Onslow County Area 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!

April 3, 2019

Your Tax Refund Is The Key To Homeownership!

Your Tax Refund Is The Key To Homeownership!

According to data released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Americans can expect an estimated average refund of $3,143 this year when filing their taxes. This is down slightly from the average refund of $3,436 last year.


Tax refunds are often thought of as ‘extra money’ that can be used toward larger goals. For anyone looking to buy a home in 2019, this can be a great jump start toward a down payment!


The map below shows the average tax refund Americans received last year by state.



Many first-time buyers believe that a 20% down payment is required to qualify for a mortgage. Programs from the Federal Housing Authority, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Maeall allow for down payments as low as 3%Veterans Affairs Loansallow many veterans to purchase a home with 0% down.


If you started your down payment savings with your tax refund check this year, how close would you be to a 3% down payment?


The map below shows what percentage of a 3% down payment is covered by the average tax refund by taking into account the median price of homes sold by state.



The darker the blue, the closer your tax refund gets you to homeownership! For those in Oklahoma looking to purchase their first homes, their tax refund could potentially get them 85% closer to that dream!


Bottom Line


Saving for a down payment can seem like a daunting task. But the more you know about what’s required, the more prepared you can be to make the best decision for you and your family! This tax season, your refund could be your key to homeownership!

Posted in Buyers
Dec. 12, 2018

The 4 Basic Tips for Investing in Real Estate



If you are new to real estate investing, there is a lot to learn. Unlike investing in the stock market or mutual funds, the success of a real estate investment largely depends on you; what property you purchase and how you manage the property once you own it. Real estate is a large capital investment, so before you write that first offer, it’s helpful to learn as much as you can. These 4 basic tips will give you some direction as you learn about investment opportunities.


1. Location, Location, Location – One of the most important aspects of a successful real estate investment is the location. The right neighborhood, street or community can make thousands of dollars of difference.


2. Consider Wholesale Properties – Watch for properties listed below market value. Foreclosure lists, courthouse auctions and short sales are just a few of the options to buy below market value.


3. Understand the Tax Advantages – Before you invest, visit your tax professional and learn about write-offs, business taxes and tax breaks. Figure these numbers into your plans.


4. Manage Your Credit – Leverage is important in real estate investing. Determine your ability to gain loans and correct any mistakes in your credit report.


Bottom Line

Real estate investing has the potential for great profit. Do your homework before jumping into the market and you can position yourself to make the right decisions for your portfolio.

Posted in Investors
Dec. 12, 2018

The #1 Reason to Not Wait Until Spring to Sell Your House



Many sellers believe that spring is the best time to place their homes on the market because buyer demand traditionally increases at that time of year, but what they don’t realize is that if every homeowner believes the same thing, then that is when they will have the most competition!


The #1 Reason to List Your Home in the Winter Months is Less Competition!


Housing supply traditionally shrinks at this time of year, so the choices buyers have will be limited. The chart below was created using the months’ supply of listings from the National Association of Realtors.




As you can see, the ‘sweet spot’ to list your home for the most exposure naturally occurs in the late fall and winter months (November – February). 


Temperatures aren’t the only thing that heats up in the spring – so do listings!




In 2017, listings increased by nearly half a million houses from December to June. Don’t wait for these listings to come to market before you decide to list your house.


Added Bonus: Only Serious Buyers Are Out in the Winter


At this time of year, only those purchasers who are serious about buying a home will be in the marketplace. You and your family will not be bothered and inconvenienced by mere ‘lookers.’ The lookers are at the mall or online doing their holiday shopping.


Bottom Line


If you have been debating whether or not to sell your home and are curious about market conditions in your area, let’s get together to help you decide the best time to list your house for sale.


Posted in Sellers
Dec. 12, 2018

75% of Renters Have Been Misinformed



Recently, multiple headlines have been written asserting that homeownership is less affordable today than at any other time in the last decade. Though the headlines are accurate, they lack context and lead too many Americans to believe that they can’t partake in a major part of the American Dream – owning a home.


In 2008, the housing market crashed and home values fell by as much as 60% in certain markets. This was the major trigger to the Great Recession we experienced from 2008 to 2010. To come back from that recession, mortgage interest rates were pushed down to levels that were never seen before.


For the last ten years, you could purchase a home at a dramatically discounted price and attain a mortgage at a historically low mortgage rate.


Affordability skyrocketed.


Now that home values have returned to where they should be, and mortgage rates are beginning to increase, it is less affordable to own a home than it was over the last ten years.


However, what is not being reported is that it is MORE AFFORDABLE to own a home today than at any other time since 1985 (when data was first collected on this point).


If you take out the years after the crash, affordability today is greater than it has been at almost any time in American history.


This has not been adequately reported which has led to many Americans believing that they cannot currently afford a home.


As an example, the latest edition of Freddie Mac’s Research: Profile of Today’s Renter reveals that 75% of renters now believe it is more affordable to rent than to own their own homes. This percentage is the highest ever recorded. The challenge is that this belief is incorrect. Study after study has proven that in today’s market, it is less expensive to own a home than it is to rent a home in the United States.


Thankfully, some are starting to see this situation and accurately report on it. The National Association of Realtors, in their 2019 Housing Forecast, mentions this concern:


“While the U.S. is experiencing historically normal levels of affordability, potential buyers may be staying out of the market because of perceived problems with affordability.


Bottom Line

If you are one of the many renters who would like to own their own homes, let’s get together to find out if homeownership is affordable for you right now.

Posted in Buyers
Dec. 12, 2018

How to Simply Increase Your Family Wealth by Paying for Housing



Everyone should realize that unless you are living somewhere rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s. Buying your own home provides you with a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to use your monthly housing costs to increase your family’s wealth.

Every month that you pay your mortgage, you are paying off a portion of the debt that you took on to purchase your home. Therefore, you own a little bit more of your home every month in the form of home equity. As your home’s value increases you also gain home equity.


Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over 100 economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists and asks them to project how residential home prices will appreciate over the next five years for their Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES).


The latest data from their Q4 2018 Survey revealed that home prices are expected to round out the year 5.8% higher than they were in January. For the next 5 years, home values will appreciate by an average of nearly 3% a year.


This is still great news for homeowners! 

For example, let’s assume a young couple purchases and closes on a $250,000 home in January. Simply through their home appreciating in value, those homeowners can build their home equity by nearly $40,000 over the next five years.



Let’s look at the potential equity gained over the same period of time at some higher price points:



In many cases, home equity is a large portion of a family’s overall net worth.


Bottom Line

If your plan for 2019 includes entering the housing market to purchase a home, whether it’s your first or your fifth, let’s get together to make your plan a reality!


Posted in Buyers, Sellers
Dec. 11, 2018

Top 5 Rooms to Remodel in 2019


With the popularity of the home remodeling shows, home owners across the country are anxious to take out their tool box and remodel their home too. Most often, remodels are better suited to professionals however, and this can cost significantly more. Regardless of the method, remodeling projects are not inexpensive, so making the best impact for the cost is important. Here are the top 5 rooms to remodel in 2019. 



Kitchen– Always a great return on investment. From functionals paces to bona find living areas, add extra seating, lighting and entertaining spaces such as a bar or counter. 



Backyard Kitchen / Family Room– The back yard is an extension of the interior. Section off areas for an outdoor kitchen and family room. Add a fireplace or even a TV. 



Master Bedroom– Always a place to retreat and refresh. Master bedrooms are getting makeovers with calm soothing paint colors, large picture windows and balconies or patios. 



Guest Bathroom– While not often the first thought, a powder room is easy to remodel and gives a great impression. Make the space look larger with a monotone color scheme. 



Bonus Room / Media Room– Create a unique family space with a media room or bonus room. Extra space which will bring more than its share of cost when selling. 

Posted in Home Improvement
Dec. 11, 2018

Home Buying Advice – 5 Great Tips


Buying a home can be very exciting but it can also be confusing, especially to first time buyers. The truth is that buying a home can be a simple and stress free transaction, if home buyers follow a few simple tips. Here are 5 basic tips to help home buyers navigate the process: 

1. One Step at a Time – Home buying is not a one-time moment but a series of steps. Make decisions as they come, as you move through the process make sure each discovery is one you can live with. 

2. Start with a Lender – Understanding your financial decision is your first step towards homeownership. Talk to a lender first so you know your parameters and limitations ahead of time. 

3. Do Your Due Diligence – Never assume when buying a home. Have a professional home inspection and take the discoveries and disclosures seriously. 

4. Follow Your Gut Instinct – If you think something is off, then follow up and double check. 

5. Move Quickly When Necessary – When you find the right home, don’t wait too long. Remember tip #1, this is a series of steps. The first step is writing an offer, there are many opportunities along the way to change your mind so if you find the right home, write the offer. 

Posted in Buyers
Dec. 11, 2018

The Counter Offer – Negotiation Strategies for Sellers



Getting an offer on your home is very exciting. Then you open the offer and realize it’s not what you were expecting and you are wondering what to do next. Answering an offer which is not acceptable is a matter of strategy. Here are a few of the strategies used by successful listing agents to handle a low offer. 



The most common way to respond to a low offer is to send the buyers a counter offer. You can counter at the list price and terms or come down and offer something in between list price and the offer. 


Highest and Best 

This strategy allows the buyer to revise their offer, should they choose. This is most often used in a multiple offer situation, but works just as well with a single buyer who needs to know their offer isn’t acceptable. 


Include Terms in Negotiation 

The price is not the only part of an offer which can be negotiated; the terms can also be changed. Sometimes a seller can get a higher price by offering longer escrow or adding furniture. 


Reject the Offer 

There is no reason to respond to an offer which isn’t even close to acceptable. A seller can reject the offer completely. 


Offers are exciting; consider the options available for counter offers and ensure you negotiate a good deal for your home. 



Posted in Buyers
Dec. 11, 2018

Selling During The Holidays



The Holiday Season has arrived and many home sellers are concerned it’s the wrong time to list their homes. The truth is that the holidays can be a great time to sell your home here in Jacksonville and Onslow County. Not only does your home look more beautiful dressed up for the holidays, but buyers are often more emotionally tied to the home because of it. There is no need to wait for the hectic New Year selling season to list. There are benefits to selling now! 

·       Lower Inventory – Typically there are fewer homes on the market; fewer homes means less competition. 

·       Serious Buyers – Buyers during the holidays tend to be more serious than at other times of the year. Moving is not fun anytime of the year, but the holidays are particularly hard, so buyers willing to do this are serious about moving. 

·       Interest Rates are Still Low – No one knows what’s coming in the New Year, but for now, Interest Rates are still traditionally low. 

The Holiday Selling Season is here. Home sellers can capitalize on the slower pace, smaller inventory and serious buyers by listing now. Deck the halls and offer a warm, cozy home to potential buyers and take advantage of the season for selling your home now. 


Posted in Sellers
Dec. 10, 2018

How to Sell Your Home, the Fast Way!!

Selling tips 1


1. Declutter. 

This step is HUGE. Go through your closets, drawers, garage, & other places in your home & sort through things you want to keep and things that you want to get rid of. BE PICKY! Remember once you sell the house you will have to pack your “keep pile” up. Are the items worth it? Are you really going to use the items? When you get your keep pile all set up, organize these items in their correct spots. hang all your clothes up neatly, organize your drawers with baskets, and just make sure everything has it’s place neatly in your home.  Also invest in a storage unit for all of the items you want to keep, but don’t want in the house. This was mostly garage items, large items, & things like winter clothes that were not being used at the time. This is also great because you are already getting things packed up & out of the house ready to move!


Old chest


2. Sell/donate All unwanted items.

Make sure to start doing this step far in advance to assure all these items will be out of your house. Have a garage sale or utilize yard sale websites to list unwanted items from furniture, clothes, home decor, & other household goods. If you don’t want to take the time to do this or if you want to just give the items away, than you can donate them at your local donation drop off. Again, with this step be picky. Ask yourself if you really want the times in your next home.


Clean Living room


3. Neutralize your home.

This is a huge step! Most people get distracted by loud decor, bold paint colors, & taste specific decor. They can’t look past that to see the good bones of the home. Some will even paint their walls a neutral color {different neutrals throughout the house} to really neutralize the home. Think about removing most of the bold taste specific decor to allow potential buyers to envision our home as theirs. Using neutral pillows, throws, and other decor to still make the home cozy & inviting while still remaining super neutral.  This step also includes packing away collections, excess family photos, anything on the fridge, & any of your personal items like toiletries out of plane site. One main thing about neutralizing your home as well is, do not put away all your decor, the buyers want to see a staged home & not a bare house. Show them your pretty decorated house minus the clutter.




4. Deep clean the entire house.

This is a great step to do after/during your declutter phase. Clean those baseboards, shampoo the carpets, dust your ceiling fans, scrub floors, clean closets, & go through your whole house to be sure you have hit every place that you may have forgotten about. Don’t forget your garage! Potential buyers want to see every area of your house so make sure every corner of your home is looking clean & show ready at all times.




5. Repair any issues with the home.

Need walls painted, holes patched, flooring fixed, doors repaired? Do all of that before a showing! You don’t want to scare away potential buyers with any necessary repairs big or small. That poorly painted wall could be the difference between a sale or your house sitting on the market for months!


House with Clean yard


6. Fix up the yard.

Be sure the curb appeal of your home is looking good & that from the minute potential buyers pull up to your house they are interested. Mow the grass, edge the lawn, pick weeds, & make sure your shrubs and flowers are healthy. Don’t forget the backyard either. You never know what is at the top of your buyers house “must haves list” is & it could be a pretty backyard!



Day of Showing

1. Make sure your house is spotless.

Wipe down all your counters, clean the toilets, clean appliances, vacuum, mop, wash windows & mirrors, & double check for any messes through out your home before you show your house. A clean house is way more appealing and helps show buyers the potential of the home.



2. Make the house smell good.

A warm inviting smell can give off good vibes to potential buyers & make them feel at home. Lighting candles, using a scentsy, making coffee, air fresheners, & even an open window weather permitting  are a great way to add a comforting smell to your home to really appeal to potential buyers.



3. Let the light in.

Open up all drapes and blinds to add lovely natural lighting into your home. Turn accent lamps on & any pretty lights around your house. Set the mood with your lighting and use it to your advantage. Just like smell, lighting can really make a buyer feel at home.



4. Stage your home.

Before the buyers come, be sure your home is staged to appeal to buyers. Remove any unwanted items from view, make sure your whole house is organized. Place throw pillows around your home with throws & home decor to really amp up your showing & set your home apart from other houses the buyers have looked at.



5. Take your pets with you.

Nobody wants to hear barking while they are looking at a home. Take your little fur babies with you while the buyers are looking at your home. Because they are so cute, pets are simply a distraction & while you are showing your house you want to remove any distractions from that lovely house of yours.


6.  Play music.

So we have smell, lighting, & now we need sound. Play some soft peaceful music on low to set a happy calm mood in your house to make the buyers really feel at home. Music can really change someone’s mood & maybe even just put them in the mood to buy a house!



Studies have shown that staged properties sell 50-80 percent faster than non-staged homes and spend 81 percent less time on the market. While staging a home may seem daunting for the novice seller, in reality, it’s one of the more lucrative projects a homeowner selling a home can undertake. 



Posted in Sellers