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Michelle Clark's Blog

By Michelle Clark | Broker in Wilmington, NC
  • The Significance of the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) When Shopping for a Mortgage

    Posted Under: Home Buying, Financing  |  June 26, 2012 10:22 AM  |  58 views  |  1 comment

    Mortgages come with a wide array of costs beyond the interest that the lender charges for the use of its money, and understanding the difference between the interest rate and the APR is essential when shopping for a mortgage.

    Every mortgage you see advertised includes information about two rates: the interest rate and the annual percentage rate (APR).  Simply put, the interest rate is the interest the lender charges you on the money you borrow; this is the rate on the mortgage contract you sign, and it's what determines your monthly payment.

    APR, on the other-hand, is used as a disclosure of your interest rate plus closing fees over the loan term. The APR is intended to reflect the true cost of the loan. If you compare the interest rate to the APR on any specific loan you can easily determine the percentage of fees being charged by the lender.  

    Expressing the cost in an APR ensures the client that the lender is being totally transparent.  The APR is therefore a better reflection of the true cost of the loan and should be highly considered when comparing similar loan options among multiple lenders. 

    The Federal Truth in Lending Act requires lenders to include APR in all mortgage promotions, and the APR must have equal prominence with the nominal rate in all advertising material.

  • Guest Blogger Lyn Manning offers painting tips

    Posted Under: Curb Appeal in Wilmington, Design & Decor in Wilmington  |  June 6, 2012 6:29 AM  |  92 views  |  No comments

    * Install a chair rail around a room. Then try several of your favorite colors…one above and one below the chair rail. If you are nervous about combinations, for starters, try something like white below the rail, apple green above for a crisp look.

    * Turn an old piece of “ho-hum” furniture into a “wow” piece by adding color with paint and new hardware.

    * Try a color that is unexpected…and make the piece of furniture a “one of a kind” standout in any room.

    * Paint stair risers and choose a shade that won’t show scuff marks. Try using scrubbable paint also.

    * Choose a color to paint the inside of a bookshelf and turn it from dull to dramatic. I like painting just the back panels…..  in-between the shelves…but you can get creative and paint any portion that you like.

    * A coat of paint instantly transforms a room. If you are really afraid of using color on all walls, try painting a “feature wall”. Choose a wall that is prominent and one you want to highlight, then paint it the bold color…and paint the remaining walls a softer shade to compliment the feature wall. And don’t forget about the ceiling. Try painting it anything but white!!

    * Thinking of using a color and not sure how it will look? Try this. Buy a large white foam core poster board and paint it the color you are thinking of using. (Buy just a quart.) Each day for a week, tack up the painted poster board in a new spot, and try positioning it around the room beside different pieces of furniture and in different lighting.  Seeing it against furniture sometimes helps you decide if it’s the right color or not.  And, buying a quart of the color you think you like will be less costly using this method than buying enough for the entire room and actually getting it painted…then realizing you don’t like it!!


    Contact Lyn at her website or 910-599-6169


    Posted Under: Home Selling in Wilmington  |  April 24, 2012 11:43 AM  |  73 views  |  No comments



    Whether just planning to stay or selling your house, achieving curb appeal can be difficult. If you take the following steps you are guaranteed to create an appealing first impression.


    1.     Remove all manmade items, like yard ornaments, and plastic fencing.

    2.     Edge your shrub and flower beds in an interesting way….curvy… and wrap them around the corner of the house. Most homeowners use the house as a guide and make the beds 3 feet away from the house and only take them to the edge of the house. Try using a garden hose to make an outline for the edge of the bed…..and keep working at it until you get it curved the way you want it. Then, using a can of white spray paint mark the curved line to create an outline that will help when digging.

    3.     Raised beds are more attractive than flat beds….so add topsoil to boost the height of the beds…or at least add extra mulch to give your beds some height.

    4.     Next…..when planning the shrubs and flowers….choose only several and repeat over and over. This will create a consistent cohesive look to your front garden areas. It is important to use only two colors when planting flowers. Using many assorted colors only creates a busy cluttered look.

    5.     Add at least 3-4 inches of mulch to your beds. This not only cuts down on weeds…..but it “beefs” up the look of your beds.

    6.     Make sure the walkway is as wide and un-obstructed as possible.

    7.     Edge a clean line around all the beds.

    8.     Paint the front door and shutters a fresh coat of paint.

    9.     Tidy up any “out of control” tree or shrub branches….and trim any shrubs  that obstruct the view from the inside windows.

    10.                        Add a nice urn or large pot filled with a shrub or flowers next to the front 

    door to create visual interest near the entryway.

         11. Powerwash the driveway.

         12. Add a new and fresh mat to the entryway.


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