An Old City with a New Feel

wilmington NC

Wilmington NC

Wilmington is an old Colonial port city and is known for its trade in shipping, agricultural processing, and, yes, flowers. The historic town center and waterfront are located along Cape Fear River is attractive in its historic beauty.

Its historic interest and its location on the peninsula formed by the Cape Fear River on the west and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway on the east, cause the housing costs and cost of living to be a bit higher than other small North Carolina cities but any local will tell you the small jump in cost is worth it.

 

Get to Work!

Employment growth is very strong in Wilmington and continues to grow as more find the area.  Because of the strong economy – the Wilmington real estate market is very strong too.  The area is a healthy mix of new and old economy employers, and include International Paper and Louisiana Pacific, GE Nuclear Systems and Corning optical fiber, with a few pharmaceutical and biotech equipment firms thrown in for a pretty attractive mix of potential employers. There is a large regional hospital and medical complex. Wilmington may be a little far from big-city amenities and services, but there is nothing that you will miss here and there is the plus of the pleasant climate and family friendly residential sections.

The Fauna

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Wilmington is located along the southern Atlantic Coast of North Carolina. Because of the way that the coastline curves it puts the ocean about 5 miles east and 20 miles south. The surrounding area is typical of any coastal area, with low-lying land that sport rivers, creeks, and lakes. There is a considerable amount of swamp and marshland adjoining them with large wooded areas that alternate between cultivated fields.

 

A Fisherman’s Paradise

If fishing is what you live for, Wilmington has it all with black sea bass, grouper, snappers, and kings being common when offshore fishing. You can always catch a fishing charter to catch some huge yellowfin tuna! You might even catch the occasional wahoo or mahi that have been know to be caught here, depending on the season. These are fish you don’t typically find outside of the Gulf Stream. Fishing from the pier, you might snag a flounder, Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, and more. These great seafood options inspire locals to fish year-round.

 

orlando real estateSeahawks: The Carolina Pride

The Seahawks’ team colors are is an ocean themed palette of teal, gold, and blue, but teal is the color that really means team pride in Wilmington. The main colors were originally green and gold, but the recent shift to a less-standard color combination has let UNCW really stand out from the pack.


Seahawk pride is #1, especially during during baseball, volleyball, and basketball seasons, the university’s stand-out sports.

 

Family and Festivals

Wilmington is a city that is alive and there are always a plethora of events to bring together family and friends making it easy to connect with the local folks and blend in. The city hosts a long list of large, public events every season, including the spring Azalea Festival, and smaller art shows, craft workshops, and tons of active Meetup groups for people with a wide variety of interests like moms, foodies, golfers, you name it.


A Boat Parade?

When you live on the water in Wilmington, the holidays can only mean one thing, the Flotilla: The annual boat parade, which is currently in its 30th year. The parade involves decking boats out with epic Christmas lights and decorations. Some cities have house-decorating competitions, but in Wilmington, it’s all about the boat parade.

One of the oldest festivals of its kind in the country, the North Carolina Jazz Festival has been a yearly tradition in Wilmington for 35 years and features performances from world-renowned musicians. The Festival also includes workshops for aspiring locals that include everything from fishing to crocheting.

 

The Beaches

You won’t have to drive far if you want to dig your toes in the sand as there are many beaches within a half hour drive of Wilmington, and, just ask anyone living there, the truth is that Carolina beaches are among the prettiest in America. Three of the local favorites are Kure Beach, Wrightsville Beach, and Carolina Beach.

 

So, whether you’re in the mood for walking on the boardwalks, deep sea fishing, early morning swims, or evening nature walks, Wilmington, North Carolina has you covered.

Boston Living

Boston homes

Boston is a city with a lot of names: The Hub. The City on the Hill. The City of Notions. If you’re thinking of calling Boston home, here are few things that you might want to know.

Boston Is a Sports Town

They don’t call it “Titletown” for nothing. Boston sports fans reportedly show a higher interest than the average American adult. There is even a sport called “The Boston Game”  which was an early precursor to what was later referred to as gridiron football.  So, if you are planning to call Boston home, you will definitely need to get acquainted with the teams and at least some of the celebrated sports figures.

The Spirit of Giving

Along with being staunch supporters of local sports, people in The Hub are also known for rallying around one another in times of need. The Chronicle of Philanthropy ranks Boston as the tenth most charitable metropolitan area in the country.

Economics

Boston commands a 363 billion dollar local economy and is ranked as one of the most economically powerful cities in the world ranking the sixth largest in the U.S. and the twelfth largest globally.

Home Prices

The median single-family home price has a wide range across Boston, from $296,000 to $2.3 million). Boston Neighborhoods offer up a variety of properties throughout the city that will suit almost anyone’s needs and price range.

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High Culture

The Boston Pops is much celebrated among Bostonians and is a supremely talented symphony orchestra, founded in 1885. The symphony specializes in light classical and popular music and each year plays at the Hatch Shell on July 4.

The ‘Hatch Shell’, as it has come to be known, is Boston’s epicenter for large outdoor performances and open-air events and host a variety of musical events including classical, local and international, Oldies, Blues, Jazz, and Rock and Roll performances are held from spring through fall in one of the most charming and historical cities of the nation. For many visitors, a blanket, picnic cooler, and family members on the Hatch Shell lawn is the perfect way to spend a warm summer evening.

“Wicked Smaht”

The stereotype is true: greater Boston is a very well-educated area. With Harvard, MIT, Tufts, Amherst, Brown, Dartmouth, and Yale all either in Boston or just a stone’s throw away how could it be anything else. People are known to come from all over the world to live in Boston and attend the Universities there.

History

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Boston was settled as a town in 1630 and incorporated as a city in 1822. The city offers many historical tours, however, just walking around the city is a history lesson in itself. You might find that your favorite parking spot is next to Paul Revere’s house, or you might find yourself walking by the Old State House which is the oldest surviving public building in Boston, built in 1713, or you could be having lunch in Faneuil Hall, a marketplace and meeting hall since 1742.

Boston is a great city and whether you’re visiting or planning to move here, you’ll find a wealth of history, culture, art and education to fill your days.

The Big Easy

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New Orleans is known by many names: the Big Easy, New Orleanians like to take it easy. Life seems to slow down here and people take the time to get to know one another; The Crescent City, the mighty Mississippi River cuts through the heart of the city and give New Orleans it the  unique shape of a crescent moon; The City That Care Forgot, Some say this name comes from the idea that people can forget their cares here, others say that the name refers to New Orleans’ history of trials and tribulation.

 

 

 

 

One Of The Fastest Growing Cities In America


Making countless top 10 lists, The Big Easy has become a top spot to not only visit, but to live. And why shouldn’t it be? Located on the Gulf Coast, the city serves as a natural gateway. And relatively low taxes and low costs of living make it a no-brainer when you consider the incredible amount of contributions the city has to offer.

Let’s Celebrate!

No matter the time of year, there is always a festival going on somewhere in New Orleans. The people of New Orleans celebrate everything from the Day of the Dead to the well known Mardi Gras hoopla every spring. You can be assured, If you’re here on a weekend, there’s a strong chance that a festival is going on somewhere and that means great music, incredible food, friendly people, and strong drinks.

A City for Adventure

Once you get to the city you will want to explore! Taking tours and reading brochures are great and support the economy but if you want to get to know the city, you’ll want to get out and discover for yourself the mysteries that the city of New Orleans holds within her myriad of neighborhoods and nooks.

The city holds a wonderful old world quality that makes this particular activity so much fun. Pick a somewhere like the French Quarter or Uptown, and just see what you can find. Consider bringing a bike or at least good walking shoes.

 

Getting Around

New Orleans is famous for it’s streetcars and rightly so as they have some serious history. Its St. Charles line, known as the green cars, serves as the oldest continually operating public rail transportation in the entire world! Most cities in the country updated their streetcar lines and trolley cars to buses, however, New Orleans, ever hesitant to embrace change, decided to keep its major streetcar lines adding to the ambience that now infiltrates the city. Due to the popularity, cost efficiency, and low pollution of the green line streetcars, new lines, known as the red cars, are currently being added throughout the city and more are in the works for the future.

 

New Orleans has no hills, if you don’t count the man-made levees and Monkey Hill at the Audubon Zoo, making it a perfect city for biking. Recent road reconstruction in the city has created almost 100 new miles of bike paths and has made bike lanes on most of it’s major avenues. It’s one of the more fun and easier ways to get around and now the city offers bike kiosks where you can rent a bike in one place and return it at another.

Culturally Rich

New Orleans has become one of the most visited cities in America. The culturally rich city offers a large variety of major attractions, from the electrifying clubs on Frenchmen Street and the old-world charm of the French Quarter to the oak tree lined, St. Charles Avenue (home to both Tulane and Loyola Universities) and many of the stately 19th-century mansions.

A City of Water

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The city is located in the southeastern most tip of Louisiana with the Mississippi River cutting through it’s heart. It is bordered on one side by the manmade Lake Pontchartrain to the north and the Gulf of Mexico to the east. New Orleans is named after Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, Regent of France, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The city is known for its multicultural heritage as well as its music and cuisine, and is considered the birthplace of jazz.

The Difference Between a Loan Officer and Mortgage Broker

mortgage broker vs underwriter

What is a Loan Officer?

According to Forbes.com, a loan officer’s job is to accept an application that the borrower has filled out, and then hand it off to the underwriting department.

“An independent loan originator, on the other hand, typically renders more services to the borrower, including things like advising the client about the best loans available for their specific purposes, gathering required documentation throughout the process, ordering the appraisal and communicating directly with the underwriter to ensure that the loan gets approved,”

writes Forbes.

What is an Underwriter?

According to Loanvest.com, a mortgage loan underwriter is tasked with carefully analyzing every bit of information the loan officer asks you to provide as part of the loan application process, as well as the collection of verification documents that you may be required to send in later to substantiate the information you’ve already provided. The underwriter will then attempt to verify two primary things in order to meet the bank’s criteria for offering you a loan: general creditworthiness and debt-to-income ratio.

The Loan Process

A large bank or credit union relies on the underwriter, or underwriting department, to handle all of the above tasks—and these departments aren’t working as representatives for the borrower. The takeaway for the consumer: Mortgage rates available at an independent loan originator, whether a broker or a small banker, will not be higher than those offered through a larger bank. In fact, in many cases, the rates may be somewhat lower, partly because independent mortgage brokers typically have more loan sources available to them compared to the big banks, which usually just have a handful of loan products to offer prospective homeowners, according to Forbes.com.

“For instance, mathematically, paying 1% of the loan amount to reduce the rate by .25% will break even in about four years, but it seldom makes sense unless the borrower plans to use the lower rate to pay off the loan faster. As far as fees are concerned, you have to make a distinction between lender fees (underwriting, document prep, processing, etc.) and third-party fees (title, escrow, appraisal, recording, notary). Some lenders and brokers have very high lender fees, while others may have higher rates instead,”

says Forbes.com.

What is a Mortgage Broker?

A mortgage broker is an independent real-estate financing professional who specializes in the origination of residential mortgage loans. Mortgage brokers normally pass the actual funding and servicing of loans on to wholesale lending sources. Getting a mortgage brokers license is not easy and also requires yearly continuing education.  A mortgage broker is also an independent contractor working with, on average, as many as forty lenders at any one time, claims the EducatedMortgageServices.com website.  “By combining professional expertise with direct access to hundreds of loan products, your broker provides the most efficient way to obtain financing tailored to your specific financial goals,” according to EducatedMortgageServices.com.

What top factors determine if someone gets a loan?

Most people that are buying a home require a mortgage to do so.  Whether you are buying a home in Wilmington, Panama City Beach, Boston or Dallas – 93% of home purchases require a mortgage.  Even if you have the cash to purchase the property, the rates on a mortgage coupled with the tax benefits make it a no-brainer.

Forbes.com says, the most important thing is the debt-to-income ratio (DTI), which is calculated by taking the total house payment (principal and interest, taxes, insurance and mortgage insurance, if applicable), adding all “long-term” debt payments (any that will continue for more than 10 months), and then expressing that sum as a percentage of the gross monthly income. For a conventional loan, 50% is the maximum value, but some loan programs may allow a higher DTI.

That’s why you need a mortgage broker to act as a liaison between the title and escrow company, real estate agent, lender, appraiser, credit agency, the underwriters, the processors, attorneys, and any other services which may affect your transaction.

 

EducatedMortgageServices.com says a mortgage broker also:

  • Discusses and explains financing program options
  • Informs you, in writing, of lock-in options
  • Explains all documents of the loan application
  • Factor the pro-ration if any exists
  • Explains all associated costs of the loan application
  • Explains the disbursement of all loan applications
  • Explains the loan process, from application to closing
  • Provides you with a good faith estimate of cost and fees
  • Communicates with you throughout the loan process in a timely manner
  • Coordinates the final closing of your transaction

 

Some loan officers do offer credit repair consulting for a fee, according to OwnerFinanceAtlanta.com.

“For many home buyers, this is a smart way to get the assistance they need.  Also, putting a price tag on the repair takes away some of a loan officer’s concerns about your commitment to improving your credit.  If your loan officer offers such a program, you’d be wise to consider it.”

Sit down with your loan officer (even if it costs you) for a strategy session,OwnerFinanceAtlanta.com recommends.  Get them to make three or four specific suggestions that you can take action on over the next 6 months.  Then, go and do the tasks suggested.  Come back in six months for another session to check your status and get suggestions for the next six months.  Step by step, you’ll eventually reach your credit goal and be on your way to purchasing your new home.

Buying a Home in Wilmington?

wilmington real estate

Wilmington – A Great Place to Live

If you’re looking for a good place to live, to purchase your dream home and find a career and possibly even start a family, look no further than Wilmington, North Carolina.

On the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, Wilmington NC is in the southeastern tip of North Carolina. With a little over 100,000 residents in city limits, and a little over 260,000 residents in the metropolitan area, Wilmington has perfected the mesh of the historically charming small-town, southern life with the comfort and convenience of the big city amenities.

Why Wilmington?

Over the last decade or so, Wilmington has attracted and maintained a very favorable business attitude, which combined with the abundance of arts and culture, the top-of-the-line higher education establishments, and the gorgeous East Coast beaches, has garnered Wilmington, North Carolina’s healthy and expanding real estate market. Wilmington is often found at the top of lists of cities in which to invest in real estate.  Lastly many people travel to Wilmington for the sandy beaches and historical importance.

Whether you’re in town for the swimming in the ocean and sunbathing on the beaches, or to visit the many restaurants, shops, museums, or the World War II battleship, North Carolina, you’re sure to fall in love with this picturesque southern town.

wilmington NCFeeling like you want to move here? Don’t feel afraid of finding a good career to support your lifestyle—many industry giants call Wilmington their home, like General Electric, DuPont and more. Wilmington has also been recognized as a great place to start your own business or buy your first home. Want to raise your family here? New Hanover Schools are considered one of the best school systems in the state. Wilmington is also home to The University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNC-W), which, among other fields of study, has a nationally accredited business school and one of the best marine biology programs in the world.

And to account for your older self, the reasonable cost of living, low taxes, quality health care, temperate climate, and opportunities for culture and recreation make North Carolina one of the best places in the country to retire.

There is no shortage of friendly neighborhoods with that good ‘ole southern charm in Wilmington, North Carolina. With several new home developments, some established golfing neighborhoods, and the historic neighborhoods, there’s a wide variety of real estate within Wilmington.

Things to do in Wilmington NC

Golfing neighborhoods include Porter’s Neck Plantation, Echo Farms, Cape Fear Country Club, and Landfall. New home developments include Marsh Oaks, Parkside at Mayfaire, Seagrove, Tanbridge Park, The Villages at Summerset, Weldon, Salt Grass, Stones Edge, Anchor’s Bend, Clarendon Park, Sycamore Grove, Covil Crossing. And finally, some of the historic neighborhoods include Castle Hayne, Pine Valley Estates, Forest Hills, Sunset Park, Historic Downtown Wilmington, Myrtle Grove, Masonboro, Monkey Junction, Ogden, Bradley Creek, and Wrightsboro.

About 72% of Wilmington is White, while 20% is Black, and 6% Hispanic. 18% of residents are under 18 years of age, 17% aged 18 to 24, and nearly 30% aged 25 to 44. The median age in Wilmington is around 34 years old. 34% of residents are married couples, and about 20% have children under 18 living at home. Nearly 50% of residents were non-families.

The median household income in Wilmington is right above $30,000, and for families the median income is right about $42,000.