Network Wilmington Real Estate News

Nov. 14, 2023

Culture Comparison: New Hanover, Brunswick, & Pender County

Culture Comparison: New Hanover, Brunswick, & Pender County


If you’re looking to move to southeast North Carolina, you’ve probably come across three main counties: New Hanover County, Brunswick County, and Pender County.


While each region features both beach and river communities with thriving tourist economies, there are significant differences in lifestyle and culture. Read on to learn which county best fits your personality and style.


New Hanover County Culture 

Charming historic downtown

New Hanover County isn’t only known for its big beachy vibes. Wilmington, NC is also home to a delightful historic downtown district along the Cape Fear River. With over 230 blocks of classic architecture, the National Register Historic District is one of the most memorable across the South. Streets lined with Victorian and colonial era homes blend seamlessly into a 2-mile stretch of shops, restaurants, cafés, shops, markets, and art galleries – all against a beautiful river backdrop.

Events & activities for everyone

The area attracts a wide range of people – from surfers and beach bums to foodies and beer enthusiasts. Wrightsville Beach boasts some of the best surfing spots along the east coast. With its nationally recognized oceanfront boardwalk, Carolina Beach is a super family-friendly living and vacation destination. The area is sprinkled with a full menu of craft breweries and restaurants of all kinds. And there is ALWAYS something on the calendar, whether you want to stroll a farmer’s market or festival, listen to live music, or participate in one of the area’s many seasonal events.

Thriving economy

With a population over 120,000 and a 2021-2022 GDP growth of $7,543 million, New Hanover County is among North Carolina’s most flourishing counties. And this is no surprise, considering the number of new businesses that pop up in the area each month. Yet, the county also has the 9th lowest property tax rate of any county in the state. This – along with the area’s affordable housing options – makes New Hanover County an attractive place to call home.

Education opportunities

New Hanover County is a happening place, but residents aren’t only here to have fun. Between the University of North Carolina – Wilmington and Cape Fear Community College, locals and out-of-staters have plenty of quality higher education opportunities. Plus, New Hanover County Schools is also ranked the 18th best school district in all of North Carolina.


Brunswick County Culture

Private, serene beaches

If you’ve never visited a barrier island, you’re in for a treat here along the southernmost coast of North Carolina. Brunswick County beaches are unique in that they are often two-sided – with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other. The Brunswick County island life is a bit more peaceful than the beach experience you get up in New Hanover County. In some Brunswick County towns, you aren’t even allowed to drive a car!

Retirement potential

The privacy of island living is one of the key reasons Brunswick County is one of the state’s most desirable retirement destinations. In fact, 34% of the population is 65 years or older. Brunswick County is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, offering activities ranging from fishing and kayaking to golfing and nature walks. And although the area gets its fair share of visitors, the tourism scene feels relatively calm. 

Impressive population growth

Brunswick County has been breaking state records – currently ranked as the fastest-growing county across North Carolina (and the seventh fastest-growing in the US). Between 2021 and 2022, the population rose by a whopping 5.7% – now sitting above 153,000. Why the intense growth, you ask? Between the area’s breathtaking beaches and its recent economic development, more and more people are discovering the treasure that is Brunswick County every day.

Increasing economic opportunities

The economic development of Brunswick County isn’t going to stop anytime soon. Many people and organizations are taking advantage of the valuable opportunity to invest in the area’s growth. Several large companies – like Epsilon Advanced Materials and Industrial Reliability and Repair, LLC – will bring hundreds of new, well-paying manufacturing jobs to the area in the near future.


Pender County Culture

Natural beauty

Like Brunswick County, the coastland in Pender County is secluded, serene, and ideally suited for avid outdoorsmen and women. It’s beaches, rivers, woodlands, trails, and parks – along with the area’s mild year-long temperatures – give nature-lovers tons of excuses to get outside for leisure, sport, and play. 

Rapid business growth.

According to SmartAsset, Pender County saw the greatest business growth (9.4%) of any North Carolina county in 2022. And the county’s economic development is only going to continue rising as local organizations continue to offer valuable local incentives and resources for businesses that want to grow in the area.

Agricultural hub

Unlike the other two counties, Pender County also boasts a major agriculture scene. The primary crop? Blueberries! The region’s flat land and moist, well-drained soil make it ideal for cultivating the tasty berries. You’ll also catch Pender County farmers growing sweet potatoes, strawberries, tobacco, soybeans, peanuts, corn, and grapes. 

Quieter Lifestyle

Not only is Pender County peaceful and serene, but locals intend to keep it that way. So, while there is PLENTY to do around the county each week, high-rise buildings are not allowed and the county works hard to preserve its natural ecosystem. This makes the county particularly attractive to retirees and families who are looking for something a little more low-key.


Network Real Estate | Southeast NC Real Estate

Exploring your real estate options in southeast North Carolina? Our experienced agents can help you find a home that fits your unique lifestyle.


Call us at 910-395-4100 to start your search today.



Posted in Buying a Home
Oct. 6, 2023

The Pros & Cons of Gated Communities

The entrance to a gated community


Southeastern NC has some seriously beautiful gated communities. With luxurious homes, golf courses, and waterfront views, the secluded communities sprinkled across the Wilmington area are ANYTHING but ordinary.


But are gated communities really worth the cost? 


What makes them so special, anyway?


In this blog, we discuss the ins and outs of the Wilmington area’s gated communities and highlight a few of our favorites. 


Pros of Gated Communities

Several factors make private gated communities an attractive option for Wilmington homebuyers.

1. Greater Privacy

If you’re looking for a neighborhood that’s quiet and serene, a gated community is a safe bet. With guard booths or cameras enforcing restricted entry, you can rest easy knowing you won’t have to deal with unwanted solicitors or high volumes of neighborhood traffic.

2. Heightened Security

Protected by a wall or fence, gated communities elevate safety and security significantly. Though crime still occurs, the controlled access limits who can get in and stir up trouble. This aspect makes these neighborhoods excellent options for families and retirees.

3. Private Amenities

Private access to the neighborhood swimming pool and gym? Count me in! Gated communities like Landfall and Willow Glen are ideal for golfers, boasting their very own golf courses. Some Wilmington area waterfront communities even assign residents personal boat docks, making it easy to get up and go for a nice fishing trip or cruise along the Intracoastal Waterway. 

4. Enhanced Social Life

When you choose a privatized community, it’s frankly easier to make friends. Oftentimes, gated neighborhoods have community centers that host group events and activities to bring residents together. Furthermore, if a neighborly dispute arises, your Homeowner’s Association (HOA) can help resolve the conflict much quicker and easier than non-HOA neighborhoods can. 

5. Impressive Property Value

Luxurious, exclusive, and in high demand, homes in Wilmington’s gated communities have remarkable value…and that’s not changing anytime soon. HOA regulations ensure all common areas (as well as your neighbor’s yard) remain in tip-top shape all year round.


Cons of Gated Communities

Even with all the perks, gated communities aren’t for everyone. There are also a handful of drawbacks.

1. Higher Costs

Higher property value means a higher mortgage. On top of that, the HOA fees can fall anywhere between $100 and $1,000 per month. If you’re on the hunt for a good deal in today’s seller’s market, this may be a bit too expensive. But if budget isn’t a big concern for you, this may not matter all that much. 

2. HOA Regulations & Fees

While your HOA keeps up neighborhood appearances, they don’t do it for free. Not only do associations charge residents a monthly fee, but they limit what you can and can’t do to your property. Want to expand your house or run a home-based business? You may run into some trouble with your HOA. Associations can even dictate how tall you keep your grass, the color you paint your house, and whether or not you can park an RV in your driveway.. =

3. Accessibility Challenges

If you live in a gated community, you’d better have some good patience. With only one or two entrances and exits, you may have to wait in line to get in and out of the complex. Guests may find the guarded entrance a bit inconvenient or intimidating. Feel like ordering in one night? The pizza you ordered might be cold by the time the delivery guy gets past the guard station. Hiring a contractor to work on your house? That’ll be tricky, too!

4. Further From Commercial Hotspots

Gated communities tend to be considerably further away from restaurants and stores than more centrally located neighborhoods. A “quick” bite to eat or trip to the grocery store won’t be all that quick. For some, this is actually a perk. Greater distance from the busy parts of town means less noise and less traffic.

5. Decreased Diversity

Is diversity an important factor in your home search? You’re unlikely to find it in a gated community. Generally attracting people with a similar socioeconomic status, private communities don’t develop quite the same cultural diversity you might find in other Wilmington neighborhoods.


Wilmington, NC Gated Communities

Some of our agents’ favorite local gated communities include… 

  • RiverLights – Wilmington’s newest community along the Cape Fear River, RiverLights will include a large collection of townhomes, condos, and single-family homes.
  • Willow Glen (Beau Rivage) – Stunning AND affordable, this community is located amid the beloved Beau Rivage golf course and offers fantastic amenities.
  • Landfall – One of the area’s most high-end neighborhoods, Landfall boasts breathtaking homes, a 45-hole golf course, close proximity to Wrightsville Beach, and more!


Network Real Estate | Wilmington, NC REALTORS

Looking for a nice gated community around Wilmington, NC? Our agents can help you find the perfect little private community


Call us at 910-395-4100 to start your search today.



Posted in Buying a Home
Sept. 8, 2023

Navigating the Wilmington, NC Condo Market: Tips For Buyers

Wilmington, NC Condo Market


Even in the current hot real estate market, Wilmington, North Carolina boasts an impressive selection of homes – condos and houses, alike!


But there is so little information out there about the Wilmington condo market!


That’s where we come in to help! In this blog, we…

  • Define the term “condo”
  • List the benefits and limitations of condo living
  • Describe the Wilmington, NC condo market
  • And provide tips to help you choose your perfect condo


What is a Condo?

A condo – short for condominium – is essentially an apartment you can purchase. Many homeowners enjoy the freedom of owning a condo, as they can change their home interior however they please (within reason). There are some limitations. For example, condo owners can’t remove walls or close up windows. And unlike apartment complexes or regular homes, upkeep and maintenance is usually split between residents and the landlord.


Is a Condo Right For You?

There are several key benefits of condo living, including… 

  • Greater affordability (especially for first-time home buyers)
  • Plenty of space for singles, couples, or small families
  • Access to apartment-style amenities
  • Easy community development
  • Convenient location options
  • No responsibility for exterior repairs
  • And more!

However, if you’re considering a condo, you should also be aware of the limitations. If you have a pet, need a lot of space, or don’t want to share walls with neighbors, a condo may not be your best bet.


Wilmington, NC Condos

Whether you’re looking for a simple, centrally located condo or a luxurious waterfront condo, Wilmington, NC has options for you!


Wilmington’s quirky, historic downtown district is home to a wide variety of condominiums. You couldn’t ask for a better location. Condo owners enjoy close proximity to the Cape Fear River boardwalk, delicious restaurants, and local shops. In downtown Wilmington, you can find both spacious, high-end condos and small, cozy options.


A significant portion of downtown Wilmington’s condos also boast waterfront views and direct river access. Just imagine waking up in the morning for a brisk walk along the boardwalk or a leisurely waterfront stroll as the sun sets along the river banks. If you’re looking for a home with great views, you can’t go wrong along the Cape Fear River.


You’ll find an array of stylish, upscale condo communities scattered throughout Wilmington – along beautiful River Road, approaching Wrightsville Beach, located centrally along Shipyard Boulevard, and more! Although most condos offer limited space, there are numerous hidden gems across Wilmington that boast more than 1500 square feet of living space, 3+ bedrooms, and 3+ full bathrooms. Many of the condos you’ll find in the area feature updated interiors, fireplaces, and spacious patios.


When the real estate market is hot like it is today, buying a home can seem daunting. But when you open your home search to condos, suddenly your price options look a lot more favorable. You can find Wilminton, NC condos for as little as $180K.


If you’ve lived in an apartment before, you’ve likely realized the perks of amenities like a community pool or gym. These kinds of amenities are abounding in the Wilmington condo market. 


Wilmington, NC Condo Shopping Tips

Below, we’ve listed 5 tips to help you with your condo search.


1. Find a good real estate agent.

Be picky! When it comes to buying any kind of new home, you’ll save yourself from big headaches if you choose a quality real estate agent. They should have a strong understanding of the local condo market AND the capacity to provide attentive, personalized service. 


2. Think about your lifestyle.

Do you prefer to dine out or cook at home? While some condos are within walking distance of many tasty restaurants, others are centrally located near grocery stores. Some other questions to consider:

  • How important is walkability to you? 
  • Do you want a condo with sweet views?
  • Are you okay parking your car overnight in a parking garage?
  • Do you prefer fewer neighbors (i.e. a quieter community)?
  • Is elevator access an important factor?
  • Do you have a pet?


3. Do some research.

Not only should you read reviews of the condo communities you’re looking into, but it’s also a good idea to check out the condos’ pricing history. This will give you an idea of the home’s value and help you decide whether buying is a smart choice.


4. Look into HOA fees & rules.

Some condos have homeowners association fees and specifications. Consider whether this is something you can manage or if it is a dealbreaker. Some common HOA rules pertain to the number and kind of pets you can have and your ability to decorate your condo exterior.


5. Don’t forget about amenities.

Do you love the idea of lounging around a luxurious pool? Or is easy gym access a non-negotiable for you? The quality of condominium amenities is certainly an important factor when searching for your new home.

Network Real Estate | Wilmington, NC REALTORS

Considering buying a Wilmington, NC condo? Network Real Estate agents have been in the Wilmington condo game for decades. Let us help you evaluate your local condo options!


Call us at 910-395-4100 today to start working with one of our dedicated agents.




Posted in Buying a Home
Aug. 16, 2023

Why Invest in Brunswick County, NC Real Estate?

Brunswick County beach


Demand for coastal real estate is stronger than ever – and especially so in Brunswick County. Unlike other more established coastal regions, the real estate investment opportunities are growing instead of drying up!


In this article, we list 9 reasons Brunswick County should be your next real estate investment.

Serene beaches

Brunswick County beaches are some of the most peaceful along the east coast. Some of the county’s beaches and islands are so secluded that you can only reach them by ferry. 


Small beach towns without cars? Yes, it’s as sweet as it sounds! 


Many Brunswick County towns are barrier islands, surrounded by water on all sides. Visitors can enjoy sunbathing, swimming, and surfing in the Atlantic Ocean on one side. And they can go boating or fishing on the beautiful Intracoastal Waterway on the other side.

Ideal location

In addition to the county’s breathtaking islands and beaches, residents and visitors appreciate close proximity to charming downtown Wilmington, NC and the popular Myrtle Beach, SC. Not only do Wilmington and Myrtle Beach offer an abundance of entertainment and cuisine, but they also each have airports. That means convenient cross-country travel!

Entertainment value

Brunswick County has plenty of entertainment within its county boundaries. Visitors will have a blast perusing local farmer’s markets, watching oceanfront concerts, and attending one of the area’s many festivals. They can get their golf fix on NC’s Brunswick Islands championship courses. Or they can immerse themselves in coastal wildlife – kayaking through the marsh or taking a guided swamp boat tour. 

Food. Food. Food.

We would be remiss if we did not mention the flavorful cuisine of southeast North Carolina. Brunswick County’s restaurants will definitely not disappoint. Calabash boasts the best seafood you’ll ever encounter. And there are countless waterfront dining options – along the Atlantic Ocean, Intracoastal Waterway, and Cape Fear River. No matter where you eat in Brunswick County, your taste buds will be grateful!

Business growth

Brunswick County is one of the fastest growing counties not only in North Carolina, but across the entire U.S. Businesses are flooding to the area to take advantage of the area’s infrastructure, worker pool, resources, and overall appeal. And more business means more economic growth for the area and more real estate development.

Rapid property development 

The area is growing in more than just an industrial capacity. Every year, more people want to live and vacation in Brunswick County. Development of single-family homes and other properties has skyrocketed. You can bet we’ll see Brunswick County real estate continue to pop up on the market in the years to come.

Small-town feel

Although Brunswick County is growing, it still feels like a small town in many ways. Don’t get me wrong. The area gets its fair share of tourists. But the county and the beaches seem a lot less crowded than neighboring towns like Wrightsville Beach.


The kid-friendly activities are abounding in Brunswick County – the beach, lighthouses, museums, parks, you name it! Families love renting Brunswick County’s spacious waterfront homes or even staying inland a bit to save money for other activities. 

Affordable options

Ruling out a Brunswick County investment because you think you can’t afford a home on the beach? Some areas of the county – like Leland, Shallotte, and Bolivia – are a little further inland. Therefore, the home prices are a little more affordable. Yet, the homes are close enough to the water to remain in-demand come tourist season.


Network Real Estate | Brunswick County, NC Real Estate

Considering a Brunswick County, NC real estate investment? Network Real Estate agents know the area well and can help you keep an eye out for the perfect investment opportunity.


Call us at 910-395-4100 today to start working with one of our dedicated agents.




Posted in Investors
July 22, 2023

Budgeting For Your Move: How Much You Should Save

A couple of home buyers looking at their budget for a new home.


Being a homeowner is one of life’s most rewarding experiences! But the decision to buy a home should not be taken lightly. The last thing you want is to jeopardize your financial wellbeing by purchasing a home without a sufficient budget.


To help you save appropriately, we’ve compiled a list of all the different costs home buyers can expect when they move into a new home.

Costs of Moving & Buying a Home

As a potential home buyer, you need to save up a good chunk of money before you move and close on a home. We have divided your possible costs into 5 categories:


  1. Home-buying costs
  2. General moving costs
  3. Professional moving costs
  4. DIY moving costs
  5. Costs AFTER move-in


1. Home-buying costs 


Earnest Money Deposit – This is one of the first costs you’ll face in the home-buying process. Also called a “good faith deposit,” earnest money can help make your offer more appealing to sellers. This deposit could be as much as 10% of the listing price in a seller’s market, but it generally falls between 1% and 3%.


Home Inspection – Before closing on a home, buyers typically get an inspection of the home’s physical condition. Home inspections can cost up to $400.


Down Payment – Depending whether you qualify for more specialized loans (like USDA  or first-time home buyer loans), your down payment may fall anywhere between 0% and 20% of the purchase price.


Closing Costs – Before you become the legal owner of your new home, you’ll need to pay some fees. Generally between 2% and 5% of your loan amount, closing costs include appraisal and attorney fees, loan origination fees, homeowner’s and title insurance, property taxes, escrow fees, and more.




2. General moving costs 


Packing Materials – Don’t forget about the boxes, tape, packing blankets, packing paper, and packing wrap you’ll need. Although you probably can’t calculate a definite cost of packing materials until you are actually boxing up your belongings, you can make a rough estimate of the supplies you’ll need.


Vehicle Shipping – Moving to a different state? Shipping your vehicle may make more sense than driving it yourself. This option will generally put you out about $1,500.


Personal Travel Expenses – If your new home is a long drive away, you’ll need to think about any necessary gas and overnight accommodations.


Storage Expenses – Not traveling with all of your stuff? You can get a storage unit or a storage container for anywhere between 50 bucks and a few hundred dollars. 


3. Professional moving costs


Standard Moving Fee – Moving companies will charge you a base fee. Movers typically base this fee on the amount of stuff you have, the amount of labor needed to move it, and the length of your journey. Local moves generally cost no more than a couple thousand dollars. But long-distance moves can be much more expensive.


Mover’s Insurance – Most professional movers offer mover’s insurance. This policy will come into play if something happens to your stuff during transport.


Multi-Day or Time Overage Fees – The more time your move takes, the more you will be charged. If your move spans over the course of two days or lasts longer than originally estimated, you can expect extra fees.


4. DIY moving costs


Truck Rental – If you are a do-it-yourself kind of mover, you can rent a Penske, U-Haul, or other moving truck for a relatively affordable rate. Just like moving companies, local moves will cost far less than cross-country moves.


Fuel – Don’t forget to consider gas expenses when renting a moving truck. Most moving truck companies require you to return your truck with plenty of fuel.


Moving Equipment – Handling the move yourself can save you some money. But you will probably want to rent some moving blankets and dollies from the moving truck company to make the job easier.


5. Costs AFTER move-in


Cleaning & Repairs – Your home inspection will be able to give you a good idea what kind of initial repairs you will need to make to your new home. It is also a good idea to set aside some money for things like professional carpet cleaning.


Utility Set-Up – If it’s your first time buying a home, you may be surprised how quickly monthly costs build up when you are a homeowner. From waste management to pest control to home security, there are a whole slew of utility expenses you may not be used to if you’ve only ever lived in an apartment.


New Furniture & Appliances – You’ll probably have a list of items you want to get for your new home – a fridge, dishwasher, new couch, window treatments, you name it! Determine which items you need to purchase right away (and which ones can wait until you’ve rebuilt your savings post-move).


Network Real Estate | Wilmington, NC Real Estate

Need help finding a home in the Wilmington, NC area under your budget? The agents here at Network Real Estate have years of experience under their belts and can help you find some fantastic home options within your price range. 


Call us at 910-395-4100 today to start working with one of our dedicated agents.



Posted in Buying a Home
June 20, 2023

Home Loan Assistance Programs in Wilmington, NC

Home buyer calculated home loan and purchase costs


Many Wilmington home buyers don’t realize that the city offers several programs designed to help afford to buy a home. While certain programs are intended for first-time buyers, others are open to all home buyers.


In this blog, we will describe the local assistance programs available to buyers looking for a home in Wilmington, North Carolina.


Wilmington, NC Home Loan Assistance

If you’re interested in buying a home in Wilmington, NC, there are several home loan programs at your fingertips…


Home Ownership Pool (HOP)

In cooperation with a handful of local banks, the City of Wilmington offers loan assistance for low-to-moderate income households looking to buy a single-family home within city limits.


The program offerings include…


  • Up to $25,000 in downpayment assistance
  • 100% financing
  • And 0% interest rate on a specific chunk of the loan

Who is eligible?

To qualify for HOP assistance, you must…

  • Have a minimum credit score of 620
  • Earn below 130% of the area median income
  • Be purchasing a home in Wilmington city limits
  • And undergo the city’s Mandatory Home Buyer Education 

In order to receive HOP assistance, you must also undergo the city’s Mandatory Home Buyer Education.

How to apply

Choose one of the city’s upcoming Home Buyer Education classes, register, and attend. Then, you can fill out an application that will determine your eligibility for the loan assistance.



In addition to its flagship HOP program, the city now offers HOP 2GETHER, a FREE program that provides first-time home buyers with the tools and resources they need for the home buying process.


Through the program, participants receive: 

  • Up to $25,000 in downpayment assistance 
  • Free in-person and virtual one-to-one housing counseling
  • Resources and advice pertaining to pre- and post-purchase processes, financial management, credit education, and more
  • Custom tailored counseling according to participant needs
  • And quarterly workshops and homebuyer education

 Previous topics of quarterly HOP 2GETHER workshops include home maintenance, emergency disaster preparedness, homeowners insurance, and working with a real estate agent.

Who is eligible?

Any first-time home buyer (individual or family) who attends the HOP 2GETHER classes and is within the lowest 60% of the Area Median Income should take advantage of the program.

How to apply

To get started with HOP 2GETHER, call the City of Wilmington housing department at 910-341-7836. You will not be able to secure the loan assistance until you’ve completed the entire homebuyer education program.


Community Partners Loan Pool (CPLP)

Kingdom CDC, a member of the Community Partners Loan Pool (CPLP) through the NC Housing Finance Agency, offers a remarkable zero-interest, deferred second mortgage option for Wilmington home buyers. 


Through the program, home buyers can receive up to 25% or $50,000 (whichever is less) in downpayment assistance.


The assistance must be paired with either NC Home Advantage Mortgage™ or USDA Section 502 Loan. The amount of assistance you receive depends on the option you choose.

Who is eligible?

There are certain eligibility requirements for home buyers seeking to take advantage of the CPLP assistance:

  • A minimum credit score of 640
  • Attendance of the City of Wilmington’s Mandatory Home Buyer Education Class (see the HOP section above)
  • Income less than 80% of the New Hanover County median income
  • Qualification for an approved mortgage
  • Home sale price within predetermined limits for the New Hanover County 

Find this year’s income and sale price limits.

How to apply

Similar to the HOP Program, you must attend one of the city’s upcoming Home Buyer Education classes. Then, you can fill out an application that will determine your eligibility for the loan assistance.


Learn more about Wilmington Loan Assistance Programs

The best part about these programs? They are stackable! That means you can take advantage of all three programs if you qualify. 


To learn more about these programs and browse additional city housing, check out the City of Wilmington Housing page.


Network Real Estate | Wilmington, NC Real Estate

Looking for an affordable home in Wilmington, NC on a budget? The agents here at Network Real Estate have years of experience under their belts and can help you find some fantastic home options within your price range. 


Call us at 910-395-4100 today to start working with one of our dedicated agents.



Posted in Buying a Home
May 12, 2023

When to Make an Offer on a Home

A man talking with a Realtor about buying a home


When it comes to making an offer on a home, timing is key!


You don’t want to jump too quickly and offer up more money than necessary. But you ALSO don’t want to wait too long and miss out on a great home. 


In this blog post, we explain…

  • what to consider before putting in an offer on a home, 
  • how to decide on an offer amount, 
  • and when to make the leap.

Before You Make an Offer on a Home

Before you jump to make an offer on a home, there are several factors to consider. 

The housing market.

Conduct research on current housing market trends in your area. Although the entire country is experiencing a seller’s market right now, your area may have a market that is a little more favorable to buyers. 


You’ll want to get a pulse on…

  • Current home prices in the area
  • The demand for similar-priced homes in the area
  • The inventory of homes to choose from
  • Mortgage interest rates
  • And how quickly the market is moving 

Your real estate agent can provide critical help in this part of the home-buying process. With their local market expertise, they can provide a comparative market analysis that will allow you to determine a fair price for a home in your budget.

Your finances.

Early on in your home search, you are going to want to set your budget.


The three primary costs you should incorporate into your budget include:

  • Down payment (which can range from 0% to 20%, depending on your loan)
  • Closing costs (generally between 2% and 5%)
  • Moving expenses (including travel, moving company, etc.)

Be slightly conservative with your budget. You will want to have a little wiggle room in case any unexpected costs arise.

Once you determine your budget, the next step is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Minimally, you will need what is called a Conditional Approval. This document essentially states that you will most likely be approved for a loan of a particular size if all of the information you’ve given the mortgage lender is correct. 

However, this is still just a “conditional” approval. You still need to get your official loan offer from the bank, which can happen later in the home buying process.

The home condition.

It’s not yet time to do a home inspection, but you can get a good idea of a home’s condition if you pay close attention during your home tour. Determine what kind of repairs and renovations will be necessary once you move in.


Some things you should look out for include:

  • Roof damage
  • Stained, cracked, or damaged floors, ceilings, or walls
  • Old outdated HVAC and electrical systems
  • Cracks in the foundation
  • Water damage
  • Signs of termite damage
  • Strange gas odors
  • And signs of leaky plumbing

In addition to major repairs, you should also consider the cost of any renovations you might want to make in the first couple years living in the home. If you anticipate making substantial renovations to a low-priced home, make sure you are still getting a good deal after adding those costs.

The seller’s situation.

With a quick search of public records and real estate listings, you or your real estate agent might be able to gather valuable information about the homeowner’s motivations for selling. 


See if you can tell how long the house has been on the market and determine the seller’s level of urgency. Or, perhaps you will learn the seller wants to delay closing because of a set move date or their own home-buying challenges.


You can use all this information to present a winning offer and/or secure a good deal!

The home-buying competition.

How desirable is the home? If it is affordable AND in good condition, you will likely face more competition from other potential buyers. In this case, you may consider a higher offer.


Some things that could make a home more competitive include:

  • Convenient location
  • Safe neighborhood
  • Absence of major repairs
  • Modern or updated features
  • Relatively recent build
  • Affordable asking price
  • Plenty of square footage
  • Covered garage, fenced-in yard, and other preferred features

If you are particularly interested in a home after a home tour and think you may face significant competition, consider making an offer quickly – especially in today’s fast-moving housing market. 

How to Decide On an Offer Amount

To determine an appropriate offer, you can start by looking at the prices of comparable homes. 


Home search apps like Zillow and Homesnap allow you to view the sale prices of other houses in surrounding neighborhoods. Take advantage of these tools! See how the asking price matches up with the prices of nearby homes of the same size and condition. 


If the seller is asking for an amount too far above the price range of the homes in the surrounding area, you may be able to get away with a lower offer.


Remember, you should never feel pressured to make an offer you don’t feel comfortable with. Before you even start looking for homes, you should decide the maximum offer you are willing to make (see the “Your finances” subsection above).

When to Take the Leap

Now to the big question – when is the right time to submit your offer? 


The answer to this question depends entirely on your situation and the home you want to purchase. In a seller’s market like the one we are in today, buyers are unfortunately required to act fast to make an offer on a home. 


The best way to effectively time your offer is to work closely with a local real estate agent. An experienced, local agent can help you decide an appropriate offer amount and when to pull the trigger.

Network Real Estate | Wilmington, NC Region

Network Real Estate has earned a strong reputation for our excellent customer service and knowledge of local real estate. If you’re looking for REALTOR you can count on, you’re in the right place!


Let’s help you secure your ideal home! Call our agents today at 910-395-4100.



Posted in Buying a Home
April 24, 2023

What You Need to Know About Wilmington’s HOP Program

key with a house keychain


There are a wide range of loans and financial assistance programs out there for first-time homebuyers and people in niche communities – such as veterans and those seeking homes in rural areas. 


However, there aren’t too many programs that help homebuyers outside of those categories who still need a little extra financial help to purchase a new home in today’s seller’s market.


Fortunately, there is a program that can provide some welcome assistance to many homebuyers here locally in Wilmington, NC – whether first-time homebuyers, veterans, or neither.

What is the HOP Program?

The City of Wilmington Community Development & Housing department works with a number of local banks to offer low-to-moderate income homebuyers a generous home loan option. 


Through the HOP (Home Ownership Pool) Program, eligible recipients could receive up to $25,000 in downpayment assistance on a single family home purchased within the limits of Wilmington, North Carolina.


Some additional perks of the program include 100% financing and a 0% interest rate on a specific chunk of the loan. 

Who is eligible for the HOP Program?

Certain eligibility criteria must be met for a homebuyer to qualify for HOP assistance. You might be eligible for the program if you…

  • Have a minimum credit score of 620
  • Earn below 130% of the annual median income
  • And are purchasing a home in Wilmington city limits

In order to receive HOP assistance, you must also undergo the city’s Mandatory Home Buyer Education. 


Need to improve your credit score?


To boost your score, make sure you pay all of your bills on time and keep your credit card balances as low as possible. DO NOT close any current credit cards. Doing so can actually lower your credit score.

How do I apply for HOP assistance?

The first step is to register for the City of Wilmington’s Home Buyer Education class. Because there is a limited number of slots available and the program offerings are very attractive, classes fill up quickly. 


Make sure you check the City of Wilmington HOP web page periodically so you can register for the next available class.


After attending the class, you can fill out an application with the city that will determine your eligibility for Wilmington housing assistance. You may also be required to submit a number of essential documents, such as your recent credit report, pay stubs, bank statements, and tax returns.

Learn more about the Wilmington HOP Program

In addition to the HOP program, the city offers a number of other fantastic homebuying assistance programs that you can stack together with HOP, including…

  • HOP 2gether (up to $25,000 in down payment assistance)
  • Community Partners Loan Pool (up to $50,000 or 20% in down payment assistance)

Learn more about the HOP Program and other local housing assistance programs on the City of Wilmington Housing page.

Network Real Estate | Wilmington, NC Real Estate

Looking for an affordable home in Wilmington, NC on a budget? The agents here at Network Real Estate have years of experience under their belts and can help you find some fantastic home options within your price range. 


Call us at 910-395-4100 today to start working with one of our dedicated agents.



Posted in Buying a Home
March 28, 2023

5 Effective Ways to Build Trust With a Realtor

Buying or selling property could be one of the most stressful processes you encounter — but that’s only if you don’t have a solid relationship with a realtor. 

It’s much easier to achieve your real estate goals if you’re working with a trusted realtor who communicates well, understands what you want, and manages your expectations. 

Here, we discuss how you can effectively build trust with a realtor. 

Strengthen the Professional Relationship with Your Realtor 

Professionalism, honesty, and constant communication are the starting point of building trust in a relationship. Let’s dive into five other effective ways of doing so. 

● Be Proactive with Voicing Concerns 

Don’t just agree with what they say — and don’t say no to everything without explanations, either. Voice out your concerns and anything else that needs clarification as early as possible so they can be addressed faster. 

● Learn to Hold Each Other Accountable 

All relationships — including professional ones — are a two-way street. You and your realtor must hold each other accountable for every stage of the process. This means acknowledging limitations and setting realistic expectations. 

● Adapt to Each Other’s Communication Style 

Take the time to understand each other’s communication style — and always be open about your concerns. This way, you can minimize misunderstandings and always be on the same page regarding your real estate dealings.

● Connect with Them on Social Media 

Almost everyone uses social media in their downtime — others may also use these platforms to promote and run their business. Connect with your realtor on a deeper scale by interacting with them on social media. 

● Make an Effort to Get to Know Them 

Realtors are human, too. If you want to build trust with your realtor, you have to try to get to know them beyond the services they provide for you. This way, you can better understand their approach to helping you. 

Working with a realtor isn’t entirely about business. Both parties must understand that you should be working as a team — and these five tips help with that. Once you realize you’re on the same team, it will be easier to build trust with them. 

Find a Realtor You Can Trust Today | Network Real Estate Wilmington, NC 

Our agents and brokers at Network Real Estate can help you buy, sell, rent, and manage properties in Wilmington, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and throughout southeastern North Carolina. 

We know the local neighborhoods and real estate like the back of our hands. So you can count on us to help you secure the best deals on the market. 

Looking for a realtor you can trust? Look no further. Call us now at 910-395-4100.


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Posted in Finding a Realtor
Nov. 22, 2022

Wilmington, NC Area Holiday Events 2022

Young girl outdoors during holiday season.


Residents who live in and around Wilmington, NC enjoy a wide variety of treasured holiday festivities throughout November, December, and January of each year. 


New to the area? Here are some events that you’ll want to mark on your calendar.

Holiday 5K Runs & Walks

Dec. 3 — 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 annual Wrightsville Beach Museum of History holiday 5K. You could even win a prize for best holiday costume! Visit the website.


Dec. 31 — Carolina Beach State Park Half Marathon & 5K NYE Run. Kick off 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

Dec. 2-4 — 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. 3 — 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. 25-27 — NC Holiday Flotilla at Wrightsville Beach. Floods of people come to Wrightsville Beach the Saturday following Thanksgiving for an annual festival in the park, a stunning lighted boat parade, and an exquisite fireworks show. If you hope to attend the boat parade, make sure you arrive early. Parking goes fast! Check it out.


Nov. 30 - Jan. 2 — Cape Fear Festival of Trees. The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is a family favorite year-round. But when the holiday season starts, it gets even better! Local artists, businesses, and organizations transform the venue into an enchanting winter wonderland. Buy tickets online.


Nov. 25 & 26; Dec. 2-22 — 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. However, tickets always sell fast! If you miss this year, go ahead and bookmark this tab for next year – Buy tickets online. 


Dec. 3 — Live Oak Bank Pavilion Tree Lighting, Movie, & Ice Skating. This year, the City of Wilmington is putting on a tree lighting ceremony at the Live Oak Bank Pavilion – kicking the night off with a Cape Fear Chorale performance at 5:45 p.m. and featuring a movie (The Grinch) on the lawn, face paintings, a food truck, FREE hot chocolate, a visit from Santa, and ice skating. Learn more.


Dec. 3 — 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. View the website.

Holiday Entertainment & Shows

Dec. 10-11, 17-18 — Polar Express Holiday Show. Looking for a fun (educational) family-friendly event? Your kids will LOVE this immersive Polar Express experience – with punched golden train tickets and even a visit with Santa. View the website.


Dec. 16 — Kure Beach Holiday Whoobie Whatty. A big fan of The Grinch? Join other Grinch-loving locals for an immersive Whoville-themed event – featuring the 2000 Grinch movie, face painting, crafts, cookie decorating, and more! Learn more.


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


Thalian Hall. From the Celtic Angels Christmas to a showing of the Christmas Carol to a screening of It’s a Wonderful Life, you can catch a variety of festive shows at Thalian Hall throughout the holiday season. Check 2022 showings.

Other Holiday Fun

Nov. 26 - Dec. 17 — Christmas By The Sea. Throughout the holiday season, the Town of Carolina Beach hosts a variety of activities – ranging from a festive holiday parade and a film showing along Carolina Beach Lake to a Holiday Market and visits with Santa. Learn more.


Dec. 1-24 — Mayfaire Town Center Holiday Events. A popular shopping center in northeast Wilmington, Mayfaire Town Center hosts a wide variety of holiday events every year – from visits and photo opportunities with Santa Claus to Holiday Story Time at Barnes and Noble and more! Visit the website. 


Dec. 2 — 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. Learn more.


Dec. 16-17, 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

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


Dec. 31 — New Year’s Eve Roaring ‘20s Ball. Swing into the new year with style at this ticketed Great Gatsby-themed ball. Get tickets online.


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.

Network Real Estate | Wilmington, NC 

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