Network Wilmington Real Estate News

June 23, 2021

Best Activities for Renters in Wrightsville Beach


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


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


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

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



Enjoy One of Many Summer Concerts

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


Visit Airlie Gardens

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



Learn About Our Town

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


Check Out Our Piers

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


Take Surfing Lessons

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


Head Out to One of the Nearby Islands

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


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

Posted in Vacation Rentals
June 21, 2021

Renting a Property During Hurricane Season


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


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


Preparing Your Vacation Rental for Hurricane Season

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

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

Preparing for Hurricane Season as a Renter

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


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

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

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

Posted in Vacation Rentals
June 11, 2021

Beginner’s Guide To Renting a Vacation Home

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


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


1. Replace anything that needs replacing.

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


2. Furnish and decorate.

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


3. Don’t skimp on amenities.

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


4. Protect yourself and your property with liability insurance.

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


5. Be specific with your house rules.

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


6. Develop an emergency action plan.

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


7. Shell out for professional photos.

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


8. Consider working with a property manager.

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


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

Posted in Vacation Rentals
June 4, 2021

Preparing Your Home for Hurricane Season

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


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


1. Start by putting together a storm kit.

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


2. Come up with a plan for your pets.

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


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

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


4. Fill several gas containers.

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


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

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


6. Know your evacuation plan.

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


7. Find emergency shut-offs.

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


8. Keep your insurance documents handy.

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


9. Purchase a cover for your air conditioning unit.

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


10. Stock up on plywood.

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


11. Clean gutters and drains.

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


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

Posted in Vacation Rentals
June 4, 2021

Tips for Furnishing Your Rental Home

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


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


1. Figure out who your target customers are.

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


2. Make a list.

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


3. Choose a style.

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


4. Determine your budget.

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


5. Choose quality.

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


6. Don’t forget the finishing touches.

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


7. Remove any personal items.

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


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

Posted in Vacation Rentals
April 27, 2020

How to Be a Good Tenant

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


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


Signs of a Bad Tenant

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


Changing the Locks

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


Bringing Pets without Permission

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


Making Landscaping Decisions

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


Inviting Long-Term Guests

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


Ignoring Maintenance Issues

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


Leaving Early or Subletting Without Permission

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


Having Parties

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


Leaving the Place a Mess

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


Painting, Changing Appliances or Making Repairs

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


Paying Late

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


As long as you follow the law, obey the terms of your lease, and ask for permission before making any changes to the home you’re renting, being a good renter should be easy. If you’re thinking of leasing a short-term or long-term rental in Wilmington, Network Real Estate has you covered. From condos in Wrightsville Beach to homes in Pine Valley, we have plenty of options for all kinds of renters. Find out more by giving our rental agents a call at 910-395-4100.

Posted in Vacation Rentals
April 13, 2020

How to Find the Perfect Vacation Home

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


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



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


1. Figure out what you want/need.

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


2. Determine how much space you need.

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


3. Start looking early.

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


4. Try to stay flexible.

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


5. Check more than one source.

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


6. Read reviews.

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


7. Consider developing a meal plan.

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


8. Read the contract carefully.

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


9. Buy trip insurance.

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


10. Take a walkthrough.

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


11. Stay in touch with your rental agent.

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


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

Posted in Vacation Rentals
April 6, 2020

Home Buying Mistakes to Avoid

There’s a lot to consider when buying a home. You have to think about how much you can spend, where you want your house to be located, and what features you need it to have. It’s a complicated process, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer. It can also be an emotional process. After all, it’s hard not to be emotionally invested when you’re spending a large amount of money on a big, time-consuming purchase.


As real estate agents, we’ve seen and heard it all, which is how we know exactly what you should and shouldn’t do on your way to the closing table. While some issues can be easily resolved, there are a few home-buying mistakes that you really want to make sure you avoid.



1. Buying a house while you’re in debt.

Having a mortgage payment can be stressful enough on its own, so it’s a bad idea to add a mortgage to your debt if you already have car loans, student loans, medical bills, back taxes, etc. You must also consider that getting a home loan while you have other types of debt might be more difficult because you will have a higher debt to income ratio. While you may get a home loan under these conditions, the interest will be steeper and it will take longer for you to pay the loan back. Likewise, if you’re applying for a home loan, don’t take on any additional debt (credit cards, car loans, etc.) until after the loan is approved and the sale is closed.


2. Shopping for a home before you’ve been approved for a loan.

There are a couple of problems with shopping before you’re pre-approved. The first is that you don’t truly know what you’ll be able to afford. This can lead to you looking at homes outside of your price range, falling in love with one, and then ultimately being disappointed when you find out your loan won’t cover the cost of the home. Another reason to get pre-approved before you shop is that a seller is much more likely to accept an offer if there’s a preapproval letter with it.


3. Having a down payment that’s too small.

The smaller your down payment, the higher your monthly interest and mortgage payments will be. Plus, if your down payment is less than 20% of the value of the home you’re buying, the bank will also require you to pay PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance), a type of insurance that protects them in the event you can’t afford your mortgage.


4. Focusing only on price.

Obviously you have a budget to stay in, but that’s not the only thing that’s important when buying a house. You also have to consider things like resale value, school districts, and upcoming construction projects nearby, and how much the neighborhood has changed and will change in the coming years.


5. Making emotional decisions.

It’s tough to find a balance between logic and emotions during the home-buying process, but it must be done in order to make sure you’re purchasing the right home. For example, try not to let current market conditions affect your decision to buy if you’re truly ready. Also, don’t let how much you love a house make you quick to overlook concerns you may have. Finally, don’t buy a house just because you’ve been looking for a long time, had bad luck with past offers, or are just ready for the process to be over, as this is a good way to end up with something you don’t want.


6. Not getting a home inspection.

As a buyer, the home inspection is your chance to make sure everything is as it should be. Find your own home inspector (i.e. don’t take a recommendation from the seller’s agent) and have them do a full inspection on the house. This will tell you everything you need to know about the foundation, roof, plumbing, writing, etc., and whether there are problems with any of these things. If you don’t schedule a home inspection, you could end up buying a house with serious issues without even knowing it. Having the home inspection before closing, on the other hand, gives you the opportunity to negotiate to have any issues fixed before the sale closes.


7. Neglecting to explore first-time homebuyer programs.

If you don’t have a lot of money to put down, there are options for you. Many lenders and credit unions will offer incentives for first-time homebuyers, as will some government agencies. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Federal Housing Administration all offer special loans to help individuals buy their first home. Just remember to do your research and gain a full understanding of what these loans entail and what your interest rates will be before you move forward.


8. Forgetting all those extra little costs.

You don’t just have to factor in the cost of the home when determining your house budget, you also have to add up all those extra expenses that are part of the home-buying process. You have to think about application fees, closing costs, HOA fees, repairs, renovations, appliances… the list goes on and on. Even after you’re financially prepared for the sale itself, you should always have at least three months’ worth of mortgage payments sitting in a savings account to use in case of emergencies.


9. Not using a real estate agent.

When it comes down to it, the only way to make sure you’re 100% protected is to have the help of a real estate agent. The Wilmington realtors at Network Real Estate have been through the home-buying process countless times before. We’ll use our expert experience to help you find a home that ticks all of your boxes. Give us a call at 910-395-4100 to schedule your first showing today!

Posted in Buying a Home
March 31, 2020

Seller’s Markets vs. Buyer’s Markets

Whether you’re a seller or a buyer, your #1 goal is always to get the most bang for your buck. If you’ve been a homeowner, you’ve probably heard a real estate agent use the terms “seller’s market” and “buyer’s market” once or twice. Understanding what these terms mean is critical to a successful real estate transaction, whether you’re selling your home or buying a new one.


We believe that educating our clients is a big part of making sure they have a good experience with us. So in this article, we’ll discuss exactly what buyer’s and seller’s markets are, their advantages and disadvantages, and how to determine what kind of market you’re dealing with at any given time.



What is a Buyer’s Market?

A buyer’s market occurs where there is more supply than there is demand. In other words, there are more people trying to sell houses than there are people trying to buy houses. This typically results in buyers having a rather large selection of homes to choose from, which gives them the upper hand when it comes to negotiating price. Sellers who are listing their home in a buyer’s market may have to lower their home’s price in order to compete in the market.


What is a Seller’s Market?

A seller’s market occurs when there is more demand than supply. So if there are more people trying to buy houses than there are actual houses available, you’re dealing with a seller’s market. This is the scenario where bidding wars are very common, and buyers should be prepared to offer more money or bring cash to the table, in order to get what they want. For sellers, this makes things easy, as they just have to sit back and wait for the best offer to come in.


Determining Current Market Conditions in Wilmington, NC

A lot of times, the real estate market in a given area will fluctuate seasonally. Wilmington and the surrounding areas depend heavily on tourism, so where, in other areas, you might see more homes listed during the summer, you’re not as likely to see that here. Summer is the prime rental season in Wilmington, so we tend to see more listings go on the market in the “off-season” than any other time. Likewise, the tourists, traffic, and high temperatures don’t make summers in Wilmington the most desirable time for buyers to look for a home.


That’s not to say you can’t buy or sell in Wilmington during the summer, it’s just not as common as it might be in someplace like New England, where home shopping during the summer is much more preferable to home shopping in five feet of snow. Apart from the weather, there are several other indicators one can look at to determine the current real estate conditions in Wilmington:


  • Consider the local job market. Lots of jobs and new business opportunities may indicate a seller’s market whereas fewer jobs can often put cities in a buyer’s market.
  • Check how quickly the “inventory” of homes changes. If there are plenty of homes available but they stay on the market for a long time, that’s a sure sign of a buyer’s market. However, a limited inventory of homes that are listed one day and sold the next is a clear indication that you’re in the middle of a seller’s market.
  • Observe price fluctuations. If over a period of a few weeks or months, you notice that the same homes are available and their prices have been slashed, you’re dealing with a buyer’s market. However, if prices keep trending up and up, the sellers have the advantage.
  • Determine the ratio of regular listings compared to foreclosures/short sales. A seller who is listing their mint-condition home for its maximum value may have a hard time competing with the foreclosures and short sales that can be awfully tempting to a buyer on a budget.
  • Check interest rates. If you’re taking out a loan to buy a home (and most people are) you’ll obviously want to obtain the lowest interest rate possible. If rates in Wilmington are low, it’s a good time to buy.


Pros and Cons of a Seller’s Market


As a seller in a seller’s market, you’re probably going to get the price you want for your home, if not more. The downside of this is that even though it’s unlikely buyers will be too picky or ask for many contingencies, your home needs to be able to attract the interest of buyers right away or it will get lost in the shuffle.


As a buyer in a seller’s market, finding the right home could be pretty tough. You may have to go through dozens of listings before you find one that you like and have your offer accepted on. You may find yourself in bidding wars or having to settle in order to purchase a home during this time, and the whole process may take a lot longer than you’d like.


Pros and Cons of a Seller’s Market

As a seller in a buyer’s market, your home may sell very quickly or it may not. A lot of this depends on how many foreclosures and short sales there are in your area, as well as direct competition from homes similar to yours. Be ready to price your home competitively and be willing to negotiate if you want a quick sale.


As a buyer in a seller’s market, you’re going to have plenty of options to choose from and it’s unlikely you’ll get into a bidding war. In fact, you’ll probably be able to talk a seller down on price, especially if their home has been on the market for a while, and maybe even get your closing date moved up.


Buying and Selling Homes in Wilmington

Real estate isn’t always a one-sided thing, and it’s important to note that optimal conditions can exist for both sellers and buyers at the same time. The best way to make sure you’re benefiting from your real estate transaction is to work with one of the experienced Wilmington realtors agents at Network Real Estate. Give us a call at 800-747-1968 to set up an appointment with one of our agents today!

March 10, 2020

How to Determine Your House Budget

It doesn’t matter whether you’re buying a house to live in or buying one with the intent of turning it into a rental property - purchasing a home is a big deal. The process takes a lot of forethought and planning, both on the part of the buyer and other entities like banks, realtors, and lawyers. It’s not something to take lightly, and it’s certainly not something you should just jump into without making some careful considerations.


While there are many details to be aware of throughout the home-buying process, the most important by far is your budget. No good can come from going over budget. In fact, overspending is one of the biggest mistakes homeowners make. So instead of jeopardizing your emotional and financial happiness by guessing how much you should spend on a house, it’s best to develop a real estate budget before you even start looking.


Budgeting for Homeownership


Now that you’ve considered some of the random expenses associated with homeownership, you can really start taking steps toward developing your final home-buying budget:


1. Calculate your monthly income

This should include the total monthly earnings for each working/contributing household member, as well as any other additional sources of income you may have, like part-time jobs, social security, retirement income, etc.


2. Do the mortgage math

A good rule of them is to make sure that your mortgage payments do not exceed 25% percent of your income. So, once you have your total income, multiply it by .25 and you’ll have a good idea of what your monthly mortgage payment should be after your down payment is put down.


3. See how your mortgage fits with your monthly expenses

Make a list of your current expenses, including utilities, groceries, childcare, transportation, etc. Then combine your monthly expenses with your estimated maximum mortgage payment and subtract that number from your total monthly income.


4. Make adjustments as necessary

If the calculation above left you with room to spare, then you’re in good shape. However, if this number was bigger than your monthly income and left you in the red, you’ll need to trim the fat, either by reducing your monthly expenses or by decreasing the amount you’d be willing to spend on monthly mortgage payments.


5. Factor in your down payment.

Now that you’ve got a handle on your projected monthly expenses, we can discover exactly how much home you can afford. Thankfully, there are plenty of mortgage calculators to help you out. All you have to do is plug in how much money you’ve saved for your down payment along with the maximum value of the homes you might be interested in until the number under “total monthly payment” matches your target monthly mortgage cost.


If you’re having trouble getting the numbers to match, you’ll either need to increase your down payment or look at homes that are a little less expensive.



Things to Consider When Buying a House

Monthly income and expenses are certainly the largest components of developing a budget, but they aren’t the only ones. As you are working on budgeting, don’t forget to think about the following:


Job stability. Have you been at your job for a while? Is there any chance you could lose your job or switch jobs anytime soon? These are all things you should mull over before making any major purchase.


Your future. Are you planning on having kids soon? If so, are you going to want to save for their college? Or maybe you’re planning a wedding in addition to buying real estate. It’s important when house shopping to remember to look at the big picture, and how your life/finances may change down the road.


Utility costs. Your utility bills are bound to change when moving into a new home. You might use more/less water and electricity, or you might have to pay for waste or pest control services that you didn’t before.


Appliances. Not all new homes come with all the appliances you want. Others may come with appliances that are old or broken and need replacing. Regardless, you should make sure you have enough money to cover the cost of major appliance replacements.


Home repairs. Finding the perfect turn-key home in your budget may be ideal, but it’s not always realistic. Chances are, the home that you settle on will need a repair here or there, or maybe a new coat of paint or new carpet.


Closing costs. The money-spending portion of home-buying isn’t over until you’re sitting at the closing table. And, unfortunately, there are a lot of bills that have to be paid to get you there, like appraisal fees, home inspections, credit report fees, and so on. Closing costs can equal up to 5% of the cost of the home, so don’t forget to work them into your plan.


HOA fees. Communities with lots of amenities tend to foot the cost by instating homeowner’s association fees. While these usually aren’t a huge concern, it’s definitely something to ask about before you settle on a home.


Credit score(s). This is absolutely something that will factor into your ability to get a loan and/or buy a loan, so if your credit score isn’t in good shape, you might want to spend some time working on it before you start house shopping.


Furniture needs. A new house doesn’t do you much good without furniture to enjoy. Chances are that, when you move, you’ll need to replace at least a few pieces to fit the new space, so budget accordingly.


The best plan for handling the last-minute expenses of home-buying is to multiply your monthly expenses times three and make sure you keep at least this much money in your savings account at all times.


The Importance of a Real Estate Agent

The internet is a good place to start looking at homes, but ultimately you’ll want to go visit some in person. For that, you’ll need the help of a realtor. The Wilmington realtors at Network Real Estate can also help you during the budgeting phase of your search to make sure you find a property that meets your needs and your budget.


Remember, as a buyer, there’s no risk associated with working with a realtor since the seller is traditionally the one responsible for paying all real estate agent fees. So what are you waiting for? Check out the houses we have for sale in Wilmington and the surrounding areas, or give us a call to speak to one of our realtors at 800-747-1968.

Posted in Buying a Home