The Zillow Controversy

Zillow stats are not reliable.

Zillow stats are not reliable.

There is a secret battle being fought in America. Not the war on violent crime, everyone knows we have a problem with that. This crime can rob you of your dream home or your home’s equity. It is the battle between your local real estate professionals and the mega real estate website Zillow.

Now being a Realtor myself, I know the Wilmington, NC real estate market. But now I have clients who think that Zillow is their savior and has come to save them from the dishonesty of real estate professionals. I can not tell you how many times I have heard, “Well I looked it up on Zillow, and Zillow says…..”. Not only do they estimate property value inaccurately, they also do not report real time information. For instance, I had a buyer request to see a home in our area. I looked up the property on our local MLS and saw that it sold over a month ago. Then she says, “I just looked it up on Zillow, and Zillow says it is still on the market. Can we at least go by there and look at it?”. So, knowing how much everyone trusts the gospel of Zillow, I wasted my valuable time driving across town to see a house I knew was not available. All she could say is, “I don’t understand!” I wanted to say, That is why you hired me… because you don’t understand.” But that would not be professional or nice. But what you should understand is that most Realtors like myself try to do our jobs with integrity. When you have a company like Zillow making our jobs harder, it can get a little frustrating. After all, Realtors are only human.

Click here to read an article from The LA Times on the growing Zillow problem.

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Posted by on June 2, 2015 in Uncategorized


What Does Your Neighborhood Say About the Value of Your Home?


Get a free market analysis today!

What is your home worth these days? Think you know? Some of you would be surprised to know that your home’s value is directly linked to compatible homes near by. That’s right, the lower your neighbors sell their homes for, the lower your value could be dropping. But there is also good news. As you might have guessed, when we are in a seller’s market and demand goes up, so will the value of your home. So the moral to this story is, know your value. Get a free market analysis today!

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Posted by on May 31, 2015 in Uncategorized


Homeowner’s Insurance

Insurance CoverageHello current and potential homeowners! First of all let me start by apologizing for the amount of time between blog posts. My family and I were displaced by a house fire back in May. Thankfully, everyone was okay. It was a very difficult time, but we are back at home now. Between communicating with the contractors and dealing with the insurance company, I was very busy. My main focus was getting my family home, so I did not have a lot of time. On that note, I wanted to give you a few tips when dealing with a homeowner’s insurance company. After all, it is a big part of purchasing a home.

  1. Make sure you have replacement cost coverage on your personal contents. Otherwise, you will only get depreciated value and have to make up the difference in cost if you ever did have a disaster. Also keep in mind that in our area, only your stove may be covered under the structural damage. The refrigerator,  dishwasher, washer, & dryer will come from your contents coverage.
  2. There are codes on your policy that provide additional monies if your cost exceeds your coverage. I only know this because I hired a public adjuster. The insurance company adjuster did not volunteer this information.
  3. And lastly, I believe a public adjuster is invaluable when dealing with an insurance company. A good one will know all of the ins and outs of of the insurance business.

These are just a few tidbits of knowledge that I picked up during the past 6 months. I hope you find it useful but I hope you never need to use it.

Here is a great article I found by a former insurance agent. He wants everyone to know their dirty little secrets.

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Posted by on December 12, 2012 in Homeowner Tips


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Greater Wilmington NC Area Real Estate Statistics

Wilmington NC RealtyHi everyone! Here are the greater Wilmington NC area real estate statistics for New Hanover, Brunswick, & Pender counties.

Although in January 2012 our market was down 27% compared to 2010 & 2011, we saw a surge in sales for February that put us back on track with the previous 2 years. The good news is that any declines in sales or sales price are not drastic at all. This could indicate a normal and stable market fluctuation.

The average sales price for 2012 is $238,303. When compared to previous years, the market value of single family homes in our area has not bounced back yet, but they seem to be stable enough to safely say that the bleeding has stopped. Where we go from here is up to law makers and the market (consumers).

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Posted by on April 9, 2012 in Uncategorized


For Sale By Owner Blues

For Sale By OwnerWould you work on the foundation of your home yourself? Of course not! It takes special skills and know-how to make sure you are not destroying the largest investment you’ve made… your home. Not to mention there are codes and regulations that need to be followed as well.

I once made the mistake of attempting to make t-shirts at home to sell. I mean, how hard could it be? Needless to say I found out the answer to that question the hard way. Certain adhesives only work on certain materials. You have to make sure the temperature is set properly. There were a number of things I just was not prepared to handle. Most of all, the quality was not good enough for me to take money from people for them. In fact, I don’t think I would have given them away. So I ended up hiring a print company after wasting time and money. We all have felt that we could save a little money doing certain things ourselves. But let’s face it, there is a reason professionals get training to do their jobs.

Many home owners attempt to sell their homes on their own in hopes of saving commissions paid out to a REALTOR® only to find out they have bought into a lawsuit. Conversely, the buyers believe the seller is giving them a better price because there are no REALTORS® involved. But buyers need to understand that the seller is “selling” a product and wants the best deal for themselves and the seller needs to understand that buyers will seek to return a product if something is found to be wrong with it. At that time, a lawsuit may be forthcoming…. unless the seller has protected themselves with the proper disclosures showing that the buyer had every opportunity to discover any defects in the house.

Long story short, the job of an agent is not to just help find a buyer or a house, but to make sure the transaction is done legally, goes smoothly, and that all parties are treated fairly. A REALTOR® starts to really earn their commission after the buyer and seller agree on a price. Yes, proper contracts and disclosures are just that serious.

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Posted by on February 9, 2012 in Uncategorized


Has the Housing Market Bottomed Out?

Wilmington, NC RealtyAfter the President’s “State of the Union” Address last night, many experts feel that consumer confidence is being restored. This is also due, in part, to an end of year census taken by real estate experts that shows prices have stabilized and the market is showing signs of a slow increase in sales prices. The President also mentioned a strategy to allow “responsible home owners” the opportunity to refinance their homes and avoid foreclosure. Add this information to research that shows that new foreclosure filings are down significantly, and there you have your recipe for consumer confidence.

How this all will play out is still up in the air. After all, there has not been a market like this since the great depression. But, statistically, although numbers are still down from last year this time, some experts say that the rate of decline is at it’s best in over 3 years. And something to get excited about.

I must also add that every market is different, so you should always ask your real estate professional about your area.

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Posted by on January 25, 2012 in Uncategorized


2010 Through 2011 Homes Sales Statistics

Happy New Year everyone! I certainly hope we improve our market conditions this year. Although we did not see a drastic spiral as some were predicting, it was a decline none the less.

Here are the stats for single family, stick built homes in New Hanover, Brunswick, & Pender counties in 2010 through 2011:

  1. The average number of homes sold in 2011 was down 11%. (2010 = 333 & 2011 = 298 homes sold per month) (3996 total for 2010 & 3576 total for 2011)
  2. The average number of days these properties stayed on the market before they were sold was up 16% (2010 = 129 days & 2011 = 150 days)
  3. And the most important stat: The average sales price of homes sold in 2011 was down only 3%. (2010 = $245,059 & 2011 = $237,750)

What does all of this mean? This means that (of course) fewer people were able to buy homes last year, so a lot of homes stayed on the market longer. These are the areas where you will see the most price reductions and value loss. However, some of these numbers can be misleading. For example: The average sales price was only down by about $8000 this year, but IF mostly $550,000 homes were sold last year and this year we have a mix of $1,000,000 and $70,000 homes sold, the average would be around $535,000. This makes it look like the market hasn’t changed much, but in fact, it means higher income families can afford more expensive homes (eg. $1,000,000) and lower income families have to sell their homes for much less (eg. $70,000).

In other words, there is a large difference between the rich and not so rich. That being said, there are signs of people going back to work and legislation being considered to help investors buy more homes. This COULD stabilize home prices and result in a sales price increase in 2012. Let us hope this is the case.

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Posted by on January 11, 2012 in Uncategorized