Network Wilmington Real Estate News

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
April 27, 2020

How to Be a Good Tenant

There are certain things owners must do in order to keep their rental properties safe and liveable. Likewise, there are certain rules tenants must adhere to when renting, some of which are required by law and some are enforced by individual owners in leases.


So you see, whether you’re renting a beachside vacation property in Carolina Beach or are a tenant in a long-term rental in Wilmington, you have a responsibility to take care of the home you’re renting. If you don’t, you could be subject to fines and/or lawsuits by the owner of the property.


Signs of a Bad Tenant

If you’re renting a vacation property or signing a long-term lease soon, make sure you avoid the things renters should never do, like:


Changing the Locks

Long-term tenants may have concerns about who has access to the property. While these concerns are valid, you need to get consent from your landlord before changing the locks, as doing so could violate their rights as an owner. The best course of action is to ask for permission before proceeding with a lock change and to provide your landlord with a new key ASAP.


Bringing Pets without Permission

Owners have a right to restrict what size and kind of animals are allowed in their homes. This is true for both long-term and short-term vacation rentals. Instead of sneaking your pet into your rental home, just be upfront with potential landlords regarding whether you have an animal you’d like to bring.


Making Landscaping Decisions

Many leases will stipulate whether the tenant or landlord is responsible for doing things like mowing the grass, picking up leaves, watering existing plants, etc. Additionally, most owners don’t mind if you want to plant a few of your own flowers or grow a garden (though you should always ask first). However, tenants should steer clear of doing things like planting or removing trees since these are major changes that could have an effect on the home or property and violate your landlord’s homeowner’s insurance.


Inviting Long-Term Guests

For long-term summer and winter rentals, putting your family or friend up for a few days isn’t a concern. The issue comes when you have someone living with you who is not on your lease. Likewise, those renting vacation properties need to be honest about how many people are staying in the home. Lying about these things can result in insurance problems, fire code violations, and, ultimately, fines.


Ignoring Maintenance Issues

As a renter, it’s your responsibility to report any issue with the home to the landlord or property manager. Failure to report things like water stains, broken appliances, or faulty wiring is dangerous. Even if it seems like a small problem, it’s best to report it to the owner before it becomes a big disaster.


Leaving Early or Subletting Without Permission

While they may require you to pay a fee, many owners will be understanding of a situation where you need to leave your lease early. Issues arise here when you leave without telling your landlord or, worse, find someone to rent your place for you. Subletting or listing your home on Air B & B without permission robs the owner of their right to select and screen their own tenants, and will leave you liable in the event the new tenant damages anything.


Having Parties

This goes hand in hand with having long-term guests without permission. Most owners aren’t fans of having a bunch of people they don’t know in their home at once. It’s a good way to end up paying for costly damages, plus it won’t help your relationship with your neighbors or the police.


Leaving the Place a Mess

Most short-term vacation contracts spell out who is responsible for cleaning the home and what steps renters must take regarding cleaning prior to check out. Long-term tenants, however, are always responsible for keeping their homes in good condition. Failing to clean up over a long period of time can easily result in pest infestations like mice, rats, roaches, bed bugs, and other insects.


Painting, Changing Appliances or Making Repairs

These things apply more to long-term tenants than short-term renters, but should still never be done without permission. If something breaks in your home, ask your landlord if you can repair it. If you want to paint, ask your landlord first. If you think you need a new appliance, check with your landlord. Bottom line, the golden rule for rentals is to always get consent from your landlord before changing anything.


Paying Late

When you sign a lease or rental agreement you are legally obligated to pay the landlord the amount you agreed to by the date you agreed to pay. Long-term renters who make excuses or fail to pay their rent risk being evicted. Vacation renters who don’t make payments according to the specified schedule risk losing their previous payments or deposits.


As long as you follow the law, obey the terms of your lease, and ask for permission before making any changes to the home you’re renting, 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 Wrightsville 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 Vacation Rentals
April 13, 2020

How to Find the Perfect Vacation Home

Regardless of what time of year it is, vacations are a much-needed chance for you and your family to relax, unwind, and have some fun while escaping from the stresses of daily life. A vacation is an investment, and it’s one that takes a lot of time and effort to plan, so it’s important to make sure that you’re not only finding the perfect destination, you’re finding the perfect home to rent as well.


Wilmington, NC isn’t just the perfect destination for spring breakers, it’s ideal for vacationers of all ages! After all, with all of the beautiful beaches, incredible restaurants, abundance of history, and temperate weather, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better place to travel during any season. The trick isn’t figuring out where to go, it’s where to stay.



Fortunately, the following steps make it easy for you to figure out which of our rental homes or condos is the perfect fit for your Wilmington vacation:


1. Figure out what you want/need.

What are your goals for this vacation? Do you want to relax by the pool? Are you looking to do some fun activities or take some day trips? Maybe you’d like to get some shopping done? Asking yourself questions like these will give you some insight as to where you’ll want your vacation home to be located and what kind of home will fit in your budget.


2. Determine how much space you need.

The people traveling with you will have a big impact on the kind of home you rent and how many rooms you’ll need. A smaller home with two to three bedrooms and one to two bathrooms will probably suit a family of four on a week-long vacation just fine. However, if you’re traveling with multiple families in a large group, you’ll need to put some more thought and planning into not only how many bedrooms and bathrooms you may need, but how they are configured within the home.


3. Start looking early.

Better safe than sorry! Be prepared and start your search for the best vacation rental in Wilmington early to give yourself the most options and guarantee you get what you need. This is especially important if you’re planning on traveling around a holiday. A good rule of thumb is to start planning your vacation for six months in advance.


4. Try to stay flexible.

For example, let’s say you plan on visiting Wilmington for the 4th of July. You do your research months in advance and find the perfect home, but when you go to check availability, you find out that you won’t be able to rent it until the second week of July. If you go into the vacation rental process willing to compromise, things won’t be so stressful if you do need to change your plans a little.


5. Check more than one source.

There are lots of ways to find vacation rentals. Shopping around will help you gain information from past renters and learn more about the area you’re staying in. Starting your search online is a good place to start, but by working with a local company, like Network Real Estate, you might find some listings that won’t be available on any of the mainstream vacation rental websites.


6. Read reviews.

The internet is nothing if not an excellent resource for getting other people’s opinions. While all reviews should be taken with a grain of salt, they can give you some much-needed insight regarding whether a vacation rental looks like it does in pictures, is located in a good area, is clean and well-kept, etc.


7. Consider developing a meal plan.

If you’re planning on eating out for almost every meal, you’ll want to make sure your rental is conveniently located near plenty of restaurants. However, if you want to save a little money by cooking at home during your vacation, you should consider a rental that’s close to a grocery store and has a nice kitchen with plenty of utensils and cookware.


8. Read the contract carefully.

Once you’ve selected the perfect home, make sure you go over your rental contract before you sign it. Most elements of a rental contract are fairly standard and designed to protect both the owner, renter, and the rental company. But, since every home is different, your rental contract is where any additional expenses or requirements will be outlined. Reading the contract in full will help you understand things like how housekeeping works, additional costs for utilities, whether pets are allowed, how much the deposit is, and so on.


9. Buy trip insurance.

Trip insurance is just another way to protect yourself from losing money on your vacation in the event that something prevents you from going, like an illness in the family or flooding from bad weather.


10. Take a walkthrough.

If you live nearby (or know someone who does), taking a walk through before you sign your rental contract is never a bad idea. If not, you should absolutely ask for a walkthrough of the property when you first arrive for check-in. Not only does this give you a chance to learn how all the appliances, lights, electronics, etc. work, but it’s also a good time to check for any pre-existing damages and take pictures of them to prevent potential issues later.


11. Stay in touch with your rental agent.

It’s good to keep your agent’s phone number in case you have any questions or concerns during your vacation. Plus, if you keep in touch with them, they might be able to help you find a Wilmington beach rental for years to come!


Planning your next vacation doesn’t have to be hard. All it takes is a little preparation and the help of the Wilmington rental agents at Network Real Estate, and you’ll be sunning yourself on the beach or enjoying a cocktail by the pool in no time. Call us for help with booking your next vacation rental at 910-395-4100.

Posted in Vacation Rentals