Tips for Buying a House 

Real Estate

 Choosing a Realtor®

Of all the decisions you’ll face when buying a home, there’s none more important than the person you choose to represent you.

The job of your Sales Associate is to support you in finding the right home with the best possible terms and to aid you through the entire process. Your Sales Associate will explain the process of buying a home, and familiarize you with the various activities, documents and procedures that you will experience throughout the transaction.

Tips For Selecting A Realtor®

Your Real Estate Professional should be:

  • Knowledgeable about the communities of interest to you.
  • Aware of the complicated local and state requirements affecting your transaction.
  • Effective in multi-party, face-to-face negotiations.
  • Highly-trained, with access to programs for continued learning and additional certifications.
  • Technology-focused.
  • Supported by professional legal counsel.

Financing

Most real estate professionals and mortgage lenders recommend pre-qualifying for a loan before selecting a home to purchase. This process will help you:

  • Determine the price range you can afford.
  • Understand the types of loans you qualify for.
  • Determine what your monthly payment will be.
  • Estimate the down payment and closing costs.

The Loan Process

Your Sales Associate will help you to select a mortgage lender. Once you have made your decision, these are the steps of the process:

Application – All pertinent documentation is obtained. Fees and down payments are discussed, and the borrower will receive a Loan Estimate, itemizing the rates and associated costs for the loan.

You will be asked to provide certain documents to your lender in order that your loan can be processed in a timely manner.

Loan Submission – Once all the necessary documentation is in, your completed file is submitted to a lender for approval.

Loan Approval (Underwriting) – Loan approval, or underwriting, generally takes 24 to 72 hours. All parties are notified of the approval and any loan conditions that must be received before the loan can close.

Closing – Once all parties have signed the loan documents, they are returned to the lender. If all the forms have been properly executed, the lender sends the loan funds by wire transfer. At this point, the borrower finishes the loan process and actually buys the house.

Finding and Choosing the Right Home

Based on criteria that you and your Sales Associate establish together, your Associate will help you find the perfect home. There are many factors to consider in selecting a property, including location, bedroom and bath count, schools and amenities.

Your Sales Associate will apply their extensive community knowledge and professional resources to research available properties and show you the homes that best meet your needs. If you find a property that interests you through the Internet or your own research, let your Sales Associate know so that a showing can be arranged.

As you view different properties, your criteria may change. Open and direct communication with your Sales Associate is a key element of a successful property search.

Making an Offer

Once you have found the home that you wish to purchase, your Sales Associate will apply their professional training and do all the necessary research to help you structure an effective offer.

This is where your Sales Associate’s negotiation skills come into play. When an offer is made, the seller will have the option of accepting, rejecting or counter-offering. Your Sales Associate will negotiate the best possible terms for you.

Your Sales Associate will draft the purchase agreement, advising you of protective contingencies, customary practices, and local regulations. Home warranty, title, and escrow arrangements will be detailed in the offer. Although your Sales Associate will give you advice and information, it is your decision as to the exact price and terms that you wish to offer.

Managing the Escrow

When the purchase agreement is accepted and signed by all parties, your Sales Associate will open escrow for you and your earnest money will be deposited. The escrow is a neutral third party that will receive, hold, and distribute all funds associated with your transaction.

Removing Contingencies

Prior to closing escrow, all of the contingencies of the Purchase Agreement must be met. Your Sales Associate will coordinate this process. Typical contingencies include:

  • Approval of the preliminary title report.
  • Loan approval, including an appraisal of the property.
  • Physical inspections of the property.
  • Pest inspection and certification.
  • Acquisition of homeowner’s insurance.
  • Approval of the Seller’s Property Disclosure Statement.

Closing Escrow and Moving In!

When all of the conditions of the purchase agreement have been met, you will sign your loan documents and closing papers. You will deposit the balance of your down payment and closing costs to escrow, and your lender will deposit the balance of the purchase price. The deed will then be recorded at the County Recorder’s office and you will take ownership of your home.

Your Sales Associate is a valuable source of helpful tips for planning and coordinating your move. Contact me today:

Article Source: :http://www.wilkinsonera.com/pages/55585/real-estate-tips-for-buying.aspx

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Out and About with Tina: Coco and The Director Coffee Shop

Uncategorized

A friend I met at my job working as a plus size model at Belk mentioned this place, Coco and The Director. It’s a coffee shop located in uptown at 100 W Trade Charlotte, NC 28202. This coffee shop even has meeting space that would be perfect for dong business and meeting clients as well. Aside from coffee and tea they have pastries, smoothies, alcoholic beverages and sandwhiches.

I didn’t have a chance to check out Coco and the Director beforehand however this past weekend I met up with an old friend who was in town. I wanted to show off some new spots.  Coco The Director is actually located inside the Marriott Hotel. There are several innovative options for seating. The staff is welcoming and there are ecclectic people that frequent the shop. Since it was our first time there the Barista gave us a free sparkling water and cupcake. I ordered a wine in a juice-like box and a “Wakeup Call” smoothie. I substituted the coconut water for almond milk. My total came to about $24. I blame it on the alcohol!

As I was paying there was a neighborhood police man who stopped in for coffee. While I was at the counter he shook the tip jar in my face and said why are there no tips in the jar and placed the cup down in front of me. I paid electronically with my debit card and I had already given an electronic tip. Not that I was obligated to give a tip at all. But I just went on about my business. It didn’t really bother me till like four hours later. 

The Wake Up Call smoothie was delicious. The cupcake I didn’t really finish, I only ate the bottom part because the icing tasted funny. I couldn’t do that much complaining about the cupcake because it was free. I did mention to one of the staff at the counter that the buttercreme frosting  on the cupcake tasted a little like old mustered. The woman at the counter actually said she doesn’t like the way it taste either. I said well the other barista gave it to me for free so I can’t complain the staff looked at each other and paused.  I  mentioned I did purchase other stuff, at that point the manager overheard the free part and rolled her eyes. I quickly changed the subject and I went back to my seat😂😂  That juice-esq box wine had 12% alcohol in it, all I needed was half. I was lit.

After I met up with my friend I decided to stay a little longer. I noticed some tourist who happened to be asian who were taking pictures from different spots at the coffee shop but I was seated behind them in each photo from every angle they were taking pictures and it pissed me off. I’m almost sure they were taking pictures strategically with me in the photo but you can’t really prove that. I mean have they ever seen a plus size beautiful black American woman before!? They quickly left when I gave them a stern look.  I was irritated but I decided to stay a little longer. I had to go to the restroom by that point. I’m blaming that on the alcohol too.  The restrooms are located all the way around the hallway out the door to the left in the Marriott. I just left my computer and bookbag there. There was a family sitting next to me. The man said I can’t believe you left your stuff there. He was puzzled. I guess I didn’t think about it. I just took my purse and was willing to risk the rest even my car keys in my coat pocket. He started to ask me what things should he do around town. He said he and his family had just moved to Charlotte last month from Saudia Arabia. He was on a year job assignment and his family lived in Concord. The wife was dressed in traditional abaya dress. They had two little kids who were so adorable.  I told them a few places they should check out including Farhienheit resturant, Plaza Midwood neighborhood and they should tour The Vue to see the entire city. They were so nice they gave me  some of their cake & blueberries  from a fancy resturant to-go bag. I couldn’t see from where. But it was the real deal. So good,  better then the crusty free cupcake from the counter. That nice gesture and conversation kinda restored some kindness I had in humanity and lifted my spirits in the most unexpected ironic way. When the family left the baby boy came closed to me and said byeeeeeeee and waved a few times and the family said goodbye as well. My heart was filled. I closed my computer and went home. I parked at the lot around the corner at the 101 Independence Center lot. There is no parking stamps given at Coco and the Director. I’m just sharing my experience, This is not a review. Overall I enjoyed myself and will go again! I left the link to the Coco and the Director Google page for reviews, contact number,directions and pictures as they do not have a website. Here’s the Google link:https://goo.gl/maps/kHJN1urZsCw

 




Out and About With Tina: Afropunk Festival Paris 

France, Out and About with Tina, Travel

I love all types of music. Except for heavy metal! That’s why while I was visiting Paris for 6 weeks a friend suggested I check out the Afropunk Music Festival . Before then I had never heard of it. I decided to see what this music festival was about.  The Afropunk festival is an annual two-day concert which tours nationwide. This time Afropunk took place in the La Villette district in Paris. I never caught any of the big music headliners that were supposed to be there performing either because I missed them or they were not there at the Paris location event. Either way, I did see a lot of creative artistic people and fresh eclectic music artist. I also discovered ginger beer for the first time! I digress, Afropunk is worth it check out afropunk.com for the next concert near you! 

Here is some history on the Afropunk festival from the official event website:

AFROPUNK FEST PARIS IS A FESTIVAL AND CULTURAL MOVEMENT THAT CELEBRATES EMPOWERMENT, DIVERSITY, AND INDIVIDUALITY. THE EUROPEAN COUNTERPART TO THE BROOKLYN EDITION, THE FESTIVAL CELEBRATES URBAN AND SOUL MUSIC AS WELL AS VISUAL ARTISTRY AND PERFORMANCE. 

With roots amongst the Black community and culture, AFROPUNK welcomes an array of new music and styles. The popularity of this event has resulted in an expansion that has embraced New York, Atlanta, Paris, and London.

Previous acts have included Angel Haze, Lianne La Havas, Willow Smith, Jaden Smith, Keziah Jones, Saul Williams, Michael Kiwanuka, Sky & Ross From Morcheeba, Leon Bridges and Lion Babe.

Here are some pictures of my experience below!


Young or old the majority of Parisians smoke it was shocking to see and hard to breath

Me in my sundress!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charlotte ranks one of the best cities to own Investment property or buy a home

Real Estate

According to Business Insider, Charlotte ranks among the best place to buy an investment property or own a home. Check out how Charlotte measures up in the article linked below:

https://www.gobankingrates.com/investing/best-worst-cities-own-investment-property/23/

Out & About with Tina: The Women of Paris Walking Tour experience! 

Out and About with Tina, Uncategorized

I had the pleasure of attending the Women Of Paris walking tour. I wanted to learn more about women writers in Paris. This tour showed me where the successful women writers of Paris lived and created. As a group, we also stopped for some sweet treats along the way. 

There were some amazing people in the group (more than a few)..but you know I keep it real. Heidi, The host and founder of the tour company Women in Paris was informative and knowledgeable about the history, which I enjoyed. However, she made one or three chummy jokes at my expense and she didn’t get a Trip Advisor review from me. Although I still do recommend the amazing tour, it was all in European humor and fun… I guess what goes around comes around because we had a child psychologist from Vancouver in the group, I jokingly asked her for an impromptu therapy session. The joke did not go over well and the child Dr. And her friend literally did not talk to me for the rest of the tour😂Thank God there were some cool people with a good sense of humor in the small group, like Tom and Angela, the newlyweds from Seattle. Tom works in real estate and awesome Angela is an attorney with great colorful hair. We have since kept in contact via Facebook! Last but not least in the group my spirit twin and buddy, Wonjeung!!!  from South Korea, who is a student studying computer science. Wonjeung and I ran around Paris all day after the tour and it was good to run the streets and talk about our Paris experience. We still keep in contact online and send holiday cards! 

Now that you have all the group dynamics, here are all the accomplished women that were discussed on the walking tour and the places we visited for our snacks. I’ve included some pictures of the tour below! 
Women Writers of Paris:

The brilliant Simone de Beauvoir and her daring activism,

The radical Antoinette Fouque and her Editions des Femmes,

The scandalous Colette and her struggle for independence, 

The rebellious George Sand and her cross-dressing liberalism,

The benevolent Sylvia Beach and her love of literature…

Eateries:

Popelini Chou à la créme / Meert Waffle / Un Dimanche à Paris Macaron / Pierre Marcolini Chocolate / La Tarte Tropézienne Baby Trop 

Random picture of something Parisian

Wonjeung at Meert! 

Tom in the window!!

Hilarious Heidi 


Out and About with Tina: The Birdland All-Stars Jazz band featuring Tommy Igoe at Charlotte McGlohon Theater

Out and About in Charlotte!

The Birdland All-Stars featuring Tommy Igoe at McGlohon Theater. The finest jazz musicians in New York, The Birdland All-Stars have been thrilling audiences at “The Jazz Corner of the World” for the last 10 years.  Returning to the road for the first time in 5 years, the Birdland All-Stars have created new arrangements featuring the music of David Bowie, The Police, and Steely Dan, as well as fresh treatments of iconic compositions by Charlie Parker, Chick Corea, and Herbie Hancock. 

I had a wonderful time at McGlohon theater hearing the jazz tunes of the Birdland all stars! They pulled an all-nighter to get to Charlotte and were performing on adrenaline and spirit alone. The band plays everything off the cuff and that’s what makes the best, unique shows. Here are some clips of their lively and entertaining performance. My feet and whole body were dancing head to toe. It’s unbelievable I managed to stay in my chair!!

 

 

Buyers:  3 Easy Steps on How to Get Your Offer Accepted (Even in a Seller’s Market)

Real Estate

To all the buyers out there that have ever experienced the heartbreak of losing a home they loved to another offer, here are 3 top tips to never experience the loss of your dream home again.

1. Work with a Realtor Who Knows What Works

Of course, if you’re in Charlotte, NC the only step you need to get your offer accepted is to work with me, an expert Charlotte Realtor. I know how to get offers accepted. But if you’re not so lucky😀 you want to work with a Realtor that knows how to put your offer in the front of the sellers over any other offer on the table. There are several ways to do that it takes a Realtor that knows the market. It also takes a sixth sense in which a Realtor just knows what has to be done to win over your offer over the other offers the seller is considering. This careful footing requires a mix of experience and intuition.

2. Put Some Skin in the Game

If you are a buyer and you’re really set on a home, to the extent that you have already pictured your children growing up in the home, prom pictures and backyard weddings than in order to have a strong chance of getting your offer accepted over others it’s best to put some skin in the game. What do I mean by skin in the game? Offer Due Diligence and Earnest Money along with your offer. The due diligence fee is the amount paid by the buyer directly to the seller, which the seller keeps no matter what. If the deal closes, the buyer will have that amount credited back at closing. But either way, that amount up front is the seller’s to keep. earnest money is a deposit made to a seller showing the buyer’s  earnestness or good faith in a transaction. I typically see earnest money deposits ranging from 1%-3% of the purchase price. For example, On a $300,000 transaction, a buyer in the Charlotte market would typically make an earnest money deposit of $3,000-$9,000. The earnest money deposit is not set and is to be negotiated between the buyer and seller. If you want to catch the attention of the seller then it is suggested to offer both Due Diligence and earnest money.

3. Have Everything Ready to Go

Having a strong offer and having your offer ready to present to the sellers will put your offer to the front of the pile in a multiple offer situation. Having everything ready includes having your pre-qualified/ proof of funds letter from a qualified lender, a fully completed offer from your realtor, and copies of your due diligence and earnest money check. If the situation calls for a personal touch it would not hurt to tell the sellers in a letter why you love the house and send it in the offer packet.

There are some tricks I simply cannot post that get my offers accepted happily every time but for the typical buyer, you can’t go wrong if you follow the 3 tips above on how to get your offer accepted, even in a seller’s market. I wish you all to have the house of your dreams!

Top 5 Tips on How Not to Annoy a Real Estate Agent (but no agent will tell you)

Real Estate

Okay, we Realtors understand how not to annoy our clients. We know what makes clients happy. Y’all love Realtors to respond promptly to you, be on time, don’t be a pushy salesman, know the market well and be the first to get you the new hottest listings. We know! But these tips are for Y’all this time. Here are tips for buyers on how not to annoy your Realtor!!

1. Free Home Sightseeing Field Trips

If you know you’re not in the market to buy a house do not ask a real estate agent to show you houses. Any experienced and successful agent will qualify a buyer appropriately. A Pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender is the best resources we have to ensure customers are a ready and able buyer. If you know you don’t want to buy now start by visiting open houses in your area to get an idea of what’s available on the market. Asking a Realtor to show you houses if you have no intention of buying a house is like nails to a chalkboard to a real estate agent’s ears. To be clear it’s like your boss coming to your desk and saying we don’t want to pay you right now but we want you to keep working and if we decide to pay you we will let you know when the time is right. I can imagine the look on anyone’s face if their boss actually said that out loud.  

Let’s say you are on the fence about homeownership but you still want to look at some houses. Let’s say you fall in love with a house a Realtor showed and you ask your Realtor to put in an offer for you. A strong offer includes proof of funds I.E. a Pre-approval letter. Even if you are confident you can afford the house your offer most likely will be turned down over another offer that already includes proof of funds. Perhaps you really fall in love with a house and you don’t know if you can afford it but you’ve seen the house and you have to have it now. By the time you are able to get pre-approved in this market the house will most likely already be under contract with another buyer who was more prepared. Let’s say you love a house that’s out of your budget in a neighborhood you can’t afford, then any house after that won’t be good enough and you’ll be clinically depressed. 

On the other hand, If you want to buy a house but you don’t know if you are financially able to buy, or you are not sure how much you can afford a Realtor can help you with a solution(in advance). A Realtor can connect you with a mortgage broker if you don’t already have one. A good mortgage broker will be able to tell you if you can afford a home, which type of loan is best for you, how much house you can afford and what your potential monthly payment might be, based on the current interest rate. Ask the mortgage broker how much you can qualify for and get a pre-approval letter. If you are pre-approved then you’re ready to start looking at houses with a Real Estate Agent!

2. A Realtor’s Work is Never Done?

False! Guess what, we got lives. It doesn’t mean we won’t do our best to get ahead of any issues and answer you promptly but let’s put this in perspective, no one will crash and burn if agents answer your email only during business hours.  I know you don’t want to hear this but some of us agents have families, other clients, friends, and travel plans. It is buyers etiquette to ask what hours your real estate agent typically works and stick to that, as any professional with good boundaries do not work 24 hours. 

3. Be Loyal 

Before I was a Realtor I had no idea it was wrong to work with two agents. Now it seems so clear but I just assumed whoever found the house I wanted would be my agent. Wrong.  Realtors put a lot of work upfront to find the perfect house for you and if one weekend you decide to work with another agent because your Realtor was in a meeting it shows no consideration or loyalty. We don’t like those types of customers. The best thing to do is sign a buyer’s agency with your agent as this protects you in the long run. This agreement is simply an agreement that says your Realtor represents you and has your best interest at hand otherwise the agent represents the other side by law and has to disclose anything you tell them to the other side. Protect yourself and sign or else don’t say anything about finances or share personal information.

4.You Get What You Pay For!

Do not ask for a discount unless you want discounted services. What you may not know is agents do a lot to ensure your home closes smoothly (on the buying or selling side). Keep in mind Realtors don’t have a salary or get paid until the end of the transaction.  However, our job is not done at the closing table good agents follow up and keep in touch to make sure clients are enjoying their new home. Agents put time effort, heart, and resources in every transaction in advance. In addition, we split our commission with our agency. The final number we receive is not what it appears to be in the closing disclosure. If we are selling your home, for example, we are doing the job of many people including but not limited to an in-house therapist, planner, marketing and selling VP and we act as a Bill Clinton top-level negotiator, researcher, driver, measurements specalist, and caretaker just to name a few of our responsibilities. 

For those of you who still don’t see whats wrong with asking your agent for a discount Here’s another quick example to put this in perspective of why it is improper to ask your Realtor for a discount, if your boss came to your desk (again) and said I need you to work on this special project but we don’t want to pay you a full salary because we can’t afford to, it would take too much out of our bottom line. However, we want you to work the same amount of time and effort for less money and we want you to find someone to buy our product for a discounted salary. Would that be okay with you? No! and you will lose respect if you abide. According to the national association of Realtors, Ninety percent of sellers listed their homes on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is the number one source for sellers to list their home. In Charlotte, it was 94 percent.  The best way to sell your home is to list your home on The MLS that only Realtors have access to. working with a Realtor is the best way to have a smooth closing and receive the best value for your home.

5.Put Some Respect On It

Don’t mistake your Google search for my Real Estate license! Just-said-it!  Put some respect on it!! Be informed but don’t be a know it all. Remember Realtors are on your side we want you to have the home of your dreams and help you to make the most profit on your home that the market will allow. We work hard for you. Again please respect us, be kind thoughtful, have a great attitude and ask questions if you don’t understand.

Lastly, don’t forget us! The way Realtors make a living is mostly through referrals so if you did have a good experience with your Realtor tell everyone you know about your positive experience. Tell your friends family, neighbors, Facebook friends, co-workers, and church members, for God’s sake. Don’t forget to write a 5-star review for your agent on any online platform you use including  Google, Yelp, Zillow etc. 

If you stick to these tips most likely you won’t annoy your Realtor! No promises. 

Get To Know Charlotte’s Expert Realtor: Tina Whittaker

Real Estate

​I’m originally from Bloomfield Hills, MI.  My family and I moved to Paris, France while I was in high school where I graduated from The American School Of Paris.  This experience inspired me to study International Business Marketing and French at Eastern Michigan University. After college, I moved to Miami, Florida to escape from the harsh Michigan winters.  This is where I learned true grit and resourcefulness, such as how to parallel park in the tightest of spaces, negotiate rent prices, find the best Cuban coffee, and survive hurricane season.  In 2007, I decided to move to Charlotte, one of the top thriving cities for young adults.

Moving to Charlotte was the best decision I’ve ever made!  I’m familiar with a variety of neighborhoods in Charlotte as a result of living in many areas, including South Charlotte, Plaza Midwood, University Huntersville, and Northlake. In 2012, I purchased a home in the new and hip Charlotte neighborhood, Windsor Park. I am happy to report I was able to sell that home for 75k more than I purchased it for just 5 years later.  My professional background includes entrepreneurship, executive level management experience, and working in marketing for two major companies headquartered in the Charlotte area.

I’m delighted to work as a Realtor licensed in North Carolina and South Carolina. I look forward to meeting new, amazing clients. I am passionate about helping others find a home that they cherish, securing the best deals for families, selling homes at the highest value and helping first time home buyers!

When I am not working in real estate, I enjoy eclectic hobbies including writing, studying French, entrepreneurship, water aerobics, international and domestic travel, and riding my bicycle with my rescue dog running alongside of me. I also enjoy yoga, playing basketball, live music, dining with friends, volunteering, going to the movies, current events and attending church.

Contact me today if you’re looking to buy or sell a home!

 Tina Whittaker

Wilkinson ERA Realty

Realtor® Broker NC/SC

Cell: 704-657-3381 Email:Tinaewhittaker@gmail.com