Category Archives: Advice from Nicole

Real Estate Advice from Nicole

2011 Real Estate at a Glance a Year in Review

There are many reasons why I enjoy helping people with their real estate needs. First and foremost is the deep satisfaction I get from helping them realize their dreams and get through the major transition that accompanies buying, selling, and moving.

That’s why, in my ongoing commitment to providing first-class service, I can confidently say that if I can’t answer a specific home related question you have, I’m a phone call  or e-mail away from an expert in my professional network who can.

Everyone wants to know what is happening in our local market and that is why I am sending you this Real Estate Market Update so you will have the facts about what is happening in your market and not just what you hear on the news nationally. Here is a breakdown of sales for 2010 compared to 2011:

Your Real Estate Advisors Market Update

YTD 2010

YTD 2011

% Diff

New Listings




Sold Listings




Volume of Sold Listings




Average Sales Price




Average Days on Market




List/Sales Price Ratio




As you can see, the market is Richmond County was down significantly in 2011. Total sales almost dropped back to 2004 levels which hopefully signals we have reached a bottom and the market will stabilize going into 2012. As you can see from the numbers above, only one in three properties listed are selling, much lower than last year. Days on market only takes into account the listings that have sold, not the ones that never sell. Also, take a look at the list to sales price ratio; homes are selling at 9% below list price on average. What this means is for a home to sell, it has to be priced attractively to even receive an can see, the market is Richmond County was down significantly in 2

 In 2012, we will work even harder to be sure our clients get the best marketing and client services available. We have started our website upgrade and are aggressively seeking new ways to generate referrals to help bring buyers and sellers together.

Thanks to all of our friends, clients, and business partners Exit Realty Platinum is the ONLY franchise in Richmond County that increased sales from 2010 to 2011! Exit Realty was also awarded the Best of the Best Real Estate Company in 2011, thank you again for your support!



A Year in Review with Exit Realty Platinum and the Community:

  • Started the Tim and Nicole Hayden Scholarship Fund with RCC
  • Corporate Sponsor for Relay for Life
  • Holes for Habitat Golf Tournament
  • Bowling for Breast Cancer
  • Hospice Dancing with the Stars
  • Parks and Recreation team sponsors
  • Care packages for seniors at Richmond Pines Nursing Home
  • Delivered appreciation baskets to RSHS teachers for their commitment to the community
  • Donated to the Boy Scouts

I would also like to give a very special thanks to the businesses that help our clients through their advertisements on our moving truck:

Please keep these businesses in mind when you have a need in which they can help.

If you have any questions or want to know how your home value is doing, please give me a call or e-mail me at for a no cost, no obligation market analysis or visit my website

If you know of anyone who would benefit from this information or would like to receive my free market updates, please contact me. In addition if you have given any thought to moving or hear that any family, friends, or work colleagues are, please let me know.

Thank you.

Nicole Hayden

Buy or Sell with ME and use MY Truck for FREE!

Nicole Hayden
Exit Realty Platinum

Promote and Protect

In these days of Internet scams and credit card fraud, we’re all a little more protective of our privacy. However, if you’re selling a home, you also know that posting a virtual tour online and having your agent show your home are absolute necessities for successfully landing a buyer.

What can be done to protect your home against would-be thieves or burglars? You’ve already taken the first step by seeking representation by a trusted real estate agent, because your agent only shows your home to buyers who have been screened and qualified.

Still, when you know that your home is being shown, it’s best to start packing away valuables such as jewelry, electronics, silverware and family heirlooms before the first prospect ever visits. Similarly, when your home is being filmed for a “virtual tour,” remove computers, wide-screen televisions, crystal, and valuable collectibles from the camera’s eye. There is no need to advertise your belongings – your home’s features will speak for themselves.

Further protect your home with motion sensor lights inside and out, and make sure your security system is active and that the service has an emergency contact number for you. You also have the option of registering with the local police department, so officers in your neighborhood can perform security checks. There’s likely no need to worry, but why not play it safe?

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Down Payment Solutions

One way to get the best mortgage terms is to make a down payment of at least twenty percent. That not only gets you a lower rate and monthly payment, but you’ll also avoid additional PMI (private mortgage insurance) fees, and have “instant equity” in your home.

But what are your options if you can’t manage twenty percent down? There are many federal, state and local programs that provide first-time homebuyers with assistance and great loan terms. One popular FHA (Federal Housing Administration) loan is the HUD 203 (b), which requires just 3% down and rolls the closing costs into the financed amount.

If you’re starting with a fixer-upper, you might consider the HUD 203(k) loan. Traditionally, lenders don’t provide a mortgage until repairs are completed, but buyers can’t start repairs until they own the home. This FHA loan provides the entire amount for the purchase and the improvements, based on an estimate of the home’s value after repairs.

Young first-time buyers could also get great terms if your parents can make the investment and down payment for you. Their good credit will guarantee the best terms, and you can buy them out over time or they can forgive a percentage of the loan each year. If the federal programs aren’t for you, then the bank of Mom and Dad may be the next best thing!

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Short Sales Get a Tune-Up

Federal foreclosure-prevention tactics have recently been expanded to encourage delinquent borrowers to avoid foreclosure by streamlining the short sale process. Cash incentives are also being offered to the homeowners, as well as to the lenders and the buyers.

Perhaps the best feature of the new legislation requires the lenders to advise the sellers what their minimum acceptable price is before listing the home for sale. Then if the sellers secure an offer for the agreed price, the lender must accept it within 10 days.

This speeds up the short sale process tremendously, since the lender is also required to consult with local real estate agents in order to determine a fair price. Of course, “fair” is a relative term here, because in a short sale, the bank is agreeing to sell the property for less than the total amount due on the mortgage.

However, it is definitely in the lender’s best interest to expedite a short sale instead of allowing the home to foreclose, because on average, the bank loses 50% on a foreclosure, but only 30% on a short sale.

These new standardized procedures, called the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program (HAFA), is a new option for homeowners who have been unsuccessful under existing programs. If you’re facing default, I strongly urge you to contact a real estate agent today to discuss the alternatives.

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No More Suprises at the Closing Table


It used to be too common a story: you’re excited about signing the paperwork, shaking hands, and grabbing the keys to your new home.  But the day before closing, the lender advises that your closing fees are several hundred dollars more than their Good Faith Estimate listed.  Suddenly, your excitement turns to pressure to just pay it and close the deal.

Now those days are over, thanks to the Mortgage Disclosure Improvement Act (MDIA).  What was once the Truth In Lending Act has been rewritten with new rules to help consumers understand the loan costs and alert borrowers to changes in fees well in advance of closing.

Now the lender must provide their Good Faith Estimate within three days of receiving the borrowers’ application, and closing cannot occur until the buyer has seven days to review the disclosure.  If the final APR (annual percentage rate) differs more than 0.125% from the original quote, a new disclosure must be provided, granting the borrower the right of rescission.

This relieves the pressure that buyers once felt to agree to pay higher fees and rates at the very last minute.  As always, borrowers can review the final documents one day before closing, providing an excellent opportunity for you to review all the figures with your real estate agent and to ask any lingering questions before you make it official.

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Foreclosures Account For Many Home Sales


According to a recent survey conducted by the National Association of REALTORS®, close to one third of existing home sales were either foreclosures or short sales (meaning sales in which the lender agreed to allow the home to sell for less than the amount outstanding on the mortgage).  Indeed, it seems for now that these “distressed properties” have become the new “traditional” sales transaction.

This is why it is so important to seek the representation of a specially trained and qualified real estate professional.  Sellers particularly need assistance in navigating these complex short sale transactions, and buyers need guidance if they are to take advantage of these delicate opportunities.

Obviously, real estate agents are among the biggest advocates for homeownership, and we strongly believe that any home lost to foreclosure is one too many.  Regrettably, some circumstances arise where homeowners are simply unable to maintain their mortgage payments, and risk going into default.  In those cases, a trusted agent’s specialized knowledge can help secure a short sale and keep the sellers out of the grueling foreclosure process.

Aside from staying current on national and local laws that apply to short sales and foreclosures, realty professionals are trained in qualifying sellers for assistance, negotiating with lenders, protecting buyers, and limiting risk.  Now more than ever, it makes sense for both sellers and buyers to seek professional representation.

 As your Real Estate Advisor, I can help you find your DREAM HOME, or provide you with a FREE HOME VALUATION to help you sell your current property. My experience with homes located in Richmond County, Rockingham, Hamlet, Ellerbe, Cordova, and Hoffman NC comes from having a Top Producing Office that values client relationships more than sales.





Our motto is “Buy or Sell with Me & Use This Truck to Move for Free”

To view properties for sale or get the latest real estate information in Richmond County, NC, visit my website at

I can be reached by e-mail @ if you have any questions or need to schedule a listing or showing appointment.


•·         Home Sales- Existing and new Construction

•·         Investment properties

•·         REO/Foreclosure Properties

•·         Relocation


As a professional in my community I also participate in our local Chamber of Commerce and am a member of the newly formed Ambassador Group that helps bring in and work with new members. Also, I am a member of the Richmond County Education Foundation Board, Richmond County Women’s Service League, Vice-President for the Richmond County Board of Realtors, and RPAC Chair for 2009.

I look forward to working with you.


The Long and The Short of It, Selling or Buying Real Estate

Markets go up, markets go down.  Sometimes we see it coming, sometimes we don’t.  It all depends on what both consumers and businesses are buying, and when.  How can we tell if and when real estate will recover?

 We need to ignore short-term fluctuations, like the spike in home sales last November, when buyers thought the first-time tax credit would expire.  Then sales rates dropped significantly when Congress extended the tax credit and removed that original sense of urgency.

 We need to pay attention to long-term forecasts instead.  Consider that homeownership increases by roughly 1 million each year.  There are 4 million births, 2 million deaths, 1 million new immigrants, 2 million weddings and 1 million divorces each year.  All of those events spur people to buy and/or sell a home.

 Crunch the numbers, and you’ll see that we can expect roughly 60 million home sales in the next decade.  Regardless of the subprime mortgage debacle, and the ensuing foreclosure crisis, real estate will remain on the rails, an unstoppable freight train barreling towards homeownership.

 Just as surely as the market sees recovery, buyers and sellers still need representation in these transactions.  A recent survey by the National Association of REALTORS® reveals that 80% of buyers and sellers would recommend their agent to family and friends.  That’s a loud signal of the value of representation. Call me today to get your house SOLD, I have buyers. Call me at 910-997-2260 or visit my Web site at

Look Before You Leap, Advice on Reverse Mortgages

Many retirees are facing dwindling incomes from their battered investments, which explains why applications for “reverse mortgages” have risen nearly 50% in the last two years.  It sounds like a great option: a lender essentially gives you a cash advance on your home’s equity, which doesn’t have to be paid back until you either move or “move on.”

 There are drawbacks hidden in the details, however.  Although recent legislation has raised maximum allowable home values, the formula for determining how much you’ll get includes other factors like your age and current interest rates.  Your current mortgage balance and the loan’s fees are then subtracted from that number.

Although loan origination fees have been capped at $6,000, the monthly mortgage insurance premiums and service charges could push the total cost of the loan up to twice that much.  If you think you might move anytime soon, this just doesn’t make sense.

While anyone 62 or older may qualify, it’s the youngest who run the biggest risk with a reverse mortgage, because you may very well outlive the life of your payments.  When that happens, the equity you would have fallen back on has disappeared.

It’s best to seek other alternatives first, with your best option being to make your move now and downsize to a smaller home, pocketing the equity from your sale for the future.