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Ellen's Blog

My take on Real Estate and Life

By Ellen Hough | Broker in Jacksonville, NC
  • Renters are Story Tellers

    Posted Under: General Area in Onslow County, Rental Basics in Onslow County, Moving in Onslow County  |  July 12, 2014 9:25 AM  |  12 views  |  No comments

    Working in a Real Estate office that has property management is always interesting.  You know the old “the dog ate my homework”, well property management gets that in spades almost daily.  Everyone has a story, some are so out landish it’s hard to believe that it could be anything but the truth.  Here in Jacksonville NC we are the proud home of Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base, MCAS New River, Camp Geiger and Camp Johnson, so the majority of our renters are military either directly or indirectly.  And many of our young renters have never lived anywhere other than home with mom and dad, so obviously there is a learning curve for these tenants, and for the most part they are good tenants, they pay their rent on time, sometimes early!! (what a novel idea!) But, some are so clueless because they have never had to cook, clean or do laundry before.  We have had tenants afraid to turn the water off to the house, even though the yard is flooding.  Or not know that they need to change the air filter for the air handler in the house.  Basic maintenance for occupying a property; i.e. mowing the grass, cleaning regularly, etc. seem to be a hard thing.  But as most people know, a few bad apples spoil the whole barrel.  As a tenant you need to know that if there is a property maintenance issue, you need to inform the property management office so that it can be taken care of. Ignoring a problem until it becomes much worse is bad for the property owner and you the tenant.  It can result in you having higher water or electric bills because you ignored the problem.  And if that is the case, it is on you to deal with the higher bill.  Property management cannot fix an issue that is has no knowledge of.  You should be observant of things around your property, if you find your yard is very wet and it hasn’t rained in a while, you should probably inspect that, odds are there is a water leak somewhere.  Blaming the property owner for this, when they are not even in the state, is wrong! And it’s not the property managers fault either, they can’t drive by every single property all the time.  If your garbage disposal stops working, and it is discovered that you were putting things down the disposal that have no business being in the disposal, that is going to be your cost, not the owners.  They, again, are not here.  One of the weirdest stories I have heard so far is of some raccoons that “got in” a property and did some damage. Now how they actually came to be in the property is unclear but it seems that they were being fed by a tenant and she thought it would be a good idea to close the back door so they could not get out….turned out to not be such a good idea.

    When searching for homes in the Camp Lejeune, New River Air Station, Jacksonville, Onslow County area please click here to search all active listings.  To search for homes using your mobile device click here.

    Ellen Hough, Jacksonville NC Real Estate , specializing in First-time home buyers, sellers and renters.   Working with EXIT Independence Realty, 910-330-6103 (Cell)

  • Renters are a Waste of Time (part 2)

    Posted Under: General Area in Onslow County, Rental Basics in Onslow County, Moving in Onslow County  |  June 11, 2014 8:12 AM  |  57 views  |  No comments

    So here in Onslow County, North Carolina we are a proud military community and we have people moving in and out of the area constantly.  So, of course we have many renters.  As a rule the Property Management companies work together to put tenants in homes.  We are not limited to showing only our companies properties.  That being said, some agents will limit what they will show you, not because they are not allowed, but because it doesn’t make much sense to show you a ton of homes for a tiny bit of compensation, usually under $100.00.  Now put yourself in a REALTORS shoes for a few minutes.  We are all Independent Contractors, that means there is NO salary, no money coming in unless we have a closing.  So, how much time, gas and money would you be willing to spend for small finders fee?  So, you as renters need to “interview” a few people and find one person that you want to work with to find a rental, if they tell you that they will only show you their companies listings or will only show you 3 homes and then you have to choose one, understand that it’s not personal, it’s business. 

    I personally, as a parent to 2 young adults, approach putting our young renters into, good properties that I would not mind my children living in.  I would hope that my colleagues would approach it much the same way.  I don’t mind spending some time going through the MLS with you to find some homes you would like to look at, and narrowing your search to 5 properties or so and showing them to you.  But don’t expect to look at every single home in your price range, for the sake of looking at them.  And using Zillow, Trulia, Hotpads, craigslist, etc. is not the most reliable information, there are lots of scams on rentals so if you find a home and it looks to good to be true, it more than likely is! 

    When searching for homes in the Camp Lejeune, New River Air Station, Jacksonville, Onslow County area please click here to search all active listings.  To search for homes using your mobile device click here.

    Ellen Hough, Jacksonville NC Real Estate , specializing in First-time home buyers, sellers and renters.   Working with EXIT Independence Realty, 910-330-6103 (Cell)

  • Renters are a Waste of Time

    Posted Under: General Area, Rental Basics, Rentals  |  June 7, 2014 9:45 AM  |  72 views  |  No comments

    Here in Jacksonville NC, some REALTORS do not want to waste their time with renters.  Why is that?  As a REALTOR in the area for over 13 years the way most renters approach finding a home to rent is less than ideal.  Renters will email, call and set several appointments for one house here, another house there and tying up several agents time (each of them hoping that they will end up with the small finder’s fee), trying to find you a home.  This is very frustrating for us as agents since the average rental commission is less than one hundred dollars, and once the company they work for takes their portion of that rental commission it’s barely enough to replace the gas that was used in driving all over creation looking at homes.  Some agents will not “go the extra mile” to provide great service since it is just a rental, but what agents need to do is educate the people that they are talking to about rentals and how it works here.  Instead of driving all over the place you can spend some time with one agent looking through the MLS, granted that will usually take a little while but you aren’t burning up several tanks of gas, and spending many hours driving around in the process.  I can usually find the people (that actually allow me to do my job properly), a place to rent within a day or two, depending on how unique their housing needs are.  So, renters, be considerate of other peoples time, everyone's time is important.

    When searching for homes in the Camp Lejeune, New River Air Station, Jacksonville, Onslow County area please click here to search all active listings.  To search for homes using your mobile device click here.

    Ellen Hough, Jacksonville NC Real Estate , specializing in First-time home buyers, sellers and renters.   Working with EXIT Independence Realty, 910-330-6103 (Cell)

  • Hurricane Season 2014

    Posted Under: General Area in Onslow County, Quality of Life in Onslow County, Home Ownership in Onslow County  |  May 31, 2014 11:02 AM  |  75 views  |  No comments

    Well, it’s the eve of the 2014 Hurricane Season here in Jacksonville N.C.  Having the privilege of living here in beautiful Eastern North Carolina minutes from the Atlantic Ocean of course we have a chance every year of being hit by a Hurricane.  So, you need to make sure that you are prepared.  Know your evacuation routes, make sure you have an idea of where you will go and if you have pets, check which shelters will allow you to bring them with you.  Not every evacuation shelter will permit pets.  Make sure you and your family, know what to do.  Here are a couple of links to Local and NOAA suggestions and tips for getting through a natural disaster.

    When searching for homes in the Camp Lejeune, New River Air Station, Jacksonville, Onslow County area please click here to search all active listings. 

    Ellen Hough, Jacksonville NC Real Estate , specializing in First-time home buyers and sellers.   Working with EXIT Independence Realty, 910-330-6103 (Cell)

  • When is Enough, Enough?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Onslow County, Home Selling in Onslow County, Remodel & Renovate in Onslow County  |  December 11, 2013 3:30 PM  |  204 views  |  No comments

    In our daily lives we all have things that happen or don’t happen as expected.  When hiring a contractor to make some minor renovations or even major ones, keeping to a schedule is key to everyone’s happiness and satisfaction with the process and results.  Hiring a “friend” is a sure fire way to ruin a friendship and/or business relationship as well. 

    That being said, do your research, hire someone that will respect your time as well as theirs.  A project that should only take a couple weeks at most should not drag on for a month or more.  At what point is enough, enough and you find someone else to finish the job that has not been completed in any aspect?  Various parts of the project in process, none finished.

    Maybe, it’s time for you to just fire the contractor and finish the projects yourself…..Or find a new contractor that will take your time and inconvenience seriously.  After all, you are paying them for a job.  You are the boss.  So, either find someone that really wants to earn your respect and future business or cut them loose and find someone that will.

    When searching for homes in the Camp Lejeune, New River Air Station, Jacksonville, Sneads Ferry, Hubert, Swansboro and Onslow County area please click here to search all active listings.

    Ellen Hough, Jacksonville NC Real Estate , specializing in guiding home buyers and sellers through the home buying and selling process.   Working at EXIT Independence Realty, call or text me @ 910-330-6103 (Cell)

  • Is There Ever A Perfect Time:

    Posted Under: General Area in Onslow County, Market Conditions in Onslow County, Home Buying in Onslow County, Home Ownership in Onslow County  |  September 6, 2013 9:36 AM  |  291 views  |  No comments

    Here in Jacksonville NC, the home of Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base and New River Marine Corps Air Station, we have a pretty good market for buyers, some sellers and always renters.  Is there ever a perfect time to buy a home?  I would have to say not really.  But, right now we are experiencing a pretty good buyers market and an investors market, if you are willing to put in some “sweat equity”, do some updating, repairs and get the property ready to be a home again.  You need to be in it for a few years while our market continues to correct itself during this economic recovery.  Jacksonville is continuing to grow and develop, the military base provides a solid basis for the real estate market here.

    There is a steady supply of Foreclosed Properties on the market as well as some Short Sale homes.  While the Short Sales are usually “move in ready” the Foreclosures are not.  Short Sales are homes that typically take about 60 days to close if everyone has any and all documentation needed for the Short Sale to happen.  It can be longer though.

    The Foreclosures usually have been “beaten up” or neglected over time and need many repairs that range from minor cosmetic things like light fixtures, paint, and flooring, to major repairs like a new roof, heating & cooling system, siding, and windows, etc.  You need to be prepared to jump on a good property when it appears on the market or take your time to find the perfect deal for you.  In either case you need to plan on keeping the property for at least 5 years to build some equity in the home for you and hopefully the market will have recovered from this economic upheaval.

    When searching for homes in the Camp Lejeune, New River Air Station, Jacksonville, Sneads Ferry, Hubert, Swansboro and Onslow County area please click here to search all active listings.

    Ellen Hough, Jacksonville NC Real Estate , specializing in guiding home buyers and sellers through the home buying and selling process.   Working at EXIT Independence Realty, call or text me @ 910-330-6103 (Cell)

  • Jacksonville NC, Market Recovery

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Onslow County, Home Buying in Onslow County, Home Selling in Onslow County  |  August 22, 2013 2:31 PM  |  301 views  |  No comments

    It’s all over the news how the housing market is hot and things are coming back.  I agree, but it’s at different stages of recovery in every part of the country.  Our market here in Jacksonville NC is recovering but I am seeing a lot of foreclosure properties on the market for “bargain basement” prices.  Everyone is looking for a deal and there are lots of deals to be had here.  However, the effect that is being felt on the homes that are currently on the market trying to sell, is their prices are dropping.  Because for every foreclosure that sells for 30k, 40k, 50k or more under market value, ends up bringing the value down, in that neighborhood and it will have a ripple effect in the surrounding communities.  I’m seeing it happen here and it’s really hurting the property owners, in the way of reduced equity.  Owners that don’t need to sell for a few years should be okay.  Owners that need to sell now need to make sure that they have enough “wiggle room” to sell the home.  You need to look at your home as a long term investment, something meant to be held onto, taken care of and used as leverage for future needs.  Ideally it would be paid off at some point and you would be able to get a reverse mortgage to help you in your retirement years.  The market is constantly changing, responding to everything going on in the economy, so, it's not all doom and gloom.  It's more of just sit back and let the market do what it's going to.  It will even out it just takes time.  Artificially propping the market up will not continue to work, it needs to correct itself at its own pace.

    When searching for homes in the Camp Lejeune, New River Air Station, Jacksonville, Sneads Ferry, Hubert, Swansboro and Onslow County area please click here to search all active listings.

    Ellen Hough, Jacksonville NC Real Estate , specializing in guiding home buyers and sellers through the home buying and selling process.   Working at EXIT Independence Realty, call or text me @ 910-330-6103 (Cell)

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