Network Wilmington Real Estate News

June 14, 2017

The Top 11 Reasons to Hire a Professional Vacation Rental Manager

1. Quicker Screening & Sourcing Of Renters

At Network Realty, our Professional Vacation Managers have a variety of tools at their disposal to help them find & screen potential renters.  It used to be the case that individual property managers could have a great deal of success marketing their properties using the term "by-owner", but those days are a thing of the past.  

Due to the way technology has changed in the last few years, there's no way for an individual manager to compete with the level of distribution a Professional can achieve.  The additional property management fees are quickly offset by the sheer amount of revenue professionals can pull in for your property.  Plus, you won't have to deal with the headache of management.

 

2. Get More Free Time

The amount of time it takes to manage even a single Vacation Rental property can quickly add up to several hours per week - especially during peak season.  You're in charge of handling everything from housekeeping & maintenance to reservations & guest requests.  

Not to mention - you've got to find people to rent the property in the first place!  Couldn't you find a better use for your time somewhere else?  We know you could.

 

3. Spend More Time Looking For Other Vacation Rental Investments

When you get back all that free time by using a Professional Property Manager, you can put all your focus back on what put you in this position in the first place - a great investment!  When you think about it, isn't it a win-win situation?  

You'll get all the benefits of owning a Vacation Rental property (passive income, a place to vacation when you need it) without any of the drawbacks (the major time investment).

 

4. You Can Finally Sleep In

Usually, when you're the property manager of your Vacation Rental, it's your job to do everything.  But you can rest easy when you leave the job to Network Realty.  That's because we'll be the ones watching over your property when a guest has a problem in the middle of the night.  

We have a lot of experience in this area, so you can trust we'll respond to your guests in a timely & respectable manner.

 

5. No More Tax Headaches

Another time vacuum for individual property managers is staying on top of local & state compliance laws.  We're always keeping track of those changes, so never fear.  We'll even file your sales & lodging taxes!  

 

6. Handling Customer Requests

Often, individual property managers underestimate how much time they'll have to spend responding to vacation rental customer requests.  But just like any service business, our industry comes with a great deal of required hospitality thrown in.  Lucky for property owners, that's where we shine.  

That means you won't have to take on a whole separate job like you would if you were managing your own property. 

 

7. We'll Protect Your Property While You're Away

No one wants to feel that they're bound like a prisoner to their Vacation Rental property.  That's why we want to help you by providing all the custom care your renters could hope for - while freeing you up to live your life.  All of this while your property is continually earning passive income for you and your family.

 

8. Get A Better Bang For Your Buck

The subject of yield management is often a difficult one for individual property owners to get right.  Unless you've had direct experience maximizing rates, occupancy, & gross revenue, it's very difficult to find that sweet spot.  

Our Professional Property Managers can help you by figuring out the perfect balance between how much you can legitimately charge without risking scaring away potential guests.

 

9. Laying Down The Law

The Vacation Rental Industry, specifically it's regulations & laws, is always changing.  Just like trying to keep up with a sport you only have a slight understanding of, this can be one of the most confusing aspects of "by owner" property management.  

To avoid getting yourself into any potential legal battles, let our highly invested Property Managers take the lead here.

 

10. We've Got A Team Behind Us

Like we mentioned before, it takes a lot of your free time to respond to maintenance & service requests.  Not to mention, you usually have to find those providers yourself.  That's not the case when you work with a Professional Property Management company.  

We handle all the "behind the scenes" logistics, & already have well-established relationships with our providers.  This means that service requests we send out to our providers are usually processed faster than general requests coming from individuals.

 

11. Other Connections With Providers

Another benefit of using a Professional Property Management company is the fact that you don't have to be at the beck & call of your guests when maintenance issues arise.  That's because we always schedule routine maintenance on all of our properties.  

That way, they're much less likely to need emergency repairs.  If any emergencies do occur, however, we have a great history with our service providers - so you can trust they'll do the job right the first time.

 

Have you seen light?  Contact us to see all the management services we provide today!

Posted in Vacation Rentals
June 9, 2017

Important Resolutions New Home Buyers Should Implement

If you are thinking about buying a home, now is a good time for you to analyze your financial habits. While financial planning is always beneficial, it can directly help you if you are planning to make a serious financial commitment like buying a home. Here are some resolutions that you can adopt to keep your finances in check while preparing to purchase a home. 

Pay Attention To Your Credit History 
Potential homeowners try to do everything that they possibly can to improve their credit before they apply for a mortgage. When it comes to approving a mortgage, lenders place a lot of emphasis on the applicant's credit history. You can improve your credit score by paying off your debts. Any positive changes in your credit score will enhance your ability to get favorable terms on your mortgage. Be sure to avoid applying for credit close to the purchasing date of your home. Lenders will look at that as a red flag. 

Pay Down Any Liabilities 
Paying off any financial liabilities before purchasing a home will help lenders see you as a stable when you apply for a mortgage. You will have more financial freedom in regards to paying for moving expenses or furnishing your home. Try to focus on getting rid of the high interest debt first. 

Set Up An Emergency Fund 
Emergencies are always certain to pop up. Setting up an emergency fund is a symbol that you are in good control of your finances, which is especially important as you prepare to purchase a home. Having an emergency fund can stop you from using the finances that are set aside for your home purchase and using them to help with a car repair or surgery. Always make sure that there is money set aside in case home repairs are required. 

Set A Budget 
Budgeting is an important financial tool. When creating a budget, note the increased costs that home ownership may bring. You'll likely have to pay property taxes, homeowners association fees, and even home maintenance charges. Budgeting helps you put money aside so that you will prepared to deal with those charges. 

Use The Budget 
Live within that budget so that you can get a good idea of how everything will work in the future. It is important that you use the budget to see if there are any areas that should be adjusted before you purchase the home. 

Create A Home Buying Fund 
If you have not created a home buying fund, you should do so immediately. Add any extra money to the fund so that you can open up new avenues once you purchase the home. Set aside some money to deal with charges such as private mortgage insurance, closing costs, home inspections, and appraisal fees. 

Get Familiar With Home Maintenance 
Your home will require basic maintenance to remain healthy. If you want to learn about basic home maintenance, attend a workshop, watch online tutorials, or read some books. This will help you save thousands of dollars in maintenance costs in the future.
Posted in Buying a Home
May 31, 2017

New Construction or Existing Home?



When looking for a home, most people have the choice between an existing, already-built home and new construction. There are a lot of reasons to buy a new home, but there also are some drawbacks that you need to consider.

Customization
If you are building your home from scratch rather than buying a "spec" or model home, you will have the ability to customize the home to your liking. If you want to be able to design everything in the home, you will need to work with a custom builder. Some of the things you will need to decide are how big the home will be, how many bedrooms and baths it will have and where rooms will go. Keep in mind that going the custom route will increase the cost.

Neighborhood
Building a new home can allow you to be a little bit more picky about where you live. Wherever you can find a buildable lot for sale, you can build your home. With whatever area you choose, whether it's a new subdivision or an infill lot inside the city, you want to make sure you do your research to find about schools, crime rates, and other vital information. And you want to make sure you understand all local codes and zoning restrictions to be sure you can build the size and type of home you want.

Timing
When building a new home, you have to time your move properly. Remember that whatever building time frame you are given is an estimate and can be affected by weather, the ability of subcontractors and a variety of other factors, so you need to have some flexibility built into your moving plans. If you own another home, you will have to decide whether you want to sell it and live somewhere temporarily while your home is being finished or wait to sell it until after your home is complete.

Ongoing costs
Though building a new home should cut down on your initial maintenance costs, because everything is new and unlikely to break down or fail, there still are ongoing costs of owning a home that apply whether it's new or not. These include things like lawn and landscape care and HVAC maintenance. The good news with a new home is that it should be many years before you have to worry about things such as replacing appliances or fixing your roof.

There are many things to consider when deciding on whether to buy a new home or an existing one. However, the advantages of a new home usually outweigh any drawbacks for most buyers.

 

Posted in Buying a Home
May 1, 2017

How To Screen Vacation Rental Tenants

One of, if not the most important aspect of managing a successful vacation rental property is the quality of your tenants over time.  

Think about it like this: if your rental property is like a human body, the tenants are the food that body takes in.  In the same way junk food & too many sweets can destroy the health of your body, terrible tenants can wreak havoc on your vacation rental property.

Unfortunately, the screening process many property managers use is completely hands off and is often a silly form on the checkout page of their website.  This is a faulty solution and allows bad tenants to slip through the cracks.  

But it's also not as easy as calling the person or sending a personal email to them.  That's because it all comes down to the quality of the questions you ask.  Ask the wrong ones, and you're in the same leaky boat as before.  Ask questions that are overly common, and the tenants will have prepared answers (lies) for you.

That's why you need to know how to screen vacation rental tenants the right way.  But don't worry, that's what I'm here for - so read on.

Avoid "yes" or "no" questions.

Throughout your screening process (and life in general) you should avoid asking questions that lead to "yes" or "no" answers.  That's because it is much more difficult to catch someone in a lie when they're asked this type of question.

It's important to know when they're lying because the whole point of the tenant screening process is the figure out how responsible they are.  Like I said, it's very hard to do this using "yes" or "no" questions, so we need to use open-ended questions instead.

These types of questions force potential tenants to think about their answer, making them less likely to lie.  Also, if they do lie, it is infinitely easier to catch it in this situation.

That's why you need to remove "yes" or "no" questions from your tenant screening process forever.  Open-ended questions lead to more informative answers and make lies easier to detect.

Be honest about any flaws with the property or location.

As it is with so many other aspects of life, honesty is the best policy when it comes to dealing with potential tenants.  That's because there's nothing they hate more than negative surprises.  

For example, the worst case scenario after telling them about an issue with the property is that that simply choose not to rent it.  

On the other hand, if you fail to disclose this information, they're sure to leave negative reviews all over the web about your company.  Sure, losing the sale is unfortunate in the short term, but those pesky negative reviews can be impossible to get rid of - creating far more problems for your company down the line.

Ultimately, you're always looking for glowingly positive reviews.  If you're honest with the tenant and they still decide to rent with you, there's a significantly higher chance that they'll respect you for it.  

That respect can go a long way in terms of how they treat your property while renting.  In fact, I've even seen tenants leave amazing reviews for "less-than-amazing" vacation rentals - purely because they enjoyed dealing with the property manager.

Another benefit of those positive reviews is that they act as a sort of insurance policy for the property.  The more favorable the reviews, the more people will want to rent the specific property - keeping your pockets happy into the future.

Don't ever feel like you need to hide any potential flaws with your property.  Respect the potential tenants by telling the truth, and they'll tend to reflect that respect back to you.

Trust your gut feeling.

In the end, there's no formula or script to make the renter screening process completely flawless.  Even after implementing all I've described above, you'll still need to use your own best judgment in deciding whether or not to rent to the potential tenant.

That's because the screening process is all about trust on either end.  No matter how well designed your screening questions, they'll never replace good ole' human intuition.

Why is the tenant screening process all about mutual trust?  Well, because if there is a shared feeling of trust between you and the tenant, they'll feel exceedingly worse about damaging your property.  Not to mention, that feeling of trust leads to a far more enjoyable experience on both ends.

Don't rely on your questions alone when you're screening tenants.  Always trust your gut feeling and remember - "If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck - it is a duck".


Any questions we missed? Contact us here today - we can't wait to help!

Posted in Vacation Rentals
April 26, 2017

How to Live in Your Home While It's on the Market

How to Live in Your Home While It's on the Market
It can be difficult to juggle your regular home life while keeping the house in tip-top condition for selling. Making sure your house is always ready for a walkthrough while it's on the market can really make or break the sale. Here are five ways you can live in your home while it's on the market and making sure it performs well.

Keep it Clean
Sellers often believe potential buyers are simply looking at the home and layout when considering to buy, but huge messes can give a house a dirty and unappealing look. You have to be able to clean your home on the daily and making sure it's always ready for a customer to view it. Keeping it clean will make the home more desirable as potential buyers have trouble imagining what the home will look like empty if you have clutter and messes strewn about. While your home is on the market, it should be as clean as if you were expecting guests every single day. You never know when a potential buyer might stop by to view the home.

Boxes in Storage
It's important to completely declutter your home to really give it a fresh and clean feeling. Invest in some temporary storage while you work on moving out of the home while it's on the market. Have all your items packed in boxes and waiting in storage for the big move. This will give the home a simple and clean look, boosting its appeal and will also allow you to be ready and packed.

Minimize to Necessities
The appeal of a nice hotel is that it only provides life's simple necessities. The goal of your home should be to look like a nice and inviting hotel. Cut down all your furniture and items down to simple daily necessities. Anything else should be packed away in boxes and waiting in the storage unit. This will help declutter your home and gives you a head start on the packing.

Live On a Schedule
You never know when a potential buyer could stop by to view your home. Always be ready and live on a temporary schedule. How awkward would it be if you were sleeping in until three in the afternoon and a buyer knocks on your door to take a look at the home? It's important to always be ready. It helps to let your realtor know when your home is available so that they can relay the information to potential buyers and prevent them from showing up unexpectedly.

Minimize Messes Where It Counts
The selling points of most homes are the kitchen, the master bedroom, and the bathrooms. Be sure to always keep these areas as tidy and maintained as possible. Always have them ready for viewing as they could potentially sell your home. If you sleep in the master bedroom, consider temporarily sleeping in a different bedroom while the house is on the market. This will ensure the master bedroom is always ready and clean. Discuss with your family ways they could utilize the three big spaces while also maintaining their cleanliness.
Posted in Selling Your Home
April 25, 2017

The Wells Fargo Championship Comes To Wilmington


As the 2017 Wells Fargo Championship PGA Tour event comes to Wilmington on May 1st through the 7th, the city and surrounding areas are set to benefit in many positive ways. The area will be home to countless activities throughout the week of the event starting April 30. Thousands of people from all across the country and globe will descend on the area and be a great boon for the city and area. 

Outside of the obvious economic impact, a 4-day major event like the Wells Fargo Championship can bring strong, positive effects in housing and real estate markets as well. Below are three ways the Wells Fargo Championship will positive impact the real estate market in Wilmington. 

Public Awareness

Many people across the country have never heard of Wilmington. The Wells Fargo Championship will bring the city to millions of people, either the thousands in attendance or the millions watching from their homes. 

These increased eyeballs will see the absolute best of the city and area. You never know who might be watching that thinks the area will be perfect for them and move themselves or their business here.

Enthusiastic Residents

PGA Tour events are big deals. They help bring in attention, tourists, and extra revenue for the city. While they are big events, they do not bring nearly as many negative aspects like Olympic or World Cup games do. 

Instead, the city rallies around events like this and it brings people together. Events like these cause home and business owners to take pride in their city and residence. That will boost property values for most people living in the Wilmington area.

Hardcore Golf Fans

The absolute die-hard golfer is always looking to golf the next, great course. A great way to show off the best golfing your city has to offer is by hosting a PGA Tour event or major championship. Wilmington has the chance with the Wells Fargo Championship to display the Eagle Point Golf Club for all golf fans to see. Areas with great golf courses often start to see more and more courses open as golf fans move to the area looking for new golf haven.

There is no doubt the event is going to be a major success and will show off to the world the best Wilmington has to offer. All the increased attention, enthusiasm, and golf fans from the Wells Fargo Championship will give the area a great boost, both in the economy and real estate market of southeastern North Carolina. 

Posted in Local Events
March 22, 2017

Home Improvements That Can Increase or Lower Your Home Value



Today’s real estate market is hot, which means that now might be the perfect time to get your home ready to sell. If you want to perform a large-scale home renovation, note that it could affect your property value. Below is a look at some of the best and worst renovations when it comes to their return on investment (ROI).

Renovations that can lower the value of your home.

Additional Bathrooms

The old real estate saying, “kitchens and bathrooms sell homes” does still apply in today’s market. While it may be true, adding an extra bathroom is not an investment that you are certain to recoup. Whether your new bathroom is midrange or upscale, you are only likely to get back about 56 percent of what you invested.

Swimming Pool

It is a well-known fact throughout the real estate industry that swimming pools are poor investments. The reality is that they are often more of a hassle than they are worth to homeowners. They are expensive with initial costs that can range from $30,000 to over $100,000. They are also costly to maintain and can present an enormous legal liability. It is highly unlikely that you will recoup the investment when you sell.

Too Much for the Neighborhood

Expensive remodels that place your home above neighborhood standards are unlikely to get as much in return as you would expect. For example, that second story is unlikely to make a prospective buyer willing to pay more if the home is among single-story homes. The home will seem overpriced even if it has more to offer than neighboring properties.

Backup Generators

While backup generators can be useful during blackouts, they are expensive to install. In all likelihood, you will only recover a fraction of that investment when you sell.

Renovations that can raise the value of your home.

Steel Front Door

Installing a new steel front door can transform your home’s look and feel, which means that it has a significant impact on curb appeal. Other benefits include improvements to both the energy efficiency and security of your home. With its low initial cost, a new steel front door is arguably the one renovation that can give you the most value for your money.

Siding

These days you can get vinyl siding with finishes that resist fading and with lifetime warranties that far surpass those on older siding. Keep in mind that siding plays a significant role in curb appeal as it is one of the first things that prospective buyers see when they pull up to your home.

Solar Panels

A homeowner receives returns on their solar panel investment with lowered electricity bills and tax credits. You can determine the kind of ROI that you will get by dividing the annual benefits by the initial cost.

Attic Insulation

New attic insulation is one of the most cost-effective investments that you can make in your home’s value. The extra insulation will also reduce the amount that you spend on energy.

As you can see, a renovation is not always the best option for improving value. Unless you need extensive work to get your home up to code, it makes sense to think carefully before investing in one.

Posted in DIY
March 21, 2017

5 Tips to Stage Your Home to Sell



Staging a home can be one of the most exciting times for a homeowner. In this crucial time, you don’t want to leave anything undone with your home. In this list, we will discuss five tips to stage your home to sell.

Removing Clutter

Over time, nearly every home will start to become cluttered. Before staging your home is the perfect to start removing clutter. If you need the incentive to get started on this project, think of the valuable items you have that might be lying around. Also, donating gently used items to charity is a big benefit of removing clutter. Having a clutter-free home will let guests have all the space they need to see their potential new living area.

Deep Cleaning Entire Home

After removing clutter from your home, you may notice that time has not been kind to the surfaces of your home. It is wise to deeply clean your entire house before it is staged. You want to present every potential home buyer with a fully cleaned home. There are many areas in a home that can gather dirt and dust. Ensure that you thoroughly clean all floors, as they will have likely amassed a lot of foot traffic.

Give Spare Rooms A Purpose

Each room in your staged home should have some sort of theme. Of course, there are the obvious bedrooms and bathrooms but what about those spare rooms? Many homeowners may feel that bare extra space is all that is needed to entice buyers. However, buyers go into homes thinking of the experiences that they will enjoy in your home. Having a home that is filled with empty rooms doesn’t bode well for creating any imagery for a buyer.

Accenting without Overdecorating

You will want to take the opportunity, when staging your home, to ensure that large surfaces are accented. Some can overdo it with their accents until they have created clutter. Place one to three decorative items on surfaces like tables to add a visual flair to any room. Wall art is another great accenting idea that can be used to add value to your staged home. It is a good idea to use the accenting time of your staging to check the attic for any old decorations that could help out.

Repaint Problem Areas

As you’ve likely seen with your floors, walls are another area that can accumulate dust and dirt. Use a staging as the time to either paint your walls a different color or repaint with the same color choice. Repainting your walls presents a sense of freshness to your home, no matter which color you choose. However, try to avoid any colors that could be off-putting, especially overly bright colors that could be distracting. In closing, there are many benefits associated with staging your home. If you need help in selling your home, please give us a call! Our professionals can help you sell your home as soon as possible.

Posted in Selling Your Home
Feb. 24, 2017

WHAT IS AN FHA 203K LOAN?

Buying a property in need of renovation can be a great way to build equity and get a fantastic deal in real estate. If you don't have the funds to renovate the property, coming up with them on the fly can be a challenge. In this situation, the FHA 203k loan might be the tool that you've been searching for.

What is an FHA 203k Loan?

The basic idea behind an FHA 203k loan is that it makes it possible to borrow the money that you need to buy a property and to rehab it with a single loan. You've got one closing for the project and everything is lumped together. This is often the ideal solution for entrepreneurs that are looking for a way to get the money they need to remodel a house and acquire it at the same time. 

Qualifying for the FHA 203k Loan

While the FHA 203k loan can be a powerful tool for the right person, not everyone will qualify. Basic credit and income requirements will apply for this type of loan. Most banks will require that you have at least a 640 FICO score. Since the loan is backed by the FHA, banks can be a little more lenient with their underwriting standards, but they are still on the hook for the majority of the funds. In addition to meeting underwriting requirements, you'll also have to put up some cash for a down payment. You'll need at least 3.5 percent of the purchase price of the property to get an FHA 203k loan. The value of the home also cannot exceed the maximum FHA lending limit in your area. 

Types of 203k Loans

The FHA 203k program presents you with two different options to pick from, depending on the type of house that you hope to buy and rehab. The streamlined version of the program is perfect for homes that don't need any structural repairs. The maximum amount for repairs on this type of home is $35,000. This is a perfect option if you just need to do cosmetic repairs to the property.

The standard 203k loan is for more intensive repairs. They require you to make at least $5000 of repairs and they allow you to borrow more money for repairs overall.

Considerations

While the FHA 203k loan can be a powerful tool in the right situation, it's not for everyone. One of the downsides of this type of loan is that it takes longer to close. When using an FHA loan, there are more requirements and hoops to jump through. You'll have more paperwork to complete and it takes the bank longer to process. If you're involved in a deal that needs to be closed quickly, the FHA 203k loan may not be ideal.

In addition to the extra time it takes to complete, you'll also have to pay a 1.5% fee for using this loan. Despite the extra time and fees, it is often the only option that makes sense for those hoping to buy a property that needs some work.
Posted in DIY
Feb. 24, 2017

Things to consider when buying a vacation home

The beautiful beaches of southeastern North Carolina are a popular tourist destination for the East Coast and the nation. By extension, it's also a popular place to buy a vacation home as many visitors want to return regularly. If you're considering buying your own coastal North Carolina vacation home, there are a few things to think about.

Affordability

The first thing to consider is affordability. Determining first whether you can afford to have a second home is important. Mortgage companies tend to want higher rates and/or more of a down payment on a second home. It's also important to consider what becomes of the home when you're not using it. Will you have a rental company manage it and rent it out during the times you're not using it? Renting the house out can be a great way to have it earn its keep. A good way to get on top of costs and future costs is to get in touch with local mortgage companies and real estate agents. Firsthand knowledge of the local market is invaluable for choosing the right house for your needs. They can also refer you to property management companies.

Long-Term Value

Another thing to consider before jumping into purchasing a vacation home is whether you will get long-term value from it. Even if your initial reaction to visiting the North Carolina beaches makes you want to buy a vacation home immediately, remember that it's a place you'll be returning to year after year. If you can imagine yourself doing this, then you're on the right track. The other consideration is how far away this location is from where you normally live. If it's within a reasonable distance and you visit it frequently, then the long-term value is there. However, if it's across the country and you can only see yourself reasonably visiting one a year, then that same value is greatly reduced. On the other hand, some of that lost value can be recovered if you intend to rent the house out the rest of the year. If this is your plan, then it's important to make sure the property is located in a high-demand area so it will be attractive to visitors. You should also realize that if the home is rented out for more than 15 days in a month, then the rent is considered income with regards to your taxes.

The main thing is to address all these considerations and concerns before you go to find a property and take out a mortgage so that they don't come up and surprise you later.

 

Posted in Buying a Home