Design a site like this with
Get started


My new year’s resolution is to increase my Shop Local efforts here in downtown Southport.  It is a gift that keeps giving.

  1. Jobs and Wages support, when you buy locally you are helping hire and retain employees (these are our friends and neighbors).
  2. Stronger Tax Base, when we add more businesses, we strengthen our tax base. More dollars to contribute to our community infrastructure all benefitting our home values. 
  3. Local  business owners invest in our community. They are owned by people who live and work  in our community, raising their families and investing in our community’s future. They support our churches, our schools, our organizations, enriching our way of life.
  4. Discover Interesting Things and People. Southport is filled with one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants, an important part of what makes our city a great place to live.
  5. Locally-Made Products. Many of business owners often sell locally made or locally sourced products, which helps preserve the community’s distinction and uniqueness.  Shop for a farm to table dinner without ever leaving downtown!


The holiday season from November through January is traditionally quoted as the worst time to put a home on the market. While the thought of selling your home during the winter months may dampen your holiday spirit, the season does have major advantages: holiday buyers tend to be more serious and competition is less fierce with fewer homes being actively marketed.  People tend to take time off work during the winter, and extended weekends like Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, and the New Year can be a convenient home shopping time.   Popular for the 2nd home market in our area are buyers looking to purchase homes before the end of the year for tax purposes find holiday listings ideal. Our local Southport inventory has been depleted for most of this year and many out of area buyers are anxiously still waiting and watching online for that perfect home to come on the market, yes even with the higher interest rates.

  1. Price it to sell. No matter what time of year, a home that’s priced low for the market will make buyers feel merry. Rather than gradually making small price reductions to move a house, start with a price to sell when putting a home on the market.
  2. Take top-notch real estate photos. Today homebuyers are likely to start their house hunt from the comfort of their homes by browsing listings on the Internet. Make a good first impression with a realtor who only hires exceptional photographers who publish flattering, high-quality photos of your home. Include in the MLS listing, summer or spring photo of your home so buyers can see how it looks year-round.  Research your agent’s other listings online, be sure they are impressive looking enough for you.  Home pride shows and sells!
  3. Consider an Office Exclusive listing.This is when someone doesn’t want the world (and perhaps your neighbors) knowing your home is for sale.  They do not want full exposure on the market.  Visible only to the listing agent’s office, other brokerages are not informed. The key here is selecting an agent who is in an office with well-connected local brokers who will receive and share the listing information. With a successful exclusive listing, the house may sell without endless showings and open houses disrupting the busy holiday schedule. There are no ‘days on market’ recorded on MLS. Worst case, if it doesn’t work, you can always list it traditionally and fresh on MLS in the New Year!
  4. Relax — the New Year is just around the corner.
    The holidays are stressful enough with gifts to buy, dinners to prepare and relatives to entertain. Take a moment to remind yourself that if you don’t sell now, there’s always next year, which, luckily, is only a few months away.

Wishes for a Blessed Holiday Season to you all.


October 2022 Real Estate Blog #Marysgonecoastal

Selling a house to a buyer with a Mortgage? Then expect their lender to require a home appraisal. Lenders want to ensure the buyer isn’t overpaying for the home and do not want to lend out more money than the home is worth. A home appraisal is determined with an in-person analysis along with a comparative financial analysis to determine the current market value. Comps nearby that have sold within the last 60 days are most ideal because they will best reflect current market conditions. A qualified appraiser should be licensed or certified—as required in all 50 states—and be familiar with the local area. The appraiser should be informed of all special features and any recent updates to the home. Also, the appraiser should be aware of any pertinent information about the neighborhood that may impact the value of the house. Appraisers are required to remain impartial and objective. A cost for a typical, single-family home appraisal ranges from $500 to $600, though that can vary depending on several factors including the size of the home, the value of the property, condition of the property and the level of detail involved in the appraisal. The appraisal fee is typically paid by the homebuyer. The appraisal is usually ordered by the buyer’s mortgage lender. A professional appraiser’s fees are regulated in part by the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and must be reasonable and customary for the geographic market. When the appraisal report is complete, it goes to the
lender—not the homeowner or home buyer. Under federal regulations, neither
the buyer nor the seller can choose the appraiser themselves. The lender is also
prohibited from having a relationship with the appraiser so that there is a fair,
unbiased valuation of the home.

Home appraisal timings are key to ensuring a timely close. Appraisals can take
longer than that estimated timeline under certain circumstances. When mortgage
rates are lower, as in the past few years, with refinancing occurring, appraisers
were significantly backed up. Also, a busy and active market can slow the
turnaround time. Under typical circumstances, generally plan on at least two
weeks from appraisal visit to report being produced. If needed, some Appraiser’s
can place a ‘rush’ on the report process for an additional fee. If the appraised value is about the same or more than the buyer’s offer, great news, and
congratulations. What if it comes in lower than buyer’s offer? ROAD BLOCK!
Buyer’s agent will have to renegotiate the sales price with the seller, or buyer may
have to make up the difference in cost to successfully close.
Realtors are trained to do real estate comps for their clients. A comparative
market analysis (CMA) is a process used to determine the market value of a
property. A CMA is a crucial tool for listing agents as they determine a sales price
for a property. It’s also a tool for buyer’s agents who are advising their clients to
make competitive offers. Using the most current MLS data along with the
specific house and locale information to create a comparable price suggestion.
This does not replace a professional appraisal. Zillow Zestimate uses a
computer algorithm that weighs different data points that go up and down
over a period of time thus known to be generic not specific. Using a local
Realtor with a personal understanding of the demographics and dynamics of
the community to negotiate pricing on that home is important. Once the
professional appraisal has been generated for the Lender on the property, they
are very difficult to challenge.

Embracing New Construction

Seeing all the new residential construction developments happening in our area? Some seem to be up going up overnight and some going at a snail’s pace or even fully stalled. To get a foothold in our high demand area, this is a popular option (and risk) for new buyers. Is it necessary to have your own buyer’s agent when buying new construction? The answer is a resounding yes! The plain truth is you need a buyer’s agent to look out for your interests. With any home purchase there are many potential pitfalls, hidden risks, and complications involved in the process. To guarantee a good result you need locally experienced help.

 1. Your buyer’s agent can help ensure you hire the right builder and area. We are up to date with the truth of the local fluid current conditions. Working with a good Realtor is that you benefit from our network of agents, vendors, lenders, and other industry professionals. It is our job to know what is locally happening that will affect that neighborhood, plus what happened in the past. Word gets around when businesses or service providers don’t take care of their customers. With new construction just about anything can go wrong. Some builders have an exceptional reputation for delivering homes on time. An experienced local agent knows the difference and where to guide you, unbiasedly.

 2. A buyer’s agent can guide you on resales. A joy about new construction is you can often customize the home to your exact needs and wants. Some of those amenities are going to be more important than others. Our goal is to always keep resale in mind. It may be your ‘forever’ home but eventually there will be future sale on your large investment. One could easily spend a lot of money on things that don’t matter in our local market. An experienced buyer’s agent can guide you on the best upgrades with proven highest return on investment. Some improvements really make a difference, while others can be throwing money away. We can help you select best upgrades, when to do them, who to do them with, and explain the pros and cons of each. Another important factor is getting an independent Home Inspector on the finished product. The builder offers their walk thru but that may not catching any ‘hidden’ issues. After the builder’s warranty period is over those are your responsibility to fix.  Eventually, they will get caught at the future buyer’s home inspection.

 3. Your agent will negotiate on your behalf. A strong negotiator understands the true value of all aspects of the deal. Your buyer’s agent understands what you want and need. We understand what the builder values most, they are not just motivated by making as much money as possible from the sale but also wants to keep the price high because it helps sell the next home for a similar price. However, that is where negotiations are so important as it means that the builder might be willing to give you other concessions – such as offering upgrades. Don’t expect a builder to discount when they don’t need to, we understand and negotiate when the conditions are favorable.

4. The agent at the builder’s site represents the builder, not you. Keep in mind that the real estate agent working for the builder is focused on the best interests of his client – the company selling the homes, but they also can serve as your buyer’s agent. You deserve to have your own agent, someone who will be looking out for just you. The site agent will still be happy to work us, after all they want to sell the property. Do know that you are already paying for the buyer’s agent service? The builder has already budgeted into the sales price the cost of paying a buyer’s agent. Why wouldn’t you want to hire a local real estate agent to represent you? In a real estate transaction, the seller pays the commission, in new construction the builder pays for the buyer’s agent’s commission.

 5. Communication …is the biggest complaint that buyers have with new construction. Buyers have an understanding based on what the sales representative says and then the buyers move on to deal with the project manager who builds the house. Sometimes the builder will tell the buyer something different and if there is nothing in writing to prove it was included in the contract, it is difficult to enforce. Real estate buyer’s agent serves as your diligence, we execute additional contract addendums to cover when necessary. When there is any issue, we are there to intercede on your behalf. We carry our agency name with us, guaranteeing that builders local future sales and reputation back to our office, you are never alone in the new build struggles when you have your own agent.


Another year with low inventory and consistent buyer demand, some sellers may be tempted to try to sell their homes on their own without using the services of an experienced local real estate professional.

If doing a For Sale by Owner (FSBO ) be prepared to deal with on your own :

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent who solely represents the best interests of the buyer
  • Fewer showings, agents cannot approach FSBO’s without a buyer request and seller permission
  • The buyer’s attorney
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some kind of problems with the house that needs negotiation
  • The termite company
  • The buyer’s lender if the structure of the mortgage requires the sellers’ participation. The appraiser if there is a question of value
  • The title company if there are challenges with certificates of occupancy (CO) or deed issues
  • The buyer’s buyer in case there are challenges with the house your buyer is selling
  • Looky Loos, people who check out houses for sale with no intention of buying and unqualified buyers

If doing a For Sale Using a “Virtual” agent be prepared to deal with on your own :

New trend is Hybrid services like Redfin or Clickit Realty, pay only for minimal services to list your house.

  • Newer agents are utilized
  • Inconsistent Services
  • Hidden minimum fees
  • MLS advertising errors and shortages due to lack of location knowledge and insights
  • Pitching of add-on services
  • Tedious paperwork required upfront
  • Agents have multiple clients affecting any personal service attention and responsiveness

Problems occur after closing, a common fact. Even the smoothest transactions that close without complications can come back to haunt. Many questions can pop up that were overlooked in the excitement of closing. Good agents will stand by their transaction long past any closing, it is our professional obligation.
Without a qualified listing agent, sellers can go into home selling handicapped. Your local professionally trained Real Estate Agent’s goal is to get you top dollar for your house. If you don’t get paid, we don’t get paid. Our commissions may be negotiable and offset to serve the transaction best. This is your largest asset and you get what you pay for.

So please do your upfront research and enlist a Local Realtor with Integrity and Experience. If chosen as your agent, my services start with a Competitive Market Analysis, Quality and Highly Detailed Listing Photography, and Professional Home Measurement and Sketches. My Services end with…. Well my degree of personal assistance doesn’t end even after we turn over the keys. I am always here for you. References available on Zillow.


With our Hurricane season almost upon us, figure this is a good time to repeat one of my favorite subjects with recent information regarding 2022.

After a year without major hurricanes in 2021, the Carolinas might seem overdue for some tropical weather to hit the coastline. And this could be the year as Colorado State University researchers reporting that they expect an “above-normal” year. These researchers typically put out one of the first reports on the upcoming hurricane season each year.

Read more at:

A question often heard from my buyers is “do I really need Flood Insurance?”  After attending a class from the NC Department of Insurance on flood risks, I respond with the following statements.

  • If it rains where you live, you may have a flood risk
  • Developments can cause flooding, even away from a body of water. Clear cutting messes with natures built in drainage systems.
  • If you live in an area protected by levees or other flood control structures, there is a residual risk that those structures will be overtopped or fail during a more severe event will cause flooding.

Nature does not read flood maps, Hurricane Florence demonstrated that for us clearly here in Brunswick County. Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States, yet most homeowners’ insurance does not cover flood damage. If you wait until a storm is on its way, it will be too late because there is generally a 30-day waiting period. Once a storm is named you cannot get flood insurance newly issued.

Did you Know:

Flood insurance is not required for homes or buildings in mapped Zone X low risk areas, but it is available. Over 25% of all flood damage occurs in low-risk zones, commonly described as being “outside the mapped flood zone.”

Typical homeowners’ insurance policies do not provide coverage against flood losses. Federally backed flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is made available to homeowners, renters, and business owners in communities that participate in the NFIP Nationwide,.

North Carolina ranks eighth in the number of NFIP policies and ninth in the number of claims to date.

Who needs flood insurance? EVERYONE

For more information contact your local insurance agent. Further information can be found in:

Embracing Mortgages

Are higher mortgage rates, combined with record high home prices, starting to affect our steady climb of being strictly a sellers’ market?.  According to Rocket Homes, as of April 2022 in Brunswick County, 45.7% of homes sold above asking price*.  Entering our traditionally steamy hot time for sales here at the coast, we should soon see what changes or continues.  We do know mortgage approvals and appraisals are going to be drastically affected by any change.  What can our local buyers do to stay informed if entering this volatile market?

·       Don’t go with the first mortgage lender you talk with

Shopping around is so important. Mortgage rates are transparent online, but nothing beats a personal and trusted relationship with your local Mortgage Broker.  Ask your realtor who they have successful working relationships with.  Shop local and be a confident buyer as they can explain our market.  As well as likely utilizing a local appraiser who understands our coastal market.

·       Second Homes could have increased fees

Effective 4/1/22 the FHFA announced that fees will increase for second home and high balance loans. As well, guidelines are also getting stricter – especially for condos. Find out before you choose your lender if they sell their non-QM loans to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. 

·       Delayed Financing

Delayed Financing Our local bidding wars is forcing some buyers to utilize their savings to be a more competitive all cash buyer when it was not in the original plan.  Eligible buyers can recoup that and place those funds back to their savings by using Delayed Financing.  A mortgage can be obtained up to six months post the close date of the property.  This could both be the right long-term option as well as making sure you get property.

Before the property search, before falling in love with the house, it is so important for buyers to be well informed and then pre-approved if using a mortgage.  This should be their step #1 when entering our competitive real estate market.


Embracing Local Realtors


Description automatically generated

This is a repeat of my Dec ’21 piece tweaked to emphasize our local market that we are experiencing this first quarter ’22.  Interesting proof included what can happen when not choosing a local realtor.  Costly mistakes were made on behalf of these sellers. Most of these properties sighted are still for sale as of this writing.

Our buying boom and lack of inventory that has been front and center since 2nd quarter 2021, with no predictions of change in 2022. According to experts, if the mortgage rates stay low and new builds continue to under pace the demand, expect our local resales to continue to feel strong impact and increased prices.  

Being a local resident and realtor here in Southport, I’m seeing an increase in out of area agents representing both buyers and sellers.  An actively licensed North Carolina realtor can buy or sell anywhere in the state.  If they are a paid member for that area’s regional Association of Realtors (ours is Brunswick-BCAR), then they can access property and list in MLS.  If not, they can still show for their buyer clients.   In my opinion, this is no substitute for working with an experienced local realtor. We are physically your boots on the ground, we are literally holding your hand from start to long after finish ensuring your satisfaction.  Real Estate being one of the costliest transactions in life, why risk both time and money not utilizing the local expertise available to you? Did you know in North Carolina, If buying a property that your Buyer’s Agent works for you free of charge? They earn their commission at close from the seller.  Did you know for Selling Agent’s that commissions are negotiable?  Here are 3 good reasons why working with a local realtor is a smart option

. 1. Nobody knows it better

The first and obvious first reason is we know the area. We live here, we know the neighbors on that street, we know the history of that house, we know how Florence and Issiah affected that street (flood zones lie!).  And if we don’t have personal experience with that particular property, we will find out from someone in our local office who will.  We know the lifestyle of that neighborhood; we can point out the details beyond any published amenities.  We know the town, the newest restaurants, the best places to shop for bargains, best places to walk your dog, shortcuts for beach walks, and the list goes on.   A local realtor will maintain a list of professional services that are needed in the real estate transaction.  These are tried and trusted local mortgage specialists, appraisers, landscapers, organizers & designers, electricians, plumbers, home inspectors, insurance agents that we have worked with professionally and likely personally.  Our ‘go to list’ becomes the beginning of your ‘go to list’.  I am constantly updating my vendor list as I hear recommendations or negative experiences from my clients and associates.  As a local and experienced realtor, I have invested heavily in building solid relationships with trustworthy professionals, an advantage when in tight timelines and glitches hit during a transaction needing professional services to accommodate. 

2. Mistakes are made when not local: I recently surfed some of our local listings listed by non Brunswick County agents.  Some messy mistakes that immediately stood out to me as possible stumbling blocks to buyers.  Mistakes like: 1)Arbor Creek listing with driving directions into St James. 2) Mariners Pointe property listing it as subdivision Ocean Lakes (believe that is in Myrtle area). 3)Winding River Bolivia Property listing city target as Southport.  4)Barnes Bluff property saying vacant land go show, there is a gate there that needs a code. 5) Property for sale in the Landing that is not in our Brunswick MLS but only available for agents in Charlotte MLS. 6)Southport lot that lists Belville as elementary school and lists wrong utility providers. 7) BSL lot that lists subdivision as “Southport Heights”, High School as Brunswick Academy, and Buyer agent commission is 10%.  Buyer’s searches based on listing criteria will be affected. I guess you get what you pay for, but these sellers seem to be on the losing side already. 

3. Value Knowledge: Local realtors often have knowledge of homes available for sale even before listed on the market.  Having somebody working for you and knowing what you are looking for can be that small step in knowledge of ideal new listing before it hits the masses online.  We will also know if the home you are looking at is priced too high or too low for the market. We may even know why the house is being sold. This can help you in making an offer to purchase with the highest probability of being accepted.  Being local we could often have the inside scoop if a similar house is coming on next week. Does this help or hurt your sale or purchase? We know the builders on the houses, and their reputation. We know what may be happening with the empty lot next door.

I am one of those local realtors with both integrity and grit, knowing the key facts and players to confidently negotiate the best purchase price for your property.  Do utilize your local real estate agencies, this should be your first step being a buyer or seller in this very tough 2022 market.

Embracing Mortgages 2022

We are seeing here in Brunswick County more and more all cash offers in this competitive housing market. Yes indeed, cash does stand out when multiple offers are being considered. But for a large portion of population, that is an option most of us can’t even consider on the biggest asset of our lives. Good to know that many billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg still take out mortgages. Investing gurus like Warren Buffett think sticking with 30 year locked rate with these low mortgages are a smart move. If rates go up in 2022, predictions are it won’t be by very much. It was reported in MoneyWise in 2021 that “Fed officials signaled they’ll keep rates at next to nothing until 2024”. What are the steps needed to secure a mortgage for a monthly payment you are comfortable with and still stay competitive as a potential buyer?

1.Talk to your Realtor for local Mortgage Broker recommendations.  

These days everything is online and rates are transparent.  Though it is much more than the rate, it also is the service.  In this tight market we have to have a good working relationship between buyer/realtor/broker to ensure closing success. Using remote or unseen loan institutions are no comparison to those tried and true recommended loan officers that we have productively worked with already. They know the area, they know the appraisers, they know the closing attorney, their reputation likely is known and respected within the seller’s agent. 

2. Get preapproved before shopping for houses.

In this competitive homebuying environment, home sellers and real estate agents want to know that you have a mortgage pre-approved for the amount needed and are ready to move forward quickly to make an offer on a home. Home sellers and agents don’t want to receive offers from people who cannot afford to buy the property.  Your agent will present that preapproval along with the Offer to Purchase.

3. Don’t buy a house you can’t afford.

A lender may offer you a $400,000 mortgage, for example. But can you make the monthly payments, especially considering other debt you may have? And don’t forget about all of the expenses associated with home ownership.  Plus add in property taxes and insurance plus that extra Wind and Hail we require in Brunswick County.  Contact an area insurance agent for insurance estimates on a specific property.  Do aim to put down minimum of 20 percent on the home to avoid PMI and be a stronger looking buyer.

Embracing Buyers Regret in 2021

Are most buyers seeing they made the right decisions in these competitive times?  If you bought this past year, likely you did not have luxury of time while deciding.  Rushed decisions can easily lead to buyer misgivings. Seeing current prices continue to rise, plus the housing forecasts do indeed help confirm that major choice, if made in 2021.  In Brunswick County, the average sales price has gone up almost 20% since 2020 according to Brunswick Association of Realtors.  Homes here are averaging 30 days on the market, and homes listed below $299,000 were 15 days or less on the market.  This past fall our new listings inventory had dropped between 6% and 10% since prior year.   What are some of the national predictions that 2022 will still be a competitive time to buy and a strong sellers’ market?

  • Mortgage Rates. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the average rate on the 30-year fixed loan could experience a gradual increase going into 2022. Cause for concern? Even with a slight rise, rates are still projected to be low.
  • Mortgage Availability. The MBA also reports that mortgages for the purpose of buying a home are forecast to rise 9% to a record of $1.73 trillion in 2022. This means a competitive market. Thankfully the banks and mortgage regulators demand that loan to value ratios, debt-to-income ratios, and income documentation need to meet strict guidelines (no risky subprime mortgages any more) before a mortgage is approved.  Less causes for defaults to occur.
  • Housing Supply. The underproduction of new builds post 2008 crash is still affecting us. The U.S. had underbuilt its housing needs by at least 5.5 million units over the past 20 years, National Association of REALTORS® studies show.  National homebuilding activity in 2021was slightly above historical norms according to Lawrence Yum, NAR Chief Economist.  But it will take at least a few years still to correct the massive shortage.  He predicts the national median home price to rise another 3% in 2022.  

Bottom Line, there is still buying time left to have your cake and eat it too in 2022!