to get top dollar for your house.

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If you decide to accept an unsolicited offer, consider hiring an attorney who can help with the process. Real estate transactions can be tricky and overwhelming. Having someone else look over documents could benefit your sale in the long run.

Know Your Home’s Worth

Before accepting a cash offer, do your due diligence on learning your home’s fair market value. Compare the value of your home to others in your neighborhood, determine what other buyers are willing to pay, and research any costs associated with listing your property for sale.

Take into account the following costs before making a decision:

  • Staging Your Home

It can be quite expensive to stage your home before listing it on the market. While professional staging and photos could bring in more money to your home, accepting a cash offer means you won’t have to worry about this process.

  • Conducting Repairs

Home repairs can also be an added expense if you decide to sell. If you don’t have the time or money to invest in repairs, you could accept an unsolicited offer.

  • closing costs and fees

Most cash buyers will offer to cover the closing costs of your home. Don’t forget that working with a real estate agent means you will have to pay commissions as well.

  • Marketing and Escrow Times

Depending on the current housing market, homes might stay listed for longer. Cash buyers can also close quickly. Take these factors into consideration if you are looking to sell your home fast.

Pros and Cons of Unsolicited Offers

There are plenty of factors to think about if you plan to accept an unsolicited offer. If you don’t want the stress of going through a real estate agent to list your house, an unsolicited offer might be a good choice. Always remember to do your own research when finding your home’s value before accepting an offer

As previously mentioned, an unsolicited offer will often ask to purchase your home under value. Most often, buyers that send unsolicited offers will not negotiate because they are looking for a quick and low-priced deal. 

If you are looking to make a profit on your house, working with realtors would be your best bet.

What You Should Do About These Texts

It can be confusing to receive an unsolicited text to buy your home, especially if you aren’t interested in selling.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear-cut way to stop unsolicited offers to buy your house. If you definitely aren’t interested in selling your home, you can try to slow down the number of text messages in these ways.

  • Put your phone number on the national do not call registry
  • make sure to block any unwanted phone numbers
  • ask companies or agents to remove you from their phone and mailing lists
  • ask them not to contact you again

If the texts still continue, try contacting the Better Business Bureau or Federal Trade Commission.

Let’s Review

In short, a low supply of homes and high demand will create a seller’s market. Investors and real estate agents will use this opportunity to send unsolicited offers to buy homes through texts or phone calls, even if you aren’t interested in selling.

While some of these offers are legitimate, others might be scams. Remember to explore all your options thoroughly if you plan on going with a cash offer.

What to do When You Need to Sell an Investment Property in North Carolina

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Owning a rental property in North Carolina can be a great investment providing you with extra income, but you might be considering selling for several reasons.

Maybe the costs of owning investment properties have increased. Maybe you are moving out of the area and don’t want the hassle of rental properties. Maybe you’ve had a major life change. Or maybe you are in need of immediate cash flow. 

Whatever the case may be, if you own an investment property in North Carolina and are looking to sell there are many considerations to take into place.

Know The Real Estate Markets

It’s important to know the current housing market conditions in North Carolina. If your property is in a prime location, real estate investors will take note. Your investment property might be located in the city, country, or small town that is the ideal location for others interested in real estate investing.

Is it a Buyer’s Market or Seller’s Market?

Identifying trends in the housing market can be figured out by researching the following:

  • number of homes for sale in your area
  • how many days homes are on the market
  • examining list prices to sale prices

One of the most important questions to ask when determining your real estate market is whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market. If there is a high demand for houses and minimal properties for sale, the market is more advantageous for sellers.

Even though real estate investors want markets with favorable buying conditions (a buyer’s market) don’t get discouraged when selling your investment property. Planning and patience is key when looking to sell a property investment.

Learn About the Economy and Job Markets of The Area

It’s important to study the demographics of the area to know if your property in North Carolina will bring in a potential property investor. Those interested in real estate investing will look for the following:

  • Unemployment Rates
  • Occupancy Rates
  • Rental Conditions

A city or town in North Carolina that has a favorable job market and a secure economy will bring in more residents. This will allow for more rentals in the area whether it’s single family homes or a condo.

Know The Neighborhood

minimalist photography of house shot in front of chain fence

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After determining the market and studying the demographics of the area, examine the neighborhood for any and all conveniences. Is public transportation nearby? Are the roads in good condition? How close are schools? These are all factors that will help sell investment property in North Carolina.

Learn About Tax Laws

When selling rental properties, be mindful that taxes on investment properties are different from primary residence sales. So what’s the difference?

If you sell a home that was your primary residence, you usually do not have to pay taxes on the net proceeds of the sale. However, those tax breaks are not extended to the selling of investment properties.

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Capital Gains Taxes

It’s reasonable to assume that your investment property has increased in value throughout the time you’ve owned it. This means that you will make a profit once it sells. This is called capital gain. 

If you’ve owned your rental property for less than a year, the profits would be treated as short-term capital gains. This means you will be taxed at the same rate as your income.

If you have owned the investment property for more than a year, your profit would be treated as a long-term capital gain and you would be taxed at a lower rate.

Other Factors to Consider

If your taxable income is less than $80,000, you do not have to pay capital gains taxes. 

Maybe you are looking to re-invest the money from this investment property into another one in a different location. It’s possible to defer capital gains taxes with a 1031 exchange. This means you have a fixed amount of time to find a similar property for investment purposes.

You can also avoid capital gains taxes with the IRS “ownership and use” test. This means you would need to have the following:

  • Owned the property for at least two years
  • Lived in the property as your primary residence for the past two out of five years

Once you’ve decided which route is the best for your investment property, it’s time to start planning the next step.

Be Honest With Your Tenant

Once you’ve determined you want to sell your investment property, you will need to take into consideration if there is a tenant already occupying the property. There are several different ways in which you can be mindful of your renters.

house keys to investmen property in NC

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Ask Tenants to Vacate Before Listing Property

It’s important to keep in mind if you have renters occupying your property once you have started the process to put it on the market. You can try to work out an agreement where they vacate before it’s listed but notice is required.

Month-t0-month leases often require landlords to inform tenants anywhere from 30 to 60 days to vacate the home. Make sure to check with the NC state law regarding this process.

If your renter is resolved on staying put in the property, you will need to honor their lease agreement. In nearly all states, lease agreements are transferred with the sale of your property. The new owner cannot make changes to the lease agreement until it expires. Again, check with NC state law regarding this process.

The most important part of dealing with your tenants is to communicate. Remember to be kind and conscientious to your renters if they need to stay while you find a buyer. Simple things like giving them ample warning before a showing, maintaining the yard, and informing them once the property sells will help during the process.

Good Tenants Make Good Selling Points

If you already have good tenants in your property, this could become a good selling point. Some property management companies or real estate brokerage firms will look for the right property investment which already has a cash flow.

When listing the property, make sure you are ready to answer these questions:

  • What is the monthly rent?
  • How long have the current tenants lived there?
  • Do the tenants pay the rent on time?
  • What utilities are covered by the tenants?
  • When does the current lease or contract expire?
  • Do the current tenants maintain the property in a good condition?

Be honest with your tenants when you know you are about to list your property. Let them know that potential buyers will be coming through the property. You can offer small incentives like gift cards to keep your tenants happy during this process.

Make Necessary Repairs

While there might be buyers who will purchase your investment property without repairs, it might not be a bad idea to upgrade and make small repairs. You might be trying to sell your property investment in North Carolina quickly, but making necessary repairs could produce a higher price.

man cleaning investment property in NC

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What If I Can’t Make Repairs?

If you can’t make repairs due to time or money issues, you could still potentially find investors. An investor or buyer might look for a property investment that needs work in order to get a lower purchase price.

Another item to consider is if your property is currently empty. Renovations and repairs might take time, meaning you will be losing out on rental income during that time.

Benefits of Making Repairs

If you do have time and money to make repairs and upgrades, you could possibly bring in buyers willing to pay more for your NC investment property. As the seller, it might be in your best interest to increase your property value by installing new flooring, applying fresh paint, providing new appliances, and making sure there is access to high speed internet.

These types of repairs and upgrades could yield a higher cash return on your property investment.

Questions to Ask Before Making Repairs

Before you begin spending time and money on repairs, make sure to consider these questions:

  • WHAT IS THE CURRENT CONDITION OF THE REAL ESTATE MARKET? ARE INVEstment properties IN HIGH ENOUGH DEMAND WHERE YOU CAN SELL?
  • Do you have current tenants? CAN YOU WORK AROUND TENANTS IN ORDER TO MAKE REPAIRS?
  • Will the property have to be empty for repairs, meaning you will lose rental income?
  • What tax considerations do I need to take into account? knowing the difference between repairs and improvements will help make your decision.

Stage Your Property

First impressions matter. Even if you can’t make all of the necessary repairs to your property, there are plenty of ideas below to help you get started.

Curb Appeal

Make potential buyers notice your property from the get-go! Whether you have single family homes or a condo to sell, one of these items will work for you when staging your property.

  • Apply a fresh coat of paint to the front door and/or shutters
  • replace house numbers
  • cut the grass and clear out any weeds
  • add a welcome mat
  • consider planting seasonal flowers in any flower beds
  • add to your living space by placing outdoor chairs on the front porch

Kitchen and Bathroom Ideas

Properties that have updated kitchen and bathrooms tend to be noticed more in today’s market. Not all renovations have to break the bank! Take a look at some ideas that work when staging your property.

  • keep counter space clear and wipe them down.
  • update cabinets with a fresh coat of paint.
  • replace hardware like faucets and door knobs. If you can’t replace it, make sure to clean and make it shine!
  • remove hard water stains and clean the grout or tile.
  • consider replacing the shower curtain and adding new bathmats.
  • add a hand towel next to the bathroom sink along with a candle and fancy soaps.
  • place all personal belongings in the medicine cabinet or cabinet.

Emphasize The Best

Highlighting all of the potential space and features of your property is key. Too much furniture can make a home seem smaller than it actually is. Consider these other ideas when staging your property.

  • cut back any unnecessary furniture items. This will free up more space making it easy for buyers to walk around the property.
  • highlight focal points like a fireplace, office space, or walk-in closet.
  • clear off the coffee table.
  • remove any personal items like family pictures, diplomas, or kids’ artwork.
  • If you allow pets in your rental property, make sure pet odors and dander are nonexistent.
  • hire a professional stager and/or photographer to take photos.

While all of these items might not be relevant to your investment property, staging your property before listing could possibly help the sale.

Set the Right Price

Many buyers will search for an attractive place that is located in a big city or metro area with access to numerous amenities. If your investment property in NC fits this criteria, setting the right price is key for other investors and realtors alike.

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Finding the right realtor can help when listing your property. Real estate agents know home values in NC and can help with properties like rentals. There are also real estate agents who specialize in buying and selling investment properties.

Real estate agents who specialize in property investments in North Carolina can help with the following:

  • knowing and understanding today’s housing and renting trends
  • tax laws on investment properties

You can also choose to sell to real estate investors. When selling to a real estate investor, you can sometimes expect a cash close. Investors might also purchase your property as is, eliminating the need for repairs.

Last But Not Least

Selling your investment property in NC does not have to be as stressful as you think! Search for the right information regarding the market and tax laws, notify your tenants of your intention, stage the property, and list. There are always others looking to invest in real estate. Before you know it, your property will be sold!

Top 12 Realtors in Charlotte, NC

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Buying and selling real estate can be nerve wracking and more than a little overwhelming. Working with the right agent can make all the difference in not only how much money you make or save, but top realtors in Charlotte can also take the stress out of the process.

So much of negotiation and outcomes in real estate hinge on the ability of a real estate agent to know the market and work effectively with the other players. Hustle, drive, personability, and quick thinking are essential for success in the competitive market of the Charlotte metropolitan area.

Finding the right real estate agent is a central part of either buying or selling your property in North Carolina. The right real estate agent will not only help you to get through the process, but they’ll also be a sounding board for your ability to understand everything that’s going on in a real estate transaction.

What’s special about the Charlotte real estate market?

Charlotte, NC is a major metropolitan area that is home to an ever-increasing population. In the last several years, this city has exploded with a huge amount of growth both in the housing sector and in the job market.

Why are people so interested in living in Charlotte? North and South Carolina are both home to beautiful places and a mild climate. Charlotte, NC is situated close to the mountains and close to the ocean, making vacationing easy when you live and work in the city.

Carolina real estate experts are aware of the draws to this area, and they also know that the real estate market is white hot right now. A great real estate agent will not only know the area, but they’ll be able to use their negotiation skills to get you the right price for a home in North Carolina that works for your needs.

How many real estate agents are there in Charlotte?

House with solar for sale by a real estate agent in Charlotte, NC

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No matter where you are interested in living in and around Charlotte, North Carolina, you’ll need a real estate agent who can deliver. The good news is that you’ve got lots of top seller’s agents and more than a few buyer’s agents to help you in your search.

Charlotte has almost eight thousand licensed real estate agents who are active in the current market. It’s the largest metropolitan area in North Carolina, and this has led a lot of real estate experts to come to this area to sell property and help people buy property.

The top realtors in Charlotte know how to get the best outcomes for their clients, and they’re constantly working on making the home buying process in North Carolina easier for everyone.

What are the prices for top real estate agents in Charlotte?

Looking at real estate transaction data analysis that’s published and public knowledge, we know that the top five percent of seller’s agents in the area get over $45,000 more per home for a Charlotte property than the average sale. That’s a huge number and represents a significant benefit for hiring a Charlotte real estate agent.

It’s not just sellers whose real estate needs are met with these top real estate agents in Charlotte. The top five percent of buyer’s agents in Charlotte, NC according to that same data are able to save their clients .08% more than the average agent in the area.

Working with a top real estate agent in Charlotte is a sure fire way to get more out of properties than by going it alone or working with an agent who isn’t in that upper echelon. The expertise that Charlotte real estate agents bring to their transactions are an important part of making any real estate transaction successful, whether it’s from a large developer or with a first time home buyer.

The competitive nature of the Charlotte real estate market makes it important for homebuyers and sellers to choose the right real estate agent, because it can make all the difference in getting the right price or the perfect home.

Understanding the Charlotte, NC real estate market

Older home for sale by real estate agents in Charlotte, NC

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When looking for the right real estate agents in Charlotte, it’s important to have a solid foundation of what the market is like. Though this is a booming southern city, it’s also a center of culture and education.

Charlotte is made up of a wide variety of boroughs. These include places like NoDa, Uptown, Dilworth, Midtown, and Center City. Reaching a little further out of town, there are lots of suburbs around town that are also popular for both old residents and those relocating to the Charlotte area. These include places like Indian Trail, Mint Hill, Huntersville, Matthews, and South Hill in South Carolina.

There is an eclectic mix of possibilities for anyone interested in living in the Charlotte, NC area. Top real estate agents in Charlotte should be familiar with all the city has to offer, including which areas might be better suited for a family interested in purchasing a home. Often, a great real estate agent will be able to point you in the direction of a fantastic area that you might not even be aware of.

Charlotte by the numbers

The metropolitan area of Charlotte, has a population of roughly eight hundred thousand and is seated on about three hundred square miles.

Over half of the households in the city of Charlotte are made of up families, which makes it a family friendly city. The central downtown area is home to a professional football stadium and a professional basketball arena, as well as numerous music venues and theaters.

Most people in Charlotte commute less than half an hour to work. Of the roughly three hundred thousand households in Charlotte, roughly half are occupied by renters and the other half are occupied by homeowners. 67% of the population is under the age of 45.

As for the real estate market in Charlotte, it’s been going up dramatically in the last two years like the rest of the country. The average home in Charlotte stays on the market for just over a hundred days.

Top real estate agents in Charlotte

Charlotte real estate agents might be plentiful, but they are not all created equal. Working with the perfect real estate agent will help you to navigate the real estate industry.

Thes top twelve Carolina real estate experts are both knowledgeable and dependable. Top agents in Charlotte will help you to navigate the real estate process, whether they’re working as buyer’s agents or seller’s agents.

Here are a dozen top agents that will help you in your search for the perfect real estate agent in Charlotte.

1 – Rita Goforth

Rita-Goforth-Top-Real-Estate-Agent-In-Charlotte-NC

A 2018 graduate of the Superior School of Real Estate, Rita has a history of helping clients find the home that is not only the best fit for their needs, but also that fits into their budget.

Building her business on referrals, Rita brings a wealth of market knowledge to all of her transactions. Through her work over the last several years in the Charlotte area, Rita has built a strong network of connections with top real estate agents in and around Charlotte, enabling her to easily negotiate on behalf of her clients. She has a deep well of negotiation skills that allows her to get the best possible outcome for her clients. Rita is also the youngest person to win the rookie of the year award in the Charlotte metro area, surpassing the previous age record by over a decade.

From the very beginning of each client relationship, Rita brings a personal touch and a special dedication to her clients. The depth of her market knowledge is beneficial to both buyers and sellers, as well as to investors. In fact, Rita herself is a real estate investor. She has a successful track record of building a client base that’s advantageous for buyers who want to take their business to the next level.

Just this past spring, Rita was named one of the rising stars in real estate by Charlotte Top Producers. As a Keller Williams Realty affiliate, Rita has a bright and bold outlook on real estate. Her energy and expert support are incredible benefits for anyone who is moving to Charlotte from out of state or for local Charlotte residents who want to find their dream home right in the area.

2 – Brian Belcher

Brian Belcher, Charlotte, NC Real Estate Team Member/Associate - RE/MAX  Executive

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Ranked as one of the top 100 real estate agents in the country, Brian brings a seriousness and a service to his real estate practice. As one of the top performing agents in the country, he’s won numerous awards for this work and is highly regarded in the field.

What sets him apart is not just his experience, but also his attention to detail. Brian makes every person in a transaction feel like they’re important and that their point of view is valuable. This is why the selling process that he brings to buyers and sellers has such positive reviews.

His office has locations in Fort Mill, Mooresville, Indian Land, Concord, Ballantyne, Cornelius, South Park, and Waxhaw. Not only is he great with clients, but he’s also a top negotiator. Brian is the perfect agent for home sellers who want a realty group that is both experienced and deeply committed to the outcome of each real estate transaction.

3 – Kim Trouten

Kim Trouten top real estate agent Charlotte

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Leading the top ranked real estate team in Charlotte, Kim Trouten has brought her team to the cream of the crop in the United States in real estate – the top one percent. This award winning group of real estate professionals have gotten here through hard work and through incredible client service.

The concierge-style real estate service offered by Kim’s team is focused on South Charlotte and the northern part of South Carolina along the border. She has a wealth of experience in land development, architectural planning, construction, and interior design. With a high level of expertise in high end real estate, Kim’s team is known throughout the region for its real estate industry experience and its positive reviews.

Working closely with online marketing, social media, and networking, Kim is savvy and dedicated in providing the best possible services for both buyers and sellers. She and her husband live in an historic home in Dilworth that they rebuilt, bringing her experience to bear for her own home. Her longtime experience in Charlotte means that she knows the area and is invested in the people she works with.

4 – Eric Maynard

Besecker & Maynard Group

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Working with his longtime real estate partner, Monica Besecker, Eric Maynard is part of one of the most successful real estate teams in the greater Charlotte metropolitan area.

The winner of the Rookie of the Year Award when he entered Charlotte real estate, Eric is known for using technology to help leverage the real estate potential for his client. From virtual open houses to robust online sales tools, Eric is a great agent for anyone who wants not only potential buyers to know about their homes, but also for a smooth transition from listing to closing.

His team was listed as the #1 Group Sales Team and the #1 Listing Agent in Charlotte, he has a long history of being a guide for both first time home buyers and luxury sellers. The strong mix of marketing techniques and negotiation skills that Eric brings to bear for his clients is the reason he’s gotten positive reviews and that his combined sales in the calendar year were nearly one hundred million dollars.

5 – Minnie High

Minnie High, real estate agent in Charlotte

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Minnie High is one of the top buyer’s agents in Charlotte, NC, working with clients and property owners to get the best possible outcome for their real estate transactions. In her former career, she was a social worker and educator. Now, Minnie brings all of that compassion and expertise to be the best agent possible.

The first priority in all of her client interactions isn’t less about the median listing price and more about giving buyers and sellers the best and most competent experience she possibly can.

Her work as a RE/MAX agent has allowed her to help buyers and sellers across Charlotte and the northern part of South Carolina. She is particularly passionate about helping veterans find homes, and Minnie is a Certified International Property Specialist.

6 – Ginny Baker

Profile photo of Ginny Baker, Real estate agent in Charlotte, NC

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Ginny Baker is one of the top ranked real estate agents in Charlotte with good reason. Not only is she one of the top performing agents in the city, but she’s also received positive reviews from long term and repeat clients. For her, it’s not just about the money – it’s about the time she puts in and the relationships she builds with her clients.

For her, understanding the emotional as well as the economic dimensions of the real estate transaction is essential to being successful. She views her clients as people first, and homeowners second. This approach makes her the best agent for both first time homebuyers and for families interested in relocating to Charlotte.

Her expertise extends beyond just the Charlotte, NC area. Having lived in five different states, Ginny has roots all over the country. This means she can connect home buyers with other professionals wherever they might be relocating to.

With more than fifteen years of experience as a Charlotte real estate agent, Ginny is adept at supporting families and individuals throughout the real estate process. For this reason, she’s a top agent and has a huge number of repeat clients and referrals.

7 – Evelyn McCorkle

Top agent in Charlotte, NC

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A Charlotte native, Evelyn McCorkle is a member of Helen Adams Realty who has been working with clients for over 20 years as a trusted real estate agent and top agent in the area. Past clients consistently refer new buyers and sellers to Evelyn, who has a reputation for being both compassionate towards her clients and also being a hard negotiator who gets the job done.

The personal touch and dedication that Evelyn brings to all of her work carries through from the initial listing to the closing table. She’s a top agent who is also invested in the community that she lives and works in, providing resources for her clients that go above and beyond the normal real estate transaction.

Evelyn has particular experience supporting buyers who need to find a lender to work with. She’s a top agent for home buyers who need to learn the process, but she’s also adept at helping experienced sellers who are ready to downsize or relocate.

8 – Timothy Rohan

Tim Rohan, top agent in Charlotte, NC

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Leader of the Rohan Group, Tim Rohan is a longtime top agent in the Charlotte area who has a special expertise in helping homeowners who have a high median listing price for their property. He’s a top buyer’s agent in the Charlotte area, primarily specializing in single family homes.

Most often, Tim represents the seller in transactions, but he does work with buyers as well. Tim has the most sales experience as a seller’s agent. He’s in the top six percent of agents in Charlotte, closing over a hundred more homes in the last year than the average agent in the Charlotte area.

9 – Kate Terrigno

Kate Terrigno, top real estate agent in Charlotte, NC

Kate is a former broadcast journalist who turned her attention to real estate as a way to have hands-on experience in a fulfilling career.

With a wealth of experience in both buying and selling, Kate is known in the area for being a driver agent who is willing to go the extra mile to do the right thing for her clients. In her years in Charlotte, Kate has consistently been one of the top producing agents. Working with both buyers and sellers, Kate is a fierce negotiator and a passionate advocate for her clients.

10 – Kristi Vernon

Vernon Realty Group, 13620 Reese Blvd. East, Suite 130, Huntersville, NC  28078, USA

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The founder of Vernon Realty Group, Kate Vernon is an experienced and passionate realtor who has a reputation for being hard working and honest. Clients routinely refer friends and family to this Keller Williams Realty team.

This dynamic and powerful team of realtors has worked with all kinds of transactions. This includes investors, high end homes, fixer-uppers, historic homes, new construction, empty nesters, new families, those relocating to Charlotte from other places, and so much more.

This team follows the most recent real estate and home buying practices, learning from agents and constantly developing their team at Keller Williams Realty. Extending online practices and enabling buyers and sellers to understand the process as much as possible, this team is ready to take on any challenge in the Charlotte real estate market. this is why they’re consistently named as a top team of real estate professionals in the Charlotte and surrounding areas.

Recent transactions for this Keller Williams Realty team range from high end homes to starter homes, with list price points to match. They’re agents with passion and dedication, and it shows in the way that their clients review their work.

11 – Melissa Brown

Melissa Brown top real estate agent in charlotte

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Very few real estate agents in Charlotte can match the enthusiasm and the expertise of Melissa Brown. Her excitement about people living and working in the Charlotte area is infectious, and her willingness to go the extra mile for her clients is unmatched.

She works hard to make sure that the real estate journey is tailored to each individual client, supporting them in everything from listing to staging to closing. Not only does she offer support for luxury homes and listing, but Melissa also works with first time homebuyers across the Charlotte area.

With almost fifteen years of experience, Melissa has a proven track record of helping real estate clients get the most out of their listings. Her highly personalized approach is a breath of fresh air among real estate agents. No matter the list price of a home, Melissa is there to support buyers and sellers throughout the transaction process.

As a member of the Helen Adams Realty Group, Melissa is supported by a strong group of real estate professionals in the Charlotte area.

The positive reviews of Melissa praise her support of clients who are relocating Charlotte from other areas, and she provides care and comfort throughout the real estate process.

12 – Dan Jones

Carolina Real Estate Experts

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Dan Jones serves Charlotte and the surrounding areas as one of the top real estate agents in this part of North Carolina. Over the last decade, he’s risen to be one of the top two percent of agents in Charlotte, selling homes fast and with a good deal of customer service delivered one each transaction.

Working through thousands of transactions across Kannapolis, Mooreseville, Concord, Mint Hill, Huntersville, and downtown Charlotte, Dan works with a top notch team. Roughly two thirds of his business has been representing sellers, with one third of his work having been as a buyer’s agent.

One of the strengths of Dan’s work is that he looks at objective performance data to support home sellers getting more money for each of their transactions. Using established systems, Dan and his team make light work of real estate transactions. The entire process with Dan and his team offers sellers and buyers a straightforward method to get real estate in North Carolina bought and sold.

Choosing the right Charlotte, NC real estate agent for you

Pool at a house for sale near Charlotte, NC

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Whether the North Carolina real estate agent you choose to work with is a long term agent who has worked with an agency like Keller Williams or RE/MAX, or if they are a newer real estate agent who is just getting started in their own independent realty group and are not a member of a national association, you should feel confident in finding your home with the support of an expert.

The entire process for home buyers and for home sellers in Charlotte is not like it is in mega cities like San Francisco or Chicago because North Carolina is its own unique market.

When choosing a real estate agent, don’t forget that you have all of the choices and lots of autonomy in this situation. The right real estate agents are those who appreciate your needs and treat you with the kind of supportive methods that make it all work for you.

What’s the Best Way for a Family in Tampa to Avoid Foreclosure?

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Many Tampa homeowners who have missed monthly mortgage payments are concerned about how to avoid foreclosure. It’s stressful to worry about pending legal action while also being unable to make this month’s mortgage payment.

If you are to weather financial problems and avoid foreclosure, you may find resources for mortgage relief options helpful.

Stop Foreclosure by Starting Now

Although it may feel overwhelming to get useful information on avoiding foreclosure, Floridians are mostly likely to get help if they reach out for help as soon as they know there’s a problem and take proactive steps to stay out of foreclosure.

Contact your mortgage servicer as soon as you can.

Many mortgage servicers have foreclosure prevention options of which you may not be aware. If you’re experiencing financial hardship, start with your loan servicer.

Contact your lender and find out if they’ll allow you to delay payments or create a repayment plan for any missed mortgage payments. Usually, a mortgage company would much rather avoid the foreclosure process, so your mortgage servicer could provide options such as:

loan modification

A loan modification is when the mortgage lender permanently changes your mortgage to make it more affordable to you.

SHort refinance

A short refinance is a type of loan modification in which the mortgage company changes the terms of your loan so that you don’t go into foreclosure.

repayment plan

A repayment plan can help you restructure your missed payments, adding some of the past due amount to your monthly mortgage payment.

forbearance

A forbearance is when your mortgage servicer allows you more time to pay on your mortgage loan by reducing or eliminating the monthly payment until you have come out the other side of your financial difficulties.

Often, a forbearance is combined with a repayment plan. Note: this is not a situation in which the lender forgives the missed payments. You will likely have to repay the loan in one lump sum at the end of the forbearance.

Mortgage companies have an incentive to help you afford your existing mortgage, so they can be a great first stop in foreclosure prevention help.

Learn about the foreclosure laws in Tampa.

There are many for profit companies who make their money from foreclosure recovery scams. One way to avoid foreclosure prevention companies that are not legitimate businesses is to be aware of federal law regarding loan documents.

Some resources to check first could be:

HUD approved housing counselors

A HUD approved housing counselor is someone certified by the United States government Department of Housing and Urban Development to look at your unique financial difficulties and help walk you through options that are possible with your personal finance situation.

your trusted real estate professional

A trusted real estate professional is one of the people more familiar with mortgage terms and may be able to offer you professional advice about how to avoid or navigate foreclosure proceedings. They might also be able to advise you on the types of things lenders might do in lieu of foreclosure.

the state government housing office

At each level of government, from federal to state, from Hillsborough County to the city of Tampa, there are professionals who can help refer you to loss mitigation programs. When mortgage holders work with homeowners to avoid a foreclosure sale, the process is called loss mitigation, and your local or state housing office can help you make sure your servicer is following the regulations of this process.

a law firm

Your mortgage is, after all, a legal document, so sometimes it’s helpful to find a legal professional that is familiar with the foreclosure process and has experience in foreclosure court. Just be sure that if a firm claims to “reverse foreclosure immediately” or some other grand claim that you check their credentials. You wouldn’t want to pay fees for advice that won’t actually be of help to you.

Investigate your own finances to see where you might make changes.

Foreclosure prevention woman

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Some people have fallen behind on their mortgage payments due to a medical emergency or some other sudden and unavoidable financial problem. Others just don’t have the same amount of funds free with the cost of living increasing.

Whatever the reason you’ve been unable to make mortgage payments, there are a few things to look at to increase your financial stability, even if only in the short term:

  • optional expenses
    • Cable TV, streaming services, or other entertainment expenses are often a place homeowners can cut back.
      • Are there services you’re paying for monthly but rarely use?
  • unused subscriptions
    • As above, are there any subscriptions you’re still paying for that you aren’t making use of? Check to see if you signed up for a free trial of a service and forgot to cancel when the trial period was up.
  • luxuries that aren’t so luxurious
    • Sometimes, we continue with an expense out of habit, rather than necessity. Would you be just as happy making breakfast at home as you would eating fast food on the way to work?
    • Would you work out just as often (or maybe more!) if you used those free weights in the garage instead of paying a monthly gym membership?
    • Would you be satisfied spending some time with your best friend painting each others’ nails, rather than going to the spa every three weeks?
    • For some of these types of questions, the answer will be “No! Absolutely not! That makes me happy, and my quality of life will suffer without it!” But if you find some products or activities that would still be enjoyable without the extra expense, why keep paying for something that doesn’t add value?
  • your bank balance and your credit report
    • Usually, you’ll first learn about mistaken or fraudulent charges from your bank statement. Most banks allow you to set up alerts for charges over a certain amount or a balance that dips below a certain amount. Even with such alerts, it’s often a good idea to check your accounts regularly to be sure everything is on the up-and-up.
      • Additionally, you may find recurring charges for something you’d forgotten about! A bank statement is a great place to check to find out where your money is going.
    • There are several reputable places that you can regularly check your credit report for free. It’s usually wise to look in on your credit periodically and ensure that there aren’t erroneous items that are bringing down your score.
      • Sometimes, there are reports of people seeing charges in default on their credit report that they know they’ve paid off! Keep abreast of what’s being reported so that you can take quick action if there’s a mistake.
  • insurance and investments
    • Generally, people who find themselves behind on mortgage payments aren’t gaining and losing millions in the stock market every day. However, even those of us with an average income may be forgetting about some “set it and forget it” programs.
      • For example, if you have a whole life insurance policy — often recommended to homeowners so that their family doesn’t inherit their mortgage expenses — you may have a cash value in it that you can draw from or borrow from.
      • Perhaps in times of more financial stability, someone invested in a mutual fund or retirement account that would allow you to draw on some of the value.
        • Note: you may have to pay fees for withdrawing money from some of these types of accounts. However, if the only alternative is foreclosure, sometimes the fees are worth it to homeowners.

Resources for Every Type of Homeowner

Just as there are different kinds of homeowners, there are different kinds of loans and different options for assistance. Knowing what you have can also help you figure out where to go.

Look for programs that assist people like you.

In Florida, there are specific mortgage assistance programs for seniors, for veterans, and for other groups. Check local and state websites to find out if there’s a program for you.

The type of loan may make a difference.

If you have a federally backed mortgage loan, like an FHA loan, you may find federal assistance programs to help you stop foreclosure. The United States government has developed programs to help homeowners stay out of foreclosure, and the qualifications for the programs vary. Check to see if you qualify for one of these.

If your mortgage is through a private lender, you may be able to work out an arrangement with them in lieu of foreclosure. For example, you could forbear the remaining debt and pay it in a lump sum if you’re expecting a windfall.

If you own a home outright already and are struggling to make payments on a second home’s mortgage, you may be eligible to explore a type of loan called a reverse mortgage. In this case, you’d borrow against the equity in a home to get a loan.

Homeowners must be at least 62 to qualify for a reverse mortgage, but there is no loan term as with a traditional mortgage. Instead, the loan is repaid when the borrower is no longer in the home.

When Foreclosure Seems Inevitable

Even if it turns out that a homeowner is unable to adequately modify the terms of their loan or their personal finances to be able to afford their payments, they may not necessarily enter foreclosure and be forced to move. These options may be a last resort, but a homeowner might still find them preferable to foreclosure.

deed in lieu

A deed in lieu is when your mortgage holder accepts the deed to your home as payment for the remainder of the mortgage. Using a deed in lieu means that the company doesn’t process a foreclosure, which can adversely affect your credit score. Instead, with a deed in lieu, the servicer owns the house, and the homeowner can leave without debt on the mortgage.

hard money loan

A hard money loan is different from a traditional loan or mortgage in a few key ways:

  • the house is the collateral
    • Rather than a deep investigation into your finances to ensure you’re capable of repaying a loan, as a traditional mortgage servicer might do, in a hard money loan, you’re putting up your house as collateral for the loan.
  • private lender
    • Often, the lender is a private person or company who specializes in these types of loan.
  • more expensive
    • Because the lender is taking on more risk, the interest rates tend to be much higher than a traditional mortgage.

short sale

If the lending company agrees to a short sale, the homeowner can sell the house for less than the cost of the remaining mortgage. The lender might forgive the difference or request repayment for what is left over. A short sale doesn’t allow you to keep the house, but it can help you avoid foreclosure.

There is Hope for Homeowners

Although it can seem daunting, foreclosure is not the only destination for a homeowner behind on payments. There are people, programs, and companies designed to keep you in your home — or at least to be sure foreclosure doesn’t weigh you down unnecessarily.

If you’ve fallen behind, reach out and ask for help. Your lender, your realtor, housing counselors, and others can assist you in finding the right option for you.