All I want for Christmas is… A Beach House

Christmas beach houseSo if your office is anything like mine at this time of the year it is less than a finely tuned machine running at full speed. Between the 2nd week of December and the end of the year we have staff out of the office for just under 100 days of combined work. It seems that when you call on any service firm (plumber, surveyor, electrician, etc.) to perform a job at this time of year the story is the same “sorry, we aren’t going to get to that until after the first of the year, you know with the holidays and all we just can’t get it done.”

The same may thought to be true in real estate sales at this time of year as many of our local attorneys on the Outer Banks close for that week between Christmas and New Year’s day (making it very difficult to get a sale closed and recorded), but hold on just a jingle bell minute. I am here to tell you….you never know!

There are still properties going under contract and selling at this time of the year. There is no reason to think that just because winter is arriving this month that sales on the Outer Banks go into a deep freeze. In fact if the property is listed at the right price you just never know when it will sell so be ready!

Just this past week I had notice of a property going under contract in Corolla and the buyer wants to close on the transaction before Christmas. That is less than 3 weeks between contract and close! This is a very unusual circumstance as most properties take 45 or more days to close, but it does happen that we get serious buyers and short closing times at this time of the year.

But the story to beat all is several years ago I was in real estate sales and had the experience of a real estate lifetime.

I was in the office on Christmas Eve morning wrapping up some loose ends before heading out to visit family that evening. I had some shopping to do and was organizing myself to head to the mall and do just that. As you can imagine from the 1st paragraph in this article that indeed things were pretty slow around the office. I was there, one of our receptionists was there, and someone in the accounting department was working for a half day that day as the company owner was closing the office at noon on Christmas Eve. Well imagine my surprise when I was called to the lobby to meet a prospective buyer who walked in and wanted to see a real estate agent to show some real estate. On Christmas Eve!

That surprise turned to stunned silence when I met the man, exchanged pleasantries and he promptly announced he wanted to buy his wife a beach house for Christmas.

Three hours later we had an offer to purchase written, and by 6 PM that night I had a copy of a full price cash contract to sell a house to this gentleman which he photocopied and presumably put under his Christmas tree for the Christmas present of a lifetime for his wife (no she did not see the house before he contracted to buy it). Talk about a Christmas miracle!  It was truly an unbelievable situation. To top it off the transaction closed without incident 2 weeks later.

Of course that doesn’t happen often (in fact I’ve never heard of it happening before or since), but it just goes to show you that as a seller you never know the motivation or timing of a buyer. As the great showman and World Wrestling Federation champion “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair said once “You don’t have to get ready – when you stay ready.”

Happy Holidays!

Is Building A Home An Option For You?

Building a new homeDetermining whether to build a home or purchase an existing home may seem like a simple decision. Yet, in fact, there are many more factors to consider. Weighing a list of wants with your current budget and knowing all the facts are key in making this personal and very important life decision.

Questions such as these below are items to consider when looking to build or buy an existing home:

  • What is the difference in building or buying an existing home?
  • What are the costs involved?
  • What are the loan products available?
  • How do we pick a home site?
  • Which builder should I choose?
  • Do I have to pull permits?
  • What choices do I have to make?
  • Who covers the insurance while it is being built?
  • How will I know what is going on if I live out of the area?
  • Do I get a warranty?
  • Who provides the home plans?
  • What if I want to make a change while it is under construction?
  • What are the benefits to buying an existing home?
  • How long will it all take?
  • Does the community have an Architectural Review Committee?
  • Can our marriage handle building a new home?
  • Who gets the lot ready to build?
  • Will I sign a contract with a builder?
  • Is Landscaping included?
  • Can I incorporate Green/Energy saving materials into the build?

These are all questions with answers that vary with the builder, area, size of the home, and preferences of the buyer.

Building a home can be a fun process, but it’s not for everyone. Loan products generally call for 20% down (20% total-house and lot). It generally takes 6 months to a year to complete. There are many selections to choose from when picking cabinets, appliances, colors, siding, shingles etc, which takes time, coordination, and can often benefit from expert opinion.

The advantages to buying an existing home include closing, usually, within 35 days, move right in, and loans that require less money down. The advantages to buying a lot and building a home include a warranty, minimal maintenance for the first 5-10 years, designing the home exactly to fit your needs, and generally a higher resale.

The best measure for a builder that I have found is the relationship that a builder has with his clients after the project is finished. If a builder has a positive relationship with a good percentage of his past clients it shows to me that he finishes well and that everyone has a positive experience when dealing with them.

Please feel free to print the above list of questions. As a Realtor, I have had the pleasure to help several clients buy lots, coordinate with a builder, and assist them through the entire project. From 1100 sq ft Beach Box style homes to 9,000 sq ft rental machines, no project is too small or too big. We can assist you in making your dreams into reality.

Remodels can be an option too. There are many construction to permanent type loan products available which allow you to buy a home that needs updating. You and the lender can formulate a plan for the scope of the work, coordinate with a contractor, and the work begins immediately after closing.

We have several builders that we have worked with over the years, don’t hesitate to contact me, let my years of experience go to work for you.

Pete SalitorePete Salitore, Associate Broker