This is a short list of our most frequently asked questions. If you have a question that is not listed below, please contact us and we will do our best to help answer any questions or concerns you may have!

Make sure to tour the community clubhouse and ask for a calendar of events and activities.

If you are an avid hiker or tennis player, you might feel out of place in a community that promotes bridge and sewing and vice versa.

The great thing about most adult communities is that they cater to a wide audience and offer an abundance of both physical and social activities.

Some retirement communities are more popular than others. Sure, a very low priced community in the middle of the Arizona desert might sound appealing to you, but if no one else wants to live there, the community might lack the lifestyle you seek and the prices of the homes could suffer in the long run.

This outlines a lot of the community rules, such as what type of modifications you can make to the home, rules about pets, fencing, and other miscellaneous community guidelines.

I knew of a gentleman who purchased at a community and owned a catering business that included a large van. Because the van couldn’t fit in his garage he parked it in his driveway until the association told him he was not allowed to do so because the signs pasted across the side of his vehicle constituted a commercial vehicle, which was banned from overnight parking in the streets or driveways of the community.

It is the little things that MATTER!

It may not be a commercial van, just an above ground endless pool, no matter the item(s), it is always a great idea to know what you are getting your self into.

For most older adults, this is not an issue, as long as all occupants are over 55.

However, if there is the possibility of an adult child or grandchildren moving back in or spending prolonged visits to the community, there could be some potential problems.

I recently spoke with a woman in New Jersey who was told that despite being 55 herself, her new 48 year old husband could not reside in the community. Most communities are not that strict but obviously, it is important to know this information up front.

As you may know, typical homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage; for that protection, homeowners need a separate flood insurance policy, investigating hurricane and flood susceptibility is always recommended.

 It is recommended to look up your potential or current property on FEMA’s searchable floodplain map, which offers a by-address breakdown of properties’ exposure to hundred-year flood conditions.

The average mortgage takes 42 days to close.

During that time, your mortgage broker will be your primary point of contact with your lender and the person in charge of answering questions and making sure all your materials have been completed and submitted correctly.

If this person isn’t responsive, your home buying process will be much more frustrating.

We understand how imperative this detail is!

That is why here at Southport Oak Island Realty Group, Inc. recommend only ONE local lender…


Rapid Mortgage Company

(704) 219-9863

We refuse to recommend anyone we ourselves would not trust and use!

This is a super-important question to ask before buying a house, as it can reveal a lot about the property or the neighborhood.

Some reasons are obvious: the seller needs more space, is relocating, or is downsizing.

Other reasons are less straightforward.

Legally, the seller should tell you if certain things are wrong with the property, and most things they don’t know about will show up during the inspection,  but it’s probably still a good idea to ask something like, do I have any reason to believe why the home inspection would have an issue?

We here at Southport Oak Island Realty Group, Inc. DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY!

We strive to be onsite during ALL home inspections to protect the interests of ALL clients, because YOU DESERVE IT, and IT’S the RIGHT THING TO DO!

Ask your agent right away how long the house has been for sale. If it’s been on the market a long time, that may signal there are some issues with the property.

As a general rule of thumb, it’s not wise to make a low offer if the house has been on the market for 21 days or less. After 90 days, though, it may be safer to make a low offer (which, may mean something like 90 percent of the asking price).

Your real estate agent can guide you through best practices for houses that have been on the market for more than 21 days and less than 90, where the nuances of what to offer may be trickier to navigate for the uninitiated.

We strive to help with the often difficult task of purchase price negotiations and will always be here to help!


Most experts agree that the average lifespan of any roof is 20 years.

Let’s do our best to make sure we know exactly how many times Santa’s reindeer have landed on that roof!

As roofs near their life expectancy, the more likely you are to end up holding that $7,000 to $10,000 roof replacement bag.

We care about you and want to make sure you are not surprised by BIG NECESSARY expenses!

10 Most Important Neighborhood Factors According to Home Buyers

  • Quality of the neighborhood: 58%
  • Convenient to job: 44%
  • Overall affordability of home: 41%
  • Convenient to friends/family: 39%
  • Convenient to shopping: 25%
  • Design of neighborhood: 25%
  • Quality of the school district: 24%
  • Convenient to schools: 21%
  • Convenient to entertainment/leisure activities: 21%
  • Convenient to parks/recreational facilities: 19%


The quality of a neighborhood is the most important factor of new home purchases!

Thinking about the items above will help you get a feel for whether or not a certain neighborhood is the right fit for your wants and needs.

A big question, especially for first time home buyers.

We want nothing but the best for our clients.

We do not recommend get an additional loan for furnishings!

It is best to simply do with out, find some used items, or fully furnish one room at a time, as finances allow ( we know is hurts! ) but in the end you will agree with us!

Pizza works great for friends and family!

But if you don’t have “those guy’s” in your pocket, don’t let moving expenses catch you by surprise. Moving costs locally to long vary drastically, of course. If your your relocating for a job transfer or new job opportunity there may be additional help from your employer.


For a rough estimate, plan on paying 2-5% of your home purchase price in closing costs, although individual costs vary.

It is a GOOD idea to save money separate from your down payment money solely for closing costs!

It’s easy to be tempted to steal from your down payment savings for unexpected closing costs!

Again, based on a $300,000 purchase closing costs could range from $6,000- $15,000.00

 If you have the money, the answer is 100%. It is always a good thing to buy in cash or put down as much money as possible to avoid a monthly mortgage that you owe forever.

You should always aim for at LEAST 20% down payment! This is how you can avoid that Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). If you cannot afford the 20%, put any lower than 10% down.

Extra fees and interest can cost you more than you think!

Just to put a number on things, for a $300,000 house you should save $30,000 to $60,000 for a down payment.

Okay, the first question you need to ask yourself is, How much can I afford?

If you don’t ask this question when buying a house, you might go with whatever number a lender approves for you. This could run you the risk of carrying a mortgage burden so large you possibly lose your investment. This question is the single most important question you should ask prior to considering a home purchase.

You should SERIOUSLY consider not taking on more than 25% of your net (take-home) pay. This 25% includes property taxes, home owner association fees, home owners insurance and private mortgage insurance, if applicable.

We have this convenient mortgage calculator to help you see how different items affect your purchase budget.

Earnest money is money put down to demonstrate your seriousness about buying a home. It must be substantial enough to demonstrate good faith and is usually between 1-5% of the purchase price (though the amount can vary with local customs and conditions). If your offer is accepted, the earnest money becomes part of your down payment or closing costs. If the offer is rejected, your money is returned to you. If you back out of a deal, you may forfeit the entire amount.

Listen to your real estate agent’s advice, but follow your own instincts on deciding a fair price. Calculating your offer should involve several factors: what homes sell for in the area, the home’s condition, how long it’s been on the market, financing terms, and the seller’s situation. By the time you’re ready to make an offer, you should have a good idea of what the home is worth and what you can afford. And, be prepared for give-and-take negotiation, which is very common when buying a home. The buyer and seller may often go back and forth until they can agree on a price.

Your real estate agent will assist you in making an offer, which will include the following information:

  • Complete legal description of the property
  • Amount of earnest money
  • Down payment and financing details
  • Proposed move-in date
  • Price you are offering
  • Proposed closing date
  • Length of time the offer is valid
  • Details of the deal

Remember that a sale commitment depends on negotiating a satisfactory contract with the seller, not just making an offer.

It’s not required, but it’s a good idea. Following the inspection, the home inspector will be able to answer questions about the report and any problem areas. This is also an opportunity to hear an objective opinion on the home you’d like to purchase and it is a good time to ask general, maintenance questions.

An inspector checks the safety of your potential new home. Home Inspectors focus especially on the structure, construction, and mechanical systems of the house and will make you aware of only repairs that are needed.
The Inspector does not evaluate whether or not you’re getting good value for your money. Generally, an inspector checks (and gives prices for repairs on): the electrical system, plumbing and waste disposal, the water heater, insulation and Ventilation, the HVAC system, water source and quality, the potential presence of pests, the foundation, doors, windows, ceilings, walls, floors, and roof. Be sure to hire a home inspector that is qualified and experienced.

It’s a good idea to have an inspection before you sign a written offer since, once the deal is closed, you’ve bought the house “as is.” Or, you may want to include an inspection clause in the offer when negotiating for a home. An inspection clause gives you an “out” on buying the house if serious problems are found or gives you the ability to renegotiate the purchase price if repairs are needed. An inspection clause can also specify that the seller must fix the problem(s) before you purchase the house.

Finding issues is not always the easiest thing to do!

Sellers normally fill out documentation with known issues for all homes, but sometimes… things are left off unintentionally, (wink, wink).

We expect nothing but the best of intentions of home sellers, but things DO NEED TO BE CHECKED ON! Did the new renovation allow for increased space on septic systems, ect.


We do not want our clients surprised by anything after the purchase of there newest investment!

There isn’t a set number of houses you should see before you decide. Visit as many as it takes to find the one you want. On average, homebuyers see 15 houses before choosing one. Just be sure to communicate often with your real estate agent about everything you’re looking for. It will help avoid wasting your time.

In addition to comparing the home to your minimum requirement and wish lists, you may want to consider the following:

  • Is there enough room for both the present and the future?
  • Are there enough bedrooms and bathrooms?
  • Is the home structurally sound?
  • Do the mechanical systems and appliances work?
  • Is the yard big enough?
  • Do you like the floor plan?
  • Will your furniture fit in the space? Is there enough storage space?
  • Imagine the home in good weather and bad – will you be happy with it year round?

Take your time and think carefully about each house you see. Ask your real estate agent to point out the pros and cons of each home from a professional standpoint.

The lender considers your debt-to-income ratio, which is a comparison of your gross (pre-tax) income to housing and non-housing expenses. Non-housing expenses include such long-term debts as car or student loan payments, alimony, or child support. The lender also considers cash available for down payment and closing costs, credit history, etc. when determining your maximum loan amount.

The two don’t really compare at all. The one advantage of renting is being generally free of most maintenance responsibilities. But by renting, you lose the chance to build equity, take advantage of tax benefits, and protect yourself against rent increases. Also, you may not be free to decorate without permission and may be at the mercy of the landlord for housing.

Owning a home has many benefits. When you make a mortgage payment, you are building equity. And that’s an investment. Owning a home also qualifies you for tax breaks that assist you in dealing with your new financial responsibilities- like insurance, real estate taxes, and upkeep- which can be substantial. But given the freedom, stability, and security of owning your own home, they are worth it.

You can find out by asking yourself some questions:

  • Do I have a steady source of income (usually a job)? Have I been employed on a regular basis for the last 2-3 years? Is my current income reliable?
  • Do I have a good record of paying my bills?
  • Do I have money saved for a down payment?
  • Do I have few outstanding debts, like car payments?
  • Do I have the ability to pay a mortgage every month, plus additional costs?

If you can answer “yes” to these questions, you are probably ready to buy your own home.

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