Network Wilmington Real Estate News

Dec. 16, 2021

The 9 Steps to Choose the Right Real Estate Agent

Wondering how to pick the right real estate agent? 

When it comes to buying or selling a home, there’s a lot at stake. That’s why you need a quality Realtor with the right kind of expertise and personality to get you the deal you deserve. 

Whether you are selling your home or looking to buy a new property, your real estate agent should have your best interest at heart 

But how can you tell? 

Let’s dive in!

A realtor showing a couple a potential home.

How to Choose the the Right Realtor

  1. Conduct on-the-ground research. If you plan to buy a new home, play detective and drive around the neighborhoods you're most interested in. Take note of houses with “For Sale” signs, and research agents that list those properties. It’s one of the best ways to find out which realtors know the area well. 

  2. Google them! Scope out Google and Yelp reviews for honest assessments of the agent’s work, experience, and character. Check out LinkedIn and other professional networking platforms for more information about the Realtor’s personality and professional qualifications. You can also reference your state’s real estate commission to make sure they have a valid real estate license. 

  3. Pay close attention to their marketing. From a simple assessment of an agency’s website, brochure, and listing materials, you’ll be able to get a good sense of the company’s character. A good agency/agent should convey passion, transparency, generosity, and a strong work ethic. 

  4. Get those referrals. What better way to assess a Realtor’s character than to seek a referral from a trusted friend or family member? More often than not, sellers and buyers who find real estate agents through referrals are far from disappointed. A couple interviewing a realtor.

  5. Interview at least 3 real estate agents. Choosing a Realtor is like picking the perfect candidate for a job. Even if you are buying a new home and don’t have to pay Realtor fees, finding the right agent will still save you money down the road. During your interview, you should keep a few things in mind: 

    • Neighborhood expertise — How well do they know the area?

    • Transparency — Are they honest? Realistic?

    • Core values — What attitude do they bring to their work? What drives them?

    • Track record — What kind of experience do they have? What’s their work history? Have their former clients been pleased with their results?

    • Strategy — How much money will they save you? How are their negotiation skills? Do they seem knowledgeable?

    • Patience — Do they answer your questions completely and patiently? 

  6. Pick a Realtor you click with. You are going to spend substantial time with your real estate agent, so you need to actually like them. Finding an agent who is trustworthy and truly understands your goals can be quite the challenge. Steer clear of Realtors who are overly aggressive or vague about their level of experience. Your agent should be relatable, honest, easy to talk to, patient, and have solid negotiation skills. 

  7. Find an agent who’ll make YOUR interests their top priority. If you’re buying, be upfront and transparent with your real estate agent about the specific qualities you’re looking for in your new home. If the Realtor continually points you toward homes that just don’t fit your criteria, they’re probably not looking for houses for you. Instead, the agent is suggesting homes that will bring them a greater profit. And never be afraid to switch Realtors if the relationship feels off. Ultimately, finding the right real estate agent will save you money and help you achieve your buying or selling goals in the long run.

  8. Take note of how the agent speaks & listens to you. It should be clear that your Realtor is honestly trying to understand and achieve your goals. Your real estate agent should spend more time asking you questions and listening to your answers than telling you what they think you should do (at least in the initial stages of the home buying or selling process).

  9. Ultimately, trust your gut! At the end of the day, only you can tell whether a real estate agent is a good fit for you and your goals. If it seems that you and your agent can’t get on the same page, it’s probably time to look elsewhere.

At Network Real Estate, our agents know the Wilmington area like the back of their hands. We have agents specializing in neighborhoods and properties across New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender counties

We don’t rest until our clients have sold their home for the best possible price or have moved safely into the home of their dreams. And once you’re in your new home, we want to make sure you have all the resources you need to succeed as a Wilmington area homeowner. 

Looking to buy or sell a home in Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, or Kure Beach? 

We are here to help! Give us a call at 910-395-4100.

Dec. 14, 2021

17 Game-Changing Tips to Declutter Your Home for the Holidays

Hosting family or friends this holiday season? 

Looking to start 2022 with a fresh, clean living space?

Image of an organized office.

We have some handy clutter-busting tricks up our sleeves that will help you transform your disorganized space back into the home you originally fell in love with. 

Let’s get started!

  1. Keep flat surfaces clear. This step is CRUCIAL to maintaining an organized home! Countertops, tables, and nightstands seem to be the biggest clutter magnets in our houses. To fix this, avoid storing small items — keys, wallet, mail, papers, and books — on these surfaces, and store larger objects in cabinets, closest, and bins as much as possible. 
  2. Take advantage of hidden storage spaces. When it comes to storage in a small living space, you’ve got to think creatively. You can probably fit more under your bed — and the guest bed — than you think. Closet and pantry doors are also the perfect place for over-the-door organizers. 
  3. Be honest about what you actually NEED to keep. If you haven’t used an item in the last year or it doesn’t hold any special meaning, get rid of it. Whether it’s a piece of clothing, game, or kitchen appliance, there’s no reason to keep items that don’t give you joy. To avoid hoarding, grant yourself only 1 large bin for keepsakes.
  4. Get a second (objective) opinion. Recruit a family member or friend who will give you honest advice and help you decide what’s worth holding on to.
  5. Implement smart storage. From drawers and hooks to baskets and bins, there are countless storage pieces you can use to clear up your living space. Think vertically with wall shelving and clean up your pantry and fridge with clear, airtight food storage containers. 
  6. Give every item a “home.” Once you do this, you (and your family) will be more likely to put things back where they belong.
  7. Label storage container. It’s challenging to remember where everything belongs. Labels make it easier (especially for young children). 
  8. Designate a specific space for clutter. A certain amount of clutter is hard to avoid. But instead of leaving items on the table or countertop, choose a closet, shelf, or drawer that will provide a temporary home for any miscellaneous items.
  9. Create a catch-all clutter station near the door. You’ll need a place for your keys, wallet, coat, shoes, hat, umbrella, and...of course...the mail. 
  10. Capture before and after photos. Not only will you wonder at the amazing decluttering work you’ve done, but you will have a way to remember what the space should look like when it feels cluttered again. Just try to replicate the photo.
  11. Pick furniture that conceals the clutter. Think smart AND stylish with 2-in-1 furniture pieces, such as sofas and ottomans with blanket or board game storage and bed frames with drawers.
  12. Don’t forget to consider room flow. As you rearrange the furniture and storage pieces in your home, try to keep a distance of 3 feet between each furniture item.
  13. Look at the space through the eyes of your guests. After you’ve been living in the clutter for too long, your eyes may glaze over parts of the mess. If you were seeing your home for the first time, where would you want to sit or stand? What spaces might make you feel claustrophobic or cramped?Woman going crazy because of her disorganized home.
  14. Set small goals for yourself. Create mini goals that are specific and attainable. It’s the best way to set yourself up for success. Whether your goal is to clear out 1 room or 1 drawer in 1 week, breaking up your decluttering work into smaller tasks — and rewarding yourself — will help you avoid burnout and procrastination.
  15. Create a “donate” pile. What better way to celebrate the holidays than to donate your unwanted clothing and items to the people who need it. Whether you give to Goodwill or charities like a women’s or homeless shelter, there are numerous ways to give to your local neighbors in the Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, and Kure Beach communities. 
  16. Build a better organization plan. To keep clutter from building up again and again, try buying only the essential food and supplies you need for each week. 
  17. Develop a 1-in-1-out rule. To prevent clutter build-up, simply keep fewer items in your home. Any time you purchase a new item, find an object of similar size to toss or donate.

If you follow these 17 home decluttering tips, your house will be ready for holiday celebrations and the New Year in no time!

Looking to rent your home out as a vacation rental? 

Whether your home is in Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, or Kure Beach, we can help you! Give us a call at 910-395-4100.

Posted in DIY
Nov. 12, 2021

Wilmington, NC Area Holiday Events 2021

Young girl outdoors during holiday season.

After tons of cancellations in 2020, the Wilmington area is coming back to life this winter with its most treasured holiday festivities. New to the area? Here are some events that you’ll want to mark on your calendar.

Holiday 5K Runs & Walks

Nov. 25 — Wrightsville Beach Turkey Trot. Want to give back this Thanksgiving? Join Habitat for Humanity early Thanksgiving morning for their annual 5K run or 1-mile walk around Wrightsville Beach Loop to raise funds to build a home for a neighbor in need. Register here. 

Dec. 11 — Jingle Bell Run 5K Fun Run. Calling all Christmas-lovers who love a good run! Come decked out in your most festive holiday apparel for the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History holiday 5K. You could even win a prize for best holiday costume! Visit the website.

Jan 2 — Carolina Beach State Park Half Marathon & 5K. Start the New Year with a 13.1 or 3.1-mile trail race through the unique terrain of Carolina Beach State Park. While you’re running, you can enjoy the sights of the rolling pines and the Cape Fear River. Register here.

Holiday Markets

Nov. 20 & 27 — Kure Beach Holiday Market. With free entry, the annual market is perfect for residents who want to stroll along the beachfront, shop local, and get an early start on their holiday gift list. Visit the website.

Dec. 3-5 — The Holiday Flea at the BAC. Called the “ultimate vintage flea,” you’re sure to find something unique and retro at the Brooklyn Arts Center’s annual holiday market. It’s the perfect place to find a one-of-a-kind gift for your one-of-a-kind loved ones. Visit the website.

Dec. 4 — Carolina Beach Holiday Market. Another local favorite, locals and visitors are welcome any time of day to do some holiday shopping and support local vendors at Carolina Beach Lake Park. Check out the event Facebook page.

Christmas Light Events

Nov. 26 — Downtown Wilmington Holiday Tree Lighting. To kick off the holiday season, residents across the Wilmington area gather to enjoy live music, sip on hot chocolate, light the giant tree on Market and Water Streets, and visit with Santa & Mrs. Claus. Check it out.

Nov. 26-27 — NC Holiday Flotilla at Wrightsville Beach. After a Christmas Tree lighting Friday night, floods of people come to Wrightsville Beach Saturday for an annual festival in the park, a stunning lighted boat parade, and an exquisite fireworks show. Check it out.

Nov. 26 - Jan. 3 — Cape Fear Festival of Trees. The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is a family favorite year-round. But when the holiday season starts, local artists, businesses, and organizations transform the venue into an enchanting winter wonderland. Buy tickets online.

Nov. 26 & 27; Dec. 3-22 — Enchanted Airlie. One of the most popular holiday light displays in Wilmington, the already beautiful Airlie Gardens are decked out in millions of twinkling lights at the onset of the holiday season, just for locals to stroll through and admire. Buy tickets online.

Dec. 4 — Island Lights Christmas Flotilla. Fishing boats and pleasure crafts arrayed with beautiful (and creative) light displays? Count me in! Like the Wrightsville Beach flotilla, the Carolina Beach rendition is one of the best ways to start the holiday season right in Wilmington.

A couple and their child at a Christmas fair.

Holiday Entertainment & Shows

Nov. 29 — Mannheim Steamroller Christmas. Ever heard Mannheim Steamroller Christmas tunes in person? In Wilmington, you can ever year! After pausing their annual tour in 2020, Mannheim Steamroller will be back at The Wilson Center in 2021! Buy tickets online.

Dec. 18-19 — The Great Wilmington Nutcracker. The Wilmington Ballet Company partners with the U.S. International Ballet to put on this stunning holiday classic every year. Secure your seats early to watch the exquisite performance with stilt walkers, high-tech digital imagery, and 30+ professional dancers. Buy tickets online.

Thalian Hall. From the Celtic Angels Christmas to a showing of Elf the Musical, you can catch a variety of festive shows at Thalian Hall throughout the holiday season. Check 2021 showings.

Opera House Theatre Company at Mayfaire. This holiday season, the Opera House Theatre Company is putting on a Charlie Brown Christmas show for the kids and a romantic Merry Mayfaire Christmas performance starring Broadway Veteran, Brian Whitted. Check the website.

Other Holiday Fun

Dec. 3 — Island of Lights Christmas Parade. Traditionally held on the Friday following Thanksgiving weekend, the annual holiday parade at Carolina Beach on Lake Park Boulevard is free for all. So, come enjoy the festive floats, music, and a visit from Santa Claus.

Dec. 17-18, 23-24 — Caroling by “Reindeer” Drawn Carriage or Trolley. Santa will join Wilmington’s Christmas music-loving families for a magical carriage or trolley ride through the stunning Historic Downtown Wilmington for some caroling. Visit the website.

New Year Events

Jan. 1 — Plunging into the New Year. There’s no more exhilarating way to kick off the New Year! Join the other brave souls of the Wilmington area to plunge into the chilling Wrightsville waves and raise money for Communities In Schools of Cape Fear. Register online.

Dec. 31 — Island of Lights New Year’s Eve Celebration. The free, iconic ball-drop event of the Wilmington area is being hosted at Kure Beach Ocean Front Park & Pavilion this year. So, come join the rest of the town for dancing, refreshments, and fireworks. Visit the website.

Looking to move to the Wilmington area? Whether you want to settle in Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, or Kure Beach, we can help you find your perfect home in this vibrant area! Check out the homes for sale, or give our agents a call at 910-395-4100.

 

Posted in Local Events
Nov. 9, 2021

Most Common Home-Buying FAQs

Realtor giving a family the keys to a new home.Buying a new home can be complicated and overwhelming, especially for those who haven’t gone through the process before. We get a lot of repeat questions about the home-buying process, so we’d like to help by answering some of them here:

  • Should I buy a new home or continue renting? Right now, interest rates are exceptionally low, which can actually make it cheaper to buy than rent. When making this decision, consider how long you’ll be living in the location and whether you are ready for additional maintenance and payment responsibilities.
  • Do I need to go to the bank before looking at homes? Yes! Speaking with your banker sets you up for home-buying success, helping you:
    • Get pre-approval for a loan (this shows the seller you have the financial means to purchase a home)
    • Determine how much you can afford 
    • Plan your budget and narrow your search
    • Decide the best financing plan for you and your situation
    • Understand what costs are involved (sale price, down payment, prepaid items, escrows, lending fees, etc.)
  • What credit score do I need? The higher your credit score, the better your lending terms will be. We recommend a credit score of at least 620, but this really depends on your lender. Be sure to check with your loan officer. 
  • How much do I need for a down payment? Most lenders require a downpayment between 3 and 5% of the purchase price, but some lenders may require less.
  • How much should I offer for a house? At the end of the day, this depends on your judgement and budget. Your realtor’s advice is your best asset here. 
  • What is an earnest money deposit? Commonly called a good faith deposit, this is a deposit you give to the seller’s real estate company to show that you are serious about purchasing a specific property. The larger the deposit, the more likely the seller will be to accept your purchase offer.
  • What is a due diligence fee? This negotiated fee essentially compensates the seller for removing their home from the market while you have inspections done. Buyers typically pay anywhere between $500 and $2000, but the sum can vary based on a number of market conditions.
  • Should I buy a new home before selling my current home? There isn’t an absolute answer here. Although it can reduce your stress to have your new home in line before you sell your current home, that’s not always an option. You may be able to negotiate a “rent-back” through which your buyer will let you stay in the home a certain number of days after closing if you pay their mortgage during that time.
  • How long does it take to buy a new home? The home-buying process can typically take between 30 and 45 days, but the length of time can vary.
  • How do I find a rent-to-own property? These properties are rare (and risky). Most rent-to-own buyers have low credit scores, creating a high risk for the sellers. Therefore, rent-to-own homes typically come with high interest rates and downpayments.
  • What is a short sale? It's a sale in which the sale proceeds are less than the seller's debt on the property and the seller can't afford to pay off the debt. It's best to avoid short sales, as they can be time-consuming, complicated, and result in foreclosure.

A couple walking through a home with a realtor.

  • How long does my offer last? Your purchase offer can have a “life” anywhere between 12 hours to 3 or 4 days. If a home is newly listed or in high demand, the “life” will be shorter. To learn the life of your offer, check with your realtor.
  • What happens after I make an offer? Once you’ve made an offer, the seller may accept, reject, counter, or neglect to respond to your offer. Although offers are rarely rejected, you can come back with another offer if your first is rejected.
  • What inspections do I need to have done? Minimally, you need to make your offer contingent upon a home inspection. But you should consider additional inspections, such as pest inspections, foundation inspections, and mold inspections.
  • What do I do after my purchase offer is accepted? Once a seller accepts your offer, the next steps are to complete the inspection(s), the formal mortgage application, and any other required paperwork (title, abstract, survey, etc.).
  • Are final walk-throughs necessary? Although they’re not required, they’re absolutely necessary. In the weeks that pass by during the purchase process, you never know what could have happened to your new home. It’s best to avoid surprises.
  • When is the closing date? The closing date — the day the transaction is completed and you become the legal owner of the home — is often merely a target decided by the buyer and seller. Even after you set this date, your realtor may work with your lender and title agency to adjust the timeline to allow sufficient time to execute the deal. 
  • Do I really need a realtor to buy a home? Realtors are strongly suggested. They can help with every part of the home-buying process, explain all your options, and represent you throughout the sale.

Looking for a new home in the Wilmington area? Whether you want to settle in Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, or Kure Beach, we’ll give you your best chance at getting a quality home for a good price! Check out the homes for sale in the area, or give our agents a call at 910-395-4100.

Posted in Buying a Home
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