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!

Jan. 13, 2021

4 Reasons Home Buyers are Looking in 2021

According to many experts, the real estate market is expected to continue growing in 2021, and it’s largely driven by the lasting impact the pandemic is having on our lifestyles. As many of us spend extra time at home, we’re reevaluating what “home” means and what we may need in one going forward.

Here are 4 reasons people are reconsidering where they live and why they’re expecting to buy a home this year. 

1. Record-Low Mortgage Interest Rates

In 2020, the average interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage hit a record low 16 times, continuing to fall further below 3%. According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed interest rate today is 2.65%. Many wonder how low these rates will go and how long they’ll last. Len Keifer, Deputy Chief Economist for Freddie Mac, advises:

“If you’ve found a home that fits your needs at a price you can afford, it might be better to act now rather than wait for future rate declines that may never come and a future that likely holds very tight inventory.”

This sense of urgency is driving many to buy this year.

2. Working from Home

Remote work is a new normal for many businesses, and it’s lasting longer than most expected. Many in the workforce today are discovering they don’t need to live close to the office anymore and they can get more for their money by moving a little further outside of the city limits. David Mele, President at Homes.com, says: 

“The surge in the work-from-home population has rewritten the playbook for many homebuying and rental decisions, from when and where to relocate, to what people are looking for in their next residence.”

The reality is, for some people, working remotely in their current home is challenging, especially when there may be other options available.

3. More Outdoor Space

Another new priority for homeowners is having more usable outdoor space. Being at home is driving those in some areas to seek less densely populated neighborhoods so they have more room to stretch their legs. In addition, those living in apartments and townhomes are often looking for extra square footage, both inside and out.

According to the State of Home Spending report by HomeAdvisor, of the households surveyed, almost half reported spending 27% more on outdoor living over the past year. This is a trend that’s expected to grow in 2021 and beyond.

4. Avoiding Renovations

It’s recently come to light that many homeowners would also rather buy a new home than go through the process of fixing up the one they have. According to the 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 44% of homebuyers purchased a new home to “avoid renovations or problems with the plumbing or electricity.”

Depending on what needs to be addressed, today’s high buyer demand may make it possible to skip some renovations before selling. Many of these homeowners have prioritized buying over renovating for convenience and potential cost savings.

Bottom Line

It’s clear that homeownership needs are changing. As a result, Americans are expected to move in record numbers this year. If you’re trying to decide if now is the right time to buy a home, contact a local real estate professional today to discuss your options.

Jan. 6, 2021

Wilmington Tops United Van Line Study for Inbound Moves in 2020

Thinking about moving to Wilmington, NC? According to the results of a recent study released by United Van Lines Wilmington is the number one city for inbound moves in 2020!! We can't help but think that we were ahead of the curve and agree that Wilmington is a great place to live!

The top ten cities for inbound moves according to the the study, which has been conducted by the moving company since 1977 and tracks the migration patterns in the US are:

  1. Wilmington, NC
  2. Sarasota-Bradenton, FL
  3. Boise, ID
  4. Huntsville, AL
  5. Fort Myers-Cape Coral, FL
  6. Knoxville, TN
  7. Melbourne-Titusville-Palm Bay, FL
  8. Austin-Sand Marcos, TX
  9. Nashville, TN
  10. Fort Collins-Loveland, CO

While the 10 ten areas that have seen residents leave are:

  1. Nassau-Suffolk, NY
  2. Bergen-Passaic, NJ
  3. Trenton, NJ
  4. New York, NY
  5. Newark, NJ
  6. Chicago, IL
  7. Bremerton, WA
  8. Bridgeport, CT
  9. Middlesex, NJ
  10. Lake, IL

Ready to pack your bags and see what makes Wilmington such a great place to live? Give us a call today!

Dec. 30, 2020

Housing Market Forecast: What's ahead in 2021

While 2020 has faced its fair share of ups and downs, we know one thing to be true: the real estate market not only met expert predictions, it surpassed them, breaking records along the way.

With that in mind, there’s one big glaring question right now: will the housing market in 2021 follow the same trajectory or are we facing a possible downturn?

Let’s take a deep dive into what leading real estate experts are projecting for 2021 so you have the knowledge and confidence you need to succeed in the new year.

If you have any questions about buying or selling this year reach out we would love to help!

Dec. 23, 2020

House feeling too small?

It may seem hard to imagine that the home you’re in today – whether it’s your starter home or just one you’ve fallen in love with along the way – might not be your forever home.

Many needs have changed in 2020, and it’s okay to admit if your house no longer fits your lifestyle. If you’re now working remotely, facilitating virtual school, trying to exercise at home, or simply just spending more time in your own four walls, you may be bursting at the seams in your current house.

According to the latest Home Price Insights from CoreLogic, prices have appreciated 7.3% year-over-year. At the same time, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that inventory has dropped 22% from one year ago.

These two statistics are directly related to one another. As inventory has decreased and demand has increased, prices have been driven up.

This is great news if you own a home and you’re thinking about selling. The equity in your house has likely risen as prices have increased. Even better is the fact that there’s a large pool of buyers out there searching for the American dream, and your home may be high on their wish list.

Bottom Line

If you think you’ve outgrown your current home, reach out to a real estate professional to discuss local market conditions and determine if now is the best time for you to sell. 

Dec. 16, 2020

FAQ - Realtor Facts

Q: What is a Realtor?

A: A REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® who is required to abide by a strict Code of Ethics. The term REALTOR® is a registered trademark of the National Association of REALTORS® and misuse of the term is a trademark violation. To become a REALTOR® a person who holds a real estate license may join their local REALTOR® Association which makes them automatically a member of the State and National Associations.

Q: What does NOT need to be disclosed when selling your home in NC?

If your home has polybutylene pipes.

The square footage of your home (but if you do disclose, you are liable for the accuracy of the square footage). Also, if your home is listed in MLS, the local Multiple Listing Service may require square footage disclosure and then your agent is responsible for accurate measurement.

If your home has hard coat stucco siding.

If your home has asbestos siding, so long as it’s not friable.

If your home has hardboard siding.

If your home has pressure treated lumber.

If you are behind on mortgage payments (so long as no notice of foreclosure has been filed or you are not in a short sale situation).

If anyone with AIDS/HIV is living in the home or has died in the home from the illness. (Do not ever discuss AIDS/HIV, as this is covered under federal handicapped protection.)

If anyone has died in the home, in general, or was killed in the home (but if asked, you cannotlie).

If registered sex offenders live in the neighborhood.

If your home is haunted.

If your home has aluminum wiring.

If your home was partially destroyed by fire or flood, so long as it was repaired and remodeled to code.

If your home has received multiple offers to purchase.

Don’t forget that your agent is prohibited from discussing or providing any information about your neighborhood and area with respect to racial, religious, ethnic, social components.

In general, the overall rules to follow are:

If you disclose something, the information must be accurate or you may be held liable.

If you are specifically asked about something, you cannot give a false answer.

Q: What is a “material fact”?

 

A: One of the most difficult concepts for many homeowners to grasp is that of “material fact.” In its broadest sense a material fact may be said to be any fact that is important or relevant to the issue at hand. Because this is such a broad definition, the North Carolina Real Estate Commission has provided guidelines regarding what facts the Commission generally will consider to be material in most real estate transactions.

No matter who an agent represents in a transaction, the types of facts described below are material facts and must be disclosed to all parties with whom the agent deals if the agent is aware of such facts or should reasonably be aware of such facts.

Facts about the property itself.

Any significant property defect or abnormality Some examples are: a structural defect, a malfunctioning system, a leaking roof or a drainage or flooding problem.

Facts that relate directly to the property.

These are typically external factors that affect the use, desirability or value of a property. Examples are a pending zoning change, the existence of restrictive covenants, plans to widen an adjacent street, or plans to build a shopping center on an adjacent property.

Facts that relate directly to the ability of a principal to complete the transaction.

Any fact that might adversely affect the ability of a principal party to the transaction (buyer or seller) to consummate the transaction. Examples are the buyer’s inability to qualify for a loan and to close on the home purchase without first selling the currently-owned home, a seller’s inability to convey clear title due to the commencement of a foreclosure proceeding against the seller.

Facts that are known to be of special importance to a party.

There are many facts relating in some way to a property which normally would not inherently be considered “material,” but because they are known to be of special interest or importance to a party, they become a material fact. Example: The fact that a residential property may not be used for a home business due to zoning or restrictive covenants normally would not be a material fact; however, if an agent working with a buyer knows that the buyer wants to operate a home business, then the issue of whether the home can be used as such becomes a material fact.

Dec. 11, 2020

What You Should Really Know About Browsing for Homes Online

'It's fun! It's exciting! It's important to take everything with a grain of salt!'

 Oh, let's just admit it, shall we? Browsing for homes online is a window shopper’s Shangri-La. The elegantly decorated rooms, the sculpted gardens, the colorful front doors that just pop with those “come hither” hues.

Browser beware, though: Those listings may be seductive, but they might not be giving you the complete picture.

That perfect split-level ranch? Might be too close to a loud, traffic-choked street. That handsome colonial with the light-filled photos? Might be hiding some super icky plumbing problems. That attractively priced condo? Might not actually be for sale. Imagine your despair when, after driving across town to see your dream home, you realize it was sold. 

So let’s practice some self-care, shall we, and set our expectations appropriately. 

Step one, understand what you’re looking for. 

Step two, with that knowledge in hand, start browsing for homes. As you do, keep in mind exactly what that tool can, and can’t, do. Here’s how.

You Keep Current. Your Property Site Should, Too

First things first: You wouldn’t read last month’s Vanity Fair for the latest cafe society gossip, right? So you shouldn’t browse property sites that show old listings.

BTW, there are other property listing sites as well, including Redfin, which is a brokerage and therefore also relies on relationships with brokers and MLSs for listings.

The Best Properties Aren’t Always the Best Looking

A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words. But what they don’t say is a picture can also hide a thousand cracked floorboards, busted boilers, and leaky pipes. So while it’s natural to focus on photos while browsing, make sure to also consider the property description and other key features.

Each SoldBuySea.com listing, for example, has a “property details” section that may specify important information such as the year the home was built, price per square foot, and how many days the property has been on the market.

Ultimately though, ask your real estate agent to help you interpret what you find. The best agents have hyper-local knowledge of the market and may even know details and histories of some properties. If a listing seems too good to be true, your agent will likely know why.

Treat Your Agent Like Your Bestie

At the end of the day, property sites are like CliffsNotes for a neighborhood: They show you active listings, sold properties, home prices, and sales histories. All that data will give you a working knowledge, but it won’t be exhaustive.

To assess all of this information — and gather facts about any home you’re eyeing, like how far the local elementary school is from the house or where the closest Soul Cycle is — talk to your real estate agent. An agent who can paint a picture of the neighborhood is an asset.

An agent who can go beyond that and deliver the dish on specific properties is a true friend indeed, more likely to guide you away from homes with hidden problems, and more likely to save you the time of visiting a random listing (when you could otherwise be in the park playing with your canine bestie).

Just remember: You’re probably not going to find that “perfect home” while browsing listings on your smartphone. Instead, consider the online shopping experience to be an amuse-bouche to the home-buying entree — a good way for you to get a taste of the different types of homes that are available and a general idea of what else is out there. 

Once you’ve spent that time online, you’ll be ready to share what you've learned with an agent.

Ready to be connected with an Agent? Register on our site here: Sold Buy Sea Sign up and we will contact you and connect you with the right agent for your needs!

Dec. 4, 2020

Storage Solutions - Garage

Looking for extra storage in your house? The Wilmington, NC area offers some great small housing options with historic homes and seaside cottages.

Sometimes these small houses offer great character, can be light on storage space. But here are 5 great storage solutions you can find by looking no further than your garage! Your garage can be the perfect place for some additional storage when you are tight on space.

Here are 5 great storage solutions for your garage, allowing you to make the most of what can sometimes be underutilized space.

Garage Shelving

Shelving is one of the easiest ways to add storage, and the good news is that you have many options when it comes to shelving systems – most of which are easy to assemble and install. One good tip when it comes to loading up your shelves is to put your heaviest items on the bottom. This helps lower the center of gravity on the shelves. Keeping your heaviest items on the bottom also allows for easier access. Garage shelving systems can be found at most home improvement stores.

Shelving Bins

Plastic storage bins offer a lot of flexibility and can be found in a variety of sizes. Storage bins can help to organize and protect your items as well, making them a smart option. you can find storage bins at a variety of retailers – including most home improvement stores and online

Ceiling Storage

Ceiling storage allows you to make to the most of space that might otherwise go unused. Ceiling storage also allows you to continue to use your garage space for your vehicles in addition to storage. Ceiling storage units are mounted from the ceiling and can be used for a wide variety of items. This solution may take some time and expertise to install, but the additional storage space makes it well worth it.

Peg Boards

Pegboard storage is great for those odds and ends that can end up cluttering your garage space, like bicycles or yard equipment. Once you have installed a peg board on your garage wall, you can install a variety of racks that allow you to hang any number of items. Pegboard storage is great for its versatility.

Wall Mounted Storage Cabinets

Wall mounted storage can help not only with keeping the space organized but also with keeping your garage looking neat and clean. Wall mounted storage also allows for storage of a variety of items, in a variety of sizes. This solution may require professional installation but can be well worth the investment if it helps to provide you with the necessary storage you are looking for.

Finding the right storage solution for your garage will help you keep the space organized and neat, allowing you to make use of the space you have.

Dec. 2, 2020

FAQ - Home Inspections

There are a lot of steps that happen between submitting a contract and closing day. Of those important steps is a home inspection. Below are some of the answers to the common questions we get from clients when it comes to home inspections 

Q: What is a home inspection?

A: A home inspection is an evaluation of the visible and accessible systems and components of a home (plumbing system, roof, etc.) and is intended to give the client (usually a homebuyer) an understanding of their condition. It is also important to know what a home inspection is not! It is not an appraisal of the property’s value; nor should you expect it to address the cost of repairs. It does not guarantee that the home complies with building codes (which are subject to periodic change) or protect you in the event an item inspected fails in the future. [Note: warranties can be purchased to cover many items.] No home inspection should be considered a “technically exhaustive” evaluation; rather, it is an evaluation of the property on the day it is inspected, taking into consideration normal wear and tear.

Q: Who can perform a home inspection?

A: Only persons licensed by the North Carolina Home Inspector Licensure Board are permitted to perform home inspections for compensation. To qualify for licensure, they must satisfy certain education and experience requirements and pass a state licensing examination. Their inspections must be conducted in accordance with the Board’s Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics.

Q: Why should I get a home inspection?

A: Most homebuyers lack the knowledge, skill and emotional detachment needed to inspect homes themselves. By using the services of a licensed home inspector, homebuyers can gain an understanding of the condition of the property, especially whether any items are so defective as to impair function or warrant further investigation by a specialist.

Q: How do I request a home inspection, and who will pay for it?

A: You can arrange for the home inspection or ask your real estate agent to assist you. Unless you otherwise agree, you will be responsible for payment of the home inspection and any subsequent inspections. If the inspection is to be performed after you have signed the purchase contract, be sure to schedule the inspection as soon as possible to allow adequate time for any repairs to be performed.

Q: Should I be present when the home inspection is performed?

A: Whenever possible, you should be present. The inspector can review with you the results of the inspection and point out any problems found. Usually the inspection of the home can be completed in two to three hours (the time can vary depending upon the size and age of the dwelling). The home inspector must give you a written report of the home inspection within three business days after the inspection is performed (unless otherwise stated in your contract with the home inspector). The home inspection report is your property. The home inspector may only give it to you and may not share it with other persons without your permission.

Q: Are all inspection reports the same?

A: No. While the Home Inspector Licensure Board has established a minimum requirement for report-writing, reports can vary greatly. They can range from a “checklist” of the systems and components to a full narrative including photographs. A home inspector is required to give you a written “Summary” of the inspection identifying any system or component that does not function as intended, or has tangible evidence that warrants further investigation by a specialist. The summary may also describe any system or component that poses a safety concern. The summary does not represent everything you need to know about the home. Carefully read and understand the entire home inspection report.

Q: What should I do if I feel something has been missed on the inspection?

A: Before any repairs are made (except emergency repairs), call the inspector or inspection company to discuss the problem. Many times a “trip charge” can be saved by explaining the problem to the inspector who can answer the question over the telephone. This also gives the inspector a chance to promptly handle any problems that may have been overlooked in the inspection.

Q: If, following the home inspection, the seller repairs an item found in the home inspection, may I have the home inspector perform a “re-inspection?”

A: Yes. Some repairs may not be as straightforward as they might seem. The inspector may be able to help you evaluate the repair, but you should be aware that the re-inspection is not a warranty of the repairs that have been made. Some home inspectors charge a fee for re-inspections.

Nov. 25, 2020

Buying a Home: 10 Steps you Should Know

Congratulation!  You probably landed here because you are thinking about buying a new home! And we would love to help. Wondering what the process is? Here is a simplified checklist of the 10 steps to buying a home:

Save for your down payment

Create a budget and do some research. There are some low down payment options available. This may be the time to talk with a mortgage lender like Kristian Siemon, from Angel Oak Home Loans (NMLS #613810), who can help you find the best course for you based on your needs. Connecting with a mortgage lender early in the process will help make the whole process feel much easier.

Know your credit score

Learn your score, and see if you can raise it by cleaning up your outstanding debts. Again working with a mortgage advisor like Kristian will help you know what steps you might need to take here. 

Get Pre-Approved

Talk to your mortgage lender and find out what you can afford. Being pre-approved will set you up as a serious buyer, and help you find a house you can afford.

Find a Realtor

Contact a local Realtor. All of our Realtors are here to help serve you. They are not just here to help you find your dream home, but they will also help take you through the complete process of buying a home. You can reach out to any of our agents to get started. Not sure who might be a good fit for you? Give our office a call and we would love to connect you with the Realtor who will best serve your needs! You can connect with any of our agents here or reach out to Stephanie Long and she will help connect you with the right agent for your needs! 

Find a home

This part can be so much fun, but it can also take a bit of time. Remember your Realtor is a pro at this! They will help you find the best home for you and your family on your budget.

Make an offer

Once you find the best home for your needs your Realtor will help you through the next step of submitting an offer and the bunch of paperwork that comes next.

Home inspection

When buying a new home your Realtor will probably recommend a home inspection. This process helps to determine if there are any issues with the home that may need to be addressed before you close on the house.

Have a home appraisal

Again your Realtor and lender will help with this part of the process. The appraisal will ensure that the property is worth the price you are prepared to pay.

Closing Day

Closing day is the day when it all becomes official, and you get the keys to your new house. This is when you sign the final paperwork for your loan and other documents.

Time to move!

Congratulations! Now that you have the keys to your new house you can move in and make your new house a home!

Nov. 18, 2020

Should You Sell Your Home Around the Holidays?

Dog on couch with Christmas tree in the backgroundIts that time of the year, when you start planning for the holidays... but what about selling your home? Is it even possible to sell a house during the last 6 weeks of the year?

Without a doubt, the answer is a resounding YES! Not only is it possible, but it might just be the best time to list you house. 

What are the benefits of selling a house during the winter?

Motivated buyers! While there are potentially more buyers looking during the spring and summer months, the buyers who are looking during the winter months are motivated - typically winter moves are motivated by relocations, changes in financial situations, or a change in family needs. 

Less seller competition! With fewer homes on the market in the winter, there is less competition for those motivated buyers. 

More time off! More companies close for a few extra days during the holiday's. This gives buyers extra time to look at houses without having to take time off from work. This give sellers more opportunities for open houses, and can open up more availability for showings. 

Tax benefits! Buyers looking for some of the tax benefits of home ownership may be looking to close before the end of the year giving December listings a boost!

More attention from agents! With fewer options on the market and few listings agents can spend more time focused on helping sell your house.

Holiday selling Tips!

Have a strong online listing. When weather is bad, most house hunting will happen online. Make sure that your home is being shown in its best light, with bright photos and an engaging description.

Invest in professional photography. Quality photos, and 3D floorplans are essential. Photos that make you home look bright and airy help to show your house in the best possible light. 

Work with the right agent. Working with an agent who know the area, who has a solid marketing plan, and understands the unique challenges sellers face when listing during the holidays. Any one of the agents at Sold Buy Sea Realty would love to help you sell, reach out today to be connected with one of our agents

Keep your holiday decorations simple. Like with many aspects of selling your home - less is more. You want potential buyers to be able to envision themselves, and their decorations in the space. Keep it simple while still making your house feel like a home.

Add (winter) curb appeal. Curb appeal in the winter can be tough. Be sure to illuminate walkways and have a welcome mat for visitors to use. 

Turn on the lights. Use bright / high wattage lightbulb, be sure to turn on any lights that might take some time warm up before you leave for a showing. Consider adding some additional lights throughout to make your home feel warm and inviting. This can also help with curb appeal when people drive up to the house.

Turn on the heat. Be sure to turn the heat on, and make sure the house is nice and warm. 

What are the challenges of selling during the holidays?

You will often face some challenges selling you home any time of year, but there are a few key differences between selling during the holidays and selling during the peak spring and summer seasons.

  • Lowball offers. Buyers tend to think that sellers who have their homes listed during the holiday season are desperate to sell and may make an offer that is much lower than your asking price. These lowball offers can happen any time of the year, but are more often seen during the holiday season.
  • Limited curb appeal. The winter months tend to be a bit dark and dreary, it can be a challenge to show off a home's exterior, especially with the sun setting early in the evening. 
  • Financing can be delayed. With all of the holidays, vacations and extra time out of the office, it may take longer to get your financing finalized during the holiday season. Working with a trusted mortgage professional can help keep these delays to a minimum. If you are looking for a mortgage professional reach out to Kristian Siemon, Angel Oak Home Loans (NMLS #613810)
  • Less likely to get multiple offers. During the peaks seasons of spring and summer, sellers often find themselves in multiple-offer situations, where they’re able to pit multiple buyers against each other to increase the final selling price. This is less likely to happen in a slower selling season. 
  • Inconvenience. It may be more of a challenge to have your home ready for showings at a moments notice - especially with holiday activities like baking and wrapping gifts, or when you have guests for the holidays. 

Sure there may be some additional challenges when selling during the holiday season, but with the right agent and the right marketing plan you can sell your home during the last 6-weeks of the year! If you are ready to move give us a call today 910-367-2965 or register here to be connected with one of our agents