Is Building A Home An Option For You?

Building a new homeDetermining whether to build a home or purchase an existing home may seem like a simple decision. Yet, in fact, there are many more factors to consider. Weighing a list of wants with your current budget and knowing all the facts are key in making this personal and very important life decision.

Questions such as these below are items to consider when looking to build or buy an existing home:

  • What is the difference in building or buying an existing home?
  • What are the costs involved?
  • What are the loan products available?
  • How do we pick a home site?
  • Which builder should I choose?
  • Do I have to pull permits?
  • What choices do I have to make?
  • Who covers the insurance while it is being built?
  • How will I know what is going on if I live out of the area?
  • Do I get a warranty?
  • Who provides the home plans?
  • What if I want to make a change while it is under construction?
  • What are the benefits to buying an existing home?
  • How long will it all take?
  • Does the community have an Architectural Review Committee?
  • Can our marriage handle building a new home?
  • Who gets the lot ready to build?
  • Will I sign a contract with a builder?
  • Is Landscaping included?
  • Can I incorporate Green/Energy saving materials into the build?

These are all questions with answers that vary with the builder, area, size of the home, and preferences of the buyer.

Building a home can be a fun process, but it’s not for everyone. Loan products generally call for 20% down (20% total-house and lot). It generally takes 6 months to a year to complete. There are many selections to choose from when picking cabinets, appliances, colors, siding, shingles etc, which takes time, coordination, and can often benefit from expert opinion.

The advantages to buying an existing home include closing, usually, within 35 days, move right in, and loans that require less money down. The advantages to buying a lot and building a home include a warranty, minimal maintenance for the first 5-10 years, designing the home exactly to fit your needs, and generally a higher resale.

The best measure for a builder that I have found is the relationship that a builder has with his clients after the project is finished. If a builder has a positive relationship with a good percentage of his past clients it shows to me that he finishes well and that everyone has a positive experience when dealing with them.

Please feel free to print the above list of questions. As a Realtor, I have had the pleasure to help several clients buy lots, coordinate with a builder, and assist them through the entire project. From 1100 sq ft Beach Box style homes to 9,000 sq ft rental machines, no project is too small or too big. We can assist you in making your dreams into reality.

Remodels can be an option too. There are many construction to permanent type loan products available which allow you to buy a home that needs updating. You and the lender can formulate a plan for the scope of the work, coordinate with a contractor, and the work begins immediately after closing.

We have several builders that we have worked with over the years, don’t hesitate to contact me, let my years of experience go to work for you.

Pete SalitorePete Salitore, Associate Broker

Understanding the Outer Banks Real Estate Process: 10 Important Terms You Need To Know

Outer Banks Real Estate termsThe Outer Banks offers one of the most beautiful beach landscapes on the East Coast. Bordered by miles of pristine sandy beaches, the islands that make up the Outer Banks serve as home to many wildlife species, including the famous wild horses of Corolla. Almost 60,000 people also make their home year-round in the Outer Banks counties of Dare and Currituck, giving the islands a touch of small-town charm even in the midst of summer’s tourist season.

If you are ready to purchase your dream home in the Outer Banks, you have undoubtedly considered a beachfront property. Homes on the beach offer beautiful ocean vistas, breathtaking sunrises, and a front-row seat for some of the best scenery nature has to offer.

Important Considerations For Outer Banks Real Estate

As you consider available properties for purchase in the Outer Banks, you should become familiar with some of the common real estate terms you may encounter. Your realtor will help you consider each property based on the unique aspects of island living. Some of the terms you may encounter include:

  • Ocean Front—An ocean front property means that the home is situated on the east side of the island, facing the ocean with no other building or structure obstructing the view. These homes offer the best view of the ocean and many also offer private beach access.
  • Ocean View—An ocean view property means that you can see the ocean from the home, but there are other houses or buildings between the home and the beach.
  • Canal Front—A canal front home is located on one of the canals leading into Pamlico Sound. The canals offer wonderful fishing and watersports while still being near the ocean.
  • Sound Front—Sound front properties are situated along the beaches of Pamlico Sound. Pamlico Sound is the area of water between the Outer Banks islands and the main North Carolina coast. The sound measures about 80 miles long and 15 to 20 miles wide, making it a beautiful view for any homeowner.
  • Erosion—Erosion refers to the loss of beach area due to the continual movement of ocean water over the sand. North Carolina maintains erosion records to indicate how quickly erosion occurs in each area along the coast. Occasionally, a home in the Outer Banks may become available for an extremely low price based on current erosion.
  • Endangered Dwelling—If erosion becomes a danger to the structural integrity of the house, the house will be declared an endangered dwelling. While not a common occurrence, it is still a possibility you should be aware of as you consider various properties.
  • Flood Plain / Flood Zone—Because of its proximity to the ocean, the Outer Banks has been designated as a flood plain or flood zone almost in its entirety. The beautiful waterfront appeal of the islands necessitates the purchase of flood insurance to protect your property in the event of a storm or flood.
  • Flood Insurance—The federal government subsidizes insurance rates for homes in the Outer Banks that comply with federal regulations. However, homes that were built before the current regulations went into effect may not comply fully with some stipulations. Your realtor can help you determine which neighborhoods are more likely to have a majority of fully compliant homes.
  • Access—Beach access means that there is an access point directly onto the beach from the property. The Outer Banks includes many public beach access points, and many homes also have private beach access.
  • Dunes—Sand dunes can reach 100 feet tall and are composed completely of sand. They offer beautiful views of the ocean as well as a great place to participate in wind sports such as hang gliding and kite-flying.

When You’re Ready To Buy A Home

When you speak with a realtor about buying a home at the Outer Banks, he or she will walk you through these terms as they relate to the properties you consider. With a good grasp of the terminology and various options already in your knowledge bank, you will be a step ahead as you prepare to visit homes.

Living in the Outer Banks provides a uniquely tranquil and enjoyable standard of living. As you anticipate the beautiful ocean vistas, abundant wildlife, and opportunities for fishing, hunting and boating, take the time to understand the unique qualities of the homes available for purchase as well. As you consider homes and properties on the islands, you will be able to make a better decision if you understand the common terminology associated with each of the properties under consideration. By knowing how to evaluate the benefits of each home based on the descriptors you see in various listings, you can choose a home that will provide many years of the life you’ve always dreamed of.

Understanding Your Insurance Policy Coverage

It’s very important for Outer banks homeowner’s and buyer’s alike to understand the differences between the two main types of policies that are available for vacation rental or second homes.  Often homeowner’s shop for the least expensive policy upfront only to have it cost them in the long run and when it comes to insurance coverage, there is no truer statement than “YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR”.

The majority of insurance policies on the Outer Banks are written on either a homeowner’s policy form (HO3) or the dwelling/fire policy form (DP2).  While both policies provide the basic coverage required by your mortgage company, the homeowner policy (HO3) provides much broader coverage and has several endorsements that are simply not available on the standard dwelling/fire policy (DP2).  Most homeowner’s across the country have their primary home insured on the HO3 policy because of its superior coverage, however select a dwelling/fire policy (DP2) for their second and rental homes.

Here are some of noteworthy differences between the two:

  • The HO3 is a special form policy while the DP2 is a named peril policy. Thus, the DP2 only provides coverage for the “perils” specifically named in the policy whereas the HO3 covers all perils except that which is excluded in the policy.
  • The HO3 provides coverage for “Wind Driven Rain”, while the DP2 does not. Please note: Wind driven rain is the #1 source of claims on the Outer Banks.
  • The HO3 provides liability coverage, while the DP2 does not. A separate liability policy may be purchased with a DP2.
  • The HO3 provides coverage for theft, while the DP2 does not. A separate theft policy may be purchased with a DP2; however the coverage is very limited.
  • The HO3 provides “Replacement Cost” basis for the contents of the home while the DP2 only offers “Actual Cash Value” on a depreciated basis. Meaning, the electronics that you purchased 5 years ago for $2000 may now only be worth $200 on a depreciated basis.
  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the HO3 provides an endorsement called “Specified Additional Amount of Insurance”. This endorsement provides an additional 25% of coverage in excess of the insured value of your home.  Following a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, the cost of labor and materials can escalate greatly.  Without the additional 25%, the amount of coverage may not be enough to replace the destroyed dwelling with another of similar kind and quality.  This endorsement is simply not available with a DP2 policy.

In summary,  the HO3 policy is usually slightly more expensive than the DP2 policy, however most people will find themselves very disappointed with the shortfalls of a DP2 policy should the need arise to make a claim. A home, primary or otherwise, will be one of the largest investments you ever make, so make sure you choose an insurance policy that reflects that and remember “YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR”!

5 Reasons Why Now Is The Perfect Time To Buy Outer Banks Real Estate

Outer Banks real estateA home on the beach exudes a certain appeal unlike any other, and Outer Banks real estate offers some of the most beautiful beachfront properties you will ever see. In the midst of work demands, family conflicts, and fatigue, it is easy to imagine yourself relaxing on the front porch of your oceanfront home, sipping a cool drink, and breathing in the fresh salt air. If this dream sounds too good to be true, think again! If you have ever considered purchasing a home on the Outer Banks, now is the time to make that dream a reality.

5 Reasons To Make Your Dream Come True

The current state of the economy has created the ideal climate in which to purchase a new home at the Outer Banks. In real estate, this is known as a buyer’s market. Here are five reasons to consider purchasing an Outer Banks home this year:

  • The economy is turning around. The economy has just experienced a significant recession, but now it has turned. Unemployment rates are falling, desirable jobs can be found more easily, and most people feel more stable financially. As financial pressures ease and the economy begins supporting positive gains, it will be more feasible to find an affordable home that meets your expectations.
  • Foreclosures for sale. The economic downturn meant that many people were not able to make the payments on their homes. These homes went into foreclosure and can now be purchased for a fraction of the original cost. Many Outer Banks homes have reached the lowest prices realtors have seen, and they may not ever be this low again. You can benefit from these low prices by acting now to get a wonderful deal on a luxurious island home.
  • Lower property taxes than many other resort areas. Many resort areas have notoriously high property taxes, creating a financial burden for people seeking to own a home there. The Outer Banks, however, has lower property taxes than many other coastal resort markets, meaning that you can own and maintain a property in the Outer Banks much more affordably than you could elsewhere.
  • Low interest rates. Interest rates can sometimes make or break a sale. Right now, interest rates continue to remain at historically low rates. These low rates drive the current buyer’s market and make it easy to purchase a home. You can get an attractive interest rate even on a large loan, meaning that the home you want to buy may be more affordable than you thought.
  • Year-round activities. The Outer Banks boasts some of the best fishing, hunting, and water sports recreation you’ll find on the East Coast. But don’t think of it as a summer destination only. During the fall, you’ll enjoy balmy weather, fewer crowds, and some of the Outer Banks’ best cultural offerings. In addition, the water is still warm enough for swimming, while chilly evenings allow for a crackling fire in the fireplace. If you’re considering a Christmas visit, you won’t be disappointed! The Outer Banks holiday calendar is chock full of festive, family-friendly events. Enjoy twinkling Christmas lights, attend the First Flight celebration, indulge in island Christmas shopping, and visit Santa at some of the area parades or special events. And of course, spring offers many attractions as well, giving you the opportunity to relish the beauty of nature before the summer tourist season begins.

Making Your Dreams Come True

A dream isn’t just a wish your heart makes; it also requires some effort to make it a reality. Your first step in purchasing your Outer Banks dream home should be to talk with a realtor about your options. Whether you’re looking for a small, low-cost home where you can put your feet up in the evenings after a day in the sun or a luxurious coastal home designed for entertaining and relaxation, your realtor will show you a variety of options that fit your needs and price expectations.

Once you know what homes are available, you can visit them to gain a better feel for the islands and for the houses themselves. Your realtor can help you research tax records, interest rates, available foreclosures and area attractions that may influence your buying decision.

Whether your ideal island getaway includes a full schedule of activities or whether you plan to spend your days lounging on the beach, your home will serve as the staging ground for many years of memories and relaxation. Low prices and interest rates combined with a favorable economy mean that you have more purchasing power now than you may see again for many years. If you’ve been longing for a home at the Outer Banks, now is the time to make that dream a reality. Your beach home is waiting!