Monday, April 21, 2025

THANKS FOR VISITING POOK'S SUN CITY CAROLINA LAKES NEWS!

Pook's Sun City Carolina Lakes News is both a website and a blog.  It contains up-to-date information about Sun City Carolina Lakes, a premier 55+ Active Adult Del Webb golf course community located in the panhandle of Lancaster County South Carolina, just a short distance south of the Ballantyne Area of beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina.  Looking for an affordable active lifestyle?  Sun City Carolina Lakes is the 55+ community for you!

The tabs above provide access to a wealth of information about Sun City Carolina Lakes and include up-to date stats for real estate sales in the community, as well as links to places and resources that you'll want to visit often.  

Want to search for homes for sale in Sun City Carolina Lakes?  Begin your search for Sun City Carolina Lakes resale homes right here!  Using the same property search tab, you can also search for homes for sale at two nearby 55+ Active Adult communities - TreeTops by Lennar and Carolina Orchards by Pulte.  Or, better yet, contact me to create a personalized search for you through the Carolina Multiple Listing Service (CMLS).  Doing so will create a portal that will allow you access to all that's out there.  If you would like me to create a personalized search for you with automatic updates, please contact me. 

As a blog, this site contains great articles and infographics about real estate and other topics of interest.  You'll want to come back regularly to see what's new!  

Blog postings are found just below this message, with newer postings at the top and older postings further down.  Since there is a limit to how many postings appear on a page, you will need to click on "older posts" (lower right corner of each page) to see older posts that do not currently appear on the main page. There are lots of posts hiding there... don't miss them!  You can also find postings by going to the ARCHIVE on the left sidebar.

Please be sure to go to my HELEN ADAMS REALTY website for more great information.  That website also allows you to search for homes, as well as check out mortgage and warranty information, and much more!

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Please use the above tab labeled  
ACTIVE / UNDER CONTRACT / SOLD YTD
to view all currently Active, Under Contact, 
and Sold (Year-to-Date) listings in Sun City Carolina Lakes.  

Use the above tab labeled
UP-TO-DATE STATS FOR SCCL
to view the most current sales stats for
 New Listings, # of Homes for Sale, Pending Sales, Closed Sales, Average Days on Market, Months Supply of Homes for Sale, Average Days List to Close, and Average Percent of Original Price. Includes interactive graphs with monthly data going back to 2015. 
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BLOG POSTINGS BEGIN BELOW

Since there is a limit to how many postings appear on a page, you will need to click on "older posts" (lower right corner of each page) to see previous posts. There are lots of posts hiding there... don't miss them! Alternatively, you can go to the BLOG ARCHIVE on the left sidebar and search for postings by date and title.

Friday, May 22, 2020

MEMORIAL DAY MESSAGE 2020

This year, Memorial Day weekend has a different feel than in the past, as we find ourselves living our lives quite differently from the norm, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For many this Memorial Day weekend will be spent at home with no plans to party with family and friends. Others may be venturing out, hopefully following strict protocols for social distancing. However you are spending this weekend, I hope you will take time to reflect on the real meaning of Memorial Day and to honor the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms we cherish. 

 
 
MEMORIAL DAY LINKS:



Wednesday, May 20, 2020

6 Reasons Why Selling Your House on Your Own Is a Mistake

Article Courtesy of Keeping Current Matters/The KCM Blog

There are many benefits to working with a real estate professional when selling your house. During challenging times like the one we face today, it becomes even more important to have an expert help guide you through the process. If you’re considering selling on your own, known in the industry as a For Sale By Owner or FSBO, please consider the following:


1. Your Safety Is a Priority

During this pandemic, your family’s safety comes first. When you FSBO, it is incredibly difficult to control entry into your home. A real estate professional will have the proper protocols in place to protect not only your belongings, but your family’s health and well-being too. From regulating the number of people in your home at one time to ensuring proper sanitization during and after a showing, and even facilitating virtual tours for buyers, agents are equipped to follow the latest industry standards recommended by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to help protect you and your family.


2. A Powerful Online Strategy Is a Must to Attract a Buyer

Recent studies have shown that, even before COVID-19, the first step 44% of all buyers took when looking for a home was to search online. Throughout the process, that number jumped to 93%. Today, those numbers have grown exponentially. Most real estate agents have developed a strong Internet and social media strategy to promote the sale of your house. Have you?


3. There Are Too Many Negotiations

Here are just a few of the people you’ll need to negotiate with if you decide to FSBO:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find challenges with the house
  • The appraiser, if there is a question of value
As part of their training, agents are taught how to negotiate every aspect of the real estate transaction and how to mediate the emotions felt by buyers looking to make what is probably the largest purchase of their lives.


4. You Won’t Know if Your Purchaser Is Qualified for a Mortgage

Having a buyer who wants to purchase your house is the first step. Making sure they can afford to buy it is just as important. As a FSBO, it’s almost impossible to be involved in the mortgage process of your buyer. A real estate professional is trained to ask the appropriate questions and, in most cases, will be intimately aware of the progress that’s being made toward a purchaser’s mortgage commitment.
Further complicating the situation is how the current mortgage market is rapidly evolving because of the number of families out of work and in mortgage forbearance. A loan program that was there yesterday could be gone tomorrow. You need someone who is working with lenders every day to guarantee your buyer makes it to the closing table.


5. FSBOing Has Become More Difficult from a Legal Standpoint

The documentation involved in the selling process has increased dramatically as more and more disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. In an increasingly litigious society, the agent acts as a third-party to help the seller avoid legal jeopardy. This is one of the major reasons why the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 8% over the last 20+ years.


6. You Net More Money When Using an Agent

Many homeowners believe they’ll save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.
A study by Collateral Analytics revealed that FSBOs don’t actually save anything by forgoing the help of an agent. In some cases, the seller may even net less money from the sale. The study found the difference in price between a FSBO and an agent-listed home was an average of 6%. One of the main reasons for the price difference is effective exposure:

“Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.”
The more buyers that view a home, the greater the chance a bidding war will take place.


Bottom Line

Listing on your own leaves you to manage the entire transaction yourself. Why do that when you can hire an agent and still net the same amount of money? Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house alone, speak with a real estate professional to discuss your options.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Rise to the Top of the Pool by Selling Your House Today

Article Courtesy of Keeping Current Matters/The KCM Blog

With the release of the latest Economic Pulse Flash Survey from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), results show that people selling their houses today are holding strong on price. According to the most recent data, 74% of real estate agents noted that sellers are not dropping listing prices to attract more buyers.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, noted: 

“The housing market faced an inventory shortage before the pandemic. Given that there are even fewer new listings during the pandemic, home sellers are taking a calm approach and appear unwilling to lower prices to attract buyers during the temporary disruptions to the economy.”
This inventory shortage, which spread widely throughout the housing market going into today’s economic slowdown, created an environment where there were not enough homes for sale for those who wanted to buy them. With that backdrop setting the stage, Yun also notes:

“With the current quarantine recommendations in place, fewer sellers are listing homes, which will limit buyer choices.”
So, with buyer choices already limited going into this season, and more sellers removing listings today, if you’ve been thinking about listing your house, it’s a great time to do so. Many others in your neighborhood may be waiting to make a move or removing their listings, so staying on the market – or jumping into it – could work to your advantage.

Buyers today are serious ones, and with prices holding steady in this low-inventory market, you can feel confident about selling today. Embracing the process virtually, where available, could help your house hit the top of an eager buyer’s list. While your neighbors miss out on this opportunistic time, you don’t have to.

Bottom Line
If buyer choices are limited in your neighborhood, selling now may help your listing rise to the top of the pool. Reach out to a local real estate professional today to make sure you have the expert help you need to succeed in the selling process.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Will the Housing Market Turn Around This Year?

Article Courtesy of Keeping Current Matters/The KCM Blog

Today, many people are asking themselves if they should buy or sell a home in 2020. Some have shifted their plans or put them on hold over the past couple of months, and understandably so. Everyone seems to be wondering if the market is going to change and when the economy will turn around. If you’re trying to figure out what’s going to happen and how to play your cards this year, you’re not alone.

This spring in the 2020 NAR Flash Survey: Economic Pulse, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has been tracking the behavior changes of homebuyers and sellers. In a reaction to their most recent survey, Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at NAR, noted the beginnings of a turn in the market:
“After a pause, home sellers are gearing up to list their properties with the reopening of the economy…Plenty of buyers also appear ready to take advantage of record-low mortgage rates and the stability that comes with these locked-in monthly payments into future years.”

What does the survey indicate about sellers?

Sellers are positioning themselves to make moves this year. More than 3 in 4 potential sellers are preparing to sell their homes once stay-at-home orders are lifted and they feel more confident, which means more homes will start to be available for interested buyers.

Just this week, Zillow also reported an uptick in listings, which is great news for the health of the market:
“The number of new for-sale listings overall has shown improvement, up 5.9% last week from the previous week. New listings of the most-expensive homes…are now seeing the biggest resurgence, up 8%. The uptick is likely a sign sellers are feeling more confident because of improving buyer demand, as newly pending sales have also jumped up during the same period.”

What does the survey note about buyers?

The recent pandemic has clearly impacted buyer preferences, showing:
  • 5% of the respondents said buyers are shifting their focus from urban to suburban areas.
  • 1 in 8 Realtors report changes in desired home features, with home offices, bigger yards, and more space for their families becoming increasingly important.
  • Only 17% said buyers stopped looking due to concerns about their employment or loss of a job.
As we’ve mentioned before, buyer demand is strong right now, and many are simply waiting for more inventory to become available so they can make a move, especially as the country begins to reopen.

Bottom Line

If you’re thinking about putting your house on the market, contact a local real estate professional today. There’s a good chance an eager buyer is looking for a home just like yours.

COVID Thoughts

While I've personally been blessed with being able to stay at home in a wonderful neighborhood, in a beautiful community, I cannot begin to imagine how difficult it must be for families to be confined to small spaces during this corona virus pandemic.  My heart goes out to those who are enduring the unimaginable hardships that have been placed on everyone, but, especially on those who live in small homes or apartments and have been unable to leave due to the restrictions of stay-at-home orders.  Never did any of us ever think that we'd be facing such circumstances.  The astounding number of those experiencing the devastating illness and deaths is beyond comprehension.  Our gratitude to the first responders and the dedicated hospital personnel who face the wrath of this pandemic 24/7 with utmost professionalism, compassion, and grace.  As we begin to see a slight easing of restrictions in many areas, we can only hope that life will soon return to some form of normalcy.  As we slowly move forward, we must rely on each other to follow appropriate safety protocol to keep all of us safe. 

While everyone has a different comfort level for going out in public, I hope that everyone will maintain a standard of safety for themselves, their families, their friends, and our community.  Follow protocol for social distancing, washing hands, wearing a mask, and disinfecting touched surfaces.  I, personally, do so whenever I go to a public place or when showing property.  Let's continue to do all we can to be safe and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Will Home Values Appreciate or Depreciate in 2020?

Article Courtesy of Keeping Current Matters/The KCM Blog

With the housing market staggered to some degree by the health crisis the country is currently facing, some potential purchasers are questioning whether home values will be impacted. The price of any item is determined by supply as well as the market’s demand for that item.

Each month the National Association of Realtors (NAR) surveys “over 50,000 real estate practitioners about their expectations for home sales, prices and market conditions” for the REALTORS Confidence Index.

Their latest edition sheds some light on the relationship between seller traffic (supply) and buyer traffic (demand) during this pandemic.


Buyer Demand

The map below was created after asking the question: “How would you rate buyer traffic in your area?”
The darker the blue, the stronger the demand for homes is in that area. The survey shows that in 34 of the 50 U.S. states, buyer demand is now ‘strong’ and 16 of the 50 states have a ‘stable’ demand. 

Seller Supply

The index also asks: “How would you rate seller traffic in your area?”
As the map above indicates, 46 states and Washington, D.C. reported ‘weak’ seller traffic, 3 states reported ‘stable’ seller traffic, and 1 state reported ‘strong’ seller traffic. This means there are far fewer homes on the market than what is needed to satisfy the needs of buyers looking for homes right now.
With demand still stronger than supply, home values should not depreciate.

What are the experts saying?

 

Here are the thoughts of three industry experts on the subject:
Ivy Zelman:

“We note that inventory as a percent of households sits at the lowest level ever, something we believe will limit the overall degree of home price pressure through the year.”
Mark Fleming, Chief Economist, First American:

“Housing supply remains at historically low levels, so house price growth is likely to slow, but it’s not likely to go negative.”
Freddie Mac:

“Two forces prevent a collapse in house prices. First, as we indicated in our earlier research report, U.S. housing markets face a large supply deficit. Second, population growth and pent up household formations provide a tailwind to housing demand.”

Bottom Line

Looking at these maps and listening to the experts, it seems that prices will remain stable throughout 2020. If you’re thinking about listing your home, connect with a local real estate professional who can help you capitalize on the somewhat surprising demand in the market now.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

End of Mecklenburg County "Stay-at-Home" Order Should Increase Activity in SCCL

In a previous posting, I discussed the dilemma facing REALTORS® who are licensed in SC, but live in Mecklenburg County and, therefore, are under both NC and the more restrictive Mecklenburg County "Stay-at-Home" orders. The Meck County order, which prevents agents from leaving their homes to conduct business, expires today and this could mean an increase in activity here in Sun City Carolina Lakes. While South Carolina agents who live in South Carolina have been allowed to show properties, following strict CDC protocol, those who are licensed here but live in Mecklenburg County, were unable to conduct live showings here.  If you or someone you know is interested in listing a home or looking for a home here, please contact me.

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Article Courtesy of Charlotte Stories
I have marked some important information in red.

Mecklenburg County Manager Dena R. Diorio has just announced that our local ‘Stay at Home Order‘ will officially end on Wednesday, April 29th, and we will transition into following our state’s less restrictive ‘State at Home Order’.
“The unified coalition of the County, the City, and the towns that began working together when this crisis started will stay together,” Diorio noted. “We have agreed to proceed like the rest of the state as the phased reopening proceeds.”


The follow closed businesses will now be allowed to open up under the state’s ordinance:
  • Car Dealerships
  • Real estate brokerages, appraisers, and title companies
  • Insurance companies
  • Religious facilities, entities, groups, gatherings, including funerals. Also, services, counseling, pastoral care, and other activities provided by religious organizations to the members of their faith community. Gatherings may not exceed 10 people.
  • Defense and military contractors that develop products, processes, equipment, technology, and related services that serve the United States military, national defense, and national security interests.
  • Electronic retailers that sell or service cell phones, computers, tablets, and other communications technology.
  • Lawn and garden equipment retailers.
  • Book stores that sell educational material.
All Essential Businesses must still follow the Social Distancing Requirements that are in line with our counties order, including:
    • Maintaining at least six (6) feet distancing from other individuals.
    • Washing hands using soap and water for at least twenty (20) seconds as frequently as possible or the use of hand sanitizer.
    • Regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces.
    • Facilitating online or remote access by customers if possible.
North Carolina’s statewide stay home order was recently extended until May 8th.
Mecklenburg County’s stay home order began on March 26th and was set to expire tomorrow.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Helen Adams Realty COVID-19 Update

Helen Adams Realty was founded over forty-five years ago in the growing city of Charlotte. Since its inception, the com­pany has established a reputation for providing the highest level of personal service and real estate expertise and has become one of the most respected real estate brokerages in the region, with office locations in Central, North and South Charlotte, and Ft. Mill, SC.

My personal focus is on our amazing SCCL community.  As a resident, I love this community and am passionate about sharing my knowledge and expertise with both Buyers and Sellers.  While I do service other nearby South Carolina communities and have helped clients find wonderful homes in other locations, the stats that I provide here on my website are devoted to Sun City Carolina Lakes.  

Since we have been faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, I have added stats about the number of daily showings in SCCL by price range to the other stats that I update regularly, so you can follow the activity of our unique market. Click HERE for my posting regarding showing stats.  Click on tabs above for up-to-date stats and information about our current market.

Today, I would like to share stats for the entire Helen Adams Realty company for the month of April.  Despite real estate being considered a non-essential business in North Carolina, to date this month, HAR agents have taken 48 new listings and written 96 new contracts!                  Way to go Helen Adams Realty!

Mortgage Update

Thanks to Melissa Messick, Senior Loan Officer with Movement Mortgage, and Ashleigh Clark, Senior Loan Officer with Highlands Mortgage, for sharing the following information.

🚨🚨BREAKING MORTGAGE NEWS🚨🚨

👏 Movement Mortgage CEO Casey Crawford announced that going forward we will be servicing our own loans and min credit score for FHA, VA, USDA has been lowered to 620

👏 We are also rolling back credit overlays that had been instituted as a result of Covid 19

🤷🏻️ What does this mean for you? 🤷🏻

if you are a consumer who was declined at another lender because of credit score requirements, give us a call we may be able to help

More consumers will be able to access credit to restructure their loans for better payments

❤️ Bottom line: if you have been declined with another lender, please reach out to me.


Melissa Messick| SENIOR LOAN OFFICER
NMLS 97916
6832 Morrison Blvd Suite 130
Charlotte, NC 28211

movement.com/Melissa.Messick
Office (980) 777-1042 
Mobile 
(704) 905-4009

Fax (704) 512-0826 






NOW is the time to get the mortgage plan established. Please call me for a preapproval on a primary, 2nd home or investment purchase.

CREDIT SCORE REQUIREMENTS
While many lenders are making sweeping changes in credit score requirements, I’m happy to report that -for now- we have minor changes that still allow us to support as many qualified borrowers as possible
-Conventional loans require minimum 620+
-FHA/VA loans have gone up to minimum 640+

*Debt to income qualifying- if we receive Approve/Eligible as we run it through our automated system AND we can support these findings with the proper documentation, then we should be able to move forward. No company guideline overlays.

EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION
As unemployment numbers continue to increase, Highlands must have affirmation at the closing table that borrower(s) employment, income, and financial condition has not been adversely impacted. Highlands requires a final Verbal Verification Of Employment on all transactions 1 business day prior to closing.

CONTINUITY OF INCOME
In addition to Verbal Verifications Of Employment, agencies and investors are re-emphasizing the lender’s responsibility to ensure any disruption in the borrower’s employment and/or income will not negatively impact their ability to repay. States and communities are continuing to place additional restrictions on many types of businesses that may impact the borrower’s income. Additional documentation may be required in known impacted lines of employment and self-employment such as auto, airline, schoolteachers, retail, restaurant/bar server, etc.

PROGRAM SUSPENSIONS

- (NCHFA and SCHFA) New Bond Loan Originations suspended until further notice - This includes any bond loan not registered and locked currently with the bond authority.
- Highlands Purchase Plus, Fannie Renovation and 203K (all RENOVATION LOANS) suspended until further notice

APPRAISAL WAIVERS
Fannie Mae Property Inspection Waiver (PIW - Highlands will continue to accept PIW’s on eligible Fannie Mae DU APPROVE/ELIGIBLE loans only. (DU=Desktop underwriter- the automated underwriting computer program we run files through as a first pass to know whether loan is possibly acceptable and what documents are needed for underwriting.)

DU PIW finding must be received on the final DU run at time of Clear To Close and not be one of the following Fannie Mae ineligible transaction types: properties in declared disaster areas; new construction; 2-4 unit; leasehold; properties with resale restrictions; manufactured homes; non arm’s length; gifts of equity; or Texas Equity 50(a)(6) loans.

APPRAISAL turn times have increased slightly as the demand increased and at the same time access to properties have become more of a challenge. I would expect to plan on minimum 10 days to 2 weeks for completion in urban areas and a little longer for some of the more rural areas/counties.

SELF EMPLOYED BORROWERS
- Must document business is open and operating within 10 days of closing.
- Examples of methods to confirm the Borrower's business is currently operating:
- Evidence of current work (e.g., executed contracts or signed invoices that indicate the business is operating on the day the Seller verifies self-employment)
- Document current business receipts within 10 Business Days of closing (e.g., payment for services performed)
- Processor verbally calls to confirm business is open and operating with or without restrictions.
- Processor confirms business website demonstrating activity supporting current business operations (e.g., timely appointments for estimates or service can be scheduled)

JUMBO LOANS
Warehouse lenders are tightening the requirements on jumbo loans. Until further notice, Highlands’ maximum loan amount will be $1.5 million and we are limited to our bank investors as outlets for the loans we originate. This is not surprising considering the liquidity concerns for the investors that aren’t banks.

So there is no confusion: our warehouse banks love us, but they hate illiquid jumbos.
(Illiquid = No funding- no buyer of the bonds that usually fund them. It’s a lack of the initial bond purchases that decrease the funds available.)
**Reminder that we are taking full advantage of the recent cuts in the Federal lending rate to utilize “piggy back” loans so we can safely enter the JUMBO purchase space. We can combine our awesome 1st mortgage rates up to a loan amount of $510,400 and work with our community banking partners to offer a 2nd mortgage (HELOC) to get us into the $600,000 and up price ranges. This also creates an opportunity to put as little as 5% down on a JUMBO purchase and avoid any private mortgage insurance

PRIVATE MORTGAGE INSURANCE

PMI companies raised their rates, which can impact buying power. Folks already preapproved at a certain price point may be affected by the resulting increase to debt to income ratio. I am reviewing all preapproved buyers in my pipeline and made note of those that are at the top end of their qualifying range so we can navigate through these industry adjustments accordingly.

HIGHLANDS FOCUS ON DEADLINES
Our underwriting and processing teams continue to work remotely and overtime to keep us on track for hitting our deadlines. (Due Diligence and Closing dates). We are averaging slightly under 30 days for closings.

Highlands “slim close” option for borrowers who want to limit the face time needed for closing is working very well! Eligible borrowers who choose this option e-sign the documents that do not require a notary at home, which leaves them with only 7-8 documents to sign in the presence of attorney or notary.

Ashleigh Clark, NMLS #92328
Sr Loan Officer
Highlands Residential Mortgage, NMLS #134871
15235J John J Delaney Dr, Charlotte, NC 28277
Office 704-366-7711 |Cell 704-307-9908 |Fax 704-943-0532
Ashleighclark@highlandsmortgage.com
www.HighlandsMortgage.com