June Update

Happy June!  We have made it through the first holiday weekend and are ready for a great season.

Hurricane Season – starts today and goes until the end of November.  Each year the names are announced in advance.  If you’d like to see the list and a hurricane preparation checklist, click here.
Market Update – Here’s a quick snapshot of the massive activity we are experiencing.  Several reports are that this should continue for a while.  As you’ll see, we are barely keeping up with the demand.  As they come on the market, it goes right off!
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*DOM = Days on Market

New Food Spots to Try

There are a couple of new OBX restaurants you might want to give a try.  I haven’t been to any of these personally, but I have heard amazing reviews of all three.  As a gentle reminder, everyone is understaffed this year, so please remember we are all doing our best.
  • Noosa Beach Grille – They are located in KDH at the former Flying Fish restaurant.  Bright colors and decor along with fresh ingredients will make this a must-try. https://www.noosabeachgrille.com
  • Mahi Mahi’s – Located in Nags Head at the former New York Pizza Pub. The chef is a long-time local and the videos they’ve done on their Facebook page look amazing! https://www.mahimahisobx.com
  • The Pony and the Boat – Located in Kitty Hawk across from Trio.  This is a comfort food spot.  With the same owners as Paper Canoe in Duck, I have high expectations.  Paper Canoe is one of my favorite spots. https://theponyandtheboat.com

As always, if you have questions about buying or selling, please let me know!

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!

What To Expect When Expecting To Buy a Home on the OBX

What to expect when you’re expecting…to buy a home on the Outer Banks!

Navigating the home buying process can be a complex process. Knowing in advance what to expect regarding the condition of the home can make it a lot smoother. Here are the main things to consider regarding this process.

1. Create realistic expectations on condition. In most cases these homes are anywhere from 20 to 40 years old. The main reasons the condition might not be where a buyer is expecting it are:

  • We live in an environment that has harsh weather and it is tough on these homes
  • Most homes are rented anywhere from 15 to 25 weeks a year with multiple families occupying them. Wear and tear is going to happen
  • Since this isn’t the primary home, owners aren’t seeing it every day and often aren’t aware of what needs to be done
  • No one else is telling them about things that need to be addressed
  • Most homes are owned for several decades and owners get to an age where it’s more difficult to do the work themselves
  • Finding and managing good contractors from a distance is a challenge, especially as owners age
  • Sellers have disengaged from the property – this happens for many, many reasons.

2. It is standard language in our Offer To Purchase contract for North Carolina that buyers are purchasing the home “AS-IS”. Yet many buyers are never told this. When you make an offer to purchase a home you need to factor in the condition/maintenance items that you can already visibly see into the offer price. Once you settle on a price and go under contract, it’s important to remember those items have already been accounted for.

So many times we see great deals go awry because the buyer is never educated on how to handle the home inspection results. This can create some unnecessary difficulties
and even result in the buyer terminating the contract on a great home, simply because they didn’t understand the process.

Here’s the actual language from the contract:

Paragraph 4(c) Buyer acknowledges and understands that unless the parties agree otherwise, THE PROPERTY IS BEING SOLD IN ITS CURRENT CONDITION. Buyer and Seller acknowledge that they may, but are not required to, engage in negotiations for repairs/improvements to the Property.

As you can see, it is not mandatory, nor really expected for the seller to agree to repairs after the initial agreement is signed. It is imperative that a thorough, on-site review of the property is conducted prior to making the initial offer so that all visible maintenance items are considered in the pricing strategy. The goal when listing a home is to have it priced in relation to those items to begin with. However, it is important to understand value is relative from person to person.

3. What exactly is the purpose/scope of a home inspection? There are several things to consider about the home inspection process. The primary function of a home inspection is the following:

  • Find hidden defects
  • Building code check – for information purposes. It is not realistic to require a seller to bring every outdated code up to par
  • Professional opinion of the functionality of the main systems of the home
  • Expanded review of the home (attics, roof, crawl space, etc)
  • Inspectors are paid to find problems. No home is perfect and items will be found commensurate with the age of the home. It’s important to have that expectation up front.

4. Because of the nature of the in depth inspection, it is not uncommon for unexpected issues to be revealed. How do we then handle the unexpected?

  • First, quickly remember Paragraph 4(c), the seller is not under any obligation to do anything at all.
  • We need to quickly organize some quotes so we know exactly what we are dealing with, even if the buyer is going to take on the repairs.
  • We have to decide whether we want the seller to actually fix the issues or if we want to receive a credit at closing instead. There are pros and cons to both of these.
  • We need to share the report with the seller so they can be educated on the condition of things
  • Recognize once these items are discovered they become a material defect that will have to be disclosed to any future buyers, should the buyer decide to walk away.
  • Prioritize the list of repairs that are important, rather than just asking for the entire list to be addressed. Especially since we already factored into our pricing strategy the items we could already see.
  • Understand that perfect condition will be reflected in the price. Chances are the home is already priced commensurate to the condition and age.

Main walkaway points:

  • Be realistic – you’re not buying a brand new home
  • Be flexible and willing to compromise – no house is going to be perfect
  • Weigh out the options – don’t lose a great house over a few needed repairs

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.

Lending Worksheet

Thinking of buying a vacation property or second home on the Outer Banks? Here’s a quick
look at the most important information to know as you begin the process. While none of these
are absolute hard and fast rules, here are some basic guidelines to create the easiest and best
experience.

Securing the best rate requires:

  • Credit scores of 740 or higher
  • Non-Conforming loans allow a 43% debt to income ratio, 45% on Conforming
    (exceptions apply)
  • Tangible assets are key (i.e.: checking, savings, 401K etc.)

Second Home MUST do’s for best experience:

  • 20% or more down payment
  • Live at least 50 miles away
  • Must have access at least 2 weeks of the year- no full-time tenants
  • Use a local lender – Out of town lenders won’t know what to do with the Bill of Sale,
    Vacation Rental Addendum and might use an appraiser who isn’t as familiar with the
    area
  • Don’t own another beach house in the area (some exceptions apply)

Investment Loan Quickies:

  • If you need the rental income to qualify for the loan it becomes an investment loan
  • Investment loans carry a higher rate, but the down payment can remain 20% (lower
    down payments carry higher rates)
  • The income to qualify will be determined by an appraiser. Appraiser will do an analysis
    of the reasonable rental income available and you can use 75% of that amount
  • Titling in an LLC will carry a higher interest rate

Best practices for any loan:

  • Flood insurance has to be escrowed and the 1 st years payment is required at closing
  • To waive escrows there is a .25% fee on loan amount due at closing
  • If you are self-employed you will need to fully qualify through underwriting to be sure of
    the amount qualified for
  • If you own multiple rental properties you will also need to be fully qualified up front to
    be sure
  • If you have declining income, the lender will take the worst of the last 2 years as the
    basis from which to work
  • Don’t buy anything requiring financing once you start the lending process

Best sources for down payment:

  • Mutual funds/stocks
  • Savings/Checking
  • 401K Loan – not counted in your debt to income ratio
  • Home Equity – will use full line payment for qualifying
  • Gifted funds can sometimes work

Worst sources for down payment:

  • Any funds that are untraceable or unseasoned
  • “Mattress Money”
  • Business funds will require additional documentation from a CPA

November 2018 Outer Banks Market Snapshot

What’s interesting about this time of year, is that we can really see the major trends going on in
the marketplace for the calendar year. I’m highlighting 3 specific points for this analysis.

Inventory
Inventory levels on the Outer Banks, specifically northern beaches, have been particularly
challenging for our market. The fact is, in Duck and Corolla, there are little to no primary sales
taking place. That is, no one is physically moving into or out of that area. Those kinds of sales
are crucial to market health because those people “HAVE” to buy and sell. The truth is, 100% of
the sales that take place in those areas are discretionary.

Nearly every seller we meet says the same thing…”We don’t have to sell.” Which is very true.
You don’t have to sell because you’re not making a physical move, nor are you in financial
distress. It’s important to recognize that 99.9% of sellers we work with, don’t HAVE to sell.
There’s a common misconception that pricing your home to sell in today’s market is the same
as discounting it to force it to sell. That’s simply not true. Today’s market in Duck and Corolla
simply has an oversupply of inventory and an under-supply of buyers. That’s the bottom line.
It’s a resort market where all sales are discretionary. Period. I encourage you to ask the
following question. Just because I don’t have to sell, does that mean keeping the home is in
the best financial interests of myself/family/long term plan? That’s what it really boils down
to. I know it’s difficult to swallow the prices today’s market requires, but consider the whole
picture before making a final decision.

The price in these kinds of markets are 100% dependent on the principle of supply and demand, because buyers don’t HAVE to buy until they find the home that ticks all the boxes for them.
Consider this in Corolla:
– Corolla has 294 homes currently for sale.
– 189 homes have sold so far this year; that’s 19 sales a month
– 19 buyers will buy each month and they have 294 to choose from
– 26 Oceanfront homes sold this year in Corolla
– That’s 2.6 buyers a month
– There are currently 53 oceanfront homes for sale in Corolla

Consider this in Duck:
– Duck has 128 homes currently for sale
– 104 homes have sold so far this year; that’s 10 sales a month
– 10 buyers will buy each month and they have 128 to choose from
– From $400,000 to $800,000 there are 52 homes currently for sale
– 47 have sold this year in that range; 4.7 buyers a month
– 4.7 buyers will buy each month and they have 52 to choose from

This is why inventory is the biggest indicator of value in the market right now. We have seen
major improvement in inventory levels over the last few years. This year, we are seeing that
inventory move back up, even just slightly. What does this mean? It means that appreciation is
not happening any time soon, and, that depreciation is still a very real possibility. I don’t report
this to be negative, just to be realistic. Waiting out the market is not a short term endeavor.
Bottom line…inventory is the single biggest challenge in the northern Outer Banks market.
Until that changes, your price won’t either.

Days on Market
The shining point of our market has been the amount of time it takes to get a home that is
priced right, sold. Priced right mostly means priced for its condition. Condition has become the
single greatest factor in a buyer’s decision. They will bypass location for an updated home
almost every time. For more information on the impacts of condition, click here.

The days on market number has gone DOWN again this year by another 20%. This is the third
year in a row this number has dropped by 20% or more.
What does this mean?
– Buyers are watching and waiting for the best value. They study the market for 18
months or more before making a decision to buy. When they see a home that is a good
value, they act quickly and with near full price.
– If your home is on the market for more than 118 days, buyers don’t consider it to be a
good value.

The real estate market is fluid. Pricing your home on one day based on the competition is only
as good as that competition stays the same. As homes sell and adjust their price, you have to
flow with it. In this kind of market, you can either lead with an aggressive price and sell, or,
follow the price others set for you as they sell. Why leave your pricing up to someone else’s
motivation?

Total Sales
Not only did the number of homes going under contract drop by 19% for October, the total
number of sales year over year is down by 10%. Blame the hurricane, the election, whatever
you like. It doesn’t change the facts.

Here’s the deal…interest rates are up, inventory is slightly up, sales are down by double digits.
I’m not telling you this to create panic. My job is to sell homes regardless of the market
conditions, which I have done for over 22 years. My job is also to keep you informed on the
trends, as they are happening. We don’t have a crystal ball, so statistics are the next best thing.

The Discretionary Nature of the OBX Market

NEEDS vs WANTS

  • Needs – UpDATES; maintenanceBalance Beam of Needs vs Wants
    items that increase attractiveness,
    peace of mind, and cause home to sell
    faster
  • Wants – UpGRADES that may
    increase VALUE AND make a home
    sell faster; appeal

 

Stop Sign

Remember, not all Upgrades make sense! Let’s talk before you spend –
sometimes money is better spent adjusting price vs. investing more in the
home.

July 2018 OBX Market Update

We are fully into our summer season here on the Outer Banks.  As expected, the summer months typically bring in a decline in sales as well as inventory.  While we still have a fairly active market over the summer, some property owners just elect to wait out the season and sell in the fall.

Here are the most important market points:

  • Sales for the year so far are down 5% over last year
  • Inventory is also down 5% from last year
  • Land sales are down 11% from last year
  • Land inventory is down 8% from last year
  • Number of homes going under contract is also in a steady decline since April
  • This is largely due to the rise in interest rates

Taking a look at the chart below, you’ll see the cycles we’ve experienced in market activity.  It’s not uncommon after a year with double digit increases to have a flat year following it.  What is most exciting is the inventory level change since 2012.

The other notable difference in our market is the way buyers are buying.  We are seeing much more emphasis being put on price and condition rather than location and rental income.  I wrote about this a few months back, click here to read that article again.

As always, if you have any questions about buying or selling please contact me for an analysis.

 

Insurance Rate Hike Report

Reprinted with permission from the Outer Banks Association of Realtors.

Settlement Reached on Dwelling Rates

The NC Rate Bureau and the NC Department of Insurance (NCDOI) reached a settlement agreement this week on a Dwelling Rate Filing that was submitted in February of this year. The Rate Bureau was proposing an overall statewide average increase in dwelling policy rate of 18.9%.

NC Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey was able to negotiate a much lower average overall statewide increase in dwelling policy rates to 4.8%. The settlement also realigns some territories to be consistent with the boundary lines on the homeowners insurance rate map.

Dwelling policies differ from homeowner policies. Dwelling policies typically cover non owner- occupied second homes, vacation rental homes or year-round rental homes and do not include liability coverage.
By reaching an agreement with the NC Rate Bureau, Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey has avoided a public hearing on the filing which was scheduled to begin August 20th. Below is a chart of the proposed rate changes by percentage, the current rate and the approved percentage changes.

In the eastern NC coastal area, the fire coverage rate is going down but the wind and hail (extended coverage) rate is going up. Fortunately, the wind rate is not going up to the extent that was proposed. Wind rates are three to eight times higher than fire rates so a double-digit increase in wind rate is going to have significant impact on policyholders. The Fire and Wind portion of the rate is based on $15,000 Coverage, Base Class is Form DP-001. The new rates become effective February 1, 2019 and also impact those with dwelling policy coverage under the NCIUA (Coastal Property Insurance Pool). Changes to contents coverage are also included in the settlement agreement.

The press release and associated maps and charts from NCDOI can be found here.