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An Update on the End-of-Summer Real Estate Market

An Update on the End-of-Summer Real Estate Market

Here’s a quick overview of the Triangle Area market as of August 2019:

In Chapel Hill, the year-to-date closed sales were down by over 9%, average prices increased by 4.4%, and the days on market was about 39 days. Additionally, there were three months of inventory available. That sounds really low, but the reality is that it’s actually a bit higher than surrounding counties except in Chatham County, which has about 4.4 months of inventory available. 

In Durham, the number of closed sales was up by around 7%, and the days on market were really low—it took just 22 days for the average home to sell in Durham. In terms of supply, Durham has just under two months of inventory available.

In terms of the averages for the overall Triangle area market, here’s what we saw for September:

  • Closed sales are up year over year by 2.6%
  • The average sales price is up by 4.3%
  • It takes homes an average of 31 days to sell
  • The Triangle area has an average of 2.5 months of inventory

The low inventory in our market isn’t necessarily stimulating an uptick in the market, and pundits are saying that it’s due to the lack of affordable inventory and the increase in prices that are holding the market back.


When the market is slow, I recommend that you find a qualified buyer’s agent or listing agent who will help you navigate the market so that you get the best deal.


While I agree with that, I also want to add that there are a lot more people out there who are choosing to rent over purchasing a home. So even though inventory is low, there just aren’t as many buyers out there. But you never know what could happen in any given market on any given day at any given price point. Just two days ago, I put a $259,000 home on the market in Chapel Hill (which is a very good entry price for the area) but I got four offers as of shooting this video.

In the end, when the market is slow, I recommend that you find a qualified buyer’s agent or listing agent who will help you navigate the market so that you get the best deal, regardless of market conditions.

If you require such an agent, or you have any questions, reach out to us. This is what we do every day, and we would be more than happy to help.


Why Install Solar Panels on Your Home?

Why Install Solar Panels on Your Home?

Installing solar panels on your home offers many benefits—some you might not be aware of.

Why install solar panels on your home?

When you install solar panels, they become your home’s energy source. You can wipe out not only your current energy bill, but also any future increases to that energy bill. Solar energy is clean, renewable, reduces pollution, and reduces your carbon footprint.

There’s one more benefit to using solar energy, but time is running out to take advantage of it. 2019 is the last year to take advantage of the 30% federal income tax credit you get if you install solar panels. Next year, that tax credit will be reduced to 26%. In 2021, it gets reduced to 21%. Then in 2022, it drops all the way to 10%.

In years past, some states offered additional tax credits, but that’s not available in North Carolina anymore. If you live in an area where Duke Energy is your utility company, however, they offer a 40% to 50% rebate for using solar energy.

Now that you know the benefits, what about the cost? In the US, the average cost of installing solar panels after the 30% tax credit is between $10,000 and $14,000. For example, let’s say you install panels that cost $20,000 and your yearly federal income tax bill is $7,000. Since $20,000 times 30% equals $6,000, you’d only owe $1,000 on your federal income tax.

There are a lot of other factors to consider to calculate your exact cost like what your total energy needs are, which panels are most appropriate for your home, which system you plan on installing, etc. The best way to calculate these expenses is to contact a qualified solar installation company, and in the Triangle area, I can’t speak highly enough of Southern Energy Management. If you contact them, they’ll come out to your house and give you a full cost analysis. To find out more, check out their website southern-energy.com.

If you’d like to know more about the benefits of installing solar panels or you have any other real estate questions I can answer, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to help you.

Do You Really Need a Buyer’s Agent?

Do You Really Need a Buyer’s Agent?

Do you actually need to work with a buyer’s agent? Actually, yes, but let’s discuss five reasons some people don’t think so.

Since the advent of the internet, buyers have a wealth of information at their fingertips. With that said, this could lead some to falsely assume they don’t need a professional agent by their side during their home search. Truthfully, though, forgoing this kind of representation is a major mistake. 

If you still don’t believe me, though, allow me to share five signs you (supposedly) don’t need a buyer’s agent:

  • You believe that working without an agent will save you money. Though many cite this as their reason for not hiring a Realtor, the truth is that working with an agent won’t cost you a dime. In North Carolina, sellers pay the commission fees for both agents.
  • You love stress. If you want to feel confused at every step of the way while buying your home, then working without an agent is a good way to do so. If you’d prefer a smooth, seamless transaction, however, you’ll definitely want to hire professional help.
  • You think the internet is the only resource you need. As I mentioned earlier, many people assume that the information they find online will be enough to guide them through a transaction on their own. Unfortunately, this isn’t so. Having the information is one thing, while knowing what to do with that information is another. Professional agents will be your best resource if you’re hoping for a stress-free transaction.
  • You don’t think you need the help. Some buyers don’t realize just how many steps go into the real estate process. When you consider everything that must be taken care of during your house hunt and beyond, though, it becomes quickly apparent that you will need expert help. Professional buyer’s agents have handled transactions like yours several times before, so you can be sure they know what they’re doing.
  • You are a fantastic negotiator. Real estate deals involve a lot of negotiating. And even if you happen to be a skilled negotiator in other spheres, chances are that you don’t have the level of real estate-related knowledge necessary to hold your own against the seller’s agent.

The bottom line is this: Many of the “reasons” people offer as to why they don’t need a buyer’s agent aren’t reasons at all. If you want a seamless real estate experience, professional representation is crucial.

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Your Guide to Tenant Screening – How to Find Quality Tenants for your Burlington Rental

Your Guide to Tenant Screening – How to Find Quality Tenants for your Burlington Rental

Placing a well-qualified tenant is an important part of having a positive rental experience and a profitable investment experience. Many landlords don’t take the time and invest the resources that are required to screen thoroughly. That’s a big mistake. The wrong tenant can cost you money, cost you time, and deliver a lot of stress that you don’t need.

Follow these tenant screening tips to ensure you place a tenant who will pay rent on time, take care of the property, and follow the terms of your lease agreement.

Check Employment and Verify Income

Your application should collect all the information you need about a tenant’s employment and income. You want to be sure he or she earns enough to cover the cost of rent. Contact the employer to verify that the applicant is employed in the position listed, and that the dates of employment match up. Then, ask for salary information. Not every company will be willing to provide that, so you may need to ask your applicant to provide pay stubs.

If your applicant is self-employed or retired, ask to see tax returns or bank statements. Industry best practices say that you want to see income that’s at least three times the monthly rent. So, if your property rents for $1,000 per month, you want income that’s at least $3,000 per month.

Look at Credit and Criminal Histories

When you’re checking for criminal history and eviction records, it’s important to go beyond the county and look at nationwide records. This can be done with a few services online, or you can work with a property management company to check for criminal backgrounds and credit issues. Perfect credit will be hard to find, but set some standards for what’s acceptable and what isn’t. Medical debt hits a lot of people, and you might be okay with that. However, a long list of debts owed to utility companies and former landlords should cause you some concern about renting to that applicant.

Talk to Current and Former Landlords

Landlord references are critical and can give you a good idea of how your applicant has performed in the past with rental properties. Make sure you get accurate landlord information. Tenants with a bad rental history will likely not want to share the names and phone numbers of their actual landlords and property managers; you may find yourself talking to friends and family members. You can check property records to make sure you’re talking to the right person, or do an internet search for the apartment community the tenant once lived in.

Ask former and current landlords if rent was paid on time, or how many times it was late. Find out if there were any lease violations or incidents of property damage. Did the tenant have pets? Did the tenant receive the full security deposit back? Always ask if they would be willing to rent to that tenant again.

Working on a ComputerRemember to comply with all fair housing laws while you’re screening tenants. If you need help with this, contact us at Real Estate Experts. We’d be happy to be part of your leasing process.

Real Estate Experts provides comprehensive property management services in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough, Durham, N. Chatham County, Cary, Morrisville and now Mebane and Burlington, North Carolina.

Visit our new web site at www.realestateexperts.net or give us a call at 919-928-5131 x 1 to discuss our property management services.


Is it Time to Change Property Management Companies in Chapel Hill?

Is it Time to Change Property Management Companies in Chapel Hill?

Change can be scary, especially when it involves one of the largest and most valuable assets in your investment portfolio. There are a lot of good reasons to stick with your current property management company. However, if they’re not meeting your needs and they’re not delivering the results that you expect, you should consider looking around for better management.

When clients come to us from other Chapel Hill property management companies, it’s usually for one of these reasons.

Accounting and Money Matters

The finances associated with your rental property are obviously very important, and you need to be sure your management company is handling them properly. If you’re not receiving regular accounting statements and reports that detail your income and expenses, you should definitely look for new management. Good property managers provide online portals that allow you instant access to the accounting records associated with your investment. You should be able to see how your property is performing 24 hours a day, and the information should be accurate and transparent.

When you do receive reports but there are charges and expenses that don’t make sense, it’s also a problem, and something you should address with your property manager. If you’re not aware of the maintenance that you’re being charged for or there are extra fees for services you thought were included with your management fee, you can probably find a property manager who is more forthcoming with your financials.

Communication or Lack Thereof

Communication is important and with all of the technology available today, there is no excuse for poor communication from your property manager. A responsive management company will be available by phone, text, email, and even on social media. There should be no delay in returning calls and messages. If you cannot get a hold of your property manager, there’s a good chance that your tenants aren’t getting timely responses either. This does not bode well for the condition of your home or the expectation that you’ll retain tenants for the long term. Discuss your communication expectations before you sign a management agreement. If the property management company doesn’t deliver, you can and should look elsewhere.

Poor or Lacking Management Services

If your management company promises fast tenant placement but two months have gone by and your property is still vacant, you need a new property manager. If your management company isn’t paying you rent consistently every month or inspecting your property when they say they will, you have every right to leave your management agreement. You need a manager who will collect rent, enforce the lease, and maintain your home. When your management company is unable to deliver on what they have promised, you cannot allow your investment to be left at risk. Find a property management company that does what they say they will do and impresses you with more income and lower expenses.

If you’re unhappy with your current Chapel Hill management company, we’d be happy to talk through your problems. We’d also love to tell you about our own services and the reputation we have for delivering outstanding property management and customer service. Contact us at Real Estate Experts for more information.

House WindowsReal Estate Experts provides comprehensive property management services in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Hillsborough, Durham, N. Chatham County, Cary, Morrisville and now Mebane and Burlington, North Carolina.

Visit our new web site at www.realestateexperts.net or give us a call at 919-928-5131 x 1 to discuss our property management services.


Important Information Regarding Durham Tax Revaluation in 2019

Important Information Regarding Durham Tax Revaluation in 2019

North Carolina Law requires that all counties revalue properties for tax purposes, at most, every eight years. Traditionally in our market, counties have done this either on a four-year cycle or an eight-year cycle.

With Durham revaluing properties in 2019, it’s on a three-year cycle, which is really short. They’re doing this because 2018 was incredibly active; there were a lot of areas that saw significant jumps in property values, some that stayed roughly the same, and others that saw decreases.

So what will happen with your property value is, at this point, still a guess. Revaluing properties on a three-year cycle is very fast, so with that in mind, I’d like to discuss the schedule.

Properties were technically revalued as of January 1, 2019. Homeowners will begin receiving their property values in the mail by the end of January. From mid-February to around March 1, homeowners can go to learn about the process and how to appeal it if they disagree with the property value.

In the case of an appeal, Durham wants you to do your research and then submit that information to them when you submit the appeal. The appeal itself must be in no later than May 3, 2019. This is a very important date—if they receive your submission on May 4, they will not acknowledge it. To submit, go online to www.dconc.gov/taxhelp. There, you can go through the process of finding your property, look at the current or revalued tax rate, and see how to find comparable sales.

The most important thing to do, though, is reach out to a Realtor you know and trust; they can help you pull the comparables, review the ones the county is using, and give you their professional opinion of your home’s value. You won’t know your actual tax bill until the middle of 2019 when the county defines its tax rates. They’ll first figure out how much money they need, then they’ll set the rate to figure out their budgets, so even if your tax value goes way up, your actual tax bill may not.

At Real Estate Experts, we are more than happy to help you. Just reach out to us and we can pull the relevant information for you. Hope to hear from you soon!

Click here for a walk through of how to appeal your new tax revaluation!


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