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!

Nov. 2, 2018

The Difference an Hour Will Make This Fall


The Difference an Hour Will Make This Fall

Posted in Buyers, Renters, Sellers
Oct. 30, 2018

A Look at Wealth: Millionaires vs. Demi-Billionaires

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In this exclusive survey and highly anticipated follow-up to “The Report,” the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury® program and WealthEngine analyzed many aspects of the millionaire and demi-billionaire lifestyle to create a picture of the modern-day affluent property investor. From geographic preferences and wealth creation to the average number of property investments and luxury spending trends, the “Millionaires vs. Demi-Billionaires” study illuminates the lifestyles of today’s most affluent consumers as they have continued to grow and diversify across generations, genders and borders.


CB Luxury: A look at wealth

Posted in Luxury
Oct. 30, 2018

Are You Spending TOO Much on Rent?


Are you spending too much on rent


Chances are if you are renting you are spending too much of your income on your monthly housing expense. There is a long-standing ‘rule’ that a household should not pay more than 28% of their income on their rent or mortgage payment. This percentage allows the household to save money for the future while comfortably covering other expenses.


According to new data released from ApartmentList.com, 49.5 million renters in the United States were cost-burdened in 2017, meaning they spent more than 30% of their monthly incomes on rent. This accounts for nearly half of all renter households in the country and is up 3.1 million from 2007.


When a household is cost-burdened by their monthly housing expense, they are not as easily able to save money for the future. This is a big factor for many renters who dream of owning their own homes someday.


But there is hope for those who are able to save at least a 3% down payment! The percentage of income needed in the US to buy a home is significantly less than renting at 17.1%!


The chart below compares the historic percentage of income needed to rent and buy from 1985-2000 to the first quarter of 2018. As you can see, the cost of renting has climbed above historic numbers while the cost of buying dropped over the same period of time.


Rent vs. Buy: Affordability

Posted in Buyers
Sept. 20, 2018

How to sell your house after a hurricane, flood or natural disaster

September 20, 2018

By Jon Myers with permission from Richard Witt

Original article can be found here


how to repair and sell your home after a hurricane


See How Much Your Home Is Worth


Tips to help you repair and prepare your home for the market after a hurricane, flood or other types of storms in Eastern North Carolina.


It’s never fun when there is a hurricane or other type of storm that damages your home.  Storms, water, flooding and wind damage can create a lot of destruction and this can be emotional due to losses, as well as large repair costs.  And, in the meantime, you may need to find somewhere else to stay.


Hurricane Florence destroyed or partially toppled many of the homes in our area.  Many more have severe roof and flood damage and are currently without power or water and may continue to be so for weeks to come.  We see trees everywhere – on homes, cars, roads.  There is a major gas shortage.  The wind damage and flooding has made it hard to drive in many areas. The fact is history has shown homeowners will work to recover from the losses for years to come.


Whether there is an isolated storm or mechanical damage (e.g. water heater bursting), it’s a serious and often big deal to homeowners.  We are here to help guide you through the process.


Outline for this Hurricane Guide

1.     Immediate steps to take after a hurricane

2.     Tips for filing with your insurance company

3.     Tips for filing with FEMA

4.     Protect your home from additional damage – immediate mitigation steps

5.     Before you do other repairs, find out if your home is located in a Special Flood Hazard area

6.     Get repair estimates from contractors

7.     If there a big discrepancy on cost, contact your insurance company

8.     If there are still discrepancies or disputes with insurance, contact a public adjuster

9.     Make the necessary repairs

10.  Additional steps to take after the storm if your house was on the market

11.  What to do when you need to sell your house super fast

12.  Who to call if the numbers just don’t make sense, and you don’t have the funding





1.   Steps to take after the hurricane (or storm)


Every storm is different, and everyone’s needs are different based on the damage that was caused.  As you read this section please bear in mind that there may be several items that don’t apply to your situation.  Likewise, you may have additional issues that are not covered here.  In the end it is our hope this provides a good guideline for you.


·     Be safe and proceed with caution when returning and assessing the damage

o   First, wait until the local authorities say it is safe to return home.  In some cases, this may be the next day or in some circumstances it may be a couple of weeks…and it could vary based on which street you live on.

o   Be aware of the areas where flooding occurred and then receded.  Watch out for debris in these areas and be aware flood waters often erode roads as well as walkways.  Be sure to wear sturdy and comfortable shoes.

o   DO NOTattempt to drive through areas that are still flooded.  These areas could pose some serious damage to you and your vehicle, especially if they give way and/or are deeper than they appear.

o   Avoid standing water (both inside and outside).  It could be electrically charged from downed power lines or electrical outlets.  There also could be germs, debris, oil, gasoline, sewage in there (or snakes and who knows what).

o   Use flash lights, and avoid all lanterns, torches, matches or candles if the power’s out.  These items can be very unsafe if there is oil or flammable gases around and lighting them could result in a fire or explosion.  This is much more likely to be a problem in garages or basements where we often (unknowingly) store combustible items.  So flash lights only.

o   Avoid downed power lines.  Report them to the power company or 911.  Have a professional electrician tend to these.  Don’t take any chances.

o   Take pictures of all of the damage (more about that in the next section)

o   Identify all damage to the house and other structures (e.g. garage, shed, pool, deck).  Make a list of everything you want to share with the insurance adjuster.


·     Make sure everything is safe for you and your family 

o   Note: before removing anything it is advised that you first consult your insurance company

o   Be sure to mitigate the immediate danger of water and/or mold which can create much more serious damage with each passing day.  You are probably best off calling the professionals to handle this.   Remove carpet and carpet cushion that have gotten wet.  More in section 4 about this.  Note:  Mold can begin to develop within 48 hrs, so take care of this quickly!

o   Remove any drywall or paneling that has been under water.  These areas can easily get moldy from any water that is or was on the floor.  Remember capillary action?  Just as water can “climb up” towels, it can do the same on our walls, and this can be very dangerous. The standard process is to remove 18 inches above the highest point that the water reached.  (Later, you will get this replaced – see Section 4 for removal and  Section 9 for repair/replacement).

o   Watch out for dangerous debris, especially in areas with water.  Examples of these include broken glass, sharp pieces of metal, dead animals, snakes, etc.  Try to avoid walking through debris, but if you must, use a stick to check for hidden damages (and of course wear high waterproof boots to protect your legs)

o   If you have a septic tank, have it checked and serviced as quickly as possible.  A damaged sewage system is a major health hazard (and expensive to repair).

o   If you have well water, have it checked quickly to make sure it’s not contaminated with bacteria, chemicals or sewage.  In the meantime, use bottled water.

o   Clean and disinfect EVERYTHING that got wet (even if it’s dry now).  Flood water can contain mud as well as things we can’t see such as bacteria, sewage, and chemicals.  Be sure to wear protective equipment such as rubber gloves, face masks/breathing masks and safety glasses.  (These can be purchase easily at your local stores).

o   Throw away any food that may not have maintained the proper temperature in the refrigerator or freezer.  (Bonus tip: If you are reading this before the storm, fill a plastic cup with water and freeze it.  Place a quarter in it.  After the storm, check to see if the quarter is still on top of the ice…then you know you didn’t lose power.  If it sunk it the water, you lost power and should empty everything).  It’s better to be safe rather than sorry here.  Don’t put your health in danger. That’s the last thing you need now.





2.  Tips for filing with your insurance company


Unfortunately, most homeowner’s and renter’s insurance DOESN’T cover flooding.  They usually cover wind damage and mechanical issues, but not ground water flooding.  For that, you generally need supplemental coverage from the National Flood insurance program or a private insurance company.  These policies tend to be rather expensive, so most people don’t have them.  If you live in a flood zone, you may have this, but if you don’t, chances are you aren’t covered.  2016 poll by the Insurance Information Institute found that 12 percent of American homeowners had a flood insurance policy.  Unfortunately, many learn this one the hard way and need to pay for things out of pocket.


Just to clarify, mechanical issues that cause water damage (such as over flowing toilets, exploding water heaters, broken laundry machines and dishwashers) are generally covered by insurance.  And, if your roof is damaged, and you get water intrusion from that, you are usually covered as well.  Also, if you have a sump pump in the basement (or if it’s on the ground level) and you lost power (so that the sump pump is temporarily not functioning), your insurance will often cover that.


It’s always best to call your insurance agency right away.  Not only do you want to report the claim, but also you want to know whether you’re covered and what you’re covered for.  You’ll also want to understand your deductible.  Call as soon as possible.  The sooner you call, the sooner you’ll get your issues resolved and the sooner you’ll get your money.


In some circumstances, FEMA may be able to help.  FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Agency and they offer grants to victims if your area has been declared a national disaster.  The challenge with FEMA is that the amount granted is usually much lower than what’s needed to fully recover (and they tend to be rather slow).


So, below I’ve outlined some recommendations for filing with your insurance company and FEMA.  The goal here is to help you attain the maximum amount you’re entitled to and help you get it faster.  Additionally, I hope these tips will help you save time and make things easier.  It’s a very difficult and stressful to go through this, so I hope this helps a bit.


10 Things to know about Hurricane Insurance Claims


·     Report the claim to your insurance company as soon as possible

The sooner you report that claim, the sooner you will get things resolved.  This is especially true after a hurricane or major flood because everyone and their brother will be filing a claim. The longer you wait, the longer the backlog will be.  Insurance companies get overwhelmed after big storms due to the “flood” of calls they get.


Be sure to get a claim number and WRITE it down.  You may even want to store it on your cell phone so that you always have it with you.  You will need this number each time you call your insurance company and having it on hand will make your life easier.


Ask the company about when (and how) the insurance adjuster will contact you.  The time frame may vary from 1-2 weeks to 3-4 months, pending on the backlog and severity of the incident.  Sometimes, it could be as long as 5 to 6 months.  So, let me re-emphasize, call AS SOON AS YOU CAN.


The insurance adjuster is often the one who will come to your house to assess the damage and will take care of your claim to make sure that you get properly reimbursed for your damages.  (Note: after storms, they may physically have another person do the inspection for the claim).


You want to make your adjuster your friend.  They are there to help you.  And, you want them to give you the maximum compensation.  Remember that you get more with honey than you do with vinegar, so be nice and easy to work with.  You don’t want the adjuster to dread calling you.


At the same time, recognize that the adjuster works for the insurance company and not for you.  Part of their job also to save money for their insurance company, so be aware of that.  Below, I will give you some tips to help with this balance and handle things objectively.


·     Document your losses (with pictures and videos)

Include a list of damaged personal items (many don’t realize they can be compensated for this).  If possible include the date of purchase and approximate value of personal items (and if you have receipts, that’s even better).


·     Keep samples of your materials (before they’re thrown away)

If you have flooring or paneling or other items that are being removed, be sure to keep small samples (and take pictures).  Insurance companies will use the materials and run them through the I-tel system to calculate replacement costs for your items.  Having a sample on hand will help you ensure that you get the same level and quality of what you had and will give you documentation if you want to challenge the results and/or use them for material selection for later.


I can’t even begin to tell you how often the adjuster/inspector (who is a generalist) misses when it comes to some of the specifics on building materials such as flooring, wainscoting, moldings, etc.  You want to make sure you are able to get your full value.


Generally, most insurance companies will give you full replacement value and replace “like for like” (meaning that while you may not be able to get the same exact item (as it may be discontinued), you should be compensated for the same value of the product.  From there, you can choose to upgrade (and pay the difference) or downgrade (and often apply the savings elsewhere).  More about this in Section 6.


·     Keep records of what you spend (and keep receipts)

Be sure to keep receipts for everything related to repair and/or anything due to the damage.  This would include receipts for anyone who did clean up, hotels and meals if you need to stay somewhere else (be sure to get approval from your insurance company…sometimes there per diem limit).  Also, bear in mind that if you or your family takes care of some clean items, document your time, as most insurance companies will compensate you for this.


·     Keep a claims diary

I would start a notebook that contains all the contact info for each of the people you’re dealing with at the insurance company.  Make notes on the date and issues discussed.  Later, you’ll also want to add info for the contractors you meet with.  It helps to have everything in one place.

Also, keep copies of whatever you send to your insurance company.


·     Always ask your insurance company about the next steps and timing

If possible sign up for text or email alerts if possible.  Make notes on your calendar for when you want to follow up with them.





3.  Tips for filing with FEMA


FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) is meant to help disaster victims pay for necessities and start to get back on their feet.  This may include grants to help pay for emergency repairs, temporary housing, underinsured personal property, essential house hold items, moving and storage, vehicle, medical and other disaster related expenses that aren’t covered by your insurance.


Note:  you should file with BOTH your insurance company and FEMA.  This way, you will get the maximum allowance.  And, don’t wait until your insurance claim is settled with your insurance company to register for FEMA assistance as you may miss deadlines.  And, the longer you wait, the longer it will be to get funding (and eventually funding may run out).  Always file with your insurance company first (see Section 2).


Limitations on FEMA Assistance

The challenge with FEMA is that the amount granted is usually much lower than what’s needed to fully recover and it’s a very slow process (due to red tape).  Often it can take many months for compensation.


Whether you believe you qualify or not, FEMA registration can be a prerequisite to other relief.  And, you have nothing to lose for filing.  Generally, filing on the phone is easier than filing online, and if there is a local recovery center in your community, consider filing in person.  They often have many other resources available to help you.  They often have reps from SBARed Cross, and Salvation Army, volunteer attorneys, and accountants, and others  Sometimes, they also have supplies to help you.


Answer all questions honestly and completely.  You can be prosecuted for fraud if you don’t.


If you want to apply for FEMA relief, you can do so here.


Read all letters and documents that you receive from FEMA.  After you register, you’ll get a letter telling you your status and/or outcome.  Note:  often these letters include requests for more information, and you’ll want to send that information back to them quickly so they can process your claim faster.  Remember, they are dealing with thousands of people, and usually it’s on a first come first serve basis, so it’s in your better interest to respond quickly.


Please note that there are limits on FEMA relief.  The maximum amount is $33,300 and based on an NPR article the average grant is closer to $3,000 to $4,000.  FEMA often pays for hotel/rent, food, and some other supplies may be in addition to this.  Things can vary based on the storm, allocation from the government and your qualifications.


Please note that not everyone who applies for FEMA assistance qualifies.  And, in some circumstances, they also offer Small Business Administration Loans that you can apply for, so you may want to inquire about this.  You will need to pay these loans back (+ interest of course).


There may be many reasons that your application is denied including lack of credit history, you did not file tax returns, you do not have the ability to repay, you live in a designated flood zone and did not have the required insurance coverage and other reasons.


FEMA does not cover the following:

– Small businesses (but there are small business loans available)

– Secondary homes


FEMA vs Home Insurance

For most people, the FEMA grant funds are not usually sufficient to cover all of your needs.  They are meant to be supplemental to your insurance.  There are also loans available, but these do need to be repaid with interest.  FEMA can also help you find other resources for your recovery.


And, don’t forget to update FEMA once you receive your settlement from your insurance company.  FEMA is meant to supply supplemental benefits.  And, Federal assistance may have to be repaid if it is duplicated by insurance.


Also, note that the IRS has advice on disasters.  You may be able to deduct losses that were uninsured and not reimbursed from your taxes.  Sometimes, after federal disasters, you may be able to take the deduction from the previous year’s taxes (via an amended return) and you may get a refund to put towards your recovery.  FEMA is a grant program so funds do not need to be repaid nor declared as income.





4.  Protect your house from further damage – take care of all immediate dangers or issues that could cause more damage (primarily water and/or mold)


This step is often called mitigation.  You want to make sure all water is removed immediately. The longer the water sits there, the more damage you’ll have (and higher your expenses will be…and the longer it will take to make your house habitable again).


Sitting water can be very damaging.  It could cause structural issues as well as mold.  Mold can develop in 48 hours, so make sure you remove all water and all moisture.    Often, this is best handled for by professional mitigation and restoration companies.  They have the proper equipment to remove water (and dry out your home quickly) as well as handle many dangerous and unpleasant jobs.  You also want to remove any sheet rock where water has been present (remove 18 inches above the highest mark that the water reached.)


If you are covered by insurance, your insurance will cover these expenses (and they may even recommend a company to help you).  But, be sure to report this to your insurance quickly and confirm that you are covered with this, as these emergency services can be quite costly (and you don’t want to be stuck with this large bill).   At the same time, don’t be penny-wise and pound foolish here and attempt to do this yourself (or use a non-specialist such as a handyman or general contractor).  They, generally, do not have the proper equipment and can’t remove the water and moisture as fast, so this will cost you later if it isn’t done right.





5.  Before you do other repairs, find out if your home is located in a Special Flood Hazard area


If your home is in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), this may add additional costs to repair or rebuild your home to bring it into building code compliance.  After major disasters, sometimes the lines are redrawn.  This certainly happened after Super storm Sandy and as a result, many homes were required to be elevated.


This can be rather expensive and it’s never fun.  You often either need to pay large amounts for jacking up a house or else your house may not be insurable (which means that if something happens to your house in the future you won’t be covered, and the value of your home will severely decrease as others won’t want to buy it).  Or, you may be faced with extremely high flood insurance which is both costly and also can reduce the value of your home as potential new buyers won’t want to pay this either.


Make sure that you’re compliant with current building codes.  These codes require houses to be built to certain minimum standards.  In areas prone to hurricanes, for example, buildings must be able to withstand high winds.  Some of these changes may entail different windows, building materials, and design plans and most likely your insurance company won’t pay for these extra costs.


Tread here with caution.  Before you do any more repairs (aside from the obvious immediate safety issues (see Section 4), find out your options.  Too many people that have had to spend over $100,000 in repairs to learn this lesson the hard way.  Don’t let it happen to you.  Find out the situation first, and then decide next steps.





6.  Get repair estimates from contractors


You’ll want to get written estimates from licensed contractors.  If the damage is expensive, you’ll probably want to get 3 estimates (and sometimes insurance companies will require that you get 3 estimates).  Please note that it’s important to get licensed contractors for this type of work.  Not only is this important for safety and quality of workmanship, but also your insurance company will require this for them to reimburse you for the costs.


Make sure the estimates specify the materials used and the specific scope of work.  Often insurance companies will require line item prices.  If you get these, it will speed up the approval process from your insurance carrier.


Also, have your contractors review the estimate your insurance company provided to make sure that it’s fair and complete.  More often than not, insurance companies are missing items in their estimates.  It’s possible that they are doing this to save money; it’s also very possible that the adjuster (who is usually a generalist, rather than a specialist) missed items that they didn’t realize are necessary.


So, have each of your contractors review the documents.  Usually, they will be able to find you additional funding from the insurance company.  


Choose your contractors carefully.  Follow up with their references, check your local licensing agencies to make sure their license is current and in good standing.  Check out their reviews online on places such as Yelpand Angie’s List.


Be sure to have a written and signed contract BEFORE providing any deposit.  Make sure the contract is clear on the payment schedule.  As you write checks, keep copies of the checks and get receipts from the contractors.


Do not pay ANY contractor the full amount of the costs up front!


Always ask to see a copy of the permits before they start work.  If they tell you a job does not require a permit verify that information with your city or county permitting office 


See section 7 if there are discrepancies from the real costs from the contractors and the amounts granted by your insurance company.





7.  If there are big discrepancies on cost, contact your insurance company…and check the numbers


There often will be a difference between the settlement offer from your insurance company provides and the actual costs to restore your home.  There may be many reasons for this including adjusters trying to save money for their company, or the adjuster may not know all the steps needed for the repair, or they may not know the correct cost for the items.


Or, there could be regional costs differences (insurance companies, generally, use national figures, but if you are in a higher cost of living area, labor costs may be higher).  Or the adjuster may not have correctly assessed the value of the materials in your home (especially if you have more expensive items).  Or, there may be additional costs that come up as you or a contractor discovers additional areas that need to be repaired.  Some of these are unknown until walls and floors are ripped up.  Or, the cost of labor and materials may have increased due to the storm (and lack of supply).


This is normal…in fact, it’s VERY common.  So, be sure to submit the estimates that your contractors provided.  Usually, the insurance company will reimburse you for this.  But, you’ll want to get this approved BEFORE the work is done.


A few items to make sure are included in the insurance settlement

Here are a few “watch out” items that may be overlooked in the insurance claim.  Often, your insurance adjuster will not volunteer this information, so it will be your job to check your claim to make sure it’s included (or added if it’s missing.


Overhead and Profit – What is it?

Most insurance companies provide a line item or items for overhead and profit.  It’s usually 10% and 10% (or 20% altogether).  This is to cover the overhead and profit for the contractor (who may be overseeing many subcontractors).  This is normal and you (and/or your contractor) should be compensated for this.  If it’s missing, ask your adjuster about this.


Sales Tax

This is often overlooked in the process.  You will need to pay your contractors and suppliers sales tax…so the insurance company needs to pay you for this.  Make sure it’s included, many times this is missing!


Temporary living expenses

If your house is inhabitable, most insurance policies will cover costs for temporary living.  (Same happens if you need to be out of the house for a week or two for sanding and refinishing or other shorter term projects).  Please check with your insurance company as most have a limit on the number of days/months as well as per diemamount.  Usually, meals and extra transportation costs are covered as well. But, check with them to see what’s covered.  And, if it isn’t, you may be able to get some compensation from FEMA if your area was declared a FEMA territory (see Section 3).


Getting paid by the insurance company

Every insurance company works differently and there are differences in policies.  But, usually (if you are covered) the insurance company will compensate you for Replacement Value (RCV)…i.e. the current cost to restore you to where you were before the damage was done.   Others may only compensate for Actual Cash Value (ACV) which means they deduct a portion for depreciation.


If you are lucky enough to be compensated for full replacement value, the insurance company usually they will only give you a portion (usually around 70%) of the cost up front (after they have received estimates from your licensed contractor(s).  They usually won’t release the remaining 30% until AFTER the work was completed and you have submitted proof that the work was done (e.g. via invoices/checks and/or pictures).  They do this to avoid people taking the insurance money and not actually doing the work.  In addition, if you still have a mortgage on your house, the check will often need to be co-signed by your bank which holds the mortgage to your house as they have a stake in the condition and value of your home.  The bank will, generally, pay as the work is done, and this can often cause additional delays.


Some items that may not be covered by the insurance company

Trees and shrubbery: Most insurance companies will pay up to $500 for the removal of trees or shrubs that have fallen on your home.  But, they won’t pay to remove trees that have fallen causing a mess in your yard.  And, sometimes, this can be quite costly.


Upgrades that you made and didn’t notify your insurance company about.  If you added an addition or did a kitchen remodel or added a bathroom (as an example), and you didn’t notify your insurance carrier about this, they often will not cover you for this.  Generally, this should be done while home improvements are being made and a certificate of occupancy is issued.  But, some people either don’t do this or forget to.


Getting paid by the insurance company

Once you get the point where you and your insurance company agree on the claim amount, they will you issue you and/or your mortgage company a check. This may take 2 to 3 weeks to arrive.  (Of course it may have taken weeks (or months to get to this point), but once you do, you should get the money relatively quickly.  If there are still areas under dispute, or that are unknown at this point, usually the insurance company will at least give you a partial payment so you can get started with the work.


See SSection 7 and Section 8 if there are still discrepancies.


And, most insurance companies allow you up to 1 year to file for insurance as well as addenda or things that may get added if there are additional problems/expenses, provided that they are related to claim and the damage that it created.  (They will not cover upgrades, nor anything not related to the damage nor mistakes that you or your contractors make).





8.  If there are still discrepancies or disputes with your insurance company, contact a public insurance adjuster


The insurance company provides an insurance adjuster free of charge.  But, remember, the adjuster works for the insurance company; they don’t work for you.  (And, part of their job is to save the insurance company money).  The bigger the claim, the more likely you’re going to run into more resistance from the company.


If you are still having issues coming to agreements with your insurance company, you may want to hire a public adjuster.  The public adjuster works for you, and their job is to get you the maximum compensation for your claim.  But, they do charge for this service.  They are experts in this area – both in knowing what needs to happen to repair your house and in dealing with the insurance company.  Often, they will find you additional funding that will justify their costs.  You can find one here or at the National Associate of Independent Insurance Adjusters.


If you do decide to use a public adjuster, first check references and qualifications by contacting the Better Business Bureau and your state insurance department.






9.  Make the necessary repairs


Important Note: You can use whichever contractor you prefer.  DO NOT be pressured to use the one that your insurance and/or mitigation company recommends.  This is not legal.  It is very likely that some of these companies are getting kickbacks or discounts from their preferred vendors.

·      Pick the contractor(s) that you feel most comfortable with – the one(s) you feel will do the best job (and get the job done quickly and efficiently).

·      Also, be aware that many restoration or mitigation companies typically charge a premium on their service (vs. standard contractors or specialists).  Usually, they take a 40% margin.  Remember the 20% of Overhead and Profit that I mentioned in Section 7?  That covers additional expenses, but many of these mitigation companies are pocketing an EXTRA 20% on top of that.  What does that mean to you?  Usually, it means that you either pay more…or pay the same but get lower value materials.  Most customers aren’t aware of this.

·      Keep receipts for your payments.





10.  Additional steps to take after the storm if your house was on the market – Before and after the storm


If your house was on the market or under contract before the storm hit, expect delays as well as complications.  Your next steps will be partially dependent on where you are in the process, the damage (if any to your home), and any implications to the market value of your home and insurance rates for your area.

·     Assess and take care of the immediate damage

o   Same as above, but time may be of the essence for you.


·     Discuss the situation with your real estate agent

o   You’ll want to get your real estate agent’s advice on next steps as well as implications on your timeline as well as the value of your house.  If you didn’t have any damage, and/or the damage is minor, you’re in luck and you may just need to pay for the repairs and get a new appraisal.

o   Importantly, you’ll want to discuss the implications of the storm to the market value of your home.  Sometimes, after a serious hurricane, home prices can rapidly decrease, especially if you are in a flood zone or near the coast.  This can be driven by lower demand for homes in your area as well as increased insurance costs that few people want to pay.  And, of course, if you are now designated as a Special Flood Hazard area (see Section 5), there may be additional requirements for renovations and/or to obtain flood insurance (e.g. elevating your house).

§  Elevating your home and building to new standards can be rather expensive.  Please bear in mind, that if you choose not to do this your house may no longer insurable.  The issue here is that a) you could have another flood (or some other issue to your house) and won’t have coverage and b) you will have a lot of trouble selling the house as buyers won’t be able to get a mortgage on the house without insurance.


·     Order a new appraisal and/or inspection

o   Usually, after a major hurricane or natural disaster, the banks will require a new appraisal and/or inspection.  Sometimes, it’s a full appraisal, sometimes it’s just a quick visual inspection.  If you didn’t suffer any real damage to the house, you are in luck.  But, you want to quickly clear any debris such as tree branches, etc so that the appraiser and/or inspector has clear access and visual view of the house.





11.  What to do when you need to sell your house super-fast and you just can’t wait for the insurance money


There are many times when people need to sell their house quickly (e.g. after inheriting a home, after a divorce, if you relocated and bought a new home (for a job transfer), or you’re behind on the mortgage or you just need the cash from the house).  And, of course, when hurricanes and other disasters happen, it may increase the need to sell quickly…as well as delay the process.


If you live in Eastern North Carolina and find yourself in this situation, we can help.  We have buyers that will buy your house “as is” and buy the house for CASH.  This way you won’t need to wait for your insurance company or FEMA to pay for the repairs, nor come out of pocket for additional costs.  We can usually close in as little as 2 to 4 weeks allowing you to put this headache behind you and move on with the rest of your life, and even offer relocation assistance to help get you in to a home.





12. Who to call if the numbers just don’t make sense and you want to get out of this Catch 22?


What happens if you can’t afford to make the repairs?  Or what happens if the value of your home won’t justify the expenses needed to fix it?  Or what happens if you don’t have insurance?  These sorts of problems frequently occur after a hurricane, flood or other natural disasters.


This can easily happen if the repair costs are astronomical or if you need to pay high prices to elevate your home to meet new building standards (or take on other new requirements).  It can also happen if housing prices rapidly decline because the whole area has been decimated or if flood insurance prices go through the roof.


When this happens, demand for homes rapidly declines as very few people want to live in a flood prone and damaged area.  Many people may decide, that because of the hurricane, they want to sell their homes the supply and demand curve can flip on a dime and in some cases may take 5 to 10 years to recover.


The disaster of this hurricane may leave you feeling trapped, and all options can sound bad and terribly expensive and you may not have the funding to repair or replace your home.  In those type of cases, you may want to consider selling your house to a cash investor.  They can take the house off of your hands and then they will repair and resell it allowing you to move forward. 

If you live in Eastern North Carolina, you can call me.


Jon Myers "The Vested Realtor"

Jon Myers

(910) 537-0533  

Vested in our client’s and community’s needs.




Posted in Sellers
Sept. 8, 2018

Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Report


- The Report 2018 -


Download the 2018 Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Report


The overall fundamentals in luxury housing are stable and strong, according to the highly anticipated 2018 edition of “The Report” presented by the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury® program. 


Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Report 2018


   Released at the beginning of each year, The Report is a comprehensive guide to high-end property buying and selling, covering annual trends, statistics, demographics and analysis from a wide range of vantage points. For the very first time, The Report brings together a powerful knowledge base provided by local market experts affiliated with the Coldwell Banker® brand and leading luxury insiders from The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, Wealth-X, Unique Homes and others.


Here is a snapshot of what’s inside The Report for 2018:

“Year in Review”: Significant Trends and Insights of 2017– The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing analyzed median sales prices, number of sales, median sales-price-to-list-price ratios, median days on market and price per square foot in the top 5% and 10% of nearly 50 U.S. luxury metro areas — dubbed “Power Markets” — to identify key trends coming out of 2017.

2017 Landmark Listings  – The editors of Unique Homes compiled the year’s noteworthy residential listings across the globe ahead of their May/June 2018 “Ultimate Homes” issue.

Ultra-High-Net-Worth Growth – The rise and diversification of property ownership among ultra-high-net-worth individuals, according to Wealth-X.

Top Luxury Property Must-Haves – A collection of the most-wanted luxury property attributes and amenities as curated by the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing.

Power Markets: A Comparison of U.S. Luxury Metro Areas – The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing analyzed median sales prices, number of sales, median sales-price-to-list-price ratios, median days on market and median price-per-square foot in the top 5% and 10% of nearly 50 U.S. luxury metro areas, identified as “Power Markets” — the destinations where the wealthiest and most powerful players tend to own property.

Luxury Buyer and Seller Markets to Watch – The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing examined metrics such as sales-price-to-list-price ratios, median days on market, median list price and inventory to determine five buyer markets and five seller markets to watch.

Domestic Spotlight: What Defines Luxury in U.S. Resort, Vertical, Lifestyle and Evolving Markets?  What are the most important emotional and financial considerations for affluent homebuyers when making a purchase decision? The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing took a look at 12 distinct locales across four key market types — resort, vertical, lifestyle and evolving — and some of the leading indicators used to determine their desirability.

International Spotlight: The Most Desirable Cities for Real Estate– Based on a recent report from Wealth-X, five global cities were analyzed for luxury real estate desirability.

Download the full edition of The Report, above.

Posted in Luxury
Sept. 5, 2018

Time to Sell?



5 Reasons You Should Sell This Fall!


Sell in the Fall

Here are five reasons why listing your home for sale this fall makes sense.

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains very strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase…and are in the market right now! In fact, more often than not, multiple buyers end up competing with each other to buy the same homes.

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now 

Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply needed for a normal housing market. This means that, in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in the market. This is good news for homeowners who have gained equity as their home values have increased. However, additional inventory could be coming to the market soon!

Historically, a homeowner stayed in his or her home for an average of six years, but that number has hovered between nine and ten years since 2011. Many homeowners have a pent-up desire to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners will be given the freedom to move.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until this other inventory comes to market before you decide to sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Today’s competitive environment has forced buyers to do all that they can to stand out from the crowd, including getting pre-approved for their mortgage financing. This makes the entire selling process much faster and much simpler as buyers know exactly what they can afford before home shopping. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, the average time it took to close a loan was 44 days.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If your next move will be into a premium or luxury home, now is the time to move up! The abundance of inventory available in these higher price ranges has created a buyer’s market for anybody looking to purchase these homes. This means that if you are planning on selling a starter or trade-up home, your home will sell quickly AND you’ll be able to find a premium home to call your own!

According to CoreLogic, prices are projected to appreciate by 5.1% over the next year. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

5. It’s Time to Move on With Your Life 

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you feel you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.


Posted in Sellers
Sept. 4, 2018

The More You Know!


Rents Are on The Rise: Don’t Get Caught in The Rental Trap!

Rental Trap

There are many benefits to homeownership, but one of the top benefits is protecting yourself from rising rents by locking in your housing cost for the life of your mortgage.

Don’t Become Trapped 

A recent article by Apartment List addressed rising rents by stating:

Our national rent index is up 0.1 percent month-over-month, marking the sixth straight month of increasing rents. Year-over-year growth now stands at 1.2 percent.”

The article continues, explaining that:

Rents increased month-over-month in 62 of the nation’s 100 largest cities, down significantly from the 85 cities that saw rents rise last month. That said, rents are still up year-over-year in most of the nation’s largest markets — 77 of the 100 largest cities have seen rents increase over the past twelve months.”

Additionally, Urban Land Magazine explained that,

Currently, nearly half (47 percent) of renter households are cost burdened (i.e., paying more than 30 percent of income for housing), while 25 percent (totaling 11 million households) are severely cost burdened, paying over 50 percent of their total household income for rent.”

These households struggle to save for a rainy day and pay other bills, including groceries and healthcare.

It’s Cheaper to Buy Than Rent

As we have previously mentioned, the results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Reportfrom Trulia show that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

The updated numbers show that the range is an average of 2% less expensive in Honolulu (HI), all the way up to 48.9% less expensive in Detroit (MI), and 26.3% nationwide!

Know Your Options

Perhaps you have already saved enough to buy your first home. A nationwide survey of about 1,166 renters found that 34% said they rent because they cannot afford to buy, 29% said they cannot afford to buy where they live, and nearly a quarter (24%) were saving to buy.

Many first-time homebuyers who believe that they need a large down payment may be holding themselves back from their dream homes. As we have reported before, in many areas of the country, a first-time homebuyer can save for a 3% down payment in less than two years. You may have already saved enough!

Bottom Line

Don’t get caught in the trap that so many renters are currently in. If you are ready and willing to buy a home, find out if you are able. Let’s get together to determine if you can qualify for a mortgage today!

Posted in Buyers
Sept. 3, 2018

Supply vs Demand

The price of any item is determined by the supply of that item, as well as the demand for that item in its market. The same is true in real estate. As the inventory of homes available for sale shrinks, and the demand that buyers have for those homes continues to grow, prices increase. Let's get together to discuss the supply and demand of homes in our market!

April 16, 2018

Mortgage Interest Rates Have Begun to Level Off

Whether you are a buyer searching for your first home, or a homeowner looking to move up to your next home, you should pay attention to where mortgage interest rates are heading.

Over the course of 2018, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey, rates have increased from 3.95% in the first week of January to 4.40% in the first week of April.

At first glance, the difference between these numbers in such a short amount of time could be concerning, but if we look at the graph below, we’ll see that rates have already started to level off and return to the mark set in February.First Time Home Buyers, For Buyers, For Sellers, Interest Rates, Move-Up Buyers

This is great news for anyone looking to buy a home this spring! The spring is always one of the busiest seasons for home buying, and with rates increasing even more, buyers have come off the fence to lock in great rates! This is still great advice as the experts believe that rates will continue to rise throughout the year.

Every month, Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Realtors release their projections for where they believe mortgage rates will be in the coming months. If we take the average of what each of the four organizations is predicting for the second quarter, rates are expected to rise to about 4.48% by June.

That average climbs to 4.73% by the end of this year.

So, what does this mean?

Waiting until the end of the year to buy, with rates still projected to increase, will end up costing you more money on your monthly mortgage payment. For every $250,000 you need to borrow to purchase your dream home, you will spend $49.21 more per month, $590.52 per year, and over $17,700 by the end of your 30-year mortgage.

And that’s just the impact of your interest rate going up!

Bottom Line

If you are ready and willing to purchase a home, find out if you’re able to. Let’s get together to evaluate your needs and help you with next steps!

April 16, 2018

A Tale of Two Markets

  • A trend that has been emerging for some time now is the contrast between inventory & demand in the Premium & Luxury Markets vs. the Starter & Trade-Up Home Markets and what that’s, in turn, doing to prices!
  • Inventory continues to rise in the luxury & premium home markets which is causing prices to cool.
  • Demand continues to rise with low inventory in the starter & trade-up home markets, causing prices to rise!