Myrtle Beach to Ocean Isle Beach

John Rakoci    Real Estate Broker NC & SC     843 655 7777

 The weather has been fantastic. Wish you were here! We had a nice visit with Ray and Kathy! They may be moving to the area soon. Did you notice the headline 2/27 stating “pending sales” are near a 2 year high?

If you have a specific community in mind go to my website ( ) and click the “View all Communites” button. A list of communities will come up, select those interested in and all ACTIVE listings in that community will come up to view. I pay dearly for that service, please take advantage of it.

Did you see “Warren Buffett says along with equities, single-family homes are a very attractive investment right now. Appearing live on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Buffett tells Becky Quick he’d buy up “a couple hundred thousand” single family homes if it were practical to do so. If held for a long period of time and purchased at low rates, Buffett says houses are even better than stocks.  He advises buyers to take out a 30-year mortgage and refinance if rates go down. Supposedly the best investor ever, a Billionaire 2nd only in wealth to Bill Gates, maybe it is an easy call???

FORECLOSURES!! There is still a lot of interest in foreclosures and fewer have arrived on the market recently. A seach of the NC MLS for new forclossure listings over the past 90 days only found 18! The prices range from $54,900 to $883,800. Find them here:    Now for area listings in SC. As you will see the number in the area of SC is also lower. You can find detached homes priced from $24,700 to $795,000 here:  That brings us to condos and townhouses. There are 111 and can be found at .

Clark Howard is mostly WRONG, at least in this area! This is the first time I have disagreed with him, and here is why. Clark Howard said buyers should to always go to the listing agent and you will pay less as the seller will pay less in commission. So I went to see how many other Realtors have a “variable commission”. Commissions the sellers pay in this area are negotiable, but mostly range in the 5% – 6% area. Don’t think Realtors are getting wealthy as the commission is split betwen the buyers agency and sellers agency. Now we are down to 2.5% – 3% most often. Next, the agency commission is split again with the agent. Another time we will get into costs associated to both sides. I searched many listings on both MLS services I belong to and found only one that has variable commissions- ME. There may be others, but were not found Many agencies have a policy against variables. What that means is if the commission is 5% or 6% or any other number agreed on by the seller and agency that is what it will be. That amount is the amount the seller is under contract to pay even if no other agency is involved. Guess who the listing agent is working for? How about the person PAYING which is the seller. Think 2, 3, 4 times  before thinking the listing agent will or even is able to cut the commission agreed upon. Have a buyers agent working for you, preferrably one with the ABR (accredited Buyers Representative) designation.

Capital Economics is expecting big things in the housing markets this year. They state the AVERAGE crefit score to qualify for a mortgage this year will be 700. I have heard from lenders that have less stringent score requirements already. They feel crefit availability will also rise this year. They state banks are lending 3.5 times borrower earnings instead of the 3.2 times recently. They state Loan to Value ratios (LTV) are now running 82% instead of the recent 74%.

The information from Capital Economics is not enough to cause prices to rise considerably and there are other factors that could effect prices and loan availability including world economics. Existing home sales continue to rise and inventory is being reduced. We hope that trend continues! Inventory has dropped nearly 21% nationally which will have an impact locally as those wishing to purchase here are able to sell their present home. Interest rates hovering around 4% +/- allow buyers more purchasing power as the rate impacts the amount of the monthly payment. Housing is expected to positively effect the GDP for the first time in seven years this year.  

 If your house is on the market you have been hearing me make suggestions to help it sell. Everyone knows to ‘de-clutter’. Next to keeping it clean is to ‘de-personalize’ by eliminating photos and family. Buyers need to visualize THEIR momentos there. Don’y forget to secure your valuables and medications. Most often it has been suggested you not be home during showings. I know it is a pain to go for a drive or walk every time a potential buyer is scheduled but is should be done. When buyers see the owner in the home they are uncomfortable even if you remain out of sight. Don’t simply go outside and sit in yyour car either as the buyers will feel they are putting you out and rushed. They are less prone to opening closets and cabinets when you are near. We all know how important storage space is and it is important buyers KNOW how much is available as they will pass on making an offer if they question that or anything else. The goal is to have potential buyers comfortable in your home and to be there a long time finding all the wonderful points about living there.

VETERANS– It may be time to consider a VA Loan! One mortgage broker states he has closed more VA Loans in the past 2 years than in the past decade. One reason for that is many of the conventional programs available in the past are no longer offered. A veteran can often get a mortgage with zero dollars out of pocket. That is correct- NO down payment and does not permit the lender to add Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) fees. When investigating mortgages or becoming pre-approved by a lender it is a great time to to investigate the VA loan program and how it can benefit you.

La Belle Amie Vineyard – If you are not aware of the programs there on many Saturday afternoons. I suggest you go to their website and sign up for their email ( Admission is free and they often have specials on their wine. Wine tastings, vineyard tours and live entertainment every week. As I write this I’m planning on the Parrot Head Fesatival tomorrow (Feb 25). The entertainment varies from big band to rock to oldies and everything in between. Just short drive across the state line and Silver Coast Winery can easily be found (                                                                                 The following are future programs at Belle Amie:

March 10 – Remember When Oldies Fest
March 24 – Blues & Jazz Fest
April 7 – Fools Rush In Oldies Music Fest
April 21 – Spring Swing/Big Band Fest
May 5 – Key West Music & Wine Fest
June 9 – First Blush of Summer Fest
June 23 – American Pie Oldies Music Fest
July 7 – Independence Big Band Blast
July 28 – Summer Parrot Head Festival
Aug 18 – Whole Lotta Shakin’ Oldies Music Fest 

The fishing,,, not many fishing reports have been found the past couple weeks. Yes, it is late February but flounder can be found in-shore due to our mild winter. Many are small but anglers and giggers are finding keepers. Many are being caught by those targeting speckled trout and redfish. Those fish are biting scented soft baits fished very slowly on or near bottom close to hard structure. Docks, piers, bridges, and jetties are most productive. Much of the time those soft baits are out-producing live bait! A favorite of mine and many others is GULP shrimp. Everyone seems to have a favorite color, mine is pearl white. The 3″ catches a lot of fish but the 4″ catches bigger fish. Don’t be afraid to toss a 5″ Gulp Jerk Shad either. I have a jar of Gulp Pogies too. To be honest– I have a collection of Gulp baits. Retrieve slowly and stop/jerk once in a while. Use a Carolina Rig or the lightest jig head possible (1/8, 1/4, 3/8 oz). Fishing has slowed the past week or two– but will pick up soon. The fish are still here, just not biting like they are starved. Hard structure with baracles are producing black drum– someone said fresh winter clam meat has been getting results on them. The redfish and speck bite is best on sunny days and the best time for the black drum has been at night. From the surf– the skates and dogfish are still biting. A chunk of cutbait works best. Normally skates, small sharks, and rays are considered a pain but can be fun to catch in the surf when nothing else is biting. Gigging is still productive most nights. Just be careful as only a few giggers are out at night. 

Help Wanted – I do not fish in freshwater or GOLF! If anyone wants to add some info on those subjects just drop it to me by email.  

Hard to believe how time flys at the beach! Time to hit the send button. Y’all take care. See ya at the beach! As Jimmy Buffet says “gotta stop wishin and gotta go fishin”

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