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Oct. 17, 2018

Fall Housing Market Update for the Outer Banks of North Carolina

 

While the local housing market is fine for now, things may get even better soon.
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How is this fall looking for potential homebuyers and sellers? Let’s take a look.

Firstly, the market seems to be stalling out a bit—something that’s happening not just here, but throughout the country. Interest rate rises and a few big storms factor into this, but we’re hoping for a market increase in November, where numbers have historically been high.

If you’re thinking of buying, it’s still a good time. We haven’t rebounded to pre-recession prices, but there is at least some stability for home sellers and buyers.

In the video, I mention an MLS reporting for the Outer Banks area; if you'd like that information, click here.

Here are the numbers I’ve found:

Under-contract listings are down by 17%, and the absorption rate (weeks it takes to sell current inventory at the present rate of sales) is up by 36%. Right now, we have about eight months’ worth of inventory.

We haven’t rebounded to pre-recession prices, but there is at least some stability for home sellers and buyers.

We specialize in helping you buy or sell property and ensuring you have the guidance needed for making an informed and educated decision. Contact us at any time and we’ll be more than happy to lend you our expertise. We look forward to hearing from you.

Posted in Market Update
Sept. 5, 2018

Will the New Bridge's Completion Increase Our Prices?

 

What will happen to prices this November/December when the new bridge is completed over the Oregon Inlet?
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The new bridge over the Oregon Inlet is officially connected from both the north and south, so does this mean that housing prices will increase with its completion in late November/early December? The short answer is that I am optimistic.

If there is to be an increase, I believe that it would be happening already. Investors would be here shopping more vigorously. For this reason, I am going to stick with my original numbers and say that we are on par with 2017.

While I hope that this changes and that we see an increase in appreciation on the southern beaches, specifically Hatteras Island, I don't believe that the bridge will give us a 3% to 5% increase. Since we have had a bridge to this location for a long time, it's not like it is a new location or frontier for people to come to. Instead, it’s just allowing longevity, which is a good commitment from the state and the Department of Transportation.

If there is to be an increase, I believe that it would be happening already.

So, if you are thinking about selling or buying, I think we're going to stay steady. And, hopefully we will see some good numbers.

If you have any questions about this or you’re interested in buying one of our many great waterfront homes currently listed in Brigands Bay in Frisco, please feel free to contact me. I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Posted in Frisco
Aug. 24, 2018

How Does Our Mid-Year 2018 Market Compare to Where We Were Last Year?

 

Right now, our market is roughly on par with where we were at during this time last year. This means now is a great time to sell.
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According to the latest MLS statistics, our Outer Banks market is roughly on par with where we were in 2017. Our team’s sales are ahead of where they were in 2017, but I’ll show you some of the year-over-year numbers from the month of July for Kill Devil Hills and Hatteras Island to give you a better understanding of where things stand. 

In Kill Devil Hills, the median price rose 3% since July 2017 to $284,400. The number of units sold also rose from 15 to 24. 

In Hatteras Island, the situation is slightly different. What’s interesting about Hatteras Island is that although the level of activity is strong, the median price has not changed—between July 2017 and July 2018, it stayed at $305,000. The number of units sold rose from 21 to 26, which is a change compared to what happened year-over-year during the month of June, when it dropped from 33 to 24. 

What does this mean for buyers and sellers?

There hasn’t been a better time to sell in the last five years.

If you’re considering buying on Hatteras Island, there are plenty of great listings available. On the other hand, if you’re thinking of buying in Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, or the west side of Kitty Hawk, you need to be ready to act much more quickly if you see a home that’s priced to sell. It’s a brisk market in those areas, so chances are there will be other offers for those kinds of homes. 

If you’re a seller, there hasn’t been a better time to sell in the last five years. We’re getting into the fall season, which is usually our most active in terms of sales. If you give me a call, I can provide you with a comparative market analysis so you can decide whether right now really is the best time for you to sell. 

In any case, I hope you’re enjoying yourself as summer comes to an end. If you’d like to take a look at the full MLS market report yourself, just send me an email and I’d be happy to email you back a copy.

Posted in Market Update
Aug. 8, 2018

Why Broker Open Houses Are More Effective in Our Market

 

How are broker open houses different from general open houses, and why are they more effective in our second-home market? Allow me to explain.
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Over the last few weeks, I’ve received a lot of questions on the subject of open houses. People want to know whether open houses are effective and, if they are, how to successfully host one.

First, it’s important to note that the second-home market operates a little differently. General open houses in the second-home market don’t generate the participation you might hope for elsewhere.

The first downside to consider is that hosting an open house means letting strangers into your property. These people may not be interested in purchasing a home at all. In fact, general open houses may draw the attention of criminals who want to scope out your belongings. 

And beyond the safety concerns you may encounter, other, unrelated issues may also arise when you host an open house. If, for example, your neighbors start to get a little too noisy, potential buyers may feel put off.

Bringing brokers into a home and letting them experience what it has to offer tends to be much more effective than hosting a general open house in our market.

These are essentially the reasons why my team doesn’t perform general open houses. They simply aren’t an effective way for our clients to generate interest in their home. General open houses rarely result in a sale, which is why we tend to host broker open houses, instead. 

As a seller, you’ve got to convince the broker, the buyer, and the lender of the quality and value of your home. Bringing brokers into a home and letting them experience what it has to offer tends to be much more effective than hosting a general open house in our market. This kind of invitation-only event lets us control who comes into the home, which eliminates security concerns and other issues that may arise with a general open house.

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.

Posted in Home Seller Tips
June 25, 2018

When It Comes to Flooding, Low Risk Is Not No Risk

Are you aware that flood zone maps are being redrawn for Dare County? Today I would like to go over a few key things you should consider as these changes are made.

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Have you heard? Dare County flood maps are being redrawn in the coming six months.

These changes will impact insurance requirements for residents, but it is important to realize that if these newly drawn zones indicate your property is at low risk of flooding, it does not mean that there is no risk.

Homeowners using borrowed money to purchase a home within a flood zone, which are labeled on zone maps as AE or VE, will be required to take out flood insurance. But flood insurance is not a requirement for cash buyers or for those purchasing within zone X. 

Many hope that recently collected storm and flooding data will lower insurance premiums once mapping is approved, but in the meantime, Dare County’s “Know Your Zone” pamphlet may serve as a helpful guide for area homeowners. 

As stated on the cover of the Dare County “Know Your Zone” pamphlet, “Low risk is not no risk.” Especially given that for every inch of water, homeowners can expect about $21,000 worth of damage. 

If you would like a copy of this pamphlet, I would be happy to provide you with one. So please reach out to obtain yours. You can also check out the information that's available on www.obxfloodmaps.com. 

For every inch of water, homeowners can expect about $21,000 worth of damage.

Going back to how these changes will impact Dare County, it is important to note that a large portion of our elevated areas currently zoned in AE is set to be mapped in X. Yet, it takes very little water for massive damage to occur. So be mindful that while premiums may be decreasing, the risks associated with flooding are not. 

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.

Posted in Colony Realty
June 12, 2018

It May Be Summer Now, But Winter Is Coming: Is Your Home Ready?

It is summer now, but time slips by quickly. It is never too early to think about winterizing your home.

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If you already own property on the Outer Banks or are thinking about purchasing a property there soon, you should take some time to hire a professional to come in and winterize your home.

Yes, I said ‘winterize,’ and yes, I realize that it is summer.

If the astounding past winter taught us anything, it is that time is fleeting. A lot of homeowners were unaware their house was not winter-ready until the cold months arrived and madness had begun to take its toll—water sprayed out from behind ice makers and turned into icicles, toilets cracked, and pipes leaked. These are all expensive repairs to make, and certainly no fun to do in the dead of winter.

If the astounding past winter taught us anything, it is that time is fleeting.

That is why I am recommending that you take some time to get it taken care of now. My best estimate would be that it will cost about $150 to winterize and $75 to de-winterize. It will be much more cost-effective than replacing drywall, insulation, and potentially flooring because your home was not ready to take the brunt of winter.

If you have questions about winterizing your home or about buying Outer Banks properties, feel free to reach out to me directly. I would be glad to help you.

Posted in Colony Realty
May 29, 2018

Debunking 15 Real Estate Myths

Do you think you know everything about real estate? A lot of what you may know could actually be a myth.

 

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Today I have a list of 15 real estate myths that people actually believe and the truths behind them. Here are the ones you need to keep an eye on:

 

1. Real estate agents are paid a salary. 99% of agents work on commission split with their brokerage firm. They only get a percentage for themselves.

 

2. The agent keeps all of the commission. There are overhead and expenses with any firm—employees, insurance, marketing costs, etc., all have to be paid.

 

3. The typical commission is 6%. It depends on the property, actually. Some pieces of land have a higher commission rate.

4. An agent’s gas mileage and other transportation expenses are reimbursable. We do get to write them off, but if we don’t have income, write-offs do not help us. If your income is zero, then your expense write-off is still zero.

 

5. Marketing expenses aren’t the agent’s responsibility. They are. In fact, agents pay a lot of money every month to market and sell your property.

 

6. The home either passes or fails an inspection. This is all in the eyes of the beholder. One thing may be an issue for one client that is not for another.

 

7. Inspectors have to find something. While they may seem like they do, their overall objective is to find any material defect in a structure. It could be something as simple as a GFI on an outside deck that is not tripping. It is their job to find it so that future accidents do not happen.

 

8. Weekends bring out the most serious buyers. We are in a second home market, so that's not necessarily true. Weekdays during this time of year actually bring out a lot of buyers—if it's raining.

 

9. Zillow says it’s the case, therefore it is. 98% of the information on Zillow, because of the algorithms they use to combine data, is incorrect. For those that love to look at Zillow’s Zestimate, be aware that your home may not be worth as much as the quote.

 

10. It is better to price a home high as a seller. After all, you can always come down, right? The reality is that buyers will actually look past you and buy other homes which are priced to the market. The market dictates prices based on what buyers are willing to spend and sellers are willing to take.

 

11. When making an offer on a home, you need to start low. You have to be realistic about the current market and the home’s condition. As long as the property is not overpriced to the market conditions compared to similar homes with similar features, you have to go in with a realistic offer. In some areas, homes listed properly will actually sell above asking.

 

12. The longer the home is on the market, the more negotiable the deal. There are some markets like that, but here we have 3.5 years of inventory in a certain area. If a home sits on the market for a year and the average time on the market is a year, you do not have a big negotiating point.

I personally prize candor and truthfulness when dealing with buyers and sellers.

13. Multiple price reductions means the seller is desperate to sell. Actually, they may just be trying to feel the market to see where they can attract the most buyers.

 

14. Multiple offers give the seller an advantage. Sometimes this is true. Buyers may really love the house so they up their offer if they know that there are other people interested. They may even make the contingencies less restrictive for the seller. 

 

15. All agents are the same. They are not. I personally prize candor and truthfulness when dealing with buyers and sellers. The reality is that I am watching the market every day as a full-time profession. Someone who does this job part-time cannot understand the market if they are spending time elsewhere.

 

If you have any questions, comments, or real estate needs in our area, please feel free to reach out to me. Even if you are looking in another area, please contact me. I will gladly refer you to another great agent that can help you. I hope to hear from you soon. See you on the beach!

May 4, 2018

Prepare and Protect Your Home for the Summer Season With These 7 Tips

Summer will be here before you know it, so here are some tips that will help protect your second home or investment property.
 
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Summer is approaching fast, so if you have a second home or an investment property in the Outer Banks area, here are a few tips that will prepare and protect that home for the season:

1. Make sure your home is adequately insured. This is tough in our area because most of our insurance for investment properties is done through a federal fund with the state. Reach out to your insurance agent and ask them if you’re adequately insured for the coming season. Talk about what you need to do or whether you need to amend your policy in certain areas. 


2. Take a proactive position in maintaining your home. This point was reiterated to me just this morning—a client of mine in Frisco had their hot water tank fail even though they installed it brand new back in 2016. They got it replaced and now they’re being proactive with upgrades that will make their home look better and rent better in the long term.  


3. Keep an eye on your plumbing and fixtures. This primarily means keeping an eye on any drippy faucets or running toilets. Monitoring these items can save you a lot in terms of repair costs. 


4. Have an electrician walk through your home and make sure your outlets are working. Your GFI outlets in your bathrooms and on your deck should be functioning properly. In the second home market, this is especially important to pay attention to as we head toward summer. If you have a property management company, you can give them a call and have them do this for you.  


5. Check your fire alarms, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors. Hopefully you never have to use these items, but you should make sure they’re working and their batteries are up to date. Remember, these items are now required to have 10-year batteries. 

"Be proactive with any upgrades your home needs."

6. Have your roof inspected. Wind loads will be picking up as we approach summer, and we may have a storm or two as well. Historically, shingle tabs (especially cap shingles) can peel or prop during high wind loads, so make sure there’s no potential for water infiltration around your home’s attic space. 

7. Trim your trees. If you have trees up against your property, you can reach out to one of the tree-trimming services here on the island and have them thin them out. If you’re considering selling, this will help with your home’s curb appeal. 


If you have any questions about any of these tips or you have any other real estate needs, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I’d be glad to help you. 

 

 

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.