Network Wilmington Real Estate News

Sept. 30, 2021

How to Determine Property Value

How to Determine Property Value

Whether you hope to sell your property, refinance it, or build equity, it can be important for you to know your property’s value. But that’s easier said than done. The real estate market can be challenging to navigate. 

Difference Between Cost, Price, and Value

No, they’re not all the same thing. Cost describes the actual spending on both materials and labor to build a property, and price is simply the amount of money someone pays for the property. Cost and price certainly impact value, but they do not determine it. There are a number of other market factors that contribute to the value of a property. 

How is Property Value Determined?

Most of the time, real estate agents and professional appraisers calculate property value by analyzing the recent sale values of comparable properties, or comps. This isn’t as simple as just comparing the sale values of all the properties surrounding your property. To use the comp evaluation approach correctly, there are a few specific steps you need to take: 

  • Get accurate information. You can get property data from a variety of sources, but some sources are more accurate than others.
    • Register of Deeds (Recorder’s Office) — Your county Register of Deeds can share information about the property’s current owner and purchase date. They can also tell you about liens against the property. However, the Register of Deeds cannot accurately supply the price paid by the current owner.
    • Tax Assessor — Tax Assessors determine a property value for the yearly tax bill. However, this value is rarely a true representation of property value because of tax exemptions and incentives. 
    • Multiple Listing Service (MLS) — The MLS is the most comprehensive and accurate source of property information. MLS users can find the property’s final sales price, original listing price, information about any seller concessions, and details about square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms, and more. Unfortunately, only licensed real estate professionals can use the service.
  • Choose at least 3 valid comps. Each comp must have been sold in the last 6 months and be located within 2 miles of your property. Your comps and your property should also share similar neighborhoods, demographics, property type, size, condition, construction, upgrades, and number of levels, bathrooms, and bedrooms.
  • Adjust for differences. After you’ve chosen at least 3 valid comps, make adjustments based on the differences between your property and the comps. For example, add value to a comp if it has more bedrooms than your property and subtract value if its features are outdated.
  • Compare & determine value range. You can be confident that your property’s value lies somewhere between the values of your lowest and highest comps.

Your local real estate agent can complete a Comparative Market Analysis for you.

 

Property Valuation Resources

Whether you try to do the calculations yourself or ask your real estate agent for help, there are a variety of resources you can use for property valuation.

  • Online valuation tools. Organizations like Zillow and Redfin have tools that can provide property value estimates. However, these rough estimates don’t take into consideration special factors, like renovations, repairs, and other unique features.
  • Your local real estate agent. Real estate agents can complete a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). This analysis dives far deeper into the property features overlooked by online valuations. Network Real Estate agents can research your property and give you a free CMA. Then, they can help you sell your home competitively.
  • Professional appraiser. Appraisers provide impartial, thoroughly researched property value estimates for a few hundred dollars. This should not be confused with a home inspection, during which an inspector determines if your property is structurally sound enough to sell.
  • Evaluate your own comps. Although you may want to try calculating your property’s value on your own, this is easier said than done. You may struggle to find accurate information. After all, only licensed real estate agents can access the MLS. However, you can do your own analysis based on structural components, neighborhood, location, listing price, actual price, and other feature information you can find online.  

Looking to sell your property in Wilmington, Carolina Beach, or Kure Beach? Talk to your Network Real Estate agent. We know better than anyone what sells a home. Your Realtor can recommend improvements, a home stager, or even just provide some simple tips to ensure your Wilmington area home is sold for top dollar.

Posted in Selling Your Home
Sept. 16, 2021

Repairing Your Rental After Hurricane Damage

Beach home damaged by storm watersAlthough coastal rentals can offer you a great return on investment, they come with the potential for hurricane damage. If you own a rental in a coastal area prone to big storm events, you need to be prepared to handle post-hurricane repair and cleanup. 

Repairing and cleaning your home after a hurricane can be risky and dangerous. It takes time, planning, and work to get your property back into shape. We’ve compiled a list of tips to make your hurricane repair process easier:

  • Come prepared with the right gear. From contaminated water to splintered wood to unwanted animals and insects, hurricanes can bring a wide variety of hazards into your home. So, before you enter your home after a big storm event, be sure to gather the appropriate clothing and gear: 
    • Long pants
    • Long-sleeved shirt
    • Sturdy shoes or boots (No flip flops or tennis shoes)
    • Work gloves
    • Eye protection
    • Disposable masks (You probably already have plenty of these!)
    • Hard hats
  • Assess the damage. Evaluate any potential hazards in and around your home, such as downed power lines, unusual noises, and odd smells. In the case of life-threatening hazards, immediately call 911. You can try to contain the hazards if you can do so without endangering yourself.
  • Make a cleanup plan. Cleaning and repairing your home after a hurricane is a long process and requires detailed planning. Floodwater will need to be drained, your home will need to be ventilated, hard and soft surfaces will need to be cleaned and dried, contaminated items will need to be tossed, and more.
  • Contact your homeowner’s insurance agency. Your insurance company will likely cover your cleanup costs. When you call your insurance providers, they may offer advice for further steps. They’ll likely suggest you contact a restoration company. Be sure to take photos of the damage to your home for insurance claims.
  • Do some cleanup. If your insurance company covers the major cleanup efforts, you will be responsible for clearing your home’s access points, walkways, driveways, and streets. You should also place tarps over damaged areas of your roof to prevent further water intrusion into your home.

Flooded living room

 

  • Consider electrical hazards. If your home is flooded, address any potential electrical hazards. For your safety, it’s important to have the property’s power turned off before you enter your home. Try to prevent water from reaching electrical outlets and move wires and electrical appliances away from the water. 
  • Contact a restoration company. Remember, you don’t have to tackle these cleanup efforts alone. Restoration companies can help you assess hurricane damage, drain water, clean and dehumidify your home, help you with insurance claims, and more.
  • Be patient. It can take weeks or months for structural elements of your home to dry thoroughly. Only then can you start replacing drywall, carpets, and other floor coverings.
  • Renovate & go shopping! You may have to rebuild parts of your home and/or purchase new furniture, decor, and appliances for your rental. Some restoration companies will also help with the renovation and rebuilding process.

With a strong clean-up plan and help from a restoration company, fixing up your rental property after a hurricane can be easy and stress-free. Have a property you want to rent in Wilmington, Carolina Beach, or Kure Beach this summer? Give our vacation rental agents a call at 910-395-4100.

Posted in Local Events
Aug. 27, 2021

Long-Term VS. Short-Term Rentals During Off-Season

Coastal towns tend to attract a wide variety of renters, from summer vacationers to families looking to move closer to the beach. In peak tourist season, vacation home investors can earn impressive profits in the short-term renting market. But once winter hits and fewer people rent vacation homes, investors may wonder whether the short-term market is really the best option. 

Both the short-term and long-term rental markets have benefits and drawbacks. Determining the best market for you depends on what you value most. Here are some of the pros and cons of investing in short-term and long-term rentals:

Pros of Long-Term Rentals

  • Cash flow is more consistent. Long-term pay rates are typically the same every month, so you can calculate how much money you will make on your rental each year.
  • Long-term renters usually cover utilities. In particular extreme weather locations, utility bills can get really high. 
  • There are usually fewer management demands. Long-term renters generally bring their own furniture, so you won’t have to worry about furnishing your rental property. You will also be able to avoid certain maintenance responsibilities required in the short-term market, like restocking toilet paper and cleaning. Additionally, you won’t have nearly the amount of advertising requirements as short-term renters.
  • Property management is typically cheaper. It is much cheaper to hire a property manager in the long-term rental market because there is less turnover and fewer ongoing maintenance and marketing responsibilities.

Cons of Long-Term Rentals

  • You probably can’t visit your vacation home. Most people who purchase and rent out coastal properties do so because they hope to take sporadic vacations to the area.
  • Securing good tenants can be challenging. The process of seeking quality long-term tenants is often extensive and draining. And once a renter signs the lease, you’re stuck in a contract, even if the tenant consistently pays late or is reckless with your property.
  • You can’t check on your property as much. Certain laws protect long-term renters from spontaneous home inspections, so you will have to give plenty of notice before you come check on your property.
  • HOA fees and restrictions are high. If you rent long-term in a neighborhood that typically serves the short-term market, you will encounter far higher homeowners’ administration fees and restrictions because of the higher insurance premiums covering the extra amenities typically offered by short-term rental properties.

Pros of Short-Term Rentals

  • Your home is more open for personal use. Because short-term renters typically stay for a short period of time, you and your family can enjoy more vacation time if you block off the desired time on your rental availability calendar.
  • There will likely be less wear and tear. Short-term rental homes are typically not occupied year round, so your rental property will likely experience less wear and tear. Plus, your home will be cleaned between each visitor’s stay.
  • Rental income will probably be higher. Although your income from the short-term market may not be consistent, your annual earnings should surpass those of the long-term market. 
  • You can more easily adjust pricing. If inventory begins filling up quickly, you can more easily raise the pay rate to maximize your profits.

Cons of Short-Term Rentals

  • You’ll have to upgrade your home constantly. To continue attracting vacationers, you should frequently upgrade your rental home with quality furniture, appliances, and decor.
  • There is a greater need for marketing. If you have a property manager, they may do some marketing for you. But if not, you may have to put extra time and effort into marketing your property.
  • The logistics can be overwhelming. From managing and organizing your rental calendar to arranging key exchanges and screening potential guests, there are lots of details you need to keep track of when you rent in the short-term market.
  • You can expect off-season vacancies. This just means you’ll have to factor these vacancies into your yearly costs and determine your rates accordingly. 

Whether you invest in the short-term or long-term rental markets, Network Real Estate is here to help. If you have any additional questions or are ready to list your property and start getting bookings, give us a call at 910-395-4100.

Posted in Investors
Aug. 10, 2021

How to Be a Better Renter

When you are a short- or long-term renter, your relationship with your landlord is crucial. If you are renting for the short term, your landlord’s opinion of you could impact whether you are offered future rent agreements elsewhere.

If you plan to rent from your landlord for a longer period of time, a landlord who is impressed with you is more likely to be more understanding with you if an issue ever arises, whether you need to pay your rent a little late or you would like to host a larger party. 

Building a good relationship with your landlord can be challenging, but here are a few things you can do to be a responsible tenant and get on your landlord’s good side:

  • Come prepared when you apply for a lease. You will certainly have a better chance of being offered a lease if you come prepared with a Rental Resume containing appropriate personal information, your credit history report, and full letters of reference from your previous landlords.

  • Actually read and understand your lease. Before you sign your lease, spend the time to carefully look over your landlord’s terms and conditions. This will help avoid any misunderstandings if an issue arises later.

  • Honor the terms of your lease. If you break your landlord’s terms and conditions, they may terminate your lease and may possibly even evict you. 

  • Pay your rent on time. No excuses. Your landlord already has plenty to worry about without also having to track you down for the payment you already promised to make. If you miss a rent payment, your landlord may even evict you.

  • Be honest and proactive. If you are struggling financially, just explain that respectfully to your landlord plenty of time before your rent is due. Your landlord may appreciate your transparency and may be willing to work with you or let you pay your rent a little late. 

  • Respect your landlord’s noise policy. Your landlord may designate a certain time period each night as the property’s quiet hours, so avoid hosting larger gatherings or making loud noises during those hours. Keep in mind, respecting your neighbors’ peace and quiet also makes life easier for your landlord. 

  • Maintain a clean rental property. Incorporate regular cleaning into your weekly schedule. If the rental property has carpet, avoid doing things that could stain the carpet and vacuum weekly. 

  • Be careful not to damage your rental property. Treat the rental property as if it were your own home. Don’t be reckless or misuse the appliances your landlord has provided. After all, you may be responsible for some of the repair costs. If you want to make any changes to the rental property, like hanging wall art, check with your landlord first.
  • Dispose of garbage, debris, and other waste in a timely manner. Out of respect for your landlord and other tenants, don’t let your garbage build excessively. If you have pets, pick up after them. Some landlords may even offer specified dog waste stations.
  • Notify your landlord about maintenance needs. Don’t try to make the repairs yourself, as you may cause even more damage. Instead, notify your landlord promptly after you notice a problem so the designated maintenance crew can respond to the issue properly.
  • Submit requests for your landlord in writing. Whether you are submitting a maintenance request or asking whether you can host a guest, this helps your landlord (and you) remain organized by creating a paper trail of your correspondence.
  • If someone isn’t listed on your lease, don’t let them live with you. Your lease is created to protect both you and your landlord. If you plan to host a long-term guest, be transparent with your landlord. 
  • Don’t bombard your landlord with complaints. Your comfortability and satisfaction are not your landlord’s sole priority. Try to resolve issues on your own before respectfully approaching your landlord. Try to act with as much patience and kindness as you would hope to receive from your landlord or another tenant if they had an issue with you. 
  • Get renter’s insurance. Not only will this help you save money if your belongings are damaged in an accident, but it will mean your landlord won’t be stuck with the bill if you cannot afford to cover the damages.
  • Move out promptly and respectfully. When it’s time for you to move out, do so at the time you’ve agreed upon with your landlord. Give your landlord advanced notice that you will be moving out, and leave the property in as good condition as it was when you moved in. This is a good way to ensure your landlord will offer a good reference for your next rental application.

As long as you respect your neighbors, obey the terms of your lease, and communicate honestly and transparently with your landlord, being a good renter should be easy. If you’re thinking of leasing a short-term or long-term rental in Wilmington, Network Real Estate has you covered. From condos in Carolina and Kure Beach to homes in Pine Valley, we have plenty of options for all kinds of renters. Find out more by giving our rental agents a call at 910-395-4100.

Posted in Renters
July 16, 2021

What to Do If a Renter Damages Your Home

As a financial investment in your future, owning a rental property can be a great opportunity. Not only do you get a real estate investment but it also gives you a means of paying down your mortgage.

 

Unfortunately, owning a rental property isn’t always easy. Though you hope you’ll be lucky enough to find good, responsible renters, it’s common for landlords to rent to tenants who do damage to their property. It’s every owner’s worst nightmare, but it happens.

 

The good news is there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your investment after a disrespectful tenant damages it. Not only that, but there are even steps you can take to ensure it won’t happen again.

 

Dealing with a Damaged Rental Property

It’s one thing if a tenant leaves holes in the wall from hanging pictures or doesn’t do a good job of cleaning up when they move out, but it’s another to learn that your renter has left your home severely damaged. Here’s what to do if you’ve discovered your tenant is harming your property:

 

1. Assess the damages.

If you’ve been told, or have reason to believe, your renter is damaging your house, the first step is to arrange a time to visit the property and take it all in. Make sure you are providing your tenant with adequate notice regarding when you will be visiting the property.

 

2. Document everything.

If your renter is harming your home, videos and pictures are your best friend. Take pictures and videos of everything, from the smallest scuff to major damages. Even if something seems inconsequential, take a picture of it and make sure all video evidence is appropriate time and date stamped.

 

3. Get quotes for repairs.

As soon as possible, contact contractors and other industry professionals to come to assess the damages themselves. Make sure you get several estimates and keep copies of each one as well as any receipts you may have for consultation fees.

 

4. Contact your insurance company and the police.

Homeowner’s insurance may cover some of the cost of repairing the damages. Most insurance companies will also want to see the estimates you obtained, as well as a police report, so it’s a good idea to have law enforcement come out to file an official report.

 

5. Apply the security deposits.

In many cases, the cost of repairs will be more than the security deposit your tenant paid. That said, starting repairs quickly is a big help. Just make sure you’re following state laws regarding how the despot can be used and when you have to notify your tenant you’re using it.

 

6. If possible, talk to your tenant.

Assuming your tenant is taking your calls, discuss the damages with them. In some cases, there may be a good explanation for the damage. For example, the tenant’s child accidentally smashed a window when playing ball. In cases like these, you may find that the tenant is more than happy to pay for the cost of the damages.

 

7. Consider filing for eviction.

If the tenant is not cooperating with you per the terms set in their rental agreement, you may have to file for eviction. Though it can be a complicated process, it might be the only way for you to remove a tenant who isn’t holding up their end of the rental agreement.

 

8. Determine whether you want to take legal action.

If your tenant is not cooperating and the security deposit isn’t enough to cover the damages, you may need to take your case to civil court. As this may be your only chance at being compensated for the damages, you should consider hiring an attorney to help with your case.

 

 

How to Prevent Tenant Damage

Unfortunately, there’s no way you can ever be 100% sure that your renters won’t damage your property, but you can take steps to increase your chances of finding a good renter:

  • Conduct a thorough screening and background check process
  • Schedule regular property inspections
  • Require a reasonably-high security deposit
  • Check in with your tenants often
  • Try to form a good tenant-landlord relationship

If you own a rental property that you’re tired of keeping up with, why not hire a property management company? Network Real Estate has an experienced, in-house property management team that can help make managing your long-term or vacation rental property a breeze. Get in touch with us at 910-395-4100 to learn more!

Posted in Vacation Rentals
June 23, 2021

Best Activities for Renters in Wrightsville Beach

 

If you’re planning on visiting Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, you’re in for a real treat. Few beaches in America offer as many activities as Wrightsville does. From upscale shops and restaurants to dive bars to watersports, Wrightsville Beach is truly a place where vacationers can do it all.

 

If you’re looking for a vacation rental in Wrightsville Beach, NC this summer, Network Real Estate has plenty of rental homes and condos to choose from. And if you’re wondering what kind of activities there are to do in this charming beach town, check out our favorites below!

 

Grab Some Food from a Local Restaurant and Have a Picnic on the Beach

Wrightsville Beach has tons of great restaurants to choose from, and what’s better than grabbing some local grub and having a gorgeous picnic on the beach? You can scoop some of Robert’s famous chicken salad up from Roberts Market or head over to Trolley Stop to get some classic hotdogs and fries.

 

 

Enjoy One of Many Summer Concerts

Wilmington, NC is a town that loves its music, and Wrightsville Beach does too! We have plenty of awesome concerts to check out all summer long. You can head to the Oceanic Restaurant for the Oceanic Summer Music Series or check out the Bluewater Waterfront Grill for their Summer Patio Sessions. Airlie Gardens’ Summer Concert Series is also a great place to hear some tunes!

 

Visit Airlie Gardens

In addition to their summer concert series, Airlie Gardens is just a beautiful place to take the entire family for a stroll. You can take a walk and see the gorgeous foliage yourself or schedule a guided tour if that’s more your speed. They also have plenty of events and exhibits to check out, like the Butterfly House.

 

 

Learn About Our Town

If you’re curious how this beautiful place got its start, you might want to check out the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History. There are countless programs and exhibits kids and adults alike will find interesting. The best part? Admission is free!

 

Check Out Our Piers

You’ll find no better fishing spot in Wrightsville Beach, NC than on one of our amazing piers. With a full tackle shop, gift shop, and restaurant, Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pier is a great spot to take the kids for a day of fun. Crystal Pier is also a great spot to catch some fish, and it can be reserved for public and private events as well.

 

Take Surfing Lessons

Wrightsville Beach is home to plenty of surf shops and surf schools. So, whether you’re looking for someone to teach you the basics, or you’re an experienced surfer who needs to grab some gear, we’ve got you covered.

 

Head Out to One of the Nearby Islands

There are tons of local businesses that rent boats, kayaks, jet skis, and paddleboards so you and your family can explore some of our local islands. Harbor Island, Figure Eight Island, and Shell Island are all beautiful places to explore and soak up the sun.

 

Whether you plan to spend your vacation with your toes in the sand or you want to explore Wrightsville Beach, NC Network Real Estate can hook you up with the perfect vacation rental for you and your group. Call to speak to one of our vacation rental agents today at 800-830-2118.

Posted in Vacation Rentals
June 21, 2021

Renting a Property During Hurricane Season

 

Anyone who lives or has lived on the East Coast of the U.S. knows hurricane season can be a scary time. But if you’re vacationing here for the first time, you might not be aware of just how frequent hurricanes can be.

 

Hurricane season on the Atlantic Seaboard lasts from mid-May to the end of November each year. Whether you’re a property owner who is planning on renting their home out as a vacation rental, or a renter who is visiting the East Coast this summer, check out these tips on how to stay safe and protect yourself during hurricane season.

 

Preparing Your Vacation Rental for Hurricane Season

As a property owner, you have a responsibility to do everything in your power to keep your renters safe, and that includes making sure your home is as safe and secure as it can be when the next hurricane hits.

  • Keep in touch with your property manager. Working with a team of experienced property management professionals, like those at Network Real Estate, can go a long way toward making sure your property and tenants stay safe during a natural disaster.
  • Prepare your property by addressing any maintenance concerns, making sure the roof is in good shape, providing a way to reinforce doors and windows, and keeping sandbags on hand in case the water levels rise.
  • Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage. Review your policy and have all your insurance info ready in case a hurricane does any damage to your rental property. It’s also a good idea to take pictures of your property before a storm, in case your insurance needs to compare before and after photos.
  • Secure any loose objects outside. You or your poetry manager should make sure things like pots, plants, furniture, and grills are secured or put away before a storm makes landfall.
  • Do what you can to prevent flooding and other damages. For example, if you have trees with loose limbs around your property, make sure they’re trimmed before hurricane season. You should also clean out your gutters and storm drains before the season begins.
  • Provide a list of information and instructions for what to do in the event of a hurricane. This should include:
    • A list of emergency supplies
    • Your phone number
    • Your property management company’s phone number
    • A number to call for maintenance issues (if different)
    • Locations and numbers for hurricane shelters
    • Police and fire department numbers and info
    • A map of evacuation routes

Preparing for Hurricane Season as a Renter

Whether you’re renting a vacation property for a week or a long-term rental for a year, you should never underestimate the power of hurricane season in North Carolina. While the upkeep and maintenance of the place you’re staying is the responsibility of the owner/property manager, you also have responsibilities as a tenant.

 

If you’re renting a property in Wilmington, NC, and a hurricane is on the way, your very first step should be to fill up your vehicles with gas, make an evacuation plan, and park your vehicle under cover so they’re safe in the event you need to leave. Additionally, you should gather the following:

  • Three days’ worth of non-perishable food items, nuts, beef jerky, protein bars, and canned meats, fruits, and veggies.
  • Three days’ worth of water. One gallon per person, per day, is a good rule of thumb. You should also fill tubs and sinks with water to use for flushing toilets.
  • Battery-powered cell phone charges, or charging packs that can hold several “phone’s worth” of charge.
  • Flashlights and candles in case the power goes out.
  • A battery-powered or hand-crank radio to stay up to date on what’s going on outside.
  • Plenty of extra batteries for all of the above items.
  • Duct tape and a small tool kit for basic repairs.
  • A first aid kit capable of treating basic injuries.
  • Books, games, toys, cards, and anything else that can help keep you and your family occupied.
  • A “go bag” with some food, water, clothes, and important documents (driver’s licenses, etc.) in case you need to leave quickly.
  • Extra cash in case the power is out and credit card machines aren’t working.
  • Numbers for and locations of local shelters.

If you’re a property owner who needs help managing vacation rentals this summer, our team is here to help. Call us at 800-830-2118 for property management services or for help finding a vacation rental in the Wilmington, NC area!

Posted in Vacation Rentals
June 11, 2021

Beginner’s Guide To Renting a Vacation Home

Purchasing a vacation property is a big investment, but renting it out can pay off in spades given enough time. While finding the right property to buy may seem like the hardest part of the process, there’s still a lot to do after you close. Not only do you have to set the property up and potentially do renovations, but you also have to figure out how to find renters and what your rates should be, amongst other things.

 

If you’ve just purchased a rental property, don’t stress. The team at Network Real Estate has decades of experience helping rental property owners get their homes ready to be listed. The first step? Checkicking out these tips for preparing a rental property.

 

1. Replace anything that needs replacing.

Returning customers can be a big part of your rental business, but people won’t keep coming back if your house is run down or beat up. After you purchase your rental property, the first thing you should do is take note of things like cosmetic damages or broken appliances and fix those things ASAP. It can be a big investment upfront, but it will pay off in the long run.

 

2. Furnish and decorate.

As a rental, your property needs to make your guests feel warm and welcomed. They’re paying to stay in a cozy and inviting home, not something that reminds them of a cold, impersonal hotel. Choose comfortable and long-lasting furniture, and decorate with warm lighting, neutral colors, and classic artwork for a timeless look sure to please everyone. If you need more help, check out our tips for furnishing rental properties.

 

3. Don’t skimp on amenities.

To get those coveted five-star reviews, you need to blow your competition out of the water. The easiest way to do this is by providing your guests with anything and everything they could need for their start. That means including things like wifi and streaming services, kitchen supplies like spices, coffee, and tea, bathroom supplies, and even recreational supplies, like tennis rackets, beach balls, and bicycles

 

4. Protect yourself and your property with liability insurance.

One of the worst things that can happen as the owner of a vacation home, is having your guests damage your property in some way. While there’s no way to prevent this from happening, you can protect yourself by purchasing as much liability coverage as your homeowner’s policy will let you buy. It may be a pain to handle these types of things, but you’ll be glad you have insurance if a situation like this ever arises.

 

5. Be specific with your house rules.

Regardless of how you choose to list your property, you should require guests to agree to a set of rules before they are allowed to book your property. Additionally, your house rules should be printed and placed in an easily accessible binder for your guests. House rules can include everything from occupancy limits to cancellation/refund policies to instructions for how guests should clean up/leave the property when they check out.

 

6. Develop an emergency action plan.

This can include everything from instructions for what your guests need to do in case of weather-related evacuation to the name and number of your property manager or yourself. Your plan should also include the names and information for professionals who can help with various emergencies. For example, you should develop a relationship with a local plumber, HVAC specialist, and cleaning crew who can be called in case of an emergency.

 

7. Shell out for professional photos.

The pictures you use to advertise your rental property are vital. Many renters will decide where to stay based on pictures alone. So if you’re thinking about snapping a few on your cell phone and calling it a day, don’t. It’s best to spend a little extra money on professional pictures that will make your home look its best inside and out.

 

8. Consider working with a property manager.

This is another item that can seem like a big expense, but when you consider how much time and effort it will save you in the long run, it’s a no-brainer. When you work with Network Real Estate, we’ll handle everything for you, from getting your property listed to managing bookies and inquiries.

 

So there you have it - everything you need to know to start renting out your vacation home. If you have any additional questions or are ready to list your property and start getting bookings, give us a call at 910-395-4100.

Posted in Vacation Rentals
June 4, 2021

Preparing Your Home for Hurricane Season

Whether you’re a homeowner, the owner of a rental property, or a renter yourself, one thing you should know about North Carolina summers is hurricanes are a very real concern. Lasting from the beginning of June through the end of November, hurricane season is a threat that often brings high winds, flooding, and millions of dollars in damages.

 

With hurricane season starting soon, now is the best time to prepare your home and property to withstand the worst. Consider taking the following precautions to prepare your home for this year’s hurricane season.

 

1. Start by putting together a storm kit.

Grab a box or tote bag and throw together the items you and your family would need to survive for 48 hours. This should include water and dry goods, as well as things like blankets, batteries, and a hand-crank radio.

 

2. Come up with a plan for your pets.

Pets can easily get lost or washed away during a flooding event. Make sure your pet is microchipped and you have a picture of them handy in case you get separated from each other. Additionally, consider calling around to local shelters that might be able to house pets during the threat of a hurricane.

 

3. Stock up on batteries, flashlights, and candles.

You can never have enough of these items when you live in an area prone to hurricanes. By stocking up on these things, you’ll never be without light in the event of a power outage. Plus, candles can be used in several creative ways to generate the heat needed to keep your family warm.

 

4. Fill several gas containers.

Whether you have an emergency generator or find yourself forced to evacuate, some extra gasoline might come in handy. Fill up several containers of gas well in advance of the storm’s arrival to ensure you’ll have what you need when and if the time comes.

 

5. Make sure you have a place to store outdoor items.

Umbrellas, chairs, and even potted plants can easily be blown around during a hurricane and can create a serious hazard. Make sure you have a shed to store these items in or have a plan for moving these items inside or securing them outside in some way.

 

6. Know your evacuation plan.

Map out evacuation routes in advance and keep a physical map handy if you need to navigate without GPS. You should also have a plan for where you will go and who you will stay with if you need to evacuate.

 

7. Find emergency shut-offs.

Every home has a way to shut off things like electricity, water, and gas. Know where these shut-offs are and be prepared to use them if local officials direct you to do so.

 

8. Keep your insurance documents handy.

If your home or vehicle is damaged during a hurricane, you’ll want to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to file a claim and begin the repair process. Review these documents before each hurricane season so you’re aware of what is covered and what isn’t.

 

9. Purchase a cover for your air conditioning unit.

Outdoor air conditioners can become clogged with trash and debris during a hurricane. A cover, tarp, or even a trash bag can protect your unit and ensure it’s ready to use once the power is back on.

 

10. Stock up on plywood.

If a storm is about to make landfall, you need to be prepared to secure windows, doors, and garages. Plywood is the most cost-effective way to do this, so purchase some of that along with nails and a hammer to ensure you’re ready to go when the time comes.

 

11. Clean gutters and drains.

Removing leaves, dirt, and debris from your gutters and storm drains will help ensure water can drain properly during a storm. Skipping this step puts you and your neighbors at a much greater risk of suffering damage from flooding.

 

Have a property you want to rent in Wilmington, Carolina Beach, or Kure Beach this summer? Give our vacation rental agents a call at 910-395-4100.

Posted in Vacation Rentals
June 4, 2021

Tips for Furnishing Your Rental Home

Whether you’ve just purchased a rental property or have had one for many years, there’s never a bad time to give it a little sprucing up. After all, the photos renters see of a rental property play a crucial role in their decision to rent your property as opposed to someone else’s. Additionally, your rental’s furniture and decor also make a big impact on renters’ first impressions, and whether they are likely to give your property a good review or return to rent it year after year.

 

Regardless of your budget, these tips can help you furnish your rental property in style!

 

1. Figure out who your target customers are.

If your rental has several bedrooms, chances are it’s going to be favored by large families or groups. If that’s the case, you’ll want to focus on things like beds and couches a bit more, just to make sure there is enough room for everyone. If your rental is smaller and can only accommodate a few people, you can direct a little more of your budget to things like decor and personal touches that will make your rental feel homier.

 

2. Make a list.

It’s always a good idea to have a list on hand before you start purchasing anything. Sit down and write out what you need, starting with essentials like beds, couches, tables, and chairs, and then branch out to smaller items, like kitchen appliances, silverware, and bedclothes.

 

3. Choose a style.

With your list and target demographic in mind, it’s time to choose a style. Neutral beachy or woodsy themes are great for families and large groups, whereas if you have a smaller home that caters to a different demographic, you may be able to focus more on artsy or abstract furniture and decor.

 

4. Determine your budget.

Now that you’ve done your research, you can start thinking about how much you can realistically spend. This will depend on a lot of factors, like your personal finances, as well as how much you’re projecting to make in rental fees during any given year. No matter what your budget is, don’t hesitate to save money where you can. Shopping closeouts, clearances, and sales are a great way to find furniture at a reduced price!

 

5. Choose quality.

With so many people cycling in and out of vacation rentals, it’s no wonder your furniture is likely to take a bit of a beating. Constant use will wear furniture out quickly, so you must choose pieces that are built well and made to last or at least have a warranty should something break. It may feel like a big investment at first, but it’s much better than having to replace cheap furniture year after year.

 

6. Don’t forget the finishing touches.

While not quite as important as the furniture itself, the decor you choose can go a long way toward creating an intimate and inviting space. If you need a few things to help your rental property feel warm and cozy, try adding things like rugs, art, curtains, and books. If these things aren’t in your budget, floor and table lamps are a great, cost-efficient way to add warmth to any space.

 

7. Remove any personal items.

If you ever stay in your rental property, even if it’s just for a few days, be sure to take your personal items with you when you leave. It can be easy to forget, but leaving things like toiletries, jewelry, clothing, photos, or paperwork isn’t a good look when it comes to the first impressions of your renters.

 

Whether it’s time to get your home listed as a rental property, or you need some help getting it ready, our agents are here when you need us. Just give us a call at 910-395-4100 to get started!

Posted in Vacation Rentals