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April 24, 2018

Should You Interview More Than 1 Agent?

Should you interview more than one agent for the job? Today I’ll answer that question and talk about what qualities a good agent should have.
 
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The old Frisco Pier you see in the photo in the background of my video is one of my favorite places. Actually, what drew me there 20 or so years ago was the question, “Should I interview more than one agent for the job of representing me in my real estate endeavors?”

For the purposes of today’s topic, I’m going to focus on the selling side of real estate transactions. My response to the question is, unequivocally, yes, you should interview more than one agent for the job. 

Our industry has changed drastically in the last 20 years that I’ve been practicing, but some agents are still performing the same way they did their first year. The dynamics of marketing and communications have changed. You have to be willing to adapt to that and move on; it’s a skill set we’re constantly developing. Is the agent you’re considering to work for you an avid learner? Are they participating in Realtor skill-development programs? What are they doing to stay on the cutting edge of technology?

I would say that you should interview at least three agents. You need someone who is assertive and always willing to learn. They need to be a full-time professional working in a resort/second-home market. Our industry lends itself to a lot of part-time retirees, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You just have to want to do the job, and that requires a large time commitment.

Ask your agent, “How many transactions did you close last year?” If they answer “three,” I would end there and go to the next interview. If it’s “33 transactions,” I’d say to keep talking to them. If it’s “103 transactions,” you’ve got a great agent who is working full-time with a staff behind them and helping facilitate and negotiate the transaction to a successful close.

Part of our code of ethics is to tell you the truth about the value of your property. That’s not always an easy pill to swallow, but that’s what we as Realtors do. We want to be honest in all occasions.

You need someone who is assertive and always willing to learn.”

That said, if you were interviewing me today, I want to let you know some answers to the questions that would be likely come up.

Suppose you asked me, “What are you hoping to accomplish in our meeting today?”  To that, I’d say one of three things can happen: You’ll decide to list your home with me, you’ll decide not to list your home at all, or I’ll decide not to take your listing. Why wouldn’t I take your listing? If we don’t have a viable marketing opportunity after we get done with our discussions today, it just may not be best for both of us to move forward in marketing the sale of your home. 

In a perfect world, I’d ask you, “What date would you like to have this done by?” What is your time frame for this transaction? Two, three, six, nine months?

I’d also ask, “What happened to make you want to sell this home? When you were looking at homes initially and you bought this one, what really excited you about the purchase?” Those are the difficult questions that a professional should ask. We want to know your motivation; you bought this home for a reason, so it will be helpful to know what it is that drew you here.

Finally, I’d ask you, “On a scale of one to ten, what is your motivation to sell? What would it take to get it to a nine or ten if it isn’t already?” When I ask this, I’m looking to see what the real motivation is to sell this property in the shortest amount of time and to net you the most money in your pocket. A listing that sits out there for two or three years is probably not going to get you the most money.

These are just a few of the points of conversation that are likely to come up, but I actually have numerous pages of questions that I like to hit on in the interview process. Many people have different standards for what they look for in an agent, but sometimes, in order to get what you want, you have to ask yourself if you want a professional who really cares that they can net you the most for your home.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, please keep me in mind. I’d love to help you reach your goals in the time frame you desire.

Posted in Home Seller Tips
April 5, 2018

6 Ways to up Your Chances of Securing a Vacation Rental Property

Today, let’s talk about the six ways you can improve your chances when searching for a vacation rental property.

 
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Today I’ll be covering the six ways to up your chances of buying your first vacation rental home. 

  1. Find an agent with a lot of experience and a history of success. Purchasing a vacation rental home is likely not the time to entrust your transaction to a new agent. This kind of purchase is a major investment, so it’s important that you work with a full-time, dedicated agent. 
  2. Work closely with a local lender. When you work with a lender for this kind of purchase, it’s important that they understand the vacation rental market. Also, I definitely recommend working with someone local. Once you’ve begun working with this lender, get a pre-approval letter. In our fast-paced market, this pre-approval letter will help set you ahead of the competition. 
  3. Consider a fixer-upper. This can be a great option for those who don’t have the means or aren’t interested in working in a higher price range. The use of a rehab loan can make the transition into this investment much more smooth. 
  4. Consider a property in a transitioning neighborhood. To illustrate why this is a good idea, I’d like to give you a key example. Years ago, Salvo had a very eclectic mix of homes. Then, all of a sudden, beautiful properties began popping up all around in that area. Transitioning neighborhoods present a great opportunity for investors, since they allow you to make a less expensive purchase and then capitalize on later improvements. 
  5. Reconsider your budget. If you’re able to do so, going slightly above your current price bracket could really open up your options.
  6. Talk to your lender about how to earn extra leverage. When you work with a lender who has experience in the vacation rental market, they will be able to provide key insight on how you can gain more leverage. 

Transitioning neighborhoods present a great opportunity for investors.

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

March 21, 2018

The Best Time for You to List Your Outer Banks Home

The best times to sell in the second-home market here on the Outer Banks is from the late winter through the early spring and in the fall.
 
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When’s the best time to list in our Outer Banks market?

Before I answer that question, if you’re one of the many who’ve been wondering why I have a painting of a cow hanging up in my office, today I have your answer. 

Now, onto our topic. The reality of our market compared to other locations is we’re a second-home market, and the two best time periods to list and sell have been, customarily, from September to November and then until late winter. 

The main reason for this is the potential buyers who are coming here to investigate a purchase are more available to view homes any day of the week and they have readily accessible homes to preview. If you wait until late spring or early summer to list, you might get a good deal of exposure, but the likelihood of getting a potential buyer to see your home in-person while they’re here gets drastically smaller. 

After Easter, once vacation rentals start to pick up, you’ll be limited to maybe one day a week to get buyers into your home, or during the changeover day, which is historically either Saturday or Sunday. That means we have to try to keep buyers here on Saturday or Sunday, and that window to show properties is roughly from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. We’re not the only agents showing properties during these times, either. 

If you’re thinking about selling, I recommend listing as soon as possible.”

So, if you’re thinking about selling your home in our area, I recommend listing it as soon as possible. Also, list it with a great agent who can tell you the truth about what’s happening in our market. As I told you about in my last video, on the southern beaches of Hatteras Island, we dominate a good portion of the marketplace, and there’s a good chance we can get you what you need out of your house and net you the most in your pocket in the shortest amount of time in the Nags Head or Kill Devils Hill areas as well. 

If you have a rental home and it’s already booking, you may want to consider waiting until mid-to-late August to list it. Then by September, when vacation rentals start to slow down, you can have more people come through your house and generate more offers. 

If you have any other questions about our market or about when you should list, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be happy to help you.

March 2, 2018

Reflecting on a Successful 2017 and Looking Forward to an Even Greater 2018

2017 was a great year for Colony Realty, and we want to thank you for helping us achieve our goals.
 
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Last year was a great year for Colony Realty. I want to take a moment to look back on our successes and give thanks to all those we were able to help and those who were able to help us. 

As you may recall, I was the 2017 president of the Outer Banks Association of Realtors. This position required a lot of time and energy being spent both in and out of the Outer Banks area over the course of the year. In the midst of those duties, my team was still able to serve our customers day in and day out and help them buy and sell many homes.  

Once the 2017 numbers came in, it was revealed that we were still among the top 25 highest-selling agents in the Outer Banks. On the southern beaches of the Outer Banks, we were among the top four. In my hometown, we stayed ranked No. 1 in terms of both units sold and the total volume of sales. 

What’s the difference between unit sales and the total volume of sales? A unit sold represents a buyer buying a home and/or a seller selling a home. The total volume of sales represents the dollar amount of those sales. I don’t set yearly goals based on dollars, though. I like working with people. It doesn’t matter to me whether you want to buy or sell a $150,000 home or one worth $2 million. 

       “We’re always looking to help you fulfill your real estate dream.”

I’ve been a real estate agent since the fall of 1998, so I’ve been doing this a long time. Along with that tenure comes experience and wisdom relating to our market. We’re always looking to help you fulfill your dream of owning a home on the Outer Banks or divesting yourself from one, if need be. If you’re one of the people who allowed us to serve your real estate needs in 2017, I want to thank you personally. Although our team didn’t accomplish every goal we set out to achieve last year, we were still very successful. 

For 2018, we’ve set a goal of 50 transaction sides. If you’re looking to sell a property on the Outer Banks, I’d like to apply for the job of being your Realtor. There are many things Colony Realty (and our sales team, specifically) can do that make us different from other agents, including our excellent communication. We can keep you informed during the entire home sale process, give you an estimation of your home’s value, and provide a time frame of the sale itself. 

Now that I’ve passed the gavel to 2018 president of the Outer Banks Association of Realtors, I want to say that I was thankful for the opportunity to serve our association and all of our clients and customers. 

As always, if you have any real estate questions or you’re looking to buy or sell a home in the Outer Banks area, don’t hesitate to give me a call or shoot me an email. I’d love to help you.

Posted in General
Feb. 16, 2018

The Keys to Pricing Your Home to Sell

In order to price your home to sell, leave your emotions out of the equation and examine the facts about your house. 
 
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What’s the best way to price your home to sell?

First, you need to know that the situation in our second-home market is different than the rest of the country. The average days on market for homes here is much higher because it’s based on buyers’ discretionary income. 

If you’re thinking about selling your home, the most important thing you can do is get the professional advice of a local Realtor. If you need help finding someone, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Another key point to remember is a lot of sellers are making decisions based on emotion (which happens in the vacation rental market as well). What I mean by that is they’re attached to the history of their primary home and thinking about all the things they’ve done to make it theirs. 

The question to ask, though, is what are the facts? When hiring a professional Realtor, make sure they’ll provide the facts of your house so you can make an informed and educated pricing decision. 

What do those facts look like? Look at the most recent sales of comparable homes in the area, or the prices of active listings that are similar or somewhat similar to your home. Ask your agent how they’ll price your property based on the other active listings so yours can be competitive in the marketplace. If you’re interviewing multiple agents, ask them to give you the best options moving forward so you can market your home effectively and efficiently and get top dollar for its sale. 

Price your home competitively to attract buyers’ interest.”

 

When it comes to the emotions involved in selling your home, I’m not immune either. I have a home that my wife and I remodeled personally, and we built those features for us specifically. They’re not necessarily the best options for a potential buyer, though, so they might not give those features as high of a value as we would. Keep that in mind when pricing your home—it may have wonderful features and you may think very highly of them, but that might not be the case for potential buyers. 

When it comes to the vacation market, if you want to sell your vacation home, you have to be realistic as well. Again, having a professional agent there telling you what the most realistic sale is and being willing to accept that is paramount to getting a realistic price in the shortest amount of time. 

A lot of people want to price their home high in order to leave room for negotiation. If you do that, you’re eating up a lot of buyers in the second-home market. If your home is on the market but there are only so many buyers coming to the marketplace and you’ve outpaced your competitors by pricing too high, your home might get looked at, but it won’t see any offers. If you don’t see any offers, there’s nothing to negotiate. That’s why it’s key to price your home competitively so you can attract buyers’ interest. 

Finally, whether it’s a primary home or a second home, not many buyers will want to buy one with a to-do list. That’s why it’s best to either have your house ready to go or at least disclose what kind of repairs need to be done. 

If you have any other questions or you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I’d be happy to help you.

Posted in Home Seller Tips
Jan. 26, 2018

Introducing Our Newest Buyer's Agent: Sylvia Mattingly

Today, we’re excited to introduce our team’s newest member. Let’s take a look at what she had to say about what she brings to the buying process.
 
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Allow me to introduce Colony Realty’s newest member: Sylvia Mattingly.  We’re so excited to have her on our team as a buyer’s agent. 

Sylvia is eager to help people make their real estate dreams come true. So if you’ve ever thought about owning property on the Outer Banks, please get in touch with her. She would be more than happy to help in any way possible. 

Sylvia has been a resident of Hatteras Island for the past 25 years, and while she isn’t new to real estate, she is very excited to be joining our team. Sylvia has always had strong business aspirations, having been an entrepreneur at Equine Adventures for 18 years. 

When it comes to why clients should work with Sylvia as a buyer’s agent, she says, “It’s very important for buyers to have their own representation.”

“I want to represent you, provide quality information, and help you make an informed decision when purchasing real estate on Hatteras Island,” Sylvia continued. 

Those of you who have past experience in buying real estate will know that pitfalls can sometimes occur during the process. The cost of flood insurance for different areas, for example, can sometimes pose an issue for buyers. 

“Sylvia is eager to help people make their real estate dreams come true.

Buyers thinking of purchasing property in areas such as the village of Avon need to realize the additional costs associated with living in certain flood zones. These zones were remapped in 2008, and certain zones can be very expensive in terms of flood insurance. 

When you work with Sylvia, you can be confident in her ability to identify and work through these kinds of pitfalls. She will help you narrow down the properties you’re interested in before your first meeting. To achieve this, the process might involve Sylvia visiting properties to preview them for you. 

This “boots-on-the-ground” approach is greatly helpful in the real estate process. The internet is obviously an amazing tool, but it still isn’t able to show you every aspect of a property you may be interested in. This is exactly why it’s so important that Sylvia makes a point to visit properties for her clients, to preview them in person. 

I think Sylvia is going to bring a dynamic aspect to our team. You can text or call Sylvia at (252) 996-5208 or email her at sylvia@colonyrealtycorp.com

And as always, if you have any other questions for me or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Posted in Agents
Jan. 23, 2018

Considering Painting your Brick or Building a livable shed?

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2018 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Jan. 17, 2018

Hatteras Island Real Estate

Dec. 20, 2017

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

I hope you have a merry Christmas and a very happy New Year! Check out my special holiday message.
 
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I hope you are having a great time this winter. I’m standing in front of the Kinnakeet Lifesaving Station today. 

The Kinnakeet Lifesaving Station is a gorgeous old building that was created when the Coast Guard was set up here. The Outerbanks has a rich maritime history. Recently, the Coast Guard named one of their new vessels after the Midgett family, who were instrumental in the Coast Guard for many generations. 

Today, I just want to take a minute to thank those of you who entrusted us with your real estate needs. 

Merry Christmas to you, your family, and your friends. I also want to wish you a happy New Year. I wish you all the best and hope you have a prosperous 2018. 

I wish you a happy, healthy, prosperous 2018.”

 

I just wanted to say thank you and show you a beautiful old building as 2017 draws to a close. 

As always, if you have any real estate needs, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We would be happy to help you!

Posted in Holidays
Dec. 6, 2017

Your Outer Banks Real Estate Market Update

What’s happening in the Outer Banks real estate market? I’ll go over everything you need to know about inventory levels, home values, and interest rates today.
 
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Today, I’m filming on the hilltops just outside the Maritime Forest to bring you the Outer Banks real estate market update. 

All real estate estate is local. The market in the upper beaches north of Oregon Bridge are streaming along very nicely and prices are increasing very well. 

Below Oregon Bridge, we’re seeing a bit of a seesaw effect in the real estate market. We have seen good buyer activity and good seller activity. Right now, the market is leaning towards the sellers. As of November 30, the median price point has increased by 9% so far this year, so the lower beaches are teetering towards a seller’s market. 

How are the inventory levels? Inventory is nowhere near as high as it was during the recession, and hopefully we won’t see those kind of inventory levels again anytime soon. Right now, inventory is fairly stable, and we have returned to a normal market. 

In the southern beaches, the average days on market is 250, while homes in the upper beaches sell in about 45 to 60 days on average. 

If you’re watching the national news, you’re probably thinking, “What? Why is that so different? I hear that you can sell a house in three weeks!” 

That may be true in a place where you live and work. However, 98% of the folks we talk to are spending discretionary income on a second home or rental property. That is our market. If a home is priced right and has a 10 to 12+ rental return on purchase price, then that property may be under contract in three weeks. Realistically, though, those in the southern beaches can expect to spend 277 days on market, while sellers in the upper beaches should expect 60 to 62 days on market.  

Most of the people in our market are buying a second home or rental property.”

How do our inventory levels affect home values? As I mentioned, we are seeing an increase in the median sales price. In Cape Hatteras, the median sales price increased by 9%, while in the upper beaches they’ve increased by 12% to 14%. That number is changing daily because the market activity up there is so great. 

Overall, our market is doing very well.  Lower inventory and increased buyer activity increased values in our overall market.  We should see double-digit price increases across the board this year. Once we calculate the numbers from November and December, we should see a 10% to 12% price increase.

What do interest rates look like? Rates are still reasonable. People don’t want to pay 5% or 6% because interest rates used to be as low as 3%. However, when I got started in this market 20 years ago, buyers got 17% to 18%! A 5% interest rate is a really good number. If you are buying an investment property, you may be looking at a 5.25% to 5.5% interest rate. If you are buying a second home, rates will be around 4.5% to 5%. 

What does all of this mean for your? 

If you are in the market to buy a home, there are some great opportunities out there. If you plan on selling, values are coming up and you should be able to sell in a reasonable time frame. 

If you have any other questions, just give me a call or send me an email. I would be happy to help you!

Posted in Market Update