April Newsletter

Happy April!  I hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend.  Beautiful weather has finally arrived at the beach.

I have a few interesting topics this month.

Insurance – While prices are rising, so could insurance costs.  There are some pretty significant changes that you need to be aware of if you are buying or selling.  First and foremost, make sure your insurance coverage is sufficient.  Lumber costs have gone up 112% since last year.  Make sure you check in with your agent to be sure you are covered.
For the rest of the changes, click here to read the full article.
Top 5 Destinations – If you thought last summer was busy, just wait.  You’ve probably seen this graphic floating around on Facebook…here’s the full article if you’re interested.  Be prepared for a wild season, and if you haven’t booked already, you may be out of luck.  Go ahead and book for next year too, just in case.
Market Report – Not much has changed in terms of activity.  The market is still very active!  For a breakdown of inventory/activity per town click here.

Insurance Changes for Outer Banks Rentals

As part of my continued effort to provide you with the most relevant information, I wanted to reach out with some important updates regarding insurance for your Outer Banks investment.  These changes primarily involve Frontline Insurance, which is considered one of the most affordable companies available.

If you are considering selling or buying, be mindful of the following:

  1. Frontline Insurance will not write a home policy if the hot water heater is more than 15 years old.
  2. They will allow a maximum of 26 weeks rented.  With our extended renting season these days, this could really become an issue. Frontline is strict with the maximum of 26 weeks of rental. Renting for more than 26 weeks could seriously affect a claim.
  3. Effective this year Frontline will no longer write any policies in Dare County on homes older than 1/1/2005.  This leaves the only wind insurance option to NCIUA.
  4. If your home has polybutylene pipes, only a dwelling policy can be issued and no coverage exists on any issues with those pipes.  Replacement of the fittings is no longer a suitable fix. The dwelling policy is more expensive and doesn’t offer as good coverage.  Replacement of the fittings is no longer a suitable fix. Insurance agents recommend avoiding homes with Poly Plumbing – or – have the owners re-plumb the home prior to purchase.

This information is just to create more awareness.  I have some good local contacts if you have further questions, just let me know.

February OBX Market Update

It’s almost Spring!

While the weather here is warming up, nothing is as hot as the real estate market.  In fact, 2005 called and said it wants to reminisce!
Market Update – Interest rates did tick up a bit (still holding at around 3%), but that doesn’t seem like it will slow down the activity right away.  We have 44% of our inventory under contract.  If you list it, it will sell.  If you are thinking about putting your home up for sale, here’s a checklist of readiness to look at to get prepared.
Vendor List Normally this time of year I post my list of trusted vendors.  Everyone is backed up for 6 to 8 weeks at the moment.  If you do have something that really needs to be done, contact me and let me see if I can find a fit for you.
Rental Market – We are once again experiencing a record year in vacation rentals.  If you do have a few weeks lagging to get booked, I will be happy to post your home on my business page for additional exposure.
Outer Banks Foodies – One of the top questions I get regularly is, where’s the best place to get…..  Here’s a quick peek at a few of my favorites around the area – CLICK HERE!

WHY DO YOU NEED A PROFESSIONAL REAL ESTATE AGENT, EVEN IN THIS MARKET?

Ilona Matteson, Beach Realty

Getting an offer on your home in an active market seems quite easy, and in most cases it is.  What do you need an agent for then?  Well, finding the buyer is just the first of dozens of steps in getting your home sold.

The question becomes, do you want to ensure you are getting maximum VALUE as well as maximum CONVENIENCE when selling?  It’s actually a pretty pain staking process to go through the entire 45 to 60 day process and requires many, many hours of time.

Many sellers think they can get an offer and then “let the attorney handle it”.  Yes, your attorney can manage the CLOSING.  That simply entails preparing your deed and handling the transfer of money AT THE END OF THE TRANSACTION.

Here’s what it doesn’t include:

  • Pre-Qualifying the buyer/agent/offer to make sure it’s a solid deal
  • Negotiating for the highest dollar
  • Choosing the best offer, in the case of multiple offers (it’s not always about the highest price)
  • Negotiating the home inspection, including finding contractors to give estimates, and meeting them at the home
  • Pest Inspection, Septic Inspection, Pool/Hot Tub, HVAC – knowing vendors and meeting them at the home
  • Prepping the appraiser or answering comparable questions – attorneys don’t have access to MLS, nor have been in the latest homes sold
  • Staying on top of the buyer’s loan process
  • Knowing which lenders and other vendors perform on time
  • Working with the rental company to transition buyer
  • Handling the dozens of calls from buyer/buyer’s agent throughout the process

Bottom line, we are experiencing an extreme number of homes selling per month.  All requiring an attorney to manage the closing.  The attorney is not available to answer calls throughout the day to deal with the day to day situations that come up during your closing process.  In addition to that, if they were available, they would be charging you per hour for that time.  Most attorneys charge around $200/hour.  On average an agent will spend 30 to 40 hours working on your transaction.

Even if you offer a commission to a Buyer’s Agent and think they can assist with these tasks, that’s true.  However, the Buyer’s Agent works for the buyer.  You are now essentially paying the buyer’s agent to work AGAINST you, without your own representation.

In the end, the best way to maximize VALUE and CONVENIENCE is to have a professional agent manage the ever challenging task of getting your home sale to a successful closing.

January 2021 Market Update

Supply and demand. That’s the basic economic principle driving markets for decades. Here we are! Finally experiencing some movement in the northern beaches market, after the slowest recovery ever from the 2008 market crash.

Sellers – if you want to cash in – now is the perfect time! Condition is still important to maximize profits, so contact me before any repair work so we can make the most of your investment.

Buyers – be pre-qualified, ready to sign an offer, prepare to offer virtually, and be prepared to offer over asking price in many cases. You need someone scanning the new listings daily. Now is not the time to go unrepresented. Let me know if you’re looking!

Corolla
57 Active listings 108 Under Contract

Duck
23 Active listings 22 Under Contract

Southern Shores
15 Active listings 19 Under Contract

Kitty Hawk
6 Active listings 17 Under Contract

Kill Devil Hills
24 Active listings 65 Under Contract

Nags Head
38 Active listings 38 Under Contract

Now you can see what we are working with. Contact me if you have any questions about our current market.

I do predict it will last this way through the year.

August 2020 OBX Market Report

How does inventory truly affect the real estate market? In a big way!!

Take a look at these two charts outlining the absorption rate for each location. FYI – absorption rate is a breakdown of how many months it would take to sell out the current inventory based on number of homes selling each month. This is important because it is the primary factor in determining if there is a rising, stable, stagnant or declining market (see graph below for more explanation).

 

As you can see, every location has experienced a decline in the amount of available inventory, some a very dramatic and sharp decline.  This is the precursor to the next step, rising prices.  It’s important we see prices rise gradually, over time, or we will experience another cycle like we saw in 2005.  I don’t think anyone wants to do that over again.

Bottom line, if you are on the fence about buying or selling, jump!  The market is ready for you.  To strategize to your specific needs, please contact me.

 

July 2020 OBX Market Report

A lot of people have been asking me why the market has suddenly taken a turn. Fortunately this time, it’s a really good turn! The answer is quite simple if we take a look at the history of these real estate cycles.

I’ve been saying for over a decade now that these cycles, in recorded history, generally take about 20 years each turn. This is proven true over and over for the last 80 plus years. So, if we take a look at the last few cycle timelines, it just makes sense for this to be happening right now.

1985/6 – Real estate was booming – then – stock market issues, S&L crisis began
1988/9 – Things really fell apart – prices were at an all time high.
1998 – Prices started to return to the pre-boom spot (I specifically remember an oceanfront lot in Sanderling that we couldn’t give away for $250,000)
2000 – Activity went through the roof – the 10% ratio was introduced – property was selling fast, but no discernible increase in pricing, as the recovery was still in place.
2003 – 2005 – All hell broke loose. Prices soared, inventory was low, multiple offers on almost everything. We all remember those years.
2008/2009 – Once again, 20 years later another mortgage crisis and the whole thing fell apart.
2010 – 2019 – Very volatile times, especially for the northern beaches.
2020 – Once again, 20 years later we have another BOOM in activity, some areas are seeing a little boost in price, but overall no real trackable difference. It’s coming though!

All that being said, if you are thinking about buying – rates and prices are still quite reasonable. Income is high. I wouldn’t wait.

If you have been wanting to sell, get this…as of this week there are 850 properties under contract and only 792 single family homes active for sale. This is what anyone watching would call the “tipping point”.

I have seen in the last couple of weeks, multiple homes that have been for sale for YEARS, finally going under contract. Pay attention friends, it’s about to be another wild ride!

Here are some weekly stats to consider: (I’ve always said who needs a crystal ball when you track the statistics. This tells us everything we need to know.)

A new strategy is now needed to meet your real estate goals. If you would like to discuss the best strategy for you, please contact me right away!

COVID-19 & the OBX Real Estate Market

The real estate market is adapting quite well to the current restrictions and Stay at Home order that is in place for North Carolina. While we are doing some things the same, since our market is largely based on out of town property owners, many things have changed to keep things going smoothly.

Here’s what’s new:
1. Virtual Showings – While my listings always feature high end professional photography, this week I’m also getting them all set up with 3D Virtual Tours. This will give prospective buyers the feeling of actually being in the room. We are doing FaceTime and Zoom showings for buyers as well.

2. Virtual Open House – Our local MLS is implementing a new feature to promote and hold and Open House virtually. The details of this feature are still being released. This is an exciting update to a market like ours. I can see this being a great new tool used on the regular after this event is over. I’ll be setting up a few of these in the next week. Contact me if you’d like to participate.

3. Appraisals – Local lenders have assured me that when it makes sense, underwriters are giving appraisers the green light to perform desktop appraisals. This way, properties with high risk inhabitants don’t have to be exposed, yet we can still make progress on the sale of the home.

4. Lenders – With the IRS unable to process any transcript requests before closing, our local lenders have been authorized to skip that requirement for the time being. It will no longer be needed to receive a clear to close. This is showing great versatility and willingness to keep transactions moving.

5. Virtual Closings – While NC does not currently support virtual notaries, you may be in a state that does. We have been doing out of town closings as long as I’ve been in the business, so that part of it is nothing new. Virtual notaries are approved in 35 states. So if you have a closing coming up and need documents notarized check and see if they can do it online instead.

6. COVID-19 Addendum – NC Realtors did quickly create and distribute a special addendum regarding this pandemic that allows buyers and sellers to have a little more time to close if delays occur related to the shutdowns. It also allows the buyer to cancel if they get laid off and become unable to close due to not obtaining loan approval. Lenders will still be verifying employment 5 days before closing.

7. Some not so welcome news – minimum credit scores have been raised to 640 or 680, depending on lender. This is up from 580 minimum. We are also seeing some lenders no longer locking in Jumbo rates. So we may see Jumbo loan guidelines get an overhaul and be much stricter (anything over $510,400), and some no longer doing these loans at all for a while.

Overall, it’s all about adapting. Which we are doing. If you are thinking about buying or selling, we can still make that happen for you.

In fact, of the 112 properties that have gone under contract in the last 30 days, more than 50% of them were also just listed in the same 30 days. Some will be more comfortable moving forward at this time, and some won’t. Either way, please let me know how I can help.

Vendor List

It’s that time of year again!  Time to start planning those spring cleans and updates to get the house ready for the season.  Below is a list of vendors I can personally verify to do a good job, show up and charge a reasonable fee. Be sure to give them my name!!!

If you need a vendor not listed below, let me know!

Small Construction & Repair:

Daniel A. Lee
252-599-3904

Landscaping:

Chase Patterson
Albemarle Landscapes
252-256-1883
[email protected]

Jason Woodard
Green Gator Lawn Care
252-204-1537
[email protected]

Carpet Care/Upholstery Cleaning:

Steve Howard
Howards Flooring & Upholstery
252-305-2293

Painting:

John Lifsey 
Kitty Hawk Painting
252-261-1146 office, 252-207-3366 cell

Roofing:

Marion Gee
252-267-5110

Redecorating/Organizing/Staging:

Amy Hilliker Klebitz
Certified Interior Design
910-297-8566
[email protected]
www.amyklebitz.com

Shearl Bell
252-202-3200

Mortgage/Refinance:

Drew Wright
Citizens One
252-256-2018                                                                                                                [email protected]

Kelly Bergenstock
252-619-9037
Shane Cook
Guaranteed Rate
252-207-2665

February 2020 OBX Market Update

For 2020, it looks like good news for the OBX market finally!  Some spots are really on fire right now.  My prediction is we should see some pretty steady growth in the area for the next 3 to more likely 5 years.  This is right in line with the 20 year cycle I’ve mentioned before.  If you remember 2000, we had the big building boom, we started seeing inventory levels drop and noticed a feeling of something big happening.

This is the same feeling we have right now.  Inventory levels are low, interest rates are super low and activity is on the rise.  Here are the specifics:

  • January residential sales were up 22% over January 2019
  • January 2020 had the highest January sales numbers since 2005
  • Under contract numbers for January are up 18% from Jan 2019 and are even up 17% just compared to December 2019
  • Residential inventory is down 11%

Let’s now look at how each area is performing:

Corolla

306 Active Listings      36 Under Contract      10.5% of inventory selling

Duck

68 Active Listings        21 Under Contract      24% of inventory selling

Southern Shores

47 Active Listings           9 Under Contract      17% of inventory selling

Kitty Hawk

35 Active Listings        18 Under Contract      35% of inventory selling

Kill Devil Hills

101 Active Listings      44 Under Contract      31% of inventory selling

Nags Head

121 Active Listings      44 Under Contract      27% of inventory selling

While Corolla is still behind the curve, I do feel like this may be the last year it’s struggling.  It’s about time for a turn around.

If you are thinking of selling now, or in the next year or two, please give me a call so we can discuss what needs to be done to get your home ready for the market.  Buyers needs have changed quite a bit.  To ensure a fast sale for the most money, you’ll need to put your home through my proven checklist of readiness.