From time to time I will post interesting bits of information. I hope you will sign up and be a member of this site and read my comments from time to time.


Gail Hanlon

Feb. 22, 2017

Mortgage Mistakes

Avoid these two big mortgage mistakes

We all know that searching for and viewing potential homes is the fun part of the home-buying process. The not-so-fun part? The mortgage.
But if you don't pay attention to the details, your mortgage can end up dragging down the enjoyment of your new home and cause some major regrets. Here are a few mistakes to avoid to ensure that you love your mortgage terms as much as your hew home.
Don't find your home first: Shopping around for the best mortgage rate should be the first step in the home buying process. You may even want to talk to a mortgage broker a full year before you plan to buy. It'll give you time to get your affairs in order to qualify for the best rate, could save you thousands of dollars in the long run, and you won't feel rushed to accept an unattractive loan because you're worried you'll miss out on your dream home.
Don't forget your real budget: There's often a big difference between what a lender says you can afford and what you can actually afford. Your debt-to-income ratio doesn't include the money you spend on hobbies, or the cost of commuting to work, or maintenance and utility costs.
Really sit down and examine your spending before committing to the loan amount the lender is offering. You won't enjoy your home nearly as much if it's eating into your favorite hobbies.
Posted in Mortgage Rates
Feb. 22, 2017

Pitt County Property Values

What affects property values?

Some the features that increase property values are obvious-like a remodeled bathroom, a modern kitchen, or a sought-after neighborhood. But here are a few features and circumstances you have not have realized can affect property values.
 1. The neighbors: Not every neighborhood or community has an HOA that can keep the neighbors from going overboard with decorations or neglecting to care for their home. Homes adjacent to crazy neighbors can potentially be undervalued.
 2. Trendy groceries and coffee: Recent statistics suggest that if your home is a short walk from popular grocery stores like Whole Foods or coffee chains like Starbucks, it can actually appreciate faster than the national average.
 3. Mature trees: A big beautiful tree in the front yard is enviable, and it's not something that can be easily added to any home. Homes with mature trees tend to get a little boost in value.
 4. Parking: This isn't too much of an issue if you live in the suburbs or in a rural area, but residents in dense cities can have real problems with parking, and homeowners might need to rent a spot just to guarantee a place to park each night. That's why having guaranteed parking in urban areas will raise property values.
 5. The front entrance: First impressions matter to buyers-many will cross a home off their list within 10 seconds of stepping through the front door. An appealing front door, a friendly entryway, and a functioning doorbell are all necessities for getting top dollar.
Posted in economist
Feb. 22, 2017

Interior Decorating to Sell

From decorating to staging

Once you've decided to put your home on the market, you're looking to sell quickly for the best possible price. One tactic that can help sell your home faster is staging.
At first, staging may seem like a real estate term that doesn't actually mean anything. Isn't staging just decorating? Well, not exactly …
Appeal to the masses
Your home is likely decorated to your tastes. It could be colorful and eclectic, or rugged and industrial. But when you're staging your home, rather than appealing to a specific decorating sense, you want to furnish your home in a way that appeals to everyone-and more importantly, doesn't turn anyone off who just isn't into your personal style.
Tone down the personal flourishes
Buyers want to be able see themselves in a home and imagine how they'd make it their own. Unfortunately, that means less of your own style as you're preparing for your move. Cut down on family photos, bold artwork, and unusual furniture. Do some major decluttering so the buyer can see all the space and storage opportunities. It may be sad to start removing the items that make your house a home, but it's an important part of the process.
Mass appeal doesn't mean ?boring"
Your staged home can still be colorful, just stay away from extremes. If you paint, stick to whites, grays, or neutrals. Add flourishes of color with window treatments or accent furniture, but try to choose items that will appeal to both genders.
Call a pro
There are likely several staging companies in your area. If you need a recommendation, reach out to your trusted real estate professional
, Gail Hanlon 252-916-9266. Email: gailhanlon1@aol.com
Posted in analyis
Oct. 4, 2016

greenville nc furniture ideas

Five Ideas for Re-purposing Unused Items


You undoubtedly have some items in your home that you’d like to get rid of or you’re having trouble finding a use for. Rather than throwing them out, consider repurposing them. Here are a few ideas for inspiration:

  1. Turn an old dresser into a kitchen island: Do you have a beat-up old dresser that’s currently an eyesore? Dress it up with some bright new paint, and then put it in your kitchen. You’ll suddenly have a new surface for preparing food, as well as a colorful accent piece.
  2. Use that old door as a table or desk surface: Just pick up some table legs from IKEA or order some online, attach them to the door, and now yo’ve got a cool repurposed workspace.
  3. Convert a wooden ladder into a bookshelf: Attach the ladder to the wall horizontally. The ladder frame will support the bottom of your books, the rungs will serve as dividers, and the wall itself will keep the books from falling off.
  4. Make a rack out of a wood shutter: Attach the shutter to the wall, and the slots will be perfect for organizing your envelopes and mail. Add hooks for keys and clothespins to attach other objects.
  5. Add a chalkboard surface to a coffee table: This is a great one for the kids. Get some chalkboard spraypaint from a home improvement store, and use it on your old coffee table. It’s the perfect play surface for Legos, action figures, and more.





Posted in economist
Oct. 4, 2016

greenville decorating


Five Apps for Easy Home Decorating

The article below is for real estate professionals to use on their own blog or website copyright free.

Technology has made it easier than ever to bring your home decor ideas to reality. There are countless smartphone apps that help you plan a space or do some valuable comparative shopping. Here are five apps to use on your next decorating project. Most are available on both iOS and Android devices.

  1. Color Capture: Ever see a color that would make for a perfect paint scheme? Benjamin Moore’s Color Capture app allows you to take a photo of anything and instantly get a matching paint color.
  2. iHandyLevel: Hanging photos and artwork? Rather than searching through your toolbox for a level, you can use something that’s already in your pocket: Your phone. The iHandyLevel app functions just as well as a dedicated level, turning your phone into the ultimate picture-hanging companion.
  3. LikeThatDecor: Let’s say you see the perfect Chesterfield sofa in a coffee shop, and you want to see where you could get one of your own. Use the LikeThatDecor app to take a photo of furniture and instantly see similar items from dozens of retailers.
  4. IKEA Catalog: Forget about the nightmare of navigating the parking garage, showroom, and warehouse at your nearest IKEA. The IKEA Catalog app allows you to virtually place furniture in a room. If only there was an app for easy IKEA assembly!
  5. DesignSponge: DesignSponge is one of the best DIY and home decor websites out there. Now there’s an app that makes it easy to access all of their awesome content on your smartphone.

Furniture Distrubitors in Greenville also has many decorating solutions.



Posted in Survey
Oct. 4, 2016

home security

The New and Improved Doorbell

You’re probably familiar with devices like Nest, which use smart technology to automate your thermostat and save you money. Think of Ring as the Nest of doorbells. It’s a product that replaces your standard doorbell with a device that connects to your home WiFi connection and sends video and audio of your doorstep to your mobile device.

In other words, you can use your smartphone to see who’s at the door, and you can do it from anywhere in the world.

It brings a whole new level of convenience. You’ll never have to worry about missing a delivery or having a package left in the wrong place—you can be at work when FedEx arrives, and use the intercom feature to tell the delivery man to leave the package where you please.

It’s also a great security tool. You can use the intercom to give the appearance that you’re home, turning away everyone from annoying salesmen to potential burglars. It activates with motion detection, so you don’t have to wait for the doorbell to ring before you’re alerted that someone is at your home.


There are various ways to install Ring, and it starts at $199. Go to ring.com to learn more.


Posted in analyis
Oct. 4, 2016

home staging

Home staging: Does it make a difference?

The article below is for real estate professionals to use on their own blog or website copyright free.

It seems to be universally accepted that home staging will help your home sell faster or for the best price—it’s been the common practice in the real estate business for a long time, and on the surface it seems like a no-brainer. Of course potential buyers will be more interested if a home is properly decorated, right?


That’s not necessarily true, according to a recent academic study. The study surveyed 820 homebuyers by showing them one of six virtual tours of the same property. In some instances the home was decorated with traditional furniture and color schemes, while in others more eccentric furniture and colors were used. In other tours there was no furniture at all, just empty rooms.


The overall results of the study were that staging is unlikely to increase a home’s sale price, and that staging isn’t quite as important as everyone believes.


Of course, real estate trends vary greatly from market to market. If you have questions about staging, talk to your trusted real estate professional.



Gail Hanlon, REALTOR® Greenville NC

Posted in Prices
Oct. 4, 2016

Limited Supply

Three ways to ease your fears about making a move


With low inventory in many markets throughout the country, many homeowners are afraid to sell their homes because they’re concerned that they may not be able to find a new one. This can be a real problem, but if you are seeking to sell—whether to upgrade or find a new neighborhood—there are a few ways to combat the low inventory.

Look to buy first In most markets it is a real mistake to put your home up for sale before you start looking for your new property. Identify the geographic area where you are interested in buying.


Protect yourself legally Each state varies in how the purchase process is conducted. Talk to your real estate professional about adding a clause in the purchase contract for the home you are selling that will enable you to not sell the home if you cannot find a suitable home to buy.


Even if you don't see anything on www.gailhanlon.com, it doesn't mean you can't or won't find the right home.


Think outside the box Be proactive! Keep in mind that there are probably many people like you who want to make a move but are afraid as well. Have your real estate agent send a letter to the neighborhoods in the geographic areas where you want to live. The letter should be heartfelt and personal while announcing that you are ready to buy a home in that neighborhood. You could find a home to buy that may not even be currently listed or for sale.





Posted in analysis
Oct. 4, 2016

Credit Score

How Your Credit Score Impacts Your Interest Rate

The most important factor in determining what interest rate you will qualify for with your mortgage is your credit score or also know as FICO score. However, most people are not only unfamiliar with their FICO scores they also aren’t aware of what is on their credit reports.

When qualifying for a mortgage the underwriter will pull your score from all 3 bureaus Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union. They will use the middle score to determine the interest rate. Most lenders today require a minimum of 580 score to obtain a mortgage. The Federal Trade Commission has found that 1 in every 5 consumers have a mistake on at least one of their reports. It is incredibly important to make sure that everything being reported on your credit is accurate since your scores will dictate how much you pay for everything from a mortgage, car loan, to credit cards.

There are websites such as www.freecreditreport.com  that will allow you to obtain a copy of your credit report so you can constantly monitor the activity on your credit report. When disputing anything that is inaccurately showing on your report it is important to get all activity and correspondence in writing and properly documented. Many lenders will ask for this documentation when items are showing on a credit report that are incorrect.

Once you have gone through your credit report and everything is correct and in order, there are some simple steps you can go through to improve your scores. First step is to keep your balances low. Credit bureaus look at your utilization rate to calculate your scores. You want to keep all your balances at 40% of the credit limit or less.

Pay all your bills on time. Credit bureaus will track all your late payments and these will lower your scores. If you have accidently paid a bill late make sure you call that company up and explain the situation. Ask for an extended grace period and for them not to report it late. If you are in good standing 9 out of 10 times they will do this.

Do not cancel old credit cards you no longer use. The longer you have an open line of credit in good standing the more this will improve your credit scores. So even if you have old credit cards you never use keep them open.

Once you are in good standing you can get pre-qualified for a mortgage and begin your home search. There are many active listings in the Greenville real estate market as well as other areas in Pitt County NC.

Kendra McCormick         

Mortgage Loan Officer




Posted in Mortgage Rates
Sept. 9, 2015

ECU Rates well.

Check out a recent article about ECU.

Posted in Report