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Irl Dixon
    Years of Experience: 22


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Posts Tagged ‘Belmont North Carolina homes for sale’

Credit Unions Versus Banks for Home Loans

Thursday, January 5th, 2012


Pros & Cons of Credit Unions for Equity Loans

By: Donna Fuscaldo 

Published: December 19, 2011 

Equity loan shopping? Compared with a bank, a credit union can save you money on the fees and interest rate you’ll pay. We sort out the pros and cons. 

But the process and qualifications for the loan will be just as much of a rigmarole as working with a bank. 

Be smart about taking on debt 

Before you take out an equity loan or line of credit from any lender, carefully weigh your long-term financial situation. Ask yourself, and be able to answer yes to, these questions: 

  • Do you have the means to pay back the loan?
  • Are you using the loan for something that will contribute to the value of your home or the future of your family?
  • Will the loan put you in a better financial position in the long run?
  • Are you prepared to lose your home if you can’t pay back the loan?

Advantages of credit unions: You can save money  

So how much lower are credit union interest rates than banks? Over a two-and-a-half year period beginning in May 2009, Bankrate.com says that rates on a $30,000 HELOC averaged 1.2 percentage points less at credit unions than at banks or thrifts. 

“The long-standing advantage credit unions have held, on average, extends to nearly all products,” says Greg McBride, a Bankrate senior financial analyst. “Credit unions typically offer higher average rates on deposits and charge lower rates on loans. The one area where there’s a dead heat between banks and credit unions is in mortgages, owing to the large role played by the secondary market.” (Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have historically been able to help keep rates lower compared with the private sector.) 

Credit unions can pass on lower rates, waive fees, and amp up the customer service experience because they’re non-profits designed to serve their members rather than answer to profit-demanding shareholders as banks must do. 

In addition, they’re more willing to lend money since they, unlike their traditional banking counterparts, haven’t been bogged down with bad loans made during the housing crisis. Credit unions, which typically hold their loans in their own portfolio instead of selling them to a third party, were often more careful lenders during the boom. 

By the way, being a member of credit union can mean free checking and even dividends; once you make that first deposit, you become a stakeholder.  

Disadvantages of credit unions 

  • Credit unions are typically small institutions, licensed to provide real estate loans only in the state they operate in. Although you may qualify to join an out-of-state credit union, you may not be able to secure a home equity loan or HELOC from that institution if it isn’t licensed in the state you live in. Some large credit unions do provide loans in multiple states.  
  • They may not have the latest banking technology, so expect to make repeat in-person visits for services.
  • Credit unions may not offer all the products and services a bigger bank does.
  • For these reasons, a bank could still win your favor. And because of backlash from customers, banks are increasingly willing to step up their customer service to land new business or keep existing customers. 

Finding a credit union 

Although you needn’t have your mortgage with a credit union to get a home equity loan or line of credit, you do need to be a member if you want to apply for the loan. That means you’ll have to become a member even if you decide not to take out the loan with the credit union. 

You join a credit union based on some affinity — your employer, your house or worship, your geographic area, or because you belong to an organization like the armed services or a union. The Brentwood Baptist Church Federal Credit Union in Texas serves members of the Brentwood Baptist Church, for instance, while transportation workers in Philadelphia and their families are eligible to join the Transit Workers Federal Credit Union. 

Search findacreditunion.com for credit unions in your area. If you qualify, you’ll pay a one-time fee of anywhere from $5 to $25 depending on the institution. Expect to save on: 

  • Fees to apply for the loan will be waived
  • Interest rates over the life of the loan
  • Costs associated with the underwriting process of the loan

Shop around for your loan 

As with any big purchase, make sure to shop around before deciding on an equity loan or HELOC. That means getting rate quotes from banks as well as credit unions. A rule of thumb: Always get at least three estimates before making any moves. 

“Visit Houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.”

Gaston County Real Estate 3rd Quarter Activity Report

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Below are some statistics you might find interesting for Gaston County Real Estate activity in the first three quarters of 2011.   As you can see from the graph, the supply of homes for sale is down 19% from the first three quarters of last year but sales are up 4%.  As I’ve been saying, if you need to move your property, it is not a bad time, especially for Belmont Real Estate as you will see at the end of this piece.  The graph also shows activity for 2009.

Some more good news is that the median sales price is up slightly by almost 1%.  Unfortunately, the average sales price is down to just under $130,000.  Buyers are getting approximately 88% of their asking price and the average property is on the market about 167 days.  Both figures are a reflection of the times.  

The next graph shows the Historical Median Sales prices dating back to 2006.  As you can see, the county took a big dip in sale prices in 2009 but has climbed back up.   We’ve still got a little to do to get the median sales prices back to mid 2007  levels.

I have some additional information on Belmont Real Estate Sales for the 3rd Quarter.  Unfortunately, it is broken down into zip codes and as we all know, there are some areas of Mt. Holly, Cramerton, and Gaston County at large included in Belmont’s zip code.  The good news is that in the 28012 area, the Median Sales price is $185,000!  That’s well above the Gaston County average and 8% higher than last year.  The percent of original sales price is slightly down to 89.2% (a 1.1% drop from 2010 levels) but that is still better than the county as a whole.  Days on market has dropped 17.6% to 151 days.  Again, that is far better than the county at large which averages 167 days on market. 

Finally, to emphasize what I have been saying about Belmont Real Estate in general, 65 sales were reported as closed in the last nine months for a whopping 30% increase over last year!  That represents more sales than in any other zip code in Gaston County including the larger ones for Gastonia.

This information is courtesy of the Carolina Multiple Listing Services, Inc and is provided by the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association.

Irl Dixon

Getting Bats Out of Your Belmont Home

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Thanks to Bela Lugosi, most Americans are petrified of bats.  What do you do if one comes in your home?  Here’s an article that might help.

Of course, I like to think in terms of prevention.  So what I would ask is how do you keep them out in the first place?  Here are some tips.

If you have gables on your home, make sure there is a screen behind them and that it is tacked down good with no gaps.  As I found out once, bats can also make their way down a bathroom vent.  Make sure your vents are covered with some kind of wiring to stop them.  Finally, on those cool fall and spring nights when you want to open your windows to sleep, only open the ones with screens.    Irl Dixon

Going Batty? Here’s How to Get Rid of Bats in Your House

By: Jan Soults Walker 

Published: October 21, 2011 

Winged creatures invading your home would drive anyone batty. Here’s how to get rid of them. 

Thanks to dark tales of Count Dracula, bats suffer a bad rap. I know these creatures aren’t really out to bite my neck, but the time I discovered a small bat fluttering around our house, all my Midwestern moxie melted away.

My heroic husband came running, sensing something amiss. Perhaps it was my shrieks of “Bat! Bat! Bat in the house!”

Wielding a piece of window screen like a medieval shield, he began “herding” the bat toward the front door. I followed, shrieking unintelligibly. That’s when he calmly put down the screen and herded me to the garage — much to my humiliation. He did eventually get the bat out of the house, all without my “helpful” vocalizations.
After the incident (and with a calmer perspective), I asked renowned bat expert Rob Mies if bats have any benefit to home owners. I found out they are nature’s answer to pest control.

“One bat can consume 2,000 to 5,000 insects each night,” he says. “You can encourage bats to dwell on your property — not in your house — by building a bat house.” 

You can find free plans for building a bat house online. Placement of the bat house is important too, so check out those guidelines.
So what should you do if a bat makes a debut in your den? Mies suggests these four steps: 

  • Assess occupants. If anyone in the house was bitten by the bat, or if they are unable to tell you whether they were bitten (i.e. a sleeping child), try to capture the bat, contact your local health department, and have it tested for rabies..
  • Stay calm. The bat doesn’t want to attack you — it wants out. Turn on some lights so you can easily see the bat and the bat can see as well. (Contrary to popular belief, bats are not blind.)
  • Create a path. Close the doors to adjoining rooms, then open the doors and windows in the room the bat is in. If possible, turn on a light outside so the bat can readily see the exit.
  • Help it out. The bat will likely fly out the open door or window within a few minutes. You may also want to be more direct and use a small mesh net or pillow case to gently catch the bat in flight. If the bat lands and doesn’t fly again, put on a pair of thick leather work gloves, and slowly approach the bat with a small cardboard box or coffee can. Put the container gently over the bat, slip a piece of cardboard over the opening, and take the bat outside to release it.

Every had bats in your belfry? How did you get rid of them?

“Visit Houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.”

Get Your Belmont Yard Ready For Winter

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.


September Market Data For Gaston County and Belmont Real Estate

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Here are the Sales Data for Gaston County Real Estate sales for the month of September.   Once again the number of listings for the month has dropped from last year by over 26% but sales for this September increased almost 28% over last year.  Again, this shows it’s not a bad time to put your Belmont Home on the market.  The reason, competition is down but sales are up!

On the Year to Date side, listings are down nearly 20% from last year and sales are also down about 11%.

The average Sales price dropped 2.6% in September to $123,354 and the total inventory of Gaston County homes is down over 18%.

This information is supplied courtesy of the Carolina Multiple Listing Service.  Irl Dixon

Belmont Real Estate Property Taxes

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

When buying or selling a home, it is very important to have a basic knowledge of how the Gaston County and the City of Belmont value your property.  People ask me all the time when will be the next property assessment for Belmont real estate.  They also want to know if they can get their property values lowered since they have bought their new house for so much less than the current property value.  Gaston County is resisting decreasing property values right now and it will probably only happen after the next assessment.  Below is a section taken from the Gaston County Website which will answer some of these questions.  I have highlighted a couple of the important points in bold and red.  The current tax rate for Gaston County is $0.835 and for Belmont is $0.475.  That’s a total of $1.31 for every $100 of assessed value.  So, if your home is valued at $100,000, divide it by 100 which equals 1,000 and then multiply by $1.31.  Your tax value is $1,310.  Irl Dixon

Tax Office

Assessment Duties

In North Carolina, the County Assessor is the official charged with the responsibility of listing, appraising and assessing all real and personal property for tax purposes.

The Valuation Standard:

“Market Value” is the appraisal standard for all property in North Carolina. Since market value is a concept in economic theory and cannot be directly observed, it is best represented by “arms-length” sales.  Thus, sales data becomes an integral part of the information used to create the County’s Schedule of Values, Standards and Rules.  The Schedule must be adopted by the County Commissioners prior to the effective date of the general county-wide reappraisal program. The Schedule becomes the basis for all tax appraisals in the year of the reappraisal and in subsequent non-reappraisal years.  If properly applied, the Schedule of Values, Standards and Rules will result in tax values that reflect the market value standard.

Real Property:

Typically, real property (land and improvements to land) is the largest component of the tax base. The ownership and taxable status of real property is determined annually as of January 1. Under the permanent listing system (which Gaston County adopted in 1984), the owner of real property is not required to “list”. Instead, the tax office records changes to ownership based upon the title documents recorded in the Register of Deeds Office and the Office of the Clerk of Court. Physical changes to properties, such as new construction, etc., are identified from building permits and/or by observation. The property owner also has a legal responsibility to report changes made to a property.

The value of all real estate is determined as of January 1 of the year of the Countywide General Reappraisal. (The County’s last Reappraisal was effective January 1, 2007).  The ownership and taxable status of property is determined annually as of January 1.  Real property taxes are due each September 1. Taxes are payable through January 5 of the following year. Interest accrues a 2% during January and ¾ of 1 % interest each month thereafter until paid in full.

By State law, each county must reappraise all real property at least once every eight years. The Board of County Commissioners may, with approval of the Department of Revenue, advance the reappraisal cycle. Gaston County, like many other counties, has determined that a four or six year reappraisal cycle is more equitable than an eight year cycle. The county completed its last reappraisal in 2007 and the next county-wide reappraisal will be effective as of January 1, 2013.

So You Think You Are Ready To Buy Belmont NC Real Estate?

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

If you plan to buy a home for sale in Belmont, Mt. Holly, or anywhere else for that matter, then you need to start by getting pre-qualified by a reputable lender.  Here is an informative video by a friend of mine from Arizona, Len Elder.  The things he says about lending in his state are just as true in North Carolina.  Bottom line.  Getting pre-qualified increases you buying power.  In some cases, like buying a foreclosure or a short sale, it is an absolute requirement in order to have your offer even considered by the bank controlling the property.  So if you want to buy Belmont NC real estate, don’t put the cart before the horse.   Get pre-approved by a lender.  Give me a call and I can help you get started.  Irl Dixon

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Where the Name Came for the Adams Bluff Subdivision

Friday, April 15th, 2011

The Legend of the Adams Bluff Subdivision’s Namesake

by Irl Dixon

The Adams Bluff Subdivision in Belmont and its final phase, The Springs at Adams Bluff, was named by the developers after the eccentric Adam Alexander Springs.  Born on January 9, 1776 to John Springs Jr. and Sarah Alexander Springs, Adam would grow up to be an accomplished businessman and landowner.

The original family was named Springsteen and was of Dutch ancestry.  Sometime in the mid 1700’s, Adam’s father would shorten the name to Springs in an effort to blend in better with the Scotch Irish that inhabited the area.  The family then accumulated vast land holdings in Mecklenburg and Gaston Counties.  It was once said that a person could walk from Providence Plantation in Mecklenburg all the way to the McAdenville area and never leave Springs property.

Young Adams would eventually graduate with honors from the first graduating class of the University of North Carolina in 1798.  He would quickly amass a fortune in land, both by inheritance and through his own initiative.  The land which is now McAdenville, was purchased by Springs from James Henderson.  He would build a three story home in this area high on a bluff overlooking the South Fork River.

“Old Adam,” as he would come to be known in his later years, left behind a rather colorful legend.  It is said that Adam dressed as a Quaker but showed no signs of actually practicing that religion.  He was also rumored to be quite the ladies man.  One of the stories concerning Adam dealt with his relationship with a young woman named Nancy Hanks. 

Nancy had moved to North Carolina from Virginia to live with her uncle Dickie Hanks who had property in the South Point area near Belmont.  Nancy would often travel to the Springs home to do laundry and other household chores. The tale goes that she was forced to leave the area because of her relationship with Adams Springs.  Nancy was taken in by Abraham Enloe of Rutherfordton, North Carolina, but was forced to leave when Enloe’s wife discovered Nancy was pregnant.  A few years later Nancy arrived in Illinois with a child named Abraham and a new husband named Tom Lincoln.  Many believe that Abraham Lincoln bears an uncanny resemblance to portraits of Adam’s other sons.   Of course, this is not the only tale concerning who fathered our 16th President.

Perhaps the best known tale concerning Adams Springs involves the events surrounding his death.  Adam was an avid fisherman who loved to place fish traps along the banks of the South Fork River near his home.  He would become infuriated when thieves or hungry travelers would rob his traps.  It is said when Adam lay dying in 1840, his servants wanted to send for the preacher.  Adam’s reply was “hang the preacher and bury me standing up with a musket in my hands so I can guard my fish traps against thieves and vandals.”  It is said his wish was granted and his ghost can still be seen walking the banks of the South Fork River checking his traps.

Dealing With Low Ball Offers

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Low ball offers? Not here?  Not in sweet desirable little Belmont NC?  Right?  Low ball offers may have little to do with your location.  Whether you live in Adams Bluff, Belle Meade, Hawthorne, or South Fork Crossing, it’s a product of the times.  It’s the old adage of “Let’s see how bad they really want to sell it.”  In defense of these buyers, I’ve seen some amazing deals the last couple of years even on Belmont real estate.  But let’s say you are a seller who doesn’t want or need to “unload” your home in a down market.  How do you handle an offer that may, in all honesty, really insult you?  As a Realtor I can tell you there have been times when I just wanted to lay those offers on a seller’s doorstep and drive off as fast as I can.  I always feel like the proverbial messenger when I need to present a bad (stupid) offer.  Well, here is a great article on how a seller should handle such a situation courtesy of the National Association of Realtors and houselogic.com.     Irl Dixon

Fielding a Lowball Purchase Offer on Your Home

By: Marcie Geffner 

Published: June 10, 2010 

Consider before you ignore or outright refuse a very low purchase offer for your home. A counteroffer and negotiation could turn that low purchase offer into a sale. 

Check your emotions

A purchase offer, even a very low one, means someone wants to purchase your home. Unless the offer is laughably low, it deserves a cordial response, whether that’s a counteroffer or an outright rejection. Remain calm and discuss with your real estate agent the many ways you can respond to a lowball purchase offer. 

Counter the purchase offer

Unless you’ve received multiple purchase offers, the best response is to counter the low offer with a price and terms you’re willing to accept. Some buyers make a low offer because they think that’s customary, they’re afraid they’ll overpay, or they want to test your limits.

A counteroffer signals that you’re willing to negotiate. One strategy for your counteroffer is to lower your price, but remove any concessions such as seller assistance with closing costs, or features such as kitchen appliances that you’d like to take with you. 

Consider the terms

Price is paramount for most buyers and sellers, but it’s not the only deal point. A low purchase offer might make sense if the contingencies are reasonable, the closing date meets your needs, and the buyer is preapproved for a mortgage. Consider what terms you might change in a counteroffer to make the deal work. 

Review your comps

Ask your REALTOR® whether any homes that are comparable to yours (known as “comps”) have been sold or put on the market since your home was listed for sale. If those new comps are at lower prices, you might have to lower your price to match them if you want to sell. 

Consider the buyer’s comps

Buyers sometimes attach comps to a low offer to try to convince the seller to accept a lower purchase offer. Take a look at those comps. Are the homes similar to yours? If so, your asking price might be unrealistic. If not, you might want to include in your counteroffer information about those homes and your own comps that justify your asking price.

If the buyers don’t include comps to justify their low purchase offer, have your real estate agent ask the buyers’ agent for those comps. 

Get the agents together

If the purchase offer is too low to counter, but you don’t have a better option, ask your real estate agent to call the buyer’s agent and try to narrow the price gap so that a counteroffer would make sense. Also, ask your real estate agent whether the buyer (or buyer’s agent) has a reputation for lowball purchase offers. If that’s the case, you might feel freer to reject the offer. 

Don’t signal desperation

Buyers are sensitive to signs that a seller may be receptive to a low purchase offer. If your home is vacant or your home’s listing describes you as a “motivated” seller, you’re signaling you’re open to a low offer.

If you can remedy the situation, maybe by renting furniture or asking your agent not to mention in your home listing that you’re motivated, the next purchase offer you get might be more to your liking. 

More from HouseLogic

6 Tips for Choosing the Best Purchase Offer for Your Home

6 Reasons to Reduce Your Home Price

Marcie Geffner is a freelance reporter who has been writing about real estate, homeownership and mortgages for 20 years. She owns a ranch-style house built in 1941 and updated in the 1990s, in Los Angeles. 

“Visit Houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.”

Home Buying in Belmont, NC and Around the World

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Who wears the pants in your family?  When it comes to home buying, it is often the woman.  Why?  It often comes down to phenomenon called “nesting.”  Anyway, here is a humorous little video on who makes the home buying decision.  Enjoy.  Irl Dixon

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Market Recap

  • Avg. Sales Price: 379,000

  • Avg. Days on Market: 69

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