Coastal North Carolina Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Nov. 7, 2022

Agent Spotlight : Laurie Stuhrcke

Meet Laurie Stuhrcke. She is our beloved Broker-in-Charge at our Hampstead office since 2016, when she moved to North Carolina to escape the cold. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of working with Laurie, you know she is an honest and diligent agent. Much like in her professional life, Laurie is equally as energetic and active in her personal life. When the real estate hat is off, she is most likely spending time outdoors. Laurie is an avid runner, having joined the local running group Without Limits in 2016. Waking up at 4am to run is not unusual for her routine, especially since she is training for a marathon in October. Her husband, Tige, was a Marine at Camp Lejeune and as a way to honor his service, Laurie chose the prestigious Marine Corp Marathon in DC as her very first full marathon.

Another of Laurie’s proudest accomplishments is being a mother to her son, Conor. If you have a conversation with Laurie, you will quickly realize that her son is her pride and joy. Conor is an architect in Boston, but the distance doesn’t keep them from being close. In fact, every year they schedule an annual vacation together. This year was skiing and next summer they will be riding bikes together through Spain and Portugal.

Laurie’s focused, driven personality makes her an exceptional agent. She works hard and with over 25 years of experience, she is confidently knowledgeable in all areas of real estate. These days she does a lot of new construction, specializing in the gorgeous Summerhouse and Pecan Grove neighborhoods. In her own words:

“I'm rarely ‘pushy’ (unless it's in your best interest), and I'm skillful in weighing the pros and cons of each property. We’ll work together to make sure that you get exactly what you’re looking for and what you are able to afford. More than that, I treat each client and property purchase experience as if it were me, personally, buying a home. This means that I’m going to work as hard and as long as it takes to get you the best price and perfect property, all the while keeping you in the loop and tending to your best interests behind the scenes."

Do you have any pets?

Two cats, Wilma and Wally. Both rescues

What was your first concert?

James Taylor at Madison Square Garden, I was 15

What is your least favorite thing about being an adult?

Coming up with what to cook for dinner

You can get in touch with Laurie for all your real estate needs at 203-470-5040 or thencagent@gmail.com

Oct. 17, 2022

Community Spotlight: Riverlights

An outdoor paradise

If you venture a few miles south of downtown Wilmington along the Cape Fear river, you’ll find the master-planned idyllic community of Riverlights. The carefully designed neighborhood flaunts stunning sunset views, an abundance of amenities and plenty of friendly neighbors ready to offer a cup of sugar. As you wind your way through the neighborhood, you will notice the casual wave from residents playing bocce on the court, riding their bike along the lake path, or walking their dog in the park. The presence of so many green spaces is comforting and expected in a community that encourages enjoyment of the outdoors. A central part of the neighborhood is the 38-acre lake with a 3-mile gravel path surrounding the expansive body of water. Homes look onto the water with its numerous fountains and wildlife, including birds, fish and turtles. A kayak and canoe launch, called The Boathouse, is available for those residents wanting to take advantage of the aquatic activities. With the neighborhood’s close proximity to the Cape Fear River, the enormous cargo ships towering over the trees is an event enjoyed by many.

Amenities Abound

For cooling off in the summer, the clubhouse offers a generous-sized pool with a slide, lap lanes and a beach entry. Residents can also enjoy the gym, yoga studio, outdoor firepit, playground, screened-in patio with numerous rocking chairs and gathering spaces all located at the clubhouse. With an easy golf cart drive up to the community square, Marina Village, you will find shops, places to dine, hammocks for lounging, and a common area where many concerts and markets are held. A boardwalk meanders through the trees taking you along the river to a day dock, fishing pier and social gathering spot called Ember Park with oyster roasting pits, tables for eating, green space and corn hole. The sunsets are the jewel of the neighborhood and Riverlights offers an abundance of spots to watch the evening sun put on its glorious show. Take a look at the listings in the link below and call any one of our experienced agents for inquiries on Riverlights or the active listings!

Check out the active listings in Riverlights!

Sept. 19, 2022

Agent Spotlight : Gloria Baker

Hey Y’all! Here are a few things you need to know about me.

Gloria Baker

I moved to Southeastern NC in 1967 after visiting my family in the Wilmington area. However, being born in Virginia Beach, I was not a stranger to the East Coast. After traveling the world for years with my father who was a Naval Officer, I favored Wilmington, NC over many of the other cities I had visited because of its beauty and friendly atmosphere.

What is a hobby you enjoy outside of Real Estate?

Beaching, boating, walking or looking for shark teeth are some of my ways to spend a weekend! Also, I love to watch movies. Whenever I need a comfort movie, The Notebook will always be my first choice. I also have volunteered for a hospice life care center, been a foster parent for twelve years, and the Vice President of the Helping Hands Ministry. I would describe myself as a passionate and personable person who loves meeting new people. Just a little about me.

What is your favorite part of a real estate transaction?

I personally love working with both buyers and sellers and I am passionate about being a part of making their home buying dreams come true. Having lived in Wilmington for years, My expertise of the area and what it has to offer will provide you with a positive home buying or selling experience. I am a member of both the NC Realtor Association and National Realtor Association. I am looking forward to helping you achieve success in your Real Estate experiences.

Posted in Selling Your Home
Sept. 9, 2022

Community Spotlight : Summerhouse on Everett Bay

Because your favorite destination should always be home

Coastal Haven

The moment you drive into Summerhouse on Everett Bay, you know there is something special about this neighborhood. Not only is the lighthouse at the entrance guiding you into a coastal haven, but the white gates and manicured landscape announce elegance. Located just north of Holly Ridge, Summerhouse on Everett Bay is a neighborhood that offers an abundance of amenities in an area that is showing remarkable growth.

The Clubhouse

By far the most impressive feature of this community is the resort-style pool and clubhouse that boasts a lazy river. Inside the massive two-story clubhouse one will find generous lounging areas with oversized furniture, multiple fireplaces for ambiance, a full kitchen, an expansive library and roomy pool table area. The clubhouse is a space commonly used for community events and gatherings. A second building at the swimming area houses a fully-equipped gym with showers and lockers. The pool is like no other with plenty of space to comfortably handle many residents on a hot summer day. The lazy river wraps around the clubhouse to yet another swimming area. It truly is a magnificent feature.

gate

The Community

The developers of Summerhouse had a lifestyle in mind when they carefully created the unique common areas inside this neighborhood. Throughout the subdivision are six scenic lakes allowing many lots to have water views. The largest of these is Spicer Lake, where residents can enjoy a viewing dock, foot bridge and gazebo. Summerhouse is a nature lovers' paradise with estuary areas, walking trails, a firepit, picnic areas, two tennis courts, a playground and two access points to the intracoastal. A small vessel launch area on King's Creek as well as 10 day-slips on deep water are available to residents wanting to live the water lifestyle that is highly sought out by those in Eastern North Carolina. Residents have access to dry storage for days when they’re not on their boat. The storage area is secured by keyed entry only granted to residents.

How we can help

There is no doubt that Summerhouse on Everett Bay is a destination community. Having listed and sold over 100 properties in the exquisite neighborhood, the Brokers at Sold Buy the Sea are a wealth of knowledge on this development. We work with many preferred home builders who have current and future build projects in Summerhouse and are well-versed on the ARC Guidelines. Below you will find information on current listings in this gorgeous neighborhood as well as links to the builders who can build your dream home.

Click here to view our list of builders!

Click here to view current Summerhouse listings!

Jan. 13, 2022

Buying a Home in 2022!

If your goal is to purchase a home in 2022 you might be looking for any advantage you can get in today’s market. While competition is still fierce for homebuyers, there are ways you can win and secure the home of your dreams, even in a hot market.

Act Early and Save

The earlier you act this year, the more affordable your purchase will be. That’s because experts project mortgage rates will rise as we move deeper into 2022. According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is expected to be 3.5% by year’s end. Experts forecast home prices will rise as well.

That means the longer you wait, the more it will cost you to buy a home. Instead, act early and purchase your home before rates and prices rise further. Not to mention, the sooner you buy, the sooner you can experience the benefits of continued home price appreciation yourself. Once you have your home, you’ll be able to watch its value rise, giving you confidence that your investment is a sound one.

Buy Now, Move Later

Keep in mind, with high buyer demand like we’re seeing today, you’ll be competing against other potential homebuyers, which means you need to find a way to stand out. One way to accomplish this is to negotiate with sellers and present terms that meet their ideal needs. One way you can do that is by being flexible. This could be allowing the sellers a future closing date that may be two or three months down the line, or by offering a lease back option (where the closing date is standard but the sellers continue to live in the home, leasing/renting it from you). 

In other words, if you’re eager to purchase a home now before it becomes more costly and you don’t have to move right away, you could extend the date of your closing and provide the seller with the time they need to find their next home. That’s a deal that could benefit both parties and help you stand out from the crowd.

Of course, it’s important to work with a real estate professional for expert advice on how to make your best offer. Your trusted advisor knows what’s working in your market and what may appeal to sellers.

Bottom Line

Experts project home prices and rates will increase in 2022. That means buyers who are ready should act soon and find ways to strengthen their offer to meet sellers’ needs. Reach out to a trusted real estate advisor today to learn how you can win in today’s market.

Jan. 6, 2022

Selling? Work with a Realtor!

Selling your house is no simple task. And when you sell on your own – known as a FSBO (or For Sale by Owner) – you’re responsible for handling some of the more difficult aspects of the process without the expert guidance you need.

The 2021 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) surveys homeowners who recently sold their house on their own and asks what difficulties they faced. Those sellers say some of the biggest headaches are prepping their house for sale, pricing it right, and handling the required paperwork.

Working with an agent is the best way to ensure you have an expert on your side to guide you at every turn. Agents have the skills and knowledge that are essential to navigating each step with ease, efficiency, and accuracy. Here are just a few things a real estate agent will do to make sure you get the most out of your sale.

1. Make the Best First Impression

Selling your house requires a significant amount of time and effort. Doing it right takes expertise and an understanding of today’s buyers. Your agent knows the answers to common questions, such as:

  • Do I need to take down my personal art?
  • How much landscaping does my house need?
  • What colors should I paint my walls?

Your time and money are important, and you don’t want to waste either one focusing on the wrong things. A real estate advisor relies on their experience to answer these questions and more, allowing you to make the right investments to prep your house before you list.

2. Maximize Your Buyer Pool – and Your Sale

Today, the average home is getting 3.6 offers per sale according to recent data from NAR. That’s great news if you’re planning to sell, since the more offers you receive, the more likely you are to sell your house in a bidding war, and for a higher price.

Real estate agents have an assortment of tools at their disposal, like social media followers and agency resources, that will ensure your house is viewed by the most buyers. Without access to these tools and your agent’s marketing expertise, your buyer pool – and your home’s selling potential – is limited.

3. Understand the Documentation, Including the Fine Print

Today, when a house is sold, more disclosures and regulations are mandatory, meaning the number of legal documents to juggle is growing. It’s hard to understand all the requirements and fine print (especially if you’re not an expert). That’s why your advisor is an invaluable guide.

Your agent knows exactly what needs to happen, what all the paperwork means, and can work through it efficiently. They’ll help you review the documentation and avoid any costly missteps that could happen if you tackle it on your own.

4. Act as Your Expert Negotiator

If you sell without an agent, you’ll also be solely responsible for all negotiations. That means you have to coordinate with:

  • The buyer, who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who will use their expertise to advocate for the buyer
  • The inspection company, which works for the buyer and will almost always find concerns with the house
  • The appraiser, who assesses the property’s value to protect the lender

Instead of going toe-to-toe with all these parties alone, lean on an expert. Your agent relies on experience and training to make the right moves throughout the negotiation. They’ll know what levers to pull, how to address each individual concern, and when you may want to get a second opinion. When you sell your house yourself, you’ll need to be prepared to have these conversations on your own.

5. Price It Right

Real estate professionals have the expertise to price your house accurately and competitively. To do so, they compare your house to recently sold homes in your area and factor in the current condition of your house. These factors are key to making sure your house is priced to move quickly and get you the maximum return on your investment.

When you sell as a FSBO, you’re operating without this advantage. That could cost you in the long run if you price your house too high or too low.

Bottom Line

There’s a lot that goes into selling your house, and it takes time, effort, and expertise to truly maximize your sale. Instead of tackling it alone, reach out to a trusted real estate advisor to make sure you have an expert on your side.

Dec. 2, 2021

Single and Buying a Home? Top Tips!

If you’re living on your own and looking to buy a home, know that you can make your dream a reality with thoughtful planning and the right team of experts. Research from Freddie Mac shows 28% of all households (36.1 million) are sole-person, and that number is growing. Over the past 40 years, the number of sole-person households has nearly doubled, and that’s a trend that’s expected to continue. According to Freddie Mac:

“Our calculation suggests that there will be an additional 5 million sole-person households in the United States by the next decade. This means 42% of the household growth will be contributed by sole-person households, . . .”

 

If you fall into this category, here are three tips to help you achieve your homeownership goals.

1. Know Your Credit Score

When you buy a home on your own, you have to qualify for your loan based solely on your own finances and credit history. Investopedia says:

“. . . lenders will be looking at just one credit profile: yours. Needless to say, it has to be in great shape. It is always a good idea to review your credit report beforehand, and this is especially true of solo buyers.”

It’s important to find out your score so you know where it falls. If you’re not sure if it’s strong enough or where to focus your energy to improve it, meet with a professional for expert advice on your individual situation.

2. Explore Down Payment Options

Next, look into down payment programs so you can get a feel for what you’ll need to save to buy a home. Rob Chrane, CEO of Down Payment Resource, explains:

“Buyers should discuss their program options with their loan officer and real estate agent to make sure they choose the program best suited to their personal needs.”

In this step, lean on the pros to determine what you’re eligible for and what’s right for you.

3. Think About Your Future Home and Your Needs

You should also spend time thinking about what you want. What type of home do you picture yourself in? 

Think about your lifestyle, what you want out of your home and your needs. Is being close to work important? Do you need a lot of yard space? Do you want an extra bedroom that you can transform into a home office? Condo or detached home? Lots of space for entertaining? It’s all up to you (and your budget).

Again, a professional can help you balance what you want and how much you should spend on your monthly housing costs to determine what type of home is right for you.

While buying a home solo can feel like a big challenge, it doesn’t have to be. If you lean on the professionals, they can help you navigate these waters and make sure you’re able to take advantage of the great opportunities in today’s housing market (like low mortgage rates) to buy your dream home. Any of our agents or Kristian Siemon at Angel Oak Home Loans would be happy to help talk you through your options when it comes to real estate or financing.

The share of sole-person households is growing. If you’re looking to buy a home on your own, be confident that the dream is achievable. When you’re ready to begin your search, work with the professionals so you have expert advice each step of the way.

Nov. 11, 2021

Homeownership for Veterans

The purpose of Veterans Affairs (VA) home loans is to provide a pathway to homeownership for those who have sacrificed so much by serving our nation. As the Veterans Administration says of the program:

“The objective of the VA Home Loan Guaranty program is to help eligible Veterans, active-duty personnel, surviving spouses, and members of the Reserves and National Guard purchase, retain, and adapt homes in recognition of their service. . . .”

For over 75 years, VA home loans have provided millions of veterans and their families the opportunity to purchase their own homes.

 

2020 Data on VA Home Loans

  • 1,246,817 home loans are guaranteed by the Veterans Administration
  • The average VA loan amount totals $301,044
  • 178,171 of those using a VA Loan are first-time homebuyers

Top Benefits of the VA Home Loan Program

As we reflect on their sacrifice and honor our nation’s veterans, it’s important to ensure all veterans know the full extent of benefits VA home loans offer. As Jeff London, Director of the VA Home Loan Program, says:

“VA loans offer an extraordinary opportunity for veterans because of lower interest rates, lower monthly payments, no or low-down payments, and no private mortgage insurance.”

Those who qualify for a VA home loan are eligible for the following:

Borrowers can often purchase a home with no down payment. In 2020, 350,094 individuals using a VA Loan were able to purchase their homes without putting money down.

Many other loans with down payments under 20% require Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI). VA Loans do not require PMI, which means veterans can save on their monthly housing costs.

Finally, VA-Backed Loans often offer the most competitive terms and interest rates. To learn more about VA loans and there benefits for our nations veterans reach out to Kristian Siemon and his team at Angel Oak Home Loans

This is just one way we can honor and thank our veterans this year is to ensure they have the best information about the benefits of VA home loans. Homeownership is the American Dream. Our veterans sacrifice so much in service to our nation and deserve to achieve their homeownership goals. Thank you for your service.

Nov. 4, 2021

Mortgages Don't Need to Be Scary

Applying for a mortgage is a big step in the home buying process for many, and for most that step can be really intimidating if you don't know what to expect. We often work with Kristian Siemon and Angel Oak Home Loans to help support our clients through the process. And with Kristian and his team the process doesn't need to be scary! 

So what exactly does the process of applying for a mortgage look like?

Know your score! 

Your credit score has a huge impact on your mortgage. Knowing your score will help you see the numbers that your mortgage advisor is looking at to determine your eligibility and rates.

 

Gather your documents! 

Pulling all the information together helps make the process easier. You can see what documents you might need here on the Angel Oak website. These are things like bank statements, W-2's, and pay stubs.

 

Lean on the Pros!

Connect with Kristian or one of his team! They are there to help you through the process! Even if you aren't quite ready to move forward they can give you the next steps so that you are in the best possible position when it comes time to purchase your first or next home.

 

Discuss Types and Terms!

Spend some time researching different types of loans and the terms that apply. Angel Oak offers a variety of mortgage products including Conventional home loans, VA (Veteran Affairs), and FHA (Federal Housing Administration) in addition to some other loans that are not so common, but may be useful if your circumstances are not so common. You can check out Angel Oak's product offerings here.

 

Get Pre-Approved!

When you are ready to begin your home search getting pre-approval for your mortgage will help you and your Realtor in your home search. You will know exactly how much home you can afford to buy.

 

Oct. 28, 2021

Time to Move? Or Time to Renovate?

The last 18 months changed what many buyers are looking for in a home. It has also brought clarity to homeowners as to what they need in a their homes. Recently, the American Institute of Architects released their AIA Home Design Trends Survey results for Q3 2021.

The survey reveals the following:

  • 70% of respondents want more outdoor living space
  • 69% of respondents want a home office (48% wanted multiple offices)
  • 46% of respondents want a multi-function room/flexible space
  • 42% of respondents want an au pair/in-law suite
  • 39% of respondents want an exercise room/yoga space

If you’re a homeowner who wants to add any of the above, you have two options: renovate your current house or buy a home that already has the spaces you desire.

The decision you make could be determined by factors like:

  • A possible desire to relocate
  • The difference in the cost of a renovation versus a purchase
  • Finding an existing home or designing a new home that has exactly what you want (versus trying to restructure the layout of your current house)

 

In any case, you’ll need access to capital: the funds for the renovation or the down payment your next home would require. The great news is that the money you need probably already exists in your current home in the form of equity. Home Equity Is Skyrocketing The record-setting increases in home prices over the last two years dramatically improved homeowners’ equity.

Odeta Kushi, Deputy Chief Economist at First American, quantifies the amount of equity homeowners gained recently: “Remember U.S. households own nearly $35 trillion in owner-occupied real estate, just over $11 trillion in debt, and the remaining ~$24 trillion in equity. In inflation adjusted terms, homeowners in Q2 had an average of $280,000 in equity- a historic high.”

As a homeowner, the money you need to purchase the perfect home or renovate your current house may be right at your fingertips. However, waiting to make your decision may increase the cost of tapping that equity.

If you decide to renovate, you’ll need to refinance (or take out an equity loan) to access the equity. If you decide to move instead and use your equity as a down payment, you’ll still need to mortgage the remaining difference between the down payment and the cost of your next home. Mortgage rates are forecast to increase over the next year. Waiting to leverage your equity will probably mean you’ll pay more to do so. According to the latest data from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), almost 57% of current mortgage holders have a mortgage rate of 4% or below. If you’re one of those homeowners, you can keep your mortgage rate under 4% by doing it now. If you’re one of the 43% of homeowners with a mortgage rate over 4%, you may be able to do a cash-out refinance or buy a more expensive home without significantly increasing your monthly payment.

First Step: Determine the Amount of Equity in Your Home

If you’re ready to either redesign your current house or find an existing or newly constructed home that has everything you want, the first thing you need to do is determine how much equity you have in your current home. To do that, you’ll need two things:

  1. The current mortgage balance on your home
  2. The current value of your home You can probably find the mortgage balance on your monthly mortgage statement.

To find the current market value of your house, you can pay several hundreds of dollars for an appraisal, or you can contact a local real estate professional who will be able to present to you, at no charge, a professional equity assessment report. You can get started with a free market valuation here: Sold Buy Sea Property Valuation Tool

Bottom Line: If the past 18 months have refocused your thoughts on what you want from your house, now may be the time to either renovate or make a move to the perfect home.