Episode #17: Mailbag - Detecting Mold, Escrow Accounts, and Rising Home Values

The Savvy Synopsis

In an all-mailbag addition of the podcast, we'll feature your questions on detecting mold, opening escrow accounts, and learning about the value of your home. 

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Featured Foundations:


  • 1:54  - Spencer wants to know whether a home he's looking to buy might have a mold issue. 
  • Answer: Sometimes, mold is fairly obvious, but other times, it can be tricky to spot. Remember, not all mold is as dangerous as other molds. If it's in the shower, you're probably going to be fine, but especially if it's from high humidity areas in the house, it can be dangerous. Mold that's been trapped in your home can cause lung cancer and all kinds of other health issues. Your home inspector should pick up on a mold problem in the house, and they should list it on their report. They would then recommend you work with a mold specialist before taking further action. 
  • 4:35 - Shawn in Clayton says "I have an Escrow account to go along with my mortgage where the tax and insurance fees are collected each month. My friend just told me that he's never had an escrow account. Why do I have one and he doesn't? Does it make a big difference in the grand scheme of things?"
  • Answer: Honestly, Shawn this is a way for the banks to make more money. As an example, if you have $3,000 that is put into escrow on a yearly basis, that money is sitting there, and the bank is collecting the interest off of the money sitting there. In fact, many banks will charge you if you don't set up an escrow account because they still want to get there money. While they can certainly be frustrating, they also present you with the opportunity to slowly save and avoid a giant tax bill at the end of the year.  
  • 8:44 - Milly says the homes in her neighborhood are selling way above what she paid for her home years ago. She wants to know whether her home has increased in value like her neighbor's. 
  • Answer: It's more than likely your home has indeed appreciated in value. Certain neighborhoods in the area appreciate more than others, and your neighborhood could fall into that category. To confirm your suspicion, you should be sure to speak with a professional. Your realtor will be able to show you comparables to other homes in your area and help you determine whether it's a good time to sell. 
  • 17:43 - North in Wake Forest wants to know whether green features in a home will actually help resale value.
  • Answer: Having green features is a bit like owning a pool. Certain buyers are going to care a lot about what kinds of materials were used in the home. Others won't think it's as big a deal. Furthermore, many green features are starting to become standard for all homes, so they're not really a special addition. While these features will improve your home, they probably won't add a lot of value. 
  • 19:33 - Katherine wants to know the hotest areas to buy at the moment. She's interested in real estate investing. 
  • Answer: Downtown areas are certainly the place to be right now. You'll see investors buying homes, renovating them, and flipping them because of their prime location. College towns also tend to see a lot of appreciation. If you're thinking about places to invest, look for areas of town that are all about lifestyle. Look for places with shopping, restaurants, and prime nightlife. 
  • 22:01 - Gracie read an article that suggested you should spend a lot on staging your home. She wants to know how much to budget for staging. 
  • Answer: Work with a realtor who partners with a professional stager. A professional can help you make your home pop. However, if your home is vacant, it can be incredibly expensive to do so. It's probably wiser to hire a professional stager to work with your existing furniture. 

The Neighborhood Spotlight.

  • 12:32 - Join us as we travel to Weston Corners in Morrisville. 
  • This neighborhood is located right on the border of Cary and Morrisville. It actually feeds into the Cary school systems, and it's right off of Harrison Avenue and the intersection of Weston Parkway and Chapel Hill Road. 
  • This neighborhood is right down the road from Prestonwood Country Club. It's a convenient commute to RTP and is near all sorts of shopping and dining areas. 
  • Weston Corners is a brand new neighborhood. There are a total of 35 two and three bedroom townhomes that are being built.  
  • These are considered to be luxury townhomes with hardwood floors, granite countertops, and two car garages. 
  • The townhomes range from $280,000 to $330,000 in price. 
  • Size: 1,837 to 2,178 square feet. 

Get In Touch:

More From Angie:

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The host: Angie - Contact - Call: 919-538-6477


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Show Transcription:


Buying or selling real estate can be stressful. After all it's not any old house. We're talking about it's your home.

So when it's time to buy or sell you want to make sure your search is in capable hands. That's why we turn to the cold and the team at a cold realty. U.S.A. featured on HDTV. House Hunters real tour magazine named her one of the top realtors in the country. And just ask us the numbers back her up. So listen as we cover all the ins and outs of buying and selling a home here in The Triangle. It's time for the savvy realtor with Angie Cole.

Thanks for joining us this week on the savvy real tour. I'm Walter Storholt alongside Angie Cole who is the owner and broker in charge of a coal realty right here in the Triangle serving you not only in Raleigh but all the surrounding communities as well.

If you're looking to buy or sell a home in the area and you need some help. Angie is here to inform you on today's show. You can find out more information about Angie and her team online by going to a coal realty dot com. You can also listen to past shows on the Web site and at any point in time you can call or text Angie with your questions. 9 1 9 5 3 8 64 77. Don't worry we won't put you on the air you can just call Angie directly at that number 9 1 9 5 3 8 6 4 7 7 and we had a ton of you reach out to us last week 10 of you text us sarkari of this show so people are seeking guidance and definitely it sounds like there's a lot of moving and shaking. Well we're going to get to lots of good things on today's program we're going to call this little bit of a special edition show. We're just going to take lots of your questions. Since we had so many inquiries over the past couple of weeks we've taken some of the questions that reflect some of the common ones that you've been giving us and we'll cover some of those questions throughout today's show. Let's get the special editions started off with Spencer in Raleigh who has our first question of the week. Spencer says I hear a lot about the danger of mold but how can I find if a home I'm looking to buy has a mold issue. Isn't that kind of hard to spot.

It definitely can be. Spencer you know sometimes I've seen mold so prevalent that it is there you could not Mosad. For example if you peek in the crawl space you know there might be some black speckles there could be white fluffy look and there's many different types of mold. Okay that's good to know there. Yeah. So it's one of those things that you definitely need to get a mold specialist out there. Not all mold is created equal. Yeah not bad. I mean work. I mean kind of penicillin. It's thinking about you know like fungus mushrooms aren't necessarily always bad but you know as far as mold not all mold is as dangerous as other molds for example. Think of you know when you're in your shower you might get a little bit of mold you know in the caulking or this scene. Sure. Now that's not going to kill you know clean it up but it's not the end the world but you know some of the molds that will grow and because from high humidity areas you know for example in the crawl space maybe they're standing water is really humid in there and then that's causing the mold spores. Typically that type of mold is very dangerous when the mold is trapped and is then trapped in your home.

You know you're inhaling the vapors those I guess mold spores you know that can cause you know lung cancer. I mean it's dangerous. So big deal so in regards as Spencer's question they are first of all your home inspector should pick up on this. You know they are not mold specialist but they you know look at your home in and out up and down they should spot if there's any type of mold that is present. It should be on the report. Typically what they will do they will say you need to speak with them a mold specialist for you know further information on how to handle this and to see if it's actually you know a dangerous type of mold. But your home inspector definitely should pick up on that. You know remember as far as like seeing it like I mentioned sometimes it's very that it is there. But I've seen where there's been mold NDH fact ducks. That's something that probably would be noticed maybe by an inspector but definitely like an back. Inspector Bendor who is specifically you know inspecting your back so be careful. Mold is definitely dangerous.

That's some helpful tips. And like you said though even before the home inspection if you see standing water in the basement that's a red flag. That's a symptom to be on the lookout.

Most definitely see stand in water and crawl space you more than likely will eventually develop mold in your crawl space so you need to look at options of how do we mitigate and how do we get rid of the standing water which would then cause mold.

Great question Spencer thanks for that. We've got another one here from Shawn in Clayton. Shawn says I have an escrow account to go along with my mortgage where the taxes and insurance fees are collected each month. My friend just told me that he's never had an escrow account. Why do I have one and he doesn't. Does it make a big difference in the grand scheme of things.

You know Shawn honestly it is a way for the banks to make more money. You know I mean that's the real deal there. It is the way to fix them if you have three thousand dollars that is put into escrow on a yearly basis and then from there the lender is paying your insurance and your taxes from the escrow. You know every year that 3000 is sitting there you know your escrow account will build. They always have a little bit more a little bit of overage in your escrow account but the bank is the one who is getting the interest off of that money sitting them. So it's a way for banks to make more money.

Kind of like overpaying on your taxes and the government's the one making the theoretical interest on that money and you pay 100 percent what it is.

So that is you know your friend does not have it you do. I know the norm whenever someone's getting financing typically there's probably a little box in there that is automatically checked saying that you are going to sign up for an escrow account. It's just kind of understood that you will if you're getting the financing and you're not interested in escrow account definitely ask those questions. OK. A lot of banks a lot of mortgage lenders they do charge if you do not set up an escrow account because they still want to get their money somehow. It doesn't seem fair but they can do it and they do it right the way I live it. Yeah exactly so yeah. So it's just a way for the Finance Department to capitalize on the interest in the grand scheme of things if your escrow account is three thousand dollars.

The amount of interest you're really losing by not being able to have that in a bank account earn you know a quarter of a percent or whatever is not that much. Now someone who you know might be living with high city taxes and high county taxes to go on top of everything and a large property. Well now that might start to make a little bit of a difference.

Right. On an individual basis you know am I really personally losing a lot of money because I am you know growing now but you need to remember a mortgage lender. They have millions of loans right. So millions of individuals that they are receiving escrow monies from that they then can capitalize on interest. Also though you know I think I mean I personally we escrow you know our home and I enjoy it because it's just like savings slowly. You know you are saving away instead of all the sudden you're smacked with Oh here's this big tax bill that you need to pay at the end of the year. So I personally would prefer to pay it that way. Same thing with my mortgage payment. You know I would rather pay on a monthly basis than to pay one lump sum on a yearly basis because more than likely you didn't put away for that money. You know so I like the idea of you know have an escrow account. So Shawn it sounds like you might be you know in the process of maybe looking to buy a home and so you're thinking about all these different options and what the best case scenarios are throughout the process. My team. We offer a home buying guide which we'll walk you through the process from start to finish. Just so you know and you're headed the game as far as what the steps are when buying. And also it is very helpful when it comes to selling as well because it really talks you through the contract a closed process because I know if you're not a real estate agent that's probably something you don't you're not aware of that. I'm not thinking about it every day or see it. So if you would like to receive a copy of our home buying guide you can text the word contract to the phone number. 5 5 5 8 8 8. So just like your Texan or friend on your smartphone you can text the word contract to the phone number. 5 5 5 8 8 8 and we'll send over a home buying guide.

All you have to do is text that number 5 5 5 8 8 8. In the message field just put the word contract. Very easy to do. We'll send you a link right back via text and you just click on the link and boom the guide is downloaded right to your smartphone. Very easy to do. Again just text the word contract to the number 5 5 5 8 8 8 and you'll be able to get that home buying guide right this instant. And again great question. We appreciate that. Let's get a one from Emily Millie in Durham has a question for you. And that's a pretty good one. Angie the homes in my neighborhood she says are selling way above and beyond what we paid for our homes several years ago. It just seems crazy and too good to be true that our home might also be that valuable. How do I know if my home has also increased in value like our neighbors. We've been thinking about selling some time soon and now seems like maybe it's a good time.

Similarly more than likely you're probably in the same position as your neighbor which is super exciting. There are certain areas that we cover some just really have appreciated a lot more than others. So that's a great thing you know and I'm super excited for you in regards to making sure in confirming that your home is worth or similar to where your neighbor has sold. You know you need to speak with a professional. So myself you know that's my job I've come out of your home I do a walk through. I'll give you an idea of where you know the homes are selling your neighborhood. I'll show you comparables and net proceeds sheet. You know in order to see if it is a good move to go ahead sell now. And also a great idea just to get the process started if you're thinking about selling. We also have a home about Uate or which will give you an idea of the value of your home. It's a great way to start if you're thinking about possibly selling your home. So to advantage of that. You can text the word listing to the phone number 5 5 5 8 8 8. We will then send a text to you. You click the link you put in your address and from there you'll get it. Automated response of the value of your home. So once again it's a great way to just get a feel of where the homes are selling in your area so you can text the word listing to the phone number 5 5 5 8 8 8 and from there you can get a good feel of the value of your home and of course if you're interested in actual true listing presentation to know the exact value of your home. Give me a shout. My phone number is 9 1 9 5 3 8 6 4 7 7.

You know what a lot of people do. Millie is they get this initial estimate of their home's value and then they'll follow up a little bit later on with an G4 or maybe right away in some cases for a listing appointment and you'll get an even more accurate idea of how much your home's value is. So this is a great first step. So if you are curious about the value of your home and would like an initial estimate all you have to do is text the word listing to the number 5 5 5 8 8 8. Again that's 5 5 5 8 8 8. That's the number that you text and in the message field you just put the word listing Elias tikai and the listing text that were to 555 8 8 8 will text right back. Click on the link put in your home's information and you'll get that value. One note that I think people have mentioned and said is helpful as well. Not only do you get this initial estimate but let's say a couple of weeks from now things around you change values around you continue to go up you'll get a notification saying hey your home's value has changed so it'll keep track as the market around you changes and it alerts you from time to time of those changes. And I think that's also a very cool tool. One more time you could text the word listing to the number 5 5 5 8 8 8 to get that home evaluator. This is the savvy real tour with Angie Cole of a coal realty right here in the Triangle. She helped over 191 people buy or sell a home last year.

Here in the Triangle and as head of pace this year again helping lots of you move into a new place which is very exciting. Also check it out on Zillow dotcom where she has a five star agent rating and you can call or text Nancy directly if you have questions. 9 1 9 5 3 8 6 4 7 7 is the number that's 9 1 9 5 3 8 64 77. Stay tuned to the savvy real tool

Let's shine a little light on some of the Triangle's best areas right here on the neighborhood spotlight this part of the show we call the neighborhood spotlight Walter stronghold here alongside Angie Cole.

We feature a great area here in the Triangle tale bit about a neighborhood that you might not know a lot about and see what the market looks like in that particular neighborhood. And she wears this week's neighborhood spotlight.

This week's neighborhood Spotlight is located in Morrisville. The neighborhood is called Weston corners and does home or this neighborhood is a brand new neighborhood in Morrisville. And it's right on the border of Cary it feeds into actually the Cary school system which I know a lot of people love. And so it's right off Harrison Avenue and the intersection of West and Parkway and Chapel Hill Road.

And this is Weston with Olwyn W E S T O N. So West and corners it's also right down the road from Prestonwood Country Club and I'm going to give you some bearings here. It's also nearby the Oyster Bar. Oh yes. Talking about a dangerous area here if you're like me. The waters are one of them and it's you know easy access to RTP walking distance to the Park West Village shopping as well.

So I mean it is prime location that's an area that as we go there all I mean we live in Durham but we go down there just for fun all the time.

Yeah. It is growing so much. It is all new to you. I mean it's a great area. So this neighborhood like I mentioned is a brand new neighborhood. There's a total of 35 homes that are being built both two and three bedroom townhomes with two car garages. They're definitely like luxury townhomes with all the bells and whistles the hardwoods the granite. You know a really nice town. And their bill by D.R. Horton is the builder. OK they start in the 280 so like you can see they're definitely more of a luxury townhome so high to 80s and go into the three 30s so kind of a range there depending on the base price plus the upgrades being put in square footage. We range from 1837 square feet up to 21 78 square feet and the neighborhood is actually close to being closed out. I believe they only have a handful of homes left to be sold. So I bet eventually we will start to see some resales start to pop up but right now they're all brand new homes. But once again the run the very tail end of their construction being completed. So an absolutely great neighborhood. So like I mentioned you know I can only assume that several people are maybe now several but you know there's going to be some resales are people that are needing to move or just want to move in this particular neighborhood very soon because they are on the clothes out which is a great thing because you also will not have to compete against the new construction.

So that's a positive. So if you are thinking about selling your home whether you're in West and corners which was our neighborhood spotlight or just anywhere if you're thinking about selling your home. A great way to get started is to tax the word listing to the phone number. 5 5 5 8 8 8. From there we will show you back attacks and you just click the link you put in your address and from there you'll get a value of your home. And it's great because a system does keep you updated whenever the values are changing within your area. So once again if you're thinking about selling your home and you want to get started by just understanding an idea of where homes are selling in your particular area you can text the word listing to the phone number 5 5 5 8 8 8.

Again all it takes is a simple text from your smartphone. The number is 5 5 5 8 8 8. Yeah we know it's only six digits nowhere. It'll still work. The phone number again 5 5 5 8 8 8 and you're just texting the word listing in the message field hit send and you'll get a text right back. Click on the link and fill out your information.

It takes about 30 seconds to do that and you'll get that estimate on the value of your home. And as Andrew said it will keep you up to date as well when your value changes over time. 5 5 5 8 8 8 to that number just text the word listing and that's this week's neighborhood spotlight. Stay tuned there's more coming up today on the savvy real

You're listening to this have a real talk with Angie. Let's get back to the show.

Thanks for joining us this week on the savvy real tour Walter strolled alongside Angie Cole she's the owner and broker in charge of a coal realty right here in the Triangle and if you have questions about buying or selling a home here in the area you can call or text Angie at 9 1 9 5 3 8 64 77 to ask your question. That's 9 1 9 5 3 8 6 4 7 7. You can find Angie online on a cold realty dot com or if you'd like to go to Zillow dot com look up her agent rating and read all sorts of awesome reviews. She's got a five star rating there on Zillow dot com. You've also seen her probably if you are an avid follower of HD TVs house hunters maybe a couple of years ago you saw are featured on the TV show which was pretty cool. Here on today's show we are taking your questions that we've gotten over the last couple of weeks some of the popular ones that came in and featuring them here on the show it's sort of a special edition of our program. All questions from folks like you and let's get to another one here. Angie north in Wake Forest says How important is it to have green features in a home. Does it really enhance the resale value. And is it something that buyers often care about North.

You know it's one of those things that it's very similar to almost a pool to some buyers. I could see it being very important. You know they are all about the Hirs rating you know what type of insulation was put into the home. You know but then other buyers you know they could care less. So I think it's one of those items that really depends on the buyer you know whether or not that that will be really a selling feature. Also many green features are starting to become code if you follow kind of the code requirements for building a home throughout the years they're making you put in more insulation they're making you put in higher end. I don't know h vac systems or thermostats or whatever it might be. So lot of those items are code but there are some builders that are definitely going above and beyond. And that's a way for them to market their homes to be better you know in relationship to the other ones is by putting in these items you know there's many builders I just really feel strongly about building a green home per se. Other than that as far as significantly increase in the value of the home unfortunately I would say no I would say there is going to be an increased costs. The home has higher and you know insulation and whatnot and these extra green features but it's not going to significantly improve the value of the home but it definitely can help sell the home is probably not going to hurt. Right now I'm not going to hurt not. Not a bad thing. I just I don't want to mislead people that hey if I spend an additional I don't know 20000 on due and all these extra green features I'm going to get now 30000 back out of it is not that case right.

That's a good question. The North thanks for the question. Also love the name North is a cool name I think Catherine in Apex has a good question here for you Andrea. Catherine says What are some of the hottest areas to buy right now we're looking at getting into investing in real estate. I'm curious about some of the areas that are attracting a lot of attention.

So when it comes to investment there are many different areas or pockets that we are seeing strong appreciation for example like downtown areas especially so downtown Raleigh Downtown Durham. You will notice a lot of teardowns happening and then investors going in and they're flipping the homes OK. Because the overall land is so valuable that they are taken advantage of that and they're flipping it and they're able to appreciate on that. Also you know homes that are close to colleges also in walking distance to entertainment you know. So if you have a new neighborhood popping up that's in walking distance like I just mentioned that Morrisville neighborhood had a end corner block to Park West right there. There you go. When you're a walking distance you know to entertainment to shopping to restaurants. Those tend to appreciate a lot more so I'd say that those would be better for investments. You know for investors that are looking to rent just you know someone who's looking for a primary residence and hoping for to appreciate quicker than normal I would definitely focus on the areas that are all about you know lifestyle if that makes sense. You know the ones that make life easier those are the areas that are really worse seeing a lot more appreciation.

It's a really good question. Thank you Catherine for that I wondered if you would like to seek Angie's help and guidance when it comes to buying or selling a home here in the Triangle. I'll remind you the best way to get in touch is to call or text her directly at 9 1 9 5 3 8 6 4 7 7. Angie can follow up with you that way very easily 9 1 9 5 3 8 64 77. If you're looking to sell and you can do a listing appointment with you come out show you all of the different reasons for why they might value your home at a certain price. Talk to about marketing strategies and all those kinds of things very very helpful to have those one on one meetings. And again you can set by calling or texting at 9 1 9 5 3 8 64 77 or if you just need guidance on hey we want to buy some investment properties want to know some more about the area and what homes. Should we be looking at Angie's team can point you in the right direction there as well. 9 1 9 5 3 8 6 4 7 7. And again you can call or text that number 9 1 9 5 3 8 6 4 7 7. Gracy has a question for you Gracies in Knightdale and says I read an article that says you should splurge on staging your home. Is that wise. How much should someone typically budget for staging.

So when it comes to staging my team we actually that is part of my services so when listing a home when I come out and meet with you for a listing presentation I'll explain that. But as part of my services I do have a professional Stager that would come in if you're living there they will walk through the home go room to room take notes give feedback on things to do. It is night and day after a professional stature comes and that makes a huge huge difference. Also my stage will come in if I have a vacant home and do kind of like a sprinkle staging meaning you know maybe in a livery added chair add a throw you know quilt or you know a throw pillow in the bathrooms add a colorful hand towel and some so so just a little extra sprinkle to add some color especially in this day and age. The newer homes are a lot of people are going down the route of all white and grey. If you have a vacant house that is all white and gray it is blue. Even when you take professional photos if it is vacant you need some color.

It's OK if the home feels not lived in but you don't want it to feel vacant right vacant.

The bad one. That's the whole point of doing like the sprinkle is to make it feel to soften it up soften up the edges really make the photos show better. In regards to staging and you spending the money greasy so if your home is vacances first of all if your home is not vacant if you live in there I think it's well worth having a professional Stager come in there and giving you feedback. Once again my my team that's part of our services so it's not a separate fee but if you have to pay for it I would. When it comes to a vacant home it is a lot of money to pay for a professional Stager to come in and bring all the furniture in. There's many companies that do it. I know I recently got a quote and for three bedrooms it was a minimum of 1800 dollars for 90 days. OK so you were on a time limit too and so it's not cheap. It definitely can help us sell a home but you know it's just not something that's as common in our market.

To be honest with you it just sounds like there's other ways to do it that can be successful rather than just forking over a whole bunch of money just throwing the money after the problem.

It you know. In our market like we mentioned numerous times it is definitely more of a seller's market in our market. I just don't even think it's needed most a time. I bet your home will be sold you know by the time you'd recoup that Koreans if that makes sense so of course if as a model home base stage their homes. But that model home could sit there for a year or two and be home to walk to get home sold. So I don't know Gracie if I would really put that into your budget as far staging goes unless it's just given some feedback so if you're in this market and you are thinking about listing your home of course. Normally the first questions would get before the stage in question is you know what is the value of my home. A great way to get started with that is you can text the word listing to the phone number. 5 5 5 8 8 8. So on your smartphone just text the word listing to the phone number 5 5 5 8 8 8 and then from there you will get a tax. Just click the link put in your address and then the automatic value will come back to you. So is to understand the value of your home which is a great first step and if you're super serious about listing your home you're in the beginning stages. I also would love to actually meet with you. So I would love to come out. Go to my listing presentation like I mentioned 1 am I services as part of my marketing is I bring a professional Stager through your home. So I would love to tell you more about that part of it. Also just all the marketing that I do when it comes to representing you as your real estate agent and to do that to set up a listing appointment you can actually call me now or send me a text message my phone number is 9 1 9 5 3 8 6 4 7 7 again 9 1 9 5 3 8 64 77.

The way to get in touch with Angie Cole and her team. You can call or text her at that number 9 1 9 5 3 8 6 4 7 7. Call or text and just use the owner and broker in charge of a coal realty right here in the Triangle.

9 1 9 5 3 8 64 77 whether you prefer a call or text. Either way just dial the number 9 1 9 5 3 8 6 4 7 7 molders.

Thanks so much for joining us. And we'll talk to you again next time. Sandy real to.

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