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Chapel Hill and Durham Real Estate Blog

Chapel Hill - Durham Real Estate Blog

Jodi Bakst


Displaying blog entries 231-240 of 417

Chatham County NC Real Estate Market Update

by Jodi Bakst

The Chatham County Real Estate market is doing well.  As of the end of November:

  • Closed sales are down 13%.  This is actually a great number since this time last year sales were down close to 25%.
  • Median prices are down 7.4%%.
  • Average prices are down 7.1%
  • Days on market increased from 112 to 120.

I am happy to report that sales are down less than a year ago.  Chatham County has been hit harder and we are seeing this in a decline of both media and average prices and it is taking longer to sell homes in Chatham County than in the surrounding area.  

Don't forget to make a favorite so that you can see monthly updates on the Chatham County Real Estate market.

Important Facts About The Extended Homebuyer Tax Credit For

by Jodi Bakst

By now, most people are aware that the government has approved an extension of the homebuyer tax credit. In addition to the $8,000 tax credit for first time home buyers, the program now provides a $6,500 tax stimulus for existing homeowners who purchase a new home between November 6, 2009 and April 30, 2010.    

For first-time homebuyer, the rules are: 

  • Homeowners must have lived in their previous residence for 5 consecutive years out of the last 8.
  • They must live in their new residence for at least 3 years.
  • The price of the house cannot be above $800,000.
  • The credit provides for 10% of the home’s price (up to $8,000).   
  • The buyer’s income must be below $125,000 (for individuals), or $225,000 for couples. (They can still receive a lesser credit amount if their income is up to $20,000 more than this.)
  • Home purchases may not be from a relative.

Many people are not focusing on the benefits of the addition to the first time home buyer tax credit for the move up or move down buyer.  Specifically: 

  • The homebuyer does not have to sell their previous home in order to qualify for the $6,500 homebuyer credit.  This is huge!   In other words,  as long as they fulfill the other requirements, they can buy a new home, receive the tax credit, and rent out their previous home. In order to qualify for the credit, the homebuyer must stay in the new home for a minimum of three years.
  • The purchased home does not have to be more expensive than the previous one to qualify. This makes the program appealing for both move-up and move-down buyers—a savvy investment option either way.
  • The credit also applies to a new home the owner builds.  Since there is no closing date for homes like this, the house is considered to be “purchased” on the first day the owner occupies it. 

The $6,500 credit is an awesome addition to the program because home owners can actually take advantage of the credit regardless of whether they actually sell their home.  Despite the fact that the real estate market is getting better, we are still experiencing a buyer’s market and some sellers are still having trouble selling their homes.  It is an incredible opportunity to be able to take advantage of the $6,500 credit even if their house does not sell. 

Buyers wanting to take advantage of these programs need to be under contract  no later than April 30th and closed by June, 2010.   These are tremendous opportunities for home ownership.  I could not recommend it more highly to take advantage of these programs while they last.

Chapel Hill Makes Two Best Places Lists

by Jodi Bakst

Looking for a shorter drive to work, a better place to raise your kids, or just an all-round awesome place to live?  Chapel Hill just got the nod from Business Week and U.S. News & World Report.

According to Business Week, Chapel Hill meets the criteria for being affordable, safe, family friendly and has excellent school test scores.  Chapel Hill is home to the renowned University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), is part of the Research Triangle (aka RTP) and is known as the Southern part of heaven.  Right down the road you can also find two more incredible schools, Duke University and North Carolina State University (NCSU).  Chapel Hill consistently has the state’s highest average SAT scores and sends 90% of high school kids to college.  This is pretty impressive given that Chapel Hill also has a reputation for great cultural enrichment and historical attractions.

One of the most important criteria for determining the Best Place to Raise Your Kids was affordability, said the report’s author, Prashant Gopal.  Although the median income of Chapel Hill ($98,873) is above the national average ($50,233), it is still an affordable place to call home.

A great place to raise kids isn’t the only reason to live in Chapel Hill. You might like the drive to work, too.  U.S. News & World Report gave Chapel Hill the prestigious acclaim of being top-ranked as one of the best commutes in the U.S. The average commute time for those of us in Chapel Hill is about 20 minutes, a full four and half minutes less than the national average.  This is quite a feat given that the metropolitan area has a population exceeding two million.   Even better, 26.2% of us commute without using a car.  It certainly helps that the buses in Chapel Hill are free!

It is nice to live in an area that consistently gets high marks for being such a great place to live.  I couldn’t agree more.

Interested in Chapel Hill Real Estate, search for homes for sale in Chapel Hill complements of Team Jodi

SunTrust's Doctor Loan Program is for “Newer” Doctors

by Jodi Bakst

SunTrust’s Doctor Loan Program (100% financing with NO monthly mortgage insurance aka PMI) has recently been modified.  The program is now geared specifically for doctors who are relatively new in their field.  The 100% program is available to current Residents and Fellows and any MD who has been out of a residency or fellowship for less than six years.  What is the reason for this six-year restriction?  SunTrust feels that doctors who have been out of a residency or fellowship for over six years generally have much higher salaries, and should not need to borrow 100%.  Their higher earnings over time should have allowed commensurate savings for a downpayment.  SunTrust does have other special programs for these more-established doctors, depending on their total income, which can include a spouse’s income. Contact for more details.   See also, my related post on the benefits of getting a doctor loan.

Why Should a Doctor Get a Doctor Loan?

by Jodi Bakst

Obtaining a traditional mortgage loan can be tough for new doctors.  MDs that are Residents and Fellows don’t have the salary they will when they are a full blown Doctor.  Combine an entry level salary with large medical school bills and many young MDs simply don’t have the income - or the savings -  to qualify for the home they want. Howard Stanton of SunTrust reports that “with high debt loads and relatively low income, many new doctors cannot obtain the loan they need.  If they have only a small amount for a down payment, the high cost of traditional monthly mortgage insurance – PMI - may keep them from getting a home.”    SunTrust’s 100% Doctor Loan Program, with no PMI, is often   ….just what the doctor ordered.   Combining no down payment and a lower-than-normal monthly payment due to the absence of PMI makes buying a home a reality for many newer doctors.    For more information contact Howard Stanton at 919-918-2468 or visit

What Lenders Offer 100% Financing to Doctors?

by Jodi Bakst

SunTrust is the only lender offering a 100% Doctor Loan.   The program is for MDs and can finance 100% with no downpayment and NO monthly PMI (mortgage insurance) up to $650,000. Other lenders, such as Wachovia / Wells Fargo and Bank of America, discontinued their Doctor Loan Programs in mid 2009.  Howard Stanton of SunTrust Mortgage in Chapel Hill, NC notes that SunTrust is looking for a strong relationship with doctors “down the road” and feels they will continue to be great mortgage - and banking customers for SunTrust.  A SunTrust checking account is the only bank account required to have a Doctor Loan mortgage.   “But we offer a very attractive banking package as well, and can give up to $400 in credits when doing a Doctor Loan,” notes Howard.   Howard can be reached at 919-918-2468 for more information or visit his web site at

The Doctor Loan Program Explained

by Jodi Bakst

In a mortgage environment where 100% financing is next-to-impossible to obtain, there is one bright spot.  SunTrust Mortgage offers 100% financing for doctors-  AND the program has NO monthly mortgage insurance (no PMI)!!   Borrowers must be an MD, with Residents, Fellows, and practicing doctors allowed.  The program can finance 100% up to $650,000 in loan amount - and 95% financing above that.  The interest rate is slightly higher than a conventional fixed-rate loan, but the absence of PMI combined with no downpayment makes it a no-brainer.  The program is especially helpful for younger doctors, such as Residents and Fellows, whose salary is still low and who have not had the opportunity to save for a downpayment.   Note: the program is for MDs only -  dentists, psychologists, chiropractors, etc. unfortunately do not qualify.   For more information contact my lender partner, Howard Stanton, at 919-918-2468 or at


Mebane is bracing for a boost—a big boost. Already, millions of dollars have changed hands between city leaders and outside developers, and millions more will be pouring in. The big boost is called the Tanger Outlet, and it’s a familiar name to millions of Americans who shop at one of the 33 Tanger Outlets across the country. 


When the company’s CEO, Stephen Tanger made the decision to set up shop in Mebane, he did so for several reasons:


·        Prime location:  An outlet store cannot be in the middle of nowhere, and although Mebane may seem like the middle of nowhere to some, it has several advantages. For one, it is right on the I-40/85 corridor. The 52-acre plot, selected by Tanger, has enough interstate frontage to make it a must-stop for leisurely travelers and deal-loving shoppers. In addition, Mebane provides a great halfway point for shoppers from Greensboro and Winston-Salem to the west and Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill from the east. Although Mebane is still a 45-minute to an hour drive away, people are usually willing to drive a bit farther to shop a lot cheaper.


·        Low cost:  Another reason that motivated the decision was the relatively low cost of land in the area. Buying 52 acres comes at a price, but an $8.5 million parcel of real estate, is a low price to pay for a retail establishment that will bring in many times that amount in its first year of operation. For a town like Mebane, $8.5 million is a lot of cash. As Mayor Stephenson said, it’s the largest real estate transaction the city has ever seen.


The Lowdown

·        Opening date is projected to be late 2010, hopefully in time for the holiday shopping season.

·        Construction will begin in December. At this point, 75% of the planned store space is either leased or under contract. This gives Tanger a safe threshold that allows groundbreaking to take place.

·        Cost of construction is at least $60 million. Add to that the $8.5 million for land, and the $25 million for permits and licensing, plus the miscellaneous millions that always trickle in, and you’re looking at a $100 million dollar business rolling down Mebane’s main street.

·        The mall will have at least 80 stores, including well-known retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue, Banana Republic, Coach, Gap, J. Crew, Michael Kors, BCBG/Girls, Nike, and Tommy Hilfiger.  Yeah!! I am excited about this, and so is my 12-year old daughter!

·        The combined size of the stores will be over 317,000 square feet.


The Future

Now, the big question is, what does this mean for Mebane’s future, specifically on the real estate side of things? For one, it probably means considerable growth. Owners and staffers of the mall will not want to commute from Raleigh or Greensboro, so new home construction may creep into the area. Plus, a mall does not stand alone. Along with malls come gas stations, grocery stores, hotels, restaurants, entertainment centers, clubs, theaters, and much more. With an influx of those establishments, Mebane is going to get bigger. As it does, real estate costs could rise. Beyond that, who knows what’s going to happen? Perhaps Mebane will become the next major I-40/85 metropolis.

President Obama stated, “the rebound in the housing market was one of the big factors that contributed to the growth of the economy last quarter. We want to give even more families the chance to own their own home.”


With that said, here are the details of the extended and expanded tax credit:


  1. The housing tax break for first time buyers, which was initially set to expire at the end of November, is now available to buyers who sign a contract by April 30, 2010, and close by June 30, 2010. 
  •  In addition, other buyers who have lived in their current residence for at least five years of the last eight but want to relocate to a new primary residence can receive a credit of up to $6,500 - the incentive for these "move-up" buyers will begin on December 1st of this year.   
  • Income limits increased and are the same for first-time buyer and the existing homeowner - $125,000 for single filers/$225,000 for joint.  
  • The tax break is only available on primary residences priced at $800,000 or less.   
  • Time frame:  December 1, 2009 to April 30, 2010 - plus 60-day extension if binding contract is in place by April 30, 2010. Must lock into a contract to close on home purchase by midnight on April 30, 2010.  The closing must occur before midnight on June 30, 2010.  
  • As in the previous program, the tax credit applies only to the purchase of an individual's primary residence.  The tax credit does not apply to second homes or investment properties.

 The significant changes are that the tax credit has been extended, the income limits have been raised to cover more buyers AND now there is a credit available to move up buyers that have lived in their houses at least 5 of the last 8 years.


The time is still right to buy.  There is great inventory and interest rates are at all time lows. 



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Homebuyers Get Extra Credit

by Jodi Bakst

In a vote-gaining, economy-stimulating, home-market-reviving move, the Senate is getting ready to put the official “yes” on the new homebuyer tax credit. That official affirmative could come as early as the weekend. Nobody is totally certain on the details, but here is a past, present, and future perspective of what things look like.


Past:  What kind of an impact did the original tax credit have?

The original first time homebuyer tax credit made a big splash, no doubt. It offered a tax credit of eight thousand dollars to any buyer purchasing their first home. The credit was only for those who earned up to $75,000 (for singles) or $150,000 (combined income for couples). According to the analysis, the tax credit, ending in less than a month, had an extensive ripple effect on the economy. It began with first-time homebuyers, many of whom were enabled to purchase a home for the first time. The effect spread to others in the housing industry. Despite the benefits, the first-time homebuyer tax credit wasn’t able to reverse the economic bête noir.


Present:  What does the current tax credit look like?

Politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, plus financial professionals, both liberal and conservative, converged on a decision to reinstate the tax credit. The new-and-improved version for 2010 has some significant improvements and expansions. The hope is that it will prompt an even greater economic impact. Here’s what it looks like:


·        The original $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers will be extended.

·        First time homebuyer income levels are raised. Now, buyers’ income must be $125,000 or less for individuals and $225,000 for couples.

·        Home sales must be signed, if not closed, by April 30, 2010 in order to qualify for the credit. The closing must take place before July 1.

·        In a daring new move, Congress is set to approve an enhancement to the current plan. Now, move up buyers—previous homeowners who are looking to purchase a bigger or better home—will also qualify.

·        The tax credit for move up buyers is $6,500.

·        In order to qualify, the move up buyer must have been living in his or her current residence for at least five years.

·        The income cap for move up buyers is the same as for first-time homebuyers—$125,000 and $225,000 for individuals and couples, respectively.


Future:  What will be the impact of the revamped tax credit?

Since no crystal balls are forthcoming, nobody can say for sure. All we can say with confidence is that the bipartisan atmosphere is optimistic. Naysayers exist, as they always, do. However, most of the naysaying focuses on the tax credit price tag— $10 billion by most estimates—rather than on the long-term economic impact of the program. As the bill makes its progress through the government, we can anticipate a noticeable uptick in the real estate market rather soon.


Click here to learn more about Team Jodi

Click here to view Team Jodi's Chapel Hill Real Estate and Durham Homes for Sale

Click here to Search homes for sale in Chapel Hill and Durham and the surrounding Triangle NC area 

Displaying blog entries 231-240 of 417




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Contact Information

Team Jodi
Team Jodi Realty
501 Eastowne Drive, Suite 140
Chapel Hill NC 27514
Fax: 1-877-206-5036

Jodi Bakst on Zillow


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