Friday, October 5, 2012

Back to Blogging in the Bull City

Has it really been 2 years? Since my last entry there hasn't been significant change in the real estate market.  Rentals have been easier to fill and houses harder to sell.  My plunge into property management has been eventful and interesting.  You can easily become emerged in the daily life of the tenants.  I've learned more than I'd like to about some residents and a lot about myself in the process.

So what are some of the encounters I have on a regular basis? Rent checks go the way of middle school homework assignments.  Either the dog ate it or you accidentally used your invisible ink pen, darn it!  Pets never pee on the carpet, at least not your little Fluffy, why she would NEVER!  The upstairs neighbors all seem to be rehearsing for Riverdance late at night, and most frequently "the property manager is just too good". I digress. 

I've enjoyed calling Durham my home these last couple years.  I grew up down the road in Chapel Hill and I never realized what I was missing just next door in the Bull City.  From the Eno Rock Quarry (pictured) to Duke Forest and some amazing restaurants in between, I've enjoyed it immensely.  If you haven't been to see some of the changes Durham has made, maybe it's time you get a dose of The City of Medicine. 

I'm excited to have a new set of wheels.  My friends call it a "mom mobile" but I think they're just jealous of all the cargo room I have.  After my ol' faithful Ford Explorer decided to stop going in
reverse it was time to move on.  I bought the car from a woman working in my old office and for a couple of real estate agents, it was a surprisingly short and painless negotiation. 

The car has proven road worthy so far, I've been making regular trips to Winston Salem to visit my girlfriend Catherine.  Next weekend the wheels will be turning towards Greenville for homecoming weekend at East Carolina.  I've heard the downtown area has gotten dangerous there with shootings all over the news.  When I was there the only shots downtown were those being served at Pantana Bob's.  It adds new meaning to the phrase "I hope I survive my visit to Greenville". 

Thanks for reading, you guys!

Monday, September 6, 2010

I Was Framed

Good ol' Labor Day weekend. I took the opposite approach this year; stayed at home, relaxed and caught up on work. I've been on the run & out of town so much lately it was nice to stay settled and not worry about plans. I'm heading over to Umstead State Park this afternoon so I will feel like I'm out of town, at least every few minutes until a plane from RDU flies directly over.

Although I had a nice weekend, I did miss the home opener of my Alma mater ECU. I'm happy they won such and epic game but dog-gone-it I wish I had been there. I know another ECU alum that wasn't at the game yesterday, my sister Kelly. She is due this coming Friday and I'll be an Uncle for the fourth time and have a third niece, very excited about it. Here is a cool blog post my sister made recently.

With sellers scoffing at their projected sale prices lately, I've been contacted about renting their homes out for them more and more recently. I've taken on a few properties and it's been a difficult task to manage compared to selling homes. Finding tenants and showing rental homes can be time consuming with little reward.

I often kick myself for not taking on property management earlier in my career. I'll just try and forget all the rentals I've passed on over all these years and start fresh. The goal for me is to take on what I can manage and treat it as a learning experience as it grows. One thing about residential sales is you can never know it all, I'm sure the same applies to property management.
So last week I had a fun debacle. I'll start with a warning, those licence plate frames like the dealer puts on your car: well they are now illegal in North Carolina. I was the lucky recipient of a ticket for this after being stopped in Jacksonville, NC. Not just a fine, but a court appearance was required. See here.

I drove down early Tuesday and get their about 8:45am, I get to see the DA at 11:15am. He dismissed the charge, probably because I had a suit on and may have been the only one in that courtroom who even showered that day. One guy approached the DA with his hat and sunglasses on, I'm sure that went well for him. Let this just be a heads up to everyone, $100 fine and $150 court costs can be your next headache too if you don't remove that frame tag.

That is a disheartening story about my ride home from the beach, but this is a much brighter one and a great idea to boot. When my family visits the beach we pack the fridge like the world is ending. Way too much food is a requirement of any vacation though. That is why this man's idea of collecting items for a local Food Kitchen is such a great idea. The cars are jammed up trying to get off the island and presents the perfect opportunity. Good for that guy, his story here.
Well I'm off to get a long trail run in at Umstead Park. I hope everyone has a great short week. This Sunday, September 12, keep Chris Raynor's family and loved ones in your prayers as we celebrate his life one year after he passed.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Family Tides

Coming to you from Emerald Isle. I'm down with the family for our traditional summer beach week. There's twelve of us, including two nieces, a nephew, and I can't forget about a third niece on the way. Somehow I landed the bedroom directly underneath the playroom, I have just pretended sleeping in during vacation was overrated this week.

Here's Most Of The Family At The Waterpark For The Day

I brought an old box of home videos from storage that I'm excited about watching with everyone tonight. After some previews last week, it's so embarrassing to think my sisters & I would bring prom dates to the house and instantly have a film crew in our face. It was also alarming to see some of the foods my sister would feed me during the blind "taste testing game". Not sure how I ever got talked into playing that.

In real estate, The Wehmann Team had a great first half to 2010. Since the tax credit left the market, it would appear that buyers followed suit. In hindsight, a gradual reduction of the credit would of been a much more sensible approach for lawmakers to have taken. Alas, The Wehmann Team continues to list homes and anticipates the return of the buyer as summer progresses. With interest rates hovering around the low end of 4%, it shouldn't be long before they do.

My company Howard Perry & Walston is in the news again. We ranked as the #1 Real Estate Company in the Triangle and one of the top firms in the Nation. You can read more about it here on the HPW Blog.

So today is our last chance to catch a tan (or worse sunburn in my case), our time is up and it's back to reality tomorrow. We've been spending our days down at the beach. You can see from the picture, when there are kids around I have a hard time resting. These castles don't last too long before the tide comes in our my nephew Wyatt runs in to "smash it up".

With some good friends of mine living up in Morehead City for the summer, my girlfriend JoBeth and I took some time away from the family to go visit them yesterday. We had a great dinner up at the Chefs 105 Oyster Bar and enjoyed some drinks over at Jack's Waterside Bar. We also spent time at their home where we got to enjoy the company of their 140 pound bloodhound, Ori.

Well I'm going to grab the shovel and get to making big castles in the sand on my last day. I hope everyone has a great weekend, thanks for reading.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Adult Swim

The one bad thing about summer is almost every day's a pool day & we have to work most of them. At least for the meantime I've put all my buyer clients under contract and will have a free upcoming Saturday or two. Pools without diving boards are such a tease to me. How many flips can I do off a pool side with no spring action, 1, maybe 1 1/2? Bring on the high dive and I won't leave that pool till it closes.

My family went out to the swim club on Memorial Day and it was a blast. My one niece Lily had yet to jump off a diving board so I got her to take her first leap. It's harder than it looks to catch a kid and swim to the side without appearing to be drowning. I also took an elbow to the head in the men's beer bobbing contest and was whistled for running only once.
Since my last blog the tax credit has wrapped up and I haven't heard of any new homebuyer credits in the works. Over the run of the credit I worked with 16 buyers who received over $125,000 in government tax credits. I imagine the government will take a step back and evaluate the effect these credits had and go from there. Even with the tax credit gone, there is still plenty of buyer advantages out there. Lot's of eager sellers and low interest rates should continue to drive the market through summer I hope.

So a couple weeks ago I found an old disposable camera that dated back to my ECU days. I couldn't tell you the excitement I had to get those developed. It made my day to be honest and I wished I had more, unfortunately I didn't. That is until my last trip to Charleston when I forgot my camera and got another disposable. I'm tempted to save it 10 years just to be able to have that excitement over seeing some photos again. Speaking of 10 years later, while in Charleston I got to meet up with one of my best friends from summer camp thanks to facebook. I miss ol' Camp Thunderbird.

This Friday my friends will be returning to downtown Raleigh to play at the Berkeley Cafe. Nick & The Babes are a 5 piece band (no babes, sorry guys) featuring my good friends Nick & Graham Bailey. Nick has been quite busy making music outside the band also and has been featured on some TV shows it's likely you've watched. You can read more about their group here, and Nick actually wrote the tunes that play on my website. These guys have a great sound, keep your eyes and ears out for them in the future.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

F-R-E-E That Spells FREE

To set the record straight about my last blog, I wasn't attacked by squirrels or skunks. I guess I need to make my April Fool's blogs a little less believable. I had people asking me for months about horse racing last year after I wrote about being selected to train as a horse jockey. Speaking of, I still need to find a Derby party this weekend where I can sip on some mint juleps.

The tax credit deadline is 2 days away and I've had a swarm of 1st time buyers to work with lately. A good education on the buying process is important, but your in good hands once you hire me. It's the financial preparation I find is the most important aspect.

Fix your credit score in advance! You would be amazed at the money you will save and how much more you can afford with a better score. Get some credit score tips and advice on improving it months in advance at least. One important thing to avoid is new lines of credit before you get approved for a mortgage. You will see below some things I would encourage NOT buying before applying for a loan; unless you are paying cash.

It's been a crazy couple months of work and I'm excited to have a free weekend or two coming up. My days all seem to run together lately as a Realtors' job can be 24/7 sometimes. I'm looking forward to taking a trip to Charleston with some friends here in just a couple weeks. It's been a while since my last visit there and I'm all set up staying with a friend right downtown.

I've had the pleasure of spending lots of time with my family lately. We all got together Monday afternoon for a visit to a Durham Bulls game. Aside from having his eyes glued to the man with the cotton candy tower, my nephew Wyatt was lucky enough to score himself a foul ball. I still have a few of those saved from when I was younger, things like that are golden when you are a kid.

Well I'm off, have to go pick up an offer from another 1st time buyer, talk about last minute with only 2 days left. Everyone have a great week and weekend.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Crazy Critters

Well I experienced one of the wildest Mondays in recent history. Most of you know I am a bit accident prone and this week has done nothing to dispel those assumptions. While inspecting a narrow crawl space in a Durham home I came across some unsuspecting house guests. I had to glance twice when my flashlight came across what looked to be a group of squirrels. They didn't take my presence cordially and rushed at me pretty quickly; like some sort squirrel mafia.

I've never seen squirrels behave this way. Like most of you, I'm used to seeing them scatter away up a tree when you come within 10ft. Heck, I've almost wrecked my car on several occasions trying to avoid them in the road. Well after sustaining some minor bite and scratch wounds to my legs I was able to scuttle out of there & immediately called animal control. They discovered over 12 squirrels that had been nesting in there and what they estimated was over 25lbs of assorted nuts. I gathered them up and will likely give them to the buyers as a closing gift.

It was hard explaining my days' events to clients I was meeting later that day. They are working on a short timeline however and weren't letting my squirrel bites get in the way of seeing a few homes that evening. At our last stop of the tour, we venture out in the backyard to peer in this large rustic shed. As I peel the barn style doors open, I'm hit with a spray that had an indescribably awful smell. I catch a glimpse of a little skunk running off and the damage was done. My clients who were right behind me at the time were now almost to the car at full sprint.
I was lucky that the spray hadn't gotten on my skin sparring me the ketchup bath, but it did lay some good coverage on the suit I was wearing. The only solution at that point was quite unfortunate for me. After a quick discussion with my clients from across the yard, I dumped the suit in the trash bin and made the awkward drive home in my boxer shorts and undershirt. If your looking for a Brooks Brothers suit with a slight odor, let me know & I'll get you the address.

I'm hoping my future showings are less adventurous and don't involve hostile little critters. I hope you have a great week and of course, don't let yourself get tricked today, it's April Fools.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Here Comes The Sun

The first real signs of Spring have arrived this week and my favorite time of year is almost upon us. Good ol' daylight savings starts Sunday. That means the light doesn't start peering through my blinds for another hour in the morning and when I run in the evenings I can lose the 5lbs of reflective gear my Mom bought for me to wear.

Speaking of running, I am on the Board of Realtors committee that has put together a 5k Run/Walk on March 27th. It will be hosted in the Winmore neighborhood of Chapel Hill, first 100 to sign up receive free t-shirts. It's only $15 and you can sign up through this link. We'll have face painters and bounce houses for this kids, plus the full size Re Max hot air balloon will be on site taking passengers on short rides into the air. If you think I'm full of hot air, come see for yourself.
I've been in real estate over 5 years now, and one thing I've found is buying a home isn't the best thing for everyone. It can be smarter to rent sometimes, if you're unsure of job status, family plans, or just happy as could be with the place your in. But most people don't know I help with rentals too. I have a lot of experience working with some great rental companies, and some of the worst. I know ways of getting deposits back, finding the deals and negotiating some cheap rents.
Now I can't spend an entire weekend showing out of towners rentals, but I am more than happy to get these folks some local information, set them up with a good rental company, and point them to all the good rental searches online. Most of the hidden gems are on local sites, don't fight the mass at craigslist. So what do I get from all this? When that renter sees how hard I work for them and gets a taste of my local knowledge, they will no doubt come back to me when they are ready to buy or know someone else looking for a great Realtor.

Work has consumed me these past few weeks, all my first time buyers are scrambling to get that tax credit before the April 30 deadline. I have had some time for things of my own, for one I starting doing is reffing for Rainbow soccer, a Chapel Hill league I grew up playing in. I had my first game on Saturday and avoided being yelled out for any bad calls. I hope to find the time in coming years to coach a team but it's too much time commitment, for the time being I'll spend Saturdays blowing the whistle.

For all of you reading, enjoy all the extra sunlight we'll be seeing from now on. I know I'll be out & about, maybe I'll even dust off my old rollerblades. OK maybe not.