Rudi Shelor | Dec. 29, 2017

 

Sitting here thoroughly enjoying these 20-below-average temperatures, as I’m sure many of you are, got me thinking “What in the world are we supposed to do around here when it is THIS COLD?!”

Now, I am a native of Carteret County, but this is the first winter I’ve lived here since I was in high school, so I have found myself struggling a bit with just what to do for entertainment now that our pleasant weather has been so savagely torn away from our loving tender arms. And yes, I feel that poetic and personally victimized by a 39-degree high.

That being said, I took the liberty of digging around to find out just what exactly there is to do around here in the wintertime since lying on the beach would be ill advised and likely result in at least a doctor’s visit if not the amputation of a much-loved digit. Keep reading to see what I found out.

 

1. Hiking Trails

So, raise your hand if you had no clue there were hiking trails in Carteret County? Neither did I! I would see pictures on social media of people on these alleged hiking trails, but I guess it never really clicked that they were all around our neighborhoods. Though you’ll have to bundle up this time of year, fall and winter are some of the best times to observe nature undisturbed. Please click here to find information on all of the trails in the area – there are around 13 in all and I have picked three to discuss.

Neusiok:

According to the website, this trail is moderate-to-difficult and approximately 22 miles long. It is located off Cherry Branch Road which is off Highway 101. It is said to boast fantastic views of both the Neuse and Newport rivers and contain a myriad of wildlife and plant life including the Venus Fly Trap which is native to our area.

Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge:

This trail is also rated easy in some spots but very difficult in others and totals 16 miles in length. This trail is only open during daylight hours (so go early!) and will give you a view of the largest marsh on the eastern seaboard (3480 acres). To get to this one you basically go like you’re getting on the ferry to head to Ocracoke – the Wildlife Refuge area is a bit before you get to the ferry.

Roosevelt Trail:

This one is located at the NC Aquarium in Pine Knoll Shores and is an easy 1.25-mile trail that anyone can enjoy. You can see numerous birds, insects, etc. on this trail as well as pristine views of the dunes and marshes surrounding the property.

2. Museums and Such

If you’re one who loves learning like I am, then hitting up a museum or some kind of exhibit on a frigid afternoon will be right up your alley. Luckily, we have a few right here in our area that house some valuable information on this place we call home.

NC Maritime Museum – Beaufort

At the maritime museum you’ll find dozens upon dozens of artifacts from Blackbeard’s ship Queen Anne’s Revenge – no better place to start if you’re interested in learning about the history of Beaufort, it’s ties to piracy and Edward Teach himself than right here. The museum has somewhat recently added a whale skeleton to their display which provides a rare opportunity for one to truly see the size of these creatures with whom we share the seas. You can also learn tons about lighthouses, marine life, ecology and even take a boat building class!

 

NC Aquarium – Pine Knoll Shores

As mentioned in the hiking section, we have a fantastic aquarium in our area. Completely renovated in 2006, this aquarium truly has it all. Perhaps it’s biggest attraction is a tank featuring exact replica of the Queen Anne’s Revenge wreckage complete with sharks and other creatures that are found lurking near the real thing! The aquarium also has dozens of other fish as well as some snakes, frogs, turtles, etc. It is a great place to get out of the cold and take a peaceful stroll through looking at all of the beautiful creatures or a place to take the kids so they can have fun and learn something at the same time.

 

The History Place – Morehead City

The History Place boasts a one-of-a-kind research library where anyone who is interested can go through countless volumes of information should they be seeking out historical facts regarding people, places or events in Carteret County. They also have changing exhibits – the current one is entitled “Beach Town in a Forest – Pine Knoll Shores”. Once you’ve finished perusing the shelves of the library and looked through the exhibit, you don’t even have to go outside to get a hot cup of tea (they have tons of options) and a snack – The Infusion Cafe is connected to The History Place and is a unique place to relax for a bit. If you catch them on the right day you may even get to enjoy one of their many themed tea servings!

3. Night Life

Perhaps one of the most-loved ways to escape the cold in the winter is crowding into a bar with your closest friends and letting a drink help warm you up. Carteret County has dozens of fantastic bars, lounges and pubs (far too many to name) so I am just going to list three of my personal favorites.

Promise Land Market

This is still fairly new to our area but since moving back has quickly become one of my most-frequented spots. The front area facing the street is the pinnacle of coziness (rumor has it they just installed a new bar-style seating area in the front window!) if you want to grab a glass of wine or an appetizer and have a chat with a close friend and actually be able to hear them. You feel right at home surrounded by all the beautiful decorations and the various kinds of wine bottles for sale. The wood floors and shelves create such a warm feeling that you’ll easily forget it’s 25 degrees outside. The back area is fantastic too – much larger and a wonderful place to mingle. I love a place where you can go from one atmosphere to the other without having to leave and Promise Land is the place to find that.

Arendell Room

The draw of the Arendell Room for me is part atmosphere, part cocktail. Atmosphere wise, you can step inside and almost forget you’re in Morehead City (in a good way). The narrow layout of the building and the natural brick walls have a very “New York City” feel to them which can be great if you’re truly looking to just escape after a long day.

All the cocktails are handmade – you won’t find store-bought mixers in this place. They change their menu every so often, so you never know when you might find a new favorite drink. If you keep an eye on their social media pages, be on the lookout for one of their tastings where you’ll get to try some things they’re considering putting on the menu and you even get to vote at the end!

 

Backstreet Pub

This one makes the list because it is without a doubt the most “chill” spot around in my opinion. Backstreet is a place that you can throw on some jeans and a sweatshirt and go get a beer and chill by the fire and just relax. Most of the time they have some awesome live music playing and this time of year the fact that the room upstairs gets hot is fantastic! Crowd in with some friends and jam out to whoever is playing that weekend, I can promise you won’t find a better time!

 

4. Kid Friendly

Whether you’re local or just visiting, with the option of playing on the beach all day being taken away, the children are probably getting a little antsy. Carteret County does have a few indoor entertainment areas for children and thankfully they’re evenly spread around the area so regardless of where you’re staying there should be something close by.

 
Escape Room:

This is in the same shopping center as Dairy Queen in Morehead City. Escape Rooms basically require that a group use teamwork and reasoning skills to figure out clues, riddles, puzzles etc. to get out of a room. According to their website, there are a few different rooms you can choose from and you’ll also have the opportunity to make some new friends unless you book an entire room for your group. Not only is it exciting for both kids and adults, but it also teaches them teamwork and the value of listening and critical thinking in high-stress situations.

Mac Daddy’s:

Located in Cape Carteret, Mac Daddy’s offers bowling, arcade games, billiards, food and fun for the whole family. Mac Daddy’s is unique in that it can provide fun for adults and children – the adults could bowl a few rounds and enjoy some beers while the children could have fun playing arcade games – indoor fun for the whole family! Neighboring Mac Daddy’s is the Golfin’ Dolphin – while not all of their attractions are open in the winter time, the batting cages and mini golf are still available for those who are willing to brave the cold or go out on milder days.

Battleworks Laser Tag:

This laser tag facility is in Atlantic Station and is open from 11 am – 11 pm most days even through the winter. Keep in mind you must be 12 or older to pay, but this facility offers several different missions and areas for you and your team (or other players) to battle it out. They even have fright nights which are essentially laser tag with a zombie apocalypse twist.

 

 

There you have it folks, a somewhat exhaustive list of things you can do instead of staring out the window at the beach and crying about how cold it is. Not to say that you still won’t do that some because I know that I probably will but regardless of the temperatures, we are still lucky to live in an area with tons to offer and our mild weather will come back soon enough, it always does.

 

Have a great weekend!

 

RS

 

Rudi Shelor | Dec. 26, 2017

Selecting an agent with whom to list your property can arguably be one of the biggest business decisions you ever make. With so many factors at play throughout the entire process of listing and selling a home or land, there are some questions you should always be prepared to ask before you pick an agent to entrust with your property, time and financial wellbeing.

Though there is likely an infinite amount of questions you could come up with for a potential realtor, we’ve thought up a few whose answers can be key in your decision making.

 

  1. How long have you been in the real estate business?

An agent having been in the business a long time doesn’t automatically mean they’re the best, but being able to stay afloat in this type of business for years usually indicates that someone has been successful. With commission-based careers like real estate, these agents don’t make money if they aren’t willing to do the work. They are answering phones after hours, showing properties at night and on weekends, finishing contracts and making sure all documents are present regardless of what other tasks may be calling. If you see a longstanding commitment to their job and the industry in an agent, it is highly likely you’ll see the same commitment to the sale of your property should you choose to list with them.

 

  1. Are you a full-time or part-time agent?

 

You might assume that if someone is in real estate then it’s their full-time job, but in many circumstances, that isn’t the case. Oftentimes, especially starting out, agents have other jobs that offer regular pay checks that will keep them afloat until they start making commissions. While there is certainly nothing wrong with this, it may create conflict regarding availability. An agent who is working at his other job will not be able to answer calls and emails, meet with clients or show properties during certain blocks of time during the week. Listing and selling a property is often a venture that is full of surprises, many of which require a meeting, a signature or a phone call that no one had planned on. When such things arise, you need an agent who is easy to get up with and who will be able to prioritize your issues on the spot.

 

  1. Ask them about their presence on the web and social media.

These days the vast majority of home searches begin on the internet whether it be on Google, on specific home finding sites like Zillow, or on social media. If you want your property to be seen, you need to make sure the agent you choose to list it has a strong web presence. Does the agent have just a small personal page about them or are they affiliated with a company with a larger website? Are they part of the MLS? Do their listings get syndicated out to Trulia, Zillow, etc.? Do they regularly post their listings on Facebook? Not only do these media put your property on many different platforms for potential buyers to see but they make it available for people simply doing Google searches for homes in a specific area. If you’ve got a great canal front house in Atlantic Beach for sale and someone searches using those terms, your home is likely to pop up in their search results if it has been properly advertised online.

 

  1. Do you do virtual tours of your properties?

While virtual tours are a fairly new thing in our market, they are increasingly becoming the must-have of digital advertising. A virtual tour allows someone to feel as if they’ve walked through the home, gotten a feel for the layout, the setup of the bedrooms, great room, hallways, etc. The virtual tour could convince someone they do want to see a home that they otherwise thought didn’t fit their needs. It can also help someone who is moving from out of state make the decision to schedule a time to view it in person. Though written ads are still very much a part of real estate advertising, being able to watch a video and truly experience the house, land, neighborhood and water features from the comfort of wherever they are at the time is a convenience today’s buyer not only appreciates but will notice when the option is unavailable.

 

  1. Have you sold many homes in X area?

Listing your property with an agent who is an expert in your town, neighborhood, etc. can only be beneficial to you as the seller. Though you may have a licensed cousin who lives in Greenville, he may not be the best person to try to sell your house in Harker’s Island. When working within these smaller towns and municipalities in Eastern, NC, it is often imperative that you find an agent who knows the specific area well – he will know the rules, town codes, building codes, etc. He will also have a pretty good idea of what properties go for in that area, what buyers are willing to pay and what things have sold for in the recent past. With a geographically large county such as ours, you might not want to hire an agent in Cape Carteret to list your home in Cedar Island – not only would it be logistically very difficult for him to get down there to show it, the two markets are likely very different and unless he just happens to have done a lot of business there in the past he probably does not know the ins and outs of that particular area. The right agent will always be able to put you at ease regarding his knowledge about the property you’re selling and the area it’s in.

 

 

 

 

Rudi shelor | dec. 21, 2017

With a new year fast approaching, those with interest in the housing market always wonder what the future months will bring. Though real estate is a somewhat unpredictable industry, there are certain trends that may be observed and predictions to be made based on the performance of the previous year. We decided to get Alan’s take on what he thinks market conditions will be along the Crystal Coast in 2018.

1. It will be a seller’s market

With the housing market having steadily recovered since the crash a decade ago, we are finally reaching a point where sellers may again have a slight upper hand. With lower amounts of popular  properties available, sellers will be able to have their price demands and contract conditions met. This isn’t to say that sellers will be able to drive up prices astronomically and have buyers beating down their doors, but rather they will be able to list a property more confidently. Those putting their homes on the market will know that the likelihood they will be able to get what they’re asking for the home has increased significantly over the past couple of  years and that there are more ready, willing and able buyers out there looking than have been in years past.

2. inventory will be low

One thing we’re seeing in our area in particular is a low inventory of available properties. There are qualified buyers looking to purchase vacation homes or relocate permanently to the area but the types of homes they want in the locations they desire simply are not for sale. Low inventory always drives the market in a seller’s favor – if Tom Smith who owns a waterfront home in one of the most popular neighborhoods in the area puts it up for sale, he is likely to be inundated with offers the second the listing hits the MLS. Low inventory also contributes to a seller’s market in that it forces buyers to broaden their criteria. They may have to go with a smaller home than initially desired or be a bit further away from the water in order to find something in this area. If you are selling a fantastic house on the island but don’t have that coveted water view, the area’s low inventory may be in your favor for these reasons.

3. prices will increase

According to the law of supply and demand, when the supply is low the demand (and thus the prices) will be higher. This is perhaps truer nowhere else than the real estate market. When there are few of these luxury waterfront homes for sale, the prices are going to increase and whoever is willing and able to pay them is going to end up having their offer accepted – to the victor goes the spoils, right? However, this isn’t going to only apply to luxury beach front property but rather should be a trend we see everywhere across the area. As the economy continues to recover, unemployment decreases and more people are able to consider buying vs. renting, the market will be flooded with people looking to purchase homes. When this happens, all types of neighborhoods in the area will see a jump in price because the demand will increase quickly and steadily while the supply will remain the same or increase at a much slower rate – say, the time it takes to build some houses. If you have been considering putting your house on the market, 2018 may be the time to do it.

4. there will be multiple offers on a higher percentage of available properties

Again we go back to the law of supply and demand and the low inventory – with all of these factors working together, there will surely be many people vying for the same properties. This translates to multiple offers being placed on properties at the same time. This of course is a huge advantage to the seller as they get to see just what each party is willing to pay, concede, do as far as dates are concerned, etc., to ultimately have the home they desire. While there are rules for agents regarding how offers must be disclosed to sellers, the order in which they must be presented, information that can be disclosed between agents in certain circumstances, ultimately the seller does have the upper hand here. He can counter these offers as reasonably or unreasonably as he likes. When in a multiple offer scenario, the serious buyer must be flexible and ready to make quick decisions or they risk losing out to another party who has also placed an offer on the table.

5. buyers will be offering higher than listed prices

With low inventory and multiple offers becoming prominent market factors, buyers who are able will likely be willing to offer above the listing price to secure their dream home. This doesn’t necessarily mean they will be offering an exorbitantly higher amount, but perhaps just enough to make the seller feel comfortable that he’s gotten the best deal for himself and is ready to head to the closing table. Buyers don’t necessarily have to be in a multiple offer situation to offer more than the listed price. Perhaps they sense some hesitation on the sellers part about selling at all or feel that he is going to reject their offer in hopes of receiving a better one. If they are financially able and are wanting or needing to secure a properly quickly, they may do what’s needed to make their offer more attractive. In higher-end neighborhoods with few homes available, buyers will likely jump on the homes that do come on the market and try to get to the front of the line by starting with a higher than listed offer in hopes of getting that property back off the market as quickly as possible.

 

No matter if you plan to be on the buying or selling side of things in the upcoming year, these predictions certainly point to a busy 2018 for everyone in the real estate industry and market alike. Sellers will be able to list confidently for the first time in several years and people who have been unable to buy due to financial situations are increasingly being able to become first time homeowners. Either way, with 2017 coming to a close we are very excited to see what 2018 has to bring for the area’s housing market and surely we can all agree that busy is good for everyone!

If you are interested in selling or buying, please reach out to us at 252.247.7700 or asre@alanshelorrealestate.com.

rudi shelor | dec. 19, 2017

While taking interior photos of a property may sound like a self-explanatory task, there are a few ways that you can enhance the quality of your pictures and thus attract more potential buyers to your advertisements.

Below are a few things to keep in mind when taking and selecting photos to put in the MLS and on your website to showcase your listed properties.

1. Be sure to take pictures of the entire room

people are going to be interested in the space itself, not the existing furniture and its arrangement. Many buyers are going to want to be able to envision their personal items and tastes in the rooms, not see closeups of your sofa and coffee table. Even if the unit is coming furnished, being able to see a sweeping view of the room allows them to get an idea of the space and how they might want to rearrange things, where they might hang their personal photos or change the colors of some walls.

2. Turn on all the lights in the unit

This includes overhead lights, lights in bathrooms, closets, on porches, lamps, lighting under cabinets, everything. Open all blinds and curtains as well. While you may walk into the unit and think the natural light coming in through windows and doors looks great, this will translate into a dim photograph even when using a flash. You want the picture to look cozy and inviting and a bright happy-looking room will accomplish just that.

3. Be aware of where you are standing in relation to mirrors and other reflective surfaces

Surely, we’ve all been guilty of accidentally catching our arm in a bathroom mirror when trying to photograph a house, but it is best to avoid this. If you are in an overly mirrored room, walk around the room and test out all corners and angles to find the best one that allows you to keep your reflection out of the picture. Also, be conscious of reflective sliding glass doors or appliances – this can usually be solved by standing further back or at an angle.

4. Photograph the larger rooms from different angles to allow clients to see different perspectives

The living room will look completely different from one side versus the other and that will allow an interested buyer to form a more complete idea of what the space looks like and whether it will fit their needs. You can also try different angles from the same side of the room – try to take one standing in the corner to get a more panoramic shot of the room and then perhaps get a straighter picture of the room by standing at the end.

5. Don’t forget the exterior of the property!

Though taking an exterior photo sounds like it should be “one and done”, you can improve these photos by trying them from several different angles. Take one directly in front of the home but then try a few at different sides of the home and from different distances. When you review the photos you’ll often be surprised at which one turns out the best. If the property has a fantastic backyard or deck, try to get a photo that shows as much of that area as possible, again so a buyer will see what space they’d have to work with. If you have a unit in a neighborhood with amenities, get a few shots of those too.

With nearly all home searches beginning online, having high-quality photos that showcase the home and the space are essential. If a potential client feels invited in by these photos and can begin to imagine that property as their home, there is a much better chance that they will pursue the next steps of contacting the agent and setting up an appointment to view the home in person.